Injury. The word runners fear. Or ignore.
Mid-summer of 2017 began my battle with injuries. I’m generally not one to ignore them, so once I felt plantar fasciitis in my left heel I went to a doctor. You probably know the drill: x-ray followed by cortisone shots and inserts. Advice from everyone on different things to do to relieve the pain: ice-cold water bottles, splinting the foot while asleep, foam rolling 3x/day, etc. I kept this up (with 2 more rounds of cortisone shots) so I could run the Twin Cities Marathon with my friends. The plane tickets were purchased, and t-shirts were being made. I was going to run no matter what. And run I did with tears coming down my face from the pain.
Upon my return, I went to see a friend who happens to be a physical therapist. Her first reaction was, “This is a fracture, not plantar fasciitis,” and into a boot, I went. Oh, the plans I had for my 6-week adventure in a boot. I was going to work my upper body so hard and jump on my bike. Reality: I watched a lot of Netflix and continued to eat as if I were training for long-distance races. I did have some fun while on the scooter though…
I’m cleared to run again! YAY! Training for the Berlin Marathon can start, and I have plenty of time to ramp up. I sign up with my local running club, get a coach, and make sure my shoes are ready. The first 3 weeks go wonderfully. I feel like a new person and am so happy to be outside sweating again (I live in Florida – we’re always sweating.) Then comes a beautiful Saturday in early June on mile 5 of a 9-mile run. Something feels off, almost like a pulled muscle but much worse. My right hip and groin area are on fire. I finish the run (how? No idea.), get home to shower and realize I cannot walk up the stairs. Fast forward an ER visit, regular doctor visit and specialist visit I have three different diagnoses and not one makes sense. Off I go to my favorite physical therapist who suggested an MRI to look for a hip labral tear. Turns out she’s right again. Six more weeks with not only no running, but also no spinning or stairs.
My first few runs back were 1 mile and felt good. Good because I was out there again! Not great because even a mile is tough when you’ve put on close to 15 pounds in the year of injuries, your lungs think you’re nuts, and your legs forgot to move in a run pattern. But guess what? I was coming back! For real! It’s now been 8 weeks and I ran 10 miles this past weekend. I’ve had to adjust my pace and intervals (was 10:1 and am now 4:1) however it’s ok. I’d rather be slower and healthy than back on the couch.
Advice for coming back from injury: take your time. If you are feeling impatient read this blog again because I didn’t take my time between injuries and was out longer and depression reared its ugly head. I won’t lie and tell you it’s easy to come back. I learned to love sleeping past 5:00 am on weekdays and 3:00 am on weekends. Because of weight gain, there are exactly 1 pair of shorts that fit and 2 shirts. You know what though? It’s ok because I’m doing what I love. Running.