Imbalanced

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

This is the saddest gym selfie I've ever taken.

I will be seeing my chiropractor on a weekly basis until my hamstring issue gets resolved. I saw her last week as a follow-up after the Monumental Marathon and she confirmed that my hamstrings are shot. There's a huge imbalance between the strength in my quads and the strength in my glutes and hamstrings from all of the miles I've put in. In her words, the muscles are "weak" and hearing that was a bullet to the heart because I've always thought I had such strong, powerful legs (it was the only thing that made me feel better about my legs not being long and skinny).

I took a fitness class in college and specifically stayed late one day to ask the instructor about what I should be doing for my legs. I told him that I didn't love the fact that my legs were extremely muscular (though I do now) and wanted to know what kind of strength training I could do to "tone" them without adding bulk. He told me not to worry about using weights or strength training my lower body at all. He said that cardio from walking and the elliptical would give them the only workout they needed. 

And I believed him because well, he was a professional trainer.

Ever since then (and up until last month) I did very little by way of strength training my lower body. I did lunges and squats a few times a week, but not much else because why do that to yourself if you "don't have to"? I used the extra gym time to blast out more cardio.

And now look? My leg strength is disproportionate. 

I seriously outta call up that instructor. I have a few choice words for him.

Ladies, heed my warning. Lifting weights will not make you bulky. Resistance training will make you strong. We want to be strong. We don't want soft, weak bodies. Your muscles are no different than a man's, so lift like one. If I see you holding 3 pound weights at the gym, I'll come slap them out of your hands.

I'm sidelined from major running and miserable. 

I have the green light to run, but I can't go more than 3 miles at a time and I have to stop and walk in between each mile (as in, stop and walk voluntarily. I looked at her blankly for a few seconds because it sounded like a foreign language). I've been doing this for the past week and guess what? It still hurts. I'm in pain. And I usually cry each time because I'm feeling suuuuuuuper sorry for myself.

I feel like Ricky Bobby right now. I want to go fast, but I can't. 

In true Courtney fashion, I'm being completely dramatic about the whole thing, but this is the first time I've been legitimately injured as a runner and it suuuuuuuuuuuuucks. Clayton keeps telling me that I should enjoy the forced break and that I should embrace the opportunity to pause and heal. 

Ya, that's not how I work.

So every time I work out, I have to consciously choose my health and well-being over my ego. Because if I let my ego and pride make all my decisions, I'd be busting out my usual 5 or 6 mile runs and putting myself in jeopardy of a major injury that could keep me out of the running game for MONTHS instead of weeks. 

When really, I couldn't ask for a better time to take a "break". I'm coming right off of a big race and I don't have another one until the spring. We're going into the winter months which means my mileage decreases anyway. I'm not currently training for anything. It's the right time to cut back.

*Sigh* So that's an update on my body. If you need me, I'll be busy strengthening these hammies.

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1 comments

  1. One of my friends back home had the same exact problem last year - she is a major runner, and was having huge problems with her hips. She actually went to a running specialist/clinic they have at a local college (who even knew??) and the lead doctor there told her that her hammies were totally shot and her quads were way overdeveloped. She had a series of stretches she had to do every day 2-3x, and she couldn't run for at least a month...might've even been 6 weeks. She said the doc told her we all do those strength training exercises - the lunges, the squats - and we end up overcompensating for the fact that our hamstrings are not strong enough to get us out of the move, and we compensate with our quads. Ever since then, I've made a conscious effort to really make sure when i do lunges and squats to push up with my hamstrings and glutes. It's HARD, but I do it.

    Hope you're mending well and can get back on the trails sooner rather than later!!!! Sucks to be sidelined by injury!!!!!

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