Archive for the ‘ Cross Training (XT) ’ Category

The Power of Positive Thinking

Positive-ThinkingToday will be my first day “back in the saddle.” Or, rather, back on the Pre-Cor. Although I’m itching to run, I’m restraining myself for the sake of healing. Tonight I’m going to lace up my sneaks, drive to the gym through the buckets of rain that have descended on Central Jersey, and do cardio for the first time in over a month. Yikes! I’ll start with some strength training to warm my muscles up, followed by some light stretching, then on to the Pre-Cor.

I’ve been good about applying heat to my injury a couple times a day for 15-20 minutes each time. My plan is to do cardio for only 10-15 minutes at a snail’s pace. I’ll stretch again after my cardio, paying special attention to my hip/groin, then ice when I get home. The hardest part will be not pushing myself. It’s really hard for me not to feel like a failure if I’m not sweaty and (happily) spent after any cardio. I need to keep in mind that my goal is to run consistently again and whenever I want to. This won’t happen if I push myself too early and set myself back thus prolonging my recovery time even more than I have already.

I did notice that before I was ordered to rest for a few weeks by my doctor, any strength training I did, especially for my legs, seemed to help ease the strain on my injury. I’ll focus again on building up a strong core, glutes, and legs in hopes that my propensity for injury will lessen.

This all said, I believe that a key factor in my recovery is my mental state. For months now I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to recovery and get back to running. Frustrated at the lack of results, I’ve noticed that I get down on myself for not being successful. Rather than focus on what I can do, I’ve focused on what I can’t. Instead of celebrating small victories, I get disappointed at what I see as failures. I know that positive thinking is a HUGE part of healing and succeeding. I need to work on looking at what is good and using more positive, affirming thoughts. If I don’t believe I can get better, then I won’t. Runner’s World recently had a great article on how to change the way you think in order to become a stronger runner. As any runner knows, it’s one thing to be in shape physically and a whole other thing to be in shape mentally.

My goal is to not only run again, but facilitate my recovery through positive thinking. Happy running! 🙂

Getting Results

splitinroadMonday I had my follow up with my ortho doc to discuss the results of my MRI. The MRI itself was uneventful. Not as scary as I thought it was going to be which was a relief. It took about 25 minutes. My head wasn’t completely inside the tube since the scan was of my pelvic area, so I didn’t feel claustrophobic at all.

The doctor spent a half hour basically telling me that the MRI results were inconclusive. The good news is there were no apparent tears or other damage. The bad news is the doctor wasn’t really able to point me in the right direction. His advice? Rest. Apply heat. See him in 6 weeks.

Awesome.

After my visit with him, I headed straight over to my chiropractor to get a much needed adjustment. I love my chiropractor as well as getting regular adjustments. For those of you who don’t see one, I highly recommend it. You don’t realize how out of whack your body gets until someone puts you back in place. I always feel amazing whenever I leave.

When I saw her I mentioned my persistent discomfort and what the ortho doc had told me. After manipulating my leg through a few different stretches, she said she didn’t think rest would help because I’ve been resting and haven’t seen a marked improvement. She recommended that I see a physical therapist who also is an ortho guy who specializes in sports medicine. Her daughter saw this guy and it really helped. Her conclusion? Scar tissue build up. See a PT. Work it out don’t rest it.

Today I saw the PT. He was a really nice guy who talked to me for a while about the pain, then put me through a series of intensive stretches. Like many runners, I’m very inflexible, so it hurt! His theory is that my pelvis is out of line which in turn pulls my muscles out of line, puts strains on my ligaments and causes pain as I do cardio or other specific strengthening exercises. He worked for a while on pulling, pushing and moving my leg to try and get any parts that may have shifted back into place. He left me with this advice: Do hip flexor exercises, start back with light cardio and strength training, and come back to see him in a week.

Three “experts,” three different ideas of where I should go from here. So where do I go? What can I do to be smart and get back to running again? Here’s what I’m going to do: Light cardio, strength training, stretching, ice and heat. My main problem is that I get so excited to workout that I do too much too fast and end up worse than when I began. So this time I’m going to work at being smart, starting slow and stopping before the pain starts rather than when it starts.

Wish me luck! 😀

Jumping Right In Part II

Once I’d reached the pool, I walked over, towel and goggles in hand, probably looking every bit as lost as I felt, to tell the lifeguard, a college-age looking guy, that it was my first time swimming laps and could he tell me how it worked and if there was any helpful info I should know. He was very helpful and it worked out well because a father and son were swimming next to each other and offered to join up in a lane together so I could have a lane to myself. They probably just didn’t want me to kick them in the head, but it worked for me!

I successfully swam from one end to the other, but as I looked around I noticed that the experienced swimmers were using a totally different form from the one I used (ie. no form at all). Wanting to at least try to swim a lap the “correct way” I plowed back toward the other end. Head down, arms flailing, turning every so often to breathe while trying not to suck in water. I managed to reach the end, more exhausted from my feeble attempts, and stood to rest a minute. I blinked. Hmmm…something seemed off. I blinked again. Everything looked kind of fuzzy. It took me a minute to realize that one of my contacts had floated out of my eye during my lap!

