Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wearing Blinders

I just returned from my 8th and final physical therapy session today (she wants me to follow up in a few wks). Through four weeks of this process, I've learned quite a bit and have a relatively structured plan of action to address the weaknesses in my right glutes and hip flexors, which seem to be the primary source of my heel problems. I did some single-leg squats today, holding the band in my left hand and squatting down with my right leg (see photo below)
The key is keeping tension on the band, which helps to keep my right knee from collapsing inward as I lower myself (which is a common tendency). This REALLY works the quads, hips and glutes. In fact, I didn't realize just how weak I am in those least when it comes to the higher resistance this exercise provides (as opposed to distance running, where it's the same low-resistance repetition done over and over, with the exception of serious hill work). I'm definitely adding this to my ever-growing list of strengthening exercises, painful as it may be.

Now, on to the title topic. After an email exchange with my friend and fellow running blogger Chris (who is also enduring an injury), I realized how much I'm driven, to the point of potential self-destruction. In fact, assuming Chris doesn't mind, I'll post our little exchange below:

I'm no expert, but seems to me that you aren't ready to run. Your pain level of 2,3,4, and 5 to me, says you are not ready.  I think Coach Jeff says to run when there is no pain. Many people have told me that they come back better runners through aqua jogging.  It's boring, but technically, you're running.

>I'm no expert, but 
What’s that? I can’t hear you!
>it seems to me that 
>you aren't ready to run. 
HMM HMM DOO DE DOO...did you say something?
Can I take my fingers out of my ears yet?

Dude, you crack me up.  I was worried that maybe I came across as too strong or "not my place".  But, I was surprised when I saw your post.  

This has always been my biggest struggle (and I’m sure most dedicated runners are the same) - when I’m not injured enough to literally stop me from running, but injured enough that it’s probably better to NOT run. And having a relay race coming up, where other guys are depending on me, makes it even harder.

Don’t worry about coming across too strong. Whether I comply or not, I think it’s valuable to get input from other runners. We often get tunnel vision and we need different perspectives.

I guess that sums up my feelings on the matter. Will I stop running again until the pain is completely gone? To be perfectly Am I wise with that decision. Probably not. I can't explain why it's so hard to listen to my brain over my desires. Maybe it's because I'm at a point where it's not a debilitating injury. Maybe that's what it'll take to get me to stop (please, God, I hope not). I will say that the miles and intensity will be low for awhile and, after Ragnar, I may dial it down even more (or SHUT it down) if the pain still persists.

And, Chris, I give you full permission to slap me with a fat "I told you so" if I completely derail this train in the process. 


  1. My .02, if I didn't run with pain I wouldn't run at all. I'm 42, I had pain before I started running, now it's just in different places.

    Seriously, I think active recovery is the best for most injuries, running and non-running. Slow it down to a jog and keep it under an hour until you feel you are "heeled".
    I'm not claiming to not be an expert either. (not a typo)

  2. Well there you go Colin, two inexpert approaches to recovery. From Monty Python & the Holy Grail “It’s just a flesh wound” to waiting until you are completely healed. I suppose the trick is determining which type of injury needs which approach.

  3. I think I may just choose to say "Ni!"

  4. *clop clop clop clop clop (bangs coconuts together)*

    I'm more like you Colin. I seem to try to power through everything. Less finesse, more brute force. That said, I could use some of these exercises to help my body protect itself from my brain.

  5. I wrote a blog around this theme. You might like it, or not, either way! It's the post called "What goes around doesn't have to come around." And remember what I mentioned the other day, about missing a few weeks or months of running not being the demise of the world. It's just not. Rest, heal, and get back out there in wholeness and strength!

  6. That exercise looks pretty hard. I find that while practicing judo I see my lack of strength while squatting as well. I may try these types of things. Seems like a good idea.