Calling in the pros

There's a rule in running that goes like this: Your current injury status and desire to run are inversely correlated. The healthier you are, the less you want to run. But if you're injured, you'd give nearly anything to be able to run.

Since the beginning of this training plan, I've had normal (for me) twinges and flare-ups. My left knee. My right hamstring. My right hip. My right ankle. Both of my shins. My back. Looking at old training logs, I know this is common for me in the first eight weeks and usually goes away on its own as long as I take it easy.

My main complaint is my right leg. At the beginning, my right hip felt really tight. I foam-rolled it, and it seemed to improve a little. Then, my right hamstring started hurting: so much so, that when I sit on the back table during Monday morning meetings (as is my habit) and my legs dangle over the side, the feeling of my hamstring pressing into the edge sends shooting pain through my whole body.

Last week, I took the entire weekend off to go camping. I ran only 8 miles that week but got in lots of low-impact hiking and some bike-riding, which I thought would be great for letting my muscles heal. My first run the following week was great: A five-mile tempo that felt much easier than my shorter tempo the week before (not shocking after such an easy week). But on the run after that, my leg cried out again from all the same places.

That afternoon, I had a massage and described what I was feeling to the masseuse. She spent some extra time on my right hip and leg. Afterward, mentioned that both of my ankles felt "crunchy" and the knots in my leg seemed to be coming from my IT band. I've never had IT band problems before (and, um, I'm not even sure I know what an IT band is...*ducks*), so she explained how to foam-roll against a wall. I followed her instructions and carefully arranged myself on my foam roller, but never really felt I was doing it right. I can't get my foam roller to dig into where it really hurts.

On Saturday I set out for my first double-digit long run this cycle. From the beginning, everything was all wrong. I felt like I was running on two wooden legs. My right leg hurt and I was probably compensating for it somehow, because halfway through the inside of my right ankle started hurting pretty badly. That, combined with the "crunchy" ankle comment from the masseuse, now introduced a new worry about tendonitis. Fun!

Stubborn and seeking redemption, I tried to run again the next day. I took two ibuprofin beforehand, and did about five miles feeling pretty decent. But once I was home and showered and the ibuprofin wore off, I still hurt in all of the same places. Don't do what I do, people.

I'm starting to accept that this is getting to be above my pay grade; that I'm in week 7 now and these weird pains aren't "going away on their own" like they usually do.

I do know I need to get to the bottom of this. My theory is that I had a few twinges at the beginning that would have worked themselves out on their own, but I was over-aggressive and jumped into speedwork, etc., and my problems compounded. 

I don't know if I need a few sessions of a sports massage, or this "ART" or "Graston" stuff people are always blogging about, but it's time to call in the pros. It pains me to have to spend money on copays for this, my hobby -- especially when running is supposed to make me healthier. 

I broke down and made an appointment at my in-network sports medicine clinic (fortunately, just a few minutes away from my office). Fingers crossed that this doesn't wind up being a serious (or expensive) problem...