On the Road to Recovery

January 12, 2013

I do believe I am finally on the road to recovery.

After initially experiencing pain in my right glute at the end of September—three weeks before the Twin Cities Marathon—I can finally say I am on the road to recovery. It has taken three months for me to recover, which is much longer than I first thought, but it feels good to be 95% healthy again.

At first I didn’t know why I was having the pain in my glute. I had never had anything like it before and just figured it was soreness from running 105 miles in a week. So I spent every spare minute icing, foam rolling, stretching, and taking ibuprofen but nothing eased the pain.

I somehow, thankfully, managed to run the marathon on it and even set a PR of 3:21. Throughout the entire race I felt the pain though, but it never got worse than a dull ache. As soon as the marathon was done, I knew I needed to rest. I spent the next four weeks laying low and cross-training. When I picked running back up again, my glute was not any better—and sometimes worse than it had been before. I saw a massage therapist who did active release, I foam rolled more, I iced twice a day, but nothing helped.

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Finally enough was enough. What I was doing wasn’t working, so I had to try something different. I thought about doing acupuncture, I considered seeing a massage therapist who had helped a lot of other runners, but I finally settled on a physical therapist in town. I went in at the beginning of December and within a couple of weeks I could tell I was improving. Slowly but surely as I completed the exercises and went in for weekly sessions of dry needling, the pain would hold off later into my runs.

The diagnosis: a weak glute. That’s it! On one hand I’m glad that’s it; it is an easy fix. On the other hand, it is crazy for me to think that a weak muscle could give me that much pain for so long.

But I am so thankful to be on the road to recovery. I was going crazy not being able to run!

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I ran 8 miles this morning and only experienced a slight twinge in my glute around mile 6 and then again at mile 7.5. Both times the pain only lasted a couple of minutes, if that. During these times, I would tilt my pelvis back slightly, which seemed to ease the pain. The PT had instructed me to do this to help reduce the impact from footfall and thereby reduce the stress to my glute. To me, it seemed to shorten my stride which put less stress on my glute.

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Overall, it was a good run—not too cold (30*), and I felt good.

I actually cut back on my mileage this week but still did a long run that was longer than last week’s. It was my way of tricking my body into having a little bit of a break but still upping my long run mileage because I feel very far behind in my mileage for the Boston Marathon in April.

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After finishing the 8 miles outside, I went to the gym to do 20 more minutes of cardio. I’ve been trying to get in 60 minutes of cardio each day during the week and 90 minutes on Saturday. This usually means going running and then doing more cardio at the gym so I can try to get in shape for Boston even while I can’t run that much.

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I am hoping to hit 30 miles next week, which is far below what I would be running if I was healthy. But I am just hoping I can stay healthy from now until Boston.

9 Comments
    1. So good to hear, Michelle! Laura, Jason Engelmann, and I were just talking about you yesterday and hoping you’d be healthy enough for Boston. If you’re already up to 30 miles I know you’ll be able to run the race. I know it’s easy for me to say, but don’t stress too much about running a PR. The race is so much fun–seeing so many people out cheering, running through a pretty cool city. Why would you want to run a PR and rush your way through?

      I know, I know… it’s not in our blood to take our time during a race. Glad to hear you’re feeling better.

      1. Yes, of course I want to PR, but I have also been more focused about running the race with my sister and enjoying the experience. I know I’ll be able to get in some decent mileage before Boston, but as always, I want to do well and feel prepared going into the race.

        Thanks for the thoughts; I truly appreciate them. (Were you guys hanging out and catching up in Rochester?)

    1. Hi Michelle, first time commenting, but I really enjoy your blog. I stumbled upon it when searching for an egg-white oatmeal recipe πŸ™‚ Glad you’re healing! I’m curious what you’re doing to improve the strength of your glute? I’m having a similiar issue and I wonder if perhaps maybe that’s why I’m experiencing pain as well. Thanks!

      1. I was prescribed two exercises to strengthen my glute and piriformis muscles: 1.) side planks with leg lifts and 2.) single leg deadlifts (I start by standing on one foot with a 10 lb. (or 5 lb.) dumbbell in the opposite hand. I then bend at my waist–keeping my standing leg straight–until I can touch the dumbbell on the floor, on the outside of my foot. (Hopefully that makes sense.)

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