This was not how things were supposed to go.
I had everything planned out. I was going to train hard through this winter, have an amazing racing season new year, break 3 hours in the marathon next fall, and then hunker down and have babies. All I needed was one more summer of competitive running, and then I was going to be satisfied. (Never mind the fact I don’t know if I will ever be satisfied with my PRs. It’s the overachiever in me.) But I am finally sleeping 7 or 8 hours straight each night (after sleeping 5 or 6 hours each night with 2 or 3 wake-ups each night), Cullen is more independent, we are in a good routine, and I was on the upswing with my training. I didn’t clinch my sub-3 hours marathon this past summer, but I would have had it not been for the crazy hot weather at Grandma’s.
But as with everything in my life, things never go as planned. My type-A does not like this. I like it when I have a plan, and all I have to do is stick to the plan and everyone is happy.
If you have been following along, you know I have been dealing with hip flexor pain since mid-June. It didn’t bother me during the marathon, but after taking a full week off, it started up after my return to running. I went and saw two different physical therapists, a massage therapist, and two chiropractors these last four months. All of them pretty much said I had the same thing: tendonitis of my hip flexor–and each one had a different approach to heal it, which I appreciated. However, I still wasn’t seeing results, so I took a full month off: no exercising at all.
I tried running after this break, but the pain was still there. My next approach was ART (active release technique), and I finally started to see results and thought I was on the mend. I started with a run/walk program and slowly increased from one mile of pain-free running to three miles and then four. But after several weeks of only being able to increase by 0.5 mile each week and still having pain/discomfort on every run, I finally decided to bite the bullet and go in for an MRI.
I went in for my appointment on Tuesday and basically told the doctor I was just there to get a referral for an MRI. They did an x-ray, and the only thing he comment about it was the “socket” (of my “ball and socket” joint) did not completely cover the greater trochanter (“ball”). He didn’t say anything about this leading to injury or that I should do anything about it. He did a couple tests on my hips, but nothing bothered me, so he wasn’t really sure what was going on.
On Thursday morning I went in for my MRI. They injected a dye into my hip in order to see more on the MRI, and they also gave me a steroid to help with the pain. The doctor said the steroid would only help if it was a labral tear. During the MRI, I laid in a giant tube contraption for about 20 – 25 minutes while the machine sounded like it was breaking and there was a machine gun going off. They told me it would take a couple of days to get the results back, so I tried not to think about it too much and was pretty much expecting not to hear anything until Monday. Friday afternoon I posted on Instagram that I had finally gotten an MRI, but I didn’t know the results yet. Literally five minutes after posting that, I got the call from the doctor.
I was anxious to finally get an answer, but I also was scared and hoping for the worst: 2-3 months of physical therapy before I could get back to running. Then he revealed the news that was even worse than I had even thought possible. He said I tore the labrum in my hip.
Say what?! A torn labrum. Every professional I saw had ruled this out because I didn’t have any of the classic symptoms. There’s no way. How can this be? I had been training for 1.5 years since having Cullen with no problems whatsoever. How did this develop out of nowhere, all of a sudden?
Apparently I have a cam lesion (bony protrusion) on the neck of my femur that caused the tear to the labrum. From my understanding, this tear would have happened eventually, so it wasn’t induced by over training or anything I did in my training. This makes me feel good that it wasn’t something I did; it would have happened eventually. However, since I have run so much already, the extra wear and tear caused the tear to happen earlier in my life.
So what does this mean? Surgery. Yes, arthroscopic surgery on my hip to shave the cam lesion down and repair the labrum. I had only heard of this injury a couple years ago when my friend had the same thing happen to her.
This is how Cullen and I feel about this situation.
I am beyond devastated. I wanted nothing more than to keep training and capitalize on the fitness I had worked so hard to gain the last 2 years since Cullen was born. But life has to go on. There’s no sense is living in the past, kicking myself for not going in sooner or wondering what I could have done differently. Hindsight is always 20/20, and at the time I was making the best decision for me and my situation with the information I was given. Now it is time to figure out when I’ll have the surgery and who I should see to have it done. (I briefly thought about not having the surgery, but let’s be realistic, giving up running for the rest of my life is not an option.) The sooner I can have the surgery the better, so I can get back to running as soon as possible.
While I find myself wallowing in my situation, I then remind myself: this is not a career-ending injury! I will run again one day! So while this is a detour to my big, dream goal of a sub-3 hour marathon. I am still going to work my butt off to try and clinch that dream of mine. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t work out, but I am sure going to try!