Tag Archives: injury

The Pace to Race

Last Sunday was race day.

It was not as fast or as glorious as I had hoped it to be, but I finished the race vertical and left inspired to work harder and come back faster. So I think I can check that off as a success in one way or another.

As much as I would love to list my excuses for not hitting my goal time in an attempt to justify that it was the Universe’s fault, I was happy with how I ran four of the five kilometers. The first kilometer did me in but it was a learning experience. Or a reminder, anyways.

I could list all of the training runs I did in faster times, all the intervals I ran, and tell you about the days I didn’t feel like running but did it anyways. It doesn’t matter how good the workouts are if they don’t build on each other and if they don’t come together. In this case, neither of those may be the issue but my body just couldn’t do it.

And that’s okay.

The bar is set at 25:44.

And now I’m going to smash it.

I have three more races planned this year, because if I don’t keep challenging myself then how will I know what I can do. I am not running how I want to, but I know where I want to get to. My goal is to stay injury- free to race June, August, and October and improve on my time each run.

Just keep trotting.

RunFinish2

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Next Four Minutes

At what point does a comeback just evolve back into life?

I was running on the treadmill yesterday- doing my four minute run interval absolutely overwhelmed with excitement at the idea of my four minute run interval- wondering to myself at what point my comeback morphs into the daily grind of a gym goer.

Every day of work that I put in feels like another brick and mortar of recovery and it motivates me to keep pushing further from the day I caught my leg in my pants, fell down, and couldn’t get up. Maybe I am back to regular workout status once people stop interrupting my workouts to ask me, “How is your (enter any mixture of injured body parts here)?”

Now that I am running again (on a treadmill, for four minutes at a time) I am in a permanent state of runner’s high. My body was in withdrawal for almost two years, and now that I have had a reminder of how it feels, I’m in a constant state of awaiting my next four minutes.

Maybe we would all benefit from the comeback mindset. The mental setting that we have much progress ahead of us, and each step forward is a milestone worth telling the world about. Every time we finish a workout there is a crowded arena screaming our name. Every time we lift heavier, our name is in the paper for setting new records. And every single rep we complete, we can remind ourselves, “I couldn’t do this before”.

With the mental, physical, real, and imagined highs of the comeback journey, there must be the moments that bring our feet and faces back down to the ground; the universe giving us a friendly reminder that we aren’t as invincible as we briefly consider ourselves to be. Considering yourself to be in a “safe” place usually means that your face is about to hit the ground, so maybe embracing the comeback status is protective.

As long as progress continues, combined with the awareness there is much ground to cover, I suppose it doesn’t need any label other than that.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Back For More

It has been way too long since I have posted anything. Full time work, part time work, and full time school do that I guess. Sorry to admit that I would rather be known for being a hard worker than for my blogging consistency. I’m back on track now I swear.

I have another MRI on my knee tonight, however my limited (non- existent) background in medicine makes me think my knee is almost good to go. If you are going to tear a ligament, it looks like this is the one to go for. My theory is that it was on the verge of tearing since the car accident, so my body is used to functioning without much support from it. There is a knee surgeon who works out in my gym and yesterday I picked his brain a little. I asked if he would recommend operating on a torn MPFL and after seeing my leg day he thought I was crazy to consider surgery. He told me that he does full knee replacements and so would not be the surgeon for me, to which I replied that I probably should get a spot on the waiting list now. By age 26, I have worn my knees out to Bambi status, and I am banking on robotic body parts being available soon. This is not a complaint because I’d rather use my body up than be laying on my death bed commenting on my joint fluidity.

I hope the afterlife has squat racks.

On that glorious note, I took off my knee brace for Monday’s workout. It was terrifying, exciting, and significantly reduced the smell of my workout. Someone should invent braces that come with built in fans like they have for those mascot costumes. When I instructed a running group at my previous job, my “smelly knee brace” had a more wide- spread reputation than I did. I think it made people run faster so they wouldn’t get caught downwind. Whatever it takes to make them run.

When I was working out, I kept looking in the mirror trying to figure out how far I am from my body about four months ago before my kneecap dislocated and my hopes, dreams, and body weight came crashing down. I temporarily felt disheartened to realise I am in a permanent state of re-building, until I realised that everyone in the gym is there for the same reason. Sure, some of us do it with a sickness of going until we cramp up into a sweat-soaked mess but everyone has the goal of change.

