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.