Monday, March 14, 2011

not this time

I'm been having my usual piriformis problems the past few weeks.


My step back week seemed to make it flare up.  Cycling makes it feel much better, and I don't notice it while running, only after.  About a week ago it started to intensify a bit.  I've been really good about icing, stretching, and foam rolling, but to no end.  Since I've graduated from PT, I figured I just needed someone to dig their elbow around in it for a while, so I scheduled a sports massage appointment for Friday based on the recommendations of my training partners.  It (my piriformis) was the usual amount of cranky after Tuesday evening's track workout, and while it felt amazing during my Thursday evening tempo, it had tightened up again by the time I drove home.  So I felt like the timing for this appointment was perfect.  


It was very unlike other sports massages I've had.  We talked and then she spent some time evaluating what was going on in my body.  All my piriformis problems are on the right side, and it blew my mind when she told me that my hamstring and glute were tight on the left side, which was making my right side overcompensate.  I also had several core/hip muscles/stabilizers that were short (I assumed this meant "tight") and my sacrum was tilted/moved somehow which was making everything a mess.  It's likely that I'm not reporting all of this correctly, because it got kind of hard to keep track after a while.  When she started working on me, it also wasn't the sports massage I was accustomed to - less like a beating and more like releasing points and making adjustments.  But when I stood up, even though I still felt pain, things felt looser than they had in a while.  She told me it might take 2 or 3 sessions to get things really straightened out, but it seemed like an end was in sight.


I was actually pretty pleased when I got home.  Since my PT discharged me, I've been feeling kind of hopeless about every getting over my piriformis issues.  Rest seems to make it worse, not better.  Which has led to a lot of anger and frustration on my end.  But this made me hopeful.  A few more appointments, some stretching and strengthening, and maybe I could both run AND live my life pain-free!


I asked her about running the next day, and she gave me the go-ahead as long as I felt okay.  So I stayed with the plan to run 14 - the last long run of this training cycle.  I was spending the weekend with Lauren, who was in town, and we headed over to meet up with CAR for the Saturday morning long run.  
We started easy, just running and chatting.  We did 4 out-and-back, and then I dropped her at the car (to change and drop some things off - she was only doing 10) and headed up the trail.  I felt a little stiff in the first mile but everything seemed to shake out pretty quickly.  I picked up the pace in the middle third and then stopped briefly to Gu in Bethesda.  I did the last 5 miles as race pace miles and finished up back at Fletcher's, thrilled to pieces about how well it went.  I felt amazing!  My knees and lower back felt a tiny bit sore from running for 2+ hours, but that's to be expected.  Everything else just felt a bit stiff and tired - like I'd just run 14 miles.
I stretched a bit before we got in the car.  We stopped to get coffee on the way back, and when I got out of the car, I couldn't believe how much I had tightened up in the 10-15 minutes we'd been driving.  I stood in the corner and stretched while LPT got her coffee.  But one more in and out of the car wasn't happening.  By the time we got back, I couldn't stand up.  I had a hot rod of pain from the top of my hamstring all the way through my butt and up my back.

I was pretty concerned at this point, so I took some time to foam roll everything, stretch carefully, took some ibuprofen and then got in an ice bath.  And almost ripped the shelf off the wall trying to get back out.  By the time I was changed and had eaten, I was very worried, upset and in a lot of pain.  

Amy was kind enough to offer up the tall girl's PT skills, and after we talked through it on the phone, I think she determined that my SI joint was the culprit.  I did some Dr. Internet-ing based on where I've been feeling pain and it appears that the internet concurs.  I can't sit or walk without pain.  Bending, putting weight on either leg and standing up all send hot fire stabbing up and down the right side of my body.  I've been icing and doing some very gentle stretches and taking ibuprofen on a stopwatch, but as of right now, nothing has helped or improved.  

And I'm back on the emotional roller coaster that comes along with an injury.  My heart is broken.  I can't stop crying, and I'm so angry.  I've been so careful this training cycle.  And I'm really trying not to devote too much time and energy to anything except thinking about how to get through this day, and then the next and the next.  I've got an appointment tomorrow to see if I can get any relief and get things going again.  I can deal with 2 easy weeks of tapering and show up even more well-rested than I expected, but I cannot NOT show up.  Because this can't be a DNS kind of injury.  It just can't.  Even if I have to drag myself through 13.1 miles using only my front teeth, even if it wrecks the rest of my year of racing, even if I have to have my right leg amputated at the sacrum, so help me, I will not DNS this half marathon.  Not this time.  

26 comments:

  1. Aw katie, so sorry to hear you are in pain again :( You are welcome to join me at the pool anytime! Hoping you can get things figured out by the national half. Hang in there!

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  2. Oh no!!!! I'm so sorry about this injury :( You've been so careful and diligent about avoiding injury. Keep your chin up and focus on getting to a place where you're not in ridiculous pain and get out there and GET it at the National Half! I know you can do it, you're a tough cookie :)

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  3. I know you're upset and it's hard not to be. So how about I take on the calm/confident for you? This is NOT a DNS kind of injury - it all just needs to calm down and re-stabilize, which your fancy core exercises will do. You WILL be at that start line in two weeks ready to rock it.

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  4. Two weeks is a LONG time! I know very well how hard it is to be patient and let an injury—a small, fledgling one or a huge, ugly one—run its course, though. You're smart to rest at the first sign of trouble, which gives your body time to readjust and rest before it's ON in two weeks. Hang in there! And e-mail me about a swim date—I bet that would feel great on it!

