This past week was a Jess-is-going-crazy-in-the-head
kind of week. Some (my husband, in particular) might argue that all weeks are aptly described that way. But we won’t dwell on that because it’s all relative and I like my kind of crazy most of the time (and so does he, I think!). This last week though was not the fun kind of crazy. It was the worried, creating awful scenarios in your mind when you have no control, on the edge of depressed kind of crazy. The kind of crazy that really makes you crazy, I guess.
You see, Boston training was going awesome and then last Sunday after my recovery run I went for a ride on the ElliptiGo for the first time. My good friend Jeff just started working for them and I was really excited to try it out. A piece of equipment designed to prolong the years of a runner, to help the injured runner stay in shape while running without impact outside on the trails. Sound like the perfect cross training for a marathoner, right? I mean, how cool is that!? I will tell you – very honestly – that I think it is INCREDIBLY cool and loads of fun. I will also tell you – very honestly – that I am a klutz of the uber-degree, and that if anyone is capable of achieving the irony of injuring herself on a piece of equipment that was partially created to help people who are rehabbing from injury, it would be yours truly.
Jeff gave us detailed instructions and showed us all the bells and whistles (it is really very simple!) and made sure we were comfortable before going for a ride on the trail. It was a new feeling for me and took a tiny bit of getting used to at first. We practiced in the parking lot for a little while and the first time I went to stop and get off of it I fell and crashed into the asphalt, banging my kneecap right into the pavement. I feel like it happened in slow-motion I was barely moving! It hurt, but not too bad and I really didn’t think much of it at all. I seemed to quickly get the hang of it after that and we went out onto the trail for a ride and had a blast.
A few hours later I was at home and noticed that my knee felt sore and stiff at the point of impact. There was no swelling or discoloration at all, but it just didn’t feel right. I began icing it and put some arnica on it and emailed Dr. Wong to ask for his advice. The next morning I decided not to run and went to see Dr. Wong. He thoroughly examined my knee and leg, did some Active Release Therapy and Graston (ow) and told me that it was a bruise to the knee cap and I should be ok to continue with my training. He advised me to ice it frequently and to warm it up a bit before running. I was relieved that it wasn’t more serious.
On Tuesday morning I went for a 13 mile run with my friend Meghan and it HURT. The whole way. It didn’t get worse as I ran but it didn’t loosen up either. On Wednesday I went to the gym to run on the treadmill – 12 painful miles, every single step. I was worried. I emailed Dr. Wong and he again assured me it was okay to run through the pain I was feeling, that it was normal to feel stiff and sore … which was a relief but also didn’t make the pain go away of course.
Thursday morning I woke up to run and got on the treadmill and the pain persisted. After 3.5 miles I stopped. I was done hurting.
I started to reassess everything in my head and made a decision that I would not be running for a few days.
I don’t run through this kind of pain. I never even have pain like this! Running is supposed to feel good and make me happy, instead it is hurting and I feel anxious, helpless and sad. I noticed I was getting a blister on my left foot too, which probably meant I was altering my stride because of the pain — which could lead to other problems of course. Something just was NOT right. I knew I was risking losing fitness for Boston by taking time off from running. But I also knew that I would rather risk losing fitness than risk hurting myself in a more serious way and not be able to run Boston at all. That was not something I was willing to risk.
That afternoon I got a second opinion just to be safe and was assured once again that my kneecap is bruised and that it is not more serious than that. Rest would work wonders. My body will heal itself if I give it a chance to do that.
I decided I would take recovery as seriously as I take all other aspects of my training – I have been icing diligently and resting my knee as much as humanly possible for a mom of three young kids.
Reminding myself to trust in the healing process, to follow my heart and listen to my body.
I have not been running.
Saturday morning was tough because I was coaching and couldn’t be out on the trail running with our runners and coaches. Sunday was tough because I was not running the half marathon I had signed up for, which I had planned to run at Boston goal pace as part of a 22 miler. That was a bummer of a choice, but it was without a doubt the right one.
|trail side in blue jeans
Yesterday morning I got up and went to the gym and found some pieces of equipment that I could get a workout on without hurting my knee at all. It felt so good to move and not hurt, and gave me confidence that I am doing the right thing and that everything is not only going to be okay but it is going to be awesome. It wasn’t running, but it really lifted my spirits.
Yesterday afternoon I couldn’t believe how much better my knee was feeling. I was tempted to run on it but decided not to. I went back to the gym again this morning and did the elliptical for an hour with my amazing friend Dora who is tapering for her 50 miler. We chatted and laughed and it was really a great way to spend a Monday morning.
|i get by with a little help from my friends
Later this morning I went to Abby’s running club before school. She and I were on the trail together and we walked/ran about 2 miles. I was curious and nervous about how my knee would feel. It felt absolutely fine. I came home and iced it after that and was all smiles, practically floating. Grateful. So glad that I didn’t continue to push through my pain last week. I am going back to the doctor twice this week and am planning to be very careful, to keep icing it and to really continue to listen to my body.
The big picture is always the most important thing to me and I do not want to be in pain in Boston, or really, ever. Not injury pain. I am okay with feeling the pain and discomfort of exhaustion or being out of breath or having muscle soreness from a hard workout or pushing my limits to fatigue … but injury pain that persists – noooo way.
Oftentimes doing the hard thing is the right thing. One day at a time, we make choices. My choice today is to do all I can to get to Boston feeling healthy and happy, even if that means not running when my heart wants to run so badly. I’ve got three weeks. My head’s up, and I’m so excited to celebrate in Boston.