Monday, May 14, 2018

F*ck! I Fell and Tore My Hamstring. Now What?

I guess I'm ready to tell you this. But it pains me!

I am so pissed off and in the throes of a pity party. Just last week I was telling you how swimmingly training was going. My body was adapting to every thing I was throwing at it. Nothing hurt. I basically felt great and excited for my June 2nd 50k.

On Friday I had a 3 mile run on the schedule as a shake out before a huge weekend of running big  miles in the mountains. I was literally a 1/4 mile from my home, cruising along on a gorgeous spring day listening to Highway to Hell (appropriate I guess) and minding my own business. Then, IT happened. I don't even know what IT is exactly, but next thing I knew I was falling and falling hard. I tried to catch myself with my left leg to stop me, all the while ripping my hamstring then skidding to a halt on the road as I took on some nasty road rash on my palms, elbow and right leg.

It hurt so bad.

I got myself to the side of the road, gasping for air, not know what the hell I had just done to my body. A nice lady in a minivan (I don't know why it matters it was a minivan. she was probably a mom) stopped to ask if I needed help. Truth is, I really did, but I was so shaken up that I just needed a minute to be alone so I waved her off. For the longest time I sat there, afraid to even try to walk. I had my phone with me, so I could have called someone, but thought I could make it the short ways home on my own two feet. MARTYR.

Walking was a disaster of hobbling, crying and wincing in pain. I don't know what I was more upset about - the pain or the thought of what I had done and what that would mean.

I thought if I got home an quickly iced my leg, took an NSAID and rested I'd be fine. No go. The pain was awful and I knew I needed a doctor. So, Ken came home and took me in. An hour and an ultra sound later, it was confirmed there was a tear in my hamstring. Not the worst possible tear, but a tear nonetheless. I was sent home to lay on the couch iwth ice and compression for the weekend. The doctor told me the injury would "declare itself" (<dramatic doctor speak) within 48 hours, meaning we really wouldn't know what we were dealing with until Monday.

A very small sample of the damage

This made for a long weekend of FOMO, reading (I've been devouring a great book called Born Survivors, not uplifting but really good), watching The Crown, Lifetime and the movie Girls Trip, eating, drinking wine and sleeping. Oh and Cheetos.

Today I woke up worse with a swollen thigh and a big bruise on the inside of my leg where the tear is. Another ultrasound confirmed that the tear was a bit worse than originally thought. I'm still in a fair amount of pain with walking and sitting. Humbling to say the least.

The doc gave me an option of PRP (platelet rich plasma injection) but it's not covered by insurance and is $550. Yeah, no. I'm not some elite athlete. I just need to recover like a commoner. Doc said they cannot do a steroid injection on an acute injury or it can cause further damage and compromise the muscle.

So, my race is less than three weeks away. It's likely I won't be participating, but I will if I can. Hamstrings can be stubborn to repair and heal. Once I can walk and do stairs without pain, I can get on the bike. In  the meantime...UGH!!

I've been here before. But, my past running injuries were all overuse and I could feel them coming on. I haven't been injured in years!! This was like running into a brick wall with no notice or mental preparation.

I know there are worse things in life and I'm working on getting perspective. Right now I'm just sad and mad and humbled. But, I do know life goes on.

I don't know why I think it would be better somehow if I had fallen over a root or trip on a rock going down a mountain. Somehow the stupidity of biting it right by my house on a smooth road makes me feel even worse. It could have been easily avoided.

While I say I don't know what happened, that's not entirely true. Right before running on Friday I had watched a video that did a gait analysis of Shalane Flannigan's stride/form. Believe me I was not trying to run like Shalane. I know better than that. But I was trying to incorporate one tip, which was to look further ahead while running to keep good posture. I think I took that to an extreme and it threw me off especially since I was doing this on a downhill.

Lesson learned.

Here's what injuries give us (can you tell I'm looking for a silver lining?) - they help us to slow down. They make us evaluate what we are beyond runners. They give us the perspective to know there will always be another race.

And, they piss us off and make us bitchy, but oh well.

Last injury you had or currently have?

