Three Plus Four

by Mike on 7/7/2008

in Left Foot, Right Foot, Repeat

If you’ve been waiting with bated breath for my next running report, you’ve probably been sadly disappointed. Then again, if you cared that much about it, then odds are you’re already one of the people who knows I’ve been nursing a leg injury these last several weeks.

Warming up for my last race, on May 17, I felt a fairly significant strain where I had been feeling a twinge just before – around the top of my left thigh. Foolishly, I ignored it, and went out and ran a 5K personal record ending in a sprinting contest between me and some 12-year-old. Ever since then, hip flexors on my left have been extremely sore, stopping me from running altogether at one point.

The last six weeks have been extremely frustrating. I tried to restrict myself to slow runs for short distances but even that was a hit-or-miss proposition, and once had me giving up just a quarter of the way into a slow three-miler because I just didn’t want to force something that wasn’t working.

I’ve tried a couple of things since then – I got myself some new shoes, (Nike Air Zoom Structure Triax+ 11), medicated per doctor’s orders, and kept running short and slow. I could feel my quads objecting as both my legs compensated for the shortcomings of the left one.

This weekend, I think I’ve finally broken through. Early Friday afternoon I went for a three miler. And besides the trouble one would expect from running at one in the afternoon on the Fourth of July in Florida, I had much less trouble than before. I made the entire three miles with only a short walk break, and after my initial warm-up, little pain. Then, yesterday evening, I went out and attempted four miles. Wow, was that hard compared to before. But not for the same reasons. Yes, my legs hurt, but not my hip flexors. Muscles were sore – quads, calves, groin, maybe a couple of other muscle groups I can’t recall. Apparently, I’ve adjusted my stride just enough to allow the flexors to recover while shifting the work to other, formerly underused muscles.

Muscles sore to getting worked -that I can deal with much better than the mind-trip of imagining connective tissue peeling away from my bones, like was happening in my head before. Sore muscles mean building strength – and I know I can do that.

So I’m back – not completely, but on the recovery path. I might still aim for a big race in October if I keep making progress. If not, I’ll definitely go for the half-marathon here in Tampa next March. Either way, it’s back to building my base. More miles, here I come.

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