I missed several days of running last month, making a huge mess of my beautifully laid out NYC marathon training plan. 45 percent of the blame lies in a seriously tough work schedule the first two weeks of September (those of you who have anything to do with NY Fashion Week can offer a knowing nod here) and the other 65 percent goes to an angry left hip. (Noticing my math skills? I’m sure I’m not the only person who gives 110% when training for a marathon…)
I had some incredibly positive long runs heading into September. My pacing was great, my body felt sound, and mentally I was flying high. Then a nagging little popping sensation showed up in my left hip and put a wrench in the whole thing. I had hoped the crazy work schedule—which prevented me from hitting my (almost) daily runs and forced me to skip a long run altogether, would give my hip a much needed break. But now that I’m attempting to build back up and finish out my long runs before the taper, I’m realizing a slow September didn’t offer much relief. My hip still hurts.
I’ve officially gone OTP (off the plan), and I don’t know if this new run-until-it hurts-then-stop routine will get me to the start line on Staten Island on 4 November. At this point, I think I have two options:
Forget my time goal and just run the marathon slow—walking if necessary to be kind to my hip. (And set my sights on next season.)
Cancel my marathon plans altogether, so I don’t risk any more damage—physical or mental, because not finishing would be really depressing. (And set my sights on next season.)
Remember when I mentioned my bird-like arms? (How could you forget? I talk about how weak they are all the time.) In a recent effort to give them a little more girth, I hit up Stacy’s Bootcamp in Central Park. But while getting a dose of much needed upper body work, I discovered that I have no control over my hips.
Imagine, crab-crawling your way across a gorgeously bricked section of Central Park. The sun is shining. Birds are chirping. Sounds nice, right? Now, add to that scene one seriously buff, totally tough woman who won’t stop yelling, “Get your hips up, Kim!” And suddenly you’re no longer an extra in a Disney film.
I don’t know why, but my hips just don’t want to tilt up towards the sky when I’m back on all fours. They have no problem heading in that direction when I’m in a downward dog, and I’ve never had trouble convincing them to shake on the dance floor. You might guess that they simply don’t care for shellfish, but they went their own way during the bear crawls, too. I heard Stacy shout, “Get your hips down, Kim!” several times. (Geez, lady, make up your mind.)
Luckily, there were lots of other moves that morning that didn’t cause Stacy to comment on my hips. Namely, walking lunges, sprints up a set of stairs, walking lunges, jumping jacks, walking lunges, mountains climbers… Did I mention the walking lunges? All in all, it was a phenomenal workout and a lovely way to spend my cross-training day.
Have you ever been to a boot camp? Are you more motivated when there’s a trainer standing over you?
Yesterday my quads were sore again. It felt like I’d run another marathon over the weekend—only I hadn’t. I’m being good about sticking to my recovery plan and easing back into running. I did my scheduled light run last night anyway, thinking maybe the muscles needed a little exercise to loosen up. Three miles of trails later (soft ground is easier on your body than pavement), my legs still hurt and going down a flight of stairs was no picnic.
This morning, I was reaching for a pair of pants I haven’t worn since last summer and remembered they were hemmed to be worn with heels. That’s when and it dawned on me—I wore cowboy boots that make me an inch and a half taller all day on Sunday. That’s why my quads are so sore! High heels throw your body out of alignment. To be able to walk in them without falling, you have to thrust your pelvis forward, which puts stress on your lower back and engages your legs muscles, from your calves up to your quads and glutes. I’d given them up during marathon training when I started having shin pain. So now, my body is used to being in flats and even walking around (and standing in a museum for a few hours) with the slightest lift gave my thighs a major workout.
Still, heels make my legs look hot! So I have two options: I can walk around in flats for the rest of my life, or I can go into training to be able to wear high ones again. (I’ll be wearing the ones in this photo to a friend’s wedding in October, so the choice has been made.)
Would you give up sexy stilettos and kitten heels to improve your running?
Originally posted in Running With It on Shape.com.