The Worst Best News Ever

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Running on the WI trails…

“That’s the worst best news I’ve ever heard…” – Rivers

And he was so right about that! … For the last ~2 months or so I’ve been training with a lot of pain in my pelvis. Many of you that know me personally may not have even known about it and it was only recently that I shared this with Rivers (because what man wants to hear about a females pelvis?!!?)  The fear of having a long-term injury is the worst for any athlete! BUT what’s even worse…that moment when you are told the prognosis.

I tend to self-diagnosis myself more often than I probably should.  So at first, I thought to myself, “oh I definitely was doing way too much core work this week…my abs are sore.” Again, I’ll embarrassingly admit I do core work maybe once a week, so its possible, but odds are I was doing zero core work at the time. And then after the pain continued and worsened, I diagnosed myself with a hernia or sports hernia…unsure which one it was. I’d tell myself, “everyone has a hernia.” But when your friends squash that as well as ‘possible cyst’ … it might be time for the dreaded doctor appointment. And I knew just what to do….to avoid the prognosis none of us want….Ill see my primary care doc. Done.

So after 3 minutes with him, I didn’t have a hernia. Great. Off to see the Orthopedic.

My orthopedic is one of the most brilliant men I know, a runner, and old friend of mine – Dr. Mike Gordon. Not only is he part of one of the largest ortho groups around, but he’s the doctor for the Bucks, MU, Striders, etc. I trust him. I may never like what he has to say, but he knows me and my goals (the deepest secrets of all, right?!).

I sat in the waiting room for 90 minutes before being poked at…my blood pressure was through the rough; it was nuts! Usually my resting heart rate is ~45-48, and at that moment, it had to have been over 100! If I had to guess of course. I did a few leg movements, X-rays, and had a lot of pressure put on my pelvis exactly where the pain was radiating from. NOOOOOO!!! Immediately I thought, “Fracture, I’m done.”

Mike came in with the X-rays in hand and kept asking me questions about the pain, my pelvis, and season….”so when exactly is this big race?” … “does it hurt to do this? … “how is training going with the pain?” Oh my gosh tell me what this is or I might pee my pants.

Sports Hernia (athletic pubalgia). I KNEW IT! But it was a sigh of relief to not have a fracture in my pelvis. It was definitely the worst best news ever. It’s the best because Mike is allowing me to continue training as I am – no changes, no limitations. Certainly if it gets worse, I’ll discuss that with him.  But how great is it that I can just set this injury aside.  I just need to take anti-inflammatories if needed and start to work with a trainer on my core (which was in the process of happening actually!)

And then the worst…a sports hernia means there is a strain or tear of any soft tissue (muscle, tendon, ligament) in the lower abdomen or groin area. So basically, it can be career ending unless handled appropriately. There is one doctor in the Midwest area that deals with sports hernias, but his go to is always surgery. Mike looked me in the eye and said, “do not have surgery on this. You need to perform well in the upcoming months and I know you, you will push hard to get it.” And he’s right. But it was sincere and genuine, so I knew at that moment I could trust his advice. After a few more questions and concerns were answered, he gave me hug and I headed home to ice and roll.

On my way home I was thinking of all the times Mike has helped me and heeled me – 3 fractures, other hip/glut issues, sciatica, and now this. WOW.  At that moment I couldn’t help but call myself a total mess, but really in the end, when you want something, you do everything in your power to get it – so even if an injury sidelines you briefly, that doesn’t mean its the end of your career. Luckily, I’m not sidelined with this and certainly can’t imagine what I would do then!

Injury prevention is huge. I know for me, I used to never take care of my body after activity, but now I make time for it daily – stretching, rolling, icing, and sometimes mindfulness.  It may only be 5-10 minutes, but that adds up over time. Your body will thank you later for it, but it also won’t cause a game changer in your athletic career.  Its huge. Do it.

This was another humbling moment for me too. The body can be so strong as we demand more and more from it during training.  But for as strong as the body is, it is equally as delicate. That combination only reinforces that in order to be great, stretching (along with rolling, etc.) and nutrition are key.  Strong bones, muscles, tendons…they can only be strong if we feed our bodies well…it just doesn’t happen like magic. Another key component that we often forget about … sleep. To recover and build tissue, we have to sleep. I can’t say I’m the best with this yet, but its improving! These 3 elements together can minimize the likelihood of injuries and keep your body stronger than it’s ever been.

So moving forward….continue training long (not hard) for the key fall/winter races with the brilliant guidance of Rivers.  I am in the clear and will be taking more of my own advice – maybe I will carry my stick in my purse 🙂 Cheers!

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