Running again

Ah, it’s been such a long time since I mentioned running on here, and in fact a reasonable amount of time since I was able to run. Consequently, I thought we could all do with an update!As you may know, at the end of January I fell over whilst running, landing heavily on my knees and then bouncing on them for good measure. Both knees were bruised and scraped, and I hobbled home to a hot shower and the sofa feeling very sorry for myself indeed. By the end of the day my left knee was swollen and refusing to bend, the pain kept me awake during the night, and when I got up the following morning I promptly fainted, so decided to seek medical attention.

A day in the ER confirmed it wasn’t broken, so I was referred to an orthopedic specialist who sent me for a MRI scan. The results proved that I had, in the words of my consultant, “really done a number” on all the soft tissue in the knee, but there was no actual damage. [Edited to add: The main problem was that my entire left quadriceps muscle had shut down, completely immobilising the knee.] Time and strengthening exercises would apparently sort it out, so I was given a course of anti-inflammatory drugs and told to find a physiotherapist.

I chose my physiotherapist by the highly unscientific method of finding the one on the list that was closer to my apartment (which had the added bonus of also being acceptable to my insurance company), but I was so glad I went there – it was a rather quirky place but all the staff were delightful and my therapist was fantastic (if a little brutal).

I was discharged from physio towards the end of May, almost exactly 4 months after my accident. By that stage I was running for 5-10 minutes on the treadmill, and had tried one outside run during which I achieved a grand total of 7 minutes consistent running. Consequently I was a little anxious about starting ‘proper’ running again, especially as the weather here is ramping up the heat and humidity – not my favourite conditions for any sort of exercise.

With a free morning today I decided there should be no more excuses, and aimed to do 30 minutes exercise – the idea was to run as much as possible but to walk for recovery sections when necessary. I warmed up in the apartment with a few sun salutations (I’m also keen to get back into yoga!), walked to the end of the block, and then was off… Despite expecting it to be a real struggle I felt loose and bouncy and was surprised to find I was thoroughly enjoying myself. I ran along the path by the East River (where I fell), it was a lovely sunny morning, and in the end I didn’t need to walk at all.

I switched my running watch thingy to display the time elapsed, so I wouldn’t be tempted to push myself into a particular distance, and must admit that I was ready to stop after the allotted half hour. I was interested to note that although my pace felt slower than it used to (although not by much, looking back through my stats), it was very comfortable, and I still managed to do 5km. I think all these months of being forced to move slowly with a dodgy knee have given me a more relaxed attitude to movement – a spell of not being able to rush around like I’m accustomed to may well have been a good thing!

Dada from my run on June 5

With the onset of summer I’m not sure the idea of hammering out huge distances holds much appeal. I think the goal will be to maintain regular short runs – ideally 5km or so 2-3 times per week, and then start building it up come the autumn. I’m rather tempted to train for a half marathon – maybe even enter the ballot for the New York half next April – not so much because the idea of doing that kind of event appeals (it doesn’t), but rather to give myself something to aim for. We shall see…

4 thoughts on “Running again

  1. Glad you’re able to run again, must feel great. I’ve only been doing it for a couple of months and when I couldn’t for a week I got really antsy so can only imagine how you felt! Hope you manage to stay injury free 🙂

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    • Thanks Jo! How are you getting on with it? I still can’t quite believe how easily it all happened – I just caught one foot on an uneven bit of path, lost my balance, and splat – almost enough to make me reconsider my aversion to treadmill running!

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      • I tripped over my own foot whilst demonstrating Gangnam Style AquaZumba (without the water) on a badminton court, so am surprised I’ve managed to not trip over running yet! (Hope I’m not tempting fate there). I’m really enjoying it thanks, though we’ve had some warm weather recently which I normally like but not for running in. I’m still very slow and can only manage 5k, but I’m enjoying it.

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