Thank you so, so much for the comments of support and encouragement a few of you have offered to me in various forums since my post last week. I appreciate that so much.
It's a week later, and I'm concluding Week 2 of Project: Fix Joanna. I am delighted to report solid, actual progress.
Progress Point #1: I Ran Without Pain
After posting last week, I headed out for Trial Run #1, a short out and back from my house. The run went fine, but that wasn't newsworthy; I hadn't had much pain while actively running during the whole ordeal. But, what did matter, and this is big, guys: I didn't have pain at any point following the run. This is the first time in about 9 months that I could honestly say this. Hallelujah! I repeated the run on Thursday morning, and again had no leg pain.
How? Well, I do think last week's sports massage helped a ton. But before and after these short runs, I stretched and tennis-ball-rolled the problem areas in my legs. I also took NSAIDs after both runs. Then tennis-ball and foam rolled again later that day. And the next day, just in case. I'll tennis ball & foam roll fourteen times a day if that's what it takes!
Progress Point #2: Cross Training
For about half of 2015 I was decent about going to Tuesday morning yoga. The class is great--a lot of stretching, some strengthening. You leave feeling dewy and awesome about the world. I love the class. But then I'd watch those Runner's World cross-training videos that focus on core strength and look super fun and a little intimidating, and I knew I wasn't doing enough. I'd heard of another class that was created by a runner who was sick of being injured. I thought, "hey, that sounds like me!" I was a little intimidated (the description included the word "very"). Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Off I went.
Holy. Crapballs. More than a few times I had to simply assume child's pose for a second. More than a few times my ab muscles were full on shaking. It hurt so good. And you know what? I finally nailed crow pose! Not baby crow, actual crow! Like, for a while! My friend Linda will understand what this means.
I left feeling like Runner's World would approve this as honest to goodness cross-training. The kind that actually prevents you from hurting yourself because it's focused on stretching, opening, and strengthening exactly the areas that athletes need to attend to.
Feeling a little bold from these successes, today I headed out for a slightly longer (3.5 miles), slightly faster (8:54/mile) run. It felt great. I'd planned to run slower and longer, but it's so damn fun to go fast, and dammit I miss it!! I've got my fingers thoroughly crossed to see how things feel tomorrow.
I refuse to see this lingering injury as a set back. I am taking this as a step toward long-term strength, by teaching me to identify, treat, and bounce back from a fuller range of issues, and finally teaching me once and for all that I need to actually focus on strength training. Here goes, Project: Fix Joanna, Week 3.