I started trail and ultra-running in earnest four or five years ago in my mid-20s. This is pretty young for someone in this sport and now that I’ve hit my 30s, I should be hitting my running peak.
And I am. Last year, I managed to win my first trail runs outright, and I know I am faster than ever. However, the injury bug seems to have taken a hold of me.
Earlier this year, I pulled my calves in a 30k race that I have yet to blog about. That sidelined me for about 10 days. Having just switched to minimalist shoes, the culprit was easy to point to. Five weeks ago, after the Sequoia 50k, I felt a strange pain at the back of my right hip (right where my hamstring and glut connect). Against my better judgment, I broke one of my cardinal rules that has served me well: listen to your body. I kept running through it. The pain was on and off, so it was bearable. Last week, at the Canyon Meadows 50k, it all came to a halt. The pain was worse than ever, and I was eventually slowed to a walk (not fun in freezing cold rain, btw).
This time the culprit wasn’t my shoes but my hamstrings. See, I never stretch. There’ve been a few ill-fated attempts at making yoga part of routine, but that never lasted. The foam roller has been collecting dust in the corner for years. As a result, I ended up with a right hamstring so tight that one leg was shorter than the other, which in turn put too much strain on the muscles around my hip socket.
And so I’m sitting here on a beautiful California day with 0 miles run over the last week and not knowing when I can run again.
This is really a wake-up call. While I am not ‘old’ by any stretch of the imagination, I need to take better care of my body. Over the past few years, I’ve run ~8,000 miles across often rugged terrain. Yet, I can hardly reach past my knees (not an exaggeration). I’ve asked so much of my body, yet I have given back so little.
It’s time to change that. I cannot tell you how much I’ll appreciate running gnarly single track in the mountains once I’m healed. And I’ll take care of body. That’s a promise.