Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Story

Right now, I would do just about anything for one more long, pain-free run through my Cross Creek. 

This is my story of the last six months, and I will try to spare you the details:

On Sept. 4th, at the end of a 7ish mile out-and-back beach run I felt an odd pain high up in my left hip.  It was enough that I mentioned it to one of my friends on the run.  I felt really achy all weekend, a feeling I would get used to, but still ran my usual Monday track workout.

The pain never went away (no matter how much I ignored it).  Since this was at the very beginning of my racing season, I did not want to believe I had a problem.  Finally realizing that this could be something bad,I decided to see my athletic trainers.  They insisted it was something muscular that needed to be worked out.   

I ran, with the encouragement of my trainers, until Sept. 24th when I physically could not anymore.  I finished my race that day purely because of my hardheadedness.  I have never NOT finished a race before and I have no intention of ever doing so.

After weeks of stretching, foam-rolling, resting, biking, and swimming, I tried running again.  I was instructed to try two miles easy every other day, which was managable if I crept along at 9 minute pace and avoided bridges.  I never progressed from that point.  I went to see a local orthopedic who took x-rays, felt around, and diagnosed me with trochanteric bursitis.  That day I got a cortisone injection.  For the next four days I could barely move, let alone run.  With high hopes, I attempted to run when I was told I should be able to, but I could not even make two miles.  I literally could not limp any longer.  The tears came. 

I stopped running altogether and the trainers searched for answers.  Was it arthritis?  A tear?  The doctor I saw earlier prescribed me two weeks of an anti-inflammatory.  I asked for an MRI, which showed little as far as inflammation.  Nothing was wrong, he told me, my hips were healthy.  Then, I was told that nothing else could be done for me because there wasn't a problem.  I felt that everything was hopeless.  Why did no one believe me?  Would I ever be able to run again?  Forget racing, I just wanted to run in the woods once more. 

I went home for the holidays and saw another doctor who, after looking at my x-rays and MRI, diagnosed me with trochanteric bursitis.  Again.  This time I was prescribed three months of anti-inflammatories.  He also explained to me that my hips were different.  I am a tall, lanky person and my hips point inward more than the average person.  This makes my feet slightly pigeon toed.  It also makes my IT band have to do a little extra work and wrap around the outside of my leg instead of being in a straight line, like most people.  This causes it to be tighter in general and makes me more prone to bursitis. 

Currently, I have an experienced coach on my side.  I have continued the foam-rolling, taken up biking and indoor rowing (which I really love), and am working on gaining strength.  Just last week I started run/ walking on a treadmill.  And not running 9 minute pace.  This week I was doing 7:30, and although I am clearly out of running shape, the motions felt glorious.  I have never been so happy to be on a treadmill in my life!

Now, I am completely focused on my recovery.  I WILL run again.  Actually, I will be home for a few days in exactly a week, which means a visit to my Cross Creek is in order.  I hope that I will be able to run/ walk.
Just a little bit will do me a lot of good. 

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