* ‘Once a Runner’ by John L. Parker (A great book, read it!)
Post-Brighton Half has been a frustrating time. I managed to exacerbate an injury I had been nursing for a few weeks, which I think occurred at the Bowiethon marathon I ran in mid February just two weeks before. I made what was a dull ache post-marathon into a stabbing pain during an interval workout a week later. I should have stopped and it should have been part of easier, shorter runs anyway to recover properly and fully. I can only blame myself really.
I saw sense and rested for four days before Brighton when the pain intensified but then went for it; I had a really great race, ran a huge personal best, and paid the price immediately after with an almost crippling pain in my lower abdomen which made just walking painful. Thankfully after a few days rest, and some anti-inflammatories, I could get around without any unsettling deep breathing, but jogging let alone running caused pain. I did some cross training on our exercise bike instead and waited a massive five whole days before trying to run again, which I managed with a very light three mile jog with Claire. But it still didn’t feel right during the run and when I tried to run on the Sunday it was painful again and I had to turn back after less than half a mile.
I took more pills and in my naivety/stubbornness/stupidity tried to run again on Monday night and was back, in less than 5 minutes. I was now half convinced I had either a sports hernia or a stress fracture of my pelvis (I blame the internet). I got the proper strop on and wasted an evening, and one of Claire’s, feeling sorry for myself and thinking about all the running I was going to miss, the fitness I would lose, the weight I’d put on etc. etc. It didn’t help that my last run had been such a good one, a kind of breakthrough even with a slew of personal bests, and now I couldn’t crack on and aim for the next goal. All the gains I’d made were going to slip away… ((cue overblown orchestral music and faint sobbing noises))
Luckily a nights sleep and some gentle encouragement from Claire (she’s a saint) made me start thinking of what I could do to actually fix things rather than mope. I had picked up a knee/IT band/hip issue at the end of 2015 and had used my work’s health cover to get a physio assessment and support which had solved the problem. I decided to swallow my morals again (yuck) and use private healthcare to try and get things sorted. That was a bit more difficult this time however, as it wasn’t a straight forward musculoskeletal injury so I had to see a GP first (to ensure it wasn’t anything to do with my internal organs or other health issue ). A quick visit to work’s private GP (I’m going to hell), some questions and a couple of prods and I was referred.
The next day I had a phone consultation with a physio and after a very involved chat about all my symptoms (and a lot of puzzled sounding ‘right’s and ‘ok’s) he seemed to think he’d worked it out. With all my running and racing recently (a hilly, trail marathon; a full-on parkrun; a fairly hilly marathon; and then a fast [for me] half marathon in just over 5 weeks) I had overloading my lower abdominal muscles And strained them (I didn’t know I had any). The cure; a rest from running and building those muscles back up so they could take the strain.
The rest part means I can’t do the Dartford marathon this weekend, which is a shame but the organisers where very nice about it and let me defer my entry (at no extra cost) to 2018. The building the muscles up has meant twice daily doses of leg lowering exercises to strengthen my lower abs (or just find them…). I was warned by the physio that they would be hard on their on, let alone with the injury, and he wasn’t wrong! They are painful and tough but that’s probably why I need to do them, my core isn’t strong enough to withstand all the running I’ve put it through.
I’m happy to say though it’s only been 3 days and I’ve noticed a marked and swift improvement. The general pain has subsided a lot and only occurs with extreme movements. Also the odd quick jog I’ve had to do (to avoid murderous traffic and catch the train you understand) has caused discomfort rather than pain. I’m going to keep smashing out the exercises religiously and top that off with some cycling and hope things keep improving.
You can remind me of this giddy optimism when I am crying to you in a few weeks time, but for the moment I feel guardedly optimistic and hope this is just a blip rather than prolonged lay off. I just need to ‘Be Cool’ and not get ahead of myself and push things so they break again. Easy to say, but I find hard to do… Here’s hoping.
Thanks for listening Adam 🙂