Lake Michigan at Sunrise

Lake Michigan at Sunrise

Friday, June 27, 2014

Running for the Numbers

Day two of my return to run program done (26 May).  Six repetitions of 4 minutes walking to 1 minute running. This time around,  I warmed up with some lunges, 5 minutes of extra walking, stretching, then I began the exercise. My physical therapist also taped up my right ankle as precautionary measure. The tape combined with the heavy work she put in (bruising) my leg, left me feeling near optimistic for my return to run now, as I experience no abnormal post run feelings.

(I hope I don't eat my words next week and have to rest even longer)

The walk/run exercise was interesting, as every time I started to run, I felt like I was mentally walking through a portal to my memories of running, forgetting I'm injured, but then a rope quickly pulls me back out once my minute is up. Pay Per View running I guess.

But this post isn't about my 6 minutes of total running, the post is about what rolls through my mind while I walked for the rest of the time.

I started thinking about running for numbers and what feels like success.
My thinking face
I know many of you, like myself, running 6-7 days a week is a way of life. Miss an day? That is a melt down. You muster up the logic to say it is okay and aren't losing any fitness? I know you are still struggling inside, thinking this one missed workout will be the cause of your next missed PR. Just keeping it in your mental pocket of maybe worries.

Have to cut your scheduled workout run short? Oh damn, let's not even go down that road (but the something is better than nothing mantra will at least keep you from OD'ing on Clif Shots).

Make a goal of weekly mileage and fall short, despite some killer runs? Time for new shoe therapy.

I'm not saying any of this is bad, goals keep us motivated, I do all the above. And I miss it, but starting from scratch lets me take a somewhat fresh look at it all again. Losing all of spring and the end of winter to injuries made me dig a deep hole for all those running insecurities, more for my family's sanity than mine. Now that I am easing back into it, the seeds of my running craziness growing out of the ground and ready for me to pick.

And pick I have. The fact that this week I have ran for 9 minutes total has inspired me to chart out multiple exercise paths that lead me back to a 60mpw base by Octoberish.

I can only laugh at my mental progression, as my state of gratefulness is quickly replaced at wanted more. Only a month ago I was hoping to just walk pain free again to now getting the  itch to run every day for hours. Physical therapy gave me the proverbial tip (3 days a week walk/run exercises) and I want the whole thing.

I am looking at this in the best way possible. As my wife is due with our second child next week, fitting in 3 short "runs" a week is a lot more doable, than 50-60+ mile weeks. So if there was ever a time to do this, now isn't the worst time.

Where is this entire post going? A reminder to myself and to you all to enjoy your runs and your health. Keep your goals in mind, but don't let them distract you from how awesome it is that you can run.

Have a great weekend all!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Cutting up a big slice of humble pie

Today was day one of my return to run program and also the start of my new diet of humble pie.

I took my first serving of humble pie about as beautifully as the .gif above.

But wait Declan, you haven't posted in a couple weeks, catch us up!

Let's start with the funny stuff  (not in chronological order):

My wife and I took my daughter to Ravinia to see Laurie Berkner.

Big balloon flowers are great!

I can't wait for the next season of Dr. Who!

Worm season is alive and well!

I had some amazing frozen custard, strawberry blended with a funfetti cupcake at Lickity Split. I am still dreaming of this heaven in my mouth.

Gymnastics (or asstics according to my daughter) classes started again and I can make this for the summer!

And my son is due to enter this world next week (July 1 for those of you reading this in the future).

Now back to my humble pie.

At physical therapy, beyond getting my legs bruises and experiencing near black out pain, I was fortunate enough to use a Zero Gravity Treadmill.

You zip into the treadmill, with some ultra tight spandex shorts on, and the treadmill fills up with air. You then set it to what percentage of your body weight you want to run and speed. My first use of it was at 70% of my body weight, and then 80%. It felt great to run for a few minutes, feeling so light and nimble!  After feeling okay using the treadmill on two different days, I was given clearance to start a return to run program.

Today was day 1 of a 3 session a week program. My instructions for today: Walk 4:30 , Run :30, repeat 6 times.  Obviously everyone will be watching and laughing at me..

