WARNING: You are about to read a full-fledged pity party.
If you’ve noticed (which you haven’t) (don’t worry I’m not offended) (okay I am a little) that my blog hasn’t been updated in over a week, rest assured it’s not because I keeled over when my heart went into some sort of arrhythmia. The unfortunate truth is that my hip injury that I’ve been
denying carefully nursing has gotten progressively worse. It’s pretty discouraging, especially because I had been hoping that over time it would start to heal on its own and wouldn’t require any sort of surgical repair. I’m starting to lose hope on that, but at the same time I’m looking forward to surgery if it means getting patched up good as new. Now, some may argue that I’m not giving it a chance to heal on its own because I have continued to run lightly, mountain bike, and ride my horse. Some may argue that my definition of “lightly” running is skewed, but I can honestly say that my mileage has dropped to just about zilch. Nada. Goose egg. In fact, my mileage tally for June is a measley 34 miles. And if that’s not convincing enough, I am doing something amazing: I am backing out of a race that’s on my race calendar. See? I’m maturing.
This Thursday is my running club’s first in a series of three trail races, and I’ve been looking forward to this race since I ran the last one in August of last year. It’s a 5 mile trail race, and what I love most about it is that the course is on the West Hill Dam trails behind my house, which I run, bike, and ride my horse around on a daily basis. I was so excited about this race that I even coordinated a trail clean up day between my horse club and my running club so that we could get the trails in ship-shape for the race. That was just a couple weeks before my infamous faux-pas that caused my hip injury (which, coincidentally, occurred on these same trails). Since the injury, I’ve been reducing my mileage and incorporating more rest days in between runs. Up until last week I had still been able to run a couple days a week for 3-6 slow miles. I had been careful to keep the strides short and I avoided hills and sharp turns, which all seemed to cause worse pain. As pain started to win out, I eventually stopped riding my mountain bike on trails, and incorporated even more rest days in between runs. The last time I ran was one week ago today, the first day of summer. It was a beautiful day for a run and I ran on trails and roads, for a total of 4 miles. The roads were more hilly than I should have tackled, and my hip started hurting pretty badly while running. I knew this was a bad sign because that was the first time the pain was so severe that I couldn’t continue running. I ended up walking the last half mile back home, and felt pretty deflated about it.
The days following that last run were painful, and I alternated Aleve with some stronger painkillers, packed myself in ice whenever I could, and stopped pretty much all activity. As a person who identifies herself as a runner, this injury has some pretty serious consequences. Now what? As a runner I feel like I have something that not everyone else has. I have a physical ability that a lot of people say, “wow, I could never do that”. Losing the ability to run is like getting my wings clipped, and it’s made me pretty depressed if we’re being honest. The only thing that lifted my spirits last week was knowing that I was heading on vacation with my horse. (Yes, Rocco and I vacation together). He’s been a real godsend to me, because he’s a super comfortable Tennessee Walking horse, which basically means that I have a lot less pressure on my hip than I would with other types of horses. I’ve also used the past week to evaluate my current condition and make some decisions. As depressing as this is, I recognized that it would be irresponsible of me to attempt to run the trail race on Thursday. The hills and the terrain would be too harsh on my hip, even if the pain had started to die down by then. Another factor is the Harvard Pilgrim 10K race I’m signed up for next Monday, July 4th, at Gillette Stadium. This is another race that I’ve been looking forward to all year. I ran the inaugural race last year, and it was a total blast. That course is very flat and easy, and I am confident that if my hip gets back to what it was a couple weeks ago, I would be able to complete it. I obviously won’t be breaking any speed records, but I would be content just to finish it. If I have any chance of running that race next Monday, I know I need to rest the hip as much as possible this week, and that means backing out of the trail race.
Once I made the decision to back out of the trail race, the next best thing I could think to do was volunteer at the race. At least this way I can still be part of the event (and won’t get nearly as sweaty!) I really enjoy volunteering, which is good because if this hip doesn’t get resolved in the near future, my racing blog is going to turn into a volunteering blog! In the meantime, I am going to attempt to run a couple of flat miles sometime later this week so that I can gauge whether or not my hip can survive the 10K in Foxboro. If it poops out on me, I’m still planning to attend the race and cheer on my pals, take pictures, and hopefully find new ways to scratch my running itch.