I would say that overall I am a pretty anxious person.
I am always worrying and definitely have some OCD qualities. I believe this carries into my running and my fear of injuries. Since I am constantly dealing with some sort of issue, I freak out any time something starts to bother me even a little bit. There are extremes of people who ignore pain and will run on a stress fracture…and then there is the other end of the extreme of people like me who are convinced their running career is over because of a small twinge. To better show how this process typically goes down in my head, I thought I would share some of my thoughts that I put together earlier this week. (Note: I had originally titled this “Thoughts of a Possibly-Injured Runner” because at the time I was convinced I was injured. I changed it because as I reread it I realized the post will be more about my anxiety than injury)
THOUGHTS OF AN ANXIOUS RUNNER
As I am typing this post I’m not sure if I have intentions of posting it. If you are reading it, that means I decided it was worth sharing. It’s Monday afternoon, and as you may have been able to guess from the title of this post, I’m possibly injured.“What in the world does that even mean?” you may be thinking. Well I am about to take you into a really scary place…the inside of the head of a runner who is suddenly faced with the possibility of an injury.
This morning I went on my Garmin-free 5 mile run, and everything was fine. Over the weekend in Maine I had noticed my left hamstring was getting annoyed about all the hills. I didn’t really blame it- they were rough. But it wasn’t really hurting and I foam rolled after my run and things were fine. I took a rest day Sunday and went for a walk. Everything was still fine. At the end of today’s run I noticed it a little but I wouldn’t call it painful or problematic.
After my run today I did my usual cool down routine and foam rolled, focusing a little more on that pesky spot as well as the whole hip/glute area around it. I started to notice that the top of my hamstring was bothering me a little more…which was unusual post- run. I used ice for a few minutes just to be safe.
As the day went on that little spot where my hamstring and butt intersect (I’m sure you have a nice visual now) got increasingly angry. Kind of a burning feeling but really annoying and I would go so far as to say slightly painful. It takes alot for me to call something painful. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain and don’t usually complain about aches and pain post run.
So I called my chiro and he can see me this afternoon so I’m just waiting for that appointment and hope for some answers. Of course I have heard terrible stories about hamstring problems especially “high hamstring tendonitis” (don’t google it if you have this type of pain, its super depressing). I am trying to stay positive because somehow my chiro always has a simple answer or some magic trick that makes me feel a million times better. He has also never told me to not run…if he says that today we will know it’s bad.
My emotions have been all over the place today and I think I have gone through all thee typical stages of an injury in the past 4 hours. From anger to regret to frustration to guilt to sadness to denial to confusion and back to anger. I haven’t quite made it to acceptance yet. We don’t need to get there just yet.
I am envisioning weeks or months out of running and cancelling my fall marathon plans. Yup all of these thoughts and I don’t even know if I’m injured. I guess the best case is I just tweaked something small and I’m being dramatic and some ART will fix me all up. Wishful thinking.
I am already thinking about what I did wrong…and besides the hills (which are probably partly to blame) I was also living a very different lifestyle this weekend. I barely touched a vegetable, didn’t drink enough water, had alcohol every day, and ate foods I haven’t eaten in months. If this isn’t scientific proof of the benefits of clean eating I don’t know what is.
Well I hope you enjoyed that little glimpse inside the mind of a possibly injured runner…and I will hopefully continue this post in a few hours with some more info.
Ok so fast forward to Monday evening.
I went to my chiro and while he asked me a bunch of questions that I felt like I gave terrible answers for (“Is it sharp?” “uh, I don’t know, a little, not really”) he did some ART and graston and I asked him what he was working on and he said ischial tuberosity…the place where the hamstrings connect. When he was done it felt better but not 100% and we talked a little more. Of course I asked “is there anything I shouldn’t do?” (please don’t say don’t run, please don’t say don’t run…) and he just said “nah there’s nothing you shouldn’t do. Just keep foam rolling and do some dynamic stretches to help it open up”. OK. I can handle that.
If the pain was a 6 before the appointment, it was a 3-4 when I left. Later that night I didn’t even notice it anymore. It was maybe a 2. I woke up Tuesday and it felt completely fine. During my run I noticed it in the first mile—it was maybe a 1. And felt fine during the rest of the run and after (so far).
I think I had a pretty good run on Tuesday (my Garmin and I were fighting). I felt like I was going at a difficult pace but held it for 4 miles, along with a mile warm up and mile cool down. I go back to see my chiro Wednesday afternoon, so if anything flares up again hopefully he can work on it right away.
It also got me thinking more about Amanda’s post about mental versus physical pain. How much of what I deal with is due to my brain, rather than my body? Am I making my muscles worse by stressing over all of this? There were a few books recommended at the end of the post which I am planning to check out. Running helps relieve stress but then in a way also causes all this stress…but without running I would be 1000x more stressed anyway! This is definitely something I need to work on.
Thanks for sticking around during that very terrifying journey. If you made it this far, Congrats!
Can you relate to this stuff at all?
Do you feel like you ignore pain or freak out about every little twinge?