This article appeared first in a newsletter from Fleet Feet Huntsville.
For a few weeks, I had a slight discomfort during and following one of my training runs. I just chalked it up to logging a lot of training miles and also my poor stretching routine.
The race (half-marathon) was about to start and the discomfort was there. "It will go away when I get warmed up.” NOT.
Through the first six miles thinking I can tough it out.
At mile 7.5 I had to stop and walk. “I’ll take it easy for a for a couple of minutes and it will get better.” NOT.
Alternating between walking and running became the routine through the last miles of the race and the pain got worse with each step. By the time I made the last turn to the finish line I was limp-running. And, when I finally crossed the finish line it was tough to put weight on that leg. Finally, I recognized something really was wrong…I know I am a little slow.
First thing Monday morning I call the doctor. I needed to find out what was going on.
Here is what I learned:
- see a doctor
- follow doctor's orders
- be patient
- you can come back
See A Doctor
I saw a doctor, Bret Franklin from Sports Med. He is a great advocate for the running community as he is a runner himself. “Stress Fracture,” that was the diagnosis, not exactly what I wanted to hear.
Follow Doctor's Orders
His orders were: don’t run for 4-6 weeks and for the first couple of weeks use crutches to get around…no weight on the injured leg. “What?” “Really?”
That is going to be frustrating. Confession, I am addicted to trying to stay in shape. A big part of my lifestyle is my workout routine. “No exercise, at my age I will never get back in shape."
I didn’t like it but I did as he prescribed.
I happen to see the doctor in a social setting and he asked how I was doing. “I’m feeling great. I think I am going to try to run tomorrow.” With a nod of the head and a few words, “I wouldn’t recommend that ” my eagerness to get back on the road was squashed.
It really was hard to not do anything. I was fortunate that after two weeks the doctor allowed me to begin to put weight on my leg do some walking and even get on a bicycle.
You Can Come Back
When the injury happens and even more so during the period of inactivity you wonder, “will I ever run again?”
The half marathon that was the tipping point on the injury occurred in April of 2016. The rest of that Spring and most of the Summer were frustrating. I didn’t log many miles and when I did they were not at my usual training paces, I didn’t feel in shape and I was always wondering if I was going to re-injure my leg.
I did keep running and was smart with my training. In the fall of 2016, I had some of my best race times ever and finished the year with a new PR in a marathon.
Hopefully, I will never have that kind of injury again but if I do I know I can survive and come out just as strong on the other side.