The Intervening Weeks

In the previous two installments, I covered how I think my injury happened and what was going on in life at that time.

After an exam and x-rays to rule out a stress fracture or knee damage, the orthopedist determined that I hadn’t done any major damage to my leg. He counseled me to stop running for two weeks (until my next appointment) and prescribed physical therapy twice a week for six weeks to try to rehab my bum leg. Needless to say, the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler Run was out. I started PT, stayed off the leg (running-wise), and waited until next appointment. At my first PT session, the therapist pointed out my bio-mechanical issues and strength/flexibility imbalances, which were the sources of my injury. As I had suspected, my body reached its breaking point and couldn’t compensate for those issues without treatment any longer. My optimism about the half-marathon was rapidly turning into pessimism.

photo: timtak
At that next appointment, the doc and I discussed my (SLOW) improvement. He stated that it probably wasn’t a good idea for me to run the half, even though he could patch me up so that I could. Doing so though would further delay my complete recovery for several months since my body would have to recover from the race before I could really start working on my strength/flexibility imbalance. I agreed to not run until my next appointment (scheduled for four weeks later), to continue my PT, and to do my home exercises. The doc did caution me that stress fractures can take four to six weeks to show up and that I should be attentive to any new pain or discomfort since I wasn’t completely out of the woods. I also started going to my chiropractor once a week for dry needling. As such, my leg constantly looked like it had gotten attacked by a swarm of mosquitos.

I alternately enjoyed and hated PT. I enjoyed it because I actually saw improvements and was getting to experience PT and do home exercises like we had described in my grad school project all year. I disliked the time it took. During this period, I didn’t work a full week of work between school and PT.

It was also during this time that I stopped exercising all together. For the first few weeks of PT, I tried to swing kettlebells a few days a week. After my second appointment with the orthopedist, I stopped exercising all together. Instead, I focused on school, work, and PT.

Stay tuned for the next installment.

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.