In 23 days, I WILL toe the line at the TCS New York Marathon. My goal was to run it strong and to run it healthy. Sad to say I won’t be doing that but I’m happy I’ll at least be finishing.
My peak training this marathon session was 55 miles/week for two weeks and I ran 6 days a week with slow easy pace for most of my miles. What did I do wrong? Probably too much. I’m realizing with each injury and each year I get older that my body isn’t responding as well to the heavy training.
So what did the ortho say? He thinks it’s a “stress reaction of the femoral neck. Basically a pre-stress fracture. Thinks? He said he saw calcification on an old hip stress fracture and something “suspect” that made him want me to get an MRI to rule a full fracture out, but in the mean time, let’s call it that. Ummmmm…. my grade 5 second metatarsal stress fracture didn’t even show up on Xray so I’m kind of “suspect,” at this point, too. I did walk away with a month dose of oral steroids and a Tuesday appointment for an MRI.
That doesn’t mean I’m not taking it seriously. I know I grind my body hard (lots push harder, though). I also have put mine through the ringer starting in early childhood with all the impact of gymnastics. But still … I sort of think “stress reaction” is a catchall diagnosis given by doctors who are guessing. Not to say my ortho isn’t great, but he’s definitely covering his bases. A stress reaction is basically like saying “you’re almost seriously hurt,” and you have an injury in an area because your body was unable to handle the amount of stress it was given. Stress reactions do not tell you how you got injured, how to fix it, or what you did to cause them. Symptoms are treated, or masked (in my case via meds) instead of getting to the root of the problem.
I don’t doubt the excessive stress of my marathon training, as well as other nagging syndromes and injuries have affected my gait, thereyby placing abnormal stress on my hip (and quad before that and glutes, and calves). The pain I felt this past week that made me seek an orthopedist was bad enough to warrant seeing a dr. I simply didn’t really want to say anything about what this was until I get a concrete MRI imaging reading which won’t be until a week from today. I’m hoping it’s an inflammation of sorts or something the meds will calm down that the taper and lower mileage will take care of.
I’ve had 4 stress fractures before. Actual fractures. I have osteoporosis already and know my bones are not the strongest. Muscle imbalances, gait issues, pronation, improper footwear, and dietary/lifestyle considerations all play a part in why stress reactions/fractures occur. We all get dealt stress during intense activity but it’s the way our bodies handle it that determines which way we are affected. Some recover fitter and stronger (which is the hope) and some suffer injury and break down.
I hate hearing from people “maybe you can’t handle this type of training,” or “maybe you should stop running.” It’s not going to happen. Does my approach to training need to change? Yes. Do I need to figure out my limitations? Yes. Do I need to tell my coach when something starts to hurt? Yes. Am I disappointed? Yes. Will there be other marathons? Yes. I’m thankful I am seeking alternatives to just medicine and learning about the ways my body is weak and the things I can do about that in Physical Therapy and that I’ve been toying with alternative treatments, like needling. I also have a bone growth stimulator from previous fractures if it comes to that.
So with the help of meds, PT, my chiropractor and the support of my family and friends … I’ll be in NYC and I’ll be running. If I look like I’m running like a thug, that’s just my bad hip acting up. 🙂 And it sure will make for interesting race pics.
I’ll keep y’all posted as I get results from my MRI late next week.