I started physical therapy this morning. It’s the first time I’ve ever had PT. My therapist was surprised by that, considering how many races I’ve done over the years.
Today’s appointment included putting both legs through a range of motions to determine what caused pain and what didn’t. I’m not actually in serious pain. When I begin a motion that causes discomfort, I stop before it becomes painful. After many years of running, I’ve learned through experience to distinguish routine discomfort from abnormal discomfort that can be a warning sign of an injury.
Next, my therapist did some passive stretching, followed by massaging the affected muscles to stimulate blood flow. Then she taught me some stretches that I’m supposed to do three times a day. I felt an immediate difference. Walking back to my car after the appointment was more comfortable that walking into the clinic.
Besides the stretches, I’m supposed to use a massage stick twice a day and continue using ice, compression and low doses of ibuprofen.
My therapist encouraged me to start doing cross-training on a stationary bike, starting with 15 minutes a day. I’m supposed to wait until at least Thursday before trying to run. Even then, my restrictions are no more than five miles, no more than three consecutive days, and if I feel pain, I have to stop.
Before I joined Marathon Maniacs, I used to alternate running days with cycling days. I even alternated between long runs and long rides on weekends. As I’ve increased my number of running days, I’ve gradually gotten away from the cycling. Today’s 15-minute workout was my first time on the bike this year! I used to consider 30 minutes to be a pretty light workout. Today I only did half that, and I was also using less resistance. It didn’t feel as easy as it should have. That’s not because of the injury. I’m just not used to being on the bike. After I recover, I really need to get back in the habit of doing 30 minutes on the bike in the morning.
Even if I wasn’t injured, I would be tapering for the Comrades Marathon. At this point, I don’t need to build fitness. I just need to do enough exercise to keep from losing fitness. The bike workouts also ensure that I’m using the other muscles in my legs and hips.
I don’t expect to do the Ogden Marathon on Saturday. I haven’t cancelled my flight yet, but I probably will soon. After Comrades, I have some tough trail races in June and July. It’s imperative that I go into Comrades healthy. It’s possible I could finish that race with an injury, but three weeks later I have the Bighorn Mountain 100. There’s no way I could finish that with an injury. I also have the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon and the Swissalpine K78 in July.
It looks like I’m going to DNS both Ogden and the Med City Marathon a week later. I’ll consider that a reasonable price to pay if I can be healthy for all of my summer races.
While I’m disappointed about cancelling a race for the first time in over 10 years, I’m optimistic about my recovery. I felt better today than I did yesterday. I also felt better yesterday than I did on Sunday. If I keep improving at this rate, I’ll be fully recovered before Comrades.