Thursday, August 7, 2014

The "C's" of Injury

Just over 4 weeks ago I was on vacation in Canmore with my family.  We went to our buddy's place for a party.  He hired a live Irish band to play on his front lawn.  With corona in hand... 2 hrs of grass kicking fun felt like 10min... we were having so much fun!  Last call for last song, we did what everyone at a grass Irish dance party does.  We made a circle and one by one we would go into the middle and pull off our 'move' and then exit back into the outer ring.  Well, I only have one "move."  I have been doing this move for years and it has never let me down... until now.  You know the one...

Well, upon going down or maybe it was coming up, I felt a pop in my hip.  I gracefully exited the spot light and rejoined the outer circle only to leave the party right after.  Long story short I had to make the difficult decision cancel my Lake Louise MTN Running Camp +  withdraw from the TransRockies Run.   I hate to let people down and that was the hardest part of this decision as people were stoked for the camp + I had a running partner for the race and 9 athletes who were travelling down to Colorado to participate.  Ugh.

I will say that I have been fortunate in that I haven't had an injury take me 'out' of activity in over 9 years and the past 4 years in a row I have been racing in ultras and stage racing from BC Bike Race to the Gore-Tex Transalpine Run.  Plus my trail running business has grown into adding a trail race series and mountain camp series.  So life has been good.  I truly haven't missed out on much.

Unfortunately, I am in a position this week where I need to make a decision on if I will be able to toe up in Germany in just over 3 weeks and make the demanding and challenging trek across the Alps or if I have to let this race go too.  TAR involves 8 days, 3 countries, 300k + 50,000 feet ascent/descent.  It's no small potato and I am not naïve to think that showing up less than 100% for an event like this is risky in terms of re-injury or simply not being able to finish.  This is all part of the process in deciding what is best.  I also appreciate that races come and go and this is part of being an athlete.  I value my life outside of running and know that whether I go or not, I will have future opportunities to return and no doubt I am already determined to come back to race stronger than ever next year!

I am working with some incredible practitioners in town.  I have a team of massage therapists, chiropractor, doctors and physio who have been instrumental in my recovery to this point.  I am so thankful for their hard work and dedication to helping people in our community, like me, get diagnosed, receive the best treatment plan and rehab.  It helps that I had an MRI arthrogram.  Knowing what you're dealing with is always easier when you know what it is.  My MRI showed a tiny tear in my anterior labrum, tendonopothy in my glute medius at the greater trochanter insertion and a strained glute medius.... in summary.

I am currently in week 4 of my rehab and I have been slowly working back into the running scene.  I decided to try some longer back to back runs this week to see how my hip will respond and ultimately this will help me determine whether or not I can build the appropriate miles required to pull off TAR.  I did a 5hr hike in Revelstoke National Park on Sunday, 2hr trail run on Tuesday and 3hr trail run yesterday and it all went pretty okay.  So I will see how it goes this weekend and make a call by Sunday.

I feel grateful for my community , husband & TAR partner who has been super supportive and patient as I work through the 'Cs' of injury:

Cursing - I might have let the odd 'bomb' go here and there over the past 4 weeks.  Luckily, it was into a pillow and not out loud while sitting at the dinner table with my family;

Calm - I tried not to panic. Injuries can feel overwhelming at first and like everything is doomed and you'll be off for ever.  I tried to focus on small improvements.  Recognize what I could do vrs. what I couldn't and then started with baby steps.  I made my activities and rehab measurable so I could gauge my progress, however slow it may go.

Creativity - 3 days post injury I started to strength train, ROM exercises, hip recovery exercises, band and core work.  9 days post injury I was on my bike and light walking/hiking.  14 days post injury I was hiking for 2hrs, started light running for 45min and by 21days into things I was MTB 3hrs, hiking 5hrs and just shy of a 2hr light run.  Keeping your body fit with alternate options takes creativity and patience.
Conservative - my mind thinks I can just go run 25km.  Instead I started with 5km.  Let's face it, athlete's have strong willed-minds.  Naturally we think we can do more because we are driven and want to.  I had to dial it back to ensure I didn't risk re-injury and disappointment.

Consistency - you can't build back with sporadic rehab sessions.  You have to be consistent.

Commitment - commit to what needs to be done.  I decided to treat it like my *NEW* training plan & like a doctors appointment.  I followed through and was committed no matter how little I was able to do.

I am looking forward to the weekend to see how my hip holds up.  Mostly just because I love being outside and miss running with my community + friends :)

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