Friday, July 16, 2010

Injured, Part 1: Why injuries suck...

So, long time no post.  This summer has been a little busier than I thought.  Unfortunately, I was hoping for a nice relaxing summer, but no such luck.  Between my more than full-time job, taking a grad class, and teaching an undergrad class, I spend about 18 hours per day in front of my computer.  It sucks.  My only relief from the glaring computer screen is running.  My one true passion, hobby, and stress reliever in life.  I am not super competitive, except against myself.  But, I like to think I am a decent runner.  Over the years I have been slowly chipping away at my race times and that makes me happy.  However, in the midst of my summer madness, my running has come to a complete halt and I am bummed more than words can express. 

After my crazy spring running adventures, I took a few weeks off from really running.  I ran a couple of short runs here and there, kept up my weight lifting routine, and generally took it easy the other days.  This worked out well as I was at the end of taking a grad class and needed to focus on the final project anyway.  After that ended, I started to ramp back up for the July half in California I had signed up for.  I was so excited about the Napa-to-Sonoma Half.  It was going to be my first destination race.  I was excited to see that part of the country.  Also, the hubby is a huge wine freak, so I thought this would be a great way for him to enjoy the trip, too.  A definite win-win for both of us.  Then, about a month before the race, I ran my worst 10-miler ever.  Seriously.  I cannot describe that run other than it was hot, I was dehydrated at the end despite water stops every 2 miles, and I was way off pace.  So far off I can't even look at my Nike+ stats for that day without gasping at the disaster that it was.  I chalked it up to a bad day.  It was the hottest run I've done in years and every runner has bad days.  However, the next day I woke up and could barely walk.  The shooting pain down the back of my leg was horrid.  I had never felt that much pain before.

I remember trying to get out of bed and wonder if I would be able to walk to the bathroom.  At first I thought I slept on it wrong, but as the day went on, I knew it was something more with my left leg.  I tried a short 3 mile run thinking it was just a tight muscle and circled back home after 2 miles.  I was in pain.  I got right in to see my favorite sports doc at Bloomington Sports and Wellness.  Seriously, Dr. M has healed my aches, pains, and knee ailments for years.  He knows I am a freak about running and always gets me back into shape quickly.  After I saw him one time, he restricted my running immediately.  Yep, injuried.  Definitely injured.  I saw him several more times each week still with no running.  After much rest and me going crazy, he finally said I could rest two more days and then go for a test run.  Nothing crazy, maybe a 5k, and let him know how it goes.  He had done ART on my for several sessions, I was having no pain, and I was hoping to get back out there and run!

To say it went bad is an understatement.  I left my house and actually felt pretty good for the first half mile.  Then it all hit at one.  Pain shooting down the back of my leg.  At this point, I was a week out from the half in California.  When I first went in for treatment, I still had a goal to run the race.  After a couple of sessions, I let myself think I would be able to run-walk the race since my training time had been cut short.  After this trial run, I came home in tears.  I cried all day as I realized I would not be able to do this race.  We had everything arranged, plane tickets, hotels in two cities, rental car, race day prep, and excursions all lined up.  We even knew another couple from Bloomington running the race and planned to meet up with them for dinner and winery tours post-race.  I was so excited for this break from life and a chance to do my first destination run.  We had decided to make a vacation out of the trip no matter what happened with my leg injury.  However, I immediately knew we would have to re-arrange our trip because I wasn't sure I could handle being near the race that I had registered for without being able to run.  I wanted to cheer on our friends, but at the same time I knew I would not be in a good state of mind.  I don't mind spectating races, but spectating a race you were prepared to run is a whole different story.

After much discussion and crunching of numbers, we decided it wouldn't be the fun trip we had hoped for and decided to cancel.  Why not save the money for something that would be a fun time.  We were able to cancel everything with no penalty, except for the plane tickets.  But, we have a year to use them after paying the change fee, so it isn't a total loss.  I was also able to sell my race registration to a pretty cool guy.  After I posted on the race Facebook page, I had like a dozen people email me about buying my entry.  I ended up selling it to a guy who was buying it for his wife to run.  They are both runners and are also opening up a winery.  They have the coolest business model in that all profits they make are donated to charity.  How amazing are they??  Anyway, we went back and forth several times even after we transferred the money/registration around.  He said I should stop in to them if we are out in the area soon.  So, my shameless plug for a super nice guy:  Be sure to check out the website and wine of Bruliam Wines.  Not only are they really cool people, but their website is awesome and I love their catch phrase.

Anyway, I digress.  After going back to the doc after the horrid run, he took one look at me and sent me to have a MRI done.  He wouldn't treat me and sat me down with the bad news, a possible stress fracture.  While I pray it is not this and not some other serious injury, I was not surprised to hear this.  I had done enough googling to know it was a definite possibility.  The doc, not meaning to be funny, mentioned that he knew my body and it was not responding to treatment.  It's true, though.  I've been seeing him for about 5 years and I trust what he is telling me about my injuries.  So, he arranged for an MRI of my sacrum, SI joint, and bottom discs of my spine.  Something is going on in that area of my body.  After the horrid trial run, my pain has been persistent and the shooting pains are happening more often.  So, he wanted to get a good look at the whole region.

So, after the short version of the long back story, I circle back to why injuries suck.  I run an average of 30 miles per week.  Lately, I've run 3 miles in 4 weeks.  Yep.  Let's just say I have been really down or really on edge.  Recall, this is my stress relief and my stress levels have been high this summer!  On top of that, I have missed all of the local 5ks in our race series, and instead of being in California to run  the half I have been looking forward to since I registered 9 months ago, I sit at home typing this blog waiting for the results of my MRI (blog on that to come later).  The other thing that really has me down is that all my friends are pretty much runners.  July 5th was the start of training for fall races for most everyone.  So, everyone is busy training, making running dates with friends, and blogging out how great their training is going.  I love hearing about all this and I love supporting them in their efforts, but not being able to participate really gets me down.  At this point, I still don't know what exactly is wrong or when I'll be able to run again, so I trying to stay upbeat is becoming more difficult.  I am hoping the tests will show something so that I can develop a treatment plan with the docs and move ahead.  That is the one thing that is helping me get through right now.


Anonymous said...

Running sucks. I never do it. I spend most of my time working and being miserable. Pretty sure that's the case for everyone.

Seriously though, I hope the MRI results aren't terrible and I'll totally understand if you don't come watch Sam tomorrow.

Andrea said...

Hey Christan, I'm really sorry about your injury and just wanted to say that I hope it heals quickly. I know that I'm always cranky when I am injured or have to take some time off, so I completely understand that feeling. I'll be sending positive thoughts your way that you are able to get back out there SOON! :)