Deep denial

Three weeks of rest and recovery. Four weeks, tops. Then I’ll be back in the game.

That thought has been rattling around my brain for the past week, like like a marble in a tin can. Around and around it goes, clattering and clanging, drowning out every other conscious thought.

So what is it? Wishful thinking? Complete denial? Or within the realm of possibility?

Who knows? I’ve been getting lots of advice since my last post, when I when dislosed that I’m having a pain in my right leg that I suspect is iliotibial band syndrome.

Many runners have told me that I could be back in action within a month, as long as I give myself complete rest and do proper treatment during that time — stretching, icing, cross-training.

“That should do it,” one friend said — followed by a pregnant pause, and then:  “But you never know.”

Gotta love that pregnant pause.

So how long? A month? Two months?

An old friend who has run for decades said he knows runners who have been sidelined for two years with this IT band problems.

Another friend said he suffered from an inflamed IT band, but  caught it early. He gave it a few weeks of aggressive treatment, and ran a marathon a few months later.

 Yep, just about every runner knows someone who has had iliotibial band syndrome, one of the most common serious running injuries.

The advice is endless, and all over the map.

* Give yourself a few weeks.

* Maybe it’s just a tight hamstring; stretch it out, and you might be good to go in a week.

* Don’t make any running plans for the  six months.

*Start thinking about your next type of activity. You’re done with running.

So there it is. I’m basically on my own, trying to figure it out.

As best as I can tell, this problem was caused by a sudden increase in mileage, as I jumped into my marathon training in June with a little too much gusto. I ramped up from a long, lazy summer of four-mile easy runs to tough workout schedule of seven- and eight-mile easy runs, plus Yassos, tempo runs, long runs, etc.

Plus, I went from trails to pavement, with lots of repetitive motion.

My leg didn’t like it. In mid-July, my right leg started throbbing. By late July, I was hobbling around, in deep pain.

So from beginning to end, my marathon training lasted just a month. It’s my shortest training season ever.

What’s the justice in this? In the past few years, I’ve run 10 marathons. I’ve never had a serious injury. Suddenly, this year, I’m aim for a big, fat, juicy goal, qualifying for Boston, and I get sidelined in one lousy month.

Well that sucks.

In the meantime, I’m doing all the basic recommended treatments: no running, lots of ice, lots of gentle stretching, lots of cross-training, including bike rides almost every day. And this week, I’m planning to buy a foam roller for stretching.

It’s not as fun as running. But at least it’s just temporary. Right?

Three weeks should do it. Four weeks, tops.

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3 Responses to “Deep denial”

  1. this sucks, trailboy~I mean this really bites. I am hoping that your rest and stretching gets you back in no time! and is swimming a possibility? when I use to train horses for the track we swam them if they went a little lame to keep them strong without pounding on the ground.

  2. Here’s hoping you get back into form in time for your marathon.

  3. Sorry to hear about your sore leg. Hope you make a fast recovery!

    Maybe I’m just lucky, but on the off-chance that my recent IT pain was caused by a muscle imbalance, I began strengthening my hip abductor muscles. The pain went away, and I never had to stop running.

    While you’re figuring out what to do, you could try that.

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