I’m stealing the term runfession from Marcia because I love it and I don’t think she’ll mind. So with a deep breath, here goes: I haven’t run in five weeks. I’ve kept it quiet for myriad reasons. For one, I just didn’t feel like sharing it publicly. Two, it really gets me down. Three, well, injuries are not what running blog readers really like, are they?
But it’s time to come clean, so here’s the deal: I was about eight weeks into my return from injuries and things were going ok. Not great, but ok. Nothing really returned to 100% on the injury front, but both the Achilles and high hamstring seemed manageable. I also had a persistent ache on my iliac crest (this is the foreshadowing) about which I was aware, but not overly concerned. I should have been. On a six-mile trail run, that pain ramped up big time. By the time I got home after the 10-minute drive from the trail, I knew it was pretty bad. I got into the doctor and some imaging right away and learned that I had partially ruptured my IT band at the insertion point on the iliac crest. Sounds ugly, no? It was quite painful at first, but the good news is that it has healed pretty quickly (I’m learning I prefer tears to tendonosis).
So obviously, with this cycle of injury, I would be a complete idiot not to drill down and figure out what the heck is causing all this in the first place. To look at my training, there’s nothing there. I don’t make stupid training errors or run excessive mileage. But I am definitely paying for some sins of the past.
I emailed Jay Dicharry, author of Anatomy for Running (a brilliant read by a brilliant PT) for help finding a PT in this general area who could help me really dig into what’s going on. Jay directed me to Robert Gillanders down in DC. His assessment style was completely different from any I’ve had in the past. Things we turned up included an incredibly immobile ankle, some low back stiffness and a few other things. Robert’s take is that your body will compensate for so long for shortcomings but that eventually, it will catch up to you.
So about the sin part. That stiff ankle joint that he found stems from two past sprains, one going back all the way to ’99 that I stupidly ran on as soon as I could even walk on it. There was also a lot of stiffness and scar tissue in the bottom of my foot, leftovers from a partial tear in my plantar fascia. I didn’t even know that was there or playing a part in my mobility. I ran far too long on my aching Achilles last summer. All of these things have added up to the train wreck that is now my body.
I’m going to admit to you that my biggest, deepest fear is that my running days could be over. I do think Robert is my best hope for that not to be the case. He has me doing a ton–and I mean a ton–of rehab work every day. Eccentric exercises are my middle name. Still, his recommendation is that I not return to running until I am done making compensations with my gait. I know this makes sense, but it is hard not knowing if and when I’ll get back.
I’ve mentioned losing my blogging mojo–this is clearly a big piece of that. I really do my best to keep positive and soldier on, but I quite often trip up. I’ll write when I can summon the enthusiasm but I’m not going to force it, so bear with me.
Someone tell me a Cinderella story about an injured runner–I need it!