Reminder: Life Is Not Bad & I Am OK

Last night after work, I dragged myself to a yoga class at my gym.

I debated whether or not to get all yogafied (evil red squiggly line, stop trying to tell me that’s not a word, because it is) for a good 30 minutes.

Getting there was a struggle. I kept picturing myself on my couch eating cheese and that seemed so, so good. But I got on the uptown subway and walked to the gym, and once I was there I knew I was going to find myself in Downward Dog rather than on my kind-of-uncomfortable-actually sofa.

As always, Instructor Yogi Man Carl began the class with his “I’m here to help you” speech: “Is there anything going on with any of your bodies that I should know about? Any injuries, anything that feels weird?”

I just sat there and squirmed. I had a brain battle: I could tell him that my hip sort of hurt a little, but then he’d ask what exactly hurt and I wouldn’t know how to pinpoint it and couldn’t explain the problem. Or I could sit there, stay quiet and just alter moves on my own if needed to avoid any pain. Obviously smart, because I’m a total yoga pro. I’ve taken like eight classes! Let me know if you need any yoga advice. I’m especially good at poses like “Child’s Pose” and “Laying Down Pose.”

Then the chick next to me piped up: “I have a hip injury I’m dealing with.”

Carl assessed her, they talked about her groinal area and he gave her a few tips. I listened intently.

I still didn’t speak up.

Why not?

Well, because I refuse to admit that there’s a possibility I’m injured. In my mind, my hip just hurts. Coach Cane once told me that “aches and pains during marathon training are par for the course.” I have an appointment with a sports doctor guy on Tuesday, and after that I’ll be fine. I’m stretching, icing, rolling and not really running. I’m playing it safe and I’m being smart. I’m not doing anything Coach Cane would shake his head at.

HUG IT OUT, COACH CANE. Hug it out because I'm totally not injured at all. No pain, no gain, man.

In fact, I’m not doing anything at all without running it by Coach Cane first. He is my #1 email correspondent.

Yoga actually felt really good. The class wasn’t intense at all. Lots of slow stretching, twisting and breathing. There were one or two poses that felt a bit weird for me, but I modified them and by the end of class my hip felt nicely loosened up. My brain even managed to calm down for about 10 minutes during class, too.

I won’t run today, but I did make it to a SoulCycle class this morning. I sweat a lot. The sweat puddle underneath my bike was substantially huge by the end of the 45-minute ride and it felt awesome to wake up that way, and none of the movements on the bike aggravated my hip. Everything felt wonderful. Coach Cane says spinning is good for me.

"Get over yourself, Ali," is what I imagine Coach Cane to be saying here. I think I have too much fun with YouTube screen shots...

So I’ve had two nice workouts in the last 24 hours, and that’s nice.

But to be completely honest, my mood kind of sucks right now.

Do I look happy here? No, because things hurt and also I have severe split ends.

If you’ve read this blog for more than about eight seconds, you know that I’m a positive, genuinely happy person. I really do think life is awesome and I love puppies and I sometimes think the sun is out even when it’s raining. La la la rainbows, sparkles, flowers. That’s my outlook and I’m sticking with it…or I’m trying to.

I’m trying to stay positive and I’m telling myself this nagging pain isn’t a big deal. And that’s true — maybe it’s nothing, maybe it’s just an overworked muscle and maybe with some more ice and foam rolling it’ll go away.

I do tend to get just a little dramatic sometimes I guess. (Mom and Brian, I can see you both rolling your eyes right now. I’M ADMITTING TO BEING DRAMATIC. Accept it and lay off the “I told you so” comments I know you’re dying to leave. Love you.)

I’m being bitchy because I’ve never had anything hurt since I started running. How lucky have I been, right? But now I’m training for something, so I have this deadline in my head: April 29. If I didn’t have this race on the very-quickly-approaching horizon, I think I’d be more chill. But I want to be running hard now, and my body is disagreeing. Rude.

Now that I’m facing the tiniest setback, I’m constantly thinking about how much running means to me and wondering if there’s a chance that sometime down the road I’ll have to live through a longer stretch without doing something I love.

Hated this race, still love running.

