I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this yet, but I’ve been claiming “injury” for a while now, particularly after that magical 10-miler in Central Park 11 days ago.
First, there was some hip pain.
Then there was a little soreness behind my knee.
And then, what I was convinced were shin splints that would inevitably lead to a stress fracture.
Now if you’ve visited Ali On The Run in the past, you know I’m totally not dramatic at all. I’m super chill, and if something hurts I definitely don’t immediately jump to Google for a diagnosis. That would be slightly hysterical and completely out of character.
But let’s say that maybe, when I felt some pain, I did decide to Google it. Let’s just say that for the sake of a hypothetical story. Thanks for playing along.
And let’s say I searched for hip pain, back-of-knee pain and shin pain.
OK, enough pretending. That’s exactly what I did, even after seeing a doctor back on April 9 who told me I didn’t have a stress fracture. I still Googled.
The hip pain? Clearly a hip stress fracture.
The shin pain? Definitely shin splints, possibly a tibial stress fracture.
The back-of-knee pain? Most likely an ACL tear waiting to happen.
Along the way I think I also coughed once or twice — Google thinks I should watch out for Anthrax, SARS and also “Pertussis,” which is whooping cough. Not mild seasonal allergies.
And Crohn’s disease? Maybe it’s Crohn’s now, but down the road that bitch is going to turn into a bunch of ulcers and my stomach might actually fall out of my body.
See? I told you I’m not dramatic.
So I did all this self-diagnosing, which is normal and calm, and I actually took a running break. I took rest days. Real rest days. And in lieu of running, I did a bit of doctor-approved spinning.
Yesterday I even biked for real.
Brian took me on a little crotch-pain-inducing jaunt up to Nyack, except not, because he says I didn’t actually make it all the way to Nyack. But it was a gorgeous day, and I did my longest ride ever: 40 miles! Check that off the New Year’s Resolution list!
I didn’t do so hot on the bike. I was really slow — because I was coming off a day of traveling and five hours of sleep, not because anything hurt — and I felt bad that Brian probably didn’t get much out of the ride, but it was fun to pedal around for a while. Also, that route is hilly!
Yesterday also marked another big day: The Eugene Marathon.
That was supposed to be my sub-4:00 marathon. It was supposed to be huge.
But then I didn’t run it.
At the time, I was totally fine with my decision.
When I woke up yesterday, though, on what would have been Race Day, I was surprisingly a little heartbroken. I wanted to be there. I wanted to be running fast and finishing up gloriously on Hayward Field.
Instead I was home, riding a bike and PRing in non-running days.
Coincidentally, Day 10 of my 10 Day Non-Running Streak fell on the day of Eugene. Go figure. I didn’t even plan that.
So while my friends PR’d the heck out of that race in Oregon, I managed to have a fun little day in NYC on the bike and attempting to PR in mimosa drinking (fail — I had two and then moved on to 16 Handles).
But the point of this post was about how you should not self-diagnose with the assistance of Dr. Google, so let’s get back on topic.
This morning I went back to Dr. DuShey. Even though he previously told me I did not have any stress fractures, I wanted to be super sure. We also hadn’t done X-rays on my hip last time, so I wanted to check out my hip bones…which are connected to my leg bones, which are connected to my foot bones. That’s basically how that song goes.
I updated Dr. DuShey and I secretly wanted him to praise me and high five me (I love high fives) when I said I took 10 (now 11) days off running. Turns out, doctors don’t congratulate you for taking their advice. That’s just what they expect you to do.
He did some tests: hopping on one foot, pointing, flexing, standing, leaning. Things of that nature. He did not ask me to do a high kick, which is unfortunate, because that’s where I really shine.
From those tests, he concluded the following:
- I do not have a stress fracture in my hip.
- I do not have a tibial stress fracture.
- I am not dying.
But we took X-rays just to be sure.
Look, no cracks!
All good, doc!
The diagnosis, from Dr. DuShey With A Medical Degree (as opposed to Dr. Google, who I don’t believe went to Harvard):
- The part of my hip that hurts isn’t the “weight-bearing part,” so it’s not where people even get stress fractures. Instead, the hip pain is a result of a strained abductor. F-ing weak glutes.
- I don’t have “shin splints,” but rather “overworked muscles.” Shocking, because I totally don’t work out very much at all. If I had a stress fracture in my tibia, we would see a crack in a specific spot, and I don’t have that. “The bone looks good,” he said. I know because I wrote it down. I liked that quote.
- There is nothing structurally wrong with me. In other words, my bones are good, and my muscles are sleepy.
Dr. DuShey was really awesome about explaining the pain to me in a way I actually understood. I told him that the shin-ish pain was “all up and down,” and not in a specific spot, and he used a pen to explain that if it were a stress fracture, it would hurt in one specific point. He made the pen bend and stuff, and then it all made sense to me. (Google never used a pen to demonstrate this point.) I don’t have to worry! It’s all just strained…exactly what he told me at my first appointment.
After 10 days without running, I am proud of myself for not giving in. There were days when I really wanted to run, but I didn’t. I spent Saturday traveling to Rhode Island for a wake, and in the midst of all the emotions, I kept thinking it would be nice to go for a run to clear my head. Instead I had some red wine. Moving forward, not back — that’s the ultimate goal.
So now what?
More stretching. More foam rolling. More icing. More non-running, at least until I feel ready to run again. And Dr. DuShey gave me the go-ahead for limitless (he didn’t use that word) biking, so I should buy one of those eventually.
I’m not going to run today.
I’m not going to run tomorrow.
I’m also going to avoid Google, because I don’t want to come down with a case of cholera or Rhinotillexomani.
Just kidding. I already have Rhinotillexomani, which is best described as “obsessive nose picking.”
I’ll let you decide if I’m serious about that or not.
Congratulations to all of this weekend’s runners. From my Twitter feed I’ve gathered that every single one of you crushed your goals and set record PRs. I’m impressed and definitely not at all jealous! Woo!