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My False-Alarm Injury

This past week was a rather tumultuous one. I started out with two evening runs, which I hadn't done since switching to mornings, and they were both done in what felt like cooler, breezier weather. That part was exciting; but my pace was still slower than it used to be for weekday training runs. I was still proud of myself for pushing through the six and nine miles. But I wanted to feel stronger. So for my Wednesday night Crossboot class, I decided to ride my bike to class. I hadn't yet ridden it there since moving to a new location, so I wasn't entirely sure how long it would take. And instead of leaving early, to be on the safe side, I left with what I thought be enough time and turned over the pedals as quickly as I could on my large, weighty single-speed bike, for six miles, which took about 40 minutes.

When I finally got to class, the workout began. I was doing just fine on the warmup and nine-minute ab set, and then when we got to the main set, something happened. I was doing deadlifts with 20-lb. dumbbells in each hand. That's not a whole lot of weight, but as I've noted before, my legs aren't very strong, and this particular exercise works the legs mainly. Perhaps it's because my legs already felt overworked from my bike ride, but on my third set of deadlifts, I felt a sharp pain in my left thigh. I tried it again and felt the same pain. I asked one of the coaches, Allen, for lighter weights. Once he brought them to me, I resumed the exercise, but I still felt the same pain. I realized I could no longer do it. Allen noticed this and advised me not to continue. I tried a couple of other things to see if I could at least do some of the workout, but the pain was consistently present. So I had to stop the workout. I tried not to jump to extremes in my head, but, of course, that's what I did. In the past, this is exactly the kind of thing that would end up leading to a longterm injury, and at right about this same time in training.

Tim came to pick me up that evening so I didn't have to ride my bike home, as even that hurt my leg. I iced the sore area and tried to "massage it out," which is almost never effective, and probably always harmful on a pulled muscle. But I feel such a need to do something to fix myself. The next morning, I didn't feel any worse, but when I got to my building at work and walked up two flights of stairs, I could feel a sharp little pain in the affected thigh each time I stepped up. I spent most of the day sulking, thinking of how long I'd have to be out of training. I accepted the fact that I may be out for a week, but I wasn't yet willing to think about being away for any longer than that.

I skipped that night's run and instead pigged out at the Wine Exchange to catch the tail end of Dine Tampa Bay. If ever there was a night for a run, it was that one. Tim and I completed four courses of delicious but very filling food. I wanted someone to roll me home. In fact, I was far too uncomfortable to even think about eating that much food in one sitting again for a long, long time.

On Friday morning, I was actually feeling a lot better, but still not sure I should plan to do my long run Saturday morning. I was pretty excited, though, when I went up the stairs in my building at work and didn't feel the pain I'd felt just 24 hours prior. Also, I could sit down without feeling the pain--which is another thing I couldn't do before. I tended to feel the pain most when I was in a squat position, with my thighs parallel to the ground. When I still felt good by the end of the day, I decided I'd at least plan to run the next morning, and if it started to go badly, I'd just stop.

But it turns out that wasn't necessary. I made it through my 12 miles without pain. Because of the troubles I'd been having with energy and momentum, I'd already planned this run as a cut-back run, and it turned out to be quite a timely one. As an added bonus to successfully completing my run, I got a free post-run massage by massage therapists who were in a sports-massage certification program with UltraSports Massage Therapy Inc. The therapists were set up at the marina where the Blue Sharks runners meet, and one of the employees was encouraging runners to get massages. Many of us were hesitant because we were drenched in sweat (and I hadn't shaven my legs since the night before). But we were told that the therapists were expecting this, as they were training to work on athletes, often post-workout. So I tried to just let go of my inhibitions and accept some free body work! It was nice while it lasted--about 10 minutes. I could tell that my IT bands needed some attention, and the therapist made note of "something going on" in my thigh where I pulled the muscle. So I knew I still needed to be careful with that in the coming weeks.

Next week I plan to do a second 20-miler. I actually feel a bit refreshed in terms of running. But of course that's just my current mental state. I feel different physically from day to day. But the mentality really is so significant in training for big races, so I'm at least glad to feel an improvement there.

So I've learned that not all injuries are serious injuries, as I've come to believe in past marathon trainings that have put me on the sidelines. But that is especially true when I curtail training immediately upon feeling the muscle strain, as I have not done before. I can learn, when I'm not being stubborn.

Now for something different:

Tim, who is forever looking at his running numbers, recently told me his monthly miles run for August. This made me curious about my own, which I'd never thought to look up before. Once I realized I could easily find this data through Garmin Connect, I pulled the report:

I ran a total of 157.26 miles in August. That's pretty darn cool to look back on. And although Tim ran around the same number as I did (slightly less), his miles were run in significantly fewer hours than mine. But still, it's something to be proud of and to encourage me on for these next six weeks of training. Here's to continued injury-free training!


Stephanie said…
You moved again! Where did you move to?
B.o.B. said…
Glad the leg is better. I'm sure your 20 will go great.

Funny you posted stats b/c I did too. I only got in 119 miles this month. I'm impressed with your 157! Nice job!
Lee Davidson said…
But Beth, you're not counting your bike and swimming miles. If you did, your number would far surpass mine!

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