Bouncing Back

Getting back to running and exercise in general after my car accident in March has been a gradual process. Although the aching in my back is not 100% gone yet, it’s getting close and I feel like I’m finally back on track when it comes to training.

Somehow I managed to survive not running for six whole weeks. When I did start to run again, I basically felt like I was starting from scratch. I was very cautious because I knew if I pushed too much my back would flare up. At first, I mixed some half-mile jogs into a walk. My first attempt at a continuous run was frustrating due to IT band issues. Matt and I spent a weekend in Cincinnati and we always love to go for a run when we’re on vacation so we can explore. My knee began to hurt by the time I made it to two miles and the pain got so bad I had to stop half a mile after that. It figures – my back was okay but my knee wasn’t. I hadn’t been doing the necessary rehab exercises because they irritated my back. It’s amazing what a difference those exercises make and I realized I had to reintroduce them in order to run without knee pain.

My 1st attempt at a run kind of failed, but at least the scenery was nice! The Purple People Bridge between Cincinnati, OH and Newport, KY.

My 1st attempt at a run was kind of a failure, but at least the scenery was nice! The Purple People Bridge between Cincinnati, OH and Newport, KY.

For a few weeks I didn’t run more than three miles at a time. Sometimes my back ached during or after runs, so I didn’t increase the distance until I felt better. I tried to stick to the “10% rule” of not increasing my weekly mileage by much more than 10%. Last week I ran five days, did eight miles for a long run, and finally hit just over 20 miles for the week. I had no knee issues and limited back pain. I’m thrilled, especially when I think back to the days a couple months ago when running three miles was rough on my body. I love getting outside again to enjoy the weather and see lots of beautiful sights.

The Polly Ann Trail in Oxford, MI.

The Polly Ann Trail in Oxford, MI.

Rochester Municipal Park in Rochester, MI on National Running Day.

Rochester Municipal Park in Rochester, MI on National Running Day.

Rochester Municipal Park in Rochester, MI on National Running Day.

Rochester Municipal Park in Rochester, MI on National Running Day.

Plenty of deer can be spotted on the Paint Creek Trail in Rochester Hills, MI.

Plenty of deer can be spotted on the Paint Creek Trail in Rochester Hills, MI.

During a weekend trip to the Chicago area, we were fortunate enough to run on some trails at the Busse Forest Nature Preserve in Elk Grove Village, IL. I’d built up to six miles for my long run by that point which allowed me to explore a decent amount of the park.

Nice paved trails at this park in Elk Grove Village, IL.

Nice paved trails at this park in Elk Grove Village, IL.

More scenery from the park.

More scenery from the park.

Plenty of people were out biking, running, and fishing.

Plenty of people were out biking, running, and fishing.

We also took advantage of a beautiful Memorial Day weekend and went to Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township, MI for a nice bike ride. I participated in a triathlon there last summer and have been meaning to get back there. It was fun to ride on the paths along the water and watch the boats.

Lake St. Clair Metropark.

Lake St. Clair Metropark.

One of my favorite pictures from Lake St. Clair Metropark.

One of my favorite pictures from Lake St. Clair Metropark.

Beautiful weather for a bike ride.

Beautiful weather for a bike ride.

By the water.

By the water.

Although I’m back to running relatively pain-free now, it took about ten weeks for the daily aching to fade. A spot around my left shoulder blade still bugs me now and then, but at least it’s not constant anymore. I’ve done a little bit of swimming, but as I approach a mile I start to feel that spot. I still feel it a little bit during and after biking if I hunch over too much or push the resistance. Little things like holding my phone in my left hand too long or doing other things with my left arm can set it off. For the most part, I’m doing great though and hoping I’ll be completely past all of these issues soon.

I’m feeling good enough that I’m going to test myself this weekend with my first triathlon of the year. I’m going to do the First Try Triathlon in Linden, MI. Last year’s event was my first triathlon ever and it was a great experience. The race has a non-competitive “first try” division for true beginners, and a “fast try” division for non-beginners with awards available. It’s considered a “super sprint” since the distance is shorter than a full sprint. I figure the shorter distance is a good way for me to gauge what I can handle. I’ve done a few bike/run bricks that have gone well, so I know I should be able to handle the distance. I will probably be lacking in speed, but I just want to get out there and participate again. I’m hopeful that my biking will be better this year since I’ve been consistently riding 30-40 miles per week versus maybe 20 miles per week at this time last year. I used my mountain bike for this race last time, so hopefully my nicer bike will help a bit too. I haven’t been swimming enough and have just started to reintroduce speed into a few runs, so I can only hope that I’m faster on the bike to make up for potential slowness elsewhere. No matter what my speed is, I’m excited to get back to triathlons. Hopefully I will be posting about a great race experience soon!

– Janet

follow me on Twitter @reidphotography

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