The road to recovery (running injury) – Part I: Emotional Roller-Coaster

25 Feb

Standard 10K run. Pre-planned, good spirit, fueled. Break in the weather. All felt great. Until….

I got pain in the hip/abductors area (left). Just after one mile! The pain was unbearable, I was weighing up in my mind, shall I carry on, means bite my tongue and forget the pain or turn around (for me it would mean defeat)? I started noticing that I was out of balance and my right side started to suffer too. After 2 miles I had to turn back. I just couldn’t carry on and the pain was getting too much. Luckily I was with Paul – Team PI! The 2 miles back home, were long, cold, wet, windy, flooded. I couldn’t stand on my left leg at all, no movement at all. Shooting pain! Paul tried to carry me various ways with not much luck but load of fun (I wish I really weighted only one bag of cement :)) After 40 minutes we finally arrived home. Shivering, dehydrated, soaking wet, wet and frozen feet. For me unfortunately it wasn’t meant to get any warmer. Ice bath! Oh yeah! (photo below) I have to say that at this stage I didn’t realise how bad my injury really was and from previous experiences I knew that ice bath would help speed up recovery if the injury was muscle related. (!)

That was about 2 months ago. And I am still not 100%. Though I had 3 short, easy runs in the last 3 weeks, none of which were pain-free. But the last 8 weeks were an emotional roller-coaster ride of anger, finding quick fix, determination, frustration, great depression, questions (little answers), up and downs, realisation, change of plans, resting, relaxing…. But let me give you some inside view of each of my emotions.

I was angry with myself, I couldn’t run. It can’t be happening. Not now! I cannot be injured! I had all planned out. Bath Half is only 2 months away! I had difficulties at night, no sleep, too uncomfortable, too painful. No pain-killer seem to work. No rest, not even in the mind! I started to put pressure on myself, more and more as each weeks gone by. Anger grew by the minute….

Finding quick fix
Week after the injury I went to see physio for short sports massage. She is really good and helped me few times in the past with little niggles. I was badly twisted in the hip area and lower back. Massage seems to help, but unfortunately not for long. 5 days later I went to see physio who is specialised in running injuries. After quick consultation and examination, the verdict was – high possibility of stress fracture in the abductors area! Boom! I wasn’t ready for such bad news! I didn’t come here (and paid) for that!
“Prescription” no runs, no leg workout, rest and take it easy (he doesn’t know me that “take it easy” doesn’t exist in my vocabulary!) Get Vitamin D (!) and Iron (!) checked. After 2 weeks start swimming, aqua running (!). Concentrate on upper body and core in the meantime. After 4 weeks see how it goes. Start running slowly. Bath Half possible, won’t be great time but could be done. Too early to say! I left with tears and broken heart.

I wasn’t to give up that easily. I was determined and still focused on Bath Half (and completing it in a good time too). No way I am going to miss it. I want it! And if I have to take a pile of pain killers before the race, I will run it! I paid! I run it! No one is going to stop me! hmm… somehow that seems a bit silly now.
But I followed physio’s advise I concentrated on my upper body and core. I still trained 4-5 times a week. Mostly in our own garage gym and did start swimming/aqua running after 2 weeks.

It just didn’t want to heal. It didn’t feel right, still too painful. Walking, standing, sleeping, sitting. I was getting tired, frustrated, grumpy, very irritable. My morning routine changed, no stretching which usually helps me to relax and wake up. I was pushing myself hard in our garage gym -upper body, core (I like what I see now :)).

I asked myself many questions (perhaps too many). How did it happened? Did I have any sign which I missed or ignored (consciously or unconsciously)? Was it an old injury? Was I too ambitious? Too focused? Too determined? Not relaxed? Or did I just simple overdo it? Why? Why now? What did I do wrong? Shoes too old? Running style? Wrong biomechanics? Did I set my goals too high for 2013? Too many goals? For some questions I found answers (read later) but for some, I am still puzzled.

Up and Downs
I had good days, where I felt great (or at least I was trying). I thought and said to myself, you can do it, Irina! You will recover and resume running in 2-3 weeks. You are warrior! You will fight! No problem. Still enough time to get the mileage for Bath Half beginning of March. I was confident….. And then there were bad days. The pain wouldn’t go away. I still had troubles to sleep, still no strength in the leg, no runs, no motivation. A total shut down of mind and spirit.

The Great Depression
And than the great Depression phase. I was lost in my own world. Didn’t talk much. Wasn’t smiling much, was quiet, thinking, weighing things up in my own head, in my own world. Still focusing on Bath Half. Missed the outdoors, the fresh air, the good stretch of legs. Tears. Short temped, not much joy, fun. Everything/everyone seemed “dark” and against me. No one seemed to care and wanted to help me. No one understood me. I was getting down, deeper and deeper into the dark hole of nothing. Empty space. Dark empty space…. (scary reading it now).

The most difficult part. It took me 6 weeks to come to the conclusion that I was badly injured. Actually acknowledging it to myself! And say it out loud without embarrassment – I am injured. I am a runner and I am injured. And most important that I won’t be running Bath Half, no matter how hard I try, how determined I am, how badly I want it. I am out!

To be continued….


Me in the ice bath! Still tried to keep the smile. Hot tea helped. But I cried too…. ( Don’t you love the bright orange hat, I do! lol)



Posted by on 25 February, 2013 in Health & Wellbeing


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3 responses to “The road to recovery (running injury) – Part I: Emotional Roller-Coaster

  1. Irina

    26 February, 2013 at 18:51

    Reblogged this on Irina's Sports Nutrition and commented:

    My journey….


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