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  5. I am 100% with Amy on this one. This is a pain (a sharp, stabby, cry all day type of pain) but NOT an injury. You will get to the start and still kick all sorts of ass. Two weeks is a long time and you will get there!!!!!

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  6. Sorry to hear about your pain and I hope you get it resolved soon!

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  7. I'm with everyone. When I read this, I cringe, I hurt for you, I want to start taking drugs to vicariously make you feel better, but I KNOW you will make it to this start line. And if anyone could do a half marathon with just their front teeth, it would be you.

    Let me know if you need anything!

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  8. Ditto what everyone else said. You've trained smart, you've trained hard and you WILL get to that start line!

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  9. Oh, friend. I didn't realize how very bad it was... I know that it is overwhelmingly frustrating and upsetting. You are so strong and you will only get stronger. Even if you run this half marathon and don't reach a personal goal, just completing the half will be a testament to your determination. I am crossing my fingers for you.

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  10. Right there with you girl... Hugs and fingers crossed you are back in action soon.

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  11. Oh Katie, I hope you feel better before the half! I know you'll be able to pull through with the pain but you deserve a more fun race. My fingers are crossed for you!

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  12. So sorry you are dealing with injury again :( My fingers are crossed that you heal fast. And if you are going crazy with having to rest, we should do happy hour.

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  13. this is NOT like all those injuries before! Your body is STRONG and, I'll echo all those above - 2 weeks is a LONG TIME.

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  14. This is definitely not a DNS injury. Provided you can get in a few massage sessions, you'll be fine by the half. Good luck!

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  15. Hang in there. I think it will calm down if you take it super-easy for the next 2 weeks. The hay is in the barn, if you don't run even one more time before then, you'll be FINE as far as training goes.
    Ask the massage woman about trying Bikram yoga. It might be too much, or it might be just what you need. My hips haven't felt this loose ... ever. And I only did 2 sessions.

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  16. Oh no! I'm so sorry to hear this news. I'll be sending positive thoughts your way. You've done all the hard work, so a little extra rest can only help.

    I know I will be seeing you at the start line on March 26!

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  17. Katie - thinking of you and hoping everything works out for the best!

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  18. Ack! I'm so sorry.

    I don't think you can make any judgment about how severe something is within the first 24-48 hours. Sometimes the worst stuff resolves quickly, while other things that seem subtle at first are what knock you out.

    I'm not going to promise that everything's gonna be OK, but I do know that being a runner is a metaphorically hilly experience, and that sometimes we feel like we're going up an endless incline or even running backwards. You just have to keep at it, and sometimes accept that you're moving slower than you want (or even backwards).

    And two weeks out is almost a perfect time for this to happen. Close enough that you're tapering anyway; far enough out that you've got time to rest it and evaluate it.

    It's hard, but take it a day at a time, and evaluate.

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  19. Just sending hugs and positive thoughts your way. I agree that you'll likely make the start line, so I'm sending "stop hurting NOW" vibes. Pain is no fun.

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  20. Injuries are so hard on the heart. And mentally they beat you up too. This time last year I was laid up with a torn hip flexor and had to bag four races. It was so hard to stand on the sidelines and let each race go by without me. But because of that I am a stronger runner and person in general. however, I fear every day, another injury. I am so sorry that you are going through this. Sending hugs!

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  21. What Amy, Beth & Cris said. Sorry it's not smooth though, that's the frustrating thing. Hopefully it will work itself out. (or uncramp itself!) I'm thinking of you!

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  22. I agree it's too early to rule out the race. However. . . One race is not worth making things worse forth long term. I hope you can run it, but this is just one race and there are lots of others if you stay healthy!

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  23. Oof I'm sorry hun! I wish you weren't going through this. I'll send all my good karma your way!

    I had an SIJ injury last April - I couldn't stand up straight and sitting for more than 20 minutes was painful all through the piriformis area. My PT had me do a whole lot of nothing but 800mg of ibuprofen 4x a day and then do a LOT of core strength. My docs logic was that back injuries are usually due to the core being weak. I've been doing a lot of core work - standard abs and supermans to get the lower back strong - with a *ton* of strengthening and stretching my hip flexors. I think that was the major thing that made the difference for me. (if you kind of think about it, as your pelvis angles back when you shorten your hip flexors, you put a lot of pressure on your piriformis and glutes). I've been sidelined with a foot injury for the past month and my piriformis is starting to act up again, and my doc told me to start up with yoga. I'll let you know if I find a "eureka!" treatment!

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  24. Yuck, yuck and double yuck again. I'm sorry you are in so much pain. No fun.
    You are working so hard - you KNOW this is out of your control and has NOTHING to do with you, right? Just an uncooperative booty.
    Being hurt SUCKS, but sugar, you've already put in the work. Taking time off to rest and recovery will NOT negate all of the training you've put in to this race. It will NOT. Promise. You've trained like a professional bad ass and that will pay off.
    Hang in there. Give your heiney a stern talking to and treat yourself to a cupcake top. Remember, the calories are in the BOTTOM of the cupcakes. Tops don't count!

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  25. You might surprise yourself with how much good a little bit of rest can do. You have two weeks before the big race, just get your other work outs in, do some yoga, get plenty of sleep and you'll crush that half!!

    YOU CAN DOOO IT!!!

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  26. That just sucks arse. I'm sorry, sweetie. But don;t go wrecking yourself, 'k?

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