After 10 weeks of "no running" (my own orders), I finally "tested" out my legs. With my intense glute/hip/hamstring/core strength training program, I found myself without any pain just 5-6 weeks after straining my hip flexors. I suppose I blame myself for not working on my weakness's early in the year (or perhaps, the past 3 years) but I am not perfect and I do not try to be perfect. I believe in learning and becoming smarter as an athlete and this injury was a blessing in disguise. Without running, I was able to maintain my strength and cardio fitness by water jogging, doing the elliptical and riding 2-3 times (at most) a week (low intensity). I absolutely love swimming so luckily, I was able to keep my 2-3 day/week swim routine.
After a pre training breakfast, I drove to the Y and did an active warm-up for about 10 min in order to loosen my hips and body.
Here is a good video I found which provides a few good exercises to warm-up the body before a run.
This is also a great link
10 weeks is a long time not to run and for me, about 5 weeks ago I was beginning to doubt myself that I was ever going to run again. My Rt piriformis has been tight the past few weeks (3-year ongoing problem) even though my Left strained hip flexor has been healing. The thoughts of re-injury have been in my head so that is why I have been super cautious not to even attempt to "test" out my leg until my interning hours were complete. I just had too much stress and I just couldn't face a re-injury during my last few weeks of interning. Stretching is now part of my "training" routine and I stretch 2 times a day (primarily my hips and hamstrings), and whenever I have the opportunity.
My goal on Sat morning was to complete a run/walk workout without pain. If I felt the slightest bit of pain, I would stop. Of course, knowing what is "pain vs. soreness" was in my head and I was wondering if I was going to be able to differentiate between the two. With the advice of my massage therapist (Marjorie Dickinson) and my mom's pilates instructor (who has also been a saving grace in my recovery process), I decided to remove ALL thoughts of past injury and the thought of re-injury and I went into my run with ONLY positive thoughts. The sun was shining and I was feeling confident about the work that I have done to come back from injury stronger than I was before.
I started with 5 min of of walking. As the minutes ticked away, I approached 4:30 and I found that my HR was increasing. I was getting nervous...omg, here I go.....
Without any difficulty, my body knew exactly what to do and the rush of endorphins came over me as I ran for the first time in 10 weeks. A few minutes later, still no pain and it was time to walk again. 5 more min of walking, following by 5 more min of running. Getting my HR with each 5 min run interval showed me that my body was working a little hard with my weight-bearing activity. But that is ok, I welcomed the high HR with a big smile. I decided that 30-45 min would be enough for my first time back to running and because I have been keeping myself in good shape (if not better than before), I wasn't worried about the length of my run/walk.
As soon as I returned to the car I stretched my hips and texted all my close friends. You have NO idea how amazing it felt to run again, unless you have had an injury and can totally understand where I am coming from :)
I went to inside the Y to finish my "run" on the elliptical, strength training for my hips/glutes (I will provide links/exercises in an upcoming blog) and ended my day with a LONG-AWAITED OUTSIDE swim. I have waited ALL season for my Y to open the outdoor pool and you better believe that I was the first one in! Of course, watching the kiddos do a mini-triathlon before I entered the water gave me extra motivation to swim a bit longer than planned.
This morning I had a wonderful 68 mile ride outside and made a point to ride on A1A just to see the ocean. I am pretty confident to say that I AM BACK!! After 10 months of interning, followed by 2 1/2 years of sitting in classes/studying, it feels SO amazing to have a little freedom in my life. Although my life as a future RD is ongoing until I pass the exam, I am really thankful to my mind and body for allowing me to somewhat feel like a triathlete over the past 3 years and still be able to dedicate all my energy to my education.
And a BIG thank you to all my blog readers and friends who have supported me and have encourage me to keep going and not to give up. You have given me words of advice and I am inspired by your emails and stories. Thank you for reading!