Monday, September 27, 2010

Time to be a loser.

It's going to take some time to shake the paranoia of broken bones on the run.

I had a slight breakthrough this weekend, however: one of the last workouts I did before Dr. T prescribed crutches was a skipping, galloping, trotting workout on the treadmill. It was lower impact than running and worked my cardio something fierce. But I remember how much I'd have to lift and support myself on one side because my leg would feel unstable (and painful!) with certain motions.

In retrospect, I know I had a neon sign hanging over my head, pointing to my leg and blinking "broken leg here." Ahh, yes, but denial shines such a blinding light.

Well, I tried the same workout on Saturday (with much caution). It took me a few minutes to gather the courage to make the first light, very low-impact hop, but I did. And it felt nothing like it did four months ago. Four months ago, my leg felt like it was wobbling beneath me, ready to keel over in all the wrong ways they won't show on television.

On Saturday, it just felt like a leg — the way legs were meant to feel.

That short treadmill session really helped me draw a line between "broken" feelings and "recovering" feelings.

It helped too when I was running on Sunday. I started to feel what I thought was a twinge in my right shin. "Aww, crap!" I thought. "I fractured my bleepin' leg again!" But when I slowed down and focused my attention on my lower legs, I could tell the very, very subtle feeling was occurring on both sides.

Could she have hurt both legs already, you wonder. No. I was wearing cropped tights and the elastic bottoms were squeezing ever so slightly over my shins. Not in a painful way. Just a gentle, butterfly-flaps-its-wings push or stretch against my skin. And I thought my legs were broken. Ugh.

One way I'm trying to combat future injury, however, is losing some of this post-crutch tub. I've been following the "Tracy Anderson Method" strengthening exercises for a few weeks. While that chick has all kinds of weird rumors swirling and some bad press, I have been supremely impressed by what this lady can do for your arms and butt in a relatively short time (if only I'd stuck with it this whole time, I'd be a killer babe right now!).

So, I've decided to be a little more dedicated and follow her 30-day plan to kick-start my lard-busting.

It's nothing gimmicky; it's just a plan of nutrition, strength and cardio to follow. And I know myself: I need a solidly outlined plan to follow. I also need to tell someone I'm following something so that I actually do it. Thanks for being that someone!

My objective: I'd like to get back to my healthy, preferred, pre-30th-birthday-pig weight of 120 pounds (yes, I never lost my 30th birthday pig-out week weight and then I hit the crutches... what a year to have my metabolism grind to a halt!).

I'm 133 today and will report each Monday how I've done with my goal of dropping one pound each week. Which means I should be down to my goal weight just in time for the holidays!

My complementary goal will be to learn how to eat like a human being and not like a famished boar. Here goes something!

Friday, September 24, 2010

OK. Go ahead. Call it a comeback.

Last Wednesday, I visited Dr. T for my it's-been-four-week-since-I've-been-off-crutches-what-now appointment. My leg, to him, felt remarkably well (I think he's just been surprised all along that I've listened to every word he's said and done everything I've been told) and, he regretted to tell me, I could start running again.

He regretted to tell me so much when he first said it, I thought he was telling me I couldn't run. Ever. He's probably just sick of seeing me and was sorry to give me a reason to be back too soon!

As in recovery, however, I will be in shape-up. So, here we go!

I was given very strict directions: every other day I could run 2:00, walk 2:00 in a gradual build-up to 32:00. Once I hit 32:00, I could start lengthening my run time, slimming my walk time. Here's how that's gone:

Day #1: 16:00 total, 4 x 2:00 at 9:35-11:10 pace with 2:00 walking recoveries. Can I tell you how incredible it felt to run for the first time in four months? I would have felt like I was flying if every step weren't hampering by the fear my leg would snap in half! Distance: 1.32 miles

Day #2: 20:00 total, 5 x 2:00 at 9:15-11:38 pace with 2:00 walks. Still loaded with paranoia, but let go, responsibly, just a touch. Distance: 1.60 miles

Day #3: 25:00 total, 6 x 2:00 at 8:46-10:51 pace with 2:00 walks (and a 3:00 walk to end). I haven't checked my pace even once while running. I'm just running by feeling and not pushing one bit. If anything even starts to hurt, alarms trigger so loudly I stop right away. But breaking 9:00 for the first time didn't ache a bit! Distance: 2.04 miles

Day #4: 30:20 total, 7 x 2:20 at 9:19-9:47 pace with 2:00 walk recoveries. OK: I didn't make it to 32:00 before ramping up. But the extra :20 was enough to make me run more focused and even, hence the more consistent paces. Distance: 2.55 miles

Day #5: 33:00 total, 8 x 2:30 at 8:01-9:00 pace with 1:40 walk recoveries. Not a bad experiment. Again, not checking pace while running. But after a couple weeks' worth of Tracy Anderson strengthening, I was feeling, well, strong. While I didn't push the intensity, I did slug either. Did I slap my hand for running 8:00 pace? Sure. Did it feel great? Absolutely. But I'm trying not to do it again soon. Distance: 3.06 miles

Day #6: 37:20 total, 8 x 2:40 at 8:10-9:38 pace with 2:00 walk breaks. I returned to the 2:00 walks because too short recoveries, it seemed, didn't really work as recoveries, per se. Just momentary slow-downs for me to run faster the next rep. And I'm not there yet. It's funny, though, how 2:00 now seems to last an eternity, but when I was doing 400M sprints, it was a blink. Distance: 3.31 miles

And that was this morning. Today was the first time since May I was able to drag my mopey butt out of bed pre-work and run as the sun was rising. I'm feeling a little sad about missing the whole summer, about not running Akron tomorrow, about spending most of year #30 momentarily disabled.

On the plus side, I can do one thing: sing Radiohead's classic "You do it to yourself" and know that in the future I can stop myself from feeling this way. By not breaking my own bones training in stupid ways.

And it will be an ongoing challenge: I'm planning on racing the Pigskin Classic 5K as my first race (it's Ohio State-UM weekend some time in November), followed by the GP family cup at the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving.

The true comeback, however, will be realized in May: the Cleveland Half. Not only is it one of my favorite races, Neil has agreed to train for and run it with me. Granted, the way he's been running, he'll hand me my butt at the finish line. But I'm looking forward to responsibly training for that not to happen.

Challenge: accepted.