July 27, 2012

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for...

I ran. 

After 204 looong, sad days, I ran this week. 

My last real run was New Year's weekend. I missed half of winter, all of spring and a good part of this hot summer. And not only did I not run at all in over six months, because of my very stubborn hip stress fracture, I haven't done much of anything -- until very recently

My hip has been feeling pretty normal-ish lately, so Sunday morning I wanted to test it out. I got up at dawn, just like real runners do, and made my way to the track. I needed a very level surface with no hills, sneaky sidewalk cracks or curbs to hop on to. I was SO nervous. 

Trea and I walked a couple of laps, and then I decided to run one. I have been waiting for this moment ALL YEAR. Now, I'm not delusional; I know 6 months of sitting around has turned me into a couch potato and my legs have no recollection of running a marathon. I didn't expect the heavens to open with angels singing. But I did expect to feel...that runner feeling. You know what I'm talking about. Is it freedom? Peace? But I just felt paranoid about my hip. And chubby. And weak. And exhausted almost immediately. 

I huffed and puffed around that track, and I was SO ready to get back to the starting line so I could stop and BREATHE. I felt like I had Frankenstein feet that weighed 50 pounds each, and my glorious return to running was a labored, stiff-legged shuffle. I was so focused on my stupid lungs and my stupid burning calves that it took me a second to realize...my hip didn't hurt! AT ALL! 

I walked a lap to catch my breath and make sure my hip was OK, and then I ran another lap. This one felt a little stronger, but it still felt like starting over. It was hard. After an entire half mile, I was spent.  But the important thing is that I RAN. Yes, I'm starting over, but I'm so happy to be able to run, even if it's just a little bit. 

Later that day I started having some serious hip pain that scared the daylights out of me. But I'm pretty sure it was a result of doing lots of housework when I got home and not sitting down for 5 hours after running for the first time in forever. I overdid it. As usual. So I stayed off my feet for the rest of the day, and the next morning I was as good as new. But that taught me a quick lesson that I'm not at 100% yet. I have to take this slowly and be very careful not to re-injure myself. So I've devised a plan. 

For a while, at least until I get my strength back, I'm going to only run and walk just a little bit at the track once a week. Then on other days, I'll swim, bike and elliptical so I keep things low impact on the old lady bones. I've also started some light strength training at home now that I can do lunges and squats without feeling like my hip is going to snap. I'm paying very close attention to glute strength and those pesky hip adductors/abductors or whatever they're called. I'm doing everything I can to create new habits and mix things up instead of only focusing on running. 

But tomorrow is a run day, and I can't wait to get back out there! I dug my Garmin out of storage, dusted off my iPod and am impatiently waiting for 6 a.m. It's so good to be back!  

July 9, 2012

Easy does it

I'm well on my way to running again...but I'm still not quite there yet. Instead, I've been doing a little of everything else to build my strength back up. And gradually -- very gradually -- I'm getting better.

I flail about in the pool in my fancy new swim cap from That Pink Girl.

I elliptical {or whatever the verb is}, which has been surprisingly fun. That's how desperate I am to run. Anything that remotely resembles running will do just fine. Although I've also been surprised at how weak my right leg is. My first day on the elliptical, my right quad, glute and calf were BURNING in just a couple of minutes. I've lost so much strength, but I'm slowly working to get it back.

I've been biking on actual trails, not just on my deck, and it's been WONDERFUL to see my running routes again. 6 months was too long to stay away. Following those paths through my favorite little town in the world is like seeing an old friend.

Best of all, I've been kayaking! It's wicked hot, even on the water, but it's fantastic exercise and so peaceful. It is most definitely one of my favorite things about summer.

Becoming active again is tough. I hurt all over, and I'm exhausted, but I'm so ready to get back in shape, feel good about myself again and have the strength to do the things I enjoy. I'm in no hurry to jump back into running because I'm trying to be kind to my bones and make sure I'm not out for another 6 months. So I'm taking it easy, starting slow and mixing up my routine so I don't put too much stress on one muscle group. But a teensy part of me hopes the next time you hear from me, I will have put a mile or two on my running shoes!


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