Injury Update

Well, I’m one week out from my appointment with my orthopedist.  And I feel great!  I’m totally healed!

Okay, not really.  That would be miraculous.

But I am feeling pretty darn good.

Let me step back and explain how I got here.  For years, I’ve been having issue with tight hips and glutes, and they end up pulling at my lower back.  Finally, I decided enough was enough, so I started going to a physical therapist to work on getting those muscles loosened up.

Then all of a sudden, the issues shifted.  By mid-November, the pain was no longer in my glutes, but my left leg was just constantly tight.  No, I don’t think the PT caused the labral tear.  But I think the reason that my hips were all so locked up was to protect this old injury.  A labral tear means that my hip isn’t as tight in the socket as it should be, and my muscles know that’s not how this is supposed to work, so they were doing their best to keep everything in place.  So in loosening everything up, the labral tear reappeared.

Now that the inflammation has been reduced, I can feel where the tear is, and it’s not a new sensation.  I can’t tell you when I first felt it, but it’s certainly not a new thing, so I’d say this tear has been around for a while.  The goal now is to strengthen my muscles so that they are properly supporting my hip, rather than just locking up to hold everything in place.

A big part of the reason that I’m feeling as good as I am right now is because of all the rest that I put in.  When things started to hurt, I stepped back.  I knew it was something in my hip, likely a labral tear or a stress fracture.  So I stopped all activities that could cause issues for either (running and anything jumping related).  I was also working with my PT to continue to loosen up the tight muscles.  If anything hurt, we avoided it.  So by the time I saw the second doctor, I was already in less pain than I had been throughout.

I still have another week off until I can try running again, and I’ve got high hopes.  It’s not going to be pretty, I’m sure.  But I’ll get back to it.

The big lesson here for me is rest.  I didn’t push through an injury.  Would I have done more damage?  Probably not.  But I also wouldn’t be as pain free as I am now, and who knows where the rest of my season would be.

So what’s next?  Well, one more week of healing before I start running. Lots and lots of PT.  And then easing back in to a normal training routine.  I’ve talked with my coach and we’re going to take it very slow.  She’s confident in my fitness base that she thinks I should be okay for my March half marathon and May 70.3.  Will these be my fastest races?  Probably not, but that’s perfectly okay.

I did have to back out of the Donna Half Marathon in a few weeks, to no one’s surprise.  I’m certainly not going to be able to run 13.1 miles quite that soon.  I am sad to not be racing, as it’s one of my favorite races, and I’m sad to not be there cheering (but it just didn’t make sense to spend the money on the hotel and meals when I will be paying copays like crazy for the next few weeks).  But this is just one blip on the plan.  Here’s to things looking up!


Diagnosis – Labral Tear

I saw the new orthopedist yesterday, and he confirmed what I have suspected for the past few weeks – I have a labral tear in my left hip.  Thankfully it is a very small one, but it’s there, right where I thought it was.

To quote WebMD, the labrum is a ring of cartilage that follows the outside rim of the socket of your hip joint. In addition to cushioning the hip joint, the labrum acts like a rubber seal or gasket to help hold the ball at the top of your thighbone securely within your hip socket.

Labral tears are pretty common and lots of people have them without knowing.  If I weren’t athletic, I probably wouldn’t know either.  Walking isn’t a problem.

The downside to this diagnosis is that it’s not going to heal.  Ever.  It’s cartilage, so once it’s torn, it’s torn unless I get it repaired with surgery.  Which is not in my plans.  But the upside to this diagnosis is that I have a path forward.  And that is a huge relief.

Getting to this point has felt like such a process.  The first doctor I saw (based on recommendation) didn’t leave me feeling great.  While he was very nice, I didn’t love his bedside manner, he talked incredibly fast (and if you know me, I talk fast, so for me to call this guy speedy means he was moving at rapid-fire pace) and he was immediately recommending some major treatments (of the invasive type) without having a complete diagnosis.  He told me I was fine to start running again and I said “Okay, so you don’t think it’s a stress fracture then.”  No, he thought it still might be.  And running would be bad in that case.  So that wasn’t reassuring.  He also was insanely busy and very hard to get a followup with.

However, he did give me an order for x-rays and an MRI, which worked in my favor.  On a friend’s recommendation, I booked an appointment with a different practice the following week and got the scans done so I could bring them in.  That would put me a step ahead.

Immediately, I was much happier with this new doctor.  His bedside manner was much more reassuring, and he was saying things that made sense based on everything I had heard from others who have been through this issue.  He took a look at my scans and confirmed that I do have a small labral tear.  He pointed it out to me on the MRI and it is very tiny, but it’s clearly there.  He also took the time to really explain how the labrum works, which I appreciated.

