I haven’t been writing, mostly because I haven’t been running. It’s been a long summer and it’s very demotivational to read/write about running when you’re pretty much forbidden from exercise.
When I last left you, I had a diagnosis of insertional tendonitis. After a few weeks of therapy, it wasn’t getting any better. So I got sent off for an MRI (that’s another story) and found out I have a stress reaction in my acetabulum. Even worse, I have a bone marrow edema in my acetabulum, which basically means the bone is swelling. The stress reaction is a 4-6 week fix, whereas the bone swelling doesn’t have a time table. Yeah, I’m not happy either. From the literature I read online, it’s typically a 3-12 month healing process with an average time of 6 months. A friend of mine has the same thing but on her pubic bone and she’s been off running for over a year. This doesn’t sound good.
I’ve been completely off running for about 6 weeks now, minus a little bit of jogging to escape a storm in Zion National Park. I’ve been off my normal training for 3 months now. It was killing me for the first month or two but now it is starting to seem normal. Although I still get sad when I visit places I usually run, because I’d love to be skirting down the sidewalk with the wind blowing against me and businesses fluttering by. The worst part is knowing that I have no idea how much longer I’ll be out. I’m guessing another month minimum. On the bright side, I can tell it’s improving, but not enough to resume running. Let me run you down what happened.
My injury occurred during the Rock n Roll Marathon I ran in June. I’d done lots of long runs, even one that was 23 miles, but I hadn’t done any marathon specific speedwork. To be honest, I didn’t plan on even running that race until a few weeks beforehand. I was only doing it to get a Boston qualifier. I felt fine during the race. Afterwards I tightened up and at one point walked to a port-a-potty in the finishing area. I decided to jog back to where my friends were sitting and suddenly my IT band grabbed. That was the start. We had to walk about a mile and a half to our cars and my IT band was getting more and more inflamed with every step. I didn’t realize how serious it was, because I couldn’t even run for a week. I couldn’t walk without pain or a limp for 3 days. Once that subsided I started running and within a week I started having issues with my left hip flexor. It flamed up so badly on one morning run I wasn’t sure I could make it home. I took a few days off and the problem was there, but was being managed. After a week and some change I felt good enough to resume workouts. I ran a tempo run with no issues. Then that Thursday I ran a 6x1mi on the track and just about died because I felt so out of shape. Nothing felt structurally wrong or sore. The next morning I woke up and my adductor was so inflamed I didn’t even make it to the end of my street. That was the end of June. Since then I’ve been able to run, but it still felt tweaked. After getting my diagnosis, I know now that it was all related to the bone swelling. Everything that connects to my acetabulum has been inflamed (IT band, hip flexor, adductor). I’m told the best thing I can do is keep it loose so that when it heals, I’m not aggravating it.
In the mean time I’ve been doing very little cardio. Everything aggravates it. Swimming, elliptical, the bike, everything is a problem. I started doing weight lifting at the gym, at least in a modified way, so that I’m at least doing something. I’ve made it my mission to fix all of my muscle imbalances and that’s coming along nicely. Hopefully when I get back to running the pounds I’ve put on will melt away to show a six pack. I can dream, can’t I? I’ve also been doing one legged exercise bike. I use my bad leg for gravity, but I’m mostly pushing down and pulling up with my right leg. I’m finally getting to a place where I can use my left leg without aggravation, but I’m being cautious. My cardio is going to be shot when I resume running.
There’s no timetable on the bone swelling. The stress reaction should heal in short order, but there’s going to be this long period where I’m afraid to push myself because I don’t want to dig this hole again. I decided I’m going to stick with 5k/10k stuff for a while until enough time has passed that I’ve built up the mileage and the confidence. I’m not looking forward to racing, to be honest. I’m probably going to spend a lot of time training before I even enter another race. I don’t want to go out there and run a 5k at a pace slower than my last half marathon.
My biggest regret about this injury is that I had planned on some serious trail running this summer. I was in good shape and had trips planned. I meant to do Mt. Baldy. I had a running vacation to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon which turned into a hiking vacation (hiking aggravates it too, but I couldn’t stop myself). I still haven’t conquered El Cajon Mtn. I just have to tell myself 2013.. by this time next summer I’ll be good as new and ready for adventures.