...hopeful for a chance at that Chicago 2023 start line.
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.
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.
Change and healing takes a lot of time.
Time takes a lot of patience.
Patience is hard work.
I have willed myself to be more patient, and it is not easy.
As of this week it will have been seven months since my knee injury. Sure, I've been running for a few weeks now and even logging some reasonably distances, at least from the perspective of a guy who couldn't run to the end of the block a couple months ago.
As my (non-runner) friend replied to me when I told him I'd been logging some short recovery runs, "yeah... but what's short for you?" A short run, for me, is less than than a long run.
Time, distance, and patience are all relative measures.
I've been thinking a lot about my own personal motivation around healing. I mean, to me it seems obvious. In my own head my knee is wrecked and I can't run on it like I used to. I hope to get there, and I'm making progress, but I -- say -- couldn't do a half marathon right now. So... the knee is still broken in my opinion. And so there is motivation to get back to there, back to healed, back to being able to do what I could before.
"You have a good doctor." Someone reminded me, when I said that he was helping me to get to the Chicago start line. The obvious solution to the "it hurts when I run" problem (and I've heard that people have been told this) is "well... don't run."
Um. Sure... ?
There's no value in easy solutions like that.
Value comes from hard work.
Hard work takes a lot of patience.
Patience takes time.
Time and patience lead to change and healing.
According to the date stamp on this blog, six months and one week ago I wrote a post about taking on a challenge to refresh and tackle my fitness level. I also started the recovering & rebuilding category on this site, bought a rec pass, and started writing more, all of this with the intention of turning the summer of 2022 into a personal fitness refit for myself, to get back into marathon shape, and shed some covid pounds to boot.
Do I need to mention the knee?
Well, shucks. That knee injury.
Six months later and I've been running for two weeks again after a long, slow, physiotherapy-driven recovery and healing process.
About eight months from now I need to be marathon ready for the Chicago 2023 Marathon.
That won't happen by wishing for it.
That won't happen without some serious motivation.
That won't happen without losing about fifteen pounds.
That won't happen without hitting some drop-dead distance targets.
That won't happen without strength training.
That won't happen without a plan.
That won't happen without work.
It sounds like the refresh effort, paused for six months due to injury, is back on.
That does involve a plan.
That does involve some serious motivation.
That does involve working, tracking, training, and improving every day, with very little room for error.
It sounds like I'm going to be putting some words back into this website again.
But. But, I've been running for nearly two weeks now.
According to my Strava log, and as of last night, I've logged a meagre total of 25k in the last two weeks.
But also, not bad, because that's about 20k more than I did in the total second half of 2022.
Not bad because I'm running at least three times per week right now, logging at least 3k per run and slowly (SLOWLY) building back up the endurance and strength I used to have.
Again, I don't want to get ahead of myself, but…
But I seem to be on the mend.
Enough to run a bit, and hopeful for a chance at that Chicago 2023 start line.
That does mean I may have something to write about in the coming weeks and months... something besides griping about my sore knee and my lack of motivation to do anything because of my sore knee.
I might get to do some writing about recovery, rebuilding, retraining, and re-racing.
I don't want to get ahead of myself, but… I might be back.