Sunday, November 4, 2012

More About Life, None About Running

For a few decades, running dominated my life. That's why I started this blog, didn't I? In the recent past, since running has become a much lesser part of my so called life, other realities happened (like my trip to Zamboanga and being assaulted by a patient).
                So why haven't I written anything about running? After all this blog is about life and running, right? Well that's because I haven't done any running lately. I did try doing so last Monday with disastrous results. Yep, you're right, another injury. My legs seem to have readjusted themselves in a way that they are no longer built to propel me forward faster than walking. About last Monday - having not run consistently for awhile (about 3 times in 6 weeks), I started very conservatively, running for 1 minute and walking for 1 minute. After about 10 minutes of that, I ran for 2 minutes and walked 1 minute. When I reached 30 minutes, I ran for 3 minutes and walked 1 minute. It was on the subsequent attempt at 3 minutes when I felt a twinge of pain in left upper thigh near the hip area. It felt like the same muscle strain I had last spring at the 3 mile mark of a 12 mile run. If I were to guess, it seems like it’s the upper part of the vastus lateralis. The difference between now and then? I stopped running immediately and walked the rest of the way back home. Last spring, I kept on going until the pain got worst. I was hoping that this time, by nipping it in the bud, so to speak, I could keep the injury at a minimum and hoping the recovery would be quicker, instead of several weeks it usually takes. Good idea, right? Over the next few days, I could feel a discomfort on the thigh so my workouts were limited to the stationary bikes (recumbent and spinning).
 Then last Saturday morning, I again joined the Long Beach Area walking club at Signal Hill (wow, three Saturdays in a row for me!). The first hint of trouble came when I ran across the street for a couple of seconds to avoid a car. The hip discomfort was still present so I knew I wouldn’t be doing any running that day. The pace of the walk was pretty brisk and I was making good time covering the distance. It was with about a quarter mile left when we were negotiating a slight downhill on a dirt and gravel trail when disaster struck again. The loose gravel made me slip and while trying to keep my balance, I felt a spasm on the already injured hip muscle. I had strained it further and the pain was so excruciating that I could barely walk back to my car. I knew then that it would take weeks to rehab the injury.
 So, that’s what I’ve been trying to do in the past week – trying to strengthen the thigh muscle when the pain diminished. My indoor cycling workouts had to be limited to the easiest gear so as not to further strain the injured area. I couldn’t even walk on the treadmill, and I had to take the utmost care going up and down stairs because of the pain. Only in the last couple of days have I started doing slow body weight squats and a few wall sits. I guess I’ll be letting you know when everything starts to feel normal again. In the meantime, it looks like more indoor cycling for me.

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