Number one tip for making it through? For me I do what I CAN do. Once I can bike/swim I'll do that. I also try to take advantage of the extra time I have when not running to be productive and gain insight. And I drink wine and talk to friends who can commiserate.



  1. Ugh - so sorry! I strained my proximal hamstring on a trail run last fall. I went back to running too soon and thought i was fine, so I started training for my first 50K.
    About 4 weeks out from the race the stress of training caught up with me. Fortunately I got my last long run in, and then I *really* tapered. I finished the 50K a lot slower than I had hoped, but I pulled it off.
    Wishing you a very speedy recovery!!


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  2. I'm so sorry this happened, it's the fucking worst to be injured so close to the day. Just take one day, hell one hour at a time. Try not to worry, yeah right, but things can change. I fell hard on trails, badly sprained ankle, still finished 100k & stress fractured my fibia during it. Still finished. If it's meant to be it'll be your day come hell or high water. If it's not there will be more. Just heal today. xoxoxo we feel your pain ♥️

    1. Great advice, thank you...and YOU are a badass woman!

  3. Hello! Can we just hold hands and drink wine? I don't have anything torn (that i know of) but my road rash is pretty epic. Today I banged my knee on my desk at work, because that's how i roll. I tried to supress my scream but the blood flowed. I have a half marathon this weekend and damn it, I'm running!

    I am so sorry about your injury!!!! PM me if you need to commiserate.

  4. Sorry to hear about the freak hammy injury. All injuries suck but the stupid ones really bite. I ran my first 50 k Ultra a week ago and had an interesting run to say the least. I have trouble with my right pelvis (since childbirth) and it locked up 12 miles in throwing my knee into tremendous pain. I had horrendous calf cramps, edema, non-stop diarrhea 10 miles until the end, 2 black toe nails, horrible butt rash, painful stomach cramps, peeing blood. I have not been able to run since as the hip is still not good. My confidence is in the tank and I have spent a whole lot of time having a closed pity party. Got no answers for you. Injuries suck royally. And I have another 50 k I signed up for in less than 2 weeks. I take my time being peeved, reminding myself that if it didn't mean anything, I wouldn't be upset. It's good to be passionate about something. You will be just as passionate about your recovery and will be running again before you know it. Eat the elephant one bite at a time.

  5. Well, crap - I’m so sorry to hear this. Having DNS’d every race I registered for last year, I totally understand the frustration you are feeling. I tore my labrum last summer and just kept trucking - I figured it was just bursitis and would get better if I just cut my mileage down a bit. Nope. My poor body was trying so hard to compensate for the instability in my hip that I ended up also tearing a hip tendon, not to mention causing tendinitis in my hamstring and piriformis. As the stupid runner who tried to plow through a major injury and ultimately ended up having surgery to repair all the damage I did, my best advice to you is to rest, recover, see a PT if need be, but let that pain guide you - if it hurts, don’t do it! It is just the worst to have to drop out of a race, especially if you were far along in your those Cheetos, fall down the Netflix rabbit hole, and then start doing what you can to facilitate that recovery! Best of luck to you.

  6. Sorry to hear about your injury! I slipped on the ice in December 2016 and landed hard on my right hip/butt/thigh. I felt pretty stupid about it because I hadn't put my spikes on; it was just over freezing and the roads were clear, but I cut a corner in a cemetery (whose paths were clear) and it turned out there was ice under the pretty layer of snow. I limped home but the pain was pretty bad. I had to rest for a couple of days before driving to my in-laws' place for the holidays.

    I gave it a week and tried running. The hip and thigh were OK, but I had pain in the groin. I took more time off, then tried again. Same thing. I finally went to a sports doctor, who diagnosed a strain in the LEFT adductors. X-rays showed that the muscles were still fully attached to the bone, so I got a referral for PT.

    My great PT helped me out a lot, but I ended up taking nearly a year off of running. By the late fall I felt like the injury had fully healed, and that a nagging chronic pain in my glute was also gone, but late fall in New England isn't a great time to start running again. So I waited until this spring. Every time I come back from a run without pain, I feel faintly amazed. I'm not sure how long I'll wait before I start speed work again.

