The Time I Disobeyed my Coach and PT and Raced a Half Marathon While Injured

Call me an addict. Call me crazy, but I couldn’t fight off the withdrawals anymore from not being able to run for the past 4 weeks. Yesterday (Sunday) I ran the Her Tern Half Marathon against the wishes of my coach and physical therapist because my love for running is too strong.  I do feel kind of bad, but at the same time it SO worth it.

Let’s back up so you can get the whole picture. After running Grandma’s Marathon on June 18, I took an entire week off of running. I did no exercise: no cross-training, no fitness classes, nothing. I enjoyed my last week in Minnesota and let the soreness wear off.

IMG_3320

The following week, I ran on Monday and did 5 miles with some drills and striders. I think my hip flexor did bother me a little during that run, but I didn’t think much of it then. I figured the kinks were working themselves out after the marathon. I didn’t run Tuesday but ran Wednesday and Thursday. I remember my hip flexor did start to bother me on Wednesday, but Thursday is when it got really bad after doing some sprints with my coach while she was in town. It was a pretty intense pain isolated where the circles are in the below picture and has only been my right hip flexor area.

This is where my pain is on my right hip.

I took Friday – Sunday off from running and cross-trained, iced, stretched, and tried to remedy it at home. This was over the 4th of July weekend, so come Monday I tried running again, but the pain was still there. I made a massage appointment but couldn’t get in until Friday and also made a physical therapy appointment for the following Wednesday. (All of the good people are hard to get into!) In the meantime I didn’t run and cross-trained and remedied at home.

That Friday (July 8th) I had my massage. She said everything was really tight on my left hip, which was the cause of the injury on my right side. I tried running again the next morning. The pain took a little longer to set in, but it got progressively worse, so I stopped at 3 miles. Then it was more cross-training until I saw the physical therapist the following Wednesday.

I was hoping I would go into the physical therapist, have him do some dry needling on the injured area, and be 75-80% better as dry needling as really helped in the past. Call it overly optimistic or call it trying to stay positive, but he said I had injured my tendon and dry needling wouldn’t help it. (From what I understood, dry needling is more for muscle injuries.) Anyway, I left with one exercise to do three times each day and no running for a week. I mentioned that I was supposed to run the Her Tern Half Marathon (HTH) on Sunday, but he said ‘no way.’

But you see, I’ve been working with about 200 women who are involved with our HTH training group since April. They have been working so hard to prepare their body for the half-marathon or quarter-marathon, and I just couldn’t get past the idea that I wouldn’t be able to participate in the race with them.

IMG_3544

Plus this is my favorite race all summer long, so I consulted my assistant coach, Craig. Surprisingly he said to go for it! I really thought he was going to say I shouldn’t do it, so this pretty much finalized my decision. I continued to hem and haw about it for the next couple of days. (I think I even dreamed about it.) And then the day before the race I had pretty much decided I was going to race. I figured I could at least start the race and see how I felt. If the pain got too bad I would drop out. I briefly considered running it for fun but quickly decided against it as I knew I wouldn’t have fun doing that. I am too competitive with my running!

Prior to the race, I did consider what it would mean for future races this summer. I still plan on running the Moose’s Tooth Marathon in August. I knew I would jeopardize some of my training for it, but I also wanted to seize the day–to a certain extent–in the fact who knows what could happen between now and then. Maybe I’ll develop another injury or some other unforeseen circumstance might prevent me from running that marathon, so I decided it was worth the cons to run the half marathon on Sunday.

So with that, I ran the Her Tern Half Marathon on Sunday and have no regrets about it. I ran the entire race (with only a little bit of discomfort) and am so happy to say I won!

Tomorrow: a recap of the actual race, so stay tuned!!

Leave a Reply