I was just about to abandon my blog, thinking of all the other things I really ought to be spending my time on. A blog that might become a book? Isn’t that what everyone’s doing these days? And there’s always all the other things, too: finishing my novel, learning to play guitar, and now – after reading this captivating book – hiking the Appalachian Trail. But a couple of people objected and since they are two of possibly only five people who read my blog, I decided I’d keep it up. For now. It’s hard for me to believe that it might matter to anyone if I stopped writing all this, but if you want to read it, who am I to withhold? Which is just another way of saying, YEA, I get to ramble some more.
So here’s the thing that’s been rambling in my head lately: I’m injured. Again. Just four weeks into marathon training, my posterior tibial tendon, which had been a little achy for weeks, became a throbbing, swollen (this is not a dirty story, I swear), bruised MESS. BRUISED, I tell you. Visibly black and blue.
It’s exactly like the beginning of the book Born to Run, when author Christopher MacDougall is all, WHY AM I ALWAYS INJURED?, and he hires this trainer who answers, IT’S EASY IF YOU RUN LIKE ME, and suddenly this slightly chubby, languid writer dude is running an ultramarathon in some Mexican mountains. And yet, here’s the funny part…I read Born to Run just after my first race. I’ve been following the principles of that book, perhaps even a little obsessively, ever since. I trained with that trainer.
And what do I have to show for it? Two stress fractures and two cases of tendonitis.
To be fair to that trainer, who is a marvelous trainer and person, I was doing it all wrong for a while. He kept telling me to land on my forefoot, and I just couldn’t believe he meant REALLY the BALLS of my feet. So the whole time I was training with him, I was heel striking, thus the stress fractures. But I’m all straight on the forefoot thing now (I have PROOF, keep reading) and still things continue downhill. And not in a good way.
Seriously, my expectations have never been lower. All I want, runningwise, is to finish my April marathon with no injuries. I want to be able to walk normally after. Preferably with no bag of ice strapped to my ankle with Scotch tape.
So I visited a physical therapist. He made me do all kinds of contortions, bends and lunges and then told me my plevis is tilted. This is making one leg act longer than the other. That’s no good.
He gave me stretches and strengthening exercises to do and said that would fix it. SUPER. (I will do pretty much anything I’m told by any kind of running authority, can you tell?) After that, he put me on a treadmill and videotaped me while I ran. As I was ramping up the speed, he stood next to me, asking questions. I think he was just amused by how hard I was trying to appear untaxed and casual. After a few minutes he told me, You’ve totally eliminated your heel strike.
In my head: Hallelujah! That’s exactly what I was trying to do!
Aloud: Is that okay?
He told me that was great, that my form, to the naked eye at least, looked perfect. I almost leapt off the treadmill.
In my head: I’m a superstar! I totally kick ass!
Also in my head: You get injured every seven second, spazz. You’re nobody’s superstar.
I meet with PT Man again tomorrow, when we will discuss his in-depth review of my running video. I’m thinking he’ll have changed his mind about that “perfect form” bit. He was probably just dazzled by my fancy reflective shoestrings. They’re pretty sweet. Santa brought them.
Anyway, those of you who care and don’t want me to shut the hell up about this running business will be proud of me when I tell you I took an extra day off and cross trained two of the three other days. I’ve re-crafted my whole marathon training plan, and I’m starting over. Starting tomorrow. Cross those fingers.