Thursday, December 12, 2013

One month and Nine Days

That's how long its been since I've ran.

Oh, hi!  My name is Nichole and I used to run a lot.  Well, a lot for me - not a lot compared to those 50-100 mpw types, which I will most likely never be.

Why have I not been running?  And why have I not been posting?

I'm going to try to lay that all out here without heading into a novel (did you laugh?  I did!).  But, in the spirit of the shortest answer possible, here's why:  Stress fracture of the inferior pubic ramus and stress reaction of the femoral shaft.

Yeah, when I do myself in, I do a damn good job of it.  So how did this happen?  Well, you tell me!  I have my theories, my doctor seems to agree, but at the end of the day, who really knows the exact time or reason.

Here's what I do know:

After Buffalo Creek I felt great.  Best I've ever felt after any race and I stated that many times in many places to many people.  My runs in the week after that race were so stinking easy it blew my mind.  I even felt good enough that I threw in some strides during one of my easy runs, which I have never EVER done that soon after a half.  I even referred to my long run that Saturday as being "the easiest 10 miles I've ever ran".  That night is where it all started falling apart.

While I was getting ready to go out that evening with my family (we were headed to Living Treasures for their Halloween event as well as Trunk or Treat) I noticed that I was sore going down the stairs.  This isn't too atypical post long run, though so I didn't think much of it.  Standing in line at Trunk or Treat I started to get really stiff... almost like I had to keep moving like I do after races.  By the time we were done walking through Living Treasures I'd developed a limp and felt like I was really having to work to keep the left leg from locking up.  That hip/butt lock/cramp that I tend to get on long runs was kind of there too.

I was happy to have the next day off of running, and of course I was sure I'd be ok to get out as normal on Monday.  I was ok, but after the first half of the run I had this weird pinching twinge happening in the crease of my leg right near where the, well, lady parts are.  It just felt like a bunch of tissue was being crunched.  I wasn't in extreme pain, and I made it through the run, but I knew this wasn't normal, especially after a day off, so I figured I'd take another rest day.

I headed back out on Wednesday, and felt like someone was kicking me in the crotch and ass with a steel toed boot almost the entire 30 minutes I ran.  Why did I keep running after the first block?  Stupidity, I guess.  But I felt so smart when I made the announcement to my husband that I was going to take the rest of the week off and then just run an easy run on Sunday for the Pittsburgh 10 Miler.  I did toy with the idea of just taking a DNS, but I'm stubborn and cheap and didn't want to lose out on the fees I paid.  Again, stupidity.

I lined up for the 10 miler around the 8:30 pace group.  I felt pretty good and figured this would be a easy spot to just trot along and have fun.  I ended up feeling really good and had lost my group by the 5K point.  Stupid...stupid... I continued to feel really great until right after 6 miles.  Then I was being kicked in the crotch again.  By 9 miles I was in agony and it was sheer willpower and the need to be done that pulled me across the finish (in 1:19:46 - I'd signed up for the race hoping for 1:15).  Standing in line for Finisher pics was the worst thing ever.  My leg just locked up and I literally had to hobble up to get my pic taken.  I grabbed a bottle of water and a bagel and sat down on the corner.  DUMB IDEA.  I could barely get back up.  I couldn't even walk over to Market Square for the finish party event thing.  Nick had to darn near carry me to a place where I could wait for him to bring the van around and get me.

By that evening I couldn't walk anymore and I was utilizing an army crawl technique to get through the house.  It was time to head to the hospital to see if there was something horrific happening.  Well, you know ER docs don't know much about sports medicine (even though the resident claimed to have run a marathon before - "but it was very hard on the body"), and after some x-rays and a CT scan (I knew the CT scan was a stupid idea, but I went along with it - I hope he earned some extra credit or something), he said I just pulled a muscle in my groin and gave me some pain meds.  Then he shared his one speck of brilliance - stress fractures don't show up in scans for a long time (no kidding, buddy).  So I should go see my orthopedic doc and get further assessed if the pain is still there in the coming days.

Well I knew this was more than a pulled muscle so I was on the phone with sports med the next morning.  I got in for an appointment a few agonizing days later and again, x-rays didn't show anything in the office.  But now I was dealing with someone who knows bones (lol) so he sent me for an MRI, which did in fact reveal my stress fracture and reaction.  The reaction was actually a bit of a shock because our initial impression was that it would be my femoral head that was the problem, but nope - right in the middle of the shaft!  I'm a weirdo.

I was put on crutches and told no weight bearing activities, rest, don't stretch, and don't do anything that hurts, tugs, twinges, etc.  Which pretty much means most of my time has been spent on the couch... pinning random crap on Pinterest, scrolling through Facebook, looking forward to the new World of Warcraft expansion and trying not to obsess over this injury.  I've spent a lot of time cuddling kitties.

Calloway and Mimi always make Mama better!  They're my two oldest "kids"!

I just had a followup appointment yesterday where now, you can see the fracture site on the x-ray because it is highlighted in lovely new bone growth!
Oh, snap! Groan.

I'm a little disappointed because I was hoping to be off the crutches and off to PT and getting back on a routine after this appointment, but my doctor says the fracture is at a tender point right now.  Yes, he could send me off, but it would make him feel better and be better for me in the long run (pun kinda intended) if I were to wait a couple more weeks until this has filled in more solidly.  So, for the remainder of 2013 I'm still "resting".  I do some ab work and upper body strength with dumbbells just to do something and not go out of my mind.  I'm getting tired of what seems like endless crunches and pushups, but it's what I can do and I'm happy to just be able to do something pain free (those first few days were BAD post race when I could hardly get out of bed).  I'm allowed to transition to a crutch free life after January 1st.  My birthday is the 2nd, so I guess that'll be a good gift.  My next appointment with my ortho is January 8th and from there I'm in the PTs hands.  My hope now is that shortly thereafter I'll be able to at least go on a power walk... maybe even a walk/run.  I miss being outside and active.

So, what happened?  Well, more than likely I had something brewing after Buffalo Creek - even though I felt great.  And... being the idiot that I am, forgot that "uh, you just ran a half marathon.  let's not forget you've been sick too" and instead of doing what a normal person would do and take some recovery time (go slow, don't do speed work, maybe lay off the mileage a little) I just went all out like it was any other day.  Then, once the inevitable happened, I ignored by body's cues and literal kicks in the ass with the twinges and pains and still ran a race I shouldn't have - and not only that I went way faster than I should have given the circumstances.  Pride and Ego are terrible things.  Looking back through my last few weeks and months of running (which I've had plenty of time to do), I also realize now some mistakes I've been making like running my easy runs way too fast.  Doing too much speedwork than what I needed and at the time, could tolerate.  Running long runs way too fast too often.  Ignoring random aches and niggles even when they seem minor and not taking a day off when I probably needed to.  Races too close together.  I could go on and on, but there's no point really.  I'm injured.  I need to heal.  Then I need to move on to other things.

Here's the interesting thing.  According to my doctor, I have very tight, short hamstrings which seem to have at least had a hefty contribution to the pubic ramus fracture.  I know I've whined about the butt/hip cramp I get pretty often during longer runs.... well DING!  Hamstring problems.  One of my "prescriptions", so to speak, for PT is to lengthen out the hammies to prevent this from happening.  Who knows... I could have been a ticking time bomb with this all this time.

I'm trying not to beat myself up over my mistakes or things I've just neglected to realize but I do still sometimes.  This pretty much seals the deal that I will NOT be running the Pittsburgh Marathon.  I'll drop down to the half or even the 5K and not worry about having to PR in either.  I'd rather spend my early year getting stronger and rebuilding base.  Heck, at this rate I just want to be able to simply WALK again!!  I don't want to reinjure myself by being stupid again.  There are many fall marathons that are talked highly about and I can look forward to that.

2014 will be my year to focus on getting stronger and going longer.  In time.  I gotta build some more bone first!


  1. Great to hear you are on the way back - no runner stops when they have pains, they run through it, that is not in our DNA to stop so I and every other runner would have done the same thing you did. Hope that makes you feel a bit better!

    1. Thanks, Mike! I do believe runners have a high tolerance for pain or at least there comes that "zone" in your mind where the pain just doesn't register as it should. I know for me I have to repeatedly ask myself "Am I really in pain or is this nothing much". It's like it just doesn't register. Then you have other people who stub their toe and go on a 20 minute crying jag. Takes all kinds, I guess. lol

  2. I found this post after searching for inner hip/groin pain. I have recently increased my activity, and the pain struck today, though not nearly as painful and severe as yours. I am sore all over from my recent increase in activity, but I have not felt hip pain like this since pregnancy. I suppose I will be taking a trip to the Doctor come the 2nd. By the way happy early birthday.

    1. Thank you for the birthday wishes! Sorry you're having those pains... definitely get in to see the doctor when you can and go easy on yourself until you have a diagnosis of what is wrong. Better to take it easy now than have to take months off! That's where I went wrong. I do not wish this injury on anyone. It is frustrating and at the very height of it the pain was awful! Good luck!