April 15, 2010

PUSH THROUGH- (Featured writer Jill Hancock)

I have known Jill for several years, and for a long time was her neighbor and didn't even know it.  What I do know about Jill is that she is FULL of life.  She has this amazing glow about her that tells you she is living it to the fullest.  I truly admire her for her dedication to a cause.  "The living life cause".  She inspires me to want to be better, and do more.  Thanks, Jill for your example.  I am a better person for knowing you.

Push Through - (Featured writer Jill Hancock)

We are taught the maxim, “No pain, no gain” at an early age. From the weekend warrior to the avid racer, we’re taught to dig deeper and push through the aches and pains of training and racing. If there is a stitch in your side, you keep going. If you have stopped sweating during a ride on a hot day, you keep going with the promise of super-hydrating later. No snowstorm, abrasion, contusion or bad night’s sleep is going to keep you from your workout! This fire from within is extremely beneficial and in many cases, necessary for improvement. Unfortunately, there is a time and a place where we must heed our intuition and address our body’s cry for help. Mine came four weeks after a severe ankle sprain.
When I say severe, I mean severe. I’ve played enough sports to know the cringing feeling of coming down on someone else’s foot, or worse coming down wrong on your own foot. I’ve tweaked my ankle running in the un-even grass of the outfield, I’ve turned it jumping at the net in volleyball and I’ve rolled it playing ultimate and basketball. This sprain was severe, severe enough that I felt relief in screaming and shedding a few un-seen tears. I began my ankle rehab immediately with Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and spelling the ABCs with my foot. Two weeks later ran 4.5 awkward miles. I couldn’t keep my normal form, so I had to overpronate my right ankle to compensate and heel-strike most of the 4.5 miles. With some wise advice from my older sister, I decided to give my ankle some more time. Instead of running, I decided to rest another week and push my cross training. I biked, walked and did yoga. Certainly I wouldn’t allow this ankle sprain to get the best of me and slow my marathon training! My marathon was four months away and I needed to build my endurance! I’d already lost two weeks! Three weeks following the sprain I went out for a longer ride biking 16 miles through the crisp air and blustery wind. My ankle was tight, but my body seemed to respond well. Four weeks following my sprain I was back on the court playing basketball when I noticed some pain in the lateral side of my right knee.
It wasn’t debilitating, but I decided that perhaps I should bike more and run less (even if it was just running up and down the court in a scrimmage). I went for a ride and soon noticed the same pain in my knee. A few days later I went for a slow run and noticed the same thing. It felt like someone was scraping the lateral (outside) of my knee joint. With most pain, I would either: A. Ignore it and keep on going, B. Slow my pace and take deep breaths, or C. Stop for a minute to stretch before continuing on. Unfortunately for me, A, B, or C didn’t seem to work. It feels like someone has a band lashed around your knee that just gets tighter and tighter with each stride. I tried to walk a few days and then do a quick 1.5 mile run. There was no pain during the run, but my knee was clearly irritated in the hours following the run. I tried biking, and there was the pain yet again. With each pedal revolution my knee got tighter and more painful until I was compelled to stop. By then I knew things in my knee were serious. I began my research. My personal diagnosis: runner’s knee aka iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS). I had injured my iliotibial (IT) band and more running, biking, and stretching wasn’t going to make it better. According to RoadCycling.com, IT band syndrome is the most common cause of knee and hip pain in cyclists. The IT band is a thick fibrous band of tissue, which runs on the outside of the leg starting at your hip and ending near your knee. ITBS usually affects athletes who are involved in sports that require continuous running or repetitive knee flexion and extension found especially in running and cycling. Tight inflexible lower extremity muscles may worsen the condition. Pain may also be caused by inappropriate seat position, saddle position, cleat alignment, or by individual cyclist anatomy. The prognosis: my leg’s attempt to overcompensate for my injured ankle. The treatment: rest, stretching, strengthening my quadriceps muscles, and more rest. At this point, my hopes for the marathon were still vibrant. I would properly rest a few more weeks and then rally back to a full recovery and race in May! I visited the chiropractor. I had laser treatment therapy three times a week. I rested for ten days with moderate walking as my only activity. I attempted running ten days later. I made it four minutes before the pain forced me to stop. It had been nearly two months since my sprain and my recovery wasn’t happening. I began facing reality and looking for someone to replace me in the marathon. There would be no marathon. There would be no running or biking for a LONG time . . . maybe six months, maybe a year or two. I would have to push through the injury. Not push through in the sense of popping ibuprofen and continuing my training with an ice pack strapped to my knee, rather, I would push through and endure the rest and rehab. I may not be able to ride hard or run for miles on end, but I can walk. I can do alternate workouts that don’t trigger my IT band. I can function in almost every way outside of raising my leg to bike or run!

And you know what?
 I am grateful. I am grateful to enjoy my health, albeit from the other side of the physical activity spectrum. I am grateful to know that one day, I will be able to ride and run again. It may be a year before I get to compete, but you better believe that I’m going to push through and be back
on the road before you know it!

Ride On!
Jill Hancock
M.S. Sport & Exercise Science, UNC


Hannah said...

Always inspiring! I love you, Jillster!

jenhirr said...

Great article! see what happens when I boss people around?! :)

Don't worry, you'll come back stronger and faster.

Jenny-Jenny said...

what an ordeal. good luck keeping yourself down (or at least slowed down)

Nancy said...

Who needs the stress of marathon anyhoo! yikes, no thanks. Way to go alternative exersice. Oh, and my lil sister ROCKS!!

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