Keep on keeping on

At the beginning of this journey, it was easy for me to be optimistic.  In the month leading up the the surgery I felt great.  I was running as much as I wanted to with only minimal discomfort.  And most of the pain wasn’t coming from my foot, it was from my silly hamstring strain.  I was sure that after a year of dealing with this same injury that this was finally going to get me back to 100%.  I was sure that surgery was the right way to go.  I was sure that a few months out from surgery I’d be running pain free for the first time in more than a year.   But now, over 5 weeks out from surgery, I’m not as sure.  In fact, I’m not sure at all.  I’m just scared.  And I’m having a hard time not letting the negative thoughts take over.  After being in pain for over a year, it’s kind of hard to believe that I won’t be in pain forever.

So, what do I do with that?  Right now, I just try not to dwell on it.  I try to keep on keeping on with the expectation that I WILL run again.  I go to the gym and pull on that rope to stay as fit as I can while I’m on crutches.  I research how to begin running after injury and hamstring rehab.  Everything I’ve read says that hamstring strains have a high occurrence rate, so I want to make sure I’m doing all I can to prevent that from happening again.   I found this article and thought it was pretty compelling.

“When the hamstring is strained, the normal signals between neurons and muscle shut down. This “neuromuscular inhibition” limits normal muscles’ function and the effectiveness of strength and stretching rehabilitation. Over time, the injured muscle atrophies, strength imbalances increase, and the angle of peak torque changes (i.e., the knee becomes less stable).

These “maladaptations” are long-lasting and raise the risk of injuring the area again.

“We have evidence for reduced activation many months after return to sport,” Shield told Runner’s World Newswire via email. “We have more recent data (as yet unpublished) that athletes use their previously injured biceps femoris [a hamstring muscle] about half as much on the injured side as the uninjured side when doing a Nordic hamstring curl. This data is, on average, 10 months after injury, so the change appears pretty permanent.”

So basically hamstring injuries should be avoided at all cost and if you get one, you’re likely screwed.  Hmmmm.  In any case, I’ll be adding Nordic hamstring curls into my daily rehab.

I had Sean hold my legs last night so I could do them and they are HARD.  I can barely get past vertical before I’m not able to hold myself up anymore.  But I can feel my hamstrings firing up and working so the exercise is doing what it’s supposed to.

I like to compare a lot of things to a marathon but I think it’s because the marathon is just so applicable to life.  At the beginning of the race, I’m excited and nervous and ready to go.  The first few miles just seem to tick quickly by and I wonder why everyone doesn’t run marathons because they’re so fun.  Around mile 15, I’m starting to feel tired and realize that I still have 11 miles left.  I’m not in pain yet but can sense it’s only a matter of miles.  I start to wonder if maybe a half marathon would’ve been the way to go.  Around mile 20, I’m cursing life.  Who pays to go out and race 26.2 miles?  My legs hurt, I’m tired of running, I just want to be done.  Around mile 25, I perk back up.  Almost there.  The end is in sight and the pain will be over shortly.  I think right now I’m in those middle miles of marathon no man’s land.  The excitement of the start has worn off but the finish still seems so far away.  I get my cast off next Friday, so only one more week fully non weight bearing.  Then I move onto the walking boot where I’ll slowly transition back to full weight bearing over 2 weeks.  Once I’m fully weight bearing again, then the real work begins at PT.  Actually running again seems so far off.

Luckily, we only have one more week until spring break.  We have some fun stuff planned and it’ll be nice to get out of the house and away from the normal routine for a little bit.  Hopefully I’ll come back refreshed and ready to finish this journey.

On another note, I’m still coffee (and caffeine) free.  Unfortunately, the lack of coffee hasn’t seemed to make any difference in my stomach situation.  I’m going to give it a little while longer.  I’ve already gone through the caffeine withdrawal I might as well give it some time.  And now I’m off to the gym and lunch with friends.  Good way to start the weekend.



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