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  • On Road to Recovery — Crawl, Walk, Run

    Posted on July 26th, 2013 Michele Sun No comments

    When I found myself getting an entry spot for New York City Marathon, I could NOT believe how lucky I was. After trying my luck with the lottery system for couple years, I had pretty much gave up the idea of running NYC in this life time already :-p. The odds and luck hasn’t been on my side, and the qualifying time is even tougher than Boston;  therefor I did not even try the lottery drawing last year and had no intention to try again this year.  To begin with I didn’t want to pay for the drawing, but most importantly I simply can’t handle the rejection any more:-( It hurts too much to get bad news of NY doesn’t want me 🙁  But then out of blue, I got a guarantee entry spot this year, how cool is that?! I was so thrilled and dumbfounded beyond words, at the same time also wondered if I want to run NYC ? It’s another big city race and  I have already had two (Tokyo and Paris) this year under my belt. Naturally I asked Max for his opinion, and he said “I would if I were you, but make sure you run a good race.” I knew exactly what he meant by “run a good race”, and he also helped to end my 30 seconds self-debate! Making him jealous about running & racing is fun :-p

    Getting into New York has changed many things for me.

    When the news came, I was seriously injured and very depressed about not able to enjoy what I love — running. I tried different workouts as alternative exercise, but with New York in the bigger picture I started looking at them as prep-work before I officially kick-off my training for New York. Despite how frustrated I was, I have started running short distance in trails as the soft surface wouldn’t hurt my hips and lower back as much, and hoping the hills work would prevent me losing my muscle strength. On Thur morning I tried to join the 5ml runs at Bayland Trail in Sunnyvale, so I would not be too anti-social just because of my injury. It’s also great to run with a friend who was tapering for Anchorage Marathon. Though I no longer log in 80 to 100 miles a month on RunKeeper like I used to, but “everything I do now is going to compliment and help my training for New York.” I do everything I can to stay mentally positive about my slow and short runs.

    There were few times that I l got panic when my hips/gluteus locked up during my runs, or my lower back and gluteus hurt again after those shorter runs, so I faithfully seek for acupuncture treatment every Monday and visit my chiropractor every Thursday. On Wed evening I practice Pilate at gym to increase my flexibility and core strength. I also looked up Youtube and found a Yoga for back pain video which I faithfully practice every evening before going to bed. I would set the iPad on the floor and just simply followed the moves, regardless I ran or not that day. For all these new “supplements” exercise, I have them on my calendar and set alarm for them, so I can reenforce myself to follow them.  I am treating recovery as part of my race training.

    While patiently waiting for recovery, a test came up — Jungle Run on Sunday July 14th, which I was in for the Half thanks to Michael for his Friends and Family entry. During the last three months, I have cut my running mileages and speed significantly, and slowly I have also lost my confidence at the same time, regardless how positive or strong headed a person I usually am. I am also getting tired of telling myself “you will be fine.” Now with a race around the corner, do I push myself to run a Half and prove that I still get it, or be humble and take this 16 weeks carefully? I confided my confusion to Max, and he told me “Put aside confidence or training schedule, it’s a matter of listening to what your body can do.” Five days before the race I took friends’ advice and dropped it from the Half to a 10K, and I am really glad that I acted wisely. I did not let my pride or ego to risk resetting all the treatments I have been doing, and kept my eyes on the bigger goal “running a good race” at New York Marathon.

    Because of this unexpected injury and long down time, and the fact that it took me so long to come back, I feel that I am starting from square one, then I got interested in how our body works as an athlete. I did some research and found an online course that I could take — “Exercise Physiology​: Understand​ing the Athlete Within” with Coursera. The course and content is really interesting, for instance I never knew how long it takes to lose our muscle mass or how to build them back. During the first two weeks, I have learned that it would take six weeks of intensive workout instead of endurance workout to build my muscle mass back. And weighted resistance will maximize the exercise benefits in terms of building muscle mass, improving performance..etc. photo (28)

    Now not only I am motivated to hit my local gym besides running outdoor, but I am also seeing endurance sport in new light as the course moves on to Fuel, Oxygen..etc..  My discovery probably is nothing new to many seasoned runners,  but guess I am just too geeky that simply love data and chart too much 🙂



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