August 11, 2011

This Pity Party is Over

and the saga continues...

I've lost count of how many weeks it's been since I've been able to run, but maybe I just don't want to look at the calendar because I really don't want to know. I do know that there's less than 90 days until the NYC Marathon and my chances of running this year are now slim to none.

I got my MRI results Tuesday evening and after discussing with my physical therapist, it's clear that the marathon is a long shot. The images showed significant tendonitis in my right hamstring and a tiny tear in my hip labrum.  Here are some lovely images of my right hip in which you can see two things going on.

In this first image, I've pointed out my hammie. That black space around it is the inflammation. Ouch. When my PT first touched the back of my leg, she said the muscles felt like a bit of a mess back there so this was no surprise. We think the initial trauma occured during last year's marathon. I dropped something during mile 16, bent down to pick it up, and felt a sharp pain go through my hamstring. It then continued to cramp here and there for the remaining 10 miles of the race. There's a possibility that I damaged it then, continued to run on it, and as a result, it didn't heal right. Since then, the surrounding muscles have been overcompensating, everything is tight and is pulling on my knee, my ankle and my hip. The good news is that this can all be fixed by going to PT, strengthening the surrounding supporting areas, and resting the areas that need to chill out. I'm now allowed to do elliptical, but need to keep it slow so that I don't aggravate the tendonitis. I'm also swimming about 5 times a week now and am relieved to find that it helps clear my head and keep me sane as much as running does.
This second picture is of my right hip socket, and a tiny tear in my hip labrum. The labrum is a ring of tissue surrounding the socket that keeps the head of the femur from slipping out. The good news is that the tear is really small and it's likely that it occured years ago during my ballet years. It's more than likely that the pain that's stopped by from running has nothing to do with the tear because I don't have any symptoms of a tear like groin pain, clicking or snapping in my hip, or limitied motion. And when the PT presses my hip to pinpoint the location of the pain, it's not near the labrum. So it seems that this tear won't impact my running, as long as it doesn't tear further. But that means it would be a bad idea to do anything that would tear it more like kickboxing, ballet, and certain deep yoga poses. And that sucks for me.
When I got the news Tuesday night, and it hit me that NYCM might not happen this year, I was pretty devastated. I cried a bit in the office, cried on my way to the gym, cried as I did laps in the pool (which is very difficult I might add), and cried in bed when I got home. Sad, angry, frustrated are all words that came to mind. I realized that I couldn't go on in this foul mood but I couldn't avoid it all together, so gave myself a 24 hour pity party allowance. For an entire day, I walked around like a cranky bitch with a frown on my face. I took it out on my friends, and was a total bitch to some very special people (sorry about that).

And then I ended the pity party and went on with my life. Actually, I did better than that. I ended the party early, headed to Central Park to say hello to some friends who were about to do workout (even though I couldn't join them), and then headed to the gym for elliptical, the bike, and a swim. I refuse to allow my body to get weak and am noticing it getting even stronger since this injury has taken me out of the running game. Laps in the pool are getting easier and easier and I find myself wishing I could swim every day.

me at the pool, my new happy place
So here's the plan. I'm not giving up just yet. I know NYCM is a long shot but I'm not ready to throw in the towel. I'm going to continue PT, follow her instructions like it's my religion, and try to get my muscles all better. I'm going to train on the elliptical, following my marathon training plan as best as possible, to keep my heart and lungs strong and in marathon shape. And I'm going to swim and work on my core as cross training. When I get the go ahead to run, I'm going to run to see what I've got in me. And I'll train for the race. It may mean that I'll find out the race isn't possible during the first week, second, third or even a month week of running. But maybe I'll find out that I can run 26.2 miles without injuring myself and while still feeling happy and strong. Like I said, I know it's a long shot but I have plenty of time to decide so why give up now.

Today is a rest day. I have PT tonight and then I'll head to Jack Rabbit on the Upper East Side for Ali's fundraising event. But looking forward to getting back on the elliptical tomorrow!


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