After Chicago, time off did not help me feel better. I slowly started back up, started running a few miles a few times a week, and it still didn't feel right. So, I finally went to an ortho. Stress fracture in my left tibia, likely dating to the Wrightsville Beach Half in March 2016. In a boot for a month, then physical therapy. MRI on my right hip showed no issues, so intensive work strengthening the stabilizing muscles was recommended.
Fast forward a little more than two months. I'm seeing the physical therapist every two to three weeks, where my progress is tested. My core is weak, my left ankle is weak, and I continue to have significant deficits in my stability on both sides. In between PT appointments, I see the athletic trainers once or twice a week to do my exercises plus specific extra work. And... I get to use the AlterG, which is just about the coolest thing ever!
My current routine is biking to/from work (3.5 miles a day), yoga once or twice a week, my half hour of PT exercises every day (for the most part), and one or two sessions a week with the trainer. I'm up to 20 minutes of 2 minutes at 5.5mph and 1 minute at 3.3mph, at 60% bodyweight. So, a mile and a half of running twice a week.
Part of me is incredibly frustrated that I am basically not working out. I have been watching what I eat and drink, and I've lost maybe a pound or two since the beginning of the year. I'm still at least ten pounds more than I should be, and I'm no closer to the running performance I know I have in me than I was four years ago when these persistent injuries started.
I know now that I am where I am because I keep coming back to training without putting in the work to get all the way better, without fully addressing what made me stop training to begin with. I've spent the past four years bouncing back and forth between injury and training while not fully healed. I know that to get to where I want to be, to be in the shape I want and running the way I know I can, I need to spend the time strengthening, healing, and paying attention to what my body is telling me. However long it takes, I know I need to be committed to being well before I can commit to a return to running.
So, here I am. Almost 33, out of shape, but much healthier mentally than I have been in a while. I know what I need to do. I am eating right, keeping hydrated (thanks to the good folks at Nuun), and doing the work I need to do.
So let's go. I'm finally ready to make it happen.