2017 marked a personal low point in my training since I started running on a regular basis in May 1993. A series of injuries led to a total of 119 missed days of running, nearly a third of the year, in 2017.
My particular challenge this year stemmed from lower back spasms that came and went, but for an extended period in the fall escalated into pain and numbness in my left quad.
A two-week consulting project in Westwood contributed to my ailment in late August, when the combination of a long, stressful commute and sitting in a chair that was not particularly comfortable led to a blow-out back spasm. The type of spasm that kind of just takes over all aspects of your life.
The pain migrated from by lower back to my left hamstring/glute area and I decided to get a 90 minute sports massage in attempt to alleviate some of the pain.
The massage therapist worked quite hard in that area and I was hoping that would do the trick. To the contrary...the next day I developed numbness in the inside of my left quad, along with deep soreness. It was hard for me to walk, let alone run.
I thought my running days were over. For 37 days I refrained from running, not by choice, but by incapacity.
While not running, I tried to stretch and my severely tweaked iliotibial band as much as possible and keep moving.
On September 30th, I ran 2 miles - the first time I ran since August 23rd. The inner leg near the knee was still numb to the touch, but I was able to slowly jog. I ran 3.5 miles the next day. Then I took the next six days off.
From there, the numbness slowly dissipated. But I continued to take it easy the rest of the year, running seven miles at the most.
My annual mileage was a PW (Personal Worst) of 1,233 for the year - 456 miles less than my previous PW in 2016.
However, as I write this in February 2018, I'm optimistic that my running will continue. As with every single other injury I've ever had, rest and the passage of time seems to have resolved the latest one.
It has been 4 1/2 years since I last ran a marathon. I'm actually feeling the itch to run one again...if I can get in the training.