It’s funny: if you were to tell me– in the middle of marathon training– that I’d have to take two or more weeks completely off from running, I’d most likely proceed to the following series of actions:
- Think you were trying to be funny and laugh;
- Realize you weren’t kidding and quickly get quiet;
- Begin weighing the butterfly-effect consequences of no running in the heat of my training schedule and begin to panic cry;
- Eat and drink my feelings into obesity.
Yet my orthopedist did diagnose me to at least 14 full days without any running earlier this month, and I haven’t cried too much. Though I don’t think I’ve piled on too many pounds, I have been eating and drinking my feelings.
For the past two weeks, I’ve fought off the sometimes-unbearable urge to lace up my running shoes and go for a run. Just a quick, little, harmless run.
Instead, I’ve been biking to and from work to keep my cardio up and going to physical therapy.
The biking has been surprisingly enjoyable, though it doesn’t burn nearly the calories that a comparable run would.
As for the physical therapy, each session is a brutal reminder of how I am at a bio-mechanical disadvantage to run. Since I began running in 2011, I’ve either been oblivious to or ignored my flat feet, creating muscle weaknesses in my hips and calves and putting unnecessary stress on my ankles and knees. In my PT, the balancing and strengthening exercises target my weaknesses in an effort to help my body play catch-up to the high demand I’ve been placing on myself.
Even seemingly rudimentary assignments like balancing on one leg for 10 seconds are challenging, but I’m happy to look like an uncoordinated toddler if it means progress lies ahead.
In addition to the stretches and exercises at PT, my therapists also put my lower extremities through a gauntlet of sessions invoking the most extreme of sensations. I receive electric stimulation, heat wraps, and ice massages, all to encourage and expedite muscle repair. I file these components under the “I have no idea why we’re doing this, but it isn’t comfortable so it must be helpful” category of rehabilitation. Even if it doesn’t make a difference, it’s cool to see my big toes wiggle as they charge electricity through my feet.Finally, my physical therapist applies some KT tape down my legs to something something something. Even my doctor said he’s not sure how it works, but it looks legitimate, so how could it not help?
I ended today’s session hoping to get the green light for a run, but my PT said to hold off for one more day so my body can get acclimated with the therapy. I’ve already put my training on hold for two weeks, so what’s one more day, right?
Moving forward, the Best Case Scenario is to continue going to PT for another month and simultaneously slowly rebuild my mileage up to the Coastal Delaware Marathon on April 24. I’ve tossed out the aspirations of a new PR, so I’d consider it successful for me to be able to start and finish the marathon without requiring a wheelchair.
Behold, the joys of injury recovery!