He gave me a few steps moving forward.

  1. Physical therapy 2-3 times a week for 4 weeks, with specific work to strengthen and balance my hips.
  2. Wear running shoes with specific inserts (which he handed me at the appointment)  ALWAYS for the next few weeks.  No being barefoot at home, no dress shoes at work.  Thankfully, my office is awesome and this isn’t a problem.
  3. 10 day course of steroids to reduce inflammation.
  4. No running for 2 more weeks, then ease back in.  Swimming and biking are fine.
  5. Come back in 3 weeks to follow-up.

All of this makes perfect sense to me, and thinking it was a labral tear, it’s what I wanted.  Well, the physical therapy part, anyway.  The rest is just more good things for healing.

And the best part?  The follow-up appointment, by which point I anticipate having made significant progress is scheduled for the day after my original second appointment with the first doctor.  That means that by seeing this new doc, I could have the problem well on its way to being resolved by the time that original doc would be giving me a treatment plan.

So while there’s no quick fix, I’m hopeful that I’m on track for some reduced pain and will be back to regular training in the next few weeks.

The Fun of Injuries

This is an ultrasound of my hip. Can’t you tell? Because I certainly can’t.

I haven’t posted much over the past few weeks, mainly because I’ve been injured and not able to do much in the way of training and I’ve been fairly frustrated about the whole situation. After steadily training for years, with short periods of time off for vacations or brief illnesses, having to step back for weeks and then months is really frustrating.

But I’m doing my best to be smart about it. I’m not running through pain. In fact, right now, I’m not running at all, as anyone who follows me on Strava has figured out. I’m biking and swimming, but skipping workouts when I’m more achy than I would like.

More importantly, I’m seeing some professionals about it. I’ve been to Physical Therapy. I saw a orthopedic doctor, who did an MRI (which didn’t tell us anything) and sent me to get x-rays and an MRI. I’m seeing a different orthopedic doctor this week (mainly because I wasn’t pleased by the first guy’s bedside manner, plus he can’t see me again to discuss the x-rays and MRI until the second week of February). The first step is to figure out what’s going on, then go from there.

Until I have a diagnosis, I’m not going to discuss grand details of my symptoms here. Based on what the doctor, my PT, and my massage therapist have said, I am pretty sure it’s one of two things. Neither of them is all that bad (I’m not dying or anything), and neither should require surgery. And I should be totally healed by the 2019 racing season. But that’s a year away.  I just don’t want the entire internet diagnosing me.  (Because let’s be honest, if you ask the internet, you have cancer or Lupus.  And this is neither of those things.)

This year, well I’m just not sure yet. I’m holding out hope. If nothing else, a lot of local races offer Aquabike options, so if I can’t run, I can still race. My 70.3? Who knows. I did buy the insurance, so I’m eligible for a refund. And I have so many friends racing that it’s likely I will still head down to cheer and volunteer. I’m trying to not focus on any of that just yet though. May is still pretty far away, and it’s possible I’ll be back in racing shape again – maybe not the fastest I’ve ever been, but able to complete the race.

The one thing I’m going to try to do is to not let this get me down.  It’s a huge bummer and I’m so incredibly disappointed.  But I’m not the first to be injured, I won’t be the last, and this is likely to not be the only injury I deal with.  So here’s to trying to stay positive.

WDW Cigna Blogger Meetup Recap

This past weekend, I was down at Walt Disney World to cheer on friends and strangers running the various races over WDW Marathon weekend.  In previous years, I had run at least one race that weekend.  Last year, I took the year off and stayed home, and I was filled with so much jealousy at all the fun everyone was having that I insisted on attending this year.  Still didn’t run, which was a good thing, given my lingering hip issues, but I was so, so glad I decided to go.  If you’ve got friends who go and run and you want to go along and cheer them on, DO IT.  (Or if the idea of screaming at strangers on the side of the road and then going to eat a Mickey Bar sounds like fun, this is your chance.)

One fun thing I got to do while I was there was attend the Cigna Blogger Meetup.  I really love all of the information that Cigna puts out surrounding WDW Marathon Weekend.  They’re great about promoting healthy lifestyles, tips for running, and they highlight a number of “every day” runners who are participating in the races.

I particularly enjoy this infographic, because it’s not all “sunshine and light.”  Running a marathon is HARD, guys.

