Friday, May 31, 2013

The Best $632.54 I Ever Spent

If you recall this post about how the doctor thought maybe I had a stress fracture?  The idea just gnawed at me.  My symptoms were the same throughout the last 6 months and yet she thought I had one which had healed up (because I could hop one one leg with no pain).  She wanted me to try PT for 5 weeks and then we'd image if nothing improved.  The idea of a current stress fracture made sense to me, though, because I have been trying to loosen up my right adductor for SIX MONTHS and nothing had worked.  I had taken six weeks off at a time with little improvement.  So I decided to get imaged now instead of waiting another 5 weeks which I knew would improve nothing.

I had an x-ray which didn't show anything.  So then I went in for an MRI.

To be clear, my sports medicine doctor did not think I currently had a stress fracture.  My massage therapist did not think I had a stress fracture.  My chiropractor did not think I had a stress fracture. My physical therapist did not think I had a stress fracture.  My personal trainer did not think I had a stress fracture.

Everyone kept telling me they didn't think I had a fracture which made me feel that the $632.54 I spent on the MRI was another huge down-the-drain expense in this seemingly never ending saga from November.  They had me so brainwashed into thinking this, that I felt a little stupid for jumping the gun on imaging, I mourned my $632.54 and had planned to go for a short walk-run after my sports medicine appointment today.

It turns out, I do have a stress fracture of my right pubic ramus.

I'm really glad I decided on my own to stop running while I waited for my results because I already have 4 weeks of not running in the recovery bank.  However, my doctor thinks this will take a long time to heal.  She said typically they say 6-8 weeks but I've had this since November and have been running off and on the whole time.  I mean, holy jeepers, I did Goofy on a broken pelvis.

She asked if I had any plans the rest of the year.  I only had the New York City Marathon in November on my calendar.  Quite frankly, even if I didn't have a stress fracture I was thinking I might have to defer so when she told me I should scrap it, that wasn't hard to take.  What was hard to take was what she said after that, "I'm hoping we'll even have you running again by November."  I think I died a little.

As I left the office, I have to say I was vacillating between depression and relief.  It sucks that I cannot run for at least another 6 weeks (and the way she's thinking quite possibly longer).  But quite frankly, I've been operating on that mode the last three months.  On the other hand, I have an answer.  If I rest and give it time, it will heal.  I've spent 6 months trying this and that with no gains and that was just mentally fatiguing.  I was beginning to think I would never run at a high-quality level ever again.  In a way all of that was far more depressing than just having to give up running for a bit knowing that I'll come out of it whole again.

So there you have it.  The S-word and the F-word.  Stress. Fracture.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday Mario

I almost forgot it was Monday.

Somebunny is O.U.T.  Notice the pellets strewn around the floor?  For a few days Mario was on a kick of flipping over his pellet bowl.  Once I even set it back up and he proceeded to flip it over twice right after!

Abuse it and lose it.  I put his old bowl which attaches to the side of the cage back up.  We call it the sippy cup bowl since he couldn't be trusted with the big kid one.

Looking sheepish with his kiddy bowl.

We were traveling last weekend and I was quite smug that when I went to pick Mario up from the bunnysitter, he had flipped over the pellet bowl there as well.  At least I know he doesn't act out just at home.  And it reinforced the idea I should continue with the new bowl at home.

On the running front, I hope I am coming upon some answers soon.  I had my pelvis x-rayed and that was negative. I had a MRI on Friday and am waiting for the results of that.  I saw a new physical therapist today and I really liked the assessment she gave me compared to the last two physical therapists I had seen.  She seems to think I do not have a pelvic misalignment but that I move in a misaligned way due to muscle imbalances.  I'm pursuing seeing her for a bit and am hoping there will be some useful progress made.  As soon as I get an all-clear from the MRI I'm hoping to start back up running again. I suppose I didn't have to stop the last 1.5 weeks, but I figured if I was getting it imaged I should just wait until I had those results.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday Mario

"If I can just stick my nose out far enough, I'll definitely score some pets."

I will admit that with his new pen, I do miss seeing the above.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Avenue of the Giants 10K

Originally my plan for the Avenue of the Giants half  marathon was to train specifically for this distance from Jan-May and hopefully run a sub-1:45 half marathon.  To add some excitement to the pot, I challenged my husband to a little race since his PR for this distance is somewhere in the 1:46 range.  I signed us both up last summer and was really looking forward to concentrating on the half distance for the first time in almost four years.

Well, we all know that my body had other plans. My husband did continue training though he might have lost some of his mojo once he knew I wasn't out there to chase down and keep pride over.  But he was still up for the race so we headed north.  I was planning on possibly doing a short 1-2 miler while he was out on the course and setting up for cheer duty the rest of the day.  However, they let me drop to the 10K which I gladly accepted.  I figured I could either go for a beautiful stroll in the woods or get skin cancer in the sun waiting for over an hour and half at the finish.  That wasn't a hard decision.

