Hey everyone! It’s been a while!
Things have been pretty static for me. In my last blog, the Double Dipsea RR, I mentioned that the bum hip had never gone away. In fact, it never even improved, so I got it checked out by a dr, then an orthopedic specialist. She diagnosed a labrum tear and ordered an MRI to confirm the diagnosis and determine whether surgery would be needed.
In the meantime, I had gotten seriously stircrazy from not running at all. I am so used to having a lot of miles in my life that my body chemistry goes a little screwy without it. I went through the moodiness that often accompanies a taper, but I’d like to think I’m pretty adept at recognizing it and controlling it. Most of the time, at least. The thing that surprised me, though, was that my mind began to go. I became forgetful and spacy, which is something I have no tolerance for!
I decided I had to do something. On Friday I texted DW, “It would be crazy to ride a century on the spin bike, right?”
You can probably guess her answer.
Saturday morning DW left for her long run in the hills and I got up to begin my experiment. I would ride an hour, then get off and stretch to evaluate how things felt, then proceed if everything seemed fine. I alternated between a couple TV series on Netflix as my legs spun away, and every 20 miles I found the hip had not gotten any worse. Finally I hit 100 miles and called it quits! My legs felt absolutely fine but my arse was killing me! I am not used to six hours on a bike seat!
After having waited a couple agonizingly slow weeks for insurance to approve it, I got the notification call while in Arkansas on business and immediately scheduled it for the day I returned.
I literally landed in Sacramento and drove straight to the imaging center for my appt. Upon checking in I learned I had not one, but TWO tests scheduled. Lucky day!
Honestly, I was down for whatever gave me answers. I had never had a problem that lasted this long with no change whatsoever!
The first was a hip arthrogram. It’s where an x-ray monitor is focused on your hip joint and a specialist inserts a needle through your muscle and into the joint, piercing the fluid sac inside the joint. Contrasting fluid is then injected into the sac, and the color helps the dr see any tears and also helps later in the MRI.
The second was an MRI, which was comprised of seven different scans. All in all, I spent about 90 minutes in the tube, listening to the radio through headphones and picking out the different instruments’ melodic lines. (It’s a mindful meditation thing I do occasionally if I have to be physically still. You pick out one instrument and follow it independently from the rest of the noise, then add another, then another. If you can follow three or four simultaneously, you don’t have much attention left for anything else. At least I don’t.)
I got a call the next day, and it honestly caught me off guard.
“Hi, this is Mindy from Othopedics.”
“Hi, how are you?”
“I’m fine, but you’re not too great.”
“I’m really sorry, but you’re not running any ultramarathons anytime soon. You have a stress fracture through the ball of your femur inside the hip joint, which is why we couldn’t see it in the X-rays.”
“………. Well that’s not what I expected.” (Facepalm)
“I know, me neither. I’ve only seen this a couple of times; it’s a unique location for a fracture.”
“So I need to just cycle then?”
“You can’t walk on it. Stay off of it 100%.”
“What can I do?”
“I’m really sorry. Not much.”
“Well, thanks for not sugar-coating it.”
“I don’t do that. Plus, you distance runners never like that.”
And that’s pretty much it. I later called back and got cleared to swim if I use leg floats. Maybe in 6 to 8 weeks I can cycle and build up to running again, but the crack is in a very risky place. If it gives way and breaks completely I’ll need screws to reassemble it, and I want to avoid that at all costs.
Frankly, I’m shocked it hasn’t fallen apart already. I ran two tough races, went through lineman training, and have been working steadily on it for two months! I am grateful for the fact that I am intact, and need to find my way back to running through a few month journey through the forest of other activities. For now things will strictly be upper body, then I’ll ease into more leg stuff in the coming months. It’s not ideal, but life’s not always ideal. I’ll do what I can and hopefully come out of this a better, more rounded athlete and person.
Run happy and healthy, my friends! It is a joy not to be taken for granted!