Click to enlarge

The afternoon started with a healthy lunch (including soup to keep all of us warm) and then we went into the games.  While the games were a lot of fun, behind each game were facts about health – knowing your numbers, knowing what a healthy diet looks like, and understanding how to improve your health by making simple changes.

I think in the world of social media, people often get discouraged by the “healthy” people they see online, people who seem to have perfect diets, perfect workout schedules, who never slip up.  I’m sure some of those people are real, but let’s be honest – for most of us, healthy living is a constant challenge.  It’s important to remember that no one’s perfect, and you definitely don’t have to be either.  Just do your best, make smart choices, and know the facts.

I’ve talked before about how important it is to know your numbers and truly understand your health.  So I was a huge fan of this concept.  Unfortunately, it also showed just how much I don’t know.  I’m solid on things like how much sodium I should have, how many alcoholic drinks I should (or shouldn’t) have, but when we get into various vitamins, I have no clue!  I definitely have a lot to learn.  We had one question about Vitamin B, and I couldn’t tell you what foods contain Vitamin B.  Or what Vitamin B does.  But I’m sure it’s important.

One important thing is to make sure that you know facts, not just tips from some random person on the internet.  Make sure that you’re sourcing your information from reputable sources.

The games were a lot of fun – we had to do things like “throw away the sugar” by tossing it into trash cans (oh sugar, how I will miss you).  Of course, you don’t have to throw away all the sugar, just consume it in moderation.  Let’s be honest, most of us consume way too much added sugar in our diets.

Another game involved playing jacks (I was very impressed with some of our team’s jacks skills).  The lesson here was about jumping jacks, or rather, staying active.  Staying active and eating healthy can help lower your cholesterol levels, something I am all too familiar with.  I’m good at the active part, but the healthy eating… well, I can always use help.

We had to make apple towers to… remind us to eat towers of apples?  No, this one was about healthy diet and balance.  Also, balancing apples is really hard.  My team won, of course, because we are geniuses and good at balancing things.

This was a good lesson though, because I know I struggle with balance.  It tends to be all or nothing with me.  I’m either having a healthy period where I eat well, workout, stretch, and generally do good things for myself, or I’m skipping workouts and eating wine and cheese for dinner.  This was a good reminder that I can be healthy but still have balance in my life.

The Cigna team was incredible, and we had so much fun learning and getting to meet Drs. Minnie and Mickey.  Who knew they had time to go to med school!

Thanks for a great event, Cigna!


2018 Goals

It’s 2018.  I know, I can’t believe it myself.  But it’s time to set some goals for 2018.

Fitness wise, 2017 was a banner year.  I had a number of amazing races.  It wasn’t something I planned for, but because I focused so much on my training, I ended up with some amazing results.

Finish my 70.3

In 2018, I’ve registered for my second 70.3.  Clearly, finishing that race is going to be a huge goal for me.  I haven’t set any specific goal times for the race as of yet, but I would love to PR.  I definitely think it’s possible, but we’ll save those goals for later.  For now, it’s just about training.

Get Healthy

I’m starting the year with some hamstring issues (I think).  Basically, something is hurty in my left leg.  So goal number one is to get this figured out and fixed.  It’s going to mean more time not running, but getting myself healthy is the most important thing.  It may even mean missing some of my early season races, but again sometimes things happen.  I’m being smart, seeing professionals, not asking Dr. Google, and stepping back from activities that are painful.  (Don’t run through injuries.  It’s a bad idea.)


In 2018, I also need to clean up my diet.  I’ve gone back to calorie tracking, less for the calories and more to make sure I’m getting enough protein.  I love carbs.  I love carbs so much.  Carbs are life.  And I can keep eating carbs – but I need to be eating way more protein.  Again, I’m not setting a specific goal (eat this much protein, this many carbs) but rather just trying to be more mindful about what I’m doing.


This year, I need to fix my budget.  While I’m not spending myself into debt, my spending has definitely gotten out of control.  One goal I’m working on is spending less money eating out.  This will also help me clean up my diet.  I’m just spending way too much money getting lunches out once or twice a week.

Giving Back

I spent some time volunteering at races last year and I loved it, so I’m going to do it again this year, and I’m even trying to step it up.  As I was already on the injured list when it came time to register for the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler lottery, I just wasn’t feeling it so I decided that I would volunteer at the race instead of running (even though I fully expect to be healed by April).

Giving back is an area that I really want to focus on this year, because I have gotten so much out of the running and triathlon community, and I want to be able to share that with others.

So that’s where I am this year.  It’s a good start, and we’ll see how things go.  I have high hopes for 2018.