May 3, 2013

Injured, Down and Out

As I alluded to in my last post, I am injured, and under doctor's orders not to run right now.

Really, I'm embarrassed, because I should have gotten treatment for this almost a year and a half ago.  Back in November 2011, I ran in the Silver Strand Half Marathon.  During this race, I got a pain in my left leg that I wrote was in my glute.  I didn't think much of it at the time, but it never went away. For my next race, the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon, I ended up buying compression shorts at the expo, and have worn them for most of my long runs since. Looking back over my blog, I wrote about this very issue on December 1, 2011...again, almost a year and a half ago.  Why haven't I gotten better?  Well, I've run through it. In fact, I've run about 1000 miles since that injury, each time in pain.  Sometimes the pain wasn't too bad, other times it was excruciating, but it was always there, during every run. I thought it was sciatic nerve pain.

Finally, last week, I went to a new chiropractor. I went in thinking it was sciatic nerve pain and wanted to explore nerve flossing with him. Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather with what he said: it wasn't the sciatic nerve. Yes, my sciatic nerve was affected, but I was having hamstring issues.  This was also affecting my hip and glutes.  He wanted me stop running to properly heal. I agreed, but said there was a half marathon that weekend that I wanted run. He said he was afraid of that (he treats a lot of runners and knows us well!) and said I could run it, but then I'd have to stop running and let myself heal.

So last week I didn't run at all until the La Jolla Half Marathon on Sunday. As I wrote in my recap, I was in pain with almost every step. As that race has a LOT of uphill, my injury was aggravated more than ever. At around mile 10, I made a hard decision---that I would listen to my doctors (I am seeing a husband/wife team).  I would not run and take the time to heal properly, however long that would take. I need to get better. It's awful running in pain--and the worst part is that it's not fun anymore. Yes, I just wrote that: running isn't fun anymore. I love it, but it's too painful. I need to heal and be able to run pain-free again. 

When I went in this week, after the race, they found I'm in even worse shape. Now my connector (hamstrings to knee) is also affected, in addition to my hamstring, glute and hip. And my right leg, which is my good leg, is looking a bit sore, since it's compensating so much.  As of this week, I'm also restricted from biking, in addition to running. I asked this morning if I could bike this weekend (I had a very hilly 50 miler mapped out, in preparation for my first century ride in a few weeks). The conversation didn't go very well:

Me: Can I bike this weekend?
Doctor: No. Why, what did you have in mind?
Me: A very hilly 50 mile ride.
Doctor: {laughing} No. No way.
Me: Why? Biking really just affects my quads.
Doctor: Do you clip in? Well, then you're also working your hamstrings.

He agreed I could try a short, flat ride this weekend....I will bike the local lake,which is 5 miles and mostly flat. I asked if I could do two loops....he said try one and see how I feel, but not to press my luck.

So, that's where I stand right now. I'm under orders to not to run or bike. I AM allowed to swim and aqua jog, as long as it doesn't hurt. Yesterday I went to the pool and strapped on my flotation belt and ran in the water.  When I did it really hard, it hurt, so I did it nice and easy--not sure what fitness I got out of it, but it felt good to move my legs in a running motion.  I'm also supposed to be using my foam roller, icing, and stretching. Additionally, I got a massage in their clinic yesterday, and plan on more to come.

I may have to adjust my race schedule, too, which sucks, because not only have I paid the money for these races but I've been looking forward to them.  Here's my tentative plan:

Patriot Run 5k: This is a 5k I signed up to do with my son in a few weeks. My husband also signed up with our daughter; the plan was for me to run with our son while my husband walked with our daughter and pushed her in the jogging stroller when necessary. It looks like I'll be the one walking and pushing our daughter, which is sad because I really enjoy running races with my 9-year old. But, there are many more 5ks to do with him someday.

