Stress Reaction Sidelines Jenny Barringer

Courtesy of PhotoRun.net.

Courtesy of PhotoRun.net.

23-year-old American record holder forced to end her season with persistent hip pain.

Written by: David Monti
(c) 2010 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

Jenny Barringer, the American record holder in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, has been forced to end her season due to a stress reaction at the head of her right femur.  Barringer, 23, made the decision with her coach, Juli Benson, after finishing third in the 5,000 meters at the USA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, last Friday.

“It was important to me and New Balance (her sponsor) and the beginning of my professional career,” Barringer said of her decision to run at the national meet despite feeling a deep and persistent ache in her hip.  “I wanted to be strong and be tough and train through the pain.”

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But Barringer said that her race in Des Moines was a wake-up call, that she would need to take a break from running in order for the injury to heal.

“The national championships were really an eye opener for me, and face my fears, and recognize that I can’t train or race at full capacity,” she said, speaking via cell phone from her home in Boulder, Colorado.  “I can’t face the top women in the country, never mind the best women if the world, if I can’t run seven days a week.”

Barringer said that her training began to be compromised by the pain prior to the adidas Grand Prix Diamond League meeting in New York on June 12, where she finished fourth in the 1,500 meters in 4:03.63.  She sought treatment at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.  Conventional soft tissue therapies, like massage and Active Release therapy, were not enough to address the problem.  It always felt that the therapist just couldn’t go deep enough.

“It’s difficult to know what’s going to fade and what’s going to be big,” she said of the pain.  “I ran New York and was happy with my performance there, but I know my training was already compromised going into the week.  Shortly after that… I’m not bouncing back as I expected I would.  The sports medicine staff at the Olympic Training Center suggested I get an MRI and I found I had a stress reaction in my right femur.”

Barringer plans to take several days off before picking up a routine of cross training, including running on an anti-gravity treadmill.  She said that tests showed that her overall bone health and calcium levels were excellent, and she felt confident that the injury would heal quickly.

“It just makes my hip so stiff,” she lamented.  “I can get out and go on a run if I’m very well warmed up.  But, that gear shifting, going from 72 to 65 (seconds per lap), that’s so difficult because my hip is so uncomfortable.”

Barringer was the most sought after runner to come out the NCAA in 2009, and was signed by New Balance last winter.  She represented the United States in the steeplechase at both the 2008 Olympic Games (9th place) and the 2009 IAAF World Championships (5th place).  She set her American record of 9:12.50 in last summer’s world championships.

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