Life is like a box of chocolates…

Please don't ever break again!
Please don’t ever break again!

…you never know what you’re going to get.

Life has been a roller coaster ride for me this year, unfortunately with more downs than ups.  And it’s been an emotional, physical, and mental ride for me.

If you’ve been following along, this year started with a fantastic marathon finish in the (slightly long) Charleston Marathon in Charleston, South Carolina.  I thought I was gearing up for a great year of running…but then…while not even doing any running, but in my cross training, something went wrong.

My hip labrum tore.  A small tear…but it took a little bit of time to get around to the actual diagnosis.  There were other problems with my body…like a tight lower back that was practically immobile…but the hip was the kicker.  I had an MRI the week I was heading to the Boston Marathon…with no running since February when this all happened.  No joke.  And just days before, the diagnosis of the tear.  And then the Cortisone shot…and a trip to Boston to make some sort of attempt on the marathon I worked my ass off to qualify for.  Had it been any other marathon, I would have skipped it.  But it was Boston…I earned this.  Needless to say…the weather was cold, rainy, windy and just MEH.  The hip felt good at the start, but at Mile 6, it all started to fall apart.  That left 20 miles of misery that I hobbled through, mostly walking, always crying, and just falling apart.  Boston broke my already fractured mindset, confidence, and my heart.

I returned home and immediately began an new physical therapy session.  Unfortunately, all the PT appointments I had prior to the hip labrum tear used up most of what my insurance would allow.  I had seven appointments with the new facility…and they went by way too fast.  But, at least we could target the problem properly this time.  And, slowly, I felt like things were getting better.  I could move a bit more.  Things didn’t suck as bad.  And soon, I was back to (slowly) running.  First on the treadmill for 5 minutes…then outside for 5 minutes…then 10…then 15…then 20…then 3 miles…then 5 miles.  Soon I was doing 5 miles 3 times a week.  My coach and I decided 3 days a week would be torture for me as a runner used to running 5-6 times a week, but would be best for my body.  I was also slowing down my training runs.  Not going over 9:00/mile.  It happened a few times, but not intentionally.  My running was uncomfortable…but I could manage and not be laid up afterwards.

I ran my first 5K race back from the hip injury in August…the Kicking Butt 5K to raise money for colon cancer research.  It was not anywhere near my fastest 5K, but it was on hills, it was hard, and I felt good the entire way. I came in 4th in my age division…a bit of a disappointment, but good for such a long time away from the sport.  I ran a 16 miler the following weekend in preparation for an upcoming marathon in Hawaii a week afterwards.

But then…I fractured my leg.  Stress fracture.  Just above the ankle.  The doctor said it was probably brought on by overcompensating on my left leg for my right hip.  UGH!  I was put in a boot, told I couldn’t run for 6-8 weeks while in it…and to have fun in Hawaii.

I behaved.  I never ran once while stuck in the boot.  I did go to Hawaii…and missed the marathon.  I struggled through 8 weeks of being stuck on weight machines and in the pool at the gym.  I discovered the sit-down elliptical, so that I could feel like I was getting my sweat on while working those running muscles in the process.  And then…the boot came off.  October 21, 2015…I had full use of both of my legs again.

Two (painful) miles one Tuesday
Two (painful) miles one Tuesday

I waited until November 1 to go on my first run.  I was out of town, but my friend lives in a very flat neighborhood.  I took it slow and steady, for just 2 miles.  And when I stopped and went inside, the hip flaired up.  It was NOT happy.  And for the rest of that day, I hobbled and limped and worried now over my hip…and the leg because I could tell I was overcompensating in just my walking stride.  I stretched.  I rolled.  And the next day I went to my spin class…and things started to feel better.  Then, Tuesday, I figured I would do the second (of three) runs of the week…at night.  Two miles.  In my neighborhood.  Small hills were involved.  Nothing big.  I got home, already feeling a bit of a twinge in my hip. And when I stopped, the same thing that happened in Columbus, Ohio, happened here.  And my hip has been hurting the rest of the week since.

It is so frustrating.  Aggravating.  Heartbreaking.  My confidence in myself, my abilities, my body, and my potential is shot.  Honestly, I just feel like I get one problem fixed and another one arises or comes back.  And it has left me in tears more times than I care to admit this past week.  I have been continuing some non-impact activities…including my spin classes…but I’ve stopped running.  I called my doctor’s office on Wednesday, even when my roommate did her usual thing that makes me feel stupid for wanting to see someone about a problem when it comes to my body and running, and managed to snag an appointment for the following Wednesday.  One week.

And now, the ankle is fine…but sometimes I get a bit of twinge and I panic.  I’m gun-shy now when it comes to any ache and pain.  The hip has been bad since Tuesday night.  And I am just trying to tell myself that one day I’ll wake up and not be in pain.  Because I have hurt in some way, shape or form since early February.  I have missed out on so many races I signed up for, and have been angry at myself over the money that I have lost.  Money I didn’t really have to waste.

Comebacks are hard.  Comebacks mean struggles.  I’ve been struggling for almost a year now.  And I’m tired of struggling.  I’m tired of working my way back only to be thrown back down and having to start over.

But the thing is…I don’t give up.  And I hope that on Wednesday we take some better steps toward getting me back to where I used to be.  My run on Tuesday is definitely showing a problem…my cadence is way down from where it usually is when I run.  I’m just tired of hurting, failing, and having to make these comebacks.

Notice the difference in the Cadence on my Garmin's from my 16 miler and to my 2 miler I did on Tuesday...
Notice the difference in the Cadence on my Garmin’s from my 16 miler and to my 2 miler I did on Tuesday…

Think of me as Wednesday comes around…and hope that I finally get some sort of a solution.  I miss running.  And right now, all I want to do is get out there and run freely.  Run like the wind.  Feel like I’m flying.  But right now I can’t.

And that’s the hardest part right now.

I just can’t.

Turn a setback into a comeback!
Turn a setback into a comeback!
Have courage...
Have courage…

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