Okay, before I do the week review business, here's what's up. (Also, Google readers, I added tabs and puppy pics on the actual blog, also, I think it snowed?)
My PT is amazing and kind and I will be bringing him some cheesey beer bread because he stayed late on Friday to work on me. First, I laid on top of the hot thermal pad things for a while and got all nice and sweaty. Then I did this weird arm bike thing for a few minutes, but the arms are attached to the pedals, it's basically like an elliptical bike. He had me lay down on a foam roller to try and stretch things out and HOLY MCMOLY did it hurt. After a few minutes he noticed that I was laying there with tears streaming down my face and was like, "What are you doing, if it hurts, get up!" Oy. Then I had to watch some big bad ultrarunner guy get the same piriformis and hip flexor treatment that I do and, let me just say this, men are occasionally really big babies.
Anyhow, the Egyptian Magician worked on my back for a while and determined that I pulled one of my intercostal muscles. I've never heard of these muscles but apparently they are rather important, they help you breathe and twist and bend over. I was a bit relieved because earlier in the morning when I googled where it hurt I discovered that I either had a pulled muscle or was having a heart attack. The EM's been working on a problematic lat on the right side for a while - tight and weak, but not in a way that is preventative to living my life - and it was just one big giant mess of spasm. Usually when he works on me, it hurts to the point where I am cursing and sweating but this was so far beyond the point of pain that all I could manage was to lay there and let tears leak out out of my face while he hurt me. When he was done I sat up and felt like I had been through a war. But things were much looser. I'm still having a fair amount of pain, but I've been rotating through ice and heat and take Advil on a stopwatch. Best part - he said that I could run, bike, etc, as long as I took it easy and it didn't hurt. No yoga, no swimming, no upper body lifting until the pain is gone.
Thinking back (this is always a fun game), I think that 3 yoga classes PLUS 3 swim sessions in 5 days PLUS lifting arms/chest/back on the same day I went to one of those yoga classes may have helped me along towards this pulled muscle. The EM says that pulled muscles can just happen, but sometimes happen more often to tired muscles. So 50/50 shot on the universe or me just not paying close enough attention. I didn't feel tired in my upper body at all on Friday morning, but I also didn't have a great experience at a yoga class on Thursday night - complaining to the poet when I got home about being physically pushed further into positions - specifically, spinal twists - beyond my comfort level, "and that's how people get hurt!" Right.
So Saturday morning I got up nice and late after a night of ice/heat/sleep/wake up from pain & repeat. I decided to just run from home and not do the group long run because it was highly likely that I'd have to shut it down after either 10 seconds or 10 minutes. I started off real easy and slow, focusing on what my body was telling me with every single step. And after 5 minutes I felt great, so I headed towards the MV trail. And after 20 minutes I felt great, so I increased the pace just the tiniest bit. And when I hit the 5-mile mark I was still feeling great, so I cranked it up and threw in some roughly-race-pace miles, and I still felt great. I finished up with a cool down mile to total 8 for the day, the longest I've run outside since surgery, the longest I've gone without walking on a run since surgery, and definitely the longest I've run since that dreadful 8-miler than shaped the rest of 2010. I took it easy, I plugged in my tunes, and rode the trail in the sunshine. This is why I run. It's been 4 months almost exactly since surgery and I'm still working my way back, but this gave me a huge boost of confidence. Not to mention flat-out joy.
When I finished, I iced and foam rolled and ate things to calm my post-run grumpy stomach. Mr. Intercostal seemed no worse for the wear, and I'm continuing to ice and heat and ice and heat. I go back to PT on Tuesday and I'm hoping at that point I'm feeling good enough to ask about some gentle swimming and gentle yoga. We'll see.
Side note on the long run: for years I trained by myself. I ran alone or sometimes with a friend, but it's only the past 6 months or so that I've been doing workouts in packs. And I love running with friends, I love have people to chat with and push with or just hang on the back of, but I think I'm going to run alone every once in a while as well. It felt peaceful to be out, just listening to my playlist (okay, listening to one song on repeat 13 times) and to not have to worry that I was slowing anyone down or being boring or grossing someone out because I wiped snot on my shoulder for the 23847th time. A lot of my cycling training last summer was alone as well, no matter how many people I tried to drag out to ride with me, and I need both in my life. This run blew out all the spiderwebs in my head and let me do exactly what I needed to do.
Monday: 60 minutes lifting (L), 40 minutes/2000 yard swim, 60 minutes yoga
Tuesday: 40 minutes lifting (A/C/B), 50 minutes/5.26M progressive run
Wednesday: 60 minutes lifting (L), 70 minutes/7M pool run
Thursday: 70 minutes lifting (A/C/B, then at PT), 10 minutes/2.4M recumbent bike at PT, 39 minutes/4.13M run, 75 minutes yoga (yeah, this doesn't look good)
Friday: 35 minutes lifting (core), woefully abbreviated by a pulled muscle
Saturday: 1:16/8.13M long run
Sunday: 1:10/7M pool run
Mileage for the week: 31.52, including 14 in the pool. Yup, I'll take it! How was your weekend?