Still being warped is frustrating because I have been struggling to increase weights and still maintain good form in my workouts. My hips are out of alignment, and my spine is curved so my back is still imbalanced. I guess I just got a little too comfortable and when I feel comfortable, I am not aligned, and every other body part dominoes along into my personal take on anatomical structure. Doing high volume and low weight workouts is working well for me though and I love the change of stimulation. I would absolutely recommend adding this phase into your workouts (depending what your goals are) because 4 sets of 30 reps isn’t easy on anyone.

If your workout isn’t mentally hard, it probably isn’t physically hard enough.

Getting motivated and back at it.

I think this is Abraham's greatest quote.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Born to be Mild

“There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.”
              -Leonard Cohen

My body has days that make me feel like I was made for a desk job and upper body hobbies. Followed by many rum and cokes.

When a homeless man stops you to say “you are beautiful just the way you are”, it really implies you look terrible and nobody loves you. I had already taken out my rage on all my clients so (luckily for him) I just gimped on by. It was awkward like when you have cruise control on and you pass a car going 1km an hour faster than them and it takes an uncomfortably long eye contact to get by. Just your casual social discomfort being a happy Torontonian.

Despite my body telling me to slow down sometimes, I resist the urge to feel like I was destined for early entry into the inevitable world of grunting sounds every time you stand up. It is a slippery slope from the time you make your own involuntary sound effects.

On the plus side, I had someone tell me in the gym that I should go to a vet now because I work out like an animal. I won’t lie, that made me immediately feel better. I have no problems in the world when someone compliments my workouts. It may as well be a big high five from Arnold Schwarzenegger. I am redefining blood, sweat, and tears, baby- tear referring to my torn body parts of course and not tears in my eyes.

I have been working away on upper body now and I feel like a wannabe bodybuilder who builds their biceps, ignores their legs, and ends up with a weirdly disproportionate body. I have been struggling with my post-surgery shoulder however I’ll chalk that up to pressure changes and I absolutely won’t complain about the heat. I spent so much time preparing my clients for a beach season that I was starting to think wasn’t coming.

So what is next? … defying the mild and embracing the wild hopefully.

progress

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It Is What It Isn’t

On Monday I was missing a ligament in my knee, but depending who you ask, it is there today.

I’m not a doctor.

Friday afternoon, just hours after my MRI, I felt something tear in my knee. It was so weird, like being flicked against the inside of your skin instead of the outside. Complete with a snap, crackle, and pop.

So on Monday the doctor told me that I dislocated my kneecap and tore the ligament that primarily stabilizes the kneecap in its tracking. The solution could be rehab or surgery and that was to be determined after seeing the MRI. I thought the imaging would have been deemed useless since the tear conveniently occurred after it, however I was assured it was still relevant. So I figured they would see a ligament on the verge of tearing.

I’m not a doctor.

So I get the phone call that the ligament in question is indeed attached. So naturally I was confused how it reattached itself in a few short days. I am always impressed with the human body but this would be a whole new level of science. When the doctor was holding my knee in his hands and testing it, he said there was no ligament so I took this opportunity to casually remind the doctor that the popping happened after the MRI. In return, I was told “I highly doubt it was torn”.

Later that afternoon at work, someone who treated me many times after the car accident was in the gym working out. He kindly let me interrupt his workout to casually ask him if he could find my medial patellofemoral ligament. He concluded the left knee didn’t have one.

I slunk back to the first doctor to request another MRI. He doesn’t even seem phased when he sees me in his waiting room anymore. I have to have set a new record for MRI requests in a ten day span.

Part of me hopes that it is torn so that I can save myself the embarrassment of getting a second MRI for no reason. But at the same time, I realise how ridiculous that is. What is one more blow to my ego, anyways.

I do know something is wrong, but that is all I know.

I’m not a doctor.

mpfl

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Run To Bust

I feel like I am getting close to race day… Not because I feel ready but because my body is worn out. The race is 14 days away and it feels like a 10 foot tall hurdle screaming towards me.

For a blog with the theme of overcoming obstacles, I sure have a lot of material to write on.

Last Friday my knee buckled during my workout and after standing for at least 12 hours a day this week, it is pushing back. I haven’t run in 8 days, I haven’t done any lower body exercises in 8 days, and at this rate I picture myself ending up jacked up top and soft on the bottom. Like actually with a straight horizontal line where the muscle just stops.

On top of that, my mood has been getting exponentially aggressive as I watch the race date approach while I am at standstill.

This world has a consistency that really never fails. This was my last heavy leg day before I planned to transition out of going crazy in the gym. My last set of my last exercise was when everything came crashing down. Literally. I was on the leg press finishing with one leg at a time and my left knee just passed on its turn. This makes me feel like every other time I said I worked out to failure was a cop out.

I did have another trainer tell me I worked as hard as someone who was going to the Olympics. Minus the injury, that felt good.