Yoga is nice and spinning is great, but running has become my favorite. I’m not Ali On The Spin Bike or Ali On The Mat or Ali Plays With Dumbbells. No no. Ali runs.

And Ali wants to keep running!

So Ali is going to ice. Ali is going to stretch. Ali is going to foam roll until her legs turn to mush.

Roll it out, baby, roll it out. And maybe put on some pants.

Ali is going to stop talking in third person now, because it’s weird I think.

I also keep telling myself that I’m not immobile! As frustrating as it is not to be able to pound out speedwork right now or go crazy with hill repeats (just kidding, I don’t do that anyway), there’s still plenty I can do. And that’s where I’m attempting to shift my focus. I can spin. I can yoga. I can lift stuff. I can eat. I can breathe. I can walk around. I can play with puppies. I cannot own a puppy, but I can be the creepy girl who asks to play with random pups on the street. I can do a lot of things many people can’t do, so no more complaining. At least not out loud…

I may have pain that will go away in a few days, or I may have something that needs a little more attention. Either way, life is still good, and my mood has actually significantly improved since writing this all out.

Writing is therapy, I swear.

And as a final reminder, things really can always be so much worse. If a little hip pain is the worst thing in my life right now, I think I can handle it. It’s not like I’m Donna Martin and just got tossed down a flight of stairs by Ray Pruit.

Oh Donna, you're so dramatic. I like the way you've matched your jean jacket and your jean pants, though. Looks REALLY good.

That would really suck.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!



44 Responses

  1. You’ll be better in no time. And you have every right to be dramatic… just make sure you are around fellow runners. Non-runners don’t understand what the big deal is with not being able to run : ) Your still a runner when you take a couple days off…

  2. Reasons I love you even more today: screen shot of Donna Martin, and your tweet about Whitney Houston. Thanks for saying what I’ve been thinking all week. Sending you happy hip vibes 🙂

  3. Oh girl, you are sooo smart to stay off the running. I know how hard it is, but a year ago when I had hip pain, I didn’t listen, I kept going hard, and I ended up tearing my hip flexor. Three months, no running for me 🙁

    My pain was much worse than your’s sounds (don’t worry!), but I am the biggest advocate of resting when something hurts. A week or so of rest will be totally forgettable when you cross the Eugene finish line!

  4. Running was a huge part of my life all through high school, college, and a few years beyond when I did some marathons. I really thought my life would end if I couldn’t run (I bring on the dramatic too :)) I developed piriformis syndrome in my hip and tried to manage it the best that I was able to, but I eventually got so frustrated with it that I hopped on a bike one day and haven’t ever looked back. Road cycling and spinning quickly filled my running void and I am so completely hooked now. I’m not saying, Ali, give up running and become a cyclist. I’m just saying that everything will work out and be OK!

  5. Be careful with the IT band! I know it is absolutely brutal right now not going full force. But sometimes pushing when you shouldn’t can be much worse in the long run. It can even lead to knee surgery… Be careful! Good luck!

  6. I bet your hip will heal so quick, I bet a tiny bit of rest is just what the doctor ordered. I’m the queen of running injuries so I know what I’m talking about! I had a terrible TWO MILE run yesterday, yes it was so terrible I only made it 2 miles, ugh, I hate it when good runs go bad. I’m no doctor but I took a ibuprofen regimen with my itb problems and it seemed to help: 3 Advil 3 times a day for a week. I was scared for my kidneys but the doc said it was fine?

  7. Plus you can speak fluent Egyptian!!! lol.

    Hang in there. Injuries suck. I am on the mend from a similar IT band episode, and it’s kinda frustrating that it won’t just magically go away.

    If you find the injury fairy who takes away IT band problems and leaves money under your pillow in return…send her my way!

  8. My brain does what your brain seems to be doing every time I’m injured or think I’m injured — and the latter is every time anything hurts ever. Suffice to say I am a BLAST to live with. I’ve heard awesome things about ART, and my PT got me through IT band stuff and put up with my insane e-mails. Fingers crossed you find someone who can help – sounds like you’ve got a lot of great recommendations.

