Hi there! First, I want to thank everyone who commented on my last post re: “Are marathons bad for your health?” So many insightful comments and valid points!
So, what have I been up to? Well, as promised, I did not run for 7 days – a whole week! I don’t remember when I last took that much time off from running. I filled my time with a lot of cross-training, including:
Tuesday: swimming, 680 yds.
Wednesday: stationary bike, 45 minutes
Friday: swimming, 800 yds.
Saturday: epic 3 hour cardio-thon at the gym (45 min bike + 20 min treadmill @ highest incline + 45 min elliptical + 20 min treadmill @ highest incline + 45 min elliptical #2)
Sunday: hot yoga, 75 min
Monday: 3 miles of hilly hiking at Lake Chabot
…plus a few sessions of strengthening, rolling, and stretching!
This is what I’ve learned from my one week of cross-training with no running:
- As much as I love running, it’s also fun to do different things. Yes, it’s scary at first (especially swimming), but new experiences are exciting and challenging.
- With every swim, I get a little bit better. Once I get over my water anxiety, I’ll be 100x better. Maybe then I’ll consider a triathlon.
- No matter what my sports chiro says, yoga (or at least, hot yoga) IS a strength workout. I was so freaking sore after Sunday’s class — and still am, 2 days later!
- 3 hour gym cardio-thons are considerably more palatable with Netflix. Thankfully, my new gym has free wifi.
- If you want a good laugh, watch me do a single leg squat. I’m such a weakling! No wonder I have hip issues.
- My gym might have wifi, but it doesn’t provide towels. Bringing a towel from home is advisable, but not when said towel is a not very absorbent dish towel.
- Take the time to roll every muscle with various speeds and with different tools. In the last 2 weeks, I’ve discovered new ways of torturing myself, such as slowly rolling my TFL and outer quad (as demonstrated in this video) and rolling my glutes and calves with a lacrosse ball. Earlier this week, I discovered a huge knot on my upper calf with the trigger point foam roller, but then I had to use the lacrosse ball to really work it out.
I had fun with my week of cross-training, but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t itching to go for a run by the end of it. My hips felt fine – great, even – all week, so I kept my fingers crossed that the aches and pains would stay at bay.
I decided to go for a short test run around my flat-as-a-pancake neighborhood this morning to see how my hips held up. The first 1.5 miles were okay, but not great. My muscles felt tight and I didn’t feel like I was in very good running shape, but it wasn’t the worst either. After 2-2.5 miles, I could feel the familiar aches and twinges coming on. My left glute was tightening up and the acute pain in my right hip started flaring up as well. As I jogged back home after 3.3 miles, I felt extremely despondent. This wasn’t exactly the triumphant comeback I had hoped for, not even close. Things I had been optimistic about doing, such as going on the long-awaited trail run on Saturday at Mt. Tamalpais with Cathryn & Co. and, of course, the Big Basin Marathon, now seemed very much doomed.
I’ve spent all day with a cloud over my head, lamenting over my stupid hips. (Talk about First World Running Problems!) The thing is, I can actually tolerate running on my left hip with the chronic, nagging ache. It’s the right hip pain that’s got me concerned, with its sudden onset 10 days ago and the acute pain with each step I take. If I had to make a self diagnosis, I’d say the left hip is a muscle issue, whereas the right is a joint or bone issue.
Maybe this sounds naive, but I thought I could at least start Big Basin and DNF (did not finish) if I had to. Now I’m thinking that, unless there’s a miraculous turn of events, I’m better off with a DNS (did not start) and just take the next 4 weeks off from running to let everything heal up. I’ve made an appointment with Dr. J tomorrow to see what he thinks and if he can work some magic on my hips. Fingers crossed!