I have read that 82% of all runners get injured. None of us ever think that it will happen to us. This is my take on what happens when it does. ** Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert on running injuries, I just know how my recent injury affected me. I want to share that experience with you.
Last fall, I was finally starting to feel confident about my running. I was racing hard and pushing myself to run faster. I ran a half in mid October without major issues. 2 weeks later, I ran the Tulsa Run 15K. It was cold that morning. The course was flat for the most part with a long hill at the finish. For some reason, I have more trouble with flat courses than I do with hilly ones. I ran out fast, way too fast. By the halfway turn around I was hurting but I kept going. At mile 6, I saw a friend who was watching the race. I asked her for advil, she didn't have any :( I told her I wasn't sure I could finish. But I did. This was probably the beginning of my injury. 3 weeks later, I ran the Route 66. I did the first 2 legs of the marathon relay. I wanted to get to the relay exchange at a decent time and I was feeling good that morning, so again, I pushed myself. I had blisters on both feet but I got there at 1:50 which was amazing for me! I went on to finish the last 2.5 miles of the half marathon after I handed off the chip. I got a PR of 2:29 that day despite the blisters. I was still feeling good after the race and stayed to watch my relay team and friends finish. By mid afternoon, my IT band was tight; it was painful to walk but I thought I could "shake it off".
I wasn't going to race again for a while, but I was convinced to run a half with my husband and friends 3 weeks later. I wasn't really mentally prepared for that race. At approximately mile 3, I knew it was going to be a rough go. My IT band/knee was hurting so badly. I ran as much as I could and walked when I had to. I ended up walking most of this race from the turn around back to the finish. I thought about crawling......literally! I even thought about stopping and in retrospect, I should have. But I willed myself to finish. I took it easy the rest of the month and thought that rest would take care of it.
Spring half marathon training started in early January. I went out with my group on the first day but couldn't even make it 5 miles! I was angry and discouraged! I continued to nurse the injury for the month of January but it wasn't getting any better and I was beginning to think that I wouldn't run again. I was losing hope. Then, I decided to go see a chiropractor, who specializes in sports medicine and injuries. He treats many runners including several of my friends. He immediately got down to the root of the problem and I quickly saw progress. The most important thing that he did for me was give me hope that I would be running again.
He diagnosed me with a leg length discrepancy and weak glute/hip muscles resulting in medial collapse. He gave me a cork lift for my shoe, did ART (active release technique), dry needling, and kinesio taping. He taught me exercises to strengthen my weak stabilizer muscles and correct my gait/form issues. I also had my gait reanalyzed at Fleet Feet Sports Tulsa and it was determined that I needed a stability shoe. I got a pretty sweet pair of Brooks Ravenna that I affectionately call my "magic shoes" Additionally, I started doing yoga and foam rolling every day, even if I wasn't really hurting. Gradually, the pain began to resolve and I was able to increase my distance.
All this time, I was trapped in the "injury cycle" I would try to run then I would have pain. Eventually, the fear set in. I was afraid to run because I was afraid it would hurt and I would re injure myself. I was becoming depressed and losing confidence FAST! Now, even though I have made some corrections and am able to run longer distances without pain, I'm still a little nervous about my upcoming half. The most I have run up to this point is 10 miles. My coaches think I can do the 13.1 and I know in the back of my mind that I can. I still have a little sniggling of doubt. Hopefully I can get over that before Saturday. I just need to take a little bit of my own medicine and trust my training.
Have you ever had a running injury??
How did it affect you??