A little over a year ago I was training for a marathon and was a month out when I started to notice some achilles pain on my 19 mile run. Now, not many people can say that they LOVE running in the double digit mileage range, especially the further you get from 10, but I did. There’s something about saying I had run 19 miles that made me feel special, like a minority that deserved to be in some secret society. Mind you I had only started my double digit running a year previous but regardless I LOVED it. It was Kara time which is hard to come by these days.
After I completed my 19 mile run, I had a little bit of pain in my achilles but I figured, “Hey I just ran 19 miles, of course I am going to be sore,” and I just let it go. Silly me. A week later I set out to do a casual 12 even though my achilles had not gotten better. About 10 minutes into my little jog I noticed that the pain I had in my achilles was traveling to my hip, like a disease that was just meandering through my body to find the perfect place to rest it’s filthy head. That traveling pain settled right in my hip joint, imbedded deep in the concave of that ball and socket joint that is so preciously important that anyone who had a brain would have stopped then and there instead of continuing to run the 12 miles in excruciating pain and excruciating is an understatement. It was a burning sensation so intense that my acetabulum may as well of had hot magma bubbling around it with some sriracha sauce drizzled on top.
Now one thing you must know is that I don’t cry. Ever. Unless there is a death or I am so overtired that I can’t see straight. So here I am walking through the financial district in Boston in TEARS (at some point I had finally slowed to a hobble as each step brought shooting pain into my hip), raging tears to the point where a few nice gentlemen looked at me with severely concerned eyes and asked if I needed help. I looked at each of them with swollen eyes and pain so bad I couldn’t walk, and said (or rather whimpered) “I’m fine, I work right around the corner.” (Now if it was a fireman from Ladder 21 that I had been running by for months, I would have surely accepted any help to be given…but that’s another story) I didn’t want to admit defeat, to admit that maybe the concrete world I had recently deemed as my heaven had hurt me, and that maybe for the first time in my life I had actually severely injured myself.
I manage to make it back to the gym, embarrassed because I was crying and in pain. I hobbled down the stairs and attempted to ice my hip but once I realize icing isn’t going to cut it, I pop some Advil like candy, take a steam and start the 1.2 mile trek home on foot, which at this point may as well have been Mount Everest. Smart, I know. I wake up the next morning and can barely move my leg. Extension hurt, internal and external rotation hurt and to make matters worse my hip felt like it was going to explode. So what do I do, pop some more Advil and reluctantly take a cab to work. Smart, I know. I attempt to train my client but the burning sensation growing in my hip made me semi incapable of showing her how to do anything, so we had a few laughs and did what we could. Meanwhile, I’m having a few laughs in my own mind wondering how long until I can run again…little did I know what was to come…now that’s worth a laugh.
I decided to take a week off and this is when the psycho athlete in me kicks in. I had been running nonstop for months, overtraining one might say and all of a sudden it hurt to run. It hurt to the point where I couldn’t push past the pain. My training schedule had me running a distance that would take me approximately 3 hours (I honestly don’t know how many miles that would have been at this point). In my mind, I am still running my marathon which was 4 weeks away. So if I can’t run, what do I do? BIKE!!! I will bike for 3 hours to mimic the amount of time I would be running! Great idea, Kara.
Now I’m not talking about biking outside where there’s interesting things to look at…I’m talking about on a spin bike in the lower level of Equinox. No windows. Just people. It’s 5 pm on a Friday night so clearly I have no life outside of the gym as I would be biking until 8 pm. But as fate should have it, this was the night I first saw my boyfriend. 🙂 So needless to say there was at least one interesting thing to look at while I tortured myself on that uncomfortable little seat, quads burning, mind racing.
Fast forward a week after I have met with my physical therapist who looked me dead in the eye and said, “If you run this marathon, you will be seeing a lot more of me…months more of me and I am not sure you want that” in response to my question, “So I can run this thing right? I mean I need you to get me ready for this marathon. I have to run it.” He mentioned that I might have a labral tear in my hip but I just kind of laughed it off. Two days before the marathon (I had since decided to step down and take my health into consideration more than I wanted to), I could barely walk. I had been fine for 3 weeks when it came to walking and then BAM, my body was like, “Oh hey, we are going to remind you that there’s absolutely no way you should run this marathon you fool.” Maybe it knew I was still contemplating it.
So I took some time off from running, 6 months to be exact. Then hopped back on the bandwagon, ran a half marathon in 1:42:45 beating my goal of 1:45:00. I was so proud of myself. It was after this however, that I decided I would not run my marathon…ever. That was in May. In the subsequent months I battled hip and back pain, resting it when I needed but then just absolutely crushing myself in the gym when it felt okay. I wish I had known the damage I was causing to my little hips…
I kept seeing my PT and he kept mentioning a labral tear. Well, he was right.