My Hip Don’t Lie
Warning: If you are offended by the word “ass,” read no further.
Thursday’s AM bike workout, 30 minutes on the bike in heart rate zone 2, went smoothly. The biking portion of the training plan has been fairly effortless during this first month of base building minus the occasional twinge of pain in my tailbone, the direct result of an embarrassing fall down the stairs last year. (Things I learned about the uncommonly good-looking Vanderbilt resident who treated me in the ER after the incident: He doesn’t watch Grey’s Anatomy; wasn’t nearly as horrified as I was by the fact that I was wearing my rattiest gym underpants, of freaking course; and didn’t find my calling the x-rays of my coccyx bone ass-rays as hilarious as I did.) Wearing padded bike shorts was suggested to me to alleviate some of the minor tailbone tweaks, but after trying them and feeling like I was waddling across the gym in a pair of Depends, I decided they were in need of an early retirement. I may try a different brand, but for now it ain’t happening.
Thursday afternoon, however, did not go as easy-breezily and I somehow managed to injure myself on an unplanned run with my bestie. (Here’s a little background on the best friend: She is a fitness-instructing-marathon-running-singing-songwriting-hard-core-work-through-the-pain kind of athlete. If you live in Nashville and want to get your ass handed to you go take one of her classes at Vanderbilt or at the new Nashville location of Barry’s Bootcamp when it opens this spring. Ask for Megan Conner and prepare to cry like a baby, throw-up or most likely, both.) The weather on Thursday in Nashville, low 70’s with a fairly stiff breeze, was some of the most beautiful we’ve had in the past 8 months. We decided to take advantage and set off on a four-mile route that she runs fairly regularly. Five minutes into the run I began feeling pain in my left hip, glute and upper leg areas. It came out of nowhere. I hadn’t fallen or done anything different, to my knowledge, so it took me by surprise. I actually did trip over a manhole cover later in the run, but the mystery injury started before that. I told her where the pain was and what it felt like and she immediately came up with the diagnosis of a piriformis issue. Megan is someone who I trust in all things running so I finished the run/walk home and hopped online to do some research. Although I’m not ready to self-Google-diagnose myself quite yet, it sounded similar to what I was feeling.
I bought a heating pad and Ibuprofen yesterday, skipped my workout and spent a few hours on the couch with my beagles. It hurt worse yesterday than Thursday so I decided that if it weren’t better by Monday I would head to the doctor. Thankfully I have almost no pain today and I was able to get my swimming workout in. My tri-coach showed up and talked me through some of the potential issues and suggested I get a foam roller, a Trigger Point muscle therapy kit and a topical anti-inflammatory substance called Traumeel. He equated this phase of training as taking a used car that doesn’t get a lot of mileage and expecting it to perform like a race car when put on the track. If that’s true then just call me a rusted out Pinto. On some sick level, having a minor injury makes me feel that I may be turning into a real athlete capable of sharing war stories with the veterans. See the following series of verbatim texts between Megan and me illustrating that sentiment:
Me: Def taking today off. Pain, not major but walking up the stairs is a bit difficult and having minor pain when walking.
Megan: Good idea. You may have pulled an ass muscle. Let’s hope that’s it. A few days rest will help
Me: Who knows. It feels like it’s deep in there and involves the hip. Will monitor. Have a great day and see you at 2:30.
Megan: Sounds like piriformis, had it many of times, once so badly I could barely walk. Welcome to being an athlete girl!
Me: I almost feel proud. Then again not.
Megan: Own it. Own your ass pain.
Me: God only gave me one ass. A little flat, but it’s the only one I have.
Megan: This is a true statement.
Megan: Not that it’s flat but that you only have 1.
The digital discourse goes on and on but I’ll stop there. Tomorrow I’m going to start my workout with the scheduled bike ride, but if the pain starts again I will swim instead. Here’s to an ass-pain free Training Week 4!