Monday I woke up and decided I was going to attempt running. It had been two weeks since I’d tried it last. The last time I was only able to run a couple of steps before my hip – alleged hip bursitis – flared up in burning pain. I ended up walking for an hour which gave me some exercise but did not satisfy my urge to break free into a run … or at least a jog. This injury has been plaguing me since early December, and I – Ms. Instant Gratification – was beginning to think my hip was permanently damaged.
I spent the weekend before last in New Orleans watching my running coach and her friends run a half marathon for which I was registered to the tune of $100 and some odd change. It is now the most expensive t-shirt I own. This was the third half marathon race fee that I ate this season due to my hip issue. I’m signed up for the Crescent City Classic in New Orleans in April, and I’m still holding out hope that I can run it. I was so jealous last weekend I could scream as I drowned my sorrows in Cafe au Lait and powdered sugar. So, I rested another week and, Monday, I decided I would try to run. I didn’t tell my coach Jessica because I didn’t want to disappoint her or myself if I couldn’t go more than a few steps. Besides, there was a part of me that worried she may tell me that I had to rest.
I was able to run Monday. I ran 3 miles at a slow pace with walk breaks. My hip nagged me a little, but it never flared up into real pain at all. I was thrilled but didn’t really scream it from the rafters for fear of jinxing my good fortune. Last night, Jessica asked if I’d like to try running again. Well, it was going to be sunny today and a tad warmer…. hell, yeah, I want to try to run again! By the time I got home from work, I was getting a little nervous about how this would turn out.
I packed up Ashok and headed down to the riverfront in Baton Rouge. If this would be a disaster – or a success – I wanted to have some lovely scenery to enjoy. The river was up, and the sun was beginning to set. The sky was brilliant blue without a cloud in sight. Barges being pushed upriver by tugboats slowly fought the powerful current while the sun dipped even more slowly into the orange-hued horizon. Runners on the levee ran toward me and past me as if this was just a usual run on an uneventful day. I, on the other hand, anxiously stepped one foot in front of the other, hoping that the next step would feel normal…. that the searing pain would not start again….that I would not have to stop. I found myself paying way too much attention to each step, so I tried to just let it go and run. However, my attention was on my hip and each footfall. Will it hurt now? Can I ignore it if it does? Ever tried really hard NOT to think about something? Yeah…. it doesn’t work.
I watched a man dressed in camouflage joyride his four-wheeler down the gravel area next to the river and then along the edge of the levee. He was bundled up but appeared to be having a blast. He surged way ahead of me, and I didn’t see him until much later when I spotted him in a small pond of water. I hadn’t realized that four-wheelers could run submerged in water, but he was cutting doughnuts in water up to his thighs. He had to be freezing. As I was running back, I noticed traffic on the Mississippi River Bridge backed up all the way across to the other side. I was so grateful to be out running at sunset instead of sitting in that traffic on my butt trying to get home. In fact, I think sitting on my butt all day is what got me injured in the first place. I was grateful for the distractions, and I was even more grateful that my hip …. that I’d been trying to ignore … had only a bit of pain the entire run. I made it. Run #2 was complete.
At this point, I’m taking it one run at a time. I am not totally pain-free yet, and I don’t trust that this injury is done. I’ve tried a lot of things over this past two months – continued strength-training focused on my glutes and hips, a controversial wood pulp product called DMSO, essential oils, ibuprofen, rest and Biofreeze. I have no earthly idea what worked or if none of it did. All I know is I want to get back to running again. Springtime and nice weather are just around the bend, and I want to be out in it. I loved being out on the levee tonight feeling like I was a part of the sunset and a city moving toward sleep. I passed a homeless man with a cane, and he said he wished he could run with me. “I can barely walk,” he said. It made me feel grateful for my health and my fitness even if only for one day.