Saturday, September 21, 2013

Coming Back Stronger

I've been avoiding writing this post for a while. I've been discouraged and so I didn't know what to say without coming across slightly angry and bitter - even though I know I did what was right for me.

Let me explain. If you were following my (extremely rare) posts before, you know that I was training for my first marathon at the end of August. As you may have guessed by now, that did not happen.

In mid-July, I went on a long training mile - 16 miles to be specific. That was farther than I had gone before. Things started off good and then my hips tightened up. Now, that's not unusual, but my right hip in particular just got tighter. And tighter. And then it started locking up. I began altering my gait and I knew I had a problem. The dreaded ITBS (Iliotibial Band Syndrome) had struck, as it does with so many runners. I ended up walking the last mile or so for a total run of 16.6 miles.

Now, before I go on, I will say that I am extremely proud of myself for going so far. It was - and will probably be for a while - my longest distance I have ever run. I never imagined I could run far at all, but I can! And I will continue on.

A few days after my long run, my hip was feeling better. I went out for a shorter run (just over 5 miles), but I could feel my hip starting to lock up again in the first mile or so. I knew then I would not be running a marathon this year. I was sad but as I was running I came to this conclusion and I knew it was for the best. Running can be quite therapeutic when it's you and your thoughts alone on the road.

The following weekend I ran a 10k (Run for Women in Calgary), and even though I again had tightness and pain in my hip, I actually got a PR! I ran the 10k in 1:11:56, beating my 10k time from May by over 5 minutes! Unfortunately, my hip was in rough shape after that, so I took some time off running. Six or so weeks, actually. There were some hard days, not really knowing what would happen, but I needed that break.

Instead of running a marathon at the end of August, I transferred my registration to a half marathon and then transferred it again to my husband. I volunteered as a course marshall instead (which was awesome - I highly recommend everyone volunteer once in a while, as it is a great experience).

Now, here we are, in mid-September and I'll be honest. I've been nervous to get back into running. I wanted to run, but I was scared I would be a mile into my first run back and my hip would hurt again. I was very lucky to win a free month of run coaching on Twitter (thanks to Coach Scott Fishman for the opportunity to work with him!). I am feeling confident that this is exactly what I need right now to come back to running, stronger than before. I can build up my mileage again, safely, and hopefully avoid injury.

After today's lactate threshold run, I will be one week back into running! So far I am feeling good (thanks to my foam roller and The Stick for helping keep my hip limber) and overall I'm really happy to be running again. I never thought I would say this - I love running. It makes me feel so good, physically and mentally. I may not be a super fast runner, but I am excited to see what lies ahead for me.

I have signed up for the Tinkerbell 10k (Saturday) and Tinkerbell Half Marathon (Sunday) in Disneyland mid-January, so I will be focusing on those races for now. I do still want to try a marathon one day, maybe next year, but I'm not worried. We'll see what happens! For now I am just happy to be running again.

Did you have an injury setback? How did you handle it and were you nervous coming back again? I'd love to hear your stories!

Until next time...