(If you're new here you can read the article describing my project.)
Summary: I was cleared today by my PT to 1) start using the elliptical every-other-day and 2) do some limited amounts of rope jumping. The feet feel fantastic – “perfect” even.
A couple of weeks ago I saw my PT for an assessment of my current situation. His findings were both interesting and humbling. At one point he got down into a semi-squat (feet shoulder width apart, one foot about 12” in front of the other), put all the weight on his back foot, he lifted the front foot off the floor, and then balanced on one leg. While doing this he said “Look at my knee. Look at my foot. Notice they’re steady and nice and calm. Now you do it.” So I get into the position and………..my knee is shaking all over the place…… and the muscles in my shin and foot are twitching like crazy – all in an effort to keep me balanced. If you’ve been to PT you presumably know the feeling: Something looks easy when they do it – and seems impossible when we try.
What my PT has seen is that, if Gluteus Maximus (GM) doesn’t “own” keeping you up and balanced, then the rest of the kinetic chain ends up working overtime. So the last two weeks have been a series of exercises to not only get GM stronger, but to retrain my neuro-muscular system to get GM engaged and tell the lower parts of the chain to relax. Doing these in front of a full-length mirror has been really fascinating. When I started the regimen my feet, especially Anterior Tibialis, were working like crazy. With time they’ve calmed down some, but I still have a ways to go.
I’ve continued with the core work I’ve described in previous postings. The Pedestal is the mainstay. I’ve been able to increase my time in the position from 20 seconds to a full minute. There are also some good exercises in the Pose book. A few of them are focused on hip strengthening and they’re just killers for me.
So, as I said in the Summary above, I’ve been cleared by my PT to start some activity. The elliptical is gentle enough (from a foot pounding standpoint) where I’m hoping that the movement will encourage the Intrinsic Foot Muscles (IFM) to become active and build some strength. I’d also read on the Pose forums a suggestion to jump rope to build foot, ankle, and calf strength. So that, too, got the green light from my PT. I’ll do these in a very limited fashion and see where we are in a couple of weeks. It still feels a bit strange to think of my feet as getting tired, but that really is a good description for how they feel after being on the elliptical or jumping rope.
On the one hand this seems like such a trivial step (some elliptical work and jumping rope) it’s hard to get too excited. On the other hand I know that my next half-marathon, whenever that happens to be, won’t be achieved without starting somewhere.
“The longest journey starts with a single step.” Or maybe in this case: “The journey back to running starts with one rotation on the elliptical machine.”
Remember: “Running is a privilege.”