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Sadness

on June 16, 2012

I don’t really know how to start this blog entry.  I’m at a loss for words, which to those of you who really know me, that doesn’t usually happen to me.  

If you’ve followed my blog for any amount of time, you will know I’ve been struggling with motivation to run and have been in a rut.  I have talked about how I really don’t know why I’ve been struggling.  You also know that I’ve had a sore hip, but that it was sort of coming and going….or so I thought.

My hubby and I were talking about a week or so ago while out on a run together and he commented on how I haven’t seemed as dedicated in my marathon training this time as I was last time.  This I knew!  I really started to think about why.  Then I went back and thought about another comment he made shortly after that about how it always seems like my hip hurts.  He said that he had noticed that I rarely come back from a run without it hurting and how when we run together, I’m grunting with nearly every step.  It was almost as though somebody took off a blindfold from my eyes and it was clear.  

I’ve had a two-fold problem and both problems were compounding the other.  I’ve had soreness in my hip since December of 2011.  I mentioned it to my doctor at a routine physical and we talked about more stretching, which I started to do faithfully.  Things got better.  Until about March.  At the Get Lucky Half, I was telling Trish how my hip has been hurting, just sort of in passing as we didn’t talk at length about it, and how I was trying to keep stretching it.  But it was after the half when it changed…now that I look back.  The soreness would get better once I started running and almost feel like it would losen up, but after the Get Luck Half and into April, the soreness changed to pain when I was running.  This definitely changed my performance for myself, which made me feel bad about how I was doing, and therefore, I didn’t really care if I went out for a run.  I never put the connection together, until now, that there was a part of me that was afraid to go out and run because it hurt.  In addition, there were times when my hip didn’t hurt as badly as it did the last time so I thought that it was getting better, so why worry about it?  Or why even admit there is a problem?

Last weekend we were out of town.  I had a run on a crappy hotel treadmill and then the next morning, hubby and I went outside and ran together before going to a wedding.  Both runs, my hip hurt.  The one outside especially hurt that morning…with nearly every step.  Again, I pushed it out of my mind.  It will get better, I thought and kept telling myself.  This week, I had two runs.  My first run of 4 miles on Wednesday went so great. My pace for the first two miles was under 10 minute miles which I’ve never done before.  My 2nd two miles were still great for me on pace.  My hip was sore, but it wasn’t too bad.  Thursday I had 6 miles on my schedule and it still went well for pace, but I grunted and grimaced with every step.  It hurt A LOT.  I pushed through the pain, which I knew at the time was STUPID because a person should really never to that when feeling what I was feeling, but I wanted to see if it would losen up and then I wanted to see how it felt the rest of the day.  I got through it, got home and had my coffee, breakfast, and then laid back down in bed for a little bit.  When I got back up, I could hardly take a step on that side.  I knew it was time to do something.

I sent a text to Trish, who is an orthopedic hand surgeon, and asked her when/if I should go to the doctor. My training schedule for the marathon is going to get really serious now at this point, meaning the miles are going to increase quite a bit.  I don’t have time to rest if I want to do the full marathon.  But I don’t want to injure myself further if it could be something serious.  Her response, GO IN.  So I called and made an appointment for the next day.

Which brings me to yesterday, Friday.  I saw an orthopedic hip doctor.  He took xrays and then had my consultation.  There are three issues with my right hip, the one that has been hurting and no issues with my left hip.  First issue, I have mild arthritis.  I’m not surprised and neither was the doctor as I do have a family history of arthritis.  He did say there is nothing I could have done or can do about developing arthritis and it is mild at this point.  But that would explain only some of the pain I’m feeling.

Second issue, bursitis.  Basically, this is on a different part of my hip and the bursa sac contains a small amount of fluid that helps to lubricate the and acts as a sort of cushion between the soft tissues of the hip and the hip bone.  It helps to reduce the friction between the two.  My bursa (hopefully I’m stating that correctly) is very inflammed and not producing the fluid and not cushioning the large tendon and muscles on the bone on that hip.    Each time that tendon has to move over the bone, whether walking or running (especially running right now) it’s very painful.  