I decided to run the first mile, walk the middle four miles, then run the last 1.2 miles.  The half marathon got a 15 minute head start over the 10K and I knew it was going to be pretty close for me to make it back to see my husband finish.

This isn't really a race report. More like a walk report.  But, I will say it was so great to be out there with everyone.  I still really want to race this half course one day so I tried to pay attention to the grade of the hills and sized up the course from a reconnaissance perspective.  Just like when I ran the marathon out here, it seemed to be all downhill optically in both directions due to the massive trees.

Maybe I'll just keep walking home to San Francisco

The Avenue of the Giants event has a marathon which runs a different out-and-back segment first, then does the one that the half and 10K runners utilize second.  The marathoners had a 75 minute head start over the 10K.  This meant that a couple of  miles or so into the 10K, the lead marathoners started to pass us.  I have to say, it must have been incredibly frustrating for them.  We were not given clear direction which side of the road to stay on.  The lead man had a biker who yelled out for him, but the poor second place guy was far enough behind that the wave of walking 10Ks had closed in again and he seemed extremely frustrated.  I'd say it took about 10 marathoners coming through before people "got it" that they had to stay to one side.  Civilian marathoners would probably not find it too frustrating, but word to the wise, you will be passing slower 10K and half marathoners the whole second half of the course.  I think as a marathoner I would prefer the Humboldt format (everyone does the first leg together and then only marathoners are on the second leg).

All the races mix heading in and heading out.
It was fun to cheer for the marathoners, returning 10Kers and eventually returning half marathoners while out for my stroll.  The scenery was gorgeous and I appreciated the amazing trees.

I love how they give you a heads-up about aid stations. Also, I don't remember so much of this out-and-back being exposed like this (in my memory the whole first leg of Humboldt was in the shady tall trees) but there were a fair bit of portions like this.  Granted, I only saw 3 miles of the leg so I'm figuring further out was more predominately giant trees.

The first mile things felt a little tight and I experienced that nice tightness in my groin that lingered for a few miles into the walk.  By the time I got to mile 4 I was chomping on the bit to get to mile 5 so I could run it in home.  The last 1.2ish miles were amazing.  My body was so ready to get running again.  I enjoyed passing all the 10Kers who were obviously much better walkers than myself.  I held pace with the returning half marathoners who were headed back to the finish.

As we got closer to the finish the cheering crowds gave me such an adrenaline rush and my pace started to pick up.  After so many months of gimpy running I felt like I was getting to experience the best part of the sport and I was so grateful I was able to do the 10K.  I even clocked a sub-8:00 pace for the last quarter mile.  Nothing hurt and I felt like myself again for 1.2ish glorious miles of running.

I crossed the finish, got my medal, and immediately headed back out to stand on the finish sidelines to try to see my husband.  I knew he would be coming in any minute.  I literally had enough time to set myself up in a good location and not 10 seconds later I saw him sprinting towards the finish around the corner.  I told him later he had the look on his face of someone who knew they were *this* close to making their time goal and was trying desperately to make it.

There he goes!
He was flying and said he did not even hear me screaming for him.  Sad to say he missed a PR by something like 25 seconds.  I'm pretty proud of him because to be honest, his training sucked a big one.  He ran 2.5 days a week, if even.  If I could run 25 seconds off a PR with the type of training he did I would think it was nothing short of a miracle.  I felt bad though, because we all know the sting of missing a time by that short of a window.

I wore my "Boston Strong" tank that was a fundraiser for the Boston One Fund.  I got a lot of nice comments about it and I'm glad I wore it to the race.

All in all it was a fun day and the unexpected race participation for me was a great plus.  I have since taken another hiatus from running while we sort out imaging my pelvis.  Better safe than sorry, I figure in regards to a stress fracture.  I'm really grateful my last run was at Avenue of the Giants because I think the finish line high will carry me for a while.

Hard to tell scale, but this tree was monstrous.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday Mario

We drove up north this weekend for the Avenue of the Giants race events.  I'll have more on the actual race experience later, but today is Monday which means...

On the way up to the Humboldt area from San Francisco you pass through a magical town where I imagine bunnies meandering the streets in little packs.

Welcome to Hopland, California:

Coming from the south there was a beautiful, "Welcome to Hopland" sign.
Coming home from the north there was just this.  Sorry.

For miles after passing through Hopland I joked about how Mario wanted to send out letters from "Master Mario Mxxx (Mario's last name starts with a "M") of Hopland, California."  We passed by the Hopland Ale House on the way up and the outdoor area had some sort of line dance party going on.  We thought we would check it out for lunch on the way home.

