**Reader advisory...there are some gross photos in this post.
The likelihood of an injury is pretty high if you are a human being.
Seriously, just by breathing and moving around we can get hurt.
Ever have a paper cut? Those suckers are painful.
If you are an athlete, injuries are inevitable.
Most are minor, and won't require more than a band-aid, but some will be worse. Throw in that most of us are training for something, and that will cause insult on top of injury.
Depending on when the injury occurs (early in training or close to race day), as well as its severity, it can break you.
And there is really only one way to recover from injury...rest and heal.
That may mean missing a race...and it could be your "A" race. Maybe even your BHAG!
I've had my share of injuries. I've broken bones playing softball; I've chipped a tooth playing basketball; I've sprained my foot playing soccer; I've sprained my ankle doing I don't know what. You name it, I've probably hurt it. But since I've become a triathlete, I have been extremely lucky.
My first "major" injury was losing a toe nail while training for my second Half Marathon. I actually lost it twice that year.
My second "major" injury involved my IT Band. That is the long piece of connective tissue that runs from your hip to your shin on the outside of your leg. The injury made it so I could barely run 3 miles without some major pain in my knee. Luckily, I could swim and bike. I finally figured out the cause and started PT, a month before my first Half Ironman: the BHAG at that time.
I wasn't sure if I would be able to start the race, let alone complete it. Besides lot of stretching, foam rolling, and rest, I also used an Anti-Gravity treadmill. The treadmill allowed me to run, but to keep weight off my legs. We started at 50% of my body weight. I could only get 4 sessions on it, and I was limited to 30 minutes per session. But by the 4th, I was putting about 90% of my body weight on my legs. I decided to give the race a go.
I also used KT Tape to help stabilize my knee.
In the end, I completed my race and while my body hurt, I was super happy. Doesn't that picture look like a happy face?
What caused the injury? Me.
I had raised my saddle on my bike a little over a centimeter (less than 1/2 an inch). That is what caused it. Putting it back where it belonged eliminated the added stress to my IT Band. The Physical Therapy and the KT Tape strengthened it enough that I could race.
Lesson learned: Don't tweek the measurements on your bike after having a professional bike fit!
Since then, I've had other minor injuries. Again, I usually bring it on myself, like twisting my ankle while trail running.
Or tripping over a root, and landing on my hand while trail running. That time, I feared that I broke something in my hand, but luckily it was only bruised. A very bad , very painful bruise.
Maybe I should stop trail running. That's funny, cuz it ain't gonna happen.
I bring all this up, because I recently injured myself again.
The past couple of long runs (only 7 miles and 5 miles, but it is early in training) have caused a "hot spot" on the bottom of my right foot. Right by the ball of the foot--right where you typically LAND when you run.
The first time this happened a few weeks ago, I was about 4 miles into my 7 mile run. I could feel it. I thought it was because I was favoring my left hip. Then I thought it was because of the crown of the road. Maybe it was my socks. Maybe I just didn't tie my shoes up tight enough. Whatever, it was a one off.
Walking was problematic for about 36 hours afterwards, since that hot spot was the beginnings of a blister.
I ran a couple of times since that run, with no issue. 4 miles here, 4 miles there. Nothing seemed wrong.
During the hill repeat run last week, I started to feel the hot spot toward the end of the run. I did think anything of it. We were doing hill repeats, which always puts a little added stress on my body. It's all good.
Then a 5 mile run this weekend brought back the hot spot with a vengeance. About 3 miles in, I mentioned it to my running partner--who also used to be my coach. We talked a little, and she hung back and watched my gait. She didn't see anything off. She asked about my shoes. How many miles did I have on them?
Huh. I did buy them last February. Most runners recommend new shoes after 300 miles.
I had 350 miles on my shoes.
That may explain everything.
As I think back to the last time this happened, it was January 2020. It was an 8 mile run, and I felt a hot spot in the same spot. I immediately went out and bought new shoes.
Funny how you can forget little things like this.
So on my day off this week, I will head over to my local running store, and check out their offerings.
I know I could buy the exact same shoes on line, but I'd prefer to buy local and help my "neighbors", just like they help me when they stop in the bicycle shop I work in and purchase things from us.
Let's hope this is it for my "major" injuries for the year...and if not they are minor and quickly healed.
Like hangnails or ingrown hairs.