    What kept me going was cycling. I do one or two long-distance cycling events a year, and I live in an area with lots of great rural road cycling, so that kept me sane.

  7. I have never been a believer but after tearing a hamstring during a marathon and still being in pain 9 MONTHS later, I went to a chiropractor. It made all the difference for me. I was finally pain free. Of course I ran that entire 9 months too - which I don't recommend. But you're a runner so you get it! Hoping for a speedy recovery for you.

  8. I tore a calf in the Jersey marathon 2 years ago, that was my worst. Once you get some of the swelling etc down I would recommend finding someone that can do ART to aid in the recovery. I was doing PT and things were progressing at a snails pace until I got a combo of Graston Technique and ART at a Chiro place my coach and Ortho recommended.

    Hope you are able to get back at it soon, there will be other races and this forces you do something different which can be good a thing in the end.

    Found your blog from a recommendation and added it to a Running news aggregator I just recently created ( check it out some time.

  9. I’m so very sorry. it sucks balls when you have an important stress reliever taken away.
    I was lucky. My last injury was the week after my half marathon.
    I strained my back at work (rehab therapist) and I was pissed beyond pissed.
    It healed. I’m running again but it showed me how much I needed that time to turn off the rest of the world.
    You will heal and be back at it but until then, Wine, whine and know we are here.

  10. So sorry to hear about your hamstring. Ironically enough, my last major injury was a complete avulsion of my hamstring tendons. My dog stepped in front of me while running, I tried to hurdle him to avoid falling and the rest is history. I too was very close to home when it happened. One thing I can tell you is don't push it even though you will be tempted to. Hamstring injuries are tough. Mine required surgery and 4 long months of no running and then I pushed too hard to get back to it resulting in chronic hamstring tendinopathy. I hope you have a quick recovery and can run your race but there will be other races if you can't. Which I get totally sucks but better than dealing with a nagging injury for months on end. I drank alot of wine when injured and I couldn't run, it definitely helps! Good luck!

  11. Well shit. I had a tiny little pop in my hamstring a year and a half ago, and it's never been right since. Your first priority is to do what it takes to heal up. Fully. Completely. Totally. Bail on the race. Do not run it injured, you might make it worse.

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  13. So sorry, Beth. Sending hugs and positive vibes your way for a quick recovery. I totally understand that you’d feel better if you had tripped over something.

    I’ve been running for 8 years. I’ve never had a single injury. And yet, in the past three weeks I’ve had a pain in my left knee (chiro says classic IT band issue), and now the back of my right knee is sore and has me limping. WTF? Do knees talk to each other and say “Yeah, it’s time. Tell her we’re tired.”

  14. I'm so sorry! I wish I could tell you something inspirational you would see embroidered on a pillow but I got nothing. It will get better, time + wine = recovery. Six months from now, you will be running again!

  15. Do the PRP. See if you have some HSA dollars squirreled away - or skip coffee out and save pennies - or color your own hair - you know, be a cheapskate and save your dollars. Running is important to you and PRP is amazing and you deserve it!

  16. Oh! So sorry, Beth. Take rest. This will be needed for now. If you are not lactose intolerant, drink some turmeric and warm milk at night. It helps to heal faster.Get well soon!

  17. Oh no! I'm so sorry! I wish you a speedy recovery!

  18. I'd suggest a dynamic warmup, eccentric strengthening exercises, things that endurance runners rarely do.

  19. So sorry to hear. Hamstrings are a bit of a complicated beast. So I tore mine and did PT and rested and it got better. Then I reinjured it and did PT again. While it was getting better and I was about 1/2 weeks away from getting PT sign off, I fell while doing PT and I knew right away that yes, I had torn it again...while doing PT to fix the damn thing. Who does that. But, as you mentioned in your post, life does go on and things do get better and injuries do teach us a lot about ourselves as well as make us appreciate things that maybe we used to take for granted. I've healed from that experience and am moving on. You will, too. so for now, have your pitty party, drink your wine do all the things you didn't have time to do when you were too busy training. Appreciate your family and all of the wonderful things you have in your life and nuture them. I wish you a speedy recovery and my advice is listen to your body and your Drs, unfortunately they really do know what they are talking about.

