Sunday, May 10, 2015

Injury Report: Pulled Groin

After running five marathons in five days, I started the week feeling stiff and sore.  I also felt like my body chemistry was off.  Those things can slow you down for a few days, but I knew I would be feeling fine by the end of the week.

My last marathon was Sunday.  I rested Monday.  On Tuesday, I did weight training and core exercises.  I waited until Wednesday to run.  I started slow, but felt OK.  I stopped after 6.5 miles, because it was raining and seemed like it might start raining harder at any minute.  I was still on track for my weekly mileage goal of 67 miles.

Then everything changed.

Deb and I were having a few windows replaced in our home.  The work wasn’t scheduled to get done until later in the month.  Because of a cancellation, we were able to get a last-minute appointment to have the windows replaced on Thursday.  Deb and I both had to scramble to move things out of the way in the rooms with the windows.  That included moving two CD racks and several boxes that were in a room in the basement.  I’m not sure, but I think that’s when I injured myself.  I didn’t feel any pain at first, but I was moving too much weight by myself, and I was lifting in awkward positions.

Thursday afternoon, after the work was done, I moved the CD racks again.  I held off on moving the boxes, because I needed to get out running.  I set out to run 11 miles.  I stopped after seven miles, because I heard thunder.  A few minutes later, the sky opened up.   Reaching my mileage goal was still possible, but I would need to run twice on Saturday.  That was doable.  I felt nice and relaxed during that run.  I didn’t feel like I was injured – yet.

Friday morning, as I was stretching my hamstrings, I found that I couldn’t do one of my stretches without discomfort in my right thigh.  At first, I thought I might have strained my hip flexor.  I wasn’t too concerned.  I’ve done that before, and it’s always healed in a day or two.

After work, I set out to run 11 miles.  At times, I felt fine.  Other times, I noticed a slight twinge in my upper thigh.  I stopped after five miles.  I knew I was abandoning my mileage goal, but I could still get to 50 miles for the week with a short run on Saturday.  Cutting back on mileage wasn’t the worst thing.  I’m doing the Comrades Marathon at the end of the month, so I really should be tapering anyway.

That night, I tried to stretch again.  It was almost impossible to stretch my left hamstring without discomfort in my right thigh.

I noticed the same thing Saturday morning.  I was also starting to notice a small amount of discomfort just walking around the house.  For the first time, I realized this wasn’t my hip flexor.  It was now easier to discern the location, and it was closer to the inside of my thigh.

I’ve had most common running injuries, but this was something new.  When I have symptoms that are familiar, and I know what it is, I treat it myself.  If I’m experiencing something unfamiliar, I generally see a doctor.  Unfortunately, the clinic isn’t open on weekends.  For now, I had to make due with resources I could find online.

The location of my discomfort was consistent with a pulled groin.  There wasn’t any visible swelling or discoloration, so I was hopeful that it wasn’t too severe.  I felt only minimal discomfort the last time I tried to run, but I now felt more discomfort just standing and walking.

I skipped my run that day.  That was a difficult decision, as it meant ending a long streak of consecutive weeks with at least 50 miles.  I reminded myself that Comrades was only three weeks away.  I need to be healthy.  I don’t need to do a lot of training.

Fortunately, I didn’t have a race scheduled this weekend.  I have a race next weekend, and that makes me nervous.  The normal recovery time for a pulled groin is four to six weeks, depending on the severity.  My injury seems like it’s at the low end of the severity scale, but that’s hard to gauge.  It feels worse today than it did yesterday.

Part of the recommended treatment is icing for 20 minutes every three to four hours.  I started doing that this morning.  I should have started yesterday, but I think I was still in denial.  It really didn’t seem like a big deal.  It actually took me most of the day before deciding to skip yesterday’s run.  Now I’m all about the icing.  Fortunately, I have no shortage of gel ice packs that I’ve accumulated over the years.

Another treatment recommendation was compression.  As luck would have it, I have two hamstring compression wraps.  I’ve found that by wearing one with the padding on the inside of my thigh, I can use it as a groin compression wrap.  It seems to help, but I’m still experimenting.  It’s difficult to get it adjusted right.  Fortunately, it fastens with Velcro, making it easy to make adjustments.  It’s going to take some trial and error, but I’m hopeful that this will allow me to walk around comfortably, while giving the injury a chance to heal.

I’m coming up on a deadline for a project at work.  I need to be at work tomorrow.  Depending on how much I get done, I might be able to take time off to see a doctor on Tuesday or Wednesday.  Then again, I might not.

If need be, I’ll take the whole week off from running, but I need to be ready to race by next weekend.  I'm doing the Ogden Marathon on Saturday.  I’m also scheduled to do the Med City Marathon on May 24th, but that’s a local race.  If I haven’t recovered, I could always skip that one.  My biggest concern is being healthy in time for the Comrades Marathon on the 31st.

This is a new injury for me.  That’s not surprising, since it wasn’t really a running injury.  Racing every weekend works fine until you’re injured.  Then you panic.  If I don’t heal quickly, I’m going to panic.


  1. A pulled groin? That's just unpleasant, more so that it impedes you from running and reaching greater distances. I hope that you get better soon, so that this will not be an ongoing problem to you moving forward. There are ways to achieve that, anyway.

    Madalyn Oconnell @ SHC Denver