Monday, May 16, 2011

Back when I was a runner...

Shortly after my last rant regarding my trouble scheduling an MRI, (and I mean, like within seconds of clicking "publish post") I received a call from Shields MRI to set up my appointment.  My MRI is scheduled for this Thursday and I'm really looking forward to getting a specific diagnosis and treatment plan.  As long as the treatment plan doesn't require rest.  I'm hoping for an outcome that includes something like, "we're gonna inject you with this miracle serum and within hours you will be back to running 8 minute miles".  With so much uncertainty about the condition of the hip and my ability to run the upcoming half marathon, it's been a delicate balance of trying to maintain some level of fitness while trying not to further damage the joint.

Amazingly enough I was able to run four consecutive days last week, although my hip got progressively worse each day.  By Friday I could barely walk let alone run and I forced myself to take the whole weekend off from running.  It wasn't actually a choice but more of a requirement.  On Friday, my son and I went camping and for the first time ever I actually left my running gear at home.  I knew if I packed any gear I'd be tempted all weekend to run.  This way I was further reminded that this was a "rest weekend".  It worked, but not without an emotional toll.  I had visions of hiking, biking, and running.  I thought it would be fun to run alongside my son while he was biking throughout the park.  Instead, I spent the weekend sitting in a recliner and occasionally limping around the campground.  We did manage to do some biking but eventually that hurt too much.  It was incredibly frustrating.  For so long now I've identified myself as a runner.  This weekend I was just some parent limping around the campground.  I imagined what people were thinking.  She's probably really out of shape.  Look, she can't even walk up that hill.  Maybe she has a deformity.  I'm pretty sure none of them were assuming I was an injured runner.  These thoughts started getting the best of me and I started thinking of myself as a "former runner".  I saw a woman all decked out in her running gear, just finishing up a run, and I thought to myself, "Oh look, a runner.  I used to run".  I briefly remembered how I had once had dreams of running a half marathon a couple weeks from now.  I had a copy of Running Times magazine with me but I couldn't bear to read most of it.  I couldn't even relate. I may as well have been reading about surfing or geo-cashing.  I saw my distorted toenails not as little badges of honor but as ugliness leftover from my earlier days as a runner.  Logically I know I'm making too much out of this injury, but once I entered this slump it was hard to pull myself out.

Mondays I usually run with my lunch buddies.  Sticking to my Monday routine, I dutifully packed my running bag even though I acknowledged that as a former runner I shouldn't really be packing a bag.  Nevertheless, at work I made plans with Todd and Kerri to run.  After three full days of rest, I couldn't take another day off.  I needed to see how the hip would hold up on a short run.  If I have any hopes of running the half marathon on May 29, I need to at least maintain the fitness I have.  Not wanting to slow anyone down though, I gave Todd and Kerri full freedom to run and not look back.  No sense in dragging anyone else into my miserable pace.  When I confided in Kerri some of my frustrations of this injury, she reminded me of the time she broke her hip from a fall off her bike.  She healed just fine in time, and whatever this injury I have is, I will too.

So, I stopped feeling sorry for myself and off we trotted down to the fire station.  This has become my new favorite route because it's downhill the first mile, and no real uphills.  Usually I look for something a little more challenging but these days it's all I can do just to move forward.  Plus, now that I have mastered the art of timing my individual mile splits, it's fun to repeat the same course a few times and see how things change.  I was pretty satisfied with a run that Jaimee and I did last week in which we managed to negative split the whole thing.  (Although in full disclosure, we started off reeeally slow so it would have been an embarrassment if we didn't negative split).  Today I didn't even attempt to stay with Todd and Kerri.  I kept a slow pace of just under a 9 minute mile for the first three miles.  Then at mile 3 I met up with them (our turning point) and kept pace with them for the final mile.  My body, which had protested its return from early retirement, finally woke up and wanted to move faster.  My final mile was an 8:16 pace.

The result of today's run: sore.  My hip is a lot more sore than it was this morning when I woke up.  I'll take an Aleve and promise not to run tomorrow.  I'm planning to run again Wednesday if I'm feeling up to it, as it might be my last run for a while depending on the results of the MRI.  (Unless they have the miracle serum I'm hoping for!)

Here are the last two runs I've clocked on the Garmin, from last Thursday and today.  No, you're not seeing double.  I'm just really dull and starting to repeat myself!

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