Today has been a busy day full of lots of excited and I couldn’t wait to share it with all of you (even though it’s getting late already and I haven’t even started my PT yet!). Anyway, this morning I had a great bike commute into work after deciding not to work out in the morning since I knew I had my gait analysis this afternoon. Of course DC has gorgeous weather all day before a crazy storm is supposed to come.
Just before 3 pm, I headed over to my physical therapists office for my appointment. I brought everything I was instructed to, and anxiously sat in the room waiting to run. There was a big ball of nervous energy sitting in my stomach. Would my knee hurt instantly? Would it hurt after a few steps? How bad was my form going to look? How gross were my legs going to look in slow motion while running (I’ve put on a decent amount of weight not being able to run the last 6 or 7 weeks)? When was the last time I ran on a treadmill? Do I even know how to anymore? And all of a sudden I was running. RUNNING!!!!!!!
And you know what? IT DIDN’T HURT!!!!!!!!!
Ok, so I ran for 5 minutes. Not exactly the greatest achievement of my life. But I RAN for 5 minutes at a 5.5 mph and was pathetically out of breath. So much for thinking I’d been keeping up with my cardio!
After 5 minutes, I jumped off of the treadmill (ok maybe sadly walked away because I didn’t want it to be over yet) and sat down to watch the footage with my therapist. What did I learn?
1. I run with my arms way out to the side, probably because my balance isn’t so hot. (For the record, I have great balance when dancing or skating but not when my eyes are closed. Also, I haven’t been able to hear out of my right ear since Sunday and that’s REALLY throwing off my perception and balance. And no, I did not call the doctor. I texted with my friend’s sister who is almost one, and it’s possible I have an ear infection and not the acoustic neuroma I convinced myself I had.)
2. When running, my knees and ankles are in great alignment, but my knees come in from my hips. Apparently this is a pretty big problem for a lot of women. Over the coming weeks, I need to focus on not letting my knees touch when I run so my knees and ankles will also be in alignment with my hips.
3. Occasionally my right hip gives out when I land on the right foot. It’s no where near as bad as we thought it would be and it doesn’t happen every time. So hopefully as my hips continue to strengthen, that will improve. (My PT almost guarantees that was not the case the first time I came in.)
4. I push up instead of out way too much. Instead of my hips staying level and close to a straight line when I run (which is what elite runners do), I bounce up and down a lot. News flash: that is not energy efficient!
5. I have good hip extension when I run. And while I do land with my foot slightly more in front of me than my therapist would like, it definitely isn’t as bad as it could be…and we’re hoping some of the other items I’m working on will improve this (see #6).
6. My current cadence is 160 steps/minute. I should be at 190 steps/minute when I run. If I focus on making less noise on the treadmill, I take smaller steps with quicker turnover. Hopefully in focusing on a quicker turnover, my cadence will go up while I also land with my body over my feet more.
7. I’m a serious pronator, but I love running in neutral shoes. My problem is that at every other point when I run, I have a neutral foot. But when I take the impact, I do some serious pronation. After last week’s appointment focusing on my feet, neither of us were surprised by this. If I bend my knee a lot, my arch collapses. It’s worse on my right than my left, but it’s still a big problem. This is what the exercises I’ve been doing for my feet (my toe yoga) are aiming to fix.
Ok, so awesome. We know a lot of info now. But what does that mean for this week and the short-term?
Having run for 5 minutes today, I’m now giving my knee 24 hours to recover and waiting to see how it manages. Will it end up hurting? Will it be ok? After those 24 hours, as long as I’m pain free (which I still am at this point) I can begin running intervals. I will start with 1 minute run, 2 minutes walk for 30 minutes. Then 45 minutes. Then an hour. So for now, I’m saying sayonara to the pool! On Tuesday, when I go back to PT, we’ll do another gait analysis and see how things look after continuing with more PT. Additionally, I’ll be focusing on two things while running this week: keeping my knees from touching (I just realized no one has ever said I should spread my legs more before except the gyno…that’s awkward and I’ve now made any male that reads my blog feel uncomfortable) and working on a faster cadence. For me, that is easier to accomplish if I focus on making less noise when I run.
So with that exciting news, I had a great bike ride home from work before the storm set in. (I did, however, experience quite a bit more wind than I wanted.) And because we’re waiting to see how my knee handles the impact, I stuck to biking at the gym today.
After spending several weeks fighting for access to the only bike in my apartment building gym, I found myself in a very fortunate situation tonight. Gold’s Gym provides the pacers for the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler, and they offered me a 3 month membership for free as one of the social runners. You can imagine that receiving that news as I’m spending all of my workouts in a cramped gym with no AC made me a very happy girl, and you can also imagine the smile on my face when I had no problem getting on a bike during the post-work rush tonight!
I was so happy, in fact, that I dominated my ride and covered 7.96 miles in 30 minutes! I will never complain about leaving the gym covered in sweat!
So with that, I’m off to tackle my PT exercises. I’m feeling newly energized to push through the tough work after seeing how much I’ve accomplished through PT, and where I still need to get my body to improve. But I’m getting there. And I’m doing my best to be smart about it. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll let myself believe that I’ll be standing at the start line on April 7. Will I see you there?
Your Turn: Who else made the foolish mistake of going to the grocery store tonight while all of the crazies loaded up on milk, eggs, and bread for Snowquester? (You can remind me I said that when I’m out.) How did you get your sweat on today? Have you ever had a gait analysis done and have you ever tried to make corrections after?