Thursday, 9 September 2010

frustrations of injury...

Well, its been a long time since I last blogged, so just to quickly get back up to speed... the last few months have been bumpy to say the least! I managed to get myself into what I thought was reasonable shape leading into IM Lake Placid late July. The problems I'd been having with nervey pains in my right leg had seemed to settle a bit and the feeling of being 'wonkey' was a little less after a lot more stretching and I'd started using supported insoles in my cycling shoes. The last thing I wold normally do is introduce something new just a few weeks out from a race, but it seemed to have helped my 'wonkeyness' and got me through the ride. Only problem was, I couldn't put any weight on my foot when I got into T2! The insoles had raised the arch in my foot too much and caused another problem there! Thanks to some great ART treatment in T2 I managed to get out and run. It wasn't pretty though and certainly wasn't fast! Maybe I really shouldn't have run at all, I certainly thought that in the few weeks after, with so much swelling in my foot!
So post IM Lake Placid, I spent 2-3 hours a day focussed on stretching and yoga practice, with a little swimming and biking and later once my foot had calmed down, some running.
Timberman 70.3 was next on my plan and although it looked doubtful I'd race it, I did seem to come back well and started to feel pretty strong again. So I decided to race... Fitness wise, I felt good and my swim and bike were strong, I was really happy with my ride especially as I felt like I was able to fire the right muscles again, something that my wonkeyness hadn't allowed! But then, everything went very quickly downhill! It wasn't pretty trying to run. The nerve pain I had been getting was just too severe for me to be able to even jog. 3 miles in and that was it, I tried stretching, jogging a bit but it was just getting worse. Big alarm bells ringing and with some doubt in my mind that maybe there was a little more going on than just tight hips, I knew I had to get an MRI and see how my back was doing.
A couple of weeks later and I've managed to get a scan. News of compression and protrusion of a disc was not the best but at least I'm getting somewhere in finding out whats wrong.
So this is where I am now, sitting tight and doing very little asside persuing the best treatment - high doses of anti inflammatory's and lots of back bending!
Its never easy being forced to rest due to injury, I know I'm not the first athlete to be injured but sometimes its hard not to focus in on just yourself! I am realising there are some important lessons for me to learn though, about myself, how I cope with things (normally running is my stress release so not being able to run is HARD!), about the body in general and in an anatomy sense. I had an interesting chat with my coach too who pointed out how easily an athlete can get used to what may start as a niggle, let it develop into pains and just accept that thats the way their body feels normally! The fact that for so long I wasn't able to sit for longer than about 10mins without having some pain somewhere in my gluts or legs, should really have made me work out what was going on then!!! It just became normal to feel those niggles. One thing yoga has been teaching me, is being able to focus in on how things feel in every part of the body and noticing differences from one side to the other. Pain is not normal!
I'm positive I am strong enough to get through this and will be stronger for it, I just know, knowing myself that I will have to be careful to not start 'running before I can walk' again. I know when my physical therapist said I could be OK swimming, she meant very very easy, probably the equivalent of a short warm up of a normal session - not a 4km swim session!!! Maybe a few weeks time that will be on the cards, a good chance to focus on swimming anyway.
I'm certainly not defeated but at the same time, I only have one back! I'm not gonna push it!