For all but the first week of the injury I've kept up my exercise routine. At the core have been physio, upper body conditioning and Pilates, gradually built up as my poorly leg could take it. Good for keeping some muscle tone and discipline, great for staying positive, feeling like an athlete and keeping in touch with the healing process.
This week I got back to the gym - hooray! I got a lovely welcome back from Kevin at Virgin Omni and it was great to be back despite the usual busy-ness of the gym this time of year. I know people complain about gyms, but the joy of being able to exercise again beats all. I'd have made do with a massive hamster wheel if it meant I could run. There's a machine for everything even for the crocked runner.
My first triathlon - 10 minutes on the bike; 10 minutes on the cross trainer and 10 lengths of the pool. No resistance, very slow, very gradual. Savouring the movement of my limbs and paying close attention to the messages from the muscles - testing, trying. There were as many complaints and grumbles from my non injured leg which rightly feels it deserves a rest after the last 6 weeks of keeping the show on the road.
As my non-running draws to an end, I'm coming to the end of my first reading of Chi Running. A phased running recovery will fit well with the transition to chi running - physically and mentally. I've tried Chi walking and it's helping a lot. Relaxing my lower leg helped me stop limping and start to balance the legs again.
Recovery has forced me to slow down and think about what I'm doing. It also makes me pay close attention to my body and what it's telling me. That damaged muscle lets me know how it's reacting and I am actively listening. A nip slows me down very effectively and that enables me to correct my posture too.
If you'd asked me before I would have said of course I'm listening to my body. I heard nips and niggles, but I wasn't focussed enough on how my body was reacting - not like I am now. My head knew I was running too fast, but I wasn't getting feedback from the bit of me that does the hard work. I want to keep the focus in future so that as I recover physically I don't just speed up and do it all again.
I plan to treat myself to some new ultra light Brooks. I am going to include barefoot beach walks and runs in my training and I will be running with Danny on the iPod. Cross training is back in, it worked well before and I will continue my core Pilates and yoga.
The external pressures on me to run are removed. Recovery will dictate my running until I'm back to normal. I will run that marathon when I'm ready, not when I can fit it in with everything else. I know I can do it, I just don't know when yet. You know things are bad when they're a learning experience, and this certainly has been an education, but it will soon be history.
Soon I will be off running again. I can't wait to get my legs and buns of steel back - my legs are so soft that the cats have taken to sitting on my lap again.
Friday, I'm back in the race. Today I'm hunkered in the blocks ready to go. No false starts. Cue the snow!