I used to scoff at Salt Lake City gym-goers. We live in Utah, people… who wants to be sweating in a stinky basement when you could be outside in the mountains? Wellllll I had to put my foot in my mouth recently when I walked into Planet Fitness, signed my name on the dotted line, and hopped on the elliptical.
My first half marathon is coming up – eek! – this weekend, and I managed to hurt my knee about 5 weeks ago. My training was going really well, too, and I was finally starting to think I could actually run 13.1 miles! But the pain in my knee cap, once it started, got worse until I couldn’t train through it anymore. Now I’m not so sure I can run 13.1 miles… but I think I’m still going to try. Hence my new BFF: the elliptical.
I did most of my workouts on the elliptical during college and the few years afterwards. I had a lot of knee pain then, similar to what I have now, and even had knee surgery in 2009. It’s really just been the past year that my knee has let me get back into running. I never hated the gym, but I’ve really fallen back in love with running in the past year, and the thought of trading in my weekend trail runs for a blinking machine was really hard!
I’ve been trying to make the elliptical fit my half marathon training plan – doing 4-5 workouts a week, and doing the same duration as I would have if I were running. That means usually 30-40 minutes a day, but also means a “long run” on the weekends. 90 minutes of dripping sweat onto the elliptical… that was my Sunday morning! But you know what? It hasn’t been that bad! I think my Kindle makes it just slightly bearable. (Did I mention I read A Tale of Two Cities in a week?) It also doesn’t hurt that I’m definitely half asleep for the first half of my workout.
My knee has been feeling fine, and often it actually feels better after a workout. This weekend I tried out a 3 mile run to see how my knee could handle it, and came to the conclusion that it probably won’t keep me from jogging the whole race this weekend (knock on wood!). My prediction is that the first half of the race will be fun, and the second half will be HARD. I was also unreasonably sore after my little 3 mile run, so don’t count on me going down any stairs come Monday!
I should also mention I’ve been icing and foam rolling like crazy, and have gotten a few massages to loosen the muscles of my left quad. I found an awesome massage school in Salt Lake that has super discounted prices – $25 for 50 minutes with a student masseuse – now that’s a bargain! I’ve got another massage tomorrow, and if it buys me even 1 more pain-free mile on Sunday, it will be worth it.
Sooo wish me luck on Sunday… and tomorrow morning at 6 AM when I’m on the elliptical!