2019 Running Pains amidst CrossFit Gains

And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. – Hebrews 12:1

Photo: guvendemir / Getty Images

I’ve had a bit of a wild ride this year! For the first time in forever, earlier on this year, I intentionally didn’t set myself any goals per se, not in running or in any other area of my life. I had a couple runs that were forgone conclusions because of pre qualifying criteria I had met but in general I opted to be an open book, pen in hand, ending unplanned, as the song goes. From the beginning, I invited our Good Lord to write our story together and I have to believe I’ve been holding up my end of the bargain (though I’m almost certain He doesn’t do bargains..maybe agreements?) because I know He’s certainly been keeping to His. So it’s any wonder that I’ve been having an eventful year then! I mean, I did ask and all.

As it is I’ve run four major marathons this year, three of which are World Marathon Majors, and one other which was a bit of a destination run. My times were moderate with the there majors happening under 3 hours and 45 minutes and one being a Boston PR and qualifying time. The three major races were also all Chicago qualifiers and aided my decision to register for the Chicago Marathon 2020 – the only Marathon that is on the books for next year. Amidst all of this I indulged in a major hike of distance, elevation, and difficulty I had never done before and as a result of which I ended up with some knee complications that I’m still struggling with. Of course I think it’s a combination of the running and the arduous hike, in which there was some downhill running, which possibly made matters worse, and resulted in weeks of discomfort and pain especially with the the last two races I had in the last two months.

Anyone who knows me know that the chances of getting me to stop running is slim until or unless it is becoming unhealthy to the point of affecting other areas of my life. Unfortunately, such is the case: walking, climbing, sitting, squatting, and lunging has become very painful – even exercising and cross training presents a difficulty that I didn’t foresee . And so when my normal exercise routine is being turned on its head I have to pay attention. I’m forced to press pause and heed my body’s warnings and take off running and other extreme aggravating knee movements for the next 4-6 weeks. Way to end the year right! Even so, I’m ever so grateful for all that I’ve been able to accomplish this year – I even took part in my first in-house CrossFit competition – and look forward to stepping into the unknown and getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.

I already have some ideas for the duration of this year and have started PT exercises to repair my knees. My CrossFit workouts are going amazingly well and no wonder with so much focus on my upper body I’m becoming super sculpt LOL but more importantly, stronger and more skillful with my gymnastic movements. I’m also finding out alternative and challenging exercises to minimize the impact on my knees, which has propelled me to finally give attention to one thing I’ve been thinking and talking about for the past three years. The opportunity has presented itself and I’m super stoked to talk about this new year challenge in my next blog post. Stay tuned! Cliffhanger or no? 😉

Damn those running injuries..I’m still in form or am I

imageUp till last year I had little worries or gave little thought to injuries aside from the usual quick prayer seeking protection and thank-you-God for keeping me whole. In truth, prior to two years ago, I really wasn’t running races, not like I am now anyway, there was the odd race here & there which would include a half marathon or 15 miler but running then was primarily for exercise. Fast forward to present day and.. It hurts. Ever since I injured my ankle last year, it has been one thing or another with either my ankle throbbing at odd intervals, posterior knee pains or leg fatigue or some such thing; I’d even wager a guess that they may all be related in some way. If I recall any other injury before this onslaught it was shin splints and that would have been a record of 1 running injury in my lifetime up till then.

Education is half the battle
It’s no secret that runners hate injuries and that we really covet our ability to stay injury-free. Try as we might though, the numbers show an average 60 to 66% injury rate per year (Runners World). In other words, your chances of sustaining some type of running-related injury or even injuries in the span of your running life is very high. Seems I’m not so special after all. The best chances one has of combatting anything is to educate oneself about it. With that in mind, take a look at some of the more common running injuries and how best you can avoid and or treat with them.

Hip and Thigh Injuries
-Iliotibial Band Syndrome commonly referred to as IT Band
The IT Band is a thick, fibrous band that spans from the hip to the shin; it lends stability to the knee joint, and is attached to muscles of the thigh. ITBS is caused when the band becomes inflamed and tender.

-Pulled Hamstring
This is a common sports injury, seen most commonly in sprinters. A pulled hamstring is a injury to the muscle called a hamstring strain. Treatment of a pulled hamstring is important for a speedy recovery.

-Hip Stress Fractures
Stress fractures of the hip are most common in athletes who participate in high-impact sports, such as long distance runners. Treatment usually is successful by avoiding the impact activities.

Knee Injuries
-Patellofemoral Syndrome aka Runner’s Knee
Runner’s Knee problems are associated with the patella, or kneecap and is common in runners. The term runner’s knee may refer to several common injuries such as chondromalacia, patellar tendonitis, or generalized knee pain.

-Plica Syndrome
Plica syndrome occurs when there is irritation of the lining of the knee joint. Part of the lining of the knee joint is more prominent in some individuals, and can form a so-called plica shelf. If this tissue becomes inflamed, it can cause knee pain.

Leg Injuries
-Shin Splints
Like runner’s knee, this is a term that describes a set of symptoms, not an actual diagnosis. Shin splint pain can be due to problems with the muscles, bone, or the attachment of the muscle to the bone.

-Stress Fractures
Stress fractures of the hip are usually seen in long distance runners, and much more commonly in women than in men. These injuries are usually seen in endurance athletes with deficient nutrition or eating disorders.

Ankle Injuries
-Ankle Sprain
Ankle sprains are common injuries that runners experience. Early recognition and treatment of this problem will help speed your recovery from ankle ligament injuries.

-Achilles Tendonitis
This is a painful condition of the tendon in the back of the ankle. Left untreated, Achilles tendonitis can lead to an increased risk of Achilles tendon rupture.

Foot Injuries
-Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a syndrome of heel pain due to inflammation of the thick ligament of the base of the foot. A tight, inflamed plantar fascia can cause pain when walking or running, and lead to the formation of a heel spur.

Pronation is a normal movement of the foot through the gait cycle. When this motion becomes excessive, overpronation can cause a variety by altering the normal mechanics of the gait cycle. Shoes to control excess foot motion can be helpful for overpronators.

-Arch Pain
Arch pain is a common foot complaint. Arch pain, also sometimes called a strain, often causes inflammation and a burning sensation under the arch of the foot. Treatment of arch pain often consists of adaptive footwear and inserts.

Of course there are a lot more running-associated injuries. You would do well to read up some more and take proper steps to avoid them. Many of us fail to adhere to proper running and pre running principles and even for those that do there is still the risk -such is the nature of the sport. But we can all try to minimize our risks by wearing proper footwear, stretching out properly and incorporating cross-training into our running schedule. Then there’s the issue do what to do when it is what it is. Your best chances are early detection, diagnosis and treatment to ensure you return to full form in the shortest possible time. For the minor injuries, and these usually last a few days with rest, the ICE method (Ice, Compress, Elevate) usually works with some type of anti-inflammatory medication. For anything lasting more than a few days, get it checked out. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Always.

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