  20. Well ... it is terrible to have that serious of an injury this close to the race. However, if it helps ... I'm training for a 1/2 marathon June 23 (Slacker) ... On Friday I hurt my big toe kinda bad in a stupid cart vs. foot debacle... I was totally irritated that I couldn't do my long run over the weekend because I couldn't put my shoe on because of the swelling and the nail is pretty floppy now. I'm grumpy, my kids tell me I'm 'in a mood' and then I read your post ... I thought, If Beth can make it home after she falls and tears a hamstring I can try to at least run on my silly toe. I mean... it is just a toe. Anyway, I decided to give it a shot on the treadmill this morning. Granted it was only a mile but, guess what? I didn't die ;) ... The point is, reading about how your injury is 9000 times worse than my silly toe helped me decide to run on it. So thank you! I hope a quick recovery for you ...

  21. That really sucks. I'm so sorry....
    You might miss this race, but I have no doubt you will be signed up for something just as trying and impressive in the very near future.
    Rest!!!! Get a bell to ring when you need another glass of wine. Or a bag of Cheetos.

  22. I first found your blog years ago when I was injured and it really helped. I don't get injured much but last injury was hamstring a couple weeks before a marathon. I ran the marathon (which likely made it worse and I was lucky to finish) and after 8 weeks of easy running, it is 98% better. I read a study that taking 6 weeks off during injury versus light running - recovery is the same. I found that to be true. It didn't HURT to run easy but it was nagging me for sure. But still it was better than NOT running! Hang in there (and go read your old blog posts on injury, they are really good :-)

  23. I'm sitting here with my right ankle elevated. I sprained it 6 weeks ago, still have some swelling, and I'm hobbling and whining a lot. I took an epic fail on the trail 1.5 miles from my car. I would have preferred biting it by my house (which I have done more than once.)

    Here's to speedy to healing!

  24. I'm so sorry to hear about your injury so close to your race. I ran NYC Marathon in November, had shoulder surgery Feb 1, and am just starting to run again. Talk about depressing. From a high to a low, you too will get through this.

  25. I'm so mad and sad FOR you. Wishing you a quick recovery, so you can get back at it.

  26. I could have written this. Was training for a half marathon in WI. and a week before the race ( race was to have been May 5th) I had such excruciating pain in my butt area, skipping my left thigh and then burning crazy pain above and below lateral aspect of my left knee. It too sent me to the doc. My diagnosis is nerve root irritation and possible hamstring involvement. I am into Week 3 of recuperation. No, I did not do the race and No, I wasn't able to travel to WI and visit my husband's family. Your words resonate loud and clear. I am 64 and this was going to be my last bigger mile race. Still talking about shorter distances( in my mind). the pain is much less, but the nerve is snarky and has left my muscles kind of doing their own thing at times. ( think leg feel "heavy") I have had numerous PT appts. I too wanted an injection, but the doc said he wouldn't know where to put it since the pain wasn't following a clear path. I have learned alot about nerves and the worst part is they regenerate at a snail's pace. It could be awhile before I see real action again. I am back at the gym ( slower) and riding a bike ( slower, less resistance and less distance). When I say I feel your pain... I mean it . Another Longmont injured soul. And yes, it does make us take pause.

  27. Here's a good one...the night before the Houston Marathon, I was riding in a car home from packet pick up and a team dinner and we got hit by a pickup that ran a red light because the driver was on his phone. The airbags deployed, the car was totaled, but amazingly we both walked away. I was bruised from head to toe, knocked out a crown on my tooth, some nasty whiplash and SI pain, but of course your first thought is "maybe I'll still be able to run in the morning." When the adrenaline wore off and the pain set in, there was no way a marathon was happening. I was sad to DNS, but not as much as I was happy to live to run another day. I'm back to where I was pre-wreck now, and just PR'd a half last month. Hang in there. You'll be back too, but I know how much it sucks.

  28. I'm so sorry to hear this. There's nothing good to say. I do think Cheetos are the right approach.

  29. Cheetos help. One time, I fell down some stairs and texted my trainer (was a college athlete) hysterically crying about my ACL. I was fine. It was very embarrassing, too. I’m sorry about your hamstring - get better soon!!!

