Here we go . . .
I have really been putting off composing this first blog post. The last 8 months have been rough. Injury + cross-training have been the name of the game. I questioned whether this was even an ideal time to post anything at all. I mean, why would anyone want to read about my darkest hours? Either way, I was told that now might be the time to start…
I was really blessed to have a successful and injury-free 2011. Then, as the year concluded in November, only days after a tough 3rd place finish at the National XC Championships on a very muddy Jericho beach, I experienced a terrible pain in my lower back/glute area. Over the course of a few days I was no longer able to run. That pain was likely a very aggravated SI joint shearing my nerve. However, on top of this was another issue that an MRI later discovered: a stress fracture in the right ala of my sacrum. "Ok," I thought, "I can do this."
Frustrating as it was, winter is not my favourite time to train so being confined to indoor exercises was not the worst scenario in the world. I got on a bike I had borrowed, hooked it up to a trainer, and commenced aerobic-inducing interval workouts with target wattages whilst watching ITU and Ironman races, "Yeah Macca!!" The bike sessions paired with hours of pool running and strength and weight sessions, made my reintroduction to running in early February much easier. My 11 day stint in Clermont, Florida also proved beneficial in gaining a bit of fitness back. I struggled through most of the time there but I felt like I came back a much stronger and fitter runner.
Despite feeling like I could not even finish a 10K in early February, I still planned on trying to perform decently at the Around the Bay 30K at the end of March. Although my base was minimal I really believed I could tough it out. Race day came and I ran almost exactly the same time as the year before (1:50:45.3 in 2011 and 1:50:48.1 in 2012). I certainly felt the lack of mileage in my legs very early on in the race. Krista Duchene was a metronome, steady and strong. I could not hang with her and finished second. This was a result I decided I was okay with.
Just when I thought my running was on the up and up I began noticing a pain in my left shin. I think my first response was to ignore the pain, press onward, and tell myself that it was muscular and would calm down. This did not happen. I wanted to still race but my training was now confined to an elliptical and I felt like I was quickly loosing fitness, fitness I did not have to begin with. So my season came to a halt, literally, about 8K in to the 10K Vancouver Sun Run.
Stopping during this race was a moment of sadness, frustration, and relief that I could finally let my body heal. I did not feel like myself running. My left shin was in pain, something I could block out during the race but on top of this my right leg, especially my quad, was extremely fatigued from offloading onto it in the previous weeks. My stride felt choppy and off balance and my knees, for some reason, knocked with every stride. So with my spring racing season prematurely concluded I now turned my attention toward healing.
Two weeks of nothing was required as I continued to limp around my everyday life. I started my cross-training routine and bought a road bike so I could at least enjoy the outdoors. May and June were the big cross-training months spent on the bike and elliptical. Running is something I am continuing to incorporate and build up. I am also approaching these past injuries from several other angles with the help of my physiotherapist and chiropractor. I think it is essential to analyze all the aspects that may have contributed to these injuries (or prevented them.) Nutrition, core strength, stress, sleep, they are all being considered and worked on. I hope that I can really benefit from what at the time seemed like an incredibly unfortunate chain of events.
So that is where I am right now. I hope to continue updating you on the progress of my training… hopefully not too infrequently. The future looks bright and I look forward to lacing up my racing Ronins once again!