Wednesday, March 23, 2011

If you are going through hell

Keep going.

I hate to be a downer this week, but hey – can’t always be on top. Can’t always be near the top, either. Sometimes we have to be at the absolute rock bottom, further entrenched in the ground than you ever thought you could be, in order to get stronger. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

Recall: Ottawa Marathon 2010
Going through hell. And continuing.

Ok, so things aren’t really that bad. I apologize to those out there who have real problems. I blame the tone of this post to the lack of endorphins I am getting from slashing my running to one third of its normal amount. My hamstring issue that arose at the Grimsby half-marathon last month (where I outkicked Nic, in case you forgot – I know she hasn’t ;) has turned out to be more of a nuisance than I thought. Now that I think of it, I am sure it was my ferocious sprint in the last snow-covered 200m that did it. In which case, it is essentially Nic’s fault for trying to outdo me. The fact that I continued on with another 100-mile week, including a 43km day on Thursday, intervals Saturday and pace-bunnying the Chilly half on Sunday, had absolutely nothing to do with it. Obviously. Aaaahhhh, and to think I was beginning to believe I was getting old and wise!

So here I am, two weeks after I decided to treat this thing seriously, spending hours in the pool and minutes on the dry, clear roads, running. Is this what I get for busting out 90-100 mile weeks through this bitch of a winter in January and February? Now I am forced to run 30 miles in the wonderful spring temperatures in March? I can’t help but be extremely bitter!

I enjoyed reading Rob Watson’s latest blog, creatively titled “#25” (see my blog list for a link), and agreed with his simple take on injuries: “Injuries are a part of this sport, gotta roll with the punches.” There’s no point dwelling on an injury – best be taking some rest, getting your tail cross-training and be positive about your comeback. Such is the attitude I am trying to adopt.

Apparently the pain in my right hamstring is caused by a weakness in my gluteus medius. Since this is the third time I have been told I have a weak glute med, I am starting to believe that it’s true. Dammit. I thought I was superwoman. What kind of superwoman has a weak ass? My physio gave me a plethora of exercises for my glutes, hamstrings, and core that I am supposed to do on a daily basis. She said I could continue to run, but after a few days of easy treadmill runs that still caused me discomfort, I didn’t see the point of it. I couldn’t do workouts or long runs, so I felt that I was only prolonging the recovery process without doing anything productive. At that point I decided to take three full days off, meaning no running, no cross-training, no NOTHING. These kinds of days are very tough for most distance runners I know…so imagine how difficult they were for me: Madame OCD.

The first day wasn’t so bad – it allowed me to go to my Sunday Book Club meeting at two in the afternoon and get considerably inebriated off of three stiff martinis (thanks Kitz). For once I was able to contribute to the discussion without having read a single word of the novel, Portnoy’s Complaint. From what I remember, I had some creative insight into the book – shedding light on why Portnoy was so infatuated with monkeys, and explaining why monkeys were such an important theme (I’m not sure how Wikipedia missed this). At this point Brecher began furiously flipping through every page of the book, trying desperately to figure out how he could have missed such a critical point. But as usual, I digress. My second day off was a little tougher, though the fact that I was hungover helped curb the urge to go run 13 miles. The third day, however, was the worst – I itched to go running or do some kind of exercise. I stared down every runner I walked by on my way to work with horrific envy, wondering how it was possible that they had no pain in their hamstring. Absolutely unfair!

What I do when I can't run. Note sorrowful, self-pitying gaze.

I began to run last Wednesday and I’ve slowly increased my runs from 30min to 65min. My right side still feels weaker, but I’m not experiencing any pain and I have no discomfort when I walk. I’ve been doing so many strength exercises that I will surely have the rock-hard buns of a superwoman come May. Every day my glutes and hammies feel stronger, so I am hoping to resume workouts and long runs next week. Regardless, at the moment I am supplementing my running with about 90min of swimming every day. I do love swimming so at least I am enjoying the cross-training I’m doing to some extent.

Soon to be MINE!

Obviously, this means no Around The Bay for me, which is too bad because I was really looking forward to racing. The next race on my schedule is the Montreal Half-Marathon, also the site of the National Championships. I hope that I am strong and fit enough to make it there ready to race hard.


  1. Sorry to hear about your injury; I've been there. When you finally overcome them you'll appreciate your running that much more!

    I'll make sure to high-five the Grim Reeper for you this Sunday on the hills of ATB :)

  2. Hamstrings are the bane of my existence, little bastards. Get on those drills/exercises and good luck with the injury.


  3. Thanks guys. Hope you had a good race, Jayson! And good luck with the achilles Rob, hope it heals up soon.

  4. Jane, I love your blogs. Keep it up!