Facing a big race on the schedule and lots of hip pain, I had come up with a few ways to help myself and continue to prepare any way I could. I decided to stop running for a couple of weeks, bike on the trainer in zones 1 and 2, and modify my diet to eat fewer carbohydrates and more protein. After I wrote about it last week, I got some fantastic advice to stop stretching the injured area and to seek some professional help. There is nothing better than words of wisdom from others that have been down the same road. I took both pieces of advice and am much better as a result.
As I entered the second week of my break from running, I stopped stretching my hip area and, instead, gently used the foam roller. My hip started feeling better almost right away. Today, I went for treatment from a massage therapist that I see every month or so. He does myofascial release and tissue therapy. He’s helped me through other aches and pains and has been working on my glute and sciatic with some success. Today he worked on my psoas muscles, which are hip flexors. Wow, mine were crazy tight. I was on my back while he was working on them and I could feel my back relaxing as he pressed on the muscle. I’ve always known my hip flexors were tight, but I’ve only had the ilicus muscle worked on. Tight psoas muscles can cause all of the symptoms that I’m having. I’ve felt remarkably better the rest of the day and I’m hoping that maybe I’m finally getting to the root of the problem. I know I still have a lot of healing to do, but I’m optimistic that it’s going to help. I’m going to see him again next week.
I’m enjoying my base training on the bike. I know a lot of people hate the bike trainer, but it’s still new enough for me that I’m fine with it. I watched the first season of Downton Abbey and am catching up on some movies that I have been wanting to see. I miss running but am thankful that I’ve been able to still do some kind of training while I try to heal up.
The change to a lower carb diet has been challenging but enlightening. I’m not doing an Atkins-type low carb diet, just trying eat less carbs than I was before. During training for my half iron distance triathlon last summer, I was eating 50% carbs and only 15% protein. This past week, 30% of my total calories came from carbohydrates and 30% from protein. I have eaten more eggs and bacon in the last week than I have in the last decade, but I’m learning about other choices. I just picked up a low-carb cook book from the library and it looks doable. I made chocolate mousse with tofu and some healthy oatmeal cookies with Splenda. I’ve never bought tofu in my life and wasn’t sure what to expect. It was okay! Well, mixed in with whipping cream and cocoa it was okay. I’m not ready to go vegan, but I’m trying to eat better.
I feel like changing my diet is effecting the way I feel throughout the day. I don’t know if it’s just a placebo effect, but I’m encouraged enough to stick with it. The first couple of days I was hungry and craving bread and carbs, but that has gotten a lot better. I am less hungry between meals and feel fuller after a meal. I’m eating fewer calories, but I think part of that is because there are fewer appetizing choices. Before, if I was hungry right before bed I would have something sweet to eat. Now, the only choice that sounds appetizing is a protein bar. A chocolate protein bar is only 180 calories, easily a couple hundred calories less than the three cookies I would normally eat.
Even though my body isn’t where I had hoped it would be just a month before training starts, I’m trying everything that I can think of to make the best of my situation. I’m working on my hip, trying to get in some base training, and forcing myself to eat enough protein and healthy food to enable my body to heal itself. I’m happy with the progress I’ve made this week. Now, I need to decide where to go from here. I know I have more healing to do, but I think I’m going to slowly start running again. I’m in no hurry to crank out a lot of miles, so I’ll start with a couple of miles and see how it goes. This time, I will know to ice down and take care of myself afterwards. If I get sore, then I’ll take another week off and stick with the bike. I hope next week brings another positive report.