It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted. In terms of running and my hamstring injury, things are not great. I started my Covered Bridges Half Marathon training plan, but really have only been running twice a week – one Monday/Tuesday short run, and my weekend long runs.
After my steroid injection, it took almost a week to finally notice a difference. My injection was on a Thursday. I did a 5-miler on Saturday that felt exactly like all my previous runs. By Tuesday, I had a pain-free 2.6-mile run. I went to YogaSculpt on Wednesday night, no pain. I had no pain throughout the day Tuesday through Saturday. But by the time Sunday came around and I went out for my 6-mile long run, the pain was back. So was my foot numbness – something I haven’t had in MONTHS. My shoes only have 150 miles on them, so that likely isn’t the culprit. The numbness starts in the ball of my left foot, eventually spreads to my right foot, and before I know it my entire feet are numb. The only solution is to stop moving until feeling returns. SO weird, I know.
Anyway, I knew my doctor had run the marathon and was taking a well-deserved vacation so I waited until 2 weeks after the injection to call and complain about the return of my pain, which brings us to last Wednesday. I got an appointment for earlier today, but kept running through the pain. I went to PT later in the day on Wednesday and Ben said he had a marathon runner with pain very similar to mine. Her calves were always tight so he thought dry-needling them might take some strain off the hamstring. It worked – and she was able to run the Boston Marathon pain free and actually PR’d. So he figured it was worth a shot for me. I agreed.
As soon as he found my “trigger point” in my calf, my signature hamstring pain – located in the back of my knee – instantly flared up. It only took a few minutes for the treatment, but you would think I had endured hours of beating to my calf. The pain/tightness in my calf was so bad that I couldn’t put my heel down on the floor. It was pouring rain and cold, and yet I hobbled to my car in shorts because I couldn’t fathom putting on pants without help. It took me 5 minutes to get from my car to my apartment, and poor Chip was forced to do his business for the first time since 6am right out my front door – no real walk. I spent 4 hours on the couch with my heating pad on full blast under my calf and finally was able to limp through a walk with Chip.
This was good. If he had put the needles in a healthy muscle, I wouldn’t have had this reaction. It meant we had found a trigger point and so all I could do was wait for the pain/tightness to subside so I could test it out on a run.
I also got a deep tissue massage the day after the dry-needling. He avoided my calves but spent a lot of time lecturing me about my iliopsoas and how he “couldn’t f***ing believe” that neither my sports medicine doctor not my PT had talked about the soas or realized that was the cause of my injury. Listen, I appreciate a functional massage and any advice I’m given at this point. I’m willing to try eating grapes upside down while letting a squirrel bite my nose if it means this injury will heal. But these professionals have been treating me for 6-10 months, and I don’t need a massage therapist telling me (and them) that everything they’ve said and done is a crock of s***. I felt great after the massage and will probably still go back because he’s good at what he does, but I mostly said “oh hmm” and “uh huh” the whole time he rambled. I could do without the commentary next time. He was also shocked and seemingly annoyed that I was still running, but if my doctor and PT – both of whom are runners – tell me I can run, I’m gonna run. Period.
My 7-mile long run on Saturday actually wasn’t that bad. My hamstring felt rough for Miles 1-3, seemed to really loosen up by Mile 4, and then only felt tired rather than painful for Miles 5-7. Unfortunately, I was pooped by Mile 5. It was my first warm run since fall and 7 miles felt like 700 (and is only 1 mile less than I ran in all of February and 6 miles less than I ran in all of March!). But I was proud and invigorated.
By Monday night, that all came crashing down. I went to PT an hour early so I could park near the office and then run 3 miles between work and my appointment, knowing I wouldn’t be allowed or able to run after my dry-needling. My god, that run was horrific. It was raining and between the searing hamstring pain and the constant numbness in my feet, I wanted to call a cab. Instead I walked a ton and stopped a dozen times to stretch and let the feeling return to my feet.
I made sure to tell Ben the pain was now mostly on the lateral side vs. the posterior side (outside of the back of my knee vs. the inside of the back of my knee). He suggested focusing the needles on the lateral side of my calf then, and sure enough it caused referred pain behind my knee again, but also a lot more twitching (a good thing). Since he only focused on the outside and not my whole calf muscle, I was able to walk without even much of a limp afterward.
I went for a run yesterday before work – my first early morning run since November! I would like to think my run sucked because I’m not used to running at 6am or on an empty stomach or so soon after waking up, but the run was pretty much identical to Monday’s night except the weather was pretty damn perfect.
That brings us to today, which was so eventful that it requires its own post. Stay tuned.