I'm on week 4 of my rehab plan!
A week ago last Tuesday I visited Matt for a second physio session. Firstly a chat about how the pain had been and how the exercises were going. He gave my back a fantastic massage and even found a rogue muscle that wanted to stay as a knotted mess. The next day I couldn't bear to touch the skin on my back, it was so sore - it felt like someone had whacked my back with one of those big bag of spuds.
Following that we ran through some more exercises a Table Plank with tilts to the count of 10, lunges (10 to 20 reps on each leg), a diagonal lunge (same rep) and finally a plank (starting at a 30 second hold, adapted to my feeble capabilities). Starting with these once a day for the next 3 days, increasing to twice a day, and then a 5 to 10 min JOG on the Saturday morning.
I was stupidly excited about going out for the first time in my running kit - slightly worried too because I didn't want to be in any pain, and didn't want any disappointment over fitness levels. I set out along the road that I started my running training on 5 years ago, not many roads to cross and fairly flat apart from the downhill on the way out and uphill (obviously) on the way back. It's also a bit dangerous as cars drive quite fast and close to the kerb so 10 mins was enough! It felt extremely weird turning back home when the stopwatch hit 5 mins and to be honest I was very tempted to carry on, but "no stick with the plan" I kept saying to myself. Another 5 mins later I was back at home, puffing and wheezing like I'd never run before. The back was fine (phew!). I then took the dog out for his walk, a very boring road walk apart from walking across a very muddy patch of "grass". By the time I got back I had excruciating pain across the middle of my back. The pain soon wore off.
Matt had suggested that I take my return to running gently and slowly, and it was also ok to introduce some Cross Trainer work, without the arms. Rest day Sunday, with just a dog walk and then go out again Monday and increase the time by 5 or 10 mins if I felt up to it. Monday's run was fine, back down the same road - reaching my 5 min turn around spot and keeping on running felt great! Another running rest day Tuesday and back out on Wednesday for a further increase to 30 minutes max. I did a different route Wednesday which felt good mentally. Still in the back of my mind is that I have to at some point make a decision about Brighton Half, and having discussed with Shaun at length we decided between us that I should try and go as far as possible to test the back muscles - Saturday was set as long run day as the weather forecast was best for the weekend. Today I set out in glorious running weather - hope race day weather is like that! It was really cold and windy and when I got to 3 miles I could feel my back starting to ache. Rather than risk it I decided to turn back and headed for home. It's still a bit achey but I have struggled to get my body temperature up so I'm hoping it's just a reaction to the cold.
I beginning to think if I can increase the miles slightly, may be back up to the 8 or 9 I was doing pre-injury Brighton Half is still do-able. Shaun is not so enthusiastic about me continuing and my Dad has said "I don't have to do it if I don't feel up to it", but I think it will be a decision I will have to make the day before race day. It's not going to be an easy decision. I know there are lots of other Half Marathons around, and other events I could take part in, but I think it's pretty borderline and even maybe a run/walk strategy for 13.1 miles will get me through. I've had fantastic support from everyone on Twitter (as usual) and I have a couple of twitter pals to run with on the day.
One thing I have learnt about this injury business is that I have to listen to my body now, which is hard but I am doing it. Today was a perfect example, normally I just keep going if something hurts - not today, I turned back as soon as the pain set in!