Monday, May 23, 2011

Hyannis - my final decision. For now.

Well it's been an interesting week here in injury-ville.  I hadn't run since last Wednesday, my final hoorah with Todd and Kerri before going in for my MRI and arthrogram.  That Thursday morning I was actually feeling not-so-crummy and still hopeful about running the half marathon on May 29.  All that changed on Thursday when I went to the hospital for my tests.

Injuries are an ugly and inevitable part of running, and it's the part we don't like to talk about.  Just like pilots don't like to talk about crashes, sailors don't like to talk about capsizing, runners don't like to talk about injuries.  Especially to non-runners.  As a runner, I often find myself justifying to non-runners why I run.  Here are some real life examples of comments I've had to defend against:

  • Running is bad for your joints, you'll be needing knee replacements soon.  You should try swimming instead.
  • Running is dangerous on the streets, you could get hit by a car.
  • Running is dangerous on the trails, you could get attacked by an animal.
  • Running is so time consuming.  It's interfering with other activities.
  • Running marathons is deadly. People have heart attacks and die running marathons. Never do one of those.
  • It's such lousy weather. Why would you want to run in that?
  • Why don't you just take a day off and relax.
Up until now I've been able to defend against these well-meaning (I think) comments, but this injury seems to be ammunition everyone needs to reinforce why running is so bad for me.  I find myself reminding people that I sustained this injury because I tripped over a root.  I could easily have sustained the same injury tripping over my cat, my coffee table, the stairs, the dog, the dog bone, or my son's shoes.  At least I was doing something healthy and active at the time.  If I had tripped over any of those other examples, it no doubt would have occurred on my way to the fridge, and that would have been a lose-lose situation.

So Thursday I headed to the hospital for my MRI and arthrogram.  I didn't really know what to expect other than the notorious tunnel with the really loud noises.  That was the easy part.  The much less enjoyable part was the arthrogram.  This involved shooting dye into my hip socket in order to get a contrast x-ray.  Before they could inject the dye they had to numb the hip.  For some reason my hip just wouldn't numb up, and the result was sheer agony.  The doctor felt horrible as I layed on the table sweating and crying, and after a very long process and FOUR doses of lidocaine, he was finally able to inject the dye as well as the steroid shot.  the nurse had cautioned me that my hip was going to be feeling so good after the shot that I had to remember not to be over-confident.  No worries there!  I was so sore after all that, I couldn't even walk into the house without help.  Friday was no better.  I couldn't even walk, and spent the entire day on the recliner packed in ice.  It was extremely disappointing, going from marathon training to unable to walk in the matter of days.  Over the last couple of days my hip slowly started to recover from the trauma of the arthrogram, and today was the first day I could walk without a noticeable limp.  So, you know what that means!!

My running club has its weekly Monday night pond run, so I thought a 3 mile jog would be a perfect way to test out the hip.  I was a little nervous about it, since I hadn't run since last Wednesday, I honestly didn't know if my leg would cooperate.  I figured worst case scenario I'd suffer a little embarrassment and have to turn around.  Luckily it didn't come to that!  I hooked up with one of the girls I ran with a couple weeks ago and she agreed to run slowly with me, although I told her not to wait for me if she wanted to go ahead.  She was a great sport about it.  I was very relieved to find that my hip held up fairly well at a slow pace.  Granted, my standards are a lot lower than they used to be.  My hip is now only as sore as it was before the tests, which is still not good by most standards.  The good news about this is that it gave me some confidence.  For the last week I've been pretty sure this weekend's half marathon was out of the question.  After today, my final decision is that I will be heading to Hyannis.  Ideally I'd like to get a 5 mile run in on Wednesday and maybe a 3 miler on Thursday, then take Friday and Saturday off.  I have no expectations for this weekend though.  This truly will be a race where I'll be pleased just to finish.  Ah, how things have changed!

As far as the results of my tests, I haven't heard from the doctor yet.  Part of me is anxious to get a diagnosis, but the competitor in me is hoping not to hear anything before this weekend so I don't have to make the decision an even harder one.  In any event, I will be heading to Hyannis Saturday afternoon, checking into a cutsie little hotel room and playing tourist on Cape Cod.  One way or another I will be taking part in the half marathon.  Whether it's as a runner or as a spectator, or a little of both, that will be a "game day" decision.  One thing's for sure, it will make for a great story!

And now, for today's run: TVFR Hopedale Pond Run. Not bad for a gimpy hip!

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