Monday, March 22, 2010

Duh-Oh! Zumbro a No-Go?

Twelve days ago I had my fastest training run since I started running ultras, easily cruising along at even 8-minute flat splits for 12 miles along the Theodore Wirth Parkway. When I had finished I felt as great as I did at the start. Nothing hurt before or after the run. My confidence level in my preparation for Zumbro was at an all-time high. The hard work and persistence of training out in the cold and snow all winter was paying off big. Well, after 12 of the best training weeks and best training day of my ultrarunning career, things came to a grinding halt.

The following day I awoke to tightness in my hips and a slight soreness in my groin. I had experienced similar symptoms before after some tough 20-mile workouts, so I wasn't worried. However, as I started out on my run that evening, it was apparent that something was wrong. The first 5 minutes of the run was very painful, with sharp shooting pains in my groin, near the beltline. I pushed on through and eventually the pain subsided and I was able to run a decent 8:15 pace the remainder of the run. Since then, I haven't run....................

Last Wednesday I went to see a GP to get checked over. Since that last painful run the week before I had a constant tightness in my lower right groin/ab, and every time I tried to jog it was very, very painful. The doc checked me for a hernia, but found nothing. I was referred to Tria Sports Clinic for evaluation and treatment the next day. After a brief consultation on Thursday, I had my full evaluation on Friday with my PT, Valerie. After an hour of twisting my hips and legs into every conceivable position and trying to recreate the pain I was experiencing while running, she was puzzlingly unsuccessful. The worst part was that every time I flexed a muscle, it almost immediately cramped up. I'm talking everything - calves, hammies, quads, hips. It was a nightmare.

At this point, the early diagnosis is most likely a strained or injured psoas muscle. One of the other chronic symptoms I've had prior to and since the injury is a burning along the right hip, right upper buttock, and down the outside of the right thigh, indicating that something is placing pressure on a nerve. To complicate matters, my thryoid is definitely feeling low. I've been a bit fatigued moreso than usual the past 3 weeks. I initially passed it off as just my training and the time change from daylight savings. However, the cramping during my evaluation, along with stiffness in my hips and irritability raised the red flag of my thyroid crapping out on me again, just as it did this time last year (and all year for that matter). I did get my blood drawn during the visit with the GP to check my thyroid levels, and I'm still impatiently awaiting the results. Since I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, I've always accurately self-diagnosed the drop-offs, so I'm expecting that it's low and I'll be having my medication increased for the 4th time in a year.

Needless to say, I'm rather frustrated and disheartened right now. I have no definite diagnosis nor prognosis to returning to full activity. I did get the "okay" from my PT to try and run. Being out of town this weekend I didn't get a chance to go for a run, but I did run around my aunt and uncle's backyard with my son, flying kites. And I have to say, it was rather painful. Nonetheless, I'm going to have to give it a longer go this week. My usual training day to start the week is Wednesday, so I'll find out then. The worst part of this whole "injury" is that I can walk without any pain whatsoever, and do most anything else as well. But, the minute I start running it hurts like a mothereffer. I'm afraid that unless I make a miraculous and speedy recovery within the next two weeks, Zumbro will be a no-go. If so, I'm mentally okay with that because my main focus this year is Sawtooth. If I only run one race this year, it has to be Sawtooth and and I don't want to do anything that will jeopardize that. So, if I have to take more time off to heal properly, that's what I'll do. I hope everyone else is enjoying good health and the wealth of runnable trails out there.

Still seeing red......................................................


Matthew Patten said...

That turly bites.

I empathize with you.

Stay positive if you can.

Andrew said...

Matt, I don't know what a "turly" is but if they bite I hope I never see one!


I too empathize, while it is difficult to accept I (eventually) find solace in forging ahead with the hope in accomplishing my goal (which are ever changing).

SteveQ said...

I was kinda hoping you'd comment on my blog along the lines of "Welcome to the club! Let's train together!" But the kick in the pants was probably needed.

We're both at that point where we're second-guessing ourselves. So I have to do the same thing for you: KEEP TO THE PLAN!

You'll do Zumbro. You'll be fine.

brothergrub said...

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

- Calvin Coolidge

Keep at it !!!!!

Kel said...

Sorry to hear about all of the trouble Steve - lousy timing (although is there ever a convenient time for things like this?).

RE: cramping.... has your Doc evaluated your sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium levels? Especially given your thyroid history? Many of us are deficient in magnesium, a common cause of cramping. I've seen studies where vit E helps too - but wouldn't recommend doing anything on your own without consulting your Doc or a licensed dietitian first.

Diet plays a huge role in the success of any athlete, but for an ultra runner, any mistake you make becomes magnified simply because you're out there sweating and working longer than most.

Meds throw a wrench in the machine too. And most medical professionals are used to dealing with couch spuds, not endurance athletes.

Hope you can get things worked out pronto!

Steve said...

Kel, my potassium, sodium, and magnesium levels are fine. I even supplement magnesium on a daily basis. It's just a symptom of a low thyroid, unfortunately. I've experienced it many times before.

To all, thanks for the support. I know that eventually I'll be back on the trails, and when I am, I'll appreciate it that much more. ;)

Steve said...

Steve Q.

I'm not second guessing myself one bit. The only thing I'm not certain of is my ability to actually run any distance, let alone 100 miles without seriously injuring myself and jeopardizing my entire season. As far as changing plans, there is no change. My plan is to recover and then continue training as before, hoping to run Kettle, Afton, and Sawtooth. Full recovery is a top priority now. I don't want to ruin the rest of the season just to try and finish a race I've already completed.

Helen said...

Hey Steve - sorry to hear - especially when your training had been going so well. I hope it is just a muscle strain - though it still sucks of course. And the thyroid issue on top of it. That's a rough deal. I suppose only consolation is it's still early in the year and as you say Sawtooth is the big goal. Let us know how it goes over next few days.

Zach said...

My 2c would be to do nothing until a day or 2 before Zumbro and then do a short test run. The often heard phrase around our sport "the hay is in the barn" is completely true, especially for you with all the consistent training you put in this winter. You will lose very little fitness taking a few weeks off, but you give your body its best shot at full recovery. I did that before Superior last year, took nearly a full 3 weeks off because I had some concerning pains after Lean Horse and it did the trick. Anyhow, I wish you the best man, I know how much it sucks to be grounded :(

Steve said...

Sounds like good advice, Zach. I did a 5 mile test run today and it was rough going, but I managed okay. However, I think I will be hurting tomorrow because I'm already starting to hurt a bit now. Looks like the best plan now is to lay off the running completely and just do other things that don't aggravate my injury. Right now, I'm not feeling very positive about being ready in just over 2 weeks, given the little amount of recovery I've made in the last 2 weeks. Ah, such is the curse of recovery!