Down but never out for long..

2 weeks since my last posting – and so much has happened!
Our friend Greg over at Philly to LA on Foot ran his first marathon in New Orleans last week and he came in at 4:53:57 which is fantastic! (And faster than my first marathon Greg!) Well done Greg! What an achievement! And do head on over to his blog to read his fabulous race report.

Then our great online friend and inspiration, Shirley Perley a.k.a the humble triathlete put together a YouTube video as part of her first attempt to get onto Team EvoTri. Sadly she has not got through to the final round – the biggest sadness here is for the team because what an asset this girl would be to any team! However, we can still see Shirley’s submission on YouTube and I highly recommend you go and have a look.

As for me – well I am down, out for the count, but not out. In the 2 weeks since I saw my physio and decided to pull out of London I’ve been trying to work out a way to deal with being sidelined from running. The biggie for me has been denial.. It has basically taken me some time to really accept that I will not be running for a while AND that if I do want to go back to it, I have to work hard at recovery. Once I’d actually put all that on my plate, I decided to go for my recovery with the same dedication I train for races.

When I went back to see my physio this week I discussed the various cross training options I had considered and tried out in the 2 weeks since I last saw him. Cycling? It’s out for the minute – the movement is too aggravating on my knees. Elliptical? Hrmmm – okay if it doesn’t hurt. I’m being gentle with it – 25 minutes at a low resistance. Running? Because yes my friends, last Sunday I thought I would just go out and try for 2 miles… 1 mile was fine, 2 was painful. And I duly got my wrists slapped by the physio – if I want to get better I have to lay off, for now.. Swimming? I have been out to the pool 3 times in the past week. The problem is that I am not good at front crawl, and breast stroke is (again) too aggravating on the knee.

What I have agree with him is that for the next 2 weeks I will take it very very easy. No running, no cycling. A little bit of elliptical training. And I am joining the Thursday night swimming class at my gym where I will be properly taught how to do front crawl..

This is really really hard guys. Running is my number 1 love, especially on the beautiful crisp mornings we’ve been having here recently. Other options like cycling and swimming do not yet attract me as much, but they do provide me with the physical release I have come to crave each day. Doing nothing is very very hard. However, my physio told me that every time I do something to aggravate my knee I set my recovery back another week. OK. My aim is to get to my next appointment with him with no pain or swelling. If I have to refrain from exercising for a short while, then so be it.

As I see it, there are 4 elements that I need to focus on in the next 4 weeks:
– strengthening my adductors. I am doing a variety of exercises for this and after some messing around (I am very uncoordinated) I am now doing them right..
– loosening my ITB. I am stretching it as much as is possible and am also getting massage to aid this;
– trying out some orthotics. One of the things my physio has noted is just how much I pronate when I move. This could be one of the reasons my knees are so painful. So he has given me some orthotics to try out. I’ve been wearing them in my shoes during the day and we will see if this improves things.
– working on my hip. Because yes – a few testing moves from the physio proved how weak the muscles around my hip are. Which is not helping my knees. So I am doing some fairly undignified moves to help this area…

Finally, my physio noted that my kneecap is tilted upwards. This may also be a reason for some pain and so he says that when I can start running again, he will tape across my knee to even up the balance..

And as far as beginning again – somewhere in the next 2 to 4 weeks I really hope that I can begin again – very very slowly. The physio wants to me to start on run-walk program – 4:30 mins walk, 30 sec. run. Again – that will teach me humility don’t you think?

But it will all be worth it if I can get back to running again without pain. I am not taking running for granted again – I hope.

I am still hoping to run Chicago and my physio has not discouraged me. If I do an 18 week training program I will need to start the week commencing June 9th. That gives me another 13 weeks to recover from this injury and I am hoping that will work. I can also accept that I may need to train on a beginner schedule rather than an intermediate one, as I will have lost fitness and endurance during this down time. I can (I think) accept it all. Right now, I have every reason to look forward to being on the starting line with Maddy, Melisa and whoever else is brave enough to join us!

Finally – life has been crazy. Work has been crazy. I think that had I not been working at this time, my injury would have become an obsession. Now, with everything else going on, I can only devote so much worry to my injury before moving onto the next concern. Which may well be a good thing. The bad thing is I’m behind on my blogreading and commenting, not to mention podcast listening. I will get to all of your recent posts in the course of the next week, I hope, and I thank everyone for their very kind words and often extremely useful advice.


