Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ready to find out?

When I hear the word "spartan," I immediately think of my school district's mascot. I think about wearing blue and gold on the sidelines of football games and the less than flattering uniforms from indoor and outdoor track seasons. What does not often come to mind is the immensely popular Spartan Race series.

I'm not going to lie, I have never done an adventure race. I've considered it before but have been mid-marathon training cycle each time and an adventure race sounded like an injury risk I couldn't take. Now that I am sidelined by injury, I look at any and all events that involve running and think "I wish." I wish I could run. I don't care where or how. In a similar vein, I think many people interested in trying running for the first time see races and hear that same "I wish" in their heads. Maybe they think they aren't strong enough or fast enough. They might finish last. They might not finish at all. Anyone else hear those voices before? They aren't unique to the new runner.

Spartan Race is the stop button on that defeatist tape. The founders of the race series wanted to create an environment that appealed to those with a sense of adventure, those who are active, and those looking to discover their inner athlete. There are options for everyone, (kids too!) including a team event. For those still on the fence of "I'm not sure I can...," Spartan has your back there as well, with the Spartan SGX training program, free workouts in cities across the country, nutritional tips, and more.

I know that I have taken on previously unthinkable race challenges (oh hey, first marathon) because that voice in my head started wondering "but what if I could." I wanted to find out. We as athletes and humans are capable of much more than we can imagine, but we only find out when we step outside our comfort zone. Sure, there could be pain and frustration, but more often than not what I find most often is MAGIC. Not just in me, but in what I see from others. There are no restrictions on who is or can be an athlete. None. The guts and grit I've seen on the race course is incredible and often comes from what many would consider to be unlikely sources. Maybe you think you're that unlikely source.

There are over 100 Spartan races across the country. Each of those is a chance to Find Out. If you need just a bit more nudging, let me throw in a discount code for race registration good through May 27th, 2015. Use: MEMORIAL. You could save up to $40! If that still isn't enough, the awesome people at Spartan Race have given me one free race entry to give away. Yup, FREE. Comment below and tell me what race made you wonder what you were capable of, or how you turned off that negative script. Winner announced next week!

So, what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

And...we're back.

Welp, I've been sitting on this one since last Wednesday, the 6th. That morning I had my follow-up appointment with Dr. Yokel from Regenerative Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. For those of you following along at home, I had my first session of musculoskeletal prolotherapy with him on April 6th. From then on I was restricted from all activity. I could go to work (using my standing desk as much as possible) and go home. Basic errands like buying groceries were fine but that was about it. I spent a lot of time at home just laying down. Standing and laying down are the two least painful positions that don't engage the area much, if at all.

The time seemed to pass really slowly and I was not easy to be around. I ate a lot, which didn't help at all. Cried. Got pretty bitter seeing all the people out enjoying the incredible weather we've been having. Shaking my fist at the sky. I didn't blog (clearly) or do much else in the running social media world. It has been really hard to engage in a community I feel like I don't belong in right now. As much as I love the friends I've made in that community, it hurt to see the post-run pictures, race recaps, and workout ideas. It has been so long since I was able to post something about a run that I was beginning to think it might never happen.

I tried to find ways to occupy my free time (and wow did I have a lot of it). Cooked a bit (I wish I led a less foodcentric existence), read several books, watched way too much TV. I honestly don't know how people who don't have an active lifestyle survive. I was so bored. Total cabin fever. I just wanted to be able to MOVE.

After what was a true eternity, I was back in Dr. Yokel's office. I gave him a brief and pathetic update on my injury-related life since the treatment. Despite the mental and emotional mind f*ck, my physical body had actually accomplished something. No, I'm still not healed. Tendons are jerks and take their sweet time. However, my discomfort level has decreased and my ability to stand/sit/walk has increased. Huzzah! There is still a ways to go and he suggested that I have a second treatment. I had a feeling that would be the case and while I don't love it (ouchy!) I can tell that it (slowly) helped. A dash of cold spray and a few tense minutes later, it was done. It was much less painful this time around (another good sign).

I didn't know how this appointment was going to go, so I brought in a laundry list of questions. Most of them were specific to "can I do this?" and "when?" I'd already lost out on registration fees for two races and I wanted to have as clear a picture as possible of what the next couple of weeks/months would look like. I'll get the bad news out of the way right now: I cannot go to the Oiselle/ZAP Fitness running camp in June. While it is likely that I will be doing short runs by then, I would not be in the best shape to take on a 4 day running camp and would likely lose the progress that I will have made up to that point. That is the crappy but honest truth. I have been looking forward to it since I signed up in January, but I have to keep my eye on the prize.

With that band-aid ripped off, I went down the rest of my list. Yoga? Yes but really no. Nothing that fully extends the hamstring or asks that tendon to tighten/become taut. Lifting? Yes, but see restrictions under yoga. Running? Ha, silly girl. Here is what we agreed on:

1 week of complete rest (which is up today, nerds!)
After that, begin light activity (swim w pull buoy, spin w light resistance)
- if either feels like I am aggravating the area, back off
2 weeks after injection resume manual therapy
- the surrounding areas are pretty grumpy so the hands-on work will help
If I am feeling good after two weeks of light activity, I can start logging time on the Alter-G.

I also asked if I could get a massage to work on some of the stiffer areas and got the thumbs up as long as the injection area is left alone. Luckily, my PT clinic has a sports massage therapist on site and I have an appointment with her tomorrow!

My next appointment with Dr. Yokel isn't until early June but it gives my body the time it needs to continue responding. Right now I am focusing on the fact that I can attempt a swim tonight (so excited!). I don't plan on doing something every day, even though I really want to. Swim tonight, massage tomorrow, possibly swim again Saturday.

MS and I have also turned the lemons of no running camp into the lemonade of a beach in Florida. I'd already taken the time off work so why not use it for something awesome? I've got my eye on a new pair of running shoes that I hope to use on the Alter-G and maybe on one sunset beach jog. The mental image of that jog is the carrot on my recovery stick right now.

I'd apologize in advance for the barrage of Instagram photos that I will post later from my swim, but...I won't because I am not sorry! Thank you for all the well-wishes and support, keep them coming! This is definitely a good update but there is still a long ways to go.

Head up, wings out.