My Worst Injury

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I have been somewhat lucky when it comes to injuries. Oh sure, things have niggled. They’ve been achy. They’ve even been somewhat painful. For the most part I’ve been able to keep on running through those aches and niggles. Except one.

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My post race photo. Proof I can smile for the camera no matter how bad it is.

The Perfect Race?
I remember the weather on the day I ran my half marathon in Rhode Island. It was just perfect: beautiful blue skies, not too cold or too hot. I lined up with the rest of the runners full of hope — despite the fact that a mysterious pain had sidelined me from running a couple of weeks before the race.

I was relatively new to running, and relatively new to running half marathons. This was my fifth half. I knew I felt pain when running as I entered my taper, and I didn’t know what to do (nor did I have the village I have now) so I just stopped running, figuring my training was done and rest would solve everything.

Which seemed to be working; for the first six miles. Then things got painful. Then things got really painful. By mile 10 I was walking. It’s the only half I’ve run so far (knock on wood) where I’ve had to walk the last few miles. It’s also the only half I’ve ever phoned Mr. Judy during — to let him know I’d be far, far later than expected.

I did finish. We went on to Cape Cod, where we’d rented an AirBnB (and we had the dogs with us). We were near the famous Sundae School Ice Cream shop, but I was in too much pain to join Mr. Judy when he went for his ice cream sundae. I curled up on the couch with Chester as my heating pad.

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Walking was sill painful (post race). Running — forgaadaboutit.

What went wrong?
I know now that it was an IT Band injury. Here we are 7 years later, and I feel like I am just now getting back to the paces I was running back then. Which are not particularly fast. I thought I had trained smart, but clearly I did not.

The minute it was too painful to run I should have sought help: from a chiropractor, from a physical therapist, from a running coach. Even though I trained with a group with coaches in the summer, it was not our training season and it didn’t occur to me that this was an injury.

I should not have run that half. I know many people say they are happy that they completed a half, no matter the pain, but it left me in pain while running longer distances for months. I came very close to giving up on running longer distances all together. I do not think running through an injury when it leaves you unable to run without pain is the right choice — but hindsight is 20/20.

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Same jacket, much better results!

How did I fix it?
I started out by wearing a knee brace, once I’d figured out what was wrong. Notice that I still didn’t seek out professional help — which of course would have helped. I was lucky; I only took a couple of weeks off running. Running was painful after just 3 miles when I did start running again Although I was running with my group again that Summer, I didn’t sign up for a half initially because long runs were still painful.

Finally I ran 7 miles without pain. I signed up for Smuttynose Rockfest, which billed itself as one of the flattest halfs in New England. Which is true. Which is also not to say that it’s flat.

Still, on a rainy, raw, cold day I had my redemption half and a shiny new PR to boot. I discovered KT Tape (and eventually Rocktape) before the next half, which wasn’t a PR, not even close — but it was pain free. I have taped for every half since then, 6 years ago. There have been other niggles and aches, but so far, knock on wood, my IT Band stays pretty quiet.

Of course I have also worked on strengthening my glutes and hips. I’m a dedicated foam roller. There’s never just one thing that gets you through an injury. I learned my painful lesson from that disaster of a half, and I have sought out Chiropractic help and on occasion Physical Therapy for other niggles and aches before they derailed my training. It truly does take a village to race for most runners.

Run through the pain or live to run another day? It’s a highly personal choice. Don’t listen to the people on the Internet telling you you can do it — they don’t know you, and they don’t know your body. Only you know what the right decision for you is. — Chocolaterunsjudy

Final thoughts
Running through an injury is a personal decision. For some people it’s worth the pain. I’d rather live to run another day, rather than risk serious injury. I want to keep running the rest of my life. I still have many states to run in.

What was your worst injury?

What did you do to help heal it?

What was the longest time you had to take off running due to injury? 

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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36 thoughts on “My Worst Injury

  1. Ah, running through pain? Not seeking out professional help? That’s me!
    Just like you, I thought it would eventually go away after a running break. My Achilles tendon did get better and I started running again, only to be injured again after a few months.
    Looking back, I realize the stupidity of not listening to my body and not seeking out professional help sooner. As a result, I was out of running for 10 months.
    I have now learnt my lesson – just like you, I foam roll every day and warm up and cool down for every run.
    So glad that we are both back to running!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a toss up between my “stress fracture” that wasn’t and whatever was up with my knee in Las Vegas. I’m not sure the professional help with helpful in either case.

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  3. I do agree with seeking professional help as soon as you have pain. I did that back in 2010 with a sore Achilles and with the doctor and PT, it healed and has never bothered me since. Same with my calf last Feb. immediately saw a chiro and sought treatment. Fine since. Knock on wood.

    Now with the foot. Again the doctor and now PT.

