I have shared some history on a topic throughout time, but I have never written it down as a full story from A-Z. Probably most ironic part is that even I don’t know when and how I got my hamstring injured for the first time. As far as I can remember I have always felt some pain in my right tight. It started to bother me around time when I started systematic approach to my training. It might have been as early as year 2002. I was experiencing radiating pain down my leg and after several examinations I was told that it originates from my lower back and is caused by disc herniation. So I was treated for back pain, but it didn’t help much and occasionally I had trouble sitting for longer periods of time and driving a car. Nevertheless I was able to do my training and it didn’t bother me too much. It even improved at some stage and I could forget about it for some time.
Make a leap to summer of 2012. After my fabulous success in WOC it became apparent that pain has returned and became stronger. I did MRI for my lower back and hip, but still there were no alarm about anything being wrong with my hamstring. I skipped some races in autumn and it got better. Training was still good, I had another successful season in 2013 and I was competing with the best during EOC2014. Turning point (and not for good) was Baltic championships later in spring when I tripped at high speed during long distance. I didn’t notice anything particular and finished my race without any problems. I felt some minor pain during next days relay, but I wasn’t worried yet. Then I got terrible flue towards World Cup and that was a sign of something being wrong. Pain became stronger around same time and after racing middle distance with terrible fever I had to admit that I wasn’t quite ok. Another MRI finally revealed that I was dealing with partial hamstring avulsion. Funnily (if I dare to say so) I was told that it must be a very old injury since if it had happened during Baltic champs I wouldn’t been able to walk out of forest on my own two feet….but I run long distance and didn’t feel a thing!!!! That years WOC was a disaster. I was sick as a racoon for whole 10 days before champs. I guess my body was trying to tell me something, but I was to busy to listen. At that stage surgery was offered as one of my options, but I chose to give it a try without surgical intervention. I could go cursing myself now about such a decision, but there were things and past experiences that made be very cautious. I had spent a lot of time in hospitals as a kid. Needless to say that I didn’t enjoy it there. My father had a knee surgery that put an end to his carrier as an athlete. And after listening to several opinions telling it would take full 8 months to recover, I decided that surgery was no go for me. I added exercises to my training routines to improve strength and flexibility of my hamstring, but none of that helped me much. I had to skip a lot of running and do alternative stuff instead. It was still possible to be in decent shape every now and then, but everything has it’s limits. By the end of 2015 it was apparent that I need to take some measures if I wanted to keep training. Other parts of my body started to show early signs of overuse trying to keep up with what my hamstring couldn’t deliver. I got plantar fasciitis (chronic heel pain) in my left foot since it had to deal with most of breaking action during hard downhill running. My solution was to stop running for entire winter and work on my core strength and hamstring. 2-3 hours a day, 6 days a week, a lot of water running, balance exercises, strengthening exercises, PRP injections. I felt improvements and started running by the end of February. I was far from my best shape in spring, but got closer step by step. My best (and worst) day in long time was first stage of FIN5. I was flying again! Nothing could ruin my day, even mistakes I did had no effect on how I felt or acted – I was just happy to be able to be in shape again. And that was it – pain in my hamstring became stronger than ever and I was close to quitting many times. My guess is that speed I was able to run on first day was something my muscles were not ready for considering long break from running during winter period. My training towards WOC was a mess. I went on several training camps in Sweden, but I couldn’t do much orienteering training. I was so out of shape during WOC and no matter what I did I felt doomed.
I decided to have a longer holiday and stopped any systematic training after WOC. Did another MRI in October as a follow up and it wasn’t pretty. Even after such a long break from training I had multiple inflammation and calcification sites in muscle and tendons. I feel like I have tried my best to avoid doing surgery so I am now questioning my own decision anymore. I have a surgery scheduled on 3rd of January. I am confident I have chosen one of best surgeons in field and professionals to help me with recovery afterwards. It hasn’t been easy to accept missing most of next season when World champs will be held just 40k from where I was born, but life is life. It won’t be cheap fix either since I will have to pay every singe cent myself, but I see it as a good investment in my future cause (even I don’t like to admit it) I will surely be keen on doing sports even after my elite carrier will be over.
For now I am back in my training routines, running as much as possible, doing alternative endurance training and working on my core strength. Most of it will be lost during a month after a surgery, but why wouldn’t I if training is so much fun?!If you feel like it, you can send me some good thoughts or write a few words (and BD wishes of course). It will help me through a time I will have to spend lying in a bed and getting into moving around again!
Decision is made, game is ON, I dream big!