July of 2022 and after nearly two and a half years of generally slouching, working from home, catching (and mostly recovering from) COVID, discovering a knee injury, and slugging out a lazyaf training plan (just barely) with the excuse that world had gone to shit, I decided I needed to turn it around. For reals.
This is what I am doing to get some...
1 month ago
One small side-advantage to being in recovery from a medium-sized injury is that I have been doing physiotherapy and (as a result) have a physiotherapist.
When you pick the right physiotherapist, a sports-focused doctor with a keen interest in running and cycling, the goal of your physiotherapy can be more than just recovery, but also, say, running a race.
So, needless to say, when I started this physiotherapy journey I noted that my goal wasn't just to run pain free, but was to run pain free AND train to run Chicago 2023.
He typed that into my file.
Now that my pain is down to a managed level, and most importantly I can run and train again, I've still been attending my follow up appointments and working out the last little fiddly bits of recovery that are going to take months or years of effort.
That recovery has blended into a bit of performance coaching.
It's still physio, but my physio is working towards that race goal as well as the pain free goal.
Strengthening joints and muscles goes along with doing speedwork.
Fueling and nutrition advice accompany the work needed to support not just whole body health while running, but focussing on muscle recovery and injury prevention.
The knee-fix package has suddenly become the race-training package, and I'm good with that.
2 months ago
This past weekend the temperatures were floating pleasantly (for a February long weekend, at least) right around the freezing mark. It was just sub-zero C when I ran on Sunday, a temperature that can be dealt with by adding a jacket, toque, and some light gloves.
By the time we got home from our drive the local temps had plummeted to -17C, and then overnight dropped to nearly -30C. This morning I'm looking out the frosty windows at the too-cold-to-be-alive temperatures and thinking I might be in for at least one more indoor run this week. Damn!
While I was busy healing up from my injured knee I spent a lot of time at the gym and did more than a few boring laps around the indoor track. It was winter. It was icy. It was part of a carefully planned routine of alternating stretches with stationary bike work with brisk walking on a level, controlled surface. Recovery and therapeutic exercise not only benefits from indoor spaces like a fully equipped local gym, but the workout itself needs concentration, focus, counting and mental work.
But a run is just a run. It's sometimes mindless and you need to zone out or watch the scenery or think about the changing road surface or look off in the distance and run to the next landmark.
Laps are laps, over and over and over and over and.... yes, over again.
I'm at that part of the recovery where it actually, amazingly, astoundingly, oh-I'm-glad-we're-finally-back-ingly doesn't hurt anymore. Not much. Not anything even worth writing about, to be honest. It's just running again, not (obviously) therapy anymore.
But laps. Laps suuuuuuuuuck. And it's too cold to to be outside where all I want to do is crank up the distance and turn off my brain and just rebuild and recover.
Minus twenty-seven degrees Celsius. That's not counting the windchill factor, a skin-freezing-in-minutes cold that is not just unpleasant and brutally uncomfortable, but dangerous.
Rebuilding takes time and thankfully I'm ahead of my plan. But I just want it to be spring now.
2 months ago
Almost to the day, it's been seven months since I injured my knee.
This morning I went to another physiotherapy appointment which was as much an assessment (as I near the tail end of my recovery) as it was a therapy session.
Is that worth a check in here?
I've been writing here off and on for those seven months as I wrestled with the frustration of a small injury causing a big disruption in my life.
I couldn't put any impact pressure on my knee for six of those seven months, at least not without a whole bunch of pain. Little injury. One tiny bit of damage to one small bit of tendon on one out of the way part of my leg.
But not being able to run has put me into a funk much bigger than should have been warranted by something so small. It is the little things that can sometimes cause big problems.
I couldn't run, so I couldn't participate and hang out with my friends for a couple hours per week. I couldn't run, so I was stuck inside or doing stationary exercises. I couldn't run, so my ability to push endorphins through my brain was reduced. I couldn't run, so I lost a stress valve in my life. I couldn't run, so I put on some weight. I couldn't run, so I felt pretty hopeless about what that meant for an active life into my late forties and beyond.
I've been running again for about four weeks.
The assessment from both my own anecdotal experience and that of my professional sports therapist is that things are getting back on track and to keep running.
My plan, my short-term milestones, my spring training, my summer distance goals, my work towards a marathon in the fall... all of that is now achievable and realistic.
I can run now, so I should run now. I need to enhance my knee strength. I need to rebuild my cardiovascular health. I need to notch up my endurance. I need to start thinking about phasing into a training plan and not just a recovery mindset, even while making sure that I don't re-injure or reactivate the recent injury on my knee.
In the last few weeks, despite those weeks being shitty and terrible with family tragedy and people passing and frustrating work struggles, my mood has been glowing. I almost feel bad that I feel so good, but I know that after seven months of not running, the biochemical reaction to running again is almost an overwhelming reversal of that funk I've been in since July.
So, while the kneehab is not ending, and it may continue for another year or more, it's hard not to pause today, after a positive physiotherapy session and check in on this blog and this plan and on myself just to say... take a deep breath, and keep... rebuilding?