My name is Kirsten (Miller) Ankenbrand. I’m a PR/interactive consultant by trade, and I’m a runner when I’m not hurt.
That wasn’t very often for quite a while.
I’m not a physician and I do not dispense medical advice. This blog is not meant to treat or diagnose any injury or illness. I only share my stories as an example of what can happen if you don’t listen to your body. If you are in doubt about what your body is telling you, I encourage you to seek medical advice.
Here’s my story:
It was just supposed to be a little joke.
“Team f— my injury.” That’s the phrase I had printed on two little blue t-shirts in 2007. One was for me, and one was for my friend Andrea.
A month or so before we were scheduled to run the Washington, D.C. ten-mile Cherry Blossom race, I developed plantar fasciitis in my right foot, and she sprained her ankle playing tennis (or something like that).
I had already paid for my flight and my run – so I was going to train right through that painful ailment. Nevermind that I could barely walk when I stepped out of bed in the morning. I planned to run. I was going to run. The shirts were just a fun little way to make our injuries take a backseat to our biggest running moment.
The joke’s on me.
I did the run. It
has remained my biggest running moment had remained my biggest running moment until the F^3 Half Marathon on Jan. 29, 2011, due to one simple fact: I am stupidly stubborn. (Andrea has gone on to bigger running glory. Lucky.)
am almost was in 2010, hurt again, nearly three years later. All of my ailments since can be traced back to that stupid shirt, or, to be more accurate, to the moment I decided to ignore my doctor’s advice and keep running.
That plantar fasciitis hung on for more than a year – even though I stopped running after the Cherry Blossom, did physical therapy, stretched, iced and had acupuncture.
Nothing worked. So I went to the needle. After two rounds of steroid shots to that tight band of tissue in my foot, and a prescription for orthotics that I still wear in my gym shoes, the plantar fasciitis went away.
Shortly thereafter, I noticed a tightness in my right hip. I figured it was nothing; something stretching would fix.
I stretched a lot and I started running again. I slowly built my way back up to running for 30 minutes straight – it took ten weeks.
But then came I what I not-so-lovingly call the “peg leg.” I could barely get through a run without feeling like my femur was shooting up into my hip socket. I couldn’t lay on my side without discomfort. Anything that touched my hip caused me pain.
This time I stopped running.
Turns out I had something called hip bursitis, an inflamed sac of fluid around my hip.
I went to physical therapy twice a week – for almost a year – but it didn’t do much to alleviate the symptoms.
Depressed that my beloved sport was essentially dead to me, I buried my running gear and equipment in the back of my closet.
I stopped working out altogether.
I didn’t change my “I run all the time so I can eat anything I want” diet.
And I got fat. (That little blue shirt ain’t so little any more.)
Determined to get myself back on track, I decided to go with surgery. My bursa sac was laproscopically removed.
It was the best option. Three tiny little scars, five days of crutches and a few weeks of physical therapy – and I was good to go.
I was thrilled to run again!
I started off even slower this time. I alternated 30 seconds of running and a minute of walking for 30 minutes. I ran three times a week. I cross-trained on my bike. I was being smart this time.
Then, during a run
this past summer in the summer of 2009, I stepped half on the edge of the sidewalk and half onto the much-lower garden, and sprained my ankle. The doctor said I had “significantly damaged soft tissue.”
Ugh. No more of this “If I can’t run, I won’t do anything” BS.
So that’s the story behind fmyinjury.com.
It was no longer about laughing off an injury. In 2010, it became about getting healthy, eating right, being active, losing weight – and being accountable.
Nothing scares me more than public humiliation. Since I’m stubborn and competitive, I have to put myself out there. If I’m the only one who knows if I were to fail, I’m not humiliated, just disappointed.
There. It’s out there.