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Hamstring-hitch Reprise.


The term “slow-motion trainwreck” might be a solid characterization of how my training is progressing right now. I have a vague idea of where this might be going, but I’m not sure how to stop it.

I’ll have days completely free of pain, and then days when that nagging hitch in my hamstring come back and precludes me from running anything under a certain pace without altering my gait significantly. Speed work of any kind appears to be the catalyst.

I was pain-free after falling out of the kayak and cracking my back, until about two weeks later when the ache returned on the very last rep of a 400m workout. I took a day off, whined, complained, did a bunch of physical therapy exercises, and set out on Sunday for what I’d originally foreseen as a 22-mile run but decided would probably be closer to 5-10. Well, I made it through the entire 22 miles, painlessly, at 7:25 pace.

All good?

Sure. Next couple days were fine, just some recovery jogs.

Then I set out this morning for a bit of marathon pace work. I warmed up for three miles, did a set of three miles at ~6:58, jogged a mile, and then midway through the second set, the stupid pain popped up again. I backed off immediately and shuffled home.

Biiiig sigh.

Where does this leave me?

I can slog through easy miles with no problem, but any time I try to touch sub-7:00 pace, it starts to feel like someone is strumming my lateral hamstring tendon with a glass plectrum.

I’ve got 32 days until I’m supposed to be lining up at the bottom of the Art Museum steps, legs charged with adrenaline, eyes searching the other nervous-happy faces, heart thrumming a bit too fast as I try to get my head around what I’m about to attempt…

Now I just don’t know. I’m not at a point where I can conclusively throw in the towel, and again, I do tend toward the melodramatic where even the teensiest of injuries is concerned, but I’m not so sure how this is going to go anymore.

Maybe I overdid it. Maybe I just asked too much volume of my legs this summer and now it’s catching up. Or maybe this is a quick fix I can remedy with some physical therapy, or more appropriate shoes, or better attention to my stride and footfalls. Who knows. This could either devolve into a nightmare overuse injury, or it might just… go away. (Hey, it’s happened to me before.)

Today, the uncertainty of how to proceed is the tricky part. Once you know how bad things are and have an accurate picture of exactly what you’re dealing with, you can commit to the long period of grinding it out and plowing through it. You can launch the uphill one-day-at-a-time battle of whatever you have to do to navigate it in a way that will prevent you from feeling miserable and hopeless. But right now? In the early stages, you just keep hoping you’ll wake up to discover that whatever was challenging you is either completely manageable or — even better — has miraculously evaporated overnight.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. 10/17/2012 06:42

    Wishing you a speedy recovery! You sound like me. I can handle mileage all day long but intensity gets me everytime. Every body is different. Keeping my fingers crossed this gets resolved for you before Philly.

  2. 10/17/2012 10:31

    I’m sorry! I would just try to keep it conservative the next few weeks, as you’re practically in taper time. But it is SO frustrating to not know what you’re dealing with, whether minor ache or major injury.
    Listen to your best judgement, and take care!

  3. 10/18/2012 09:54

    Total, total, totally can sympathize with this one. Before I started my 2-week “rest”, I would have a great 20 miler one day, then have to start walking and head home at mile 2 the next day.

    Here’s what I hope: once you start tapering in 10 days or so, your hamstring will have a chance to get itself right. And then it won’t show up at all on race day. And your race will go splendidly.

  4. 10/19/2012 21:25

    That’s weird. The 22 miles @ 7:25 was a great run, so if you can be feeling like that on race day you could be fine. I’d just say avoid speedwork between now and then and just run steadily – starting easy and very gradually speeding up during runs. Good luck!

  5. 11/04/2012 08:22

    Roserunner just recommended you to me over on my blog and I look forward to following! We have a lot in common – both ran the 2012 Louisiana marathon! I probably saw you; it was a small race and we finished really close together.
    I’m hoping you recover quickly – time off sucks but everyone says it helps 😉
    I’m kind of injured, too, so I feel your pain.

    • 11/06/2012 17:24

      I love this! Haha, yes, I absolutely remember you! You were the intimidating fastie lined up near me at the start… and actually, I have to admit I’ve already been reading your blog for several months!! (Would have commented earlier, but some kind of setting in my computer (probably my own operator error) seems to prevent me from commenting on blogger blogs recently…and I’m a lazy delinquent blogger to begin with…)

      • 11/08/2012 19:13

        Oh gosh. You mean the borderline overweight girl in a Saints T-shirt, right? Ha!
        I’m actually running that race again this year, since it’s only an hour and a half away, and I thought it was a pretty great race. As long as my pelvis doesn’t snap in two it’s my goal race.
        Hope you rock your race!

      • 11/11/2012 09:33

        @Gracie, ha! borderline overweight! No way. My friend was there supporting/cheering me on and we remembered you from both the start and the finish as the skinny intimidating fast chick.

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