    But as you said, you have to know your injury and yourself. I actually would not run a half marathon if I thought I would make my injury worse. My PT and doctor told me that I could run. My PT actually encourages it as long as I can deal with the pain. Which again many runners may choose not to.

    Live and learn. I’m sure you would have DNSed that race with the same injury.

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  4. Yup – I can totally relate to this! My IT band injury basically stopped me in my tracks – it was so painful. I felt like I was dragging my right leg when I tried to run. It was an overuse injury and luckily I was able to do a few weeks of PT to help.

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  5. Hmm, I’m not sure how I’d pick my worst injury — I’d have to look back and see what left me sidelined the longest, but it probably would be a cranky ITB over the few PF flares I’ve had. The worst non-running injury was when I fractured my foot hiking on Memorial Day weekend and ruined a whole summer of running! I really hate messages of “pain is weakness leaving the body” because that’s not true. My new rules – if it hurts when you run, don’t; if it hurts when you’re not running, get to the Dr. ASAP.

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    1. I agree with you that people are way too flippant with running injuries, always telling each other you can run through it. Then again, I’ve never been signed up for something & not had to do it so who knows what I’d do in that situation.

      I’d hope I’d be smart. But maybe not.

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  6. I have heard that IT band injuries are very painful. That must have been bad for you to miss out on a sundae with your hubby! 🙂 I think it’s crazy to run through an injury, but I definitely have done the same thing. We runners tend to go until we just can’t run anymore, then we visit a doctor or PT.

    My worst injury was the hamstring issue I had last year. At this time last year, my only running was pool running and I was NOT a happy camper. It does make you appreciate good health and running injury-free!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do think I have some high hamstring tendinitis that’s been going on a really long time. I just haven’t dug deep & done the exercises I know I need to do consistently.

      My IT rarely speaks to me these days, but back then — yup, that and an 8 mile race while prepping for my first half were not fun. If I hadn’t already been signed up for a half, I don’t think I would have ever gone that far!

      Things do have a way of working out, though. As I say all the time.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I had ITBS several years ago and it was extremely painful. I saw a massage therapist who was able to break up the scar tissue and since then I haven’t had any trouble with it. I think shin splints were even more painful, though. I didn’t run for years after I had those.

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  8. Well, you know my story. Prior to my staph infection episode, though, I’d had some hamstring tendonitis (on and off for several years, though not debilitating) and two episodes of PF (once in each foot). As tough as it was to sit it out for a few days (and weeks), it made a huge difference in how quickly my body was fully operational again.

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  9. It’s a little tough for me to seek medical help for running injuries. I have inside knowledge, which makes me dangerous. Plus I know that most medical providers know very little about athletes or runners. They tell you to stop running but don’t address the cause of the pain. That’s why I’m a fan of sports medicine–they are good at identifying the mechanical issues that lead to the injury.

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    1. Yes, you’re absolutely right about regular doctors. So it’s important to ask around & try to find someone who does know runners.

      And of course medical professionals can be their own worst enemies when they’re sick/injured. 🙂

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  10. I have also made the mistake of running through pain before and it did not end well. I got myself a stress fracture 6 years ago. I had no idea what it was or what it felt like. I did know something was wrong though and now I know better. Thanks (in advance) for linking up

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  11. Oooh. IT Band issues are awful. That’s one I haven’t had to deal with.

    So clearly, breaking two bones in my leg is my worst injury. Ugh. I will say that I ran a 10K/Half race challenge on a tweaked hip flexor, which was not my best idea. However, it was a Disney race, and I would have been out so much money! They are expensive and not so great on the deferral/refund thing. We walked a lot that race, and I was hurting and sore but it ended up being ok. I can honestly say it wasn’t the wisest course of action, but…. sometimes we don’t make the best decisions.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I feel this so hard. I suffered severe ITBS during my first marathon in 2015. I should NOT have run that race, and definitely should not have finished. And of course I’m dealing with the residual effects of it all these years later. But you live and learn, right? Stupid IT band… smh…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. ITBS is one injury I haven’t dealt with, knock on wood. But I’ve had just about everything else. I used to run through injuries but I’ve gotten smarter about it. I think I can usually tell if I can run through something or not. Sorry you had to go through that but it sounds like you learned alot!

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  14. I’ve been pretty lucky throughout my years of running. I’ve had Plantar Fasciitis a few times, only one time enough to go through the whole cortisone route (and that was about 20 years ago). I did have a knee injury that sidelined me for a long time but it wasn’t caused by running (and it was actually the real reason I finally beat that PF!).

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I ignored a knee issue when I was just starting to run, and when I finally sought help they took me off running for 5 weeks. But my injury was really linked to all the beginner runner mistakes – doing too much, too soon, not warming up, not stretching after my runs, so in a way these were some good lessons to learn early on for me!

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