March 31, 2009

Battling Injuries

I ended up skipping out on the Chuckanut 50k ultra ten days ago because my hip was still 'ultra' sore from my 50k run at Dirty Duo. Almost immediately after 'the duo' I was on a plane to Germany (stories still to follow), and what ensued was a week long expedition racing style mentality where sleep was at a minimum, beer was the substance of sustenance, and sitting on transport was the order of most days. I most certainly did very little to help my injured hip get any better, and during the one run I managed during my six day drinking fest, I could feel every single step. It hurt from start to finish, but I made it 21km before calling it a day. Somewhat surprisingly it felt minimally better the following morning, but I was about to be locked back into that sitting position until returning home a few days later...with only a few beer stops along the way to break it up.

I arrived home at 3am on Thursday morning, and headed into work for noon. My one day off was supposed to be for the running of Chuckanut on the Sat. I headed down with Aaron Heidt and due to some road closures ended up having to run a water bottle up to an aid station for him. It was all worth it when I saw him blazing through the second to last aid station with a 5 1/2 minute lead! Shortly thereafter I myself had to run down the long steep descent that the racers were following. By the time I reached the bottom I was back to limping around like I'd been shot. People would look at me and say, "When did you start limping?"

"I don't wanna talk about it!"

On Sunday morning, having run only twice in over two weeks, I realized I had to get back to business. I hit up a 16km run and a 25km bike ride...and I paid dearly for it. When I hit the sack on Sunday night I was at my absolute lowest point mentally all season. So far in 09 I've run somewhere around 1200km. I have NEVER even come close to logging miles like this before and at least once a month I truly thought my body was broken and that I'd miss significant time with injury. The only thing that I feel has kept me going is that I have done a very good job at listening to my body along the way and I have not pushed through these warning signs. There were more than one runner lined up for Chuckanut the day before who confided in me that they themselves should not have been there...but they just couldn't say no to the race!

Monday was a terrible day and absolutely everything seemed to hurt. It started with my left hip, but both shins and calves were also seized up. I took the day off of training and spent most of it on either a foam roller, a myofacial ball, using 'the stick', or in an ice bath. I also got in to see my physio and having seen her just prior to The Dirty Duo she was able to confirm,

"You knocked your hip out of alignment when you fell on it during that race."

She did her thing and it seemed to feel somewhat better as I left her office an hour later. I was now aware of the fact that I could pretty much run flat and inclined terrain, but should avoid serious downhills. I was also fine on the bike, so I went about trying to get my hours in for the week.

The week went incredibly well for me, not only did I work seven straight days, but I managed to log 120km of running and 125km of biking, for 16.5hr of solid training. The best part was that I felt better by weeks end then when it began...which I have said on more than one occasion this year, in fact I even managed a 50k run and 50k ride on the Sunday to close it all out. It was not easy, and I had to be really tentative during the early stages of the week, but by Sunday I was finally running some decent downhill terrain at a decent pace once again.

I have since gotten into the habit of hitting up a ten - twenty minute ice bath after EVERY single run...and this alone seems to be helping more than every other 'recovery strategy' combined. Second to 'the ice bath' would most certainly be the recovery drinks. I mix in a scoop of Vega, with a few scoops of hemp protein powder, and top it off with six daily tabs of 'Recover Amino Power', which former Ironman world champ Peter Reid used to call his 'muscle candy'. I also stay on top of a daily fish oil supplement, and I always add in a few thermolytes after an intense workout. It's pertinent to get these fluids into your body as quickly as you can after your workout and I took this for granted for much of the year. As I sit here today, on the Tues, I am about to head in to get a sports massage, which is to say it's a hell of a lot more pain then pleasure, but I can honestly say that I haven't felt this good in well over a month...of course this could all change again tomorrow, but for now I'm gonna revel in the fact that I'm still moving forward and have fought through so much to get to this point.

88 days till Western.



Deb said...

I hear you with the injuries...I can't seem to make my plantar fasciitis go away...and recent shin issues...argh!! I wish I could do the ice bath thing but i'm a wimp or something...damn that's cold!

Anonymous said...

judging by that first picture, are you sure they aren't 'bottling injuries'?

har har

Mr MOMAR said...

Keep on doing those ice baths and you'll soon be racing in the women's category...

Heather said...

ha ha, Mr. MOMAR is funny! I hope the physio helped!I love treating hips- so complicated. It looks like you are making a big effort to heal, so you will do just fine. I wish you all the best!