the longest running break

After almost a year of training, including some cross country coaching at a high school, my running life has come down to this:

A foam roller and a yoga mat.

Ugh.

I woke  up the Monday before my Sunday race in November with a pain in my left knee that I recognized from something I struggled with in my right knee when I first started running. When I look back, I probably shouldn’t have run 13 miles on it like that.

So, now three months later, I’ve probably run 1 mile total. I wake up most nights with a stiff knee. And I am beyond frustrated.

I –and the trainer I work with (at school, not personally)– am fairly sure it’s an IT band issue. So, I know what I’m supposed to be doing. The problem is that out of frustration or laziness, I haven’t been doing it.

Which brings us to last week. Running has been an incredible gift for me. I’m a better writer, sister, daughter, friend, and teacher when I’m running. I have less stress. I sleep better. I eat better. I’m just all-around a better, happier, healthier person. And I realized that part of my increased stress levels in the past month have come from this lack of exertion.

So, I’ve started. Slowly. Stretching out the side of my leg. Working with this foam roller. And trying to get back into some sort of shape so when the moment does arrive that I can run again, I will be ready.

I’ve decided upon the Nike Training Club workouts (on an app for the iPhone) and the Insanity Cardio routine. I’ve been alternating these thus far to see what my knee can take. The first week was good. I’ve targeted the key tight spots in my leg and am working on them.

Now, the keys are focus and ignoring frustration.

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