Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Look Out.

On Monday, I accomplished a few things.

1) I got on the elliptical for the first time ever in my life. The good news about the elliptical was that it let me get in some amount of exertion similar to what I would get from running without causing me any pain. I elliptical-ed for half an hour at what a month ago was more or less marathon heart rate, which seems like a more meaningful measure of what was accomplished than talking about mileage, given the weirdness of resistance levels & the very act of elliptical-ing itself.

The bad news about the elliptical is that it almost forces you to stand completely upright, which goes against what my body wants to do when my legs are moving in a motion that resembles running more than it resembles anything else I do. I found it very, very difficult to keep my spine nice and neutral and flat, which is something I've been working on lately in all my activities.

2) I got on the bike & went for 30 minutes this time instead of 25. Again, the bike makes for a great hamstring workout, but I found that after a half hour of elliptical, I really just could not get my cadence above 85 for more than a few seconds without feeling like my hamstrings were about to cramp, so I was probably averaging closer to 82 rev/mt. I still got nice & sweaty, though, so I'll take it.

3) Post-gym, I went home & put on running shoes. Because you know what day it was.

For today's task, I went with my most minimal racing flats (Mizuno Wave Universe), because they give me the best sense for the ground under my foot and I knew I needed to pay very very careful attention to how I was hitting the ground.

(Also, they are hella fierce-looking.)


(I say "hella" because I am wearing my Oakland Marathon shirt.)

Like I said before, my goal was not to do a "workout" or try to actually get any cardio in (which is part of the reason why I did my cardio work at the gym beforehand). My only goal was to see in what manner I could get around the track, hopefully once, twice if things were going well, & see how that felt for my hip.

It's been a long time since I've seen Kezar Track at all near-empty after 6pm, which I guess is what happens once school track season & all the big local marathons are done for a while. Yes, it felt a little silly to drive 10 minutes there & back to run all of half a mile, but it was worth it to me to have a soft, flat, predictable surface & not have to worry about dodging pedestrians / strollers / dogs / bikes / etc. My hip is much improved but it's definitely still a bit on the fragile side and HELL if I am about to take any unnecessary risks.

You can tell you're in San Francisco in July because it is 50 degrees & raining sideways:

I'm still excited!!

(Pro tip: When you can't run that much, in addition to posting regularly, you also have more time to take questionable selfies & put them on the internet.)

It turns out that when you ignore your Garmin & let it collect cobwebs for a month, it's not so keen to help you out. Since I did not expect to be going so fast that holding my phone would be problematic (LOL), I went with ye olde Garmin backup, MapMyRun for Android.

Ultimately, I completed .6 miles (two laps in the outside lane), with two brief stops to stretch my hip flexors out a little.

And it wasn't too bad! I had a bit of a twinge at first, which was just enough to remind me that I am NOT better and my hip is NOT healed and there is definitely a long way to go yet. The twinge also serves as really good feedback about my form and spinal / pelvic alignment -- better alignment & activated glutes => less hip flexor engagement => less pain.

Winning is all about context. :)

Could I have gone farther with basically no pain? Absolutely, but again, the point of this exercise was not to run as far as possible without re-disabling myself. It was just to get some feedback around what my hip was feeling five weeks post-catastrophe & see how close to "real" running I could get. (Answer: Ehhhhhhhhhhh sort of. I'm definitely not bending my right knee as much as my left in order to protect the hip flexors, which gives me this uneven "posting" sort of feeling. But still -- covering ground! With a moment of suspension!)

I don't want to start scheduling running, even little bits, just yet. Right now I think I just want to play it by ear & go with what's comfortable, doing just enough to let me gauge improvement.

So yeah. Slowest .6 miles of my life? Undoubtedly.

Best feeling I've had in weeks?



  1. Hooray! I am happy that you accomplished so much, but even happier that you were able to run! I sense a comeback....


    Also, *some* people regularly run 10:16 or slower... it is a perfectly acceptable pace! ;)

  3. GAAAAAAAH I was totally not trying to come off all boo-hoo-me-sooo-slow. I'm just dumbly competitive with myself. 10:16 was a lovely pace & I enjoyed it thoroughly. :)

    1. I know, I was just giving you a hard time. ;)

  4. Hey, it's progress! You're right not to push it. Have fun on the elliptical. I actually don't hate the thing as cross-training, but it hurt me worse than running during this last injury. So not worth it!

    1. Ah, boo! I'm afraid to ask how.

      It wasn't too bad; mainly I have the same issue with it that I have with treadmills, which is the monotony. :P

  5. Yay!! The internet is full of good news today. Really pleased for you!!

    I was wondering - has the weeks of pain been worth the marathon PR? Do you still think of your time and grin and feel proud, or just wry about the amount of grief it caused you?? Just curious. And nosey.

    1. This is a good & complicated question & the truth is I'm not really sure. I definitely, definitely did not think it would be this bad, given that I got 21 miles or so in still feeling great. It's REALLY hard to walk off the course of a destination marathon when you're that close to the finish! OTOH, totally possible that if I had skipped it, I could've found another marathon to run in a month or two & had a better time. Maybe. But who knows.

  6. lol on hella

    and I can't believe that you have never been on the eliptical before! Yea, it seems like the closest thing to running without actually running.