This week marks the return of speedwork to my life. I haven’t talked about it much, but I’ve been dealing with a mild injury for the past two weeks. Shortly after my first marathon in 2006, I noticed that my left hip was a little hinky. There wasn’t any acute pain, just a deep ache, which my dear friend and I not-so-affectionately deemed “can pain” (though this name actually came to be when she dealt with a similar injury about 6 months prior to me). Ever since then, I’ve dealt with the can pain on and off. I know, 3+ years of living with a deep bone ache is what some might call stupid. Plenty of those people would be other athletes, but those same people would also understand (at least on some level) why I’ve been so stubborn. When I started running in 2006, I fell in love. I fell in love with the power my body had, with how I could mold and shape my body, and with the feeling of accomplishment racing gave me. The thought of being sidelined was just too much to bear.
This past year has taught me so much. I’m approaching my 1st anniversary as a New Yorker, my relationship with food has improved by leaps and bounds, I’ve made some amazing friends, and I’ve learned to accept that I am mortal. This last feat has been the most challenging. Part of accepting my mortality was realizing that I’m injured. My can pain hadn’t gone away. I couldn’t out run, out elliptical or out walk it. I just had to rest it. And that’s exactly what I did. After the half marathon two weeks ago, I decided to take two weeks off. And I mean OFF. I didn’t run, stairclimb, speed walk, or do yoga. I stretched and rested.
Did I lose all of my stamina? No. I ran 5 miles on Saturday in 42:30, and that included 3 minutes of walking while I talked to my mom who visited me in the gym. Did I gain lots of weight? No. I’m still on track in my weight loss goal! Does my can still hurt? No! Well, not for the most part. I’ve found that the one action that seems to aggravate it most is long-stride walking. If I keep my strides short, it’s no problem. I’m also stretching much much more after I run so I’m hoping I’m finally really on the mend.
I’m not about to go gangbusters though, so I’ve taken it easy this week. I didn’t exercise on Sunday or Monday so I was fresh and ready to run on Tuesday at the gym. I did 2:1 intervals of 7.5:6.7 and finished off 3.1 miles in 26:30. I also walked to and from work, keeping my stride short, and stretched for 10 minutes after my workout and after I arrived home for the night.
Thanks to the blizzard yesterday, I took another rest day, but I can’t wait to get another run in today. I’m planning to limit speed work to once or twice a week, so I’ll likely do an easy 3-4 miles and follow it up with lots of stretching. Whatever I do, my focus is going to be on continuing to heal, not on breaking records.
How do you cope with injuries? Have you run through pain?