Last Tuesday, I set out to gauge where my leg was at in the healing process. I’d been planning it for a few days since it’d been feeling better. My excitement was through the roof.
The plan was to drive down to the dirt path at the end of my block and go from one end to the other (a mile for the lap). I figured I’d test out that stretch and probably end up around 3 miles/laps. I was feeling good, my leg didn’t hurt. YES!
I got out there, started my watch, got going, and 0.04 miles later, I stopped. Nope. Not today.
Too focused to be heartbroken, I hopped on the elliptical and got after it. “Take what you can get,” I reminded myself.
The next few days were spent doing a lot of recovery work and research:
- Trigger Point Massage
- Purchase Hypervolt
- Ultra Trail Ladies Facebook group crowdsourcing
- PT Workout: Flossing and Tension
- OMG is it a compressed nerve?
Either way, I was going to speed the healing. New goal: Lead my 4-mile Adventure Aide run session on Friday. I’ve had to take it off for 3 weeks and I miss it as does my favorite client. In the meantime, hard elliptical sessions of 7-8 miles. At least I had something.
Thursday rolled around and it was clear Friday was a no go. Disappointed, I reminded myself: STAY THE COURSE.
Friday night, I headed up to the Bay for a short trip. When I planned it, I figured I’d be running again. Clearly, I was wrong. So when my friend set off to run Saturday morning, I headed to a gym. Between the Lyft rides, the actual elliptical (I’m apparently a connoisseur of them, I got excited about the 2007-style Precor they had), and my core workout, it was a great sesh. But it was a sesh. I missed my runs. They’re not the same.
It took 3 weeks and a little drama to trigger it, but I finally broke down. It was ROUGH. Anxiety went through the roof, tears gushed out my eyes, self-pity was my companion. To be honest, I held on for as long as I could. Without the trigger, I probably would have lasted a little longer of being okay but I would have broken eventually. It’s hard to keep telling yourself you’re fine when you know you’re not. Running is my therapy, it’s how I find evenness. It’s how I work through life’s bumps. Without it, it’s much more difficult to keep things on track.
The next morning, my friend and I went out to his trail run club. He was planning on 20 miles and I jokingly asked how many miles he thought I could walk in the time it would take him to run that far (6-7 was my guess).
As we set off, I made the decision that had been bubbling up in the back of my head. “WISH ME LUCK!” I yelled from behind him. He looked dumbfounded but I HAD to try. Partially because I wasn’t sure exactly where I was at and needed to test it but primarily because I deeply needed the therapy.
By mile 0.5, I was crying, not because of pain but because I was happy to just me moving. It wasn’t exactly pain-free but it wasn’t painful. It took a little while to feel warmed up but I was doing it. Slowly, incredibly slowly, but I did it. In all, I ended at 10.25 miles (I’m calling this moderation, my last run had been 22 miles so that counts, I think). I walked 1.25 and accidentally hit a 6:50 pace at some point. I had a couple miles in the 8s and a couple in the 9s but most were in the 10-12 range. It wasn’t perfect, it didn’t feel perfect. But it was step 1 of coming back.
So what happened on Monday? How did I feel? No worse, no better. My legs (quads) were actually sore, a foreign feeling. I did a few casual elliptical miles and left early from climbing – now that running is in sight, I’m not risking anything. Lots of foam rolling, lots of Hypervolting.
Now that I know I can go, even if it was slow, I am dialed in. My eyes are completely focused on getting back to running. Happy and relieved but still have to stay the course. PATIENCE. Wish me luck.