The Anatomy of Injury Denial

by Phil

in Injury Prevention, Training

As a high school cross country and track coach, I witnessed more than a few times the sight of an athlete understating the severity of an injury to avoid being sidelined.  Instinctively, I understood this as a natural reaction to an unfortunate situation, especially for the most competitive boys and girls.  But it never really made sense to me.  I thought, you’re only delaying the inevitable – and in all likelihood making it worse. And I would relay that thought to them quite frequently.

Well, having not walked that particular mile in their shoes yet, it was easy for me to spout my wisdom.  Living by it, however, when I encountered the situation myself, was another story.

Like I mentioned in yesterday’s first post, I began 2009 with a mission to get in the shape I was in when I ran my PR (personal record) in the 5K: 15:59 (for those calculating, that’s 5 minutes and 9 seconds per mile).  I was 18 then, and I’m 30 now, but I know that it’s possible and that is still my goal.

January and February sauntered past with nary a step in my running shoes having been logged, but by March I was on my mission in earnest.  In fact, below is a visual representation of almost every training activity I’ve logged this year.  I’ll go over this in more detail in future posts, but orange corresponds to a day that I ran, and gray corresponds to a day that I did some other physical activity, most often lifting weights.  Orange and gray days mean I did both.

091130 - TrainingLogYearOn April 4, I went on a great 9-mile run with my trail running club, The Endurables, whose exploits you can also track over at the Trail Run Times.  It was a challenging loop through the Marin Headlands, but I was hanging with the lead pack pretty much the entire way.

I arrived back at Muir Beach, our start/finish point, feeling on top of the world.  I had been running consistently for only one month yet I was already feeling in fantastic shape.  I couldn’t wait for the next Wednesday when we would meet again for our weekly track workout in Golden Gate Park.

I took that Sunday off but was back at it on Monday on the treadmill at 24 Hour Fitness (yes, I fell victim to their well-placed Biggest Loser marketing) in Larkspur.  Something didn’t feel right.  My left knee felt like it wanted to collapse inward.

But it didn’t seem that serious, so I thought, why worry? Well, in a few more days, I’d have my answer to that question.

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