Saturday, January 4, 2014

Not so great 2014 news

Well, I've delayed posting an update.  Not because I didn't want to admit I'm injured again, but because I didn't see my doctor until Thursday and wanted to wait to hear the "verdict" before I got carried away with worry doubt and fear.

I have a "stress reaction" in my right hip (femoral neck), which is the distant, but not very distant cousin of the stress fracture.  Ouch, sounds bad, yes it's painful but not as painful as I recall my knee injury was 2 years ago.  It all started about 3-4 weeks ago,  a hard treadmill session of intervals and the sense later that day that I had pulled a hip flexor.  The weeks went by, pain would wax and wane.  Eventually pain was present at the beginning of the run, would disappear (enough to run 10miles) then reappear after.  I was limping, I was trying to stretch, foam roll, be religious about taking vitamin D……but in the back of my mind I knew this could be something worse….

Given my history of stress fractures I contacted my orthopedist…pulled some strings to get an apt ASAP and had an MRI on New Years eve (happy new year to me right?).  My doc called that night and gave me the news.  Crutches for 10 days -2 weeks or until I have no pain with weight bearing.  No running for 6-8 weeks.  DANG.

When you are injured, and I am more frequently than healthy, you go through stages.  Denial…."this is just a pulled muscle", "it's not that bad", to anger/frustration- "what the heck, I'm only running 25miles/week".  "if I didn't have this darn full time job on my feet, I could recover like a normal athlete", to sadness " I can't do this again".  to acceptance- "ok, maybe 2 weeks on crutches, not bad" and "I've not run for almost 2 years and I got it back, I can wait 8 weeks, no big deal".

I've done crutches before and it SUCKS.   Let's just get to the bottom line.  Imagine holding two rigid sticks under your arm pits, contracting your triceps all day.  Not being able to:  make your own food, stand in the shower, put your clothes on standing, carry any bag or plate, cup, getting around a store, cleaning your own house (ok, well crutches might be good for this one example).  But the list goes on and on… are pretty much useless and helpless.  I don't find that fun.   When your life is about planning how to cram 3 workouts in and a full time job, time is of the essence …..when it takes you 4x as long to do anything with crutches the formula falls apart.  

Well, I'm forced to slow down…..I've rehashed some things with my coach.  I was running 98%of my runs on trail and when daylight was dwindling, sunset at 5p and parks were closed after work I transitioned all my runs to pavement - leaving that small detail out to my coach.  80% of my runs became pavement.  My knee felt great and that was all I was concerned about.  Of course it doesn't help do do a hard treadmill session with intervals then racing to work (standing) in the Operating Room for 12-14 hours.  Doesn't leave much time for recovery.

I'm not blaming any one thing, it was probably a combination of speed, pavement and lack of recovery but all I can do is learn and move forward.  Focus on the positive….I can bike (indoors), I can swim YAY.  I can do upper body strengthening.  In a few weeks I can hit the elliptical.  I can aqua jog (does anyone else hate this….so boring).

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger.  If anyone knows how to come back from injury I surely can write a book.  I've done it before and I'll do it again……Pick up the crutches and carry on….stay calm.

My coach said something that really stuck with me.  When you get to the elite level you are trying to find ways to push an athlete to be the best, you try a recipe that might work and sometimes you take a big risk, it doesn't always initially work, you get injured.  You try again….


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