Since I began my recovery from a groin strain, it’s seemed like my progress was two steps forward, one step back. Last week I commented that until I was willing to take a break from racing it would probably be more like one step forward, one step back.
In the long term, that might sound gloomy, but in the short term, I was OK with it. I could live with not getting better if I also wasn’t getting worse.
Mostly, I wanted to get through the rest of my July race schedule. On Saturday, I did a trail marathon that was among the most difficult I’ve done. To protect my leg, I wore an elastic bandage around the top of my right thigh. During the race, I had quite a bit of discomfort. Later in the day, after taking off the bandage and sitting in an ice bath, I felt surprisingly good.
I can usually suppress a certain amount of pain during a race. If I’m hurting during the race, I can expect to hurt a whole lot more after the race. When I went to dinner that night, I had some soreness in my quads, but nothing beyond what I expect after a marathon. I no longer had discomfort in my adductors, hip flexors or hamstrings, all of which bothered me to some degree during the race.
I felt better the next day. I still had some soreness in my quads, but the muscles that complained most during the race still felt fine. I can only assume that most of the discomfort I felt during the race was actually caused by trying to move my right leg in ways that I couldn’t while wearing the bandage. It did its job. It prevented further injury. It caused me some discomfort, but prevented any lasting damage.
After a day off, I did some weight training on Monday. I also did exercises my therapist gave me to strengthen my adductors, hip flexors, hamstrings, and glutes. Then I waited for the other shoe to drop. Sometimes, I feel fine while I’m doing my exercises, but I’m sore the next day.
Today I had a little soreness, but nothing like last week. In the afternoon I went running. I felt good enough that I didn’t wear any type of compression. I felt OK. I only ran five miles, but for the first time in weeks, I wasn’t deliberately going slow. I’ve lost some conditioning, so I’m not able to go at my usual training pace, but I felt like I took a small step towards normal training.
I won’t run again until Thursday. Ideally, I’d like to try a route with some hills. My next race is almost all downhill, so I’d like to get an idea how I feel running downhill. I don’t know if I’ll wrap my leg for that run. It depends on how I feel tomorrow and Thursday. I also don’t know if I’ll wrap it for my race on Sunday. That depends on how Thursday goes. I’m cautiously optimistic.