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It’s been a long 4+ weeks since Ragnar Chicago. You know, that race I still haven’t recapped? Well, that’s because I wound up hurt pretty badly. Long story, it didn’t have anything to do with the race but rather with running my first leg in a pair of very different shoes from what I’m used to. I thought I’d given myself enough break-in time with them, but sadly, I had not. Rookie mistake, and I’ve paid hard for it. Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. Don’t Poke the Bear. I can now mark IT Band Syndrome off my list of running injuries I’ve never had. I never struggled with my IT band before. It has always served me well. But man, IT Band is a JERK when you make it mad. Don’t do it. Ever. It’s not worth it. And when you do, leave it alone! It doesn’t want to be bothered. Do NOT poke this bear. It’s probably angry, volatile, and drunken –and it’s not worth the trauma of dealing with it. Leave it alone if it’s mad.

2. The Run Streak had become a hindrance. In an effort to Not Poke The Bear, I had to give up the run streak. 281 days straight of running, and I gave it up. Turns out, I don’t regret that one bit. I learned so many lessons from the run streak and I plan to do an entire post about it. But it had become an excuse to not *really* train, and I was putting in so many junk miles and very few quality runs. That was never the point (my run streak never did have a point, really. It just became a challenge I gave myself and I found it hard to quit) so it was easier, when I considered my long term goals, to let it go.

3. Ice is your friend. Ice is so, so, your friend. Compression, too. I can’t say it enough. If you’re hurt, you need to ice whatever is hurt like it’s your job. It will feel so much better afterward, and will help soothe whichever Bear you may have poked with your running. I’ve been using my Frozen Peaz about 4 times a day, and it’s been so helpful. I ice in the morning, I ice at lunch, I ice in the car if I’m driving and I ice at night. And if you can compress it, compress it. I have been sleeping in my 110% Juggler Knickers and I felt better after the very first night I thought to do that.

Lots of this happening lately.

Lots of this happening lately.

RICE in one pic: resting, icing, compressing (the sleeve is under the pants), elevating. RICE done right.

RICE in one pic: resting, icing, compressing (the sleeve is under the pants), elevating. RICE done right.

4. I don’t freak out about not running the way I used to. Two years ago, when I was laid up for a bit, I was climbing the walls with not running. I wasn’t confident enough yet in my lifestyle of running to know that I’d get Running back. Now, I am so much more confident in knowing that, with this rest, I will run again. And I’ve been sidelined enough to know that, I’ll probably be stronger than ever. That made giving up running the Peachtree easier than it would have been otherwise.

5. But coming back from an injury is still hard. Granted, I didn’t cross train the way I should have during this break, but I’m not really sure I could have. Everything seemed to pull somehow on the muscle, and I wanted faster healing. So, total rest seemed like the answer. Yes, I could’ve gotten in the pool, but I’m such a miserable swimmer that I don’t know that I could’ve handled the mental demons that come from being utterly terrible at something, when I didn’t have the running endorphins to balance that out. So I am currently slow and sad at running. But I know that will change in a few days after I’m back at it regularly. I am not in the shape I want to be for Hood to Coast. Thankfully, I have time to ramp back up now that I’m finally feeling better.

Happiest feet ever--running again.

Happiest feet ever–running again.

6. Injuries are still skeery. Right now I’m still being overly cautious about checking in with my leg. I’m  stopping a lot to stretch. And I’m going slow as I work on my form. I’ve been told by the Active Release Therapist I’m seeing to use my glutes more as I draw back in my stride, instead of relying on my IT Band. So, my glutes are sore from being used more. Thankfully I have strong glutes that rise to the challenge, and a trusty foam roller to soothe them after they do. My Everything Else is sore from all the ways I’m trying to strengthen Everything Else. So I have to mentally stay in the game to not get upset that running is hard again.

I plan to recap Ragnar soon, and tell you about the end of the Run Streak, too, but for now, there’s where I am. Fear not, fellow Injured Runners! You too, can run again. I’m sure of it.