Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Maybe I'm Just Doing the Cha-Cha

Since I began my recovery from a groin strain, it’s seemed like my progress was two steps forward, one step back.  Last week I commented that until I was willing to take a break from racing it would probably be more like one step forward, one step back.

In the long term, that might sound gloomy, but in the short term, I was OK with it.  I could live with not getting better if I also wasn’t getting worse.

Mostly, I wanted to get through the rest of my July race schedule.  On Saturday, I did a trail marathon that was among the most difficult I’ve done.  To protect my leg, I wore an elastic bandage around the top of my right thigh.  During the race, I had quite a bit of discomfort.  Later in the day, after taking off the bandage and sitting in an ice bath, I felt surprisingly good.

I can usually suppress a certain amount of pain during a race.  If I’m hurting during the race, I can expect to hurt a whole lot more after the race.  When I went to dinner that night, I had some soreness in my quads, but nothing beyond what I expect after a marathon.  I no longer had discomfort in my adductors, hip flexors or hamstrings, all of which bothered me to some degree during the race.

I felt better the next day.  I still had some soreness in my quads, but the muscles that complained most during the race still felt fine.  I can only assume that most of the discomfort I felt during the race was actually caused by trying to move my right leg in ways that I couldn’t while wearing the bandage.  It did its job.  It prevented further injury.  It caused me some discomfort, but prevented any lasting damage.

After a day off, I did some weight training on Monday.  I also did exercises my therapist gave me to strengthen my adductors, hip flexors, hamstrings, and glutes.  Then I waited for the other shoe to drop.  Sometimes, I feel fine while I’m doing my exercises, but I’m sore the next day.

Today I had a little soreness, but nothing like last week.  In the afternoon I went running.  I felt good enough that I didn’t wear any type of compression.  I felt OK.  I only ran five miles, but for the first time in weeks, I wasn’t deliberately going slow.  I’ve lost some conditioning, so I’m not able to go at my usual training pace, but I felt like I took a small step towards normal training.

I won’t run again until Thursday.  Ideally, I’d like to try a route with some hills.  My next race is almost all downhill, so I’d like to get an idea how I feel running downhill.  I don’t know if I’ll wrap my leg for that run.  It depends on how I feel tomorrow and Thursday.  I also don’t know if I’ll wrap it for my race on Sunday.  That depends on how Thursday goes.  I’m cautiously optimistic.

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