  9. Injury = character building 🙂 don’t worry! I know how much it sucks, I think most of us have been there. You won’t lose your momentum and things will be sunshiny in the long run! I saw someone else mention it, but ART is fantastic! I have my fingers crossed for you and until you’re feeling great again keep on OMing it out.

  10. I have psoas strain I am battling right now, so I TOTALLY feel your pain. 🙁 I have run a handful of times in the past 3 weeks. My chiro is an ART therapist too and it’s helped A LOT. I could barely walk without pain when I first started seeing her. I promise it will get better, but I know how much injuries can bring you down!

  11. Last year I spent half of being injured (mostly bc I am stubborn and put in mileage when i shouldnt have. I too have hip flexor, IT band, pyriformus tightness on right side- ART SAVED me this summer- but possibly more importantly I learned how to listen to my body and not run on those “tight” days- I have sucked it up and learned how to swim, do yoga and strength train.
    You are already on the right path by not running when you are feeling the hip! 🙂

  12. Girl, take care of yourself! Don’t worry about not being able to run for a little while. Someone I know just found out they have a serious heart defect and can NEVER exercise for the rest of their life. And this person is a college scholarship athlete not your average couch potato so exercise is just as important to her as it is to you.

    So take your rest days, and enjoy your cross training because you are SOOO lucky that you can do even that.

    Also, it’s totally ok to be dramatic.

  13. two other things – since you don’t have pool access, think about going to Robert Valentin’s Deep Water Running class on Monday nights at John Jay. Tell him you race for us and you’ll get a steep discount. And remember to keep working the glute and abductor exercises. Weakness in those muscles have a strong correlation with ITB Syndrome.

  14. Hi Ali, I have been reading about your hip injury and feel your pain. I had sore hip throughout my NYC marathon training. It was due to tight back muscles and tight muscles caused friction in the joint and caused inflammation hence sore hip. Not sure what kind of pain you have but for me it did not hurt to run but post run and prolonged sitting would make it worse. Okay what helped me was heat therapy. I am obsessed with hip and back stregthening exercises and stretches which are necessary but for Immediate releif I would ice my hip and foam roll but Before going to bed or watching tv I would do some heat therapy to relax the muscles. I actually now own a hot water bottle yes corny but who cares! It really helped. it was also useful when my hamstring was tight! Hot shower before a run helps too! Runners world feb. Issue had an article on preventing post run butt pain and it also explains the stretches and exercises. Its a very common injury aming runners.
    Hope you feel better soon!

  15. I second listening to your body. You are doing all of the right things. Glad you are staying positive thru it all, I know it’s hard but you are a strong woman! Have a wonderful weekend!!

  16. You are so funny! You WILL be fine. Learn from this set back. Let it help motivate you, heal you, and make you a smarter and stronger runner than you were before.

  17. I understand that running pain and injury is frustrating. Just keep listening to your body because that is the best that you can do. And yoga always helps me.

  18. Just discovered your blog 🙂
    I can totally relate. i have shin splints right now and am doing a runner strengthening program at my gym 2x/week. Rather than fessing up that my legs were killing me, I continued on with the drills and sprints. Guess what? My shins started killing me again. Hopefully the pain goes away soon since I’m the most inpatient person in the world when it comes to stuff like this. Hope your hip feels better soon.

  19. Ali, I’m not sure if you have access to a pool, but have you tried (GASP) water running? I know it gets a bad/boring/lame rap, but it might take some of the pressure off your hip, while still letting you get a sort-of run in. Good luck at the doc next week, I hope you get great news!

    1. Coach Cane actually recommended that for me! Unfortunately though I don’t have access to a pool. I’ve heard great things though! It seems to work for a lot of people as a pavement pounding alternative. Thanks for the suggestion!

  20. Writing IS therapy. And don’t you worry about being a drama queen. When my foot was bothering me back in October I moped around for days, telling anyone that would listen that I was SURE I had a stress fracture, that I would never run again, that life was miserable, blah, blah. I think being upset about not running just means we care a lot about it. And isn’t it better to feel passionate about something than to not feel anything at all? I’d be worried if you were all like “My hip hurts, but whatevs! I don’t really want to run anyway.” You’ll be okay, I know it. And the best part about a slight freak out/mini injury? It makes you excited and grateful for the miles you eventually run.


