Friday, November 21, 2008

It’s always brightest before the dusk: Injuries


I’ve been pretty lucky with injuries during my time as a runner. But, I’ve had a few experiences like yesterday – I was walking down the hallway when suddenly there was a sharp pain in my knee. I didn’t fall or twist my knee – I was walking straight ahead and all of a sudden it felt like someone had stuck a knife in my knee. The first thought is that it’s just some weird thing that will go away after a few paces. But, when I got up from my cube it was still there – when I got out of the rental car it was still there – and when I slowly made my way onto the plane it was still there. I’m now sitting in the airplane – and it might disappear after 2 ½ hours of sitting down or it might be worse. (Update: It’s still here) This type of pain is kind of like feeling the first rumbles of an earthquake – your start thinking, is this going to be “the One”?

Most running injuries are just from overuse – we don’t know when to stop. Something must be in the water this week. My friend Ryan finally had to call it quits for awhile after he noticed a “bone protruding” from his ankle – probably caused by pushing his body too hard in the NYC marathon followed by a XC race a few weeks later – not to mention the just under 30 races he’s run this year. Gold medal winner Kenenisa Bekele apparently ran with a possible stress fracture in a race this last week which caused him to run a “pedestrian” 15:46 for the last 5k of his race.

There are also those injuries caused by non-running accidents that keep you off your feet as well. Olympian Paul McMullen famously severed his own toe while mowing the lawn. The above picture of Positano, Italy was taken about 30 minutes before I fell off a rented scooter in Italy – a month before I was going to run the Frankfurt Marathon. I messed up my knee so bad that 80% of my training was on a stationary bike leading up the marathon.

My worst injury was my sophomore in high school - I was cruising through a great XC season when I started having knee problems shortly before the state meet. I basically limped through the state meet – and then went on crutches for 6 weeks after learning I had Osgood Schlatters – an overuse injury that affects the growth plate in the knee.

Most injuries aren’t so dramatic – the last two summers I’ve had issues that haven’t forced me to stop running – but, they’ve made it much less enjoyable. Summer of 2007 I had a problem with “runner’s knee” and last summer I had plantar fasciitis for the first time in my life.

Over the next few months I’m going to write some posts about what the experts have to say about dealing with injuries and preventing them. If anybody has some interesting injury stories let me know. Injuries are a part of the sport - even after I listed my injuries above I still feel like I've been lucky.

6 comments:

fbg said...

Positano is quite possibly the prettiest, most photogenic city in the world. Yeah, that's all I got out of your article. Injuries are for pansies. Don't be a pansy.

fbg said...

Dude, it just took me literally five tries to do the word verification step to post a comment. Am I a robot, and did I just almost pass the Inverse Turing Test?

I'm not even drunk, but speaking of that, last Saturday evening I failed three times using Gmail's "Mail Goggles". Fourth time was a charm. Just thought you might care.

Ben said...

that's why i put in pictures - even if nobody likes the content at least people have something nice to look at.

so, do you think you actually sobered up by the fourth time?

fbg said...

Nah, I just tried harder. And then the next day I turned the difficulty of the problems up from 1 to 5. I haven't had the opportunity to try it out yet.

RM said...

Isn't it always darkest before the dusk?

Ben said...

the proverb is "it's always darkest before the dawn" - which really isn't true - so, my new saying doesn't have to be true either. I guess I created two new figures of speech last week - along with "diamond in a haystack".

I never liked the "diamond in the rough" - i just looked it up and it appears i've been using it incorrectly. I thought it meant something really awesome in a crappy environment, but it actually means something or someone that is actually a diamond, but they seem "dubious" at first.

Even more shocking was definition #5 at the Urban Dictionary http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Diamond%20in%20the%20rough