All I want for Christmas is to run injury free, but I suppose I was a bad fox this year...
I drove to my old neighborhood on Thursday and went running in the car-less streets. Sidewalks here are still dicey. Snow and rain fell constantly and the wind never seemed to abate. I dressed properly and made my way up the cold roads and took in sights and sounds from yesteryear. My right leg never shook out and for the first time since coming back from my 50-day hiatus, I felt pain in my upper quad. Instead of running the intended hour, I stopped after 35 minutes. I could have kept going, but I'm sick of running through pain. I was hoping this day would never come and have been dreading even the idea of it. Until now, I've only had issues in my injury area and a little bit of twinge-type pain in my upper hammy. Now, the pain has crept around the leg and stands to strangle me once again. My injury area has also been more achy during the last few days (week?). My goal was to be back to 70 mile weeks by January 1 (which, I have basically done) and be healthy enough to start workouts (which, is far from being the case).
Now, I am losing the war for sure, especially if this doesn't shake out. I've advanced as far as I can - 65 mile weeks - and now I'm being pushed back. I need to correct this issue before I move forward. Days are getting longer again and spring will be here in no time. Friends try to encourage me by telling me there is plenty of time, but there really isn't. Last year at this time I was running solid 80 mile weeks and, more importantly, hitting marks in workouts. I am NOT interested in running 53 minutes this year at Cherry Blossom nor am I interested in running 15:20 for 5ks. I'm not interested in going backwards. I feel as if I am running now at a 60% level and even a modest uptick to 70% effort does not seem likely as of now.
How did I get (back) here?
The orthopedist told me to take 6 weeks off, then gradually increase mileage over the next 6-8 weeks. I took 7 weeks off and felt I did a satisfactory job at SLOWLY getting back to pre-injury mileage (which, I am still not at) over the course of the last 2 months. Could I have increased mileage even slower? Yes, I suppose you can always do this.
On Christmas Day I ran an easy hour. I didn't feel terrible, but I didn't feel awesome either. Needless to say, my leg is predictably unpredictable and it's hard to come up with a sound plan. I now have a few different options:
- take a little bit of time off and see if this goes away
- press forward, business as usual
- take an extended hiatus
I suppose I am inclined to try option #1, but that might just be fool's gold. I'm already looking past April to May and June to see whether a late spring peak might be in the cards instead of a mid-spring peak. My mind is pondering other things to, like retirement, or at least an extended vacation from the sport, but I really don't want to do that. It's incredibly frustrating to be able to run, but not able to train so my mind often wanders to the dark side.
PHOTO - Audubon Trails found on my road.