As I type this, I am sitting in a chair with a block of synthetic ice wrapped around my right upper hamstring and groin. I’ve tried to avoid my naughty bits, but to effectively ice your groin (more specifically, adductor) muscles, you need to let things slide a little geographically, as it were.
You know, and I’m not saying this sarcastically, for once — the past few months have been amazing. I’ve met some kind and generous people, both in person and virtually (although I hope to eventually bridge those digital divides with many of them). Many have been a great source of information and support. I don’t know that I could have accepted my current predicament without them.
I’m now convinced that I have a stress fracture of the femoral neck. So, here’s something fun: when I was interviewing the elites at the Fifth Avenue Mile event late last month, I got the opportunity to talk with Shannon Rowbury. Another reporter was asking her about injuries and she mentioned the femoral neck stress fracture that hobbled her after high school. I asked her the what the symptoms (and progression) were and they were dead on.
Several of you mentioned this likelihood as well — and don’t think I forgot about that exciting reader contest. If in a month I can actually run without pain, I’m going to declare that diagnosis sound (and, I hope, myself cured) and I will randomly distribute the virtual loot accordingly to one lucky amateur diagnostician, as promised.
Being the biggest amateur diagnostician of all, I have concluded that all of those incredible muscle knots were, aside from being red herrings, a reaction to the fracture. Or maybe they’d always been there and I’d never noticed them because I never had a proper massage or bothered to try rolling them out.
The update on those is that they are all gone. Not only that, but I have loosened up my IT band (and broken up scar tissue that ran along the top part) to the extent that I can roll happily and pain-free, where in the past such activity made me shriek in agony. I can only hope that once I’m actually running again, all of this loosening up will mean a bigger stride — and that means faster running.
But back to my current stay in injury purgatory. I did a lot of walking/standing around Sept 22-26, in conjunction with the Fifth Ave Mile event (interviewing and then volunteering) and also for a new freelance project. I felt all that walking afterwards — the deep, gluteal pain was back and I was a little mad at myself for having pushed things. I took a couple days off (and used the car more), which helped. Then early this month I made a quick trip out to Arizona, so obviously didn’t do anything trainingwise during those days. Then got back and work was crazy again. I was tired from the travel and sleep disruption anyway, so I took off the Tuesday I got back without much guilt.
Now I’m back and can honestly say that I’m working my ass off again. I am averaging 2 to 2.5 hours of gymwork a day. I have rarely gone twice a day, but I may start doing so on days that aren’t as busy with work, so I can break things up a little more and enable some recovery.
It’s not only physically difficult to, say, do an hour of spinning, then stretching/rolling, then weights, then pool running. It’s also quite hard mentally. If I don’t get it over with in the morning, then I literally have to drag myself to the gym in the afternoon. By which time I’m in a terrible mood and seething with a mixture of resentment and despair.
How have other runners dealt with long term injury? I wonder about this. On one hand, I think that doing the alternate training helps because at least I feel like I’m doing something and I get to maintain the chemically-based mood enhancers that I have come to depend on getting from hard exercise. (You think I’m depressed now? You should see me without exercise.) But on the other hand, the whole rigarmarole is a daily reminder of the fact that I can’t run.
I got up this morning at about 7:00 and it was 52F out, sunny and dry. It was the kind of day that I would have loved to have run the 14 miles up to White Plains and back. I know I’m whining. I know it’s unattractive. I can’t help it.