On a recent long run, I felt like my body was falling apart. It was my third run of the week on uneven footing: areas of lighter fluffy snow, areas of packed slick snow, and areas of ice. My body was feeling pretty beat up from the unevenness of it all. The run started with some knee annoyance (oops! I shouldn't have skipped my recovery run after my tempo run, surely this is remaining from that! I told myself), at some point I had some icky sensations in my left low back, knee annoyance swapped to the opposite knee (shit!), during the final mile I had some discomfort in the back of my left knee (gah!), [guys, I had so much going on that I just had to reference my training log because I knew there was more that I was forgetting, this is obnoxious], but the thing that worried me the most during the run was my right hip flexor.
Each time one of these little niggles popped up, I checked in with my body, am I running with strong form, how am I landing, is there anything I can tune into better to allow my body to absorb the running impact better? And within a half mile or so, the niggle would disappear, phew.
But the right hip flexor. Yuck. We had been going about a mile and a half before I brought it up to Toni. At this point we were about a mile from home with 2.5 miles to go. I was unable to utilize a strong running form because the hip flexor was catching with each drive of the right leg. SHIT. If you've followed my blog forever (because apparently it's been around forever, and no one is even reading these things anymore, but I think writing is therapeutic and looking back on things is so important to me--oh I should just get a diary, you say? That might be a good idea! :P) you know that I am injury prone. I had a solid 2 years of running in late 2009-early 2011 where I was injury free, and since then, nope.
So my brain is hyper focused on injury. But at what point can I not be considered an injury prone runner? Over the last two years, I haven't needed to rest more than 2-4 days for something going on. That's pretty good right? I think strength training has been the biggest thing my body was lacking. Teaching the body how to best absorb the impact of each and every step of the run, utilizing all the muscles to propel the leg forward so that nothing is overstressed.
But on this Sunday night, my brain panicked. I finally filled Toni in that my leg hurt and it was freaking me out. As my BRF she is trying to teach me not to panic. So the fact that I left 15 minutes pass before I started to panic, I see as progress. :P I asked if we could stop to stretch, we calculated our options as I stretched. Would it be smart to just finish up the final 2.5 miles? I wanted a crystal ball to see if this was something that would be NBD tomorrow, or if I'd look back on this run two months from now and say, "damn, I wish I would've just called it quits that night." Which is totally a part of running, by the way, a total gamble. And I freakin' hate gambling.
After I stretched, we started out again, determined to get to our one mile from home marker, to decide the plan from there. And shockingly, the hip flexor pain was gone. And around this time I realized that we were running on a road that had melted. Oh. That might have some significance. We tried really hard from then on to to stay in that area and on roads that were more densely packed with snow, and that helped immensely.
I was really thankful that we stuck with it to get in the miles, as it was a mentally tough run to get through those pretend ouches. Have I mentioned lately that I'm ready for it to be spring??