Back in May, I started training for my first marathon. Using Hal Higdon Novice 2 Marathon Training Program as a starting point and after researching for months other marathon training plans, I created my own plan. This plan had modifications that included my current level of running experience, vacations, kids’ activities, cross training (something I always neglected during half marathon training) and rest days.
Since I was already on high mileage from the Virginia Mason Mother’s Day Half Marathon, I simply added on from that training.
One day, I was feeling really good and very confident and decided to try a new route for my long run (15 miles). That route, as it turned out, was very hilly. I took a wrong turn on my way back and ended up adding 2 extra miles to my run, making it a total of 17 miles. By the time I was done, I felt okay though soaked since it was raining hard up until I stopped running (figures!). My legs felt a little sore and my hips felt a little strange, but that was understandable given all the hills I had just run.
Then came the pain…
The next day I planned on running 10 miles but my hips were bothering me a little so I only ran 8. The day after, I was to run 8 miles but I ended up running only 4, again, because of the discomfort I felt on my hips. The day after that, I thought it best to completely rest, no running, no walking.
Now June… The pain seemed to increase by the minute and so I went to see the doctor (on my birthday). If there was any sort of flexibility before, it was now all gone. I could barely lift my left leg off the bed without a tremendous amount of effort. After examining me, the doctor concluded that I had inflammation on my hips and have severely strained the psoas muscle. (What in the world is the psoas muscle?! Seriously!) An x-ray also revealed arthritis on my hips.
Then the words every runner hopes to never have to hear came out of my doctor’s mouth: “No running for a while”.
When I heard that, I thought I was going to pass out. First of all, it was my birthday! Also, I had just signed up for my first marathon and I had just started training for it. I had to “rest”. What the heck does this “rest” thing even mean?!
Physical therapy began the very next week. Ever since, twice a week, for an hour, I get tortured by my therapists. They are awesome though. They have given me a lot of exercises to do at home so I can continue to make progress.
About this psoas muscle…
[ soh–uh s ]
noun, plural pso·ai [soh-ahy] , pso·ae [soh-ee] . Anatomy.
either of two muscles, one on each side of the loin, extending internally from the sides of the spinal column to the upper end of the femur, which assist in flexing and rotating the thigh and flexing the trunk on the pelvis.
I had never heard that word before. EVER. And all of a sudden, this strange thing is ruining my life by holding me back from achieving my dreams. (yes, I am being a little dramatic, but you can’t blame me!)
Apparently this muscle plays a very important role in our bodies. Strangely enough, shortly after I learned about the existence of this muscle, I received an article from MapMyRun titled “What Runners Need to Know About the Psoas Muscle“.
Ever since June, I have not been able to run. Dealing with life just got that much more complicated given that I used running as an outlet to process everything.
What do I do now?
As a way to find relief for my hips, and to find some sort of peace, I started practicing gentle yoga for flexibility (at the very beginners level). It has relieved some of the pain and discomfort, not necessarily a whole lot, but any progress is better than no progress at all, so I will take it!
Being an injured runner sucks! And as much as I want to say “F this and just go for a run“, I know that by doing so I will probably make more damage to my friend, the psoas muscle, and have a potentially longer recovery time. So for now, I will stick to walking and baking.
Until my next run…