Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Look Who's (Finally) Running Again!

Confession Time: I technically wasn't cleared to run when I first got onto the treadmill this past Saturday.....

However, I had a good reason for trying it out again. As I finished my 30 minute workout on the eliptical, I realized that I was scheduled to run a 5K the next weekend. Although my PT was tentatively on board with this, I didn't want to run for the very first time at a race. 

Therefore, I designed an experiment-of-one for myself. If I wasn't able to run a mile without pain, then the 5K would be completely out of the question. I set the treadmill to a much slower pace than I normally ran, then proceeded to nervously run on it. Before I knew it, I was done with my mile, and felt like I could have kept going, but instead, I exercised restraint and stopped. 

Two days later, I hit the two mile mark on the treadmill and felt just as good. Remember when I said that I was too young to fly by myself? Apparently, I look suspiciously young to be at a gym at seven in the morning. When I was doing my hamstring stretches, one of the trainers felt like he had to ask me how old I was, and when I asked him to guess, he said 15/16. A small part of me was offended, but I was more amused than anything else. 

When I went to my PT on Tuesday, I explained what happened, and why I decided to try running again. I expected him to be annoyed with me, but to my pleasant surprise, he wasn't, and even stated that my hamstring was still getting better. He even agreed to watch me run for a few minutes to see whether there's an underlying mechanical issue that could have caused the hamstring problem. 

I ran another two miles this morning, and if I am able to get through one more run pain free, I think I'll be as ready as I possibly can be for the 5K this weekend. Finally, here is a sneak peek at what spectators will see when I'm running this weekend. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Injury Update & Taking a Chance

It's been one month and one day since my last run - not that I'm keeping track or anything - but thankfully, things have been looking up. 

Although I miss running a lot, not training for a marathon has given me time to focus more on other things that matter to me, such as my music. I signed up for a chamber music program through work, and I recently sent in an audition tape to play in an orchestra through the same music initiative. The orchestra is probably a long shot considering that the flute is probably the most popular instrument out there, but never say never. 

Meanwhile, I've been going to physical therapy twice a week, and according to my PT, I am almost at the point of being able to do agility exercises. I'm not exactly sure what this entails but I do know that once I can do these, I can get into a run-walk program. While I hope to start running again in time to do a 5K I signed up for at the beginning of March, it wouldn't be the end of the world if I didn't. After all, I have a new goal to work towards. 

Two years ago, I did my first half marathon in Brooklyn. After two years in a row of doing this race, I did not think that I would want to do it again. However, once I found out that registration was approaching, I reconsidered my options. Wouldn't it be amazing if my first half marathon would also be my redemption race? 

I was a little worried about signing up since I hadn't started running again yet, but after consulting a few running friends that I trusted, I decided to go for it. I would have loved to wait until next month to decide, but considering the race sold out in seven hours, that wasn't exactly an option. 

If I'm running by mid-March, I will have about two months to get some training in. While I know that I will definitely not PR, just finishing a half marathon will be a huge turning point both physically and mentally for me. Perhaps maybe I will be able to get to the starting line of a marathon after all. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Adjusting Goals for February & Beyond

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who has been supportive of me over the last couple of weeks, whether it was through giving advice, or through being nice enough to listen to my whining ramblings. 

Clearly, January was not the month I had hoped for in terms of running. Had I been able to follow my marathon plan the entire month, I would have ran approximately 200 miles. Instead, I ran only 95 miles or so. 

Yesterday, on the two week anniversary of my last run, I decided to see an orthopedist before beginning physical therapy to make sure that I was being diagnosed correctly. The good news is that the hamstring is not torn. The bad news is that it's still strained, and that it still hurts almost all of the time. According to the doctor, the average person takes about 3-4 weeks to recover once PT starts. 

So what does this mean for the DC Marathon? 

Well, it's already been 2 weeks since I ran, and since I won't even start Physical Therapy until about 3 weeks in, and once recovery time is factored in, it could be 6-8 weeks total without running. The worst case scenario is that by the time I could start running, I would already have to start tapering for DC, and in the best case scenario, I would have maybe a week or two to put any quality work in. 

My ability to finish a marathon is not in question at this point. I'm sure if I went out there in March, and was able to run without pain, I'm sure that I would get it done. The real issues are whether I would be able to safely build up to the distance & whether I would be able to perform to the best of my ability. 

For me, unfortunately, the answer to both questions is no. I don't want to do too much too soon and risk injuring myself even further. I also want my first marathon effort to be something that I'll be proud of, and in order to do that, I need to get to the start line feeling confident in my training, something which won't happen if I only complete 3.5/12 weeks of my training cycle. 

My goal for February 2013 has changed - it is simply to recover from this injury. I now have a physical therapy prescription for 2 times per week for 8 weeks with the caveat that if things don't start getting better by the end of week 4, I should contact my orthopedist again for a follow up visit.  

While I am heartbroken & angry at this turn of events, I am now more determined than ever to do an amazing job at the marathon when I am finally able to make the start line in November 2013.