Third, my Iliotibial Band, or IT band, is extremely tight and also very inflammed.  The IT band is a thick band is tissue that connects up on the hip and runs down the outside of the thigh and connects again at the top part of the tibia or shin bone.  There is also friction with the IT band during activity and if that inflammed and not treated, it can cause a great deal of pain.  

BINGO.  He gave me two shots in that part of my hip….ouch….to help with reducing the inflammation.  I’m also on anti-inflammatory meds twice a day for 10 days to help as well.

So what’s the prognosis?  Well….first of all, no Women Rock MN Full Marathon on September 1st.  I still may be able to run the half, but that is up in the air as well.  (Feelings later in post, but I’m very sad about that)

No running this weekend, but I can run Monday.  However, I have to cut everything in half.  If I’m supposed to run 4 miles, only run 2.  You get the picture.

Physical therapy 3 times a week for 3 weeks to stretch out the IT band.  The doctor said it is so tight and that it shouldn’t be, but no surprise there considering.  If I don’t work on getting it stretched out and the inflammation down, this will keep happening. 

After the 3 weeks of physical therapy, we can decide on the half marathon on September 1st.  If it’s stretched out better and the pain is better, go for it.  Maybe.  He then added…..”You may have to just take up biking instead.”

Devastation right there.  And I just stared at him.

I was already feeling bad about the whole thing.  Then to have an uncertain future about running….very sad.  I wanted to run that marathon.  I want to be able to work hard and run the half.  I feel so bad and also worried about it all.  

On the flip side, I hopefully have a lot of life left.  Do I want to spend it in pain?  Or not just that because I can help get this fixed, but have a risk of this coming back and coming back and coming back?  I do believe that it sure can be helped and “fixed”, but what’s more important?  Do I just forget about the half on September 1st, take it easy and try again next summer?  That’s what Trish suggested I do.  That’s probably the right thing to do, says my head.  But my heart….that’s another story.

My doctor didn’t tell me yet that I have to give up running.  In fact, he did say that motion is good, but that a person has to decide just how much motion.  I may have some decisions to make about how much I run, what, if any, races I register for, and all that jazz.  

Some of you reading are shaking your heads and thinking that this is a no-brainer.  Back off…it’s not worth it…are you nuts?  Yes, maybe I am.  But running is something that I have come to love.  Think of it this way, imagine an activity that you love and think about if you possibly couldn’t do it anymore.  How would you feel?  

So…I’m left with no full marathon, possibly being able to still do the half marathon, and some unanswered questions.  Here’s my plan to move forward.  I can still do upper body workouts and ab workouts.  I can of course still walk, and I can run lightly on Monday. I’m not going to push running so hard, but still get out there like he said I could do…cut my runs in half.    I’m going to work hard at physical therapy on my exercises to help my IT band.  And then…just go from there. 

I’m going to dry up my tears.  The bottom line is that things could be much, much worse.  This is not a life-threatening illness.  It’s just a huge bummer.  And, the bottom line is, that if all the running I have been doing needs to be backed down for the rest of my life and that running half marathons and full marathons are not in my best interest, then so be it.  It’s not worth living my life in pain and/or hurting myself in a worse way by pushing though pain just to be in a race like that.  Even though I have a love of running, there is more to life.  I have to be smart and I will be.  If it turns out that things went well and the doctor says the half is good to go, then great.  If I can’t run the half, I will be disappointed, but I’m not going to put myself at any further risk.  

So for now, I’ll just keep putting one foot in front of the other…..just in a different way.

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One response to “Sadness

  1. Deb says:

    Sorry Jess. I know how much running this marathon meant to you. It’s hard when a roadblock gets in the way of something we really want to do. But the good thing about roadblocks…eventually they get taken down and you can continue on your way!

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