I wasn't sure how this week would go, with all the other stuff going on in my life. Not that I don't get up in the morning and plan to go to the gym and workout, just that I wasn't sure how my body was going to react after all the discomfort I was in earlier this week. I re-examined all the things I had done in the days leading up to Tuesday, when I was the most miserable, and while I still am not sure if it was one thing or another, I am going with the fact that I overdid it again.
I have been steadily increasing workout time and intensity to test my capabilities and tolerance. I am okay on the longer workouts at a steady pace or heart rate. I seem to have trouble with those workouts where I have pushed the limit, apparently too much it seems at this point in recovery.
I still have to consider myself in recovery. It has been about 10 weeks, and while the average is 3-6 months, I still have a way to go. I have to assume, also, that the 3-6 months is the average for someone who is average--average in age, average in fitness, average in tolerating pain, willingness to work through the recovery process. I consider myself above average in all those categories, but I do not consider myself exceptional.
I have to think that even the "average" person would want to recover as quickly as possible. I know I feel the same, but after suffering many injuries, although much less serious in nature, over the years with running, I know when to be patient and when to push myself harder.
Well, I have tried, and the body just isn't ready yet. Here's what I'm doing though:
Monday, 35 min. treadmill run: 5 min. walk warmup and then 2 min. run, 2 min. walk, ending in 1 min. walk. Average pace for walking: 3.6 mph. Average pace for running: 10:54. I was sore and tight in the neck and shoulder most of the day, most likely because of arm swing--I can feel the pain radiate across the shoulder and collar bone area to the middle of the chest. Almost like a heart attack might feel if it were on the left side.
Tuesday: 25 min. on spin bike, pedaling as if in a spin class, following music that is playing in gym: fast spin, slow climb, standing climb, jumps. Also some leg weights (to increase strength in left hip). Half mile swim. Really uncomfortable all day: neck, shoulder, upper back, lower back. Pretty much came home and didn't want to move the rest of the night.
Wednesday: 35 min. treadmill run: same as Monday but I did increase speed on the last three 2 min. run sets to 10:45. I actually felt really good by the end of the day, all things considered. But I did only work half a day (hmm, could that be what I need??) and had a lot more energy than usual all evening.
Thursday: 36 min. treadmill run. This time I decided to do 3 min. intervals and bump the pace up one notch to 10:45 for the whole workout, with 2 min. interval walks, this time at 3.7 mph. Normally, I haven't been running two days in a row, but I felt so good on Wednesday that I decided to give it another try and also try to go a little longer between walk breaks. End result: pretty much the same as Wednesday: I felt good all day, just a little shoulder discomfort in the evening, but that is normal for any day. I did have to limit my arm motion on the right side to avoid overuse flareups, so hopefully that won't make me "lopsided" at some point in the future. Its not like I do this huge arm swing or anything, but part of Chi Running is the arm movement, and even a little bothers my shoulder.
Friday: Just a few rehabe-type arm and shoulder weights (up to a whopping 5 lb. already!).
I am really itching to get outside and do a longer run. I have been sticking with the treadmill for convenience, but at some point I know I need to go outside. Snow showers (meaning mostly cold, sloppy rain) are predicted for Saturday morning, so I will have to wait and see. I'm not sure I want to go outside bad enough to get cold and soaked. I am thinking I should be able to attempt 45 min., with 3-4 min. run intervals.
Apparently, too much upper body stuff is what is holding me back. While I can swim 1/2 mile in a little over 20 min., it is not my best time, and it doesn't look like that will improve for a while. I figured the run would take longer to build back up, but I might be surprised about how that will go.
I am also wondering how much time I can realistically put in on the spin bike without too much back discomfort. If it were just lower back, I could deal with it. But with the shoulder and neck thing going on, its a little more pain than I want to deal with on a frequent basis. I could just sit and spin, with nothing else, just a steady, within-heart-rate pace. That probably is best for now.
And another thing I started doing again, which I had slipped up on, was going back to taking my 800 mg. ibuprofen twice a day and liberally applying a topical analgesic to the upper middle back and shoulder. My new fragrance now is eau d'mint. (I have actually been asked by people, "Mmm, what's that fragrance you're wearing?" if you can believe!) My grandsons love the smell. LOL! But it does help, and I am just going to have to be a little more diligent with the things I didn't think would matter.
I also have to avoid the attitude that some people take towards my injuries: that because I don't look like injured, I must be okay. Much as I wish that were true, what you don't see is what hurts. I just don't whine or complain or carry on. And surprisingly, this week I have stopped limping, and I have to wonder again whether it is from adding a little more running to my routine which is building up my strength.
I hope everyone has good weekends planned leading up to the Thanksgiving week. I'm sure life will get hectic for everyone after that with all the holiday plans or just life in general. Its a good thing the race season winds down by this time of the year!