Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pain is for sissies but it really hurts

I am no Tiger Woods. No, I'm not referring to the current version of Tiger Woods. I am talking about the June 2008 Tiger Woods. You remember him, he was the guy who won the US Open that year. And he did it missing a ligament in his leg, and had two stress fractures in his tibia. And every time he swung that club you could read the excruciating pain on his face and it made you cringe. It turns out I don't have that level of tolerance for pain. While it may not surprise you that my pain tolerance is not on par with a world class athlete, I am so stubborn and so clueless that it came as news to me.

Recently I injured myself. I can't say I did it while running. It actually happened because of all my running. I was really hoping one of the side effects of all this running would be to lose some weight, but I got this instead. I have piriformis syndrome which literally translates to *a pain in my ass*. This would be funny if it didn't screw up my running so badly. And hurt. Did I mention it hurts? But only if I run. The rational person would just stop running. But I am not rational, I am stubborn and apparently not very bright and think that these types of problems, and pain, will go away if I use my strong will. And just keep running because the pain will realize that it can't win. I have a very strong will, but as it turns out, not strong enough to overcome white hot pain shooting down my leg when I move it. I know, I am a wimp.

When it first happened I took a few days off from running and eventually I could walk again. So I went running. And then had another few days of not being able to walk. And then I saw a chiropractor who diagnosed me has started treating me with this really cool A.R.T therapy - just like my running hero, Kara Goucher uses when she gets injured. He let me know the good news was that I could technically run on it if I chose. Then he told me the bad news was that my brain would cry uncle due to the pain, and there would be pain. And it would be bad. And I blew this off because I have an inner bully/idiot that told me that the brain is just a mamby-pamby sissy and I should just put on my big girl running pants and go. So I set out to do 10 miles last weekend. And it went something like this:

Miles 1-4: la la la, the leg is a bit stiff but all is good
Miles 5: the leg is slightly tender but I am not alarmed
Mile 6: the leg is starting to hurt. this is slightly less fun
Mile 7: I am in excruciating pain and there are tears in my eyes
Miles 8,9,10: walking with intermittent attempts at running that looked more like a hobble/limp with my injured leg kind of being dragged behind me.

I was getting looks of alarm from other people on the running path. I think I saw some people wince just watching my pathetic struggle to run.

I wasn't able to walk again for a few days after that. Today I went back to the chiropractor and recounted my 10 mile run. What he said was: wow, you attempted a 10 mile run with your injury. What his face said was: you moron. And since I am really clueless I then proceeded to tell him how I was going to try to run 4 or 5 miles tomorrow to see how it goes, and then on Saturday would probably do 12 miles. Again, his expression said: moron. Or maybe it was a look of pity that anyone could be that clueless. At any rate he gently suggested that I try 3 miles for  awhile and see how that goes. And by the way, perhaps when I do build back up to longer runs I may want to do short loops around the neighborhood...to avoid having to walk 3 miles back to my car if the pain gets to be too much. And all I could think was that no one came by and picked Tiger up in a golf cart. I am the worst.patient.ever.

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