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Going ham(string)

Diabeetes Bear, The Saddest Bear In Westwood

I’m a bit worried the Long Beach Marathon. I went through a summer of training without any problems only to begin feeling new aches and pains in the last few weeks.

First came the mystery pain in my left knee. I still did my 20 miler and felt fine. I took 3 days off from running (I haven’t done that since I was on vacation in Yosemite) to recover from the run as well as ice and let Aleve do its work. I skipped the speed workout on Tuesday and marathon pace run on Thursday. Instead, I ran 3.5 miles on Thursday and 4 miles on Saturday. A week later, the mystery knee pain was past me.

I thought I’d be fine tackling the 21-22 miler I delayed until Monday morning. That run didn’t go so well. My stomach was a mess and halfway through my left hamstring started tightening up. I shifted my gait a little and kept going. I wasn’t worried about the pain at the time. I thought it was just part of the long run. I started worrying when the pain lingered after the long run soreness went away. My hamstrings tightened as I walked down stairs. I started limping around campus.

I went back to the plan that worked for the knee (icing, etc) plus massages with the Stick. I tried doing a marathon pace run on Thursday. The pace was manageable, but my hamstring started tightening up and I stopped a few times to stretch. I went out again for an easy run on Saturday. The pain was still there.

On Sunday I bought KT Tape to see if the compression would help me recover. I don’t have pain when walking or any bruising on my thigh, but the pain starts shortly after running. On Monday evening, I set out for a 10 mile long run in a nearby hilly neighborhood. Bad idea. Midway through, I wanted to quit and was mad I’d left my cell phone. I thought about toughing it out, but I didn’t want to risk an actual strain. Still, I was 3+ miles from home. I slowly ran and walked the rest of the way but only got in 8 miles.

As I walked home, I had a lot of time to wonder why this was happening and how I could have prevented the injury. Maybe I wasn’t running enough and was undertrained for the 20+ mile long runs. Maybe I’d run too many miles in my shoes and they were worn out (likely, I’d been using them exclusively since mid-May). Maybe I should have done some strength and cross training. Maybe I need to lose some weight. Maybe two weeks before a marathon is a great time to deal with an injury.

I don’t want to go to a doctor. Frankly, I’m scared they’ll tell me not to run for a while. I don’t want to skip out on the Long Beach Marathon.

So, I’ll stick to what worked for the knee (plus KT tape). If I run later this week, it’ll be short and slow. I might skip the last hour long run I have scheduled for Saturday. I’ve bought new shoes, but don’t know if a few miles in them will be enough to break them in before next Sunday (advice?). I also have a massage scheduled for the Thursday before the marathon.

I guess these last two weeks will just be a super taper. Oh yeah, did I mention I have a cold too? Rest is even more important now.

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5 thoughts on “Going ham(string)

  1. Hang in there!

    I read somewhere that it takes 60-70 miles to break in a new pair of shoes … but maybe the break-in period varies?

    And you look [begin creepy blog-stalker voice] crazy fit in the b-day pics you recently posted, so I don’t think weight is the issue here.

    Get well soon …

    P.S. For some reason the text in your comment fields is white, which makes typing sort of difficult. Just thought you should know.

  2. matthew (trucks_here) says:

    understand your situation. on Labor Day weekend, was in Honolulu for a few days and looking forward to some scenic runs, but after two miles, in felt completely dehydrated and had to turn back. That turned out to be the start of a two-week plus sore throat/cold. still ran next day, but had a tight calf, really painful to run in. Then on top of all those, an ankle tweak and needed to do r.i.c.e. daily. Only was able to run this past wknd.
    as for advice, had issues both with running in shoes too long, and also with switching between types. takes me about three 5-milers to really get comfortable with a new shoe.
    best of luck leading up to and in marathon.

  3. Hey amiga,
    Of course it differs for everyone, but I’ve never had a good experience with changing my shoes that soon before a race. However, this was back in my XC days, maybe there is a faster turn around time now. Maybe think about just changing the insoles?

    I understand not wanting to go and see a doctor. They will probably tell you to continue doing what you’re doing and burn a hole in your pocket. However if the pain continues or gets worse I would go see a doctor. I would also be careful about overstretching it, I remember injuring my ham right before my half last year due to overstretching. However, I found a quick fix at the community acupuncture clinic. I don’t know how you feel about acupuncture, but I felt better within the week.
    I hope your injury heals and you have a great run chica, I know how frustrating injuries can be.

  4. Lori says:

    hey sis… have you tried icy hot yet? if you dont want to, just add heat later. Ice first, heat later. And im sure you’re stretching it out each day. If you need help with massaging it, let me know I believe i’m free sunday.

  5. I second Laura’s suggestion re: your new shoes. Maybe swapping the insoles for your old ones will work.

    And perhaps you can add more miles to your shoes by walking around in them? Sometimes I’ll wear newer running shoes while doing errands, even though they aren’t fashionable.

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