Yep. It's back.
I was all set to go out of the year on a high - I was feeling great and I really felt I was on track for some good performances in 2013.
But once again the gods intervened. "No, no," they said. "We must throw a spanner in the works."
So they did. A big, ugly spanner that hit me on the backside. High hamstring tendinopathy - a real pain in the butt.
I had this condition a few years ago and I went through some really rough times. All up, it lasted about nine months - although I admit to trying to train and race (badly) through it (when I could run that is). It was misdiagnosed and therefore mistreated for a long time. I tried so many different things and nothing helped. Even when I had some power back in my legs I still suffered from pain in the butt - long car rides had me in tears a few times because there was nothing I could do to relieve it.
I've had an inkling something wasn't quite right for a few weeks - the first time I noticed it was after the weekend of 10-11 November. On the Saturday I rode for three hours then ran a little off the bike, testing how things were for Canberra 70.3. The next day I ran 30k, which felt fine. On the Monday both hamstrings felt tight, but I thought that was a result of the weekend's training. Ran OK that day and did an interval session on Tuesday - a few were off pace by one or two seconds but generally it was alright. I couldn't seem to loosen up all week but I put it down to the weekend as well as the fact I was working crazy long hours and sitting at my computer until past midnight, which is never good.
The next weekend (18 Nov) I was planning on doing a cruisy half marathon - not pushing it. Went round in 1:25 (and seconds) to get the win and although I didn't feel like I was pushing it hard my hamstrings were burning. Hmmm. I was starting to worry a bit. Had a massage on Sunday afternoon to try and loosen things up.
My main goal for November was the Central Coast Half Marathon on 25 November. I was looking to run this in about 1:21:30 and hoping to run pretty even splits. Very early on, I knew I was in for a tough race. There was no power in my legs at all - it feels like you're a car that has just skipped from first gear to fifth gear and no matter how much you try and accelerate there's just nothing there.
I wanted to pull out, but I doggedly pushed on, seeing my kilometre splits getting slower and slower. Yes, it was hot and humid, but that certainly doesn't explain the time - 1:25:39 - SLOWER than the previous week and I felt I worked a lot harder to get it. Certainly nowhere near the target time. I managed to finish in third place but I was so disappointed with the race and I knew the injury had returned. I remembered the lack of power feeling only too well.
My coach recommended a physio - Brent Kirkbride at Sydney Sports Medicine Centre - and I immediately made an appointment, crossing my fingers he'd have me on my way quickly.
My appointment was this afternoon and it was far from uplifting. High hamstring tendinopathy is relatively rare, complicated to treat and everyone's body reacts differently to the treatment so making a prognosis is difficult. There is no quick fix. For some people there is no fix.
Brent was thorough and honest and I left feeling that I was going to get the best treatment possible - whether or not that's going to make a difference remains to be seen. I've also got an appointment with a doctor in a month so we can look at PRP (platelet rich plasma) injections if the other treatment hasn't had any effect by then.
No running. No running until my body starts to work properly again and there's no pain in certain areas. At least three weeks to start with. Merry Christmas.
Tonight, when I got home from the appointment, I was upset. The tears flowed. I had been so, so happy with how the year had ended up - everything had come together in the best way possible. And then, KA-BOOM, it blew up.
I know this sounds overly dramatic and I know in the overall scheme of the world it doesn't rate as a problem at all. But for me, in my little world, it is a big thing. I desperately want to hit some good times in 2013 and that's only going to happen if I can train properly. I made the really tough decision to withdraw from Ironman next year so I could continue to build on the progress I've made since August, and now I'm afraid all that progress is going to go down the drain and I'll be back to square one.
Forgive this post - the emotion is still a bit raw. There's no point feeling sorry for myself - nothing's achieved by that - so after giving myself tonight to be down in the dumps, tomorrow begins mission "lets-do-everything-possible-to-fix-this".
Shit shit shit shit shit.
Why can't these injuries go to people who don't want to run, huh?