The results of my follow-up MRI arrived this week with good news. There was no sign of a stress fracture/remodeling in the femur, signaling that it had been just a stress reaction (quicker healing!) and not a fracture. And while not fully resolved, the site of the stress reaction has significantly improved, to the point that the surgeon gave me the green light to cautiously return to running. We’re talking pitter-patter, nothing remotely speedy, and ample walk breaks. But I’m so glad just to be out there that I don’t give a flying fartlek about how fast or how far I can go.
My hip is still pretty severely compromised by the labral tear, so other than building a base of nice easy miles, there is no real “training” that will take place until well after I have the surgery to repair it. The surgery is currently on hold due to insurance issues, but I am still hoping to get it over with this fall and return to running by the start of the new year. Fingers crossed!
The forced hiatus from running and focused training hasn’t been nearly as terrible as I imagined. In fact, I’ve been surprisingly zen about it. I traveled with my family for roughly 10 days and exercised / cross trained a big whopping once. And I honestly don’t know that I could’ve done more, even if I was at full strength. So having the marathon training pressure completely off has been a good thing, at least when it comes to enjoying summer with my family. Sure, I’ve struggled with missing my beloved sport, especially the peace I glean from an easy trail run or the satisfaction that follows a taxing long run. But since I was allowed to hike and walk and bike, it helped to soften the blow and keep me from going entirely nuts.
This past week I’ve done roughly 9 miles of walk/ jogging. And another 3 miles of hiking. And so far, so good. Other than the usual pain in the hip, I feel pretty good. After six weeks of zero miles, I’m pleasantly surprised that I don’t feel like a two ton hippo in my breathing. And I am happy to be plodding along in the “running” sections at about the same easy pace I was at when I was recovering from the Boston marathon. So I’ll take it. My plan is to get back to 40 miles a week, all easy miles, prior to surgery. And then post surgery, I’m hoping to take the next 10 months to rehab and train for a fall marathon. See? I’ve already forgotten how much I hated Boston. Who saw that coming? Yep, I know. Everyone.
Because the stress reaction was not on the femoral head or neck, but right below it on the actual femur, I got off pretty easy in terms of risk and healing. The location was much lower risk than I’d previously thought, and I was able to hike and walk without too much discomfort or risk of further injury. And given our notoriously short summers in Alaska, it was a huge boost not to have to sit out completely for an entire 6 weeks.
And since I don’t have much to share in the way of training, I’ll share a couple pictures of what I’ve been doing instead. Not a bad swap, all things considered!