injury

Knowing when to cry Uncle

If you asked my husband, he would tell you that I choose to learn everything the hard way. It’s a trait of mine that drives him crazy.

One of the reasons GPP appealed to me when I first discovered it via Janetha’s blog almost two years ago was I was tired of being injured. As a runner, cross training and strength training bored me to tears and I’d do anything I could think of to avoid it. Combine that with my overzealousness and I dealt with my fair share of injuries and often needed to take time off to heal. I think I was injured just as often as I was healthy.

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Since starting GPP in May 2012, I’ve not been injured once. Not once. I attribute this change to a lot off cross/strength training (I’m not sure I would call myself a runner anymore) and learning when my body’s telling me to back off.

Where am I going with this?

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I got a new pair of Reebok Your Flex cross training shoes for Christmas. They’re pink, lightweight, and have a smaller toe-to-heel drop than my previous Nike Free Runs. I love them. But, in typical Maria-fashion, I got a little too excited to start using them and went at Hellth Week full-force this week in my new shoes, giving my calves little time to adapt to the lower heel drop.

I knew better.

I might have gotten away with it if every workout this week hadn’t involved some type of explosive movement. But Monday’s high knees, Tuesday’s burpees, Wednesdays side-step kettlebell swings, and yesterday’s box jumps caught up to me. My calves were extremely sore Tuesday and Wednesday, but seemed to be close to normal yesterday, minus a little tightness during a tough leg workout. I woke up this morning expecting to be so sore from yesterday’s shenanigans. But, surprisingly, I wasn’t sore at all. I thought I had somehow outsmarted Hellth Week and was about to emerge a Champion.

I was wrong. So wrong.

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Today’s workout involved burpees and pushups. I hate burpees, but was psyched to see it was only a 25-minute workout. Most of the workouts this week have had me going for 45+ minutes, which is pretty rare for GPP. As I began the workout, I noticed a weird pull in my right calf. I shook it off and kept moving, though. After a few more rounds, the pull had become a throbbing sensation, so I decided to forego the hop at the top of the burpee, in an attempt to complete the workout. A few more rounds, minus the hop, went by but my right cal continued to throb. Which immediately told me it was time to say, “Uncle” and stop for the day.

I’ve extended the life of injuries so many times by letting my pride get in the way. It pains me to start something and not see it all the way through. It eats at my very core. But I’ve learned, the hard way of course, that it’s a lot more painful to take weeks and weeks off because my stubbornness and pride caused me to keep going when my body was giving me clear signs to stop.

Even though I’m pissed I didn’t finish that workout, I know at the end of the day GPP isn’t about RX-ing every (or any) workout. It’s about being fit and healthy enough to do all the other stuff in life outside  of the gym. And sometimes that requires knowing your own limits and crying, “Uncle.”

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I’m taking it easy for the rest of the day and RICE-ing (rest, ice, compression, elevation) in hopes of finishing out Hellth Week tomorrow with the rest of my GPPeeps.

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I’m sure these guys won’t mind the extra cuddles.

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Confused, frustrated, and… injured.

Running has been going incredibly well the last 2.5 months when BAM! my ankle starts acting up and it seems I’m injured.

My ankle pain started pretty gradually during a speed workout last week and has continued to hurt every single run since, even after taking a few rest days.

I tried running again yesterday, and struggled through 3.5 miles. They were slow and didn’t feel good at all.

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The pain is behind my left ankle and spreads forward up to the 5th metatarsal bone. After posting on the Runner’s World Barefoot Forum and doing some research of my own, all signs point to Peroneal Tendonitis.

I just dealt with hip tendonitis last year, and know how frustratingly slow tendonitis can be to heal, so I feel like slamming my head into a wall when I think about it. However, I’m only a week past the first signs of injury and I’m stopping activity immediately—hopefully the tendonitis is minimal and I can return to running in a few weeks.

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There are a few possible reasons the tendonitis has developed, but looking back at my mileage from the last month, I can see the problem pretty clearly. I went from comfortably running 4-5 miles a week in Vibram Fivefingers (VFF) to pushing myself to 10-12 miles in VFF. Those miles seemed comfortable, but the progression was too quick for my body and overloaded the tendons. 10 Percent Rule say what?

I do want to note that I didn’t ever push myself to run through any Too Much Too Soon pain… I felt good running this mileage, but my body didn’t tolerate it well.

What now?

My current game plan is to RICE, RICE, baby. Lots of REST, ICE, COMPRESSION, and ELEVATION. I’ve also seen massaging and foam rolling the Peroneal tendons and muscles recommended on nearly every site I’ve read, so I’ll be doing that, too.

Once I’m pain-free, I’ll slowly make my return to running. Will that be in the VFF? I’m still thinking about that… I do LOVE barefoot (mid-foot strike) running, but I also have my eyes set on a fall marathon I’m registered for. Can I safely ramp up my mileage in the VFF for a marathon this year? I don’t know. I may choose to invest in a pair of minimalist (but still slightly-cushioned) training shoes for long runs and stick with the VFF for shorter runs. I’m still thinking about it, but I know the marathon is my priority

I’m heading on vacation next week, so maybe this injury happened at just the right time to slow me down and redirect my focus.