Happy trails to you.

Posted on: 08 Jan 2018

Happy new year and a happy Monday to all you beautiful Buzzers!!

I wasn't meant to be blogging just now, but then after waking at 5 am to get in to work early and hit the gym, I'm afraid it was the gym that hit me...it's closed for maintenance til noon! Gah! Thank heavens I got a run and the subsequent shower in yesterday or I'd be wearing the bobble hat all day claiming that the a/c was blowing on my desk (usually is, so it's not much of a reach!)

Mind I haven't had coffee or breakfast yet so prepare for a less than organised thought process here...

I've really been enjoying reading up on the blogs the past few weeks as they're full of celebration and positivity about challenges won and challenges to come. It occurred to me on this morning's early drive that there really is a thread holding this community together and that is the innate urge every one of us has to keep reaching and striving for something better. To always have a goal that stretches us like putty and to do everything in our power to grab on to it. I remain so very proud to call myself a Buzzer!

I'm elated to say that my training (barring today's missing strength routine) has been going perfectly to plan. I promised myself I'd do the miles as they're written and I've not shirked my duty an inkling despite the constant nagging in my hip. My goal this year is to get over that hurdle which controls the constant cycle of injury. I feel a bit like Tom Hanks after he built the raft in Castaway - I've built the raft, it's time to launch it.

How to do it? Stick to the plan. Push past the discomfort and teach the muscles that this is 'the new normal'.

And wouldn't you know it seems to be working?! WaHOOOOO!!

After a few very painful weeks, the hip seems to at last be settling down - if not settling then at least getting used to the idea that we are taking a different approach now. I've pretty much determined the cause of the hip pain to be down to a few factors that can actually be fixed with persistence:

When I was born my right leg was turned in quite badly at the hip and I had to have my legs casted to turn the hip back out. Never noticed much of an issue during all my years of ballet but many years after I stopped dancing the hip has clearly started to stiffen up again. Sort of forgot about it until I started running and getting chronic issues on the right side. Physio and I have since identified that tightness in the TFL muscle is preventing the hip from rotating correctly and overworking so I'm now constantly rolling with a tennis ball to loosen it up, and in come those 'sumo squats' (aka 'pliés in second position'!) to recover the flexibility. Tick. 

Add to that after Rukai was born by caesarean, the stitches on my right side were pinching quite a bit and I'm pretty sure they never healed properly but have left loads of scar tissue. There's most certainly an imbalance on the right side now causing general weakness straight down the chain. So what do you do for weak muscles? Strengthen them. 

So I've ratcheted up the gym routine to increase my weekly cardio (with the stepper which did wonders for my climbing), corrected my foot position on the leg press which is now absolutely targeting the 'sweet spot' on my weak glute muscles, and introduced single leg deadlifts and those sumo squats. On the road, I've kept my promise to myself and done the miles as they are written in the plan. Some of them have been mostly walking because the hip has been screaming at the start - but then I find I'm getting halfway through and able to throw a jog thrown in here and there on the 'big pain' days. Just keep moving. Relentless forward progress.

Sticking to the mileage has meant my right hip has been all over the shop so my foam roller and tennis ball have been constant companions. I'm up to nine miles on my long run which is right to plan, and yesterday I discovered the most delicious trail tucked in Epping Forest and enjoyed the first proper 'run/walk' I've done in a couple months with very little pain during nor afterwards. Better still Strava says I climbed some 700 feet so I now know where many of my Snowdon miles are going to come from ;-)

Granted, the hip is still stiff and I was keen to get the stretching and rolling in today but will have to do it when I get home. 

Returning to that that lovely trail - I had zero idea it was in there, nor was I aware of the wonderfully muddy / grassy meadow near home that I've missed for running the same route all these years. I see why I'd become a bit bored with it all and this change has fired me up even more.

It is said that "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." But I'm not crazy, I'm a runner ;-)

Until we meet again, happy trails to you all.

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