Another Mile Marker

strengthpersistance

Today I passed another mile marker in running. Today I finished 6 weeks of physical therapy, 15 weeks after my first marathon.

What a journey these past 15 weeks have been. Frustration, doubt, hope, physical and mental pain. Today, I won.

I’m so glad I stuck with it and didn’t throw in the towel for an easier way out, even though there were times (namely, week 3 of PT) that I thought it just wasn’t working.

Honestly, just 2 weeks ago I had a melt down because the pain hadn’t gone away in 10 full days. That’s just after we discovered how my hip hates the treadmill and my PT poked around in my hip, which was uncomfortable, but did the trick. The week after that (last week) was the best running week I’ve had since before the marathon. I’m happy to report this week is much like last week.

I haven’t ran the race yet, we’re still 24 days away, but I’m not and haven’t been measuring my success by the race. My success is being measured everyday in the little victories I accomplish from running another mile farther, waking up without pain, and getting excited instead of getting anxious to run.

I am so excited and not to be boastful, but proud of how far I’ve come. Literally, 10 weeks ago I couldn’t even run a mile without having to stop because of the pain. I’m now up to 6 miles, pain-free.

So, 6 weeks of PT.

That’s 2 hours each week dedicated to strengthening exercises one-on-one with my therapist, lots of poking/pressing/pulling around in my hip by my PT, extra exercises at home for 20+ minutes/night 6 days per week, trying to decide if I should get an MRI (never did and glad I didn’t!), all while trying to increase my mileage so I have some kind of shot of finishing this half marathon. I’m confident I will now.

On to bigger and better things! Details to come…

P.S. If you need some inspiration today, here’s an oldie but goodie!

Physical Therapy Day1

How’s your week going?

As I mentioned on Tuesday, yesterday was my first physical therapy appointment. I’ve been excited since I made the appointment last week and I wasn’t disappointed.

I was evaluated and treated by Justin, my physical therapist. He seemed very knowledgeable and I feel confident in his treatment plan.

We first talked about my history with how I got the injury (or how I think I got it since I honestly have no idea). I went into a lot of detail about my training for the marathon, when and why I switched my shoes (from a supportive shoe to a neutral shoe), how I didn’t feel any major pain other than what I guessed was “normal marathon pain” after running for 4+ hours at a 9:30 mile pace during the marathon. We talked about what the pain has been like since the marathon, when it flares up, what kind of activity am I doing when it flares up, and how I’ve been coping.

Whew.

To start, he had me run on the treadmill for about 5 minutes while he recorded my feet up-close from behind, my entire body from behind, and my entire body from the side. This helped him see how/where I was landing on my feet, how my hips were landing, their positioning during my strides, and also a general sense of how my running efficiency was.

A+ on the running efficiency; could’ve told you that. 😉 Being an efficient runner means you’re not flailing your arms expending extra energy or bobbing up and down too high. This helps you conserve energy and oxygen for more efficient delivery of oxygen to your muscles and less wasted energy on your arms or too much up and down movement vs. propelling yourself forward. When you look at elite runners (I’m by no means claiming that I’m elite..), they don’t have that up and down bounce that some novice runners may have. Here’s what it looks like:

Efficient runner: Arms tight to the body, propelling forward, head in a pretty even straight line.

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Non-Efficient Runner (brought to you by Beth’s artistic talent and Microsoft Paint): Uses energy to move up instead of forward, creating a bounce-like run.

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If you’ve never seen this episode of Friends where Phoebe and Rachel run in Central Park, it’s the epitome of non-efficient running. Although I hope none of you actually run like that. Haha

Back to the PT appointment.

The PT noticed my left foot rolls inward a little bit during my landing; something my neutral shoe is not helping with in terms of support. Before I switched shoes I was wearing Brooks Adrenalines but those, he said, are a little too much support than what I need. He instead suggested a mid-line support shoe like Brooks Ravenna (my favorite brand’s version of this line of support). He even wrote me a cute little “prescription” for new shoes to take to my running store. Discount, perhaps?

He also noticed my right hip drops when I land on my left foot. He said this could definitely indicate a sign of hip weakness. With that, he gave me three different exercises to do at home in between my appointments to help strengthen my hips.

I asked him if my left hip was trying to overcompensate for my right hip weakness, even though both hips are weak, and he said it was a definite possibility. So, more exercising for me!

Wanna hear the best news? (Besides an excuse to get new running shoes..)

He said I could run! Since my 2 mile runs didn’t really bother me last week in terms of pain, he said I might as well continue to run. I told him about the NYC Half Marathon and he said it seems pretty do-able.

He wants me to start running just for time instead of distance for now. 10 minutes the first couple of runs, then we can increase it. As long as I don’t run back-to-back days, I can run as many times a week that I want. He also said that since I’d tried not running on it or doing anything for the month of December, it’s probably better that I run on it anyway since we know resting didn’t help it. He also confirmed that running will act as more of a strengthening exercise. Music to my ears!

I’m hoping I’ll get to the running store and try on a pair of new running shoes this week or early next week. It feels too soon to get new shoes since I just got the Brooks Ghost 4’s in October and barely put any miles on them, but if it’ll help me run pain-free, I’ll do anything. (Buyers Note: My PT said Brooks is an excellent running shoe; just be sure to get fitted at your local running store or by a PT to know what kind of support/non-support shoe is best for your running style.)

I go back to PT next Wednesday and every week after that until the end of February. Let’s see what we can do!

Have you ever had physical therapy? Did it help your injury/rehabilitation?