I spent quite a few years (most of my adult life) not taking care of myself properly. That is not to say I didn’t exercise, actually quite the opposite, I drove myself harder than I should have, much harder. I pushed through numerous injuries, I didn’t listen to physical therapists, I blew off treatment.
In 2016 it caught up with me. Like screeching halt, smashing into a brick wall, full stop. I had no choice but to go through a couple of corrective surgeries, a long period of physical therapy and I spent almost an entire year off the bike, not running, not lifting, and not even swimming. 2018 was the year that followed. I had the last surgery in April, and after a very careful year of therapy and strenghtening, I managed a little more than 700 miles on the bike, and the first runs I’v been able to do since 2016. I am very cautiously optimistic for 2019.
My run last night was pretty hard from an RPE standpoint. My heart rate never went way up, but my legs felt heavy and my form honestly sucked. The whole thing felt very labored and lacking in smoothness. I kept telling myself though that I felt very much the same when I first got back on the bike. The smoothness and ease I was accustomed to wasn’t there, but it came back quickly enough. I think honestly I just went back to back a little too soon, I just felt fatigued. I would pick up a good pace then my legs just didn’t want to lift my feet up, and I would drop my arms and before I even realized it I was shuffling. In hindsight I should have seen that my form was off, and that’s always been a recipe for getting hurt. I seem to have survived unscathed, and I’ll chalk it up to a “return to running” lesson, it has been a while after all.
My knee is troubling me today, I could feel that it was a little stiff during my run last night, but it didn’t seem any worse really than the other two runs, so I kind of disregarded it. This morning it’s hurting along the left front inner side, kind of between my knee cap and shinbones. It’s a little sensitive to the touch there as well. This is in keeping with the bruising I developed a few years ago when I initially injured it, so it’s something to keep an eye on. It hurt a bit more coming down the stairs than when walking on flat ground, and I remember reading something about that being significant with knee injuries. My right calf is more sore than my left, and I think that’s from my leg being stiff when I ran last night, putting more emphasis on that muscle, which is probably contributing overall. I may let it go another couple of days before I run again.
My lower back has been what I would say is best described as “tight” the last few days, maybe ten days overall. It isn’t painful, it just feels like it needs to pop. This is centered right above my left hip, low down on my back, maybe toward where the bottom of my kidney would be. There is a slight twinge that carries from there kind of out to the outside of my hip, and down across my sit bone. Further evidence of the need to ease back into this running thing. I don’t think it’s “injured” I think it’s just letting me know it’s there, and that I should proceed with caution.
I did a little easy yoga both before and after I ran, though afterward was pretty weak, really more of a light stretching session. I focused on my lower back and hips, but I didn’t do any time in the pigeon, which always seems to open up my hips when they are tight. I probably should have.
Tonight is “Mount Field” on TrainerRoad, and I may work in some resistance band time to focus on hip and knee strength before hand to maybe ward off either of these maladies becoming more serious.
I ran. For the first time in 21 months. I had all but given up the idea of running anymore, and I was really ok with the whole thing, but this last round of surgery ad especially physical therapy was so successful that I started thinking…maybe…
So I waited til I was feeling rather strong, I bought new shoes (Hoka One One, I’m now a believer…) and last night I set out with the idea of running at least two miles but with a stretch goal of three.
I ended up having to do the run-walk-run thing, but I did finish 3 miles. It wasn’t my cardio conditioning that let me down, my right knee was hurting a bit, as I would have expected it to, and my quads were saying “dude…this is the roughest pedaling you’ve ever done…”.
The main thing is that I enjoyed it. A lot. I’m cautiously optimistic that I will be able to make it a part of my routine again, and for that I am exceedingly pleased. I’ve always enjoyed running, but hated the process of running. I really enjoy the freedom, and the simplicity compared to the bike, but I hated the way it felt to get to a point where I was well enough conditioned that ever run wasn’t a test of survival. For a large part of my life, running five to ten miles a day was a very normal thing. It’s hard to be a paratrooper and not a runner you know. Once I injured my hip the first time, I started falling behind the curve, and like when you lose the wheel of a faster rider in a race you just start falling further and further behind until you just accept that you’re not going to make it back into the group. Thats very much what it felt like, and then adding to it my subsequent injuries that made it effectively impossible to run until they were surgically repaired, it was just one of things I put on the shelf with the rest of the “can’t do it anymore” things.
Anyway, it was one run, and it was slow, but I enjoyed it, and I’m actually looking forward to the next one, and I haven’t said that in a very long time.