The lifeguard saw me standing there, probably looking like a confused drowned rat, and walked over. He asked nicely if I wanted a pair of goggles to wear. I blinked up at him and held up my pair of goggles. “I couldn’t get these to fit,” I said. He took them and adjusted them perfectly. He also gave me a tiny yellow kickboard and explained an easier way to swim laps correctly. I thanked him and began to swim again.

My efforts went, well, swimmingly, after that. I managed to complete 26 laps, which I was very proud of. I’m alreay looking forward to my next swimming endeavor! 🙂

Jumping Right In Part I

It’s amazing how time just slips away and before you know it three weeks have passed since my last blog post. Yikes!

In my last post I mentioned trying to pick up swimming to help facilitate the healing of my hip flexor injury. So this past Sunday I decided I would head over to my gym and try swimming some laps. The problem is I’ve never actually swam (swimmed? swumded?) laps before. I knew I could get from one end to the other without drowning – hopefully – but I knew it wouldn’t be pretty.

After throwing on my bathing suit, one I felt fairly confident wouldn’t slide, droop, or otherwise cause me embarassment while I was swimming, I packed a gym bag complete with goggles, towel and a change of clothes. I arrived at the gym eager, and slightly nervous, about swimming. How would I find the pool? How many laps would I be able to swim without inhaling water? Would I have to share a lane with some stellar swimmer who would, quite literally, blow me out of the water?

I told the woman at the front desk that I was looking to swim some laps, but hadn’t done this before and wasn’t sure what the protocol was. She pointed me in the direction of the locker rooms and said I could ask the lifeguard on duty how the “lane etiquette” worked. Who knew there was lane etiquette??

After finding the locker room and putting my stuff away. I somehow managed to find the entrance to the pool, a feat that seems like it should have been simple yet realized it wasn’t after winding my way through the locker room several minutes and having to double back more than once. Finally I reached the pool.

To be continued…

Just Keep Swimming

train-for-swim  I recently talked with someone at my local running store about my hip flexor injury, lamenting the fact that I haven’t been able to run without exacerbating it. She gave me the contact info of a local sports physical therapist that she said was excellent and went on to say that she tore her hip flexor so she knows what I’m going through. It was great to talk with someone who actually went through what I’m going through now. She recommended swimming, saying that it not only kept her from going crazy while she couldn’t run, but that it kept her in good cardio shape and brought her back to running in three months.

While three months seems like a long time, my goal is to be a life-long runner so I want to recovery the right way and if that means taking more time to strengthen my muscles and prevent future injuries then so be it. The woman went on to say that her therapist recommended one-leg bridges (a favorite pilates move of mine actually). She said to do three sets with ten leg-lifts on each side every day. A pain in the butt (ha!), but strengthening the glutes, strengthens the hips, both of which are common weak areas for women so it’s good to focus on those muscles anyway.

I’ve been in the gym a lot, doing pilates and lifting weights, working on my core and legs especially. My body has definitely grown tighter and stronger, although I haven’t seen much, if any, improvement in my hip flexor. So my new goal is to contact a sports therapist and jump in the pool as much as I can. I’m not going to give up. I will run again. Like Dory says – Just keep swimming! 🙂

Happy running!

Pilates Power

PilatesEvery time I read up on great exercises I can do to improve my running and come back from my injury I come across moves that I typically do in my pilates class. The only problem is I hadn’t gone to pilates in weeks. Knowing that every week that passed that I skipped my pilates class was a missed opportunity to improve on these areas, yesterday I decided I had to go to class that evening. I threw on my workout clothes, laced up my sneakers, grabbed my mat, and headed out.

I’d forgotten how refreshing going to class was. I felt rejuvenated head-to-toe. And sore! But a good sore, letting me know the exercises were working all the right muscles. It also reminded me how much I appreciate all the camaraderie and support I find there. My instructor is wonderful. Super sweet and encouraging with such a positive energy it’s impossible not to smile even when she’s pushing us through difficult movements. My fellow pilates goers were also quick to give me words of encouragement. I’m already excited to go back. I’ll be back to running before I know it! 🙂

 

Spring Weather = Outdoor Fitness Fun

springbikingMy mood always improves as the weather grows warmer, the days grow longer, and the sun shines more. This means I can take full advantage of all the other outdoor activities I love. So while I continue with my strength training routines at the gym, I’m eager to bask in the sunshine. Biking, disc golfing, walks, maybe even a little pitch & putt.

Recently, my wife and I found an amazing place a short drive from our house called Duke Farms. At 2,740 it’s one of the largest areas of privately-owned undeveloped land in the state. With 18 miles of trails, paved and unpaved, it’s ideal for walks with children, biking, running, or hiking. There’s even a family of eagles you can watch or view over the farm’s Eagle Cam! Cool! You can hop on a little tram that goes around the trails if you get tired of trekking. While it’s open year-round, we visited for the first time a couple weeks ago – it was absolutely beautiful! Our family is already looking forward to our return visit. 🙂