Thursday, February 12, 2009

Show me those hips!

I remember exactly where I was when it happened: Approaching the school building in the second mile of the 15k. I stepped in a small (very small, only someone as clumsy as me would have made such a misstep) hole and my body contorted. My knee and hip immediately started to hurt. I stepped to the side and stretched, while other runners passed me by, some of them trying to be helpful with their perky comments like, "Don't stop now!" and "You can do it!"

I wondered what I should do. My options were to a) walk the two or so miles back to the start, with my head hung low and my spirits lower or b) suck it up and finish the race.

I sucked it up. I finished the race. I did not run a step for three months after that.

During those three months, I went to an orthopedist, then physical therapy and, finally, a chiropractor. I vowed that I would not let an injury force me to the sidelines again. So, I started to stretch.

My injury may have been acute, but there was an underlying ITB issue that I had ignored and that was made much, much worse by my clumsy step. Lesson learned: Take care of your injuries, stretch the muscles that get tight and are prone to injuries.

Today's theme for Take it and Run Thursday over at Runners' Lounge is "share your favorite stretch." Well, based on my history, my favorite stretch is the ITB stretch. You know, the one where you stand up, cross one leg in front of the other and push the stretch through the hip of the back leg. Yeah, that one. I love that stretch. If I could do only one stretch, that would be it.

I'm not, however, an A+ stretcher. I don't stretch as well or as often as I should. I have tight hamstrings and my quads get only half-hearted, occasional stretches. But I'm fairly consistent with the ITB stretch (and with my little strengthening routing that the pt prescribed 7 years ago after that fateful race). I also believe in warming up with The Stick before running and certainly before stretching. My pre-run routine includes rolling my legs with The Stick, doing some quick ITB stretches and maybe a hamstring stretch (if I remember) and heading out. Weak, I know. I'm working on it. Since I started to do a little more cross training, I've become more flexible. I'm doing a little yoga now and my other workouts include cooldown stretches. Baby steps. Or, should I say, baby stretches.

12 comments:

merrymishaps said...

That's one of my favorites, too.

tfh said...

Three months without running for one 15k! A painful, painful story.

I think my use of The Stick and a foam roller actually helps me even more that stretching. However, what would help most is probably being wedded to your masseuse, a la Deena K.

lindsay said...

great advice! i've been working on *actually* stretching myself - it sure does make a difference. i often find myself doing the itb stretch/lean at work, lol.

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

I'm a concerted "stretcher" now. But it's taken several injuries for me to finally understand why it is so important.

Denise said...

Since my ITB started bothering me, I have taken stretching a lot more serious. The IT stretch is definitely my most needed stretch.

Marlene said...

Thanks for sharing your experience and advice. I learned a similar lesson the hard way.

Marci said...

Great advice, thanks for sharing!

J said...

I have been wondering what the ITB stretch was! I should prolly do it more often, as well as general stretching more often!!

BeachRunner said...

Good advice. Sometimes we just have to learn things the hard way.

Roisin said...

I'm so bad with stretching too, which is a shame since I used to be a dancer! The recent injury however has been a hard lesson in making sure I do take time to stretch

aron said...

i am not the best stretcher either but i do always pay attention the my ITB after i met it last year... definitely one on the do always list!

Lacey Nicole said...

i can't wait to get the stick!!!!

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