It’s All About Context

photo: esbjorn2
In Wednesday’s post, I detailed the things I that think contributed to my injury. Today, I’m going to talk about the context and my reaction to the injury immediately after it happened.

In February and early March, husband was out-of-town for work and running was keeping my mind off his absence. Focusing on my training plan and putting in my miles distracted me from my empty home and grad school work. Running also kept me from spending too much time on the couch staring at the idiot box. Running, among other things, kept me busy.

That business, however, kept me from paying attention to my body. My left hamstring issues that started in January 2010 had not gone away. I stayed up too late on week nights and struggled to get out of bed in the morning (but I was never late for work). Tree pollen came in early and my spring-time allergies flared up, albeit not as bad in years past thanks to my allergy drops. Grad school work took of the rest of my free time and added to my stress level because I was trying to do too many things each day.

On March 12–the day after the race–I was frustrated and angry at myself. I knew something wasn’t right leading up the race, but ignored all the signs that my body was trying to give to me (shin splints, sore hamstring). My goal-orientedness (is that even a word?) and determination to finally run the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler blinded me to my reality. Due to a freak week of beautiful weather for DC in early March (think 80s with almost no humidity), the runners were out in full-force between March 12 and 15 (the day of my appointment with the orthopedist). I wanted to roll down my windows to/from work and scream obscenities at them out of jealousy. I refrained, but grumbled in my car to myself nonetheless. Needless to say, I was wound a little tight and stressed out. I clung to hope that the orthopedist would have neutral, if not good news for me.

Stay tuned for the next installment.

Putting Things Together

In looking back at my training history for the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run, I think I can pinpoint a couple of things that led to my injuries. I started my plan off strong at the first of the year, but took a week off around President’s Day weekend when I flew to Atlanta to visit with family. My first run back was around 7 miles, which was more than what my plan said I should have run and definitely more miles that I should have run after taking a week off. I started to develop shin splints around this time and realized I had stopped cross training. Fast forward a week to early March, and I knew something wasn’t right. I bought a new pair of running shoes that supported my pronation and instead of slowly breaking them it, I started running in them immediately. Let’s review the series of incidents thus far:

1 week off + no easing back in + high mileage + no cross training + shin pain + immediately running in new shoes

Race PrepOn March 11, I ran the St. Patrick’s 8K. For the most part, I felt great and my splits were tracking to goal. I had some minor calf discomfort during the last 1.5 mile, but nothing unusual given my penchant for wearing three-inch heels at work. Two hours later though…pain.  I knew I was in trouble when I was trying on jeans after the race and couldn’t put weight on my left leg to take a pair off. I got out of the mall and back home as soon as possible.

Once I got home, I assessed the damage:

  • Swollen left knee
  • Difficulty putting weight on the inside of my left foot
  • Left shin and calf sore to the touch
  • Difficulty moving in general

I spent the rest of the afternoon laying in bed with ice packs on my leg and watched TV. When I woke up the next day with my leg feeling worse, I called my chiropractor on my way to work for a referral to a orthopedist. By 9 AM, I had an appointment scheduled for that Thursday. At this point, I was still optimistic that I hadn’t done major damage and could still run the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run on April 1.

Stay tuned for the next installment.