July so far has been a fairly poor month for me. The day after I wrote my last update, I started feeling a really strong jabbing pain along my right leg (or, in adherence to my little game of learning anatomy as I feel it in my training, my right iliotibialtract). I had a routine morning, but when I went to get up from my chair to take my morning break, I started feeling the sharp pain in my leg. I still went on my lunch-time run, but every other stride felt like I was literally being kicked in the ass, so much to the point I almost buckled at a couple points along the route. I expected it to wear off and heal by the end of two day’s time, but it persisted throughout the past couple weeks. I did test myself a few times and ran my normal long-distance routes, and found that I could push past the pain and discomfort with relative ease. However, all physical training advice comes heavily disclaimed to take it easy and not push your body beyond reasonable limits, so I’ve been avoiding pushing the envelope as I don’t know where the line really lies.
Over the past couple days, I haven’t been feeling the pain in the IT band so much. The left knee still bugs occasionally, and every now and then I’ll feel a tiny jolt in the ankle. For the most part, it feels like I’m ready to get back to full-time training, and it’s about time — I have this bad tendency to give into the lesser version of myself nutritionally when I can’t go running, and I’ve undoubtedly got some lost ground to make up for.
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve last posted a complete measurement log update. In the time since that last update, I’ve gotten really bad about even doing the offline logging. Since I use an internet connected smart scale that logs my weight automatically, I’ve been largely deferring to that statistic. Admittedly, it’s been as demotivating as it can be inspiring. Towards the end of June, I found myself back above the 195 lb threshold. I found myself really confused by that, since by my accounts I’d been doing a pretty good job regular physical activity and hadn’t been indulging with food. I considered the possibility that some of that weight gain could be attributed to a slight increase in muscle mass, but it felt too convenient an explanation to buy into. I told myself then that that was a prime example as to why taking measurements regularly was important, to fill in the gaps that body mass weigh-ins can’t fully capture.
This past weekend, I was a bad little piggy. With all the exercise I’d been doing over the past week and a half, going on runs during my lunch break at work and then running my usual route in the evening, I’d been dealing with a slight frequency increase in the random knee/ankle pains in my left leg I’ve become prone to over the recent weeks. With my selection of wearable pants at an absolute minimum because they all fit so big now and the financial inability to go spring for new threads also becoming a big factor, I decided to let myself be completely gluttonous and lazy over the holiday weekend. I wouldn’t be surprised to step on my scale tomorrow and find that I’m once again weighing in at 196-198 lbs.
Shortcomings these past weeks identified, tomorrow is the start of a new week and a day for some serious reorientation. This past week, summer appears to have officially kicked in, and a lot of the laziness and overeating this weekend has been in response to the temperature increase…and the generally awful job I’ve been doing of staying properly hydrated. This week I’m going to make one last week focused exclusively on cardio and “double duty” running days. I bought myself an elastic sport knee brace today to help alleviate the knee pain, and I figure two weeks of this elevated activity should be sufficient to get my body adjusted to a higher performance benchmark. The week after, I’m going to start honing in on (body) weight training exercises to start building the muscle to replace all the fat I’ve been so focused on burning away.
Although I’ve still been dealing with some lingering ankle & knee pain, I’ve been able to get myself back to work on laying down more miles. Since last Thursday, I’ve been steadily running my usual 5 mile route and getting back to my lunch time walks/jogs with my co-worker. She herself has already started to shed some weight. Every day, I hear about the extra mindfulness she practices when it comes to eating and the activity she does on her own personal time; she (half) jokingly calls me her “personal trainer”.
Yesterday towards the end of the work day, I was approached by a woman that works in the same area that I do, but don’t ever interact with since we’re part of different departments. She told me that at one point earlier in the day, she’d been walking behind me and noticed how much weight I’ve lost. Today, I took a change of running clothes with me for the lunch break jaunt. Since my walking buddy strictly power walks, I decided to run ahead to the end of the route and circle back to wherever she was, then finish the rest of the walk by running back and forth and jogging in place. When we got back to the office, I headed upstairs to the locker room to get changed. Along the way, one of the acquaintances I’ve made on the floor above saw me heading in, and said that I looked like I was “bringing sexy back”. I replied with “I’m tryin’…” as we passed each other, and a few feet later turned and added “well, in all honesty, can’t bring back something that was never here to begin with, but it’s still something to work towards.”
While it’s nice to receive unprompted feedback from people that are more or less strangers, I get more satisfaction from hearing and seeing my co-worker’s health improve. I’m not an expert trainer or nutritionist, just a work in progress that’s still very much overweight but happens to run a lot, but even that’s sufficient to get her moving, and despite her slightly older age still try to get to the point where she can drop the extra pounds and keep pace with me.
And while I’m updating:
Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been missing my target “Measurement Monday” window to update the body stat tables and check in. Normally its something I give myself a lot of grief over, but out in real life, I’ve still been keeping up on “the work” and offline logging.
After spraining my ankle on Friday of last week and spending that weekend stuck on the couch and eating Mexican food I ordered in for both days, I was very reluctant to take measurements this past Monday. When days go by without going running, anything I eat feels like it has three times the caloric value than it does. After a whole two days eating Mexican food and staying put on the couch, I was expecting to find myself set back just above the 200 lb mark and remaining trapped in that plateau. Much to my pleasant surprise, the numbers showed that those two rest days did little damage. In hindsight, it was only two burritos each day, one in the morning and one at night, with a little snacking in between.
