Post-Injury Running: A Love Story

This weekend posting is for runners; academics, please return in a few days for a week 1 of the quarter rant posting.

After heavy training this spring for my two half marathons in June, and continued running throughout the summer (in preparation for another half in October), I, no surprise here, injured myself.  It was no surprise because the ache in my hip area began in May or so, and I gleefully ignored it for months, despite screaming out one day during a stretch class.  Then, in late August, in the 7th mile of my regular 9 mile run, I nearly fell down the downhill portion of the trail when a sharp pain attacked me below my hip flexor.

Since then, no running (let’s just say the elliptical trainer is the most boring invention on earth, with the stationary bike a close second).  I’ve been going to a physical therapist a few times a week (he’s 6’5″, 220 pounds, with a charming, non-western U.S. accent—and, no surprise, most of his clients are women) to work on the various muscles that simply were overused all these months (the outer quad muscle, the glut, and fasciitis in my foot). 

It’s working: I’m stretching daily, and plan to take yoga (sigh) in addition to the stretch classes I’ve been attending.

{An aside about those stretch classes, geared to “seniors”–an age group I’m not yet part of: those women ROCK. I can only hope I am that nimble and strong and balanced when I’m 70 years old!}

Cute doc and I decided it’s  time to slowly start running again, and I chose to join a class of beginner runners at one of our local running stores. I signed up a few days ago: 10 Saturdays of training with coaches who will go over the basics of injury-free running, culminating in a group run at the local Christmas 5K in December.  Despite my lack of running for the last month, I was put in the “experienced” subgroup (versus the inexperienced, but active, or the fast walkers group): that was a good call.

We met for the first time today (60 women and 3 men) and it was truly an energizing, revitalizing experience. I wish I had done this a year ago: I probably would have avoided injury in the first place.  THREE coaches followed each group (so 9 coaches altogether, including 2 physical therapist/runners) as we ran for 2 minutes, then walked quickly for 2 minutes, for less than 2 miles.  They talked to us individually about our strides, breathing, body postures, speed, and adjusting to whatever injuries we were suffering from (I’m not the only runner in this “experienced” group with an injury, obviously).  Afterwards, I even learned some new stretches.  Then we were given a training guide for the week, and told that our t-shirts and water bottles would arrive next week.

I’m VERY committed to this: I want to run again (obviously no half marathon this fall, but next spring is doable), and I want to do so for a couple more decades, injury free, so I’m taking this seriously.  There were some challenges: running for barely 2 miles at a relatively slow pace was a big one. I wanted to sprint (and sprint I did for the last 20 seconds with a few others who were obviously also fighting the urge).  And running for only 2 miles: it’s almost like sex that’s too quick.  Almost.

 But, I ran with no pain, and now several hours later, still no pain.  I feel energized.  Those endorphins came back! I do love my endorphins.

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One response to “Post-Injury Running: A Love Story

  1. So glad to hear that you’re psyched and energized, Annie Em! Pain is no fun, and I know how much you love your running. You go, grrrl!

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