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I Am Strained But Not Injured
I’m giddy today.
I know. Giddy, again.
And this time I don’t think it’s the steroids getting me all hopped up on life.
In fact, I’m tapering down on those things. After two weeks of the most ridiculous mood swings, sleepless nights and a constant fear that Brian was going to leave me on account of “sheer insanity and holy crap my girlfriend has come undone,” I’m now on a lower dose of the Prednisone. My stomach is feeling strong — two days, two runs, no bathroom stops — and I’d like to declare myself on the upswing of health.
I’m not sure “upswing of health” is a real term. Google it.
I’d like to mention that what I should be tapering for right now is the Eugene Marathon. But we know how that turned out. So instead of lowering my running miles, I’ll lower the daily dose of my mood-altering-Crohn’s-healing drug.
But I will still do other taper-like things this week, like eat a lot of carbs and get a lot of sleep.
You know. Just in case.
Let’s talk about my leg.
Yesterday I took a trip uptown to see Dr. Craig DuShey at Manhattan Orthopedic.
I took a photo of the sign while I waited for the elevator, that way you know I was really there and also that I’m a dedicated blogger, committed to showing you all aspects of my personal life minus the naked foam rolling.
Just kidding. I don’t naked foam roll…though my neighbors may beg to differ.
So to recap the pain that has been happening on my left side since roughly February:
- My hip started to hurt a little. I could run through it, but the pain was dull and achy and I didn’t enjoy it.
- I ran a 50-mile week and thought life was perfect. HAPPY! JOY! RUNNING! SWEAT!
- I got the stomach flu. I stopped running for a few days. I didn’t foam roll or take care of myself in any way during this time. I vomited a lot.
- I recovered from the flu, started running again and realized that my knee was hurting a bit. Nothing serious, but enough to make me start getting Active Release Technique and Graston Technique treatment once a week. I like the ART, though I haven’t noticed too much difference in my leg since getting it.
- A Crohn’s flare-up kicked my ass. I started to take down my mileage sufficiently, bailed on the April 29 marathon I was hoping to run and spent many days in the bathroom. No foam rolling. Lazy Ali. Crohnsy Ali. Weak Ali.
- As my stomach started to chill out, I began running again, though no serious mileage. I developed some achy feelings in the back of my left knee and, most recently, in my left shin.
- I have been icing my knee and shin often and attempting to foam roll, Stick and stretch more. I don’t leave home without my Stick.
I like to do this stretch a lot because it feels good:
Now we are on the same page and that page is called, “What is Ali’s Diagnosis?”
Well, according to Dr. DuShey, it’s a “knee strain.”
OMG SO SERIOUS.
Basically I’m dying.
Except not at all. I’m, I guess, fine. Running just hurts sometimes. That is brand new information.
I get really stressed about going to the doctor and having to assess my own pain. I can never pinpoint it exactly, and that stupid, “On a scale from 1 to 10, how badly does it hurt right now?” question may as well be translated into, “If someone threw a grenade at your face right now, how calmly would you be able to react?” It’s terrifying.
I explained that the pain started in my hip — Dr. DuShey said that may have been “something bursitis,” only the word he used wasn’t “something,” I just forget what it was — and that it’s not surprising that the pain worked its way down my entire left side.
We did X-Rays right there in the office, which was convenient and lovely, and then we looked at them together on the computer screen. I obviously contributed a lot during this point with my questions of, “What is that on the screen???” and his response of, “Sorry, that’s just a piece of dust.”
Dust = not the same as a bone crack. Good to know. Just wanted to be sure.
My X-Rays looked fine, so yay! In fact, they looked friggin’ phenomenal. Dr. DuShey described my knee as a “healthy runner’s knee,” and in return I would describe him as “complimentary.”
He had me do some tests, like squatting and stepping up and down on my good and bad sides. He asked me to do a one-legged hop on my bad leg, which I thought would be awful, but wasn’t too bad. It hurt, and I don’t recommend it, and I won’t be signing up for that one-legged hop race I was eyeing next month, but that’s OK. He said that since I was able to hop and since I haven’t had any “toe numbness or tingling sensations” that it’s nothing to worry about.
Dr. DuShey said I’m not at the point of shin splints, and that I have no signs of a stress fracture.
Oh, sorry, Brian — an excitingly busy fracture.
I left the office feeling relieved that I don’t have a serious injury, but a little frustrated that that was it. Of course as soon as I left I thought of a billion questions I should have asked. Typical.
Dr. DuShey said I could do physical therapy, and I will be completely honest in telling you that I have no intention of doing that. It’s simply not in the budget right now. Instead I will email smart people and use Google to find PT exercises. I’ll keep icing, stretching, rolling, taking it easy, chilling on the impact and just being aware. I’ll keep strength training, too, because that’s important, and I love planks.
I don’t want to end up in a boot or on crutches or totally sidelined from the Reservoir, but I also don’t want to shy away from running completely because, for the first time ever, it hurts a little.
Pain is par for the course, right? A little bit of it, at least?
After my appointment, I thought it would be a good idea to sweat a little, and I had a hot Flywheel date with Bari. Bari is the voice behind Vital Juice, and she offered to take me to Flywheel as her fancy spinning guest.
Twist my arm. Fine.
The class was super fun. I wore compression socks and went through six towels and then forgot which locker I put my stuff in and also couldn’t unlock my locker, and the guy at the front desk had to go all Macgayver to retrieve my bag for me.
Bari was like, “Ali, I can’t take you anywhere,” and I was like, “Yes, you can. To Flywheel.”
The instructor was Aleah, and maybe at some point I’ll write more about Flywheel, but today I will just say that it’s a heck of a workout, you get to monitor your output on a little screen and if you are very stealthy you can also look at the screen of the rider next to you to compare. FYI, lady on Bike 17, you were a beast, and I was right behind you and sorry I creeped to see what your “torq” was a few times. My “score” for the class was 250. I wish I had any idea what that meant. If it sucks, don’t tell me. I only like compliments. I’m giddy today, remember? Let’s keep it that way.
And Aleah had biceps that were so beautiful I contemplated asking her on a date after class.
But instead I had to figure out how to get my stuff out of my locker. Maybe next time.
Then this morning I ran. Again.
Was that smart? I don’t know. I don’t base all my decisions on what is “smart,” I base them on what is “fun” and “desirable” and “followed by chocolate.”
I slept amazingly well, popped out of bed with my alarm, stretched and was out the door. My stomach felt great. My legs felt OK.
Truthfully, today’s run was not as magical as yesterday’s, which indicates that I should spread out my impact-based workouts. Maybe run every other day or something? Whatever. I ran a bunch of miles this morning and even when my shin got a little achy, I was psyched to be out there.
I think we’re all caught up now, right?
You basically know everything about my life.
I had rice for dinner last night.
WHAT DID YOU HAVE?