San Diego Century This was going to be my first century ride (103 miles), and it's coming up on June 1. While I haven't put in as much training for it as I would have liked (life and family have had bigger priorities on recent weekends) I HAVE been training for it.  I signed up for this race to do something on the bike that scared me. Well, even without doing the ride I have already done this---I have biked Scripps Poway Parkway, a local MOUNTAIN in San Diego that is included in the century, and that has always been a monster in my head. I have biked this part 3 times so far. It's steep, it's long, and it's hard, but I've done it.  And I'm enjoying the bike more. With my injury, and the fact that I haven't been able to train as much recently, it looks like I won't be doing the full century. The ride also includes a 25-mile, a 37-mile, and 66-mile option.  I'm hoping I can at least do the 25 miler, if not the 37 or the 66.  We'll see how I heal in the next few weeks and what my doctor says.  I'd like to do SOMETHING, as I've been looking forward to it and have paid for it.  I can do another full century another time if need be.

Jump! Aquathlon: This race, at which I would jump off a boat, swim, and then run, is at the end of June. I guess worst case scenario I just jump and swim, and DNF (do not finish) the rest of the race. I wonder if I can walk the 10k, or maybe even just walk one of the 3 laps. I will write to the race directors about this in June if it looks like I won't be able to run 10k (6.2 miles) at that point. But if I can only jump and swim, that will still be the fun (and scary!) part of the race.

America's Finest City Half Marathon: This is the last race I am concerned about.  It's the last half marathon in a series of 3 (along with Carlsbad and La Jolla) and completing it would earn me an extra "Triple Crown" medal.  But if I can't run it, I won't do it at all. I can always do Carlsbad (a race I love and want to run again regardless) and La Jolla (a race I didn't love but KNOW I can do better at--I need redemption!) again next year and earn the Triple Crown in 2014.

Everything else on my race schedule after that is either a non-issue (ie I have a swim race in September) or so far in the future that my doctors assure me I should be able to run (ie the Divas Half Marathon in December).

I'm looking at this long-term....yes, it's awful not to be able to do what I want to do right now, but I want to be able to run (and bike and swim) far in the future. Most runners get injured at some point, and this is my time. Rest now will hopefully make me better in the long run (pun intended).  That being said, I'm already feeling grumpy and cranky from not getting my usual fix of runner's high and endorphins, so hopefully the healing will be quick!

10 comments:

  1. Hang in there! Sounds like you have a plan and there will be some short term pain for long term gain. It is so hard to listen to our bodies. I've been there. Stick at it and it will be so worth it. Imagine how much faster you will go when you arent in pain anymore. :-)

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  2. Oh no! Injuries do stink. I am a really conservative runner because I try to avoid injury as much as possible, but I too am battling a bit of one since my marathon. It's hard to not run! I've been given the clear to lightly go out an run but nothing hard core right now *sigh* Hopefully you heal fast - I do agree, take the time to heal now so you will be fresh to be back out later. :)

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  3. BUMMER. I am sorry to hear this. I'm in the same boat with runner's knee in both knees. Specialist ordered me to stop all lower body activities for the next 6 weeks. I'm bummed. The weather is really nice here and this is the time of year I start biking to work. :( But like you I'm trying to focus on long term and not get depressed about the short term!

    Hang in there lady!!

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  4. Who would have thought that resting would be one of the hardest things we have to do? But it is. You will look back on this time and be thankful for the healing. Take care, Sugar ::)

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  5. Sorry I hadnt read this til now. So sorry, but the only thing I can share is after my Dr. put me "on the shelf" I came back to set my overall marathon PR. Sometimes a forced rest is a good thing.

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  6. booo. Sorry to hear about that. Glad to hear that you have a doctor heading you on the road to recover though!

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  7. Sorry girl, I know how much you love doing what you do. You gotta get better so you can return, which means listening to that doctor. You'll get through it and return even stronger :)

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  8. Well, now I totally feel like a wuss for complaining about my blisters. This is a bummer, Shug, but you seem to be handling it with a great attitude. Better to heal now and get it over with than to force things and either get hurt worse or run in pain for years.

    I'm still debating whether or not to do Carlsbad in January. I have a busy fall race schedule that includes (maybe) the New Year's Run in LA on 1/4/14. I keep hearing great things about Carlsbad, though.

    Take care, rest, and get better!

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  9. I'm so sorry you're injured. Hang in there. It will get better!

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