Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Long Rest

I've stopped running entirely after the marathon to let my knee recover. It's going to be slow going, since I'm trying to avoid any activity that irritates it, and a lot of activities irritate it. It's a great opportunity to relax though, and I've been enjoying the free time and the feeling of being refreshed.

I followed up with the sports doctor on Friday, and after I explained how things were going and he flexed and moved my leg a couple of ways, he said that it's possible that there is a problem with the meniscus that the MRI did not show. He gave me a prescription to reduce inflammation and advised that I don't do any activity that causes it to hurt. I'll follow up again in a week and a half.

So far, there I've found that even light cycling on a stationary bike is irritating, and any walking must be on a very stable, even surface (even the rail bed is too uneven or rocky in places). I had hoped to keep up with strength training, but I'm being very selective about which exercises I do. For now, it's only some foot, lower leg, core, and upper body exercises, depending on how I'm feeling.

While it is incredibly frustrating not to be able to exercise right now (when I can feel how strong I am), the situation has allowed me to spend more time relaxing and becoming more mindful. I had initially tried to begin each morning by loosening up my feet with a lacrosse ball, foam rolling my legs, and practicing some light yoga. There are a number of simple yoga poses that my knee is not fond of (like Child's Pose), so most mornings now I'm just doing the loosening and rolling and then breathing deeply and just doing whatever yoga poses feel good for my core and upper body. I've been starting off by drinking tea or hot lemon water, and it's a nice way to start each day. I hope that it will become a permanent routine to preface early-morning workouts later on after I've recovered.

Yesterday I received a much-anticipated package in the mail - a new foam roller! It's the Grid X shown in the photo above. Part torture instrument, part miraculous relief, it's twice as firm as the Grid (and probably three times as firm as the average blue roller I've been using) and it's exactly what I've needed to  reach the tightness inside the depths of my calves and lower legs. All through my training I had great difficulty getting enough pressure when rolling my lower legs, and all of the time I spent seemed largely wasted. I think this new roller is exactly what I need, though. It's small, measuring in at 13" long, but that's all you need for the trouble spots. I'll still be using my old roller, but I'm glad to have this option when I need it. I highly recommend it for anyone who needs an extra firm roller.

So, that's it for now. I'll check in again with knee updates and maybe some thoughts about post-recovery goals. I'm not going to let myself get too bummed about losing fitness right now. I've seen so many people come back from injuries, that I know that I should just rest and let myself recover. Just last February my friend broke her arm, which prevented her from running until the summer (since she couldn't swing her arm without extreme pain). She was really bummed about not being able to exercise, but she picked back up when she was finally able to and ended up running her second-fastest 5k two weeks ago at a Turkey Trot. That's inspiration!

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