After I regained my ability to walk on Sunday night, I spent the majority of this past week wanting to go running, but settling for lunch time walks with my co-worker. Thursday evening, I decided to give taking to the streets a shot even though my ankle was still feeling a little wonky, I still managed to keep pace within my average times. Yesterday, I went for another run after doing a quick 15 minute yoga session as warm up. I woke up today feeling a slight soreness in my hamstrings from that, in addition to the knee pain and faint ankle stiffness from last week’s sprain. But when I stepped on my scale, I was pleasantly surprised by a readout out of 195 lbs, a 2.1 lb drop from Monday’s weigh-in.
Along with the excitement at the consistent progress made, in spite of dealing with an injury, there are a few couple of other implications that this morning’s weigh-in brings to the table. One of which I’m already starting to deal with is the fact that I’m starting to run out of clothes that fit. The other, slightly more off in the distance, is that I’m only 5 pounds (2-3 weeks) away from hitting the 190lb mark, the designated target weight at which I’ll allow myself to start growing my hair out again. This means I’m going to have to start dealing with putting time and money into hair care, something I’ve kind of enjoyed not having to deal with the past few years with a buzzed head.
It’s been almost a week since the sprain I gave myself last Friday. Ever since I regained my ability to walk on Sunday night, I’ve been contemplating going out on my route and just “seeing how it goes”. All week, I’ve kept myself from doing so, choosing to be responsible and give my body adequate time to heal properly.
But all this past week, I’ve been feeling extreme feelings of legitimate jealousy whenever I’ve seen people out and about running. It’s also killed my motivation — there are other forms of workouts I could have been doing, or a lot of work on personal projects I could have completed. Instead, I’ve just been doing a lot of lounging and reading in the hours not spent at the office or sleeping.
So, today, I’m going to go for it. I still feel a very faint stiffness in my ankle, but I need to get rid of this divide I’ve been feeling from myself.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve started joining one of my co-workers on her lunch time walk. She’s an older middle aged woman of a heavy body type who’s recently started getting focused on losing weight, and using my breaks for exercise instead of hanging out making conversation at the smoking area seemed like a more judicious use of my time. On Friday, I took all of my gear – sensors, armband, headphones – intent on getting some running done. I planned on running ahead in short bursts, then running back to her as she power-walked up our route, and jogging in place when making conversation.
As we exited the parking lot, I turned and started jogging backwards while encouraging her to start picking up the pace, having given her a target walking pace of 15 minutes per mile on one of our walks earlier in the week. She was wrapping up something she was doing on her phone, and when she finally looked up, she told me to watch out for the snails. I’d been jogging backwards with my gaze fixed on her the whole time, and hadn’t registered what was behind me for a good while. When I looked down, I saw the sidewalk covered in a tiny mine field of snail shells. At the same time I noticed them, my right step happened to land right on top of one, which let out a resounding crunch as it buckled under my foot. My reverse jog became a burst of blind unplanned hops to avoid stepping on any more snails, and one of my landings with my left foot ended sticking at the wrong angle; my ankle gave way and I felt my foot fold in on itself, letting out a sharp snap that almost sounded like the snail shell I’d crushed moments earlier.
My co-worker gasped, and asked with serious concern if I was okay. She’d seen and heard how violent the ankle injury had been, and her mom instinct clearly kicked in. I took a few moments to assess the ankle, and only feeling a faint tingle of pain, decided that I’d still go with her on our route. I did my running as planned, and had very little issue with the activity. However, once we finished and got back to our desks, the more the day went on, the more I found it harder to support myself or even walk using my left ankle. After work, I struggled to get about and run errands done without ceding to the pain and maintaining a normal walking stride. On my way home, I stopped at a taco shop to grab something to eat, and was very happy to finally arrive to the comfort of my couch. I elevated the ankle and applied ice to it, fully appreciating for the first time in my life the relief that applying cold to an injury.
I spent my afternoon and evening bouncing between video games and the new season of Orange is the New Black on Netflix. Saturday, I woke up still unable to walk or bear weight on my ankle. I ordered in a bunch of food for the day and Sunday, and spent my whole weekend incapacitated on the couch indulging in those distractions. I’ve been a bad little piggy this weekend, and have undoubtedly set myself back some weight loss. From the feel of it, I think I’ll be back to walking tomorrow, and run-ready by Tuesday afternoon. I eagerly await being able to get back to work.
Ah, the pains of having to break in those new shoes. The 14.6 miles of activity (thanks for the metrics, RunKeeper) and casual day-long use over the past 3 days has earned me all sorts of fun sore spots downstairs. So, I think I’ll go ahead and stick a pin in the 5 mile route today, and tend to my wounds. I suppose there are always arms and core to workout at home using body weight exercises…
Breaking in and getting used to those new shoes is not exactly a fun time on the feet. The knee pain from last week flared up a bit, but nowhere near as bad as it was. Even though I was feeling a little tender from yesterday’s run & weight training, still managed to best my record for average pace. Level up.