Back to the Drawing Board

So, here is another boring-ass update about Professor Badass’s sorry ass. After two weeks of No Activity At All (SHOOT ME NOW), the week of January 19th was back to little bits of running on the treadmill. One and a half miles on Monday under the Maestro’s supervision. Two whole miles at home on Wednesday. Another one and a half on Friday. The glorious feeling of running again that I wrote about last time. YEAH! But then, bam. Saturday was Rose’s birthday party and I was up and down and cleaning the house for hours and then supervising a lively collection of little girls. Sunday morning I woke up with a stiff sore ass. I tried running anyway, of course, but no go. Even I am not a fool, at least not all the time. During the week, I felt the injury but in a sort of game of “One of these things is not like the other” played with my butt cheeks. A week ago Sunday was much clearer. This hurts. Not searing pain but enough that I knew I had better stop. It hurt the rest of the day. Lots more crying. Lots more anger. This injury stuff is not for the faint of heart, I tell you. That tiny bit of running seems to have done the maximal amount of harm for the least amount of good. I had a significant relapse without working out enough to maintain any fitness or keep the crazy at bay (just ask my family or Coach Cowboy).

Last week was all about back to the drawing board. By the time I saw the Maestro Monday afternoon, I already had two appointments with other physical therapists lined up for later in the week. I felt a little guilty about “cheating” on the Maestro, but when I saw him on Monday his number one suggestion was getting some new eyes on this problem. We also agreed I should stop running but resume other activities.

So, Thursday I met with a new physical therapist, Craig Zettergren, and I have a new diagnosis! Craig says I don’t have tendonitis of the butt at all! Instead, I have a bulging disc in my back at L4. I’m taking this as mostly good news. Wrong diagnosis meant wrong treatment plan. Craig uses something called the McKenzie method and he says he’ll have me out on the road again in 4-6 weeks!

Not one to leave well enough alone, I also met with Lindsay Holmes on Friday. Lindsay is not only a physical therapist, but also Wesleyan’s cross-country coach. She agreed with Craig’s diagnosis. We had an amazing conversation about running. She’s run 15 marathons, including NYC at least once and Boston a few times. She didn’t reveal her marathon PR but did mention that she ran Boston last year “undertrained” in about 3:13. Yikes. She was incredibly down-to-earth and generous with her time and knowledge and seemed genuinely interested in our little running gang.

The new diagnosis means a new direction. The plan for now is to see Craig twice a week for the next three weeks and see how it goes. Furthermore, since I don’t have tendonitis of the butt after all, I can do a lot more. I was back at the gym with Tough Guy on Wednesday for upper body and core. Spin class on Thursday. Swimming on Friday and Saturday. Hooray! I worked out with Teacher Runner three days in a row. Yeah!

Now it’s all about being patient and seeing if this new direction works. I’m trying to keep my mind away from the question of how long it took to figure this out, and what might have been had I figured it out sooner. I’m focusing instead on the positive progress that will hopefully be happening from here on out.

Everyone says you learn a lot from being injured and can come back stronger. I don’t know if that is true or not for me yet. Mostly I have learned to value each and every day, each and every healthy step.


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1 Response to Back to the Drawing Board

  1. I see this as positive. With the problem correctly diagnosed, things will starting falling in place. There is a light at the end of the tunnel now! Woohoo!

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