On Friday morning, I went out for an easy 5 mile run. Half way through it, I noticed that my right adductor was tight so I slowed down; by the time I got home, the front and back of my upper thigh was sore. The next afternoon, I decided to go out for an easy run to make sure that my leg had recovered and I’d be able to handle my long run the next day. I felt good for about 3 miles, but as I climbed a slight uphill, I heard the back of my thigh start to scream at me. That’s when I thought my piriformis was source of my grief. I got home, took the next day off and waited for Physio on Tuesday.
Since then, I have seen two physiotherapists. One appointment was pre-scheduled to work on my diaphragmatic breathing but since movement was a huge issue, Tracy worked on my leg instead; the other, with Lisa, was a routine maintenance check, again scheduled weeks ago for today, and became a “Let’s get Cynthia moving” appointment. Both physiotherapists said the same thing: my right hamstring, right at the top of the leg where the hamstring meets the butt, was aggravated so the muscles around it (the other hamstrings, glute medius, sciatica) are tensing up to protect it. Well, they have been protecting it for a week now, and I’d really like the hamstring to relax and settle down so that I can get back to my running.
Since I have time these days, I also went to my family doctor who agreed with the others. I asked if he thought there was a tear because recovery has been so slow, but he said that my leg isn’t swollen enough and I’m not in enough pain for it to be a tear. All three professionals agree on the diagnosis: hamstring strain. Hooray, I think.
Meanwhile, I’m not running and I’m not happy about it. I’ve been told to take it really easy for a few more days: walking and some gentle cycling if it doesn’t hurt. I can go to yoga but I need to be careful to not overstretch.
Meanwhile, with Chicago only ten weeks away and the Canadian 5K Championships in mid-September, I am using every card in my hand to recover quickly.
Card #1: Physiotherapy: My doctor agreed that this is a must for a fast recovery. I have been getting ultrasound and acupuncture and my right hamstring is taped for a while.
Card #2: Anti-inflammatories: My right thigh is only 2.5 mm bigger than my left, which is not really significant. However, it has been a week with very little progress so we are being a little more aggressive through a prescription.
Card #3: Compression shorts: Lisa suggested that I wear compression shorts all day until my hamstring has settled down. Living in a house with ultra-conservative boys and men, I don’t own compression shorts. Fortunately, I found a pair of 2XU shorts on sale at National Sport. I think this may actually count as another “Hooray!”
Card #4: Rest: Of course, and I’m milking it. I’ve told my husband that I can’t vacuum or do any housework that involves using my hamstrings (like cleaning the bathtub), and I can only walk Zeda if we go for a slow walk. Yes, I am absolutely taking advantage of this! Shhhhh…..
Card #5: Stay calm: I’m not panicking. I’m frustrated beyond belief, but I am trying to stay positive. I have a solid base behind me so I’m trying to look at this a short period of forced rest to that I can be my best in the fall. But, Hamstring, be warned: if you play this game for more than three weeks, I will become a force to be reckoned with (and that’s when you’ll hear my husband and kids complain).
My advice to anyone thinking about massage is to start establishing a relationship with an RMT during your off-season, when a strange ache that might follow doesn’t matter. The RMT didn’t know me; she didn’t know what I could handle. On another runner or triathlete, the same pressure probably would have been fine but, on me, it wasn’t. Maybe I will go back to see her, but it will be after the marathon. In the meantime, I’m going to keep playing the cards in my hand; one of the them has to be the lucky one.