Thursday, April 14, 2011
I feel like I'm slipping outside myself as the water rushes all over me. Another great tune from The Samples, the band with whom I did a stint as merch girl on tour in the spring of '97, shortly after graduating from college.
This is just an update on how the ankle is coming along since that game-changing phone call from my physical therapist earlier in the week. I got through my second session of guerilla physical therapy yesterday, doing a variety of ankle flexibility and strengthening exercises to start, like cat stretches and jumps (2 x 15 with both legs, then alternating single legs) on the pilates table. The jumps weren't originally in the plan, but Bryan threw them in there because I was able to warm up with soreness and only minimal twinges-no real pain. There was work with the bands again. First, a smaller one just above my ankles, with side-stepping accross the floor on flat foot, on the balls of my feet, and in a squat (thank you ballet classes for making this less painful than it could have been). Next, it was on to the big one that goes around the waist, tethered to the wall. I would do a four-way walk here, turning 90 degrees each time and stepping forward and back as far as I could go while still controlling my steps, and not letting the band yank me around.
I had my first real test of the ankle next, with very brisk treadmill walking, increasing the incline until I was at an Imogene Pass Run-like grade. I expected that I might have some pain and soreness during the 20 minutes, but the ankle felt pretty good. As Bryan said, there certainly are times and cases when the ankle should be immobilized after an injury, but that really, ankles were meant to flex and move. Finally, he moved me over to the spin bike, and I closed out the PT session with a hard 10-minute ride. While I did not have an official appointment, B-Man was working with me like I did, splitting time between myself and a geriatric patient or two. I was dripping with sweat and felt like I'd had a most excellent butt-kicking. Before leaving, he gave me a weight belt for pool running, and when I got home I called Gold's Gym to confirm that the pool was open and that I'd be able to do a 1-week trial with them.
I got in to Gold's with no problem-I was pretty straight with them that I would be fine to listen to the obligatory sales spiel next week, but that I really just needed to get in, pool run for half an hour, and get out. I ran into my friend Sandra, who was one of several people who would join my regular running partner, Laura, and I from time to time in the summer and fall. She works at my bank downtown, teaches some group classes at Gold's, and chose the Rim Rock Marathon last fall with the 2000 foot elevation change for her first time going 26.2. Very positive without being annoyingly upbeat, and I hadn't seen her in awhile so it was nice to catch up. I got the nickel tour of the gym from her, and then hit the locker room and pool.
Now, pool running-how do I put it? It feels like trying to move across a huge bowl of oatmeal. It felt pretty awkward at first, especially when I hit the deeper part of the lap lane. I'm tall (5'10") and I'm still not really sure how this would work for someone who is shorter than me. My forward momentum would slow way down to the point where I'd be almost jogging in place until the floor of the pool sloped back up again. One good thing, though, was that this forced good form and posture, and naturally got me into that POSE running gait. My learning curve improved as I tried to remember what Deena Kastor looked like in the documentary "Spirit of the Marathon" (check it out the linked movie trailer-I still enjoy watching the story of six different runners getting ready for the 2005 Chicago Marathon, with a lot of marathon history and lore in between) as she ran on an underwater treadmill.
When I got out of the pool, I felt good. More importantly, though, I'd been able to do the pool running without pain. I know better than to assume I'm racing on Monday, but things are moving along in the right direction.
Today will bring the real test, literally, with a test run consisting of an out-and-back from the PT clinic to the lakes on our riverfront trail system (just shy of 3 miles), 20 minutes on the bike, and then another out-and-back run. This is, of course, assuming no pain in which case I'll have to bag the remainder of the workout. Normally I'd do my best to not worry about it, and just show up and run, and today is no different. It's actually quite easy to focus elsewhere, with a perfect storm of other unrelated situations and people on my mind today. They put into perspective that if I don't wind up running Boston, it's really not a big deal. Still, I'm hoping for a good outcome, and am doing my best to remain guardedly optimistic.