Sunday, February 21, 2016

At a crossroads

Well, this just sucks. Now something else hurts. I think I have to admit it. I really need help. Somehow, I have dug myself so deep into a hole of body imbalances that it is proving hard now to find my way out without a guide. This does not come as a total surprise to me. After all, I had started to call in the reinforcements last week when I set up appointments for a massage and running gait analysis, but I didn't think the situation would become so dire. Now my quad muscle is unhappy with me. Add that to the left knee and we almost have enough for a party.

So, how did all this happen? Let me think. Oh yeah, running became erratic over the winter with the new job and ... well, heck, it's winter! I thought this was the time for doing what I wanted to with running! Just have fun with it, they said. Clearly, that doesn't work for me. Apparently, I need a plan even for fun running. (How lame am I?) Without a plan, though, I see that things become too disorganized. Looking back at my training log, I see a lot of weeks of hardly any mid-week miles and yet random 15-20 milers thrown in on the weekends. I don't fancy myself a weekend warrior, but I seem to have "just-have-fun"ed my way into that designation.

So, that's what I did do. What I didn't do was yoga, stretching, and aerobic cross-training. Not much anyway. I only just started adding some biking and rowing back into my regimen. Skiing, which played such a vital roll in past winters, has been almost non-existent; I've only gone once and that was just this past week!

I did add a new sport to my repertoire - rock climbing! I tried that once on a whim and it was love at first climb. However, I do have to admit, it has added a whole new class of misery to my tendency-to-get-overly-tight prone body. Now my upper body is just as sore as my lower body. Yay.

That's looking back over the past few months. Just in the past few weeks, I probably got back into running way too quickly after five days off. Ramping up to a 30+-mile week from almost nothing wasn't the best course of action. At the time, though, it seemed fine.

So, what have I done wrong this week? Well, I am not sure. The only things I can think of are that, first of all, I am NOT working anymore. While I really celebrate the fact that I am no longer chained to a desk and phone for 25 hours out of every week, and I really enjoy all the movement that now affords me, I probably should have recognized that that IS extra movement, which my body is not used to. (I am a fragile flower, after all.)

Also this week I went back to my first yoga class in months. Although it did greet me like an old friend, it did so like an old friend bent on giving me a hard time for the lapse in contact. That is to say, I felt it the next day. Skiing on Monday for the first time all winter probably didn't help either.

Finally, I have tried to get back into some old PT exercises that have helped me in the past with knee issues - namely squats and clams to build up the glutes and hips. I have also foam rolled the heck out of my body. All this was in the name of helping myself get stronger and better, but does it really help if those are not the exercises I need to be doing right now? Maybe they were targeting the wrong muscle groups. What do I know? At least, that is the conclusion I have now reached.

I'm stumped! Which way to go?

So, that brings us all to yesterday. For my second 3-mile run of the week, I had a choice. I could have played it safe and used the treadmill or run some road miles, but instead I opted to hit the trails. I really agonized over this decision for a couple of hours while I cleaned house. The trails finally won out, because 1) it was sunny out, 2) I hadn't done them in a while and I thought the change would be good for me, and 3) it's just really what my heart wanted to do. And, while I don't regret the decision, I do recognize that the choice to do PT exercises after the slippery, sloppy trails was probably what put the quad over the edge, especially after dancing my way through house cleaning. Yes, that's right. I'll own it. It makes the time pass more quickly.

Iced over Lake Winnebago. On a 45-degree day, it makes me nervous looking out at the ice-fishing shanties. Others have so much more faith than I do!
Frozen creek! The kids wanted so badly to snowshoe up this when frozen, but all winter long the water was running...but not today!

Handy screws in the shoes make me a bit more confident in snow.
Weekly Workout Wrap-Up

Sunday - 10 mile run/walk on the treadmill
Monday - 40 minutes cross-country skiing
Tuesday - 18 minutes biking and 12 minutes of rowing
Wednesday - 3-mile group run
Thursday - 15 minutes biking and 15 minutes rowing and one-hour yoga class
Friday - 3-mile trail run

Happy running!

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