Tapering while Injured

Another injury post….I’ve spent the last two weeks, since my last post, resting, slowly easing back into running, working long days, traveling, and stressing about what will happen on October 28.

The weekend before last was my low point. After getting over my disappointment at not being able to do my 22-mile long run and enter the taper period properly, I turned a corner. On Sunday and Monday my hip/quad began to feel a lot better. I think the foam rolling and my new Tiger Tail helped a lot. I ran just under three miles on Tuesday. I was conscious of my hip feeling “off” during the run, although I wouldn’t describe it as painful. I certainly wasn’t 100%, but I was already much better than I had been just a few days prior.

On Wednesday I had a second doctor appointment with a new orthopedist, and that was a much better experience than I had with my first doctor. This doctor listened to my symptoms, moved my legs and hips around to test mobility and measure symmetry, asked questions, checked out my spine, and took some x-rays. I got to review my x-rays with him immediately, and he said that my hip joint looks good, my legs are the same length (!), I have a touch of scoliosis but it’s not significant, and there are no signs of a labral tear. A stress fracture wouldn’t show up in an x-ray but he thought that was unlikely, and I do too. My diagnosis is tendonitis brought on my overuse, which is about what I suspected; the hip abductor muscles reach around from the back to the quad, and he said it is common for pain to be “referred” which is why I felt like the pain was moving all over. He recommended heavy doses of ibuprofen to calm inflammation…and more rest. If I’m not better in a month, I can go back for an MRI.

I was so happy to learn that it’s nothing serious and I don’t have any major joint or alignment issues. The doctor said doing core-strengthening exercises will help, which I have been doing every day, and that stretching is good and yoga is fine but to be careful and stay away from lunges. After the marathon I want to get back into yoga classes regularly and also start doing pilates regularly to increase core strength over the long-term. The doctor said bicycling is fine, which is great since I love my bike commute and want to try spinning after the marathon. My doctor was very impressed by the special inserts I wear in my running shoes, so I’ve got that going for me.

In the midst of all this I also had a major work trip, which messed up my running schedule but that was a good thing. Last Thursday, before the trip, I went for a six-mile run. My quad felt tight and stiff but seemed to loosen up after I warmed up and it didn’t bother me that much. The run felt glorious: perfect cool fall weather, a trip around the monuments, and a chance to feel like my old self again.

From Friday through Wednesday I was traveling for work and didn’t have much time to run. My hotel gym didn’t open until 6am and meetings started most days at 7am. I tried a short run very early Saturday morning but it didn’t go great; the Las Vegas strip is a horrible place to run. I hated everything about Vegas. On Sunday morning I did four miles on the hotel treadmill but it didn’t feel great, and I didn’t try to run again on this trip, not that my schedule would have let me, anyway. Every day I did core work and stretching in my hotel room, and began to stress about being both injured and unprepared for the marathon.

Now I am feeling incredibly grateful to be back in DC, yet uncertain about whether I am running this marathon or not. Ibuprofen, foam rolling, and light stretching all seem to be helping a lot but I know I am not 100%. I know that it is possible to run with tendonitis, although not ideal, and running the marathon now will probably mean a total break from running for much, if not all, of November or even longer; is it worth it?

I’m also worried now about being mentally unprepared to run long, since so much time has passed now. I will try to run this weekend, although I also wonder if I should not run at all until the big day and hope that every additional day of rest helps. Mentally, I don’t think I can do that.

I don’t want a long-term injury. I want to run many more races in the future, including another go at Marine Corps after a complete, injury-free training cycle. But it’s too late to defer this one so I might as well pick up my packet and then see how I feel next weekend. I could take it slow and try a run/walk strategy, so I can at least experience the race, although I imagine that even 26.2 miles of easy running will still be hard on my hip.

Here’s hoping for a week of quick healing.

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One thought on “Tapering while Injured

  1. Pingback: It’s Just One Day | Kathy Q. Runs

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