I’ve had so many blog posts in my head over the last few months, but between a new job and a full scale house remodel project – the blog fell to the wayside. The posts were really happy ones about how well marathon training was going. Truth be told, marathon training/running has never been my favorite running activity. Thankfully, I was blessed with a wonderful training group for Chicago and the weeks and miles just flew by until I hit quite the road block.
Several weeks ago, I started having occasional hip pain. It would usually go away in a day or so after hard runs, so I just figured it was the increasing mileage. Unfortunately, my last long run – a lovely 17 mile jaunt through torrential thunderstorms – left me in a ton of pain that didn’t go away.
I made the rounds of the local medical profession landing at a sports medicine practice. The doctor told me that my hip pain wasn’t related to my hip at all – he said it was something amiss in my lower back. One set of x-rays later, I had a diagnosis of L5 spondylolysis – a big word for a fracture on both sides of my L5 (lower back) vertebrae. The doctor scheduled me for an MRI for further diagnosis. I was really hoping that the MRI results would show that the condition was treatable and that eventually my L5 would mend itself and that I could resume running as normal. The doctor, who had a bedside manner that left a lot to be desired, told me the exact opposite. He said my L5 is what it is and that it would never heal. He gave me lots of other mildly helpful advice such as working on my core strength to support my back, keeping a very healthy weight to lessen the stress on my back, taking daily arthritis meds and my favorite piece of advice, only run when there is a 5k t-shirt that I just can’t resist.
The last bit of advice crushed me more than anything else in this injury journey. Running and racing is such a huge part of my life – I can’t really fathom not running regularly. I’m sort of a mixed bag of emotions about the whole situation. I’m upset, but I have also seen people I love truly fight for their health this year. A broken vertebrae seems to pale in comparison to what they have gone through. I have always believed that everything happens for a reason and that silver linings can be found in most situations. I’m still trying to figure out what that means in this situation.
For now, I’m trying to let my back heal and strengthening my core to help my back. I’m spending lots of time with my husband working on our house together. I’m sleeping in when I used to wake up at the crack of dawn to go running and using that extra energy for my new job and work team. I’m researching other doctors for a second opinion. And I’m keeping my heart and eyes open to find the silver linings.
The #roadtobuns will be different. I’ll be sherpa-extraordinaire for my #roadtobuns partner in crime, Holly, instead of running in my buns alongside her. I can’t wait to spend the weekend of the Chicago marathon cheering on my friends and my Oiselle birdies.
Many thanks to my main partner in crime, Chris, for keeping my spirits up through all of this.