I talked about 4 reasons why I think I set myself up for my hip injury (read here). Another question I typically get is “What did you try? What worked and what didn’t work?”
What Didn’t Work
My primary care doctor told me to rest. Complete rest was not in my vocabulary but I tried it. I was in so much pain those days that I had to switch how I normally slept. I slept on my side and it hurt my hips too much so I trained myself to sleep on my back. I rested for a little over a month and it felt like it was tougher than running a marathon. Running had become such an integral part of my life and to cut it out felt devastating.
I had thoughts of how my life was terrible. Let’s be real–it was not that terrible–I was just being dramatic. I felt like a huge baby because I found myself crying some days. All I wanted to do was run. My body was so used to endorphins as a way of stress relief and a way to socialize. I couldn’t even get myself to go to running group hangouts (the ones that didn’t include running) because I would just feel sad whenever people talked about their running. The worst was hearing, “I went so slow today” and I was sitting there unable to even run at all. I wanted to run even if it was “slow”! I needed another solution because I was not happy.
After complete rest didn’t work, I tried to get into yoga. I really didn’t like yoga at that time–I thought it was too slow and not exciting. But after going insane, I knew that I had to stop being stubborn and push myself to try something else. The only way I knew I would stick to it was if I challenged myself. I set out to practice 30 consecutive days of yoga. After doing so, I grew such respect for the practice and found it to be the only time I could really escape from everything (even more than I do when running). I continued to practice yoga but my hips still didn’t feel 100%. I also still needed something more in terms of my workouts–something was missing.
I went to 3 different physical therapists and none of them really did the trick. Part of the problem was probably me not being as consistent with exercises. However, at one point, my hips started to feel worse so I was not feeling very enthusiastic about continuing. I eventually stopped trying to find my PT muse.
I thought maybe sports massages could help my hips. I tried to go pretty regularly and felt better after each massage but no real progress with my running. The pain was just as bad each time I ran.
What Did Work
I saw a sports doctor to see if I could get to the bottom of what was wrong with me. He concluded that everything around my hips was inflamed, not just the bursa (I thought I had bursitis). This wasn’t good news but the good news was that he said that I shouldn’t completely stop exercising. Exercising would help me strengthen muscles around my hips and also get more blood flow to them. I could tell those people who scolded me for exercising that it really was helpful for my hips. The only caveat was to monitor how my pain levels were. Obviously if they were really bad, I probably shouldn’t continue with that exercise.
Running still hurt and I cut it out of my routine. I ended up taking on more yoga and explored barre classes (completed the Pure Bare 20 in 30 challenge) then Pilates megaformer classes, bootcamps and cycling. I was slowly getting addicted to mixing up my classes.
The variety was exciting because with each new class I had this little feeling of fear. I had no idea what I was getting myself into but felt so accomplished after. I really started to crave that bit of fear and excitement each day. The variety was not only good for my soul but also was great for my hips and my entire body. With running, I was using pretty much the same muscles every workout. But with classes, I was working different muscles every day which meant other muscles got to rest when they weren’t being used.
I eventually tried to incorporating more running. I was able to go for a little bit but it still wasn’t feeling right. My body was strong but I still had hip pain. I wasn’t completely heartbroken because I was actually enjoying fitness classes more at that time.
Even if I didn’t like running as much anymore, I wanted to be able to run if I decided that I wanted to. I had always been intrigued by the Spaulding National Running Center (SNRC) and the running gait analysis. Health insurance covers some of the treatment, but it was still an investment. I knew I was risking money and time in trying the analysis but I was just barely 30 and hated the fact that my body felt like it was falling apart.
I had some friends who had gone through the treatment. They still have aches and pains but they learned more about their body and things that they can incorporate to improve their running form. I knew going in that SNRC wasn’t going to be a cure-all solution but I was about ready to try anything! I’m happy to say that so far I have been doing pretty well. I ran my first half marathon back (the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco) and with no hip pain after the race!
Being Open-Minded and Positive
There years ago, running was everything to me. If I couldn’t run, my world felt like it was incomplete. Injury sucks, but in a way I’m very thankful I got injured. I forced me to be more open-minded, challenge myself in new ways and as Tim Gunn would say, “make it work”. My life would be so different if I had not been injured. I might not be at my current job and I might not be friends with some of my current friends. Running is NOT everything.
To clarify–I consider hip “pain” and “soreness” differently. The pain I was having before was stabbing pain. The soreness I have is a different feeling. I still have hip soreness and have some work to do to be completely back to normal.
I got a little run-happy after the half marathon. I started to increase mileage and speed too much–evident in some aches and pains I have been experiencing. I’ll explain in a future post habits I will incorporate to make sure I can stay injury free and make it to the start and finish line of my first marathon back!