“Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you.”
-A wise fella
Well it didn’t take long for my whole spring to get de-railed. I’ve been having a really great running winter. My 5K time was slowly improving, I got a 10K PR and I was killing it at track (in my own way). Things were really looking good for me to have an awesome spring, so I signed up for the Providence Half Marathon and kicked up my training a notch.
After pushing myself through a tough hill workout at track, I noticed a slight pain along the outside of my left ankle. That ankle has always been a little off since I sprained it last August, so I thought nothing of it and ran a 5K the following day. It started to hurt a little more after the run, so I took a few days off. The following weekend I ran a 10K and there was no denying the pain after I finished the race. The next day I could barely walk. Being the incredible stubborn runner I am, I rested another week and a half and then ran my weekly 5K. I told myself this was a test to see if the pain increased while I ran or got better. It stayed the same which basically told me nothing about the injury. After I crossed the finish line, I was relieved the ankle didn’t feel too bad. That is, until I started walking. I could barely hobble over to get a cup of water, trying to ignore what I was feeling. The spot on my ankle was screaming and sore to the touch. Obviously my body was telling me something that I didn’t want to hear.
There are a few things you need when you have a running injury that sidelines you. You need:
- Plenty of ibuprofen (in some cases)
- Friends to talk you down
The last part I’m not so great at. It’s one of those words runners don’t want to hear, especially now when the weather is getting warmer and I see people running EVERYWHERE. I’ve been trying to do other exercises at home, but it’s hard to stay motivated since I don’t like them as much as running. This just makes me even crankier, and it has gotten pretty bad since I don’t have my main stress release to keep me sane. And no, for the last time I don’t have access to a pool!
I made the decision to see a Physical Therapist for the first time, and was I glad I did! I trust them more than doctors for this kind of thing because they really are experts when it comes to mechanics of your body. And if you find one that also runs, you really hit the jackpot. He told me there was some inflammation in the muscle due to a combination of extremely tight calves, weak glute muscles and pronation of my feet. I was aware of all these issues before, but this was the first time this perfect storm had caused me any major problems. Strengthening my hips and glutes has been a major goal this year, so this works well into my new routine.
He also asked me if I had any races coming up. What do you think? I told him I had a 5K towards the end of the month. That is most likely out. I told him about the Providence Half at the beginning of May. Unrecommended due to very high mileage. I mentioned the Ragnar relay race I have coming up mid-May. That one is doable, even though it is pushing it a bit. Luckily because I’m slow, the mileage I picked isn’t too high. And I’m already feeling loads better after this first PT session, so I’m very optimistic.
I’m making the decision to drop the May half in Providence, which is a bummer because it would have a been a nice weekend in the city I went to college in. Oh well, maybe next year. It will be better to take this time to heal up and focus on the races in the later half of spring. For now, I guess it’s back to more strengthening and cross-training. I might add in some spinning for cardio and yoga for stability. This means it’s also time to suck it up and join a gym.
This is definitely a learning experience and I’m lucky it won’t throw me too far off my marathon training goals. I could be a lot worse and I’m looking ahead to better times. But until then…I’ll just keep moving.