I'd Like to Thank the Academy . . .

>> Wednesday, December 1, 2010

RUNNING:

You put one foot in front of the other. Bound from mid-foot to mid-foot. Right leg to left leg. Your feet pound the pavement or cement or dirt or grass. Your breath is strong and steady. Heart rate: Elevated, but controlled. It isn't supposed to hurt. Instead, it feels incredible.

Stuff that happens:

  • Blood pumps throughout your entire body.
  • Your leg/arm/core muscles tighten.
  • Sweat pours out from your pores.
  • You feel energy. Enthusiasm for life.
  • You cry. Salty tears. (OK. Maybe YOU don't. But I did.)
I cried on my run last night. What's that? My RUN?!?! What may be even more surprising, considering the last seven weeks of sad, anti-running posts, is that those tears weren't from agony or frustration. Instead, they were out of pure bliss. My knee, you see, didn't hurt. It was slightly tight. Not a fan of uneven pavement or downhill jaunts. But no real pain plagued me.

I don't want to be premature with announcing my "return" to the world of the running. (As if my departure had any impact whatsoever on the sport.) In fact, I'm even hesitant to tell myself that bit of news. I started going to PT last Wednesday. Since, I've had only two sessions. The first did little to enthuse me. In fact, I considered not going back because I was convinced stretching, squats, and ice/heat wouldn't fix anything. I'd been icing and stretching on my own with little improvement at best.

I mean. Where were the big guns? The cortisone shots? The MRI scans? The intense discussions I had so anticipated dreaded about "cycling and swimming, perhaps, being a better option for long-term fitness?"

And then I tried running on Thanksgiving because I just needed to try. I tossed aside my Brooks, favoring an old pair of Nike fashion sneakers with no socks. They are somewhat like shoes in the Nike Free series. But completely flat. Basic. I ran 5 miles that night, stopping to stretch in the way the PT taught me a total of four times.

My knee was sore, but I definitely felt an improvement. I took another day off before my next attempt because I didn't want to push it. This time, I decided (because I've needed new running shoes anyway) to purchase some Nike Free sneaks. They're similar to the Kinvaras that Stephen wears, but I tried a pair of them . . . and they just didn't feel right on my feet. The Frees felt true to the name.

Anyway, armed with new shoes, stretching, and even a spanking new stride (which I'll cover in another post) -- as well as a beefed up left quad muscle -- I set out again on Sunday. I ran a 10K distance. It wasn't the best run EVER. I had some pain. Some soreness afterward.

But BETTER. (WHY DIDN'T I SEEK OUT PT BEFORE NOW?!)

I skipped into the PT on Tuesday morning and told him of my progress. He tweaked my program and added some electro-stimulation therapy for my pesky SI joint (that I apparently sprained last year bending over to take a photo. It continues to hurt like hell and is likely the cause of my knee woes) and some ultrasound/heat therapy for my IT-band and knee. More stretching. More strengthening. Some stabilization techniques and massage. I left the office feeling pretty sore. Worried I may not feel so much like running later on.

Ugh.

But day turned to evening, and I left work hankering for a run. I love running in the rain. It was probably 50 degrees. Lots of wind. I set out . . . and immediately felt tightness. But bearable tightness. I kept going. I kept going as the pain faded. The tightness came and went, came and went. My speed and endurance seem unaffected by my nearly 2-month hiatus.

And the only reason I returned home after 7.5 speedy miles is because I figured Stephen would be worried if I was gone longer than an hour. Before I left, I'd told him that I'd be back soon-ish (anticipating a flare-up). I thought maybe two miles was my destiny. On the other side of a near 8-miler, I was smiling so much that last half a mile, my cheeks became sore. I nearly shrieked with joy upon entering the house.

So, that's what's going on with the knee. I have another PT appointment on Friday. I'm hoping for even more improvement. What this all means, though, isn't much for my fitness routine. I'll slowly add back in the running. However, aqua jogging is like my new best friend. I can't BELIEVE how I feel with the running. Like no time at all has passed since I stopped. I know I couldn't bust out a 20-miler right now, but a strong half seems possible. (Not that I'm planning any, by the way.) Winter is time for cross-training, and I'm taking my recovery seriously.

Thanks for all your support through these last two months. It's been so incredibly hard (that's what she said?) for me (she did!). You may have noticed less posting, particularly in the running/fitness areas. I was in a bad mood. Now, I'm in a good one. Yes!

Have a happy Wednesday evening :)

PS: It has come to my attention that in this fabulous new format, our COMMENTS section isn't working as it used to. O.M.G. I don't know how to fix that. In the meantime, we've moved to a pop-up box for comments. Please let us know if you encounter any issues!

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