Diary of an Injured Runner: Tipping Point

Photo by Eric Schmuttenmaer

It’s a day over six weeks since I officially took my seat on the d.l.  My husband Mike and I were late to my running club’s annual New Year’s Eve 13  mile run. It was an out-and-back so we figured we could run out and then if I felt like it I could circle back with  my training partners. The first half of the run climbs, but Mike and I still managed to get down to around 7:15 pace after a couple of warm-up miles. I was feeling good, but Mike knew I had been feeling a bit beat up earlier in the week and suggested I stay with him rather than run with my friends so I could dictate the pace. Of course I didn’t listen to him and as soon as I saw my training buddy Christina and Janet who I hadn’t run with in months I turned around and took off with them. They were going just a hair faster than I was before I joined up with them, but I didn’t worry about it. We were now careening down all the big hills I had just climbed. Despite upping my effort I was falling behind on the downhills so I tried to pick up the pace. I lifted my knee just as I was about to catch back up and OUCH! My butt or top of my hammy felt like it ripped. I tried to shake it off and not worry about it (ugh!), but I had to slow down. I slowed to about 7:50 pace and watched Christina and Janet pull away.

I continued on at my 7:50 pace for two more miles and then totally unconsciously my brain shut me down. I just stopped without any sort of premeditation. I tried to run again, but I could not open my stride past shuffle. Now lots of the slower runners were passing me. I felt so pathetic shuffling and reassuring everyone that passed that I was fine. It was 40 and raining so I was beginning to get very cold. I kept looking back for Mike, hoping he’d be trotting up behind me any second, but minutes passed and no sign of him. Finally one of my racing teammates Susan came up to me and insisted not only that I stop running, but also that she would walk with me until Mike showed up. Bless her heart. We walked together for a mile and finally after my 4 gimpy miles Mike came up and relieved Susan. We walked one more mile and were then greeted by a friend in a warm car who had heard about my plight and came to pick us up. I was frozen and so thankful to feel some heat!

At the post-run breakfast I told everyone not to worry about it. My piriformis had been bugging me on and off for months so I figured it just had enough and needed a good massage and a few days rest. Little did I know that 6 weeks later I would still be unable to train. New Year’s Eve did not happen in a vacuum. New Year’s Eve was the tipping point. In a single stride I went from in denial about the slight discomfort I felt on a daily basis to being forced to face the fact that something was not right in my body and needed to be addressed before I did permanent damage to myself.

Salty Running boss and mother of 3 little ones with PRs of 3:10:15 (26.2), 1:25:59 (13.1) and 18:15 (5k). I love to write about running culture, mental training, and fitting in a serious running habit with the rest of a busy life.

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