Just like with my last running injury (IT Band overuse), I went through a period of anger and depression and “why is this happening to me?” feelings. Last time, I quickly got over it and decided to start weight lifting a few times a week. Swimming and weight lifting was really the only thing I could do back then. Within 1 month, I’d become stronger, healthier, much happier, and 5 pounds lighter.
This time around, I experienced the same exact feelings: the anger, the frustration, the depression. This time was most definitely worse because I couldn’t even do my walks that I enjoy so much. My knees hurt too much to walk. It sucked. Then I’d have a good day with no knee pain and feel like maybe I was over the worst of it–and of course, try to do too much and then hurt again.
Just like last time, I realized that I had to figure this shit out and focus on something else: focus on something I COULD do. What could I do? I could swim (no breaststroke) and I could lift weights and I could use the bike at the gym at short intervals with minimal resistance. Even though I’m not quite out of the “I feel depressed and angry about my injury” stage, I am slowly starting to focus on these other things and feel a little bit better. I am determined to be positive and not let this get me down.
I basically took this summer off from weight lifting. I was focused on getting my mileage up in preparation for the Century ride. I just couldn’t fit in all the things I wanted to do. I dropped one swim session and 2 weight lifting sessions. I rode my bike to work 3 days a week on average, swam one day a week and that left 1 day to run and lift weights. I saw the downward slide coming. I ignored a lot of the aches and pains I felt because my body was becoming imbalanced. I guess I just didn’t realize how imbalanced it had become. I’d almost completely stopped all the REALLY good weight stuff I was doing: the lunges and squats and crossfit type full body exercises that I’d been doing all winter long. 2 years ago when I hurt my IT Band I was doing ZERO weight lifting, running ALL THE TIME and pushing myself too much.
I recently wrote about how injuries cause that old fear of gaining all the weight back to rear it’s ugly head. I’m not perfect. But I am determined NOT to gain the weight back.
How I’m Making it Work: Fitness
I still do my 5 workouts a week with two rest days. I’m more diligent about making sure I only do 3 workout days in a row and that 4th day is a rest day (my body needs it by then). Right now, I swim 3 days a week. Those swim sessions vary. Sometimes I feel well enough to swim normally (minus the breaststroke) and sometimes my knees let me know they are angry and I use my buoy for most of the session.
The other two workout days have been weight lifting. After my physical therapist gave me the green light to carefully attempt some cycling, I’ve been doing 15-25 minutes of the exercise bike at the gym. I listen to my body and stop if/when the knees start hurting. Then I focus on the weights.
I wrote about some of the exercises I do here. I start with lots of ab work with the medicine ball, push-ups, triceps dips, kettlebell swings, and incorporate the physical therapy exercises I have to do. Then I go and work on the various machines.
As you can see from the most recent weight workout, I am still getting a pretty good sweat in. After only a month of increased weight lifting, I already feel stronger, have to increase the amount of weight I use and I recover faster. That makes me happy! It encourages me and makes me feel like less of a basket case who is focusing on the things she can’t do.
How I’m Making it Work: Food
My food hasn’t been perfect. I do admit to doing some emotional eating…mostly shitty candy at work! Stress eating and me go way way back. I’m trying my best to avoid it. I remind myself of this every single day I feel tempted to binge on sugar: YOU DON’T REALLY WANT THAT CANDY. YOU JUST WANT TO FEEL BETTER. And really, candy will NOT make me feel better. Especially not right now.
I’m still counting my calories and doing my very best to continue to eat healthy meals and snacks just like always. For example, my dinner last night was delicious, healthy and under 500 calories. I baked salmon with salt, pepper, minced garlic, fresh parsley and basil and tomato slices. Michael sauteed some Brussels sprouts with 2 pieces of bacon in it.
I weighed myself for the first time since I got back from Hawaii and was very, very happy to see that I’d lost 1.5 pounds! Apparently not being to run, walk or bike means weight loss!
How I’m Making it Work: Physical Therapy
I made some nifty little flashcards for all the physical therapy exercises I have to do and I take them with me to work to do the exercises on my break, and then I take it to the gym and work them into my exercise routine.
I already feel stronger!
I wanted to pass on a very important message. I recently saw a sports medicine specialist. I questioned how I would have weakness or imbalance in my legs considering all the running, biking, swimming, hiking
QUESTION: What components are helping you stay on track?