I haven’t written in this old blog for a while, because quite honestly I’ve been really bummed. Although I do enjoy complaining immensely (those of you on twitter can vouch for that), I don’t want my words to bring other people down.
So here’s what’s been happening. I started feeling severe pain in my IT Band/knee after my first (and only) 20 mile run about 6 weeks ago. With my heart set on running the Paris Marathon I’ve been trying desperately to do everything I can to get better. Unfortunately I was a little stupid from the onset — I didn’t take the advice of following complete rest once you feel pain come on and now I’m paying for it. Maybe if I did rest right after I felt pain, I’d still be in the same spot, or maybe I’d be outside right now running in this gorgeous 65 degree weather, but that I will never really know. The pain came on January 22nd and this is what my training plan has looked like since:
Sure, not a TON of running. Right away I cut my mileage back 50% — I went from running 30miles a week to 15miles. In retrospect, though, 15miles felt like barely an exercise to me, but for an average person that’s a lot of running.
Anyways, the important point: I did not give myself the chance to heal. Sure I cut back drastically on running, but even going 2 miles was just causing my IT band to tighten up more and re-injure myself. I’m sure this is often a common mistake of any athlete. Runners and athletes alike are mentally and physically programmed to push themselves. When I ran 12miles on 2/17, the last 5miles I was in excruciating pain, but instead of thinking to stop all I thought was “I need to push through this, pain is weakness leaving the body.” Ok well sure, some pain is weakness leaving the body, but the type of pain I had was pain re-entering the body. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve learned there lies a HUGE difference between pushing your limits of fitness and pushing your injury.
After 5 weeks of running on my injury, I finally came to the realization that the only thing I hadn’t tried to do to get better was actually REST. FULL COMPLETE REST. Last week, I rested. Sunday I got anxious and trotted out to attempt a run. When I felt pain come on after 2.5miles I stopped — win for getting smarter! This week I’ve continued rest.
I went back to my orthopedist last week as well for a followup from my appointment 4 weeks prior. He had prescribed PT twice a week, which I had been doing. On top of that I started to go to Dr. Levine for A.R.T and Graston. A.R.T feels good, graston leaves you looking like a monster:
The doctor was a little surprised to hear I was doing better at all, so he ordered an MRI in order to be safe and rule out any real knee damage. Today I went back to the doctor for my MRI results and the good news, there’s not rips/tears or severe damage. The MRI specialist actually told my doctor I was “exceptional.” The bad news: It still hurts to do any cardio exercise and a little bit to walk. The doctor said he saw a slight inflammation and irritation around my IT band, reconfirming that all I have it a bad case of IT band syndrom. In a final attempt, the doctor recommended a cortisone shot. I’ve read positive and negatives on getting an injection, so I asked a ton of questions to make sure it was the right choice. It was a little shot and barely any pain. It was gorgeous out today so after the cortisone shot I decided to walk the 30 blocks to work. At that point I did start to feel a weird tingle in my leg.
My plan now is to rest a couple of more days, as per doctors orders, and then try a short run outside. I’m not going to try anything heavy, just maybe 5 – 20 minutes to see how it feels, but on the onset of ANY pain I will stop.
I’m not anywhere near recovered from this IT band injury, but I have learned a lot in the process so far over the last 6 weeks. At first I freaked out. I mean literally crying, tears, depression for weeks. I’m truly not over-exaggerating, I’ve been in a terrible, awful mood. Running had become such a huge part of my life and I’d weighted so much on it. I’m slowly starting to learn that there is a life after running. That’s not to say I’m by any means planning on giving up running, but I am planning on not pushing and rushing myself to get better. Time has to just take it’s course now and I have to accept that. I may not run again for 6 months and that’s FINE. I will run again, though. I will run and I’ll run far and I’ll run fast. Even a crappy injury like this can’t totally kill my passion. It did kill my spirit for about a month, but I’m slowly climbing back.
I’ve mentioned before that in 2012 I will run a marathon and I WILL. It’s looking like Paris will not be that marathon, but there will be one. I will not reveal until I’m fully healed what marathon I have in mind, but trust me, it will be a memorable one for more reasons than I can count 🙂
I feel like this post is all over the place, but if you taking away anything, please take away this:
- Training is great, it’s exhilarating and makes you feel like you can do anything. Overtraining, though, is a real thing and it will turn that “you can do anything” feeling into “I can do nothing.” Please listen to your body when it says stop. When it says sit. When it says sleep.
- If you’re a runner, biker, swimmer: STRENGTH train, stretch, roll. The time spent doing those functions is way less than the time spent recovering from an injury.
- Sure everyone has their ups and downs, but never lose faith in yourself and what you love