Hip, Hip, No Way

Well, hello there.

When we last met, I was in the middle of training for the St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon. It was going to be my big comeback race after months of being sidelined because of ulcerative colitis. I was running regularly, albeit slowly, and I was excited about crossing that finish line.

But that didn’t happen.

Instead, I haven’t run in over 2 months due to hip and low back pain. I have had pain since summer 2013, but it was sporadic and not terrible. Then when I started running consistently again in summer 2014, I noticed the pain starting to increase, and before I knew it, it was a daily occurrence. Still, I kept running because I didn’t feel too bad when I was actually running, and I really wanted to run that half marathon. However, the pain started creeping in during my runs, and I started trimming the distance here and there. At the advice of my physical therapist, I took a full week off from running in October with the intention of trying a long run again after the break. Unfortunately, the 8 miles I had hoped to run turned into 3 because of the pain in my hip. It was then I knew that I wouldn’t be running the half marathon. I had missed too many long runs and lost too much training time. I chose not to run the half.

One of my last runs, on my birthday.

One of my last runs, on my birthday.

In the meantime, I went to an orthopedic doctor and got MRIs of my hip and back. I found out that I have arthritis in my back and trochanteric bursitis in my hip. The MRI was also suggestive of a labral tear but not conclusive, and my doctor does not seem to want to pursue that. I got one steriod injection in my hip 2 weeks before Christmas to see if that would help the near-constant pain in my hip subside. Sometimes these injections can last for 6 months or more, so I was hoping the shot would work and I could think about resuming running in the near future. Unfortunately, I only had moderate pain relief for about a week before I felt exactly as I had before getting the shot. On Monday I went back to the doctor and received a second injection in a different area of my hip. I felt immediate pain relief and was really excited, only to have the pain return again. Now I am 5 days out from that injection and wondering if this will be another failed attempt. I am not really sure where to go from here, but I am considering seeking a second opinion depending on what the doctor offers at my follow-up appointment on January 14.

Honestly, I feel like a wimp. I am a member of a running group on Facebook, and there are some pretty hardcore runners in that group, runners who have run every day for a year or more. They have run through a variety of challenging circumstances. I wanted to be like them, but I wasn’t. Could I have completed the half marathon? I don’t know. It would have been painful for sure, but I could have gotten myself across the finish line if I really wanted to. But at the time, I didn’t know exactly what was wrong with my hip and back, and I was worried about doing further damage if I kept running on it.

I felt at peace with my decision at first, but on the day of the race, I was anything but peaceful. I was downright sad and questioning my decision. I still don’t know if I did the right thing, but I do know this: there will be other races, but I only have one body. I have to believe that with time I can make it across another finish line. I don’t know when or how, especially since I’m not even cleared to run right now and walking doesn’t feel great either, but it will happen.

Until then, I have to redirect my focus. More on that to come. 🙂 Happy New Year!

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4 thoughts on “Hip, Hip, No Way

  1. For whatever it’s worth, I think you did the right thing. 🙂 I am so sorry you are dealing with so much pain. It seems like each of us have a unique cross to bear. Maybe somehow it’s all pointing us back to Christ. Maybe an easy life free of complications would be too carefree to even seek Him. Maybe He gives us hardship to give us what we really need–more of Him. I am preaching all of this to myself as well. I hope your pain subsides and I wouldn’t give yourself a hard time about running. Maybe try picking up a different hobby or unsubscribing to some of your running groups so you don’t have to deal with the unmerited guilt. You dealing with legitimate health concerns on top of working full time, raising a family, being a wife, and all of the other responsibilities I know you have. Sometimes quitting something that may be very important to you is the best thing you can do for yourself. I know when I quit writing, it freed me over time–to the point where I legitimately felt fine thinking I would never write again. As it so happened, God opened doors where I could and would write again. But, in that time that I was not writing, I felt true freedom. It was really nice looking at writing-related challenges, articles, advice, calls for submissions, etc. and thinking, “Huh…doesn’t apply to me. No pressure.” It was really one of the best things I ever did for myself, to the point that I now truly feel joy in writing again. Your issue has a different element, because what you are doing is physical and requires physical strength that your disease steals from you without asking. In that sense, you have even more of a reason to take a break than I did. In the meantime, know that I am praying for you. 🙂

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  2. Maybe a Pilates or yoga class might be better for your back — and like heather said, there are seasons for what we love, maybe a rest from running is best this year. Praying for your healing!

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  3. Pingback: The Choice Is Mine | One Honest Mess

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