Forgive my silence. I’ve needed the past few days to process some upsetting news I received on Friday, during an eye-opening physiotherapy session. I just wish I had gone sooner, rather than at the end of week 5 of my marathon training cycle.

I resisted seeing a physiotherapist until now partly because rest and sports massage has healed most nagging aches and pains in the past and I was convinced that the pain in my right hip and groin would eventually go away on its own. Also, I didn’t want to shell out hundreds of pounds if I didn’t have to. But most of all, I really didn’t want to hear the dreaded words that I knew would be spoken:

YOU CAN’T RUN.

I can handle a week or two off – that’s what I just did. But longer? As I enter week 6 of an already messed up marathon training cycle? As I prepare to leave my job and become a running coach while starting the long road to becoming an R.D.? As I count the (relatively few) weeks left until an expensive and exciting destination half marathon in Iceland? That’s a bit harder to handle. Running is my foundation beneath all the positive but scary changes going on right now. I want to be feeling strong and in control as everything unfolds, not like someone is yanking the rug out from under me!

Finally, after weeks of faffing around and trying every single thing I could think of to get back to feeling 100% (rest, sports massage, icing, anti-inflammatory pills and gels, hot/cold water therapy, foam roller etc.), I stopped wasting time and sought professional advice. I went to Pure Sports Medicine, a brilliant clinic that I’ve visited many times for sports massage. It’s pricey but it’s worth it.

The news I received sucks – but it certainly could’ve been much worse. Let’s start with the good news first, shall we?

  • My physio is awesome – I have confidence that he’ll get me back to feeling strong again ASAP. And he’s cute too, which surely helps! 🙂
  • I finally know what’s wrong with my hip – and can fix the problem relatively quickly. Essentially, the head of my right femur is sliding forward when I put weight on my right leg, causing labral irritation in the hip joint as well as soreness in certain muscles. This is in part due to weak right hip stabilizer muscles, but also because I’m sticking my pelvis too far forward when I stand/run. Thus, I simply need to strengthen these muscles and adopt a more neutral position.
  • Although highly frustrating, this is only a temporary setback. I should be fine to run the Portland marathon in October and my hopes for Vegas, if I’m fortunate enough to win the Cheribundi marathon challenge, will not be affected.
  • I will become a stronger runner in the long-term – both physically and mentally.

And the bad news?

  • I can’t run – for now. As my physio said, he can’t stop me from running – but obviously I don’t want to risk further injury! I’m looking forward to decades and decades of running in my future, as well as new PB’s, and that means making a sacrifice right now.
  • My time goals for Portland may need some revising. I’m not going to predict anything just yet, but I know I have to be realistic given that I haven’t done sufficient mileage for a couple weeks now. I’m not too upset about this, however – I’m still in great shape. Plus, I wasn’t banking on Portland to be my fastest race – I entered it more for fun, to accompany my coaching certification course. That’s why, in part, I would love to have another marathon opportunity in December.
  • I may not be able to run the half marathon in Iceland – that would be disappointing. The physio said that it’s not completely ruled out, but obviously I have to build up to 13.1 miles gradually, so we’ll see.
  • I’m currently limited to what I CAN do for exercise, which is driving me nuts – my appetite is weird, my body is changing (and not in a good way) and I’m bummed that I can’t do something that makes me happy. I miss running!
  • I must avoid other exercises that may further irritate my hip – this means no yoga, elliptical, lower body strength training or cycling out of the saddle. That makes my usual spin class slightly less fun and I love yoga, but I’ll deal. I can do the stair master and rowing machines, as well as seated cycling and upper body weights. A bit boring, but I’m trying my best to be patient.
  • I can also swim, so this is a great opportunity to finally improve my swimming technique, which I’ve been meaning to do for awhile now so that I can enter a triathlon at some point as well as make swimming a regular part of my cross-training. This morning, instead of a long run, I did some laps – it was tough but fun. I even bought purple goggles and a purple swim cap! I hope to take a private swim lesson this week.

Today was sunny and it was torture to watch so many runners out and about – but I’m staying focused on the task at hand, and have appreciated all the support I’ve received from friends and family. I’m already feeling better after a couple days of cross-training, so that’s a good sign.

I’m seeing my physio again Tuesday afternoon. I’m praying he’ll let me run again soon, but I know it may be another week or so before I’m allowed to – and then only short distances (2M) at first. But I’m committed to allowing my body plenty of time to heal so that I can make a strong comeback.

And I WILL make a strong comeback. 

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