Around the middle of July my journey back to running distance began anew with my fiancé in Palos Park Trail system in Illinois. Wolf Rd Woods’ Orange Trail.
It has been literally over a decade since I’ve run distances longer than two miles. A quick question for you out there. How many have gotten really hurt or injured while running? I’d wager to say over 50% of the population has experienced a big running injury since starting but have gotten back into it one way or another.
Well a bit of a flash back and history. I used to run pretty much every day, race, and have on occasion been a bandit runner on a marathon or 10k.
I enjoyed it very much, but it was cut short by an avid cyclist at the lakeshore running trail in Chicago’s famous lakefront trail. I coached many new, and advanced runners for short to long distance races.
This beauty of late summer season run happened to be a short (lol) nine miler. Well on our loop back I happened to be their rabbit since it was a fast finish run. The trail happened to be under construction at that time so there was a shared bike/pedestrian section by The Theater by the lake. Fullerton point is what most chicagoans refer to it as.
I see it like it was just yesterday when this happened. I was speeding up since my spidy senses were tingling in a slight incline. Why I felt like there was something wrong I didn’t know but I started to run much faster than expected. Hugging a fence blocking the far right side of the trail that was under construction. No sooner than I had started to speed up that I felt a jarring hot sensation on my right hip/leg that I was shot up and forward from the impact of the cyclist that was going so fast he slid another six feet from my landing position
The impact was hard, and I landed bent knees and bent over. I tried to stand upright. Well I did try to no avail. The cyclist and his buddy came by and began to yell at me accusing me of cutting in front of them. Well, what I didn’t mention was when I started to feel something was wrong around fifty feet from my location in front of me two ladies in bikinis walked across the trail and I began to have the hair in the back of my neck stand on end. Sixth sense kinda stuff.
My runners arrived at the same time the cyclists were yelling at me and accusing me of causing the accident. Well, my runners were quick to point out that they were goose necking at the ‘girls with bikinis’ that they didn’t see me at all when one impacted me going mighty fast. So fast the handlebars of the perp‘s bike was twisted to the other direction at the time of impact.
They fled the scene before I or my runners could take any of their information down. I ended up walking back to our starting location which was over 1.25 miles away. That same week on the same path just a mile away two more runners were hit by cyclists, both incurring head injuries. Never a good thing trying to dodge bikes, pedestrians, roller blades and other runners while people really have no care for others and just do what they want as if they owned he path(s) they’re on. Selfish.
The injury didn’t seem that big of a deal since I had run a 5k race with it but the pain kept getting more and more excruciating. After a Dr. appointment, and subsequent MRI it showed that I incurred a fracture and spent almost a year in PT, and chiro care for quite some time learning to squat, and walk properly. On an MRI it didn’t look to be that big but the crush injury caused nerve problems also. Happy me for sure.
Since that time I’ve not run on that path ever again, and have only returned there to ruck it but not run it.
Getting my running legs back has been a mental game to say the least, but having been a habitual runner to not running more than a mile for any time at all with pain on and off has made it a big mental game.
So I’ve spent plenty of years getting my body stronger, with shorter runs not longer than two miles, and biting at the bit wanting more but pulling back when this nerve pain kicks in. It comes and goes when it does show up uninvited.
Roll forward to the present day, and my new running adventure. I’ve started training runners once more, and loving it. Imparting knowledge and the love I have for it. In doing so I’ve started running longer and feeling my legs take me to distances I had forgotten I used to run. It feels so good.
So, if you’re out there contemplating coming back after an injury, do yourself a favor and learn a technique to run, and strength train! It is a life saver. If it wasn’t for my strength training while I was in my running prime I’d have been screwed for sure. Although it took this long to get back to distance running I can tell you it is well worth it.
Hope to see you out on the trails people.