New strategy: run on pace for my goal time and risk death by bruised body and bruised pride? Now I just need to find a doctor who will encourage me to keep running… Not happy. Doctor’s report to follow.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s The Fiiii-nal Countdown

As my pre-race week diminishes, my relationship with my foam roller has been upgraded to intimate and exclusive. I feel like an unprepared disaster, and 5k feels like a marathon.

All I really need to do is stay out of my head. Those who know me, know that over-analyzing is just my “thing”. My mind is already gone down paths of what comes next if I achieve my goal, or how do I respond if I fall short. What I should really be concerned about is how I have run more this week than I have any other week in the past year and that seems like a terrible send-off to race weekend. We will all question our training once the competition gets close, but I may still be adding to questions to the list I will have to answer.

The only thing I can do now is watch YouTube clips of slow motion running montages while screaming along to a loop of Europe’s The Final Countdown.

Join me?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sblvu-PvTi4#t=157 ] Thanks to RN for the slo mo montage!

[ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jK-NcRmVcw ]

I have one last tune up (overhaul) with my chiropractor tomorrow, one day before the race. Hopefully he can snap my body parts back in place just long enough for me to give myself my own readjustment, as my runs always seem to disorient my skeleton.

The weather looks like it will be cold and wet which is the condition I ran my 25:05. I will do my best to recreate everything else from that run, and just hope my legs are under me on Saturday! 🙂

abrn639l

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

25 Minutes

4 days to race day.

I have run twice in the past two days and my back is tighter than skinny jeans on an emo kid. It radiates up my neck into my brain and prevents the “stop making it worse” messages from reaching my body. My neck is so immovable I will have no choice but to be Frankenstein for Hallowe’en. Oh wait I am a 20- something female in Toronto… I meant to say “sexy” Frankenstein.

My goal keeps changing depending on the stability of my mental state, which I wish I could blame entirely on muscle tension. So I will put it in writing one last time before I race. My goal is to run under 25 minutes.

I work long days and I work hard. So what is 25 minutes?! I can do anything for 25 minutes. I’ve done this before, I can do it again. This is no crazy standard I have set for myself. It is just a time I have picked that will make me feel like I am getting back to normal. If this race doesn’t go as planned, then I am no further behind; the only difference is that the internet has documentation that I had a bad day. And my friends have Facebook so the internet has already seen me when I’m not at my best. Nothing new to see here, folks.

Whatever time the clock reaches before I catch it, I will be setting a personal best for my new self. No one will know what time I expected or if I have ever even run before. No one knows what it took to get me to the start line or what I will do beyond the finish. I will be running for myself, and I will be running for 25 minutes.

Forget about times, injuries, and training runs. Leave behind the disappointment and frustration of uncontrollable obstacles.

This is my first race back and that is unbeatable.

stopwatch2

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Baby Got Back

I like to consider myself inquisitive; second guessing or over analyzing may also apply.

Whatever the case may be, I can’t help but question my race preparation. Maybe I’ve done this enough times to just let it happen, and I am more ready than I let myself think. Or maybe I’m off the trail without a GPS. In my opinion, a big part of preparation is motivation. As much as my posts may be demonstrating brain waves that seem to zig zag and curve at will, I have the firm stance that motivation and “grit” (for lack of a better word) can trump inherited athleticism. Not always, but always possible. Maintaining that drive is race preparation.

I have pictures, mottos, quotes, sayings; motivational images of all sorts saved to my computer. I see where I want to be, I get motivated, I get excited, and I get my shoes on. When I need that pump up I am running alone, and what never comes to mind is some image I flipped by on my laptop.

Is motivation justified by getting out and running? Or does it mean we have to post about it on our social media, fill our closets with bright and flashy shoes, and finish runs with a slow motion water bottle chug? If you’re reposting images of others exercising behind a Starbucks latte and a snuggie, I struggle to tie that to motivation. That is promotion.

Does being driven and invested only manifest itself in a way that would mean living by the standards of carbo loading, electrolyte refueling, and IT band massaging? It can be an internal conflict to maintain motivation, but isn’t that normal because sport can be a painful passion after all. At this point, I will trust in my comfort zone and my ‘fly by the seat of my running shorts’ training style and see where my feet take me. Hopefully the end point is out of my comfort zone as that is the most encompassing way I can define success right now.

I have to admit that I feel a level of preparedness in the chaos that is my body trying to navigate the world. Maybe once you accept that your strategy is mayhem, you can relax and brush off all these events that don’t seem to support the end goal. This is a strategy, I swear. I am still moving therefore I am still progressing.