Mentally, this reboot of my running is hard to swallow. The decline of my running from peaking, maintenance, trying to stop from bottoming out, to bottoming out has tested my patience, my want to run, and my waist line. Add the 6-7 failed attempts to start running again, and now I'm honestly scared that this will just be another notch on my womp womp belt.

Back to where this post started. I did my first walk/run combo. I had to lock my ego in a box, then put it in a safe, then bury it in the ground, and cover it with scorpions. And I had to tell my doubts to just give me 12 hours to clear things up. The 30 second intervals of running felt like nothing, but I know in a few months I'll look back at laugh at this if this is successful and I'm not tweeting later today that I'm in pain. But right now, I really miss the long free runs, the therapy and escape of the lakefront path, and feeling all the work I put into running reward me in many ways. I'm hoping I can set up a timeline of when this can happen. Maybe I'll do the math later today.

What if my right ankle flares up today? My physical therapist will teach me to tape it up until it gets back to full strength so that I can get into running shape again. My right MCL is doing well, still sore time to time, but much improved. And my left ankle, the one I actually slipped and sprained, feels 100%.  As of writing this, I think I may go for the tape just in case, but we'll revisit the idea at therapy tomorrow.

Okay, so what is going on with you???

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Totally have a happy national running day..please..

National Running Day

A day where runner's take extra pride in their motivation and the running community. Where we can be a little extra obnoxious to non runners when we talk about how we ran today. Totally an awesome day...

Except if you are a sourpuss like me.

I'm totally...

I know I should have my supportive face on, put aside my injury madness... but I end up feeling like this:

I'm sure any of you that are committed to an activity, like running, and get sidelined from it due to an injury, secretly have this feeling when you see other people doing and enjoying the activity that you love.

But you probably want some content here! So let's go!

Last Friday, my physical therapist said I could try doing a back to running program, since I had a few days in a row where my knee wasn't bad. The plan was a 10-15 minute warm up, stretch, then do 5 minutes of running and 2 minutes of walking, repeat until I hit 45 minutes.  I was pumped. I felt like the wind was about to change and blow away my dark injury clouds. I was thinking ahead where I could be in a week or two! Then reality set in..

Saturday brought back a cranky knee that wasn't bending well and increased pain. I took some Advil for my pain/swelling and felt much better after.  Sunday I woke up feeling a bit more limber. I had to try the run. I didn't want to go to therapy again saying I was too scared to try.

Once I warmed up and stretched, I started my run. I felt right away that things were not right.  My right leg wasn't bending back far enough or doing the full running motion. My knee was wobbly. Yada yada yada

Mentally this was happening:

I kept hoping that my knee would magically warm up and I'd be free like a bird on the lakefront path. Once I realized I would be a train wreck, I got off the main lakefront trail and to one of the side trails closer to the lake. It was a test of madness and lost hope. The two minute walks in between the running attempts were rough, not because I wanted to run again quicker, but I was in slow time and had to accept that reality isn't ready to match my dream.

I got home and was thankful that I didn't force ill advised speed or time to happen. I was happy to not be in any intense pain or knee swelling. Although my right ankle did flare up the next few days due to the awkward stride I had.

My frustration isn't so much in the long break from running (I know many people that have had to be benched for much longer than me), but rather the repeated failed efforts to return to running. The time table for my return has always been fuzzy, so my hopes stay in limbo. If you follow sports, I feel like I am constantly on the "day to day" status for months now.

But all is not all wobbly like jello! I saw my sports doctor yesterday who told me I'm probably two to three weeks from running again. I need to use some NSAID pain relievers to control the swelling for a week, as that is what cause my pain and stiffness. My doctor and my therapist told me the reason my knee locks up and can't move without pain sometimes is that my MCL gets caught in the track for my knee cap, so getting off that hurts..Ouchies.

Okay, enough negative nancy. Let's move on.

Life isn't all gloom!
It is totally raining in our living room
And my daughter graduated to her big girl bed!

And some days, it is better to just hang around and do nothing:

I've stolen enough of your attention for one sitting! Thanks for stopping bye!
Enjoy your run :)