116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Editor's note: This is Part I in a three-part series by Erin Moeller, 35, of Mount Vernon. Erin is a lifelong runner who qualified for the last two Olympic Marathon Trials. A native of Ryan, she's a graduate of North-Linn and Wartburg and works for Benchmark Inc. in Cedar Rapids. She has two children - Ryne (8) and Evelyn (3) - and one on the way with husband Andy.
By Erin Moeller, community contributor
What to do when life hands you lemons?
If you've been running long enough, chances are you've found yourself in this position. You set a goal, you remained committed to your plan, you put in all the hard work and, then, ugh, an injury strikes.
All injuries are not catastrophic. Maybe it's just a minor strain or something you can ease up on for a couple days so you don't aggravate it.
Or, maybe your little tweak finally gave way and you have a full blown stress fracture or pulled muscle requiring some much needed time off.
Anytime I find a minor tweak coming on, my initial reaction is denial. Yep, if I ignore it, surely it will go away. I don't have time to be injured. I'm focused on my goal and this simply cannot be happening. Maybe if I just stop and stretch a little, maybe, just maybe it'll go away.
Admittedly, sometimes I get lucky and this actually works. Other times, the pain just doesn't seem to magically disappear and I'm left asking myself - what to do?
Before rushing to your favorite medical expert, following are a few steps to consider:
[naviga:li]Rest. Sometimes a tweak or twinge is your body's way of saying “I need a rest.” Take the next day (or two) off and allow your body to recover.[/naviga:li]
[naviga:li]Stretch. Often times we get in a hurry and rush off for a run or workout without properly stretching or warming up. Take the time to stretch your core muscle groups before and after a run. By doing so, muscle fatigue, soreness and injuries can be reduced.[/naviga:li]
[naviga:li]Ice, ice baby. Grab a pack of ice or, better yet, freeze some paper cups of water to create an ice massage to rub down sore muscles. If you're really feeling brave, consider filling the bath tub with cold water and add some ice to it for an ice bath. You might consider grabbing a magazine or something to distract you for the 12-15 minutes you're “chillin' out.”[/naviga:li]
[naviga:li]Drugs. Now that I have your attention, I'm not suggesting you seek out a local dealer. Rather, a little ibuprofen also might give you the added defense to ward off inflammation and resulting nagging pain. Be sure to have a little something in your stomach before you take ibuprofen and read the label to make sure you're taking an appropriate dosage.[/naviga:li]
If you're lucky, hopefully you're feeling back to normal in just a couple of days.
But what if the pain persists?
We'll discuss that next week.