It’s been awhile since I have posted. Last year was awesome! I ran my first 50k, then 3 others, and PRed it all the same year. I ran a 50 miler, and did it with no issues. I met a group and community of runners who are small and niche, but are awesome human beings. I put in the miles, 2,200 to be exact. But the biggest thing that happened was something that I hadn’t planned on; I injured my hamstring. An injury at this point and time is not an option.
A few weeks ago, I noticed my left leg was in pain from the knee up along the IT band after 8-9 miles. I thought it was an IT band issue, and I could barely put weight on it after 13-14. Long runs were impossible, and training was slipping. I tried a few more long runs after that, and still the same issues. Finally, I threw in the towel, and said let me rest it a full week and go see an orthopedic just in case.
Lesson 1, learned the hard way: Don’t google your injury; go see a professional. Google had me thinking it was PCL tear, and I was done all year. There goes my 100 mile dreams out the door. I instantly stopped, and bided my time. After meeting with the ortho, I was diagnosed with a simple hamstring strain. The best case news ever. My RX was aleve twice a day, cut running by 25-50%, and PT for 4-6 weeks. Not too bad. He never once told me stop running, or said I run too much. In fact, he didn’t blink an eye once at the drop of a 100 mile race. His resident on the other hand was a little taken aback; this made me chuckle inside. “Yes, yes. I am that crazy runner person, and you probably won’t make me stop.” Upon leaving him, he told me that there is a PT he wants me to see as he specializes in long distance runners. With in that day, I made an appointment and was on my way to recovery!
Lesson 2: Find people who will support you and know what they are talking about. To say PT has been the most informative and rewarding experience of my life is an understatement. Upon initial consultation, I once again was not looked at as the crazy runner, even though my PT, Don, and I were quite jovial about ultra runners. Instead, I was looked at as athlete! This is something I still struggle with to this day.
Lesson 3: Just because society doesn’t look at you one way, doesn’t mean you are anything less. My PT has referred to me as athlete since day 1, and I am one. I may not be fast, have the body of a “normal” runner, but that’s not the case and I am proud of this. If you run and race and run some more, you are a runner and a athlete.
Lesson 4: Don’t let your weaknesses define you, let your weaknesses build you up strong! This has been the hardest lesson to learn. Even though I can run what some consider fast, I don’t do it well at all! At PT we analyzed my running form. The usual suspects came out. I run with a narrow gait. Literally, if there there were a tight rope while I was running, I could run on it very easily. That’s how narrow my gait is. I over pronate. I also drop my hips slightly, and my cadence (SPM) is low. But what was interesting to find is just how narrow my gait is. Every third step on my right side I cross that line, ending up cross legged for a second. To correct I swing my leg around restart a new line, and the pattern repeats. This is the biggest issue, as it’s causing undue stress on my left leg.
Its great to know all this, but what is better is how to fix it. I put in my time in running, that’s no question. Where I lack, however, is strength, particularly in my hips, abductors, and core. So my prescription is to strength train and become strong. I was really down about all this, until I realized, this happened now for a reason. It’s not to put me down or shove statistics in my face. It’s to show me where I need improvement. Sometimes, we just need a kick in our rear end to make it to that finish line.
For now, this runner is slightly down. But I’ll be damned if I am beaten and out! I will work on this, I will improve, and I will conquer this year strong. My motto is weak now strong later. 100 miles, I will destroy you before you destroy me.