Friday, 15 October 2010

Hemel Hempstead 17 miler and Injury, 28th February 2010

So I find myself sitting at home on Easter weekend writing up some long overdue race reports and blogs. For reasons I shall go on to explain, this picture is wrong on two counts:

1)     I should have written them up a long time ago (they are a month overdue)
2)     I shouldn’t be at home, but instead hiking and running around the hills of Snowdonia with Oli and Jay on a training weekend that we have all been looking forward to for ages.

After a great race in South Devon on the Saturday and a not so great 9 hours driving, Oli and I set out on the somewhat shorter journey to Hemel Hempstead.  The weather we had been hoping to avoid the day before had well and truly caught up with us, and it was miserable. Freezing cold, driving rain that wasn’t quite sure whether it wanted to sleet or snow, so it did both, just to be sure.

With the aim of nothing other than a run to help build endurance, I still somehow found myself setting out with Lotte, Kev and Oli at the start, with the latter two soon disappearing off into the rain ahead. Whilst running with Lotte, everything felt fine, if not a little damp, but still good.  While we weren’t exactly pushing along at anything special, we had soon built up to something between 8 – 8.5 min miles and I felt ok. Slowly however, as the rain trickled down off my top onto the tops of my legs, I began to feel a small niggle at the top of my left leg. Nothing out of the ordinary, but noticeable. I tried to stretch out my stride a little to see if that would help, but on any downhill it started to hurt. The pain grew, and on one downhill I found I could no longer stay with Lotte as she pulled away. At about mile 8, I had slowed considerably and was beginning to think about calling it a day. As my left hamstring started to tighten I knew something was wrong.

At the 10 mile checkpoint I decided to pull out, feeling something seriously wasn’t right, and moreover since my pace had slowed, I had started to get seriously cold.  I sat in the marshall’s car soaked through waiting to be driven back to the start and was absolutely frozen. It took a good ten minutes of sitting in my own car with full heaters on (seat heaters included) covered in towels before I stopped shivering uncontrollably. Some rest was needed. At least I was out of the rain, and the misery was over….over until the tirade of bullying began from Lotte – reminding me that on my watch it only in fact read 9.82 miles, (all I could manage) and the pink bow given out to all runners at the start for me in fact signified the fact that I was a quitter….hmm.

So what had I done? After a week of only cycling and swimming, I went to Pure Sports the following week to get it checked out, initial diagnosis of strained psoas.  With poor core stability and hip control, the distances I had been running had caused me to compensate, over the long distances (yes Lotte, 9.82 miles is a long way for some) I had been lucky to last until now without injury. It had however started to settle down, and on the Thursday I went for some physio.  With a series of corrective exercises focussing on my core stability and glute control/activation.   I was told that I could start to run again easing myself back into my routine.  She did however advise against the 32 mile Haworth Hobble planned that weekend. I went to test it out on the Friday, but after 4 minutes, the pain had come back, BIG TIME. In a foul mood I took the weekend off exercise completely. I went again to the physio the following week.   Due to the fact it was unclear what exactly was aggravating the injury, the physio recommended I resumed cycling and swimming  (with a pull buoy) to see whether it aggravated it.  She wanted me to continue to work on my exercises then run in to the next appointment to see how I was holding up.  So after another week of just cycling , swimming and some massage I ran in, optimistic. The pain around my hip was more in my adductor now and less across my hip flexor and although it took longer to set in, after 1.5 miles it was pretty noticeable.  Possible diagnosis now is anything from a tear in my adductor, to a strain/tearing of the tendons around my adductor or even osteitis pubis.  I have more physio and massage booked for next week and an appointment with Dr. Cath once more to try and clear it up. I could be looking at simply continuing my rehab as is, or a scan with steroid injections….so we will see.
Although I am still allowed to cycle and swim, I have once again, (despite the fact it is driving me literally insane) taken the weekend for complete rest.  As such we have regrettably cancelled our team training weekend in Snowdonia, and to date I have missed two races I was really looking forward to. I have now not run for 5 weeks.

Not being able to exercise due to something I can barely even notice most of the time is incredibly frustrating but I have decided for my own sanity (if not that of those around me), to remain positive.  I might not have nailed that ‘positive outlook’ just yet, but I’m working on it.   Complete rest is what my body needs now to get this sorted. I have managed to work on my swimming, and my cycling has begun to come along well again. When full rehab is complete, I will come back a better athlete than before, with a stronger core and more developed muscle control. The down time also is allowing me a chance to concentrate on those aspects of training that are all too often neglected. With a lower training load, and not much else to think about I can really focus on being strict with my diet, and also really get some good sleep in. At least for now!

The pink ‘quitter’ bow from the Hemel race I now have pinned to my rucksack.  It reminds me that ‘quitting’ in this instance was the right decision (god knows what I would have done to myself running a further 7 miles) and is a continual reminder to not lose focus on my recovery. When I can once again run 9.82 miles, (or perhaps even further!) I will take it off…

….things could be worse, here is a picture of my leg one week after spiral fracture to the fibula, almost two years ago to the day! This injury was what spurred me into the world of endurance sport!

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