I already told you about my experience with shin splints while I was training for my half marathon. I patted myself on the back for being smart and taking time off to let them heal so I only had to stop training for a couple weeks. Well, I’m not always smart and now I’m going to tell you a story about how I was stupid during that same half marathon training.
The Bowling Injury
OK, so I participate in bowling league throughout the winter. In February that year, a few weeks into my training, I ended up with a groin strain. I like to call it my bowling injury. I apparently have a pretty mean back kick when I bowl, because one night I threw my leg back behind me and felt immediate pain in my right groin. I could blame it on the bowling, but in reality, it was probably a combination of ramping up my training so my muscles were already fatigued and then going bowling. I figured it was just a muscle pull so I didn’t worry too much about it.
Of course, bowling is a competitive sport, so I had to finish out the season. Unfortunately, every time I threw a bowling ball after that, it hurt like crazy. But I toughed it out and we actually ended up taking first place, so I guess it was worth it. In the mean time, I also continued to train. I would feel a little sore every time I ran, but after I warmed up it would be OK. The longer the runs got, the more sore I was, but I still didn’t take a break.
The Prolonged Injury
By the time the race rolled around, I had been battling groin pain for about six months. Did I mention I play softball all summer too? I knew I had weak glutes and hams so I tried doing some things to improve my strength, but nothing seemed to work. It’s very hard to recover from an injury while you’re in training for something. I ran the race and did pretty well, considering.
After the race I took a week off to recover and then began running again. This time I wasn’t training for anything, but I figured I should keep it up since I was doing so well sticking to a schedule before. It was good exercise and it was keeping me in shape so I didn’t want to give it up. Besides, I thought if I could keep it up, I might sign up for another half marathon in the near future.
So the race was in August and by early December I started waking up in the middle of the night with sharp pains in my pelvis around where my sore muscle attached. I began to think this wasn’t good and maybe I had a bigger problem than just a sore muscle. Of course, I was also in the middle of bowling season again. My concern at this point was that my injury had actually started to turn into a stress fracture in my pelvic bone. I finally stopped running and I was very careful how I bowled for the rest of the year. We didn’t win that year.
How Long It Took To Get Better
I stopped running in early December, gingerly finished out the bowling season in March, and did nothing until June. In June I decided to try running a little again since softball season was right around the corner. At this point, my groin had finally stopped hurting from just walking around and it wasn’t waking me up anymore. When I tried running again, I could still feel it a little, but it was much better. I decided it would be OK to start running as long as I went slow and kept it to short distances. I did this and things seemed to go alright. I ran a few 5ks that year, but that was all. By the end of the summer I was able to run without pain at all and I had no pain with bowling this past season.
So basically, about a year after I ran my half marathon, I was recovered. It took a full nine months from the time I stopped running until I could run without feeling my groin just a little. But, even till this day, I still feel it once in awhile when I have to contract my groin muscles really hard, reminding me that this injury could rear its ugly head once again if I don’t pay attention and make sure I do things to prevent it from returning. At this point I’ve added a bunch of glute and ham strengthening activities to my training routines, which seems to be helping a lot. I’ve signed up for just 5ks again this year. Better to play it safe I think. Obviously, there is a big difference between taking care of an injury right away and putting it off. I think from now on I’ll be taking care of mine right away.