I had this nice long post all written, I just needed to add the final touches. Just as I was saving it as a draft, the iPad app crashed and it was all gone. So here’s the gist of what I had written before.
I’m injured. I’ve been running for three years and this is the first time I’ve been really injured (with the exception of a stint of piriformis). I’m not sure how it happened. It could have been lack of dedicated running for a while, lack of strength work (read: weak core!), doing too much in one day. However it happened, it really sucks.
Let’s go back four weeks…I felt like the luckiest runner ever, I was spending my Christmas vacation on Vancouver Island. In my opinion, it is the most amazing place in Canada. The bonus is that it is away from the snow and ice and freezing cold. It was beautiful.
I only got two runs in before it struck. The day of run #2, I felt behind my knee aching during an easy hike. Two days later on Christmas Day, I set off for run #3, this time not in wooded trails, but alongside the ocean. I made it about a mile before I had to limp back to the hotel. I knew something was wrong, I had never felt that kind of pain before. It wasn’t excruciating, but enough to make me limp when I ran. I didn’t run again during the rest of our trip, but got a lot of walking and easy hiking in.
Once we got home and I hit the 2 week mark of no running, I knew it was time to see someone about it. I knew I probably shouldn’t run on it and it would just get better, but I wanted to know what I could be doing in the meantime. It took about 10 days to see a physiotherapist, who had a bit of trouble finding the source of my pain because it only hurt when I ran. We did end up finding it hurt if I hopped on one foot. He confirmed my Dr. Google diagnosis of hamstring tendonitis. He gave me some ice, some ultrasound therapy and some exercises. I was glad to know I could at least do some strength work without causing further damage. Here’s what we did:
- 3 sets @ 5 reps of wall squat holds with a ball
- 3 sets @ 5 reps of lunges on a stability ball that looked more like a flat pancake (again, holding the lunge like the squats)
We also did some hamstring curls on a machine and some other machine exercise that targeted my quads. At least I can avoid any exercise that involves jumping… like burpees!!! That being said, I think I need to start becoming friends with burpees this year. You know, once I’m all healed up.
I digress…yesterday, I did my full round of exercise homework, walked on the treadmill for 15 minutes and ran for a whole 5 minutes (before that, I could do about 1 1/2 minutes) before feeling discomfort. I walked another 10 minutes but couldn’t run after that.
Today marks week 4 and I’ve been feeling pain behind my knee just walking, maybe caused by the running yesterday. I definitely will not be running the half-marathon in February I had planned! The only thing I can do is be patient and continue other forms of exercise. I’ve forgotten how good proper stretching feels! I also had no idea of how out of shape I was, despite being able to run. Perhaps this little break is a blessing in disguise.
Before I sign off, I couldn’t end this little post without my story of my leg on fire (not quite literally). Before bed, I thought I’d use this roll-on cooling muscle pain reliever. It was all the way in the basement, so I decided to grab some different ointment which wasn’t as far to get (I am lazy, I know). I got it in a race package and was the same brand as the icy roll-on stuff, but was for joints. It was expired, so I smothered it all over my knee – front and back, then went to bed. About an hour later I woke up in searing pain! I read later online that there is some sort of pepper extract in it. I got myself out of bed and tried to wash it off. Later I read that you should just apply ice instead of water and that the searing pain is normal (that means it’s working!). Washing my leg did work, but then my hands were on fire. I was too tired to do anything about it, so I fell asleep dreaming of ice. I’m pretty sure there is a lesson to be learned there (e.g. read the instructions before smothering your leg in some unknown substance).