It was a really cute place.  They had darts and shuffleboard table.
 It was actually a bumpin' weekend in Hopland since they had some sort of wine festival going on. And the Ale House was still pleasantly not crowded.  I had a delicious pastrami sandwich.

Mario would like to invite all of his bunny friends to his 11th birthday celebration next year at the Hopland Ale House.  I believe this rivals the WhistleBinkies pub in Edinburgh for appropriate bunny locations for libation.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The S-Word and the F-Word

More clues for the puzzle:

I decided to keep my appointment with the sports medicine doctor.  I have thrown a couple thousand dollars at my injuries at this point and really felt I was just about to throw a couple hundred more down the sinkhole.  But that said, I had taken a lot of time off and things weren't dramatically improving.  My knee out of no where started tweaking the week before.  It seemed like a reasonable step to take next.

I imagined it would take me an hour to tell the poor doctor my history because it is hard to sum up 6 MONTHS of trying this and that.  I tried not to be "that patient" and kept things pretty succinct.  She poked at this and prodded at that and had me push back against her in several different positions.  Hop on this foot.  Hop on that foot.  Pop a squat.

She threw me a curve I was not expecting.  She said:
I suspect you had a stress fracture of your pubic ramus but I'm pretty sure it has healed up.

Say what?

I gave her a look of total trepidation because it hadn't hurt that bad.  But you know, I am not licensed to practice sports medicine so who am I to judge?  Since I can hop on one leg with no pain, she thought it had healed.  But it never hurt through any of this at any point to hop on one leg so I was skeptical.  She said it sometimes manifests as vague pain here or there.  Since I could hop on one leg she didn't think I needed to image it at this point.

She also pointed out I have a pelvic misalignment which I am well aware of from my chiropractor(s) and even sports massage therapist.  Me left hip tends to sit higher and it is rotated downward slightly.  She felt this was a reason all of my muscles and tendons have been out of whack.  Rx for this:  More physical therapy but this time with someone who can do "Manual pelvic alignment mobilizations."  I need more core strength but she felt my glute strength wasn't bad.  Yay, personal training!  And yes, we're also working on core strength now.  I am not sure why none of my practitioners in the past have not tried to fix this misalignment.  I am told it is functional issue and not a structural one.

Final verdict:
Left knee patellofemoral pain syndrome
Left knee IT Band syndrome
Pelvic misalignment
Tight right adductors
 ? previous right pubic ramus stress fracture

It is a wonder I haven't self combusted the last 6 months.  Oh, wait.  I did.

She gave me the names and numbers of some physical therapists she liked. The ones she really liked are not so convenient location-wise so I made an appointment with a practice she knew was really good but she couldn't give me a name of someone to ask for specifically.  Talking it over with my husband (who needs a blog name, by the way) it may be worth sucking it up and spending 2 hours travel time per visit or trolling busy streets for parking/paying to park in a structure to see someone she named specifically.  "You've come all this way and spent all this money, you should just go to the best at this point," he said.  I have an appointment Monday with the non-specified person close to home and I will call the other places to see how long the wait is to see someone who was specifically recommended.

I have been on two 1.2 mile runs this week. The first went pretty well.  Minimal pain and only a slight hint of adductor tightness post run.  The second one didn't go as swell.  I had left knee pain the last few minutes and I felt as if my adductor was tweaking a little more post-run than the first time out.

I googled "pubic ramus stress fracture" and actually found a runner who had one diagnosed through a MRI but they could STILL HOP ON ONE LEG AND NOT FEEL PAIN.  Hmm.  I wanted to laugh at her when she first said that was what she thought it was.  Mainly because she diagnosed it off my tightness/pain symptoms which quite frankly I am still experiencing, and yet she said it had healed because I could hop on one leg.  But now I am beginning to think that maybe I am one of the freaks who has a stress fracture and can still hop on my leg with no issues.  The more I think about it, the more it actually makes sense.  This "tight muscle" has not let up in six months even with multiple two week and a six week break.

On the other hand, I found an article on pelvic misalignment which says:
"If you notice that you stretch and stretch and stretch but can't seem to get a muscle to relax, chances are you have a misalignment."  Also, "The hamstrings may become chronically tight; The adductors may get strained; The hip flexors may become chronically tight..."  All of the above is exactly me all the time.

So I obviously need to address the pelvic misalignment but I am debating demanding having some imaging done now.  The sports medicine doctor cleared me to run 3 miles/3x a week for now but I obviously don't want to run if there is a fracture.  All of my issues could stem from one or both of these main problems and I'm not entirely sure what is what at this point.