    1. Cheetos and Cheeze-Its make everything better!

  30. So sorry to hear about your fall! I normally just lurk, but couldn't help but chime in on this. I to took a nasty tumble trail running a few weeks ago (bruises are still fading)...the funny thing is...I also have no idea what made me fall (I run this trail almost daily) BUT what I do know is I was thinking about a photo I had just seem of Shalane and was trying to mimic her perfect form. The next think I knew I was sliding on gravel. PRO TIP: do form improvement on grass!

    Good luck on healing and hope you make your race!

  31. Nooooo! I feel outrage on your behalf.
    I'm currently healing from an elaborate shoulder surgery (my fourth on the same shoulder), this time after my favorite 115 lb. dog pulled on her leash so hard that she took me to the ground and shredded my shoulder.
    All I can say is that my goal has been focusing on what I *can* do, from walking on the treadmill starting on week 1 to doing run/walk intervals on the dreadmill nine weeks out. I'm also doing every single thing the doc tells me to do. My 50k is in 17 weeks and I plan to run it. Hope you heal quickly!!!

  32. Oh no! I hope you heal fast. There will be other 50Ks! Let Ken and the kids baby you for a while. You deserve it!

  33. I'm sorry this happened to you. Here's a good "How the hell did THAT happen" story for you to take your mind off your injury for a minute.
    I was training for Chicago this past year and had a nagging pain in my foot. One day I was walking down the road, stubbed my toe on a root, landed hard on the other foot and felt and heard a big pop. Xrays confirmed it broken, but the ER didn't seemed super concerned. Great. This happened the day before school started and I'm a teacher. So I delayed going my doctor again for a while. Went about a month later, was told I needed surgery. One screw in my foot for the Jones fracture. Meanwhile, I had been rolling around with a knee scooter.
    Two weeks after foot surgery, I fell off the knee scooter, rolling down the hallway at school and smashed my kneecap into the tile. It broke into about 10 pieces, needing two screws for the repair. 2 months of straight immobilization and 4 months of PT to try to get it to bend again.
    Today was the first day that I tried to run while out on my walk. I got three little bursts of running. Baby steps.
    Let the wine flow!! Take care!

    1. Oh my God!! That is a disaster! Glad you are up and running some again...there is hope!

    2. Yeah, it sucked. But it is definitely getting better. There is always hope!! Youll be back at it soon!!

  34. So sorry. I am almost certainly have a torn meniscus and will need surgery. MRI today to confirm. My meniscus tear was from tennis. The three bright sides are that acute tears are better than degenerative tears, it is a pretty straightforward arthroscopic repair, and since I can't go to my 5:15 am bootcamp class I can sleep in. Not exercising and no tennis is so HARD.

  35. Ugh - my deepest sympathies! I tore a calf muscle ten kilometres into a fifteen kilometre trail race back on 10 March. I had gotten the course profile wrong in my head so thought I could limp my way out on what I expected to be a fairly flat tail end of the course. Instead I ended up suffering my way up and down some very steep, slippery single-track (including some sections with a rope for us to lower ourselves down) and the final kilometre of several river crossings. As soon as I finished the adrenaline wore off and I could suddenly no longer walk. There were quite a few tears of the liquid kind. I've been easing my way back into running for the last month, but having to completely stop completely sucked. Healing will take the time it takes. Listen to your physio and know that there will be plenty more races. Wine helps too!

  36. Oh no what a bloody disaster x I had a nasty fall, blood pouring everywhere but carried on as I was embarrassed more than anything. Literally took both my knee caps off trying to peel my running gear off when I got home. I just kind of lost concentration & you know you're falling but can't stop yourself. Had 2 nasty & loud pops in my calf one morning, kept running & spent 2 weeks teaching with my foot elevated in the classroom. Luckily my children were fab & fetched & carried everything for me. I was air lifted out to do playground duty & assembly though! One thing it taught me is that running is a privilege & for a long time afterwards I did not take it for granted. I do now of course as that was a while ago! Wishing you a speedy one x

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