Think Smart, Cynthia

For the first time since my 10K in April I have no calf pain.  Absolutely none.  A cortisone shot in my irritated calf was just what the doctor ordered…literally.  I’m not a fan of large needles stabbed in various parts of my body…bad memories of back treatments… so I was skeptical.  My calf hurt more immediately after the steroid injection.  I don’t know how juice heads do this.  I spent that night laying with ice and my yoga strap stretching.

For a week and a half after the injection there was no improvement.  I was stiff and sore constantly.  My fitness future reminded me of my fitness past.  Walking at no more than 2.5 mph on the treadmill, biking and swimming only.  NO RUNNING! I drafted a post of how to redefine myself if I was no longer a runner.  Running is a large part of my identity and losing it made me sad.

Then magic struck.  Friday’s PT session left me super sore but today there was NO PAIN! Haaaaaa-llelujah!  Boot Camp Steve and I couldn’t believe it.  After each pain-free exercise we questioned the lack of pain…we had become so accustomed to pain.  Good stretch, yes.  Slight tightness, yes.  And definite fatigue.  But no pain.  Can I say that one more time…NO PAIN!

I wanted to shout from the rooftops.  I could have because my porch is on the rooftop.  I took the 2010 approach and announced it quite loudly on Facebook and Twitter.  I don’t want to get too excited.  The last time I got too excited I was injured within 6 months from overdoing it.  It’s hard to go against that natural tendency.

Boot Camp Steve knows me too well by now…we have spent over 6 months together for various injuries.  Halfway through the pain-free session he sternly told me, NO RUNNING…yet!  How did he read my mind?

On Sunday it didn’t hurt at all and I thought about running.  I have the itch.  I had several races on my calendar for this summer and fall.  My vacation to Pennsylvania in September was based on my first Half-Marathon.  I’ve missed the peace of running.  I miss the exhilaration of crossing the finish line.

Boot Camp Steve put me through several drills and exercises to test my calf endurance.  Oh how far I’ve fallen with my limited cardio these last 4 months.  I was sweating buckets and breathing hard mid-session and I knew that I felt good but tired.  Instead of pushing we cut it short and relaxed.  Seven hours later as I write…no pain.  Only a big smile and excitement.  This time I’m thinking smart.

Thinking smart for me is not rushing my return.  I want to run.  I wanted to run tonight.  I want to run tomorrow.  Most importantly though, I want to run for a lifetime.  So I skipped the gym tonight and worked on my blog and read.  Tomorrow I’ll go to the pool and for a walk with Hunni.  I’m pacing myself.  I’m not good at pacing so please remind me…DAILY!  Especially if I announce a plan for the Tufts 10K in October 2010.

Back to square one.  Repeating the Couch to 5K plan instead of JackSh*t’s 5K to Couch plan I completed months ago :-)  I’ll be more tortoise than hare for several months but I’m only going back to Physical Therapy to visit.  I’ll see my PT friends on a run or in a race instead of in pain.  I’m thinking smart as challenging as it may be.

How do you think smart with your fitness?

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