About 10 days ago, I made the difficult decision to stop training altogether while I continue to heal from this glute injury. I’ve now been hampered or sidelined from training since January 3rd – 1 full month! Yikes! On a more positive note, this down-time has allowed me the opportunity to really focus-in on my nutrition and sleep habits, and as a result, my daily energy levels are better than ever. I don’t want to bore everyone with the details from these previous two weeks, so instead I’ve simply typed up a short summary for each week.
Week Summary – Week of 1/21/13 – 1/27/13 –
I set about this week with an attitude of resolve. I was determined to approach the week with a ‘Training Camp Mentality.’ Mostly – this phrase was a cue to train well, eat well, sleep well, and focus on re-making my body. I can state unequivocally that this mental shift has positively changed my approach over the past two weeks and looking to the future. I have cleaned up my already very clean diet, and I’ve also started tinkering with a low carb approach. (I am not training much volume or intensity – therefore I can get away with 50g – 80g of carbs per day). From a training stand-point, I tried to run on Monday, January 21st. No luck – my glute was tight and painful. So for the remainder of the week I turned my attention to the elliptical for cross-training. Also, I made an effort to ramp up my stretching, rolling, and mobility work. By Thursday the 24th though I was even having pain (a deep, dull ache) while stretching. At that point – I made the decision to shut things down until I was injury-free. Week totals – 5 hours training. 1 hour running. 6 miles running. Minor strength training.
Week Summary – Week of 1/28/13 – 2/3/13 –
Overall, my ‘life-productivity’ was very high during this week. ‘Training’ has been limited to 1.25 mile walks to-and-from work, but I’m not going crazy yet. Far from it – I feel a keen sense of purpose and freedom from NOT training. My days at work have been very busy and productive – and throughout those days, my energy is better than it has been in a long time. I’ve managed to eliminate (for the most part) coffee after 10:00am and it’s safe to say that at this point – I don’t need the afternoon caffeine buzz anymore. I’ve dialed up the focus on nutrition again and have been making some changes which I intend to outline in a future post. I skipped any form of stretching or mobility work early in the week – for fear that the dull ache would get worse, but after a Wednesday physical therapy session, I recommitted to a daily, 30 minute routine of muscle activation, stretching, and rolling. Four days into that routine and its safe to say that the glute does feel better at times. I have committed to diligently following this routine for the next two weeks. Week totals – 1 hour training. 13 miles walking though! Stretching is now the focus.
The beginnings of this injury?
It all started back in April. I was lean, fit, strong, and poised for a great year. Any minor aches and pains that I had were easy to deal with and didn’t stand a chance of slowing me down or getting in my way. Then, just as I was developing an inflated ego and beginning to feel truly invincible, I stepped on a rock during the Spring Desert Ultra 50 miler in Fruita, CO. I dealt with the pain during the race, but when I awoke the following morning, I could barely walk. A nagging neuroma-type pain in the ball of my left foot had been on-again/off-again since 2008, so when I stepped on that sharp-rock during the race, I re-aggravated the symptoms. The pain was severe and left me jogging on my heels for a few days while trying to bring the inflammation down. Nope. Nothing seemed to work – so the only thing I could do was land on my heel(s) and gingerly push-off from my forefoot. This drastic change to my stride began to cause problems elsewhere – but I managed to deal with those issues at the time.
Perhaps the worst part of this whole neuroma-type injury was the severe pain I found myself in while I was in Japan for the Ultra Trail Mt Fuji 100 mile race in May. While staying in traditional Japanese lodging for the few days prior the race was an incredible cultural experience, I was blown away just how painful it was to walk around barefoot on the wood floors and mats in our accommodations. (Wearing shoes in these traditional settings is frowned upon). I did my best with a thin pair of slippers and thick socks – but there was no denying it – my foot was still inflamed and merely walking on level ground was extremely painful. I made it through the race, but started developing some knee, hip, and low back issues on my right side as a result of altering my stride so significantly.
Fast forward to today – and I am now 1 full month into dealing with this fairly significant hamstring/hip/glute injury. I have no doubt that the mechanical stress of drastically altering my stride for the previous 3000 miles played a role in the onset of this injury. Looking ahead, I will be laying low for the next two weeks while aggressively treating the afflicted area with self-massage, rolling, stretching, and physical therapy sessions. Embracing the down time, but slightly anxious to begin full-fledged training again. Here’s to re-making the body in 2013! Thanks for reading. Live well. Be well. DC.