13 thoughts on “Down but never out for long..

  1. Think of the rest before marathon training as a taper bookend on your training. You’ll dial down the mileage at the end as you get ready for Chicago, so why no do the same to start your training?

    This injury sucks and totally isn’t fair, but it’s happened and unfortunately it’s gonna be a reality for a little while.

    Think of this rehab/rest as training, too. You have to get yourself up to the marathon training level and that’s what you’ll be doing.

    You’re going to get through this, Petra. We’re here to support you!

  2. Petra, you are so kind to include me in your post — Thank you. I am happy to hear that you’ve accepted your injury and have made the commitment to heal. Indeed, healing from an injury can take as much effort as training for a marathon, if not more, since it will often involve doing things that you don’t enjoy as much. But, YOU CAN DO THIS. You are strong, you have the support of your friends & family, and you have so much to look forward to. Just take one day at a time. I must recommend your blog to my sister who is also struggling with swimming and just had shoulder surgery!

  3. I think your approach is spot on. I would adopt the mind-set that my form was a mess and caused all this so doing the proper rehab exercises to strengthen the hips, ITB, adductors, etc. will make me a fitter and more efficient runner.
    Key word – runner. By Chicago.
    See you there.

  4. Petra, when I was last told to lay off completely from running, I turned to swimming. But when I discovered, like you, that even that hurt, I started using a float to completely immobilize my legs as I swam. I was thus able to give myself a great upper body and cardio workout without the stress on my legs.

    Just a thought. Wish you the best for a quick recovery.

  5. Yes, what RevRunner is referring to is called a pull buoy and I meant to mention that too. Not only will it help you swim w/o using your legs, it will help you get into a more horizontal position which, once you get the hang of it (really not hard at all), will make swimming easier for you.

  6. Yoga is great for runners. Careful with your injury, but if appropriate, it builds up core strength (really good for running), helps your breathing (when I’m doing poorly in races, I think about my breathing technique from yoga), and keeps your large muscles limber. Running caused my hamstrings to become really tight and injury prone and yoga stretches (forward fold) helped me run while recovering from a hamstring strain and has, presumably, fended off a recurrence. I highly recommend it. Take care in your recovery!

  7. Petra, Have I told you lately that you are AWESOME? You will get through this and be stronger for it. I think Road Warrior has a great way to look at it. Rest is a part of the training. I have been looking at fighting off my chest congestion, much in the same way.

    You will be ready to rock out Chicago with Melisa, David, me and all the others who join our merriment!

  8. Hang in there Petra! It sounds like it may be a blessing in disguise – if work is particularly hectic. I know I could not be training as I’d like if work was busy. Fortunately this is one of those unusual quiet periods before the storm mid May. Sound like you’re getting good advice. Patience is a virtue?

  9. Think of this time as a time for reflection and rejuvenation. I’m in recovery road myself. It’s a pain to take it easy at first, but I also find the rest to be a good thing. I’m now slowly starting to get back in, after shoulder surgery (can’t run for a darn right now!) and I’ll be starting rehab exercises also. Good luck to u. We’ll be back before u know it!

  10. OMG — I can not believe that I missed this post!

    Oh Petra — we are on the same page right now (except yours is from a shorter book – ha!) I am going CRAZY not running. I will probably e-mail you about this.

    Not running is making me re-evaluate a lot of things in my life, so in a way it is a good thing…

  11. Petra, Petra, Petra, you poor thing! Injuries are no fun at all and as much as you love to run, this must be really hard on you. I’m so sorry lady.

    Still, there is a lot of time between now and Chicago. I’ll be pulling for you all the way, as will the others. Rest, recover, and I know you will come back strong.

  12. Hi Petra. I’m really sorry to hear you won’t be doing the London marathon. This is my first post on your web site and I am actually in a similar predicament. I am suffering from knee pain at the moment in my right knee and part of me is a little afraid to see a physio, mostly out of fear. I am supposed to be running the New York Marathon later this year and I dread receiving bad news. I spent the past 3 years recovering from a bipartite sesamoid fracture

    I also over pronate, so this could be causing problems.

    Anyway, just wanted to say hi and wish you luck in Chicago 🙂


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