08 January 2014

Goals On Hold

I haven't had much luck in the staying-injury-free arena as of late. I don't think I did anything seriously wrong from a marathon training perspective, but I do think pushing myself harder and longer on trails may have played a role.

After the ankle sprain everything seemed to be fine for a month or so. I ran Berkeley Half and CIM without any problems and even had a great race and PR at CIM. Unfortunately, when I went back to running following my 10 day post-CIM break I found myself with a strange new hip pain that I couldn't shake. I didn't run much, took strings of days off, and used the elliptical without any real healing progress. And then for my big dumb move, I did a couple of tough trail runs that resulted in more pain. I'm not really sure why I did that; denial maybe, or just the fact that I love it and wanted to run with friends. I thought it would all go away on its own. Wrong.

I got to a point where it would hurt really bad after any runs involving hills, so much that I couldn't actually pick up my left leg to go up stairs. No matter how much I didn't want to admit it, I was in pretty bad shape after the SFM Ambassador run. I finally realized this wasn't going away easily.

Today I finally saw my doctor about this, and her diagnosis is a tendon strain in the hip/groin area. On the bright side, my X-rays were normal so it's not caused by any weird structural defect in my hips. The healing plan is Ibuprofen for 10 days to get the inflammation down, rest especially from anything involving climbing, elliptical for exercise, and Physical Therapy. She said I might be able to add in some flat run courses to keep my sanity, but be careful doing it when I'm on the Ibuprofen because it'll mask pain.

I know this isn't the worst thing ever, and I'm allowed to do activity so that's awesome. The hard part is knowing my big goal for the year was to ramp up on trail running and to run the Big Basin 50K in early June. I wanted to start base building on trails now, and just thinking about it stresses me out. We'll see how the healing process goes, but I'm letting myself be open to the idea of pushing the 50K goal out farther until I truly know things are in better shape for a big distance + hard terrain training cycle. I have to be honest and admit to myself that I might not be back to trail running for a while. It's hard to let the immediate goal, not to mention my love of trail running, go.

As for the Tinkerbell Half, I'm not sure yet. Doctor's take is that she understands if I want to try it since it's a flat road course, but be aware that running a half near the beginning of my healing period could make healing take longer. Oh, and it might hurt a lot so there's that.

That's where I am. Have you had to give up big goals for an injury? How do you stay positive and motivated?

34 comments:

  1. Oh no! I'm sorry to hear about your injury! Staying motivated and positive can be really tough. Two years ago my knee swelled up for an unknown reason and I could barely walk, let alone run. I focused on what I could do...upper body strength, core, swimming and nutrition. Best of luck and hope you heal up soon!

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    1. Such good advice, doing what you can do. Maybe I'll try to add some swimming or body pump. Thank you!

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  2. Sorry to hear this! I know you just wanna keep running. Sometimes reaching our goals just take a little longer than we expected, but it will happen eventually.

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    1. Yes I DO want to keep running! But I get it. Thanks for the encouragement - if not this year, another year!

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  3. Sorry to hear it, but sounds like you're being smart now re: races for this year. Hope your hip is better after some rest! Maybe you can run the Golden Hills Trail Marathon with me in October?

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    1. Thanks, trying really hard to be smart. :) Golden Hills might be a great goal! Maybe trail marathon this year and 50K down the road is a good start.

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  4. Boo! Hiss! Sounds like you have a good plan to nip it in the bud, though

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  5. I agree with Runner Leana -- as a gymnast in my teens and twenties I was always suffering from an injury in some area, we just played rotate the body part(y). We worked hard on the skills we could work on while the other bits of our body healed and once better, we enjoyed the benefits that came from those randomly acquired areas of focus.

    If your body says you shouldn't be climbing hills, then do other stuff that doesn't hurt 'til you can. And, of course, remember that your heart and lungs and skeleton are attached to everything you do, so as long as you keep them healthy, you'll be in good shape when the legs heal.

    Also, my heart goes out to you about pushing through the pain. The other upside of having been an always-injured gymnast (there is no other kind, in case you were wondering) is that I've pushed through so many injuries and suffered the negative results of pushing myself too far so many times in my youth that as a recreational athlete adult, I dial it back quick-fast as soon as there's any hint of any *real* injury (and possibly when it's just a passing non-injury but I can't be totally sure). I hear your frustration with yourself for pushing it too far on this one, but I encourage you to embrace the idea that you were simply following the typical human tendency (i.e. don't blame yourself). We all have to learn how to recognize where our limits may be. And it's hard. Especially when we are improving and enjoying the benefits associated with the improvement.

    Happy Healing!

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    1. Oh wow, being a gymnast sounds crazy on the injury front. Thanks for the encouragement, much appreciated.

