mundane adventures in running
I keep getting injured. It’s a bit of dull true fact of running. If you’re in your late thirties, you train a lot, you’re not a sports scientist, there’s always a risk of hurting yourself. The first time was achilles tendonitis, then i had a few ITB problems. A few weeks ago I fell over and bashed my knee and shoulder. When they had recovered I realised that a tendon or some such had pulled at my groin. Maybe it’s a proper groin pull, or overuse or some weird compensation from the fall. It hurts on longer runs, it hurts on hilly runs, it hurts on uneven surfaces. It hurts sporadically just walking around, tight jeans seem to make it worse (probably my imagination), sleeping on it funny makes it hurt.
I tried to do some diagnostics on it. I don’t know basic human anatomy (note to self, learn basic human anatomy). I worked out at what points in the full rotation of my leg in its socket it most hurts and where it makes the nastiest noises. If I put my right foot up onto a step and then rotate my hips, it fizzes and pops. It’s audible. I can feel the vibration of the pops properly vibrating down my femur. I have become familiar with the disconcerting chorus of crunches and grinches of my upper inner thigh, and the uneasy, nauseated feelings that come with them, but I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Even without a diagnosis, I know the solution: time off, stretch and strengthen. I don’t need any help from osteopaths and physios to know what to do.
So I am resting. I think I’m getting better at it. Once I’d decided it was a problem I stopped completely and straight away. Gentle stretching and foam rolling and that was it. Then swimming. Kicking felt like it wasn’t helping, so I stuck with front crawl and pull buoys. When the pain started to go, I resisted the temptation to start running again, and instead followed youtube videos showing how to get most our of Frog and Horse instructions. Horse hurt, so I stuck with Frog. Did some hip openers, leg twists, lower back exercises and whatnot. Foam roller seems to help too, softening up the muscles in my legs, slackening them and taking a bit of the pressure of where the tendons attach
And ice. Ice is really helping. I’ve been applying ice packs as frequently and for as long as I can. It doesn’t always work when I’m out and about, and it freaks my wife out if, in her sleep she inadvertently rolls onto an icepack I’ve taken to bed with me.
I feel very mature about this. Finally I seem to be getting a bit wiser. I’m following the standard advice we all usually ignore: listen to your body. It is working, I’ve started running again. Slowly. I resist the urge to race other people or to sprint up hills. I’m listening to my legs to work out how much I should be pushing it, and am largely ignoring my heart rate monitor. Slowly. Any serious pain, especially anything popping or pulling, I slow down my pace and up my cadence. If it gets worse i stop. That, with stretching, foam rolling, ice and the mild anaesthesia of Gin and Tonic seem to be doing the job.*
* After I wrote this I ran a silly fast 15k. So I’m officially better. Boom.