Sunday, December 23, 2012

Back to Falmouth

All of a sudden, things are starting to go real well in the running department. The Muscle Activation Technique (M.A.T.) therapy I had been doing is continuing to strengthen and realign my body even though I have had no appointments for a few weeks now. This is really good. Every other type of therapy I have tried in the past had a shelf life of a few days before things started to fall apart. I am finding now that each day I feel bit better as my muscles continue to adjust and absorb the new ability to work together. I also started going gluten-free the day after Thanksgiving and this has been a huge lift for me. I am no longer tired all the time. I am eating better and less. I wanted to try this to see if it would reduce the inflammation in my hip and something is making my hip feel better. The pinching feeling is going away and my runs are getting better, plus I feel all around healthier and more energetic!

Previous week:
Monday: 3 miles treadmill
Tuesday: 5 miles
Wednesday: 3 miles treadmill
Thursday: 0  miles
Friday: 0 miles
Saturday: 7 miles Falmouth Road Race course
Sunday: 0 miles
total: 18 miles

This week:
Monday: 0 miles
Tuesday: 4 miles treadmill
Wednesday 3 miles treadmill
Thursday: 0 miles
Friday: 4 miles treadmill
Saturday: 8 miles
Sunday: 0 miles
total: 19 miles

The last time I ran Falmouth was in 2010.
It was the final month of running
 before my hip gave out.

I am keeping the mileage low so as to not overdue things and am not running if things feel tight or my hip feels off. Last Saturday I went down to the Cape to visit my parents and to run the Falmouth Road Race course for the first time since racing it in 2010. It was only my second run over 5 miles since September, but I was real pumped up to run the whole course. My dad dropped me off in Woods Hole and off I went. I felt pretty good, but I was wondering if the hip would start hurting or if I would run out of energy by the end and crawl it in. Neither happened. This is my home course and I just enjoyed stretching out my legs. The hills in the first three miles seemed bigger than I imagined them, but I was OK and holding back. I half expected to hit some rough patches, but they never came. I thoroughly enjoyed running the course with so many good memories of it going through my head. When I hit the harbor after the five mile mark, I took out a phone to call my dad to get him to pick me up at the finish line. I was running as I was fumbling with the phone and had to hit the numbers three times before getting it right. I had slowed for about 1/2 mile to do the call and when I was done I was by the A&P. Now I could smell the finish line and I could even run a bit faster. I hit the 6 mile mark and increased the pace again. I was feeling stronger as I ran which was so encouraging. By the time I hit the head of the harbor for the last corner up Heights Hill I started really pressing the pace (compared to how I have been running since my surgery). I floated right up the Hill and even sprinted the downhill to the finish (I have yet to sprint or let my legs go on any downhill post surgery, but why not?). I hit the finish in 58:18. While that time is not remarkable in any way (11:06 slower than I last raced it in 2010) and just at what was once a usual training run pace, it was my best (by far) post hip surgery run. Of course, as soon as I stopped, my hip tightened up and I had a bit of a limp through the next day. The run was the first time in a long time that I felt like a runner again, not just a gimpy jogger. It was my "I am coming back" run and I couldn't have done it on a better course! I was on a runner's high for days after that run. It just felt so good! Now if I lose 30 pounds and the 2 seconds a mile that each pound reputedly slows your time by, I am just about capable of running under 50 minutes on the Falmouth Road Race course and that is with the very limited training I have been doing. I think I can lose more than 30 pounds and if things keep going this well, I can go a lot faster with 1/2 year of training till the summer.

This week I did an 8 miler on my regular 8 mile course. Again, my stride felt long and loose and when I looked at my watch at the second corner of the course, I saw 9:40. To me pre-surgery, when I am under 10 minutes at this point I know I am having a good day. I couldn't believe that I was under 10 minutes so effortlessly and so I just kept up the pace. I kept an even pace and again, my stride did not falter and had a fluid energy. When I finished, with a big sprint up my road (I can do that again!) I was almost 4 minutes faster than my best time since the surgery and about 8 minutes faster than what I was typically doing in the summer. In fact my time was right at the point where even pre-surgery, I would be happy with the time. All of a sudden, I can do my old training pace again. I am thrilled, but being cautious. I am not going to start running as much as I can. I still have a lot of healing to do and I don't want to mess things up. The best news about the 8 miler is that even after running a faster pace per mile than the previous week, I had no limping after the run at all. It is just a very good feeling to know that I might finally be getting back to running without pain. My running muscles certainly were tight last night, but that is an unusual feeling to me. Usually, it is my hip or back that is sore, now it is just the muscles, equally tired on each side. That is a good feeling.

The other thing I have changed over the past two weeks is that I started wearing compression shorts when running. If this can add strength and stability to my muscles it was worth a shot. I don't know if it is the shorts or everything else in combination with the shorts, but I am running with a much longer and balanced stride. If it helps me feel closer to 100%, even by a few percentage points, it is worth it. I got a pair of the CW-X Men's Pro Shorts.


Laura said...

Such a good report! Glad you are taking a careful approach and allowing for days off. Hoping that 2013 will bring you many, many great runs and that your hip pain will be a fading memory.

Jim Hansen said...

Thanks Laura!