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  6. That sucks! I know what you mean about injuries though, there's a fine line between a normal soreness and something you actually need to take time off to fix. Don't beat yourself up too much about not going to the doctor earlier. The good thing about trail running is that the softer surfaces make it is easier on your body when you come back. Maybe instead of the 50K you could see if the race offers a 30K or half or something if it comes to that? Don't sweat it, fix yourself up. Running will be here when you come back.

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    1. Thanks. :) Good call, trail is softer for sure. I might go for a shorter distance and then do the 50K later in the year.

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  7. Sorry Paulette! Injuries are a tough pill to swallow no matter how severe or minor they are. Take some time off, it will be worth it in the long run. You don't want to be wishing you took more time off later in the year if your hip is still bothering you. Fix it now and get it over with, it will pay off for the rest of the year. Hope it heals quickly and smoothly!

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    1. Yes, it seem so silly to be upset over such a minor thing, but I am. Thanks for the advice - very true. :)

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  8. Boo. :( I'm rehabbing a knee injury too, and it's been sad to not run as much. I just tell myself that taking it easy now and doing physical therapy means that I get to enjoy my knees longer down the road. I'm sure the time off will do wonders for your hips, and you'll be running the trails again in no time!

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    1. Oh NO I didn't know you were going to PT! But yes, let's rest now and be better in the long run. Sigh.

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  9. Oooh, sorry to hear about your injury! Not sure if it'll help, but to stay motivated I think about the people that cannot walk or run, physically, and I remember to be grateful that I can (even if I can't while injured). Cheesy, slightly...but it puts things into perspective and to remember to not take our ability to use our legs for granted! Wishing you the best recovery possible and a speedy one at that!

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    1. I love that point, I just tell myself you may be bummed about trail running, but nothing is REALLY wrong. Not cheesy at all. :)

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  10. Argh!! I'm so sorry! We need to meet up for a "gimpy leg won't let me run" drink.

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  11. Sorry about this. Be good to yourself (mentally!) and rest up.

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    1. Thanks Rene. :) Will try, will try.

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  12. That is a bummer about the hip strain, at least it isn't something worse. Taking 10 days off seems pretty minor to me. Maybe just ease into hill training next time you try it? I basically lost all of my 2011 running year due to runners knee and a strained meniscus, so I know about injuries all too well. Finally now I think I am basically healthy.

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    1. Yes for sure, 10 days off isn't bad at all. Even if I can't hill train for the 50K right away, I'd rather be running flat than not at all! Sorry to hear you have had such an injury situation, hopefully you stay healthy now. :)

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  13. Sorry to hear about your hip :( I hope you heal fast! Maybe if the 50k in June is not in the cards, a fall one is!

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    1. Thanks. Agree, hoping a fall one might work out!

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  14. Not sure how far the race is from your Ohio family BUT Dances With dirt 50k in Hell, MI is in late September and it's one I'm doing. Also on BIG hills in Ultras people typically hike them to conserve energy. From what I'm hearing any walking in a 50 k normal

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    1. Oh yes, I'm a hill hiker for sure. I'm not good enough to run them up. :) I've done well on trail for the past 1.5 years or so, but only half marathon or shorter distances. And I would love to run DWD in Hell, I used to live in Ann Arbor! That one is totally on my list, or Run Woodstock 50K (that event was my first trail half in 2009.) GREAT idea!

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    2. I believe Woodstock is the weekend before DWD Hell. If you decide to do DWD let me know and I'll be sure to say hi. It will be my first ever ultra. I'm a 2:07 PR half pace so you'd only be a few hours ahead of me finishing :) We plan to arrive Friday night for packet, camp out, race sat, Camp out sat night then depart sunday morning. Making a full weekend of it.

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  15. So sorry, Paulette :( You're smart to take it easy and let your body recover! One thing that's helped me through injuries is yoga - it keeps your body feeling strong like no other exercise does, and it also helps with all the crazy mental stuff that happens when you're sidelined. Hang in there! You'll be back stronger than ever :D

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  16. ACK! I feel like you have been pretty lucky since I have been following you with no injuries. I am sorry to here about this but 10 days is not bad at all!!! That sounds pretty short to me so I would just rest those 10 days not to push out the healing process any longer! Keep your head up...it will pass! and you have plenty of time!

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    1. I've definitely been lucky! I'm not upset about 10 days off at all, and I'm so happy I'll be able to start flat running again then. I won't be back on trails for a couple of months, but that's ok. Thanks!

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  17. Sorry to hear Paulette :( I'm coping with some new knee pain that started after CIM as well. I'm pretty bummed because it is looking like I won't be training for Napa Valley Marathon as planned.

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    1. Oh no, post CIM pain for you too? I hope you heal fast, so sorry to hear about Napa. :(

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