Long time, no blog.
Truth is, this post is about two weeks in the making. Long story short, I haven't been running. And when I so badly want to run but can't, I don't really want to blog about running. It has even become hard for me to read blogs of fellow runners, because although I'm happy reading about your awesome training runs and races, it saddens me just a little because I wish I could be out there doing the same thing!
Why am I wallowing in my own self-pity, you ask? Well, let's start from the beginning...
It all started when I ran all of my workouts at a faster pace than I normally do two weeks ago. I ran my tempo run at 10K race pace, and my easy and long runs at about an 8:40/mile pace (for comparison, I should be running them at closer to a 9:15/mile pace). Normally I'm usually pretty good at reigning in the speed on my easy and long runs, but I was feeling a bit discouraged about my recent race and speed workouts, so I ran my long run faster as a way of "proving myself" to myself.
Do I even need to tell you what happens next?
...Let's just say it didn't work out too well.
I took my first ice bath ever after my long run (10 miles) that Sunday, and I had barely any soreness Monday, which is my day off. On Tuesday I went out for a 3 mile easy run, and right around mile 2 is when I felt it... the all-too familiar twinge of ITBS in my lateral knee. I stopped and stretch for a quick minute, then kept running.
As you might recall, I've had a couple random twinges over the past few months, but it never came back during my next run, so I just attributed it as some sort of fluke. I took Wednesday off and went to PiYo, figuring the ITBS would be gone by Thursday. But when I went out for my easy run that day, it came back- right at mile 2 again. I stretched and then ran home, freaking out a little bit more with each step.
When I got home, I wanted to cry. Pain during two consecutive runs definitely warranted some unplanned time off, but I felt like I couldn't afford to take time off. I haven't gotten in as much quality speedwork as I'd like to, and my longest run so far has been 10 miles. But then I decided I'd rather finish this half marathon (whether or not I make my time goal) than have to drop out of it. So I reluctantly took a 5-day hiatus from running.
I was hoping I had caught this round of ITBS early on enough that I hadn't do too much damage. I was also really proud of myself for making the smart decision to take a little bit of time off (definitely not what my normal type A, extremely competitive self would have done in the past). I went for a 3 mile run the following Wednesday and didn't have any debilitating pain- a bit of tightness, but I figured it was on the mend. I went to yoga immediately after as well, and the next day my hip and leg feel great. I made plans to go for my originally scheduled 6 mile run on Friday, but vowed to take it easy and stop at the first sign of pain.
Initially, I planned to run my 6 mile run in two 3 mile loops, so that if I did need to stop, I wouldn't be too far from home. Once I got 1.5 miles in, I was feeling good, so I decided to be ambitious and run a larger loop. Stupid me... if I would have waited until the 2.5 mile mark, when my ITBS decided to make an unwanted appearance, I would have only been half a mile from home instead of 2 miles. Not only was the walk a mental struggle (some tears may have been shed), but 29 degrees with windchill is also much colder when you're walking, not running.
I've read a lot about ITBS online- research articles, Runner's World forums, you name it. But clearly I'm not an expert, so I decided to seek the help of one. I saw a sports medicine doctor at Mayo this past Tuesday and he confirmed what I already knew. He noticed that my hip muscles were weak (again, not new to me) but he also saw that my right hip is slightly higher than my left, and my right kneecap faces slightly more inward than my left. He thinks that these minor biomechanical issues are the reason I've only had problems with my right IT band. I have an appointment with a physical therapist on Monday and I'm planning on going, although I'm assuming I've already seen the majority of the exercises they're going to show me. I'm hoping they'll give me a routine to follow though, because then I'm more likely to stick to it.
I'm registered for a 10K this Sunday, but I'm planning on dropping down the 5K and taking it easy. I haven't run since last Friday, and I won't be running until the race (the elliptical and I have been spending a lot more time together, though). I'm hoping I can get this resolved so that I can run my half-marathon, which is four weeks from this Sunday. I don't know if I'll be able to make my goal time, but there will be more halfs to register for this summer. Right now I'm taking the pressure off and just focusing on getting back to doing what I love- RUNNING!
What have YOU been up to these past few weeks? Any races?
What is the longest amount of time you've been sidelined for an injury?
Have you ever sought professional help for an injury?