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Quick Like a Bunny

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?


13 Responses

  1. It’s such a fine line between “normal” aches after a run and serious but low-level injury, isn’t it? I’m very glad to hear that taking the time off has put an end to the worst of the can pain (ha!)

    I’ve run and exercised through pain before, and always end up kicking myself when the injury explodes in my face. Now, since I know I’m prone to certain injuries (ITB and knee issues) I up mileage and speed VERY slowly and back off when it starts to hurt. I’m also seeing a PT in the next few weeks to come up with a good preventative exercise plan and hope that keeps me running and swimming!

  2. Rest days are so important! Its great that you are listening to your body and took that week off! I find that my body always thanks me when I “do the right thing”, which isn’t necessary working out. I hope it stays better!

  3. Oh girl, I can empathize with the running injuries. Glad you took some time off and are feeling better! Yay, for a successful speed workout 🙂

  4. I wish I were better at taking rest days. I really need to start listening to my body more. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. I think it’s smart to take time off and rest. That’s what I did with my ankle injury last summer – 2 full weeks.

    BTW – I was just reading an article in this month’s Runner’s World about avoiding injuries and it talks about shortening your stride when you run (and that could apply to walking as well). Sounds like you are right on track!

  6. Sounds like you are wise to use this strategy. After all, pushing it would only aggravate your body and it will reward you by taking longer to heal. I’m not a runner so I haven’t dealt with running-related injuries, but I do remember pulling a hamstring while dancing in college and it hasn’t ever been quite the same since–I certainly didn’t take care of it. :-/

  7. Good for you to take the time off. Hopefully that pesky pain is gone for good!

  8. GOOD FOR YOU! I am terrible about injuries. I just push through which I know is NOT smart. I guess I need to learn the lesson about being mortal too. I put so much pressure on myself and I set these incredibly high standards. It is funny because I don’t expect any one else to live up to the standards I set for myself. Ugh…i hate being a perfectionist!

  9. great job speedy pants. thanks for you constant honesty.

  10. Grr…is there anything more aggravating than an injury that makes it possible (but not advisable or smart) to work out?? I have been dealing with some back pain for a few months that just got to the point (in January) that forced me to take it easy. It is truly humbling, and I am not really dealing with it as well as you seem to be. Good news is that rest IS helping…physically at least. 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. I believe in rest. Pain indicates something in the body that needs attention. I’ve run through minor hip aches but they never went away until I gave it a break for a little while. My feeling about it is, if I wear it out now, it won’t be usable later. I hope you feel better. Enjoy the snow!

  12. I definitely take rest days and take a day off if something hurts.

    Glad you are feeling better! And your 5 miles is super fast!

  13. […] I announced the winner and flew to Florida My beautiful cousin got married in Sarasota I made eggs I told you about my injuryPhew! Here’s hoping the next few weeks are more of the good and less of the […]

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