  21. 90210 🙂 Shannon Doherty is getting her own reality show on WE.

    Have you been taking any pain meds? The weird thing about runners is that a lot of us will just grin a bear the pain and try to run through it, but won’t even think of taking an Advil at least once to see if it helps. I’m guilty there, too. I think a lot of it is trying to be positive and think that there is no injury, so no meds are needed. But if you just aggravated something, a little anti-inflamatory may go a long way in helping you recover and get up from your chair without wincing.
    Feel better.

    1. Fun fact: Shannon Doherty has Crohn’s Disease.

      And actually, I can’t take Advil. My GI doc says no way, though he gave Tylenol the OK. So I haven’t taken anything yet.

      1. Fun fact for whom? Probably not Shannon Doherty.

        Yes, Coach Cane (who promises never to speak about himself in the third person after this) told you that some aches and pains are par for the course, but don’t mistake that for suggesting that you ignore injuries or what your body is telling you. I just wanted you to realize that you can expect your body to express its displeasure once in a while. ITB’s can be stubborn, but you can also attack them aggressively, so please do so. Take your stretching, rolling and icing as seriously as you do your runs. And as noted above, ART can be really good for ITB stuff. I have a good LMT/ART friend who is also an Ironman triathlete. I can refer you to her if you like.

        Those screen caps scare me.

  22. Interesting that the woman next to you in your yoga class had pain in a similar area: I am you, you are me.

    The good news is, the patient and positive approach you’re taking with your body/mind will pay off.

  23. I like your focus shift at the end there: focusing on what you can do, instead of what you can’t. I’m a teacher, and I happen to be teaching some students this year with pretty intense physical disabilities. I don’t pity or feel bad for them—they are kick ass kids who are freaking rockstars every day. But seeing them and the limitations they must overcome every single freaking moment of the day reminds me of how I lucky I am to have the body I do. I might not be pounding out 7 minute miles, but I am training for a half marathon that (God willing) I’ll be able to complete—slow and steady, but complete.

    You’re going to be great!

  24. Best screen grab ever! Ray Pruit singing “Why” is my alarm clock and my ringtone music..

    Let me know if you want the info for an AMAZING sports massage person that Brynn recommended to me. I’ve been a few times and so have my friends, we all had great experiences. She “cured” one of my ailments I had while training!

      1. Danielle DeMaio – her office is 57 and Lex and she is amazing. It won’t be a relaxing massage and it will hurt, but it is really amazing how much better you feel after! She’ll also know better if it could be a real injury or not, she’s the one who told me to get an MRI for my hip when I first went to her, but knew that my foot issue in November wasn’t so serious.

  25. Oh Donna Martin. Hahha. I am with you lady! I ran 2 miles this week. 2 miles. So we may not be not running for the same reasons but I completely get it. Speaking from a girl that battled IT Band injury not 1, not 2, but 3 times. I completely know how you feel. I promise you this is going to to get better and you are still going to run even when it feels kind of crappy. IT Band pain sucks!!! It does, but you can run through it when you have too. I am not saying you should right now but I think you will really be fine. You will go to the doctor, and it may just be some added rest days. Worst case scenario he sends you to PT, you do some new amazing exercises, and keep running and are fine. Honestly, my PT made me 2 minutes faster than I am today. Ok this is really rambling and long winded but given that I have been there just wanted to add my two cents 🙂

  26. I have the most amazing PT and chiropractor who does ART. They constantly save my life. If you ever want any recommendations just let me know. Hope you feel better soon 🙂

  27. You’re looking at it the right way. For me, once I stopped expecting/hoping/wishing/praying that I’d be able to run tomorrow 10 miles no problem and focused on what I could do, it changed my mood tremendously. Honestly, finding spinning and making it my goal to get a good workout there, my life changed. Maybe I got used to less endorphins or maybe it just took time to get through my funk/disappointment, but I really think the change in my thinking from angry to grateful made a huge difference.

    Keep foam rolling. It will help. If you ever want any names/numbers of all of the people I’ve been to, you let me know!

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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