It started one day in August, when my left hamstring just felt... off.
Tight. And when I’d get some speed, it would hurt. Not that good pain you feel when your heart rate is red-lining and your body is screaming for oxygen... This was a weird, dull ache.
At first I decided to just get a good massage and keep pushing.
Then one day I was running some half-mile repeats, and I just... failed. I limped off the track in frustration.
Then my physical therapist shocked me:
“You’re weak,” she said. “You’re so specifically trained that there are certain areas of your body that are very weak.”
Today I know that this is a REALLY common issue for runners and triathletes.
That’s because the top coaches and top athletes in our sport tell us that running makes our legs strong, and all we have to do to excel is “just RUN.”
But there I was, this world-class runner with hamstrings like dried-up, cracking rubber bands.
Strange as it sounds, I was relieved—it sounded like the PT really had a bead on my problem. She sent me home with some strength exercises and a huge dose of HOPE. I was flying high again.
But a few weeks later, no change.
By now I was convinced I had a tear or some other major problem, and time was running out.
I made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. After an exam and an MRI, he couldn’t find anything. He thought a cortisone shot might reduce the inflammation so I could get back to training.
So the doc stuck a 2-inch needle in my knee, and I limped out of there convinced that this was the thing that was going to save my life.