Behold, a blog post – it’s been too long!
My training this spring went well, but as it turns out, my body did not appreciate my racing two 50ks and a fast 10k within one 4-week period. After the first of the races, the Ice Age Trail 50k, I was barely sore and recovered quickly. However, about a week after the race I began to notice a lingering pain in my right hip / mid-butt area while sitting at my desk at work, or driving in the car. I ignored this as much as possible until after a Colorado trip later that month (more on that later), it was undeniable that something was wrong. Plane travel was nearly unbearable and I had to get up and walk around twice during a 3-hour flight. At first I went to see a chiropractor to see if an adjustment would help, but after several treatments with no improvement, I decided to see a physical therapist. After some initial tests, he quickly diagnosed me with Gluteus Medius Syndrome, and from what I understand it was due to overtraining and the fact that my right leg is longer than my left leg, which has created a muscle imbalance. Also, I have weak glutes and hip flexors.
Anyway, at this appointment I told my physical therapist that I *really* wanted to run another 50k that was two weeks away – the new distance at the Kettle 100 weekend. He was skeptical and warned that I might further injure myself, but agreed that I could run so long as I took a 1-minute “tissue break” with walking to every 3 minutes of running. Well, Alice and I did the race – we followed the 3:1 ratio as best as we could – and when we finished I didn’t feel too beat up. Until again, about a week later… not good. Back to the PT office I went, and from there emerged all sorts of weird new things to do – Aqua Jogging! Pelvic bridges! I enjoyed the cross training elements, but felt less enthusiastic about hiding an ice pack in my pants at the office. My coworkers already think I’m a crazy runner, but this stuff brought it to a new level.
After a few weeks of more appointments and such, going into the week wondering if I’d be cleared to run again soon, it just last week (July 29th) was decided that… I can slowwwwwwwly get back into things. The prognosis is actually very reasonable… only another 9-10 weeks until I should be fully rehabbed and back to running. NOT BAD. My physical therapist has me started on a run / walk program 3x a week, with intervals at first heavier on the walking, gradually building to all running with few walking breaks. He has also said I can do “unlimited cross training,” so I plan to continue to swim, bike, and hike to my heart’s delight.
Aqua jogging, though… screw that. I’ll bring my belt to the pool when I swim laps, and fit it in where I can, but it’s a miserable practice!
All of this injury stuff has made me consider a wider perspective on running, and the ultra community. I really didn’t *need* to race so much within 4 weeks. I certainly shouldn’t have run that second 50k race. I feel that we continually push what our bodies can handle, but at some point that no longer works. For awhile, I wanted to (and did) totally disconnect online. This blog is evidence of that. However, now I realize that so many others have been through injuries and have come back strong. I can LEARN from others, and hopefully by hitting ‘publish’ on this post, someone will learn from my situation. After all, I’m not the first runner to have a dead butt!
I have this injury, so what. That doesn’t mean that I can’t continue to be vocal and active in the community, both online and in the real world. Though I have to drop my fall races, I am going to be at the finish lines in a different capacity. I will be there for my friends who are running, and will volunteer at the races as much as I can. Online, I will continue to participate in #ultrachat and cheer on my virtual running buddies!
Lessons learned from Gluteus Medius Syndrome:
1. Strength training is necessary. Runners tend to have weak glutes / hips. There are many good resources online for key strength training moves for these areas – use them and do the moves religiously!
2. My spell check will always want to change “Glutes” to “Flutes”
3. Recovery is just as important as workouts / races. Don’t be stupid like me and try to rush it.
4. If you wear a longer length shirt, and your pants have back pockets, you can slip an ice pack in your pockets and cover it with your shirt and your coworkers WILL NEVER KNOW. Do it.
5. It’s fun to tell people about your injury – “How’s your running going?” “Well, haven’t been running, I am injured.” “Oh yeah, what’s your injury?” “Well… I’ve literally got this pain in my ass…”
You do the talking:
How is your summer training going?
Have you ever been sidelined for an entire summer because of an injury?