Persistence has always been my strong point. In work, in my career, and in a lot of points in life it’s done me really well. The quality has also had the negative impact of coming off as extremely annoying at time to friends/family. In fitness, though, it’s always been my perfect flaw. Perfect in the sense that I’ll keep going and I will achieve goals; but it’s also my major flaw of knowing when to stop.
Patience on the other hand is probably a very positive quality, but I would not know. It is not one I have ever possessed and, honestly, I probably never will.
This past week I’ve been struggling a lot between persistence and patience. Last weekend I was on an extreme high from running 20miles for the first time! As I mentioned in my recap, the last 5miles of the run were tough and I was experiencing some pain. However, after I foam rolled an stretched I felt fine. I even felt wonderful Monday, the next day, when I woke up! Not even really that sore! It was a momentary miracle. Monday morning I did not exercise, but I embarked on my usual 2mile walk to work. Well, by the time I got to the office I was practically limping and my knee had that same pulling pain. This was not good, especially after only walking. I was scared and part of me wanted to try, but worrying about things never help. Worrying is a reaction, not an action. What I needed was to take action. So here’s what I’ve been doing this past week:
- Resting (kinda)
- Compression (wrapping a brace tightly around my IT Band)
- Elevation (when I can, like on my couch watching TV)
- Lots of foam rolling and self massage with The Stick
- Made an appointment with the best orthopedist (for next Thursday)
Tuesday I was still in pain and I knew I could not run. I also felt like any type of cardio would have a negative effect, so I opted for yoga. I knew stretching out my muscle’s could only help and if any position was painful, I’m smart enough to know to stop :-). Yoga went well and felt good.
I had bought a voucher for a Sports Massage on RueLaLa a few months back, so I figured this was the perfect time to cash in. Sometimes I feel extremely lucky, like when I find out that the massage place I had brought the voucher at had recently moved to 1 block away from my office (yey!). I frantically emailed the masseuse asking if there was ANY time she could fit me in this week. Luckily I was able to squeeze in an appointment Tuesday afternoon (thank you work for being flexible/understanding). I went to Body Balance, where Nicole (the owner and masseuse) kindly greeted me. She asked me what kind of massage I’d like and I spilled my whole history of running/injury on her. I explained that my IT band/knee were extremely tight and I needed her help so I could run again. Nicole was awesome. She knew the exact pain I was talking about and knew where to work it out. I’m not going to lie and say it was a relaxing massage. It actually felt a little bit closer to physical torture. If the CIA is looking for an undercover agent who can undergo sever pain, I think I may have what it takes. I left in cold sweats. Nicole massages and worked out ever tiny muscle along my IT band/knee/glutes, etc. Despite the pain, I thought she was a wonderful masseuse and I’m definitely going to go back to her. She asked me what hurt and what felt OK; she really listened to my responses and did what I had asked. I had a little bit of bruising from the massage and my legs felt really sore, but they also felt looser and in less pain.
The next day (Wed) I was a bit scared to attempt a run, but I needed to run. So I went for an easy 3 mile run with my running buddy. Towards the end I started to feel the tightness and pain come on, but I did make it through the 3 miles!
Wed morning I got some bad news about my grandpa so I headed up to MA to see him and be with my family for a few days. It was really nice to be with my family, despite the circumstances and it was the perfect time to rest. Thursday/Friday I did not exercise besides some light PT hip exercises.
That brings me to today, Saturday. I obviously have not kept up with my Marathon training plan this week and I’m OK with that. However, the longest run I had on my plan for this week was 7 miles so I figured I should at least try….ehhh again my persistence doesn’t really allow “trying”…so yeah, I complete 7 miles. I ran from Murray Hill along the East River to the BK Bridge and back. The first 2 miles were tough — I felt so out of shape. By mile 3 I was feeling good, but my IT band started to get really tight. The tightness only continued to build up until I literally felt like my whole leg was a solid medal rod. It was very strange and not real comfortable. The knee pain came on last. Since I spoiled the ending I guess it’s needless to say that I pushed through. I tried focusing on my core and my stride and the pain/tightness did get a bit better as I went on. When I got home I was good girl and I stretched, rolled and iced/elevated.
As a side note, I discovered a perfect way to ice my IT band! I tried the wet, frozen towel thing, but it didn’t really work for me. I had trouble molding the towel after it was frozen. However, in a moment of genius I put water in my Sip N’ Go bottle and froze it. I then aligned the bottle vertically along my IT band and fastened it tightly with my brace wrap. Compression and icing all in one!
Later this afternoon I went to the gym in my basement to do some of my old PT exercises to strengthen my quads/hips/IT/thighs. The funny thing is, when I’m working out I don’t feel like my muscles are weak at all. I can lift and lung and do a lot of exercises that probably would have been harder to do a couple of months ago. Weak muscle’s is the only cause of my injury I can think of though — I don’t over pronate a lot (I went back to Jack Rabbit to make sure!), I’m extremely flexible and stretch A LOT….
Any who, until this pain is gone (sorry, I refuse to call it an injury) my plan is to continue to self massage A LOT, ice, stretch, take more rest days and do strengthening exercises EVERY DAY. I will not let this “thing” win.
Here’s to my temporary best friend:
…and here’s to being patient AND persistent!
QUESTION: Any advice for overcoming a tight IT Band??? Are you more patient or persistent?