Swimming, Biking and Running Away From Injury

running, injury

I want to make it to the starting line healthy and strong. (Photo: Phil Hospod)

Injury can be frustrating, especially when you’ve got a full slate of racing plans. But I want to make it to the starting line healthy and strong. So I’m counting down the weeks until I’m 100 percent by swimming, biking and running away from my injury…literally.

It’s been 7.5 weeks since I fell off a horse and injured my hip. I bruised the bone and the muscle, along with some whiplash to my neck. It was incredibly painful the first week, but luckily my x-rays showed no fractures. After two weeks off, I eased back into running and have been in doctor-prescribed physical therapy to strengthen my hip and get rid of the traumatic bursitis that settled into the joint.

Yesterday was my last physical therapy appointment. Today, I had my follow-up appointment with my hip doctor.

My doc is pleased with my progress. The bursitis is gone, but my left hip is still weaker than my right hip and gets incredibly tight. It didn’t stop me from finishing the Montuak Point Lighthouse Triathlon on July 21, but it did keep me from going for a personal record.

The good news is my doctor thinks I should be 100 percent in another four weeks. He told me to stay active—swim, bike and run—and to keep up all the strength exercises I’ve been doing in physical therapy. He hopes the tightness and weakness will sort themselves out. Active recovery? I’ll take it.

So I just registered for another triathlon in August: the Wild Dog Triathlon in Rhode Island. It’s a mini-sprint with a .25-mile swim, 10-mile bike and 3-mile run. I figured I might as well capitalize on all the triathlon training I’ve done with one more race before I focus solely on half-marathon and marathon training this fall.

Which reminds me: I’ve got a full racing calendar starting with the Kauai Half Marathon on September 1, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 20, and the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon on November 9.

With the marathon just 12.5 weeks away, I’m starting to get worried. I’m running three days a week and slowly building my long runs, but I feel far behind where I usually am in marathon training. While I’d initially tapped this marathon as a personal record attempt, I’m going to hold off an any pronouncement for another month until I can see where my hip is and how my training is going. I haven’t even done any weekly marathon training posts like I usually do, simply because I’m so unsure about how all of this is going to play out.

The swimming and biking cross-training has been really great for my hip, so I’ll keep it up for the time being. I don’t want to do too much running before I’m 100 percent—just the bare minimum I need at this point for marathon training. I’d rather recover right than do too much and push too hard. While my doctor thinks I’ll be fine in four weeks, he said he’s also seen these types of injuries turn into 5-month-long problems. I don’t want that to be me.

Getting injured is frustrating, but I feel lucky that I get to have an active recovery phase instead of being completely sidelined. Whenever something goes wrong with my body it always amazes me that most of the time things go right. I don’t want to take that for granted. It reminds me to be grateful that I can run, that I get to live an active life.

So here’s to four more weeks of counting down from injury. Marathon season, there’s hope for you yet. And injury, I’m going to swim, bike and run away from you as fast as I can.

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Karla Bruning


Karla Bruning is a regular contributor to SHAPE.com, the host of NYRR's On The Run web + TV show, and a race announcer at events like the TCS New York City Marathon. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now she freelances as a running reporter. She's run 7 marathons, 20 halves, 6 triathlons, sings in an '80s cover band, spoils her dog + travels compulsively.

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07 2013

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