London Calling but Injury Calls It Off

by Paul Thompson

Two weeks ago I completed a 20 mile run in Central Park, New York with the last 3 miles at 5:45 minutes per mile pace scorching my way through midtown Manhattan, dodging tourists and snow left over from Nemo. I finished at Grand Central Terminal (celebrating its 100th birthday), met Shamala, grabbed a latte and toasted bagel with butter, and boarded my train home for Peekskill. The London Marathon was calling and preparations were going well. Life was good.

Two weeks later my marathon plans are off. I am writing this while sitting uncomfortably on an aching butt having done 30 minutes easy on a Polar turbo trainer. London will have to wait another year. Life is not so good anymore.

Riding the train home two weeks ago I could sense something was not right. But like most of us runners faced with injury I steered clear of common sense. I spent two weeks in denial, hoping it would be a niggle that would soon pass. I was wrong. Despite running less and slower, the problem got worse.

So what am I doing about it. Well I am following the proven 4 step formula us runners are used to.

Step 1 – sulk and feel sorry for myself. That’s easy given that I feel I am owed some sympathy. Shamala is dolling it out but she has little left as she has her own injury woes. Eating (sugar, fatty) and drinking (alcohol) comfort food helps.

Step 2 – research online about what might be wrong and the consequences. According to some coaches few weeks off does little harm but of course  psychologically we aren’t convinced. Step one above may exacerbate this.

Step 3 – take to alternative forms of exercise. Hence the workout on the turbo trainer in the gym at our complex. Boy was it boring. I wonder how folk can bear running on a treadmill for more than 45 seconds. We are not cut out for being a mouse on a wheel.

Step 4 –  make an appointment with a specialist doctor, preferably one who understands the upside down mind of a sports mad person. Of course, in an ideal world we’d go to straight to step 4. But hell we just wanna run.

My injury is a mystery. The early warning signal was a slight ache at the top of my leg, just as the hamstring enters the butt area. Since then the pain has gotten worse and seems constantly on the move – turning up variously in the front, then the rear of my hip, top of my hamstring, top of my quads.

So life is not good right now. Barely a month ago I was running further than I’d ever done. Now I’m running less than I’ve done in years. But it will get better. Boulder beckons. Two weeks today we’ll be back in Boulder, CO.

Running in Boulder in February 2012.

Running in north Boulder in February 2012.

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