Injuries: Part of the Marathon Journey?

As some of you who are reading this already know, I was 8 weeks into an 18 week marathon training plan when I got injured. This is my first time with an injury since I began running 10 years ago. I was hopping off of a curb and the drop was a bit more than I anticipated. I landed funny and felt spasms and twinges like fireworks in my back. Then I felt my left hip drop. I hobbled home. I started seizing up and could barely walk. I went to a chiropractor the next morning in tears over what was going on. That week there was a lot of chiro, massage, icing and Epsom salt baths. I noticed small improvements, but was still unable to walk properly and had no idea what was really wrong with me.

I found an amazing physiotherapist who diagnosed me with SI joint dysfunction. My pelvis was maligned and the left side was basically locked in a forward tilted position. The injury was from the incident, but was also part of the fact that I was and currently am breastfeeding a 9 month old baby – my relaxin-filled body = loose ligaments, and I neglected my core and pelvic floor after having two kids and trying to run 100km+ per week on a regular basis. Recovery was almost non-existent between running, taking care of a baby and a toddler and the lack of sleep that comes with all of that.

I was happy to have an answer, and a PT who is also a runner and could relate to me on that level too. I did my stretching and strengthening routines religiously. I didn’t want all of my training to be wasted, but I knew the longer it took to heal, the less likely a marathon would be. I’m so thankful for the team that helped put my body back together again (and for dry needling!). I’m also thankful for the support of friends, family and Oiselle Volee teammates who have been so supportive throughout this journey. It really does take a village!

It’s been two months since the injury happened and I’ve been cleared to run for the past couple of weeks. I’ve been lucky enough to have some pretty solid runs and have made the decision to stick with my plan to run the Ottawa Marathon at the end of May. My goal is to qualify for Boston at the marathon, it always was. Before I got injured, I was running faster than I ever have and was secretly aiming for a 3:05 marathon. I’ve scaled that back and have decided that I will be satisfied with anything that gets me to Boston. I’ll explain the significance of this goal in my next post.

How I Went from Hating Running to Training for a Marathon

I will never run a marathon, but I’ll train for a 5k – me, 10 years ago.

I wasn’t always a runner. Actually, I’ve only been a runner for almost 1/3 of my life. When I was a kid, I was in swimming and competitive dance. I ended up with a lot of injuries as a dancer – Patella femoral syndrome, pulled hamstrings and more. When I was 10, I remember jamming my knees so badly in tap class that I had to scoot out of the rehearsal room on my bum because I couldn’t stand up on my own.

I did a LOT of physio, like, 2 years a lot. I remember hearing the words “knee replacement” being mumbled. I had a doctors note excusing me from phys ed and stating that I wasn’t to engage in running activities. Every attempt I made at running ended badly, with something else on my body hurting. I remember in the 7th or 8th grade, it was track and field day and it was a requirement that we had to sign up for 3 running events. I chose the 60m, 100m and 200m because they were the shortest. Then we were told you had to pick at least one longer distance race, and that 3 short distances weren’t acceptable. So I signed up for the 800m, which was the shortest of the “long” distances.

I ran for maybe the first 50m and then walked very slowly the rest of the race. I think I may have even cried. Either way, running – it wasn’t my thing. When I turned 19, all of that changed.

I don’t know why, but running didn’t hurt when I gave it a shot. I could barely run 300m continuously, but I was determined to run. I began my journey in April 2006 and my goal was a 5km race on July 1st of that year. I trained and ran the 5k. I stopped during the race to “tie my shoe” – aka, find an excuse to take a break, my shoelace wasn’t undone. I was upset with myself for not running the whole thing. That feeling stuck with me and I wanted to do better. I noticed a lot of benefits from running and it started becoming part of my regular routine. The following spring, I signed up for and ran my first half marathon. That unsatisfied feeling creeped up on me again after that race, because I wanted to do better. I wanted to run faster. From there, I guess that’s when I felt like I became a runner.

Here I am, 10 years later, slated to run my first marathon on May 29th. I said I’d never run one. But I also used to say I’d never be able to run. I’ve learned to “never say never”.

Do you have any tips to share for a first time marathoner? How did you get into running?