Injury and Recovery

I am just days away from my first half marathon of 2015 (in Vegas, no less! Hooray for Vegas!)! It’s been a bit of a rough road getting here…

In mid-January, a minor knee ache became a sudden, severe, stabbing pain. It takes a lot to make me quit a run, but that Sunday I quit after just 26 metres. I called my physiotherapist the next day and got in to see her Thursday.

My self-diagnosis was correct, and I went home with several pages of exercises for treating patellofemoral syndrome. I had fluid build-up around my knee and was still in too much pain to run.

One of the reasons I love this physiotherapist is that she isn’t satisfied simply treating the injury. She takes the time to investigate further and figure out why it happened in the first place, what caused the injury. A week later my PT watched me run on a treadmill and discovered the cause of my problem. My heel strikes in front of me instead of under me, causing my hamstring to have to work too hard to first pull my body forward before pushing off again. My glute med was weak and my leg wasn’t extending enough at the end of my stride. All of this had been going on for who knows how long and had manifested as knee pain. Yikes.

I spent the next month strengthening, foam rolling and gradually increasing my mileage again. I’m at the point now where running actually makes my knee feel better (fluid circulating with exercise says my PT), and my hips and core feel much more stable when I run. I’m a bit nervous that I only was able to safely increase my kilometres enough to get in one good 18 km long run before beginning to taper. My training plan had included a lot of big long runs and I was excited to finally be tackling my “last 5km” weakness. Instead, I will step up to this start line with the fewest training kilometres ever.

What I’m telling myself: 1. This is a non-goal race. Red Rock Canyon is a place to run and enjoy the scenery, not attempt a big goal time in their huge hills and elevation changes. 2. My husband is running his first 5K while I run the half. If I’m hurting, the excitement I have to hear about his race when I finish will help get me through. 3. Better now than in April. My spring goal race is the Saskatchewan Marathon (half marathon for me) at the end of May, so this can be a training race in preparation for that one.

A few years ago I went to a motivational speaker the night before my first 10K race. This week I will remind myself of something he said: “You’ve done all you can do. There’s nothing more you can do at this point that will prepare you more than you already are. You’re as prepared as you can be for this race, so put it out of your mind.” I’ve done all the preparation my body allowed me to do, and I’ve recovered as well as I could while still preparing to run 21.1 km. Deep breaths. And go.

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