After my Canadian Thanksgiving with the family, today was my first day back to the gym after my back attack. Once again, there was so much genuine concern for me that I think I will just start sitting out front and ringing a bell with a  donation box. I started my new (and it darn well better be) improved rehab program. I am working towards square one and I will get there when I get there. On paper, this workout would have appeared that it was for someone who had lost their left arm and left leg and was hitting the gym for the first time. Let me tell you that this, coupled with my nicknames like Hop-along, and Limp Biscuit, are not ideal ways to sell myself as a trainer. Live and learn.

My fantastic nickname- creating co-workers do help me out, though. They all had ideas to contribute for how to best fix my back but my small and weak muscles fatigued before I could accept all their help. I am hopeful that it won’t take too long to regain some balance but it is hard to activate half my back throughout the day. When the weak side fatigues, exercise becomes detrimental because I’m jacking up the jacked side. Keep in mind I teach exercise for a living. Having experienced one potential outcome of a muscle imbalance, I am pretty eager to avoid that road again. Deep tissue massages and I will be best friends forever.

At this point, I have no strategy. I do, however, know what shoes I will wear. And I feel like that might be enough because I know I can get myself to the start line (with shoes on). And once we are all lined up in wait, we are all equal, and it is anybody’s day. Who worked the hardest to get to the start line, who can translate that into energy in the race… and then who can carry me home…?

96561f7739c8a2f3ccb13c72b7d5888a

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Not Back(ing) Out

On Thursday I woke up to my 430am alarm as usual and hopped out of bed. No crying, no swearing, and no pillow punching. I should have known something was wrong. My 3 kilometer walk to work was normal; a half asleep attempt at speed walking in the morning darkness. It wasn’t until I reached work that I realised how achy my back was. But as far as my normal goes, that is pretty much normal.

Time turned this ache into a soreness, then a stiffness, then immobility. And pain. And constriction. And an inability to do anything except lean awkwardly on whatever sturdy object was close by. A few (long) hours later, I was wincing in pain, seeing spots, and experiencing shooting pains in my spine. It felt like morphing into Larry King’s posture with the fluidity of a creaky robot. And not the good kind of robot like on the dance floor.

By the time I got home, I couldn’t get my shoes off or change my clothes so I just laid down on the floor. Not as graceful or simple as I made that sound, either. Picture it like I was being magnetically drawn to the floor but resisting it the whole way. Or one of those dancing inflatable attractions being deflated in slow motion. That is as best as I can describe it considering I had my eyes closed and was trying to hit the floor with my necessities as close to me as possible.

So living alone has its pros and cons. Con: My text response time was drastically reduced. My phone mocked me as it lay 6″ from my fingers. Pro: It wasn’t awkward when I did my ugly cry in a pile of cramped muscle on the floor.

Luckily for everyone involved, the desire to not pee my pants was the motivation I needed to get me vertical. I had spent nearly 6 hours on my back like a turtle that had flipped over, and to express the seriousness of the situation, I did not voluntarily or involuntarily nap at all. My love for sleep is borderline narcolepsy so that is saying a lot. My attempts to stand mimicked a professional women’s tennis match where each muscle contraction was a high pitched, over- enthused scream. I hope my neighbours thought it was tennis anyways.

I actually could not figure what caused this, and trust me I had a lot of time to think. Could it have been my back workout from the previous day? Or could it have been something I did in my sleep? It is sad when you can’t differentiate the two in intensity. I got in to see an RMT the next morning who was surprised I was still walking. I’ve heard that enough times that it is essentially meaningless to me now and my reflex response is something like a mindless,  “oh thanks, you too”. Basically, my asymmetries had built up so much that the muscles doing all the hard work cramped up, and once one seized, all the other ones joined the party. My “quick fix” is three sessions of deep tissue massage and a slap across the face to my rehab program. Not quick at all.

I was told this was bound to happen at some point considering what shape I was in, but may I suggest to everyone not to get injured right before a long weekend. It is really terrible timing if you would like medical treatment. I did singlehandedly make a large contribution to the company that makes Rub A535, as I spent several days in a cocoon of muscle relaxant which really helped. The amount of rum and cokes I had could also be an argument for my recovery too. Since I can’t be sure, I will keep up with both.

This was another setback to my journey, but what is a comeback if there is no challenge?! This was a learning experience for me anyways: being an RMT is now a requirement to date me, and I probably enjoy the smell of Rub A535 too much. I have so much sympathy and respect for anyone with chronic back pain but that being said, I don’t want to be one of them.

So here we go again. I have added another medical professional to my team and I’m back in business.

Cheesy puns come standard.

Larry-King-1

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: