INJURIES: FRIEND OR FOE?
Here we are, in the middle of week 6 and instead of going out for my recovery run, I'm sitting still post physical therapy. I wish I had better news to report, although I guess things can always be worse. After my 13 miler (11 days ago) the pain I starting feeling in my left leg increased. So much so, that I could hardly walk normally the next day and days to follow. I immediately made an appointment with an orthopedist. After a full body exam and a series of tests, he ruled out the possibility of any fractures. Through his tests and stretches and poking and prodding, he ultimately felt that it was coming from my lower back/hip/glute and that I was suffering from "arthralgia" in my joints as well as myofascial pain in my lower leg as a residual effect of compensating when I was running while injured.
He prescribed physical therapy and only running if I felt no pain. But I wasn't satisfied with his findings so I got a second opinion. The second doctor I saw felt it could be one of two things: nerve damage or it's my lower back, somehow resting on a nerve sending pain down into my entire leg.
So, I got a nerve test (ouch) which came back negative. Which meant there was no irregularities or damage to the nerves in my left leg. Followed by an MRI. I'm still waiting for the results of the MRI and in the meantime have started physical therapy. I'm hoping no immediate news is good news, but we shall see.
It's been 11 days without running. That is the longest I've gone since my life exploded back in the Fall. It's a foreign feeling that fuels my anxiety because I'm so obsessed with feeling strong and healthy for this marathon and right now, I am weak. Not to mention the fact that I've missed out on multiple Moonshot practices and time spent with friends. I'm so focused on getting back to "normal" that I'm doing everything I can to solve this problem. I keep telling myself that if I rest and have patience now, I'll thank myself later.
I can't lie. When this all started, I consistently asked, "Why is this happening to me?". I finally felt like my life was taking off in a positive direction and things were getting better. I was waking up happy again. Something I did not think was possible 10 months ago. But if I've learned anything this last year, it's that sometimes you have to re-arrange and re-think the question you're asking yourself. Instead of "Why is this happening to me?", maybe ask, "What is this hiccup trying to teach me?" or "How can I continue to move forward with the situation at hand?".
When I ask myself the first of those two options, the answer is clear. The factual answer is that injuries in running happen because our bodies are weak in other areas, or we overdo it, etc. leading to sloppiness and lack of form when we run. The philosophical answer is two-fold. One, injuries prove how bad we want it. And two, injuries teach us lessons. I've done nothing but stress about when I'll run pain-free again, if I'll have lost the speed and strength I gained in the last couple months, and worst if I'll even get to run this Fall.
Running is one of few things that makes me happy, centers me, calms me down and makes me feel purposeful. Not running makes me feel anxious, lazy, disorganized in my brain and well, lonely. This unknown pain is proving how badly I want this, this being running and being healthy for the race in November. I'm learning I want this more than I originally thought. It's also teaching me how important it is for my body to continuously focus on the strength in my hips/glutes. It's not all running, all the time. But rather a balance of training and taking care of my body properly to allow for all the miles.
As of now, I'm still waiting on the exact results of the MRI while I attend physical therapy a few times a week. I'm hoping the pain dissipates the stronger I get and I'll be back to running in no time.