Thursday, April 12, 2012

What's Up

After a solid 6-week training camp in Maui to kick off 2012, I came home feeling fit and excited to get the New Year under way. This was rather short lived when I started having some recurring hip pain a few weeks later. I didn’t panic, as I was able to manage it through the fall and it was feeling completely better. I left for Australia in early March thinking that some warm weather and daily treatment would clear things up and I could start my season as planned.

Well, things didn’t go exactly as planned. Frustrated and fed up and after a few too many tears, I went to Brisbane to see an orthopedic hip specialist and have another MRI (after having 2 un-notable ones last fall). The doctor found a small labral tear on my right hip. I sat in his office shocked, scared, and somewhat relieved to finally have a diagnosis. I'm frustrated that this was not discovered 8 months ago, but the abnormality is so subtle that it is difficult to pick up on an MRI. I had 2 options, neither desirable, and both with the ultimate goal of being fit on the start line in August. Labral tears do not heal on their own so the obvious solution is to have surgery and hope to be back to somewhat normal running in 2 months. The other option is to manage the pain and inflammation with cortisone in my hip joint, anti-inflammatory meds, icing and treatment. Surgery is so risky at this point and it would be a rush to get fit in time for the Olympics, so I decided to go down the “management” road. It feels a lot better when the inflammation is controlled, and I did have a good block of training in the fall/January, so I’m optimistic that this will work.

Right now Sydney is out of the plan, and I’m taking things day by day. I had a cortisone shot last week and it seems to really be working, I can run pain free. Now I don’t know how long it will last, or if it will even be a solution, but I’ve decided that part of this battle is mental. I need to believe it will work and be really smart about my training and decision making over the next 15 weeks.

I’ve been debating whether or not to share these details. When I’m injured, I usually want to keep it a secret and hide away from the world. But injuries are one of the realities of being an athlete and I’d rather be honest than pretend like everything is a-okay. I also understand that cortisone injections are controversial, and believe me, I don’t want to be in a wheel chair in 5 years just so that I can go to the Olympic Games when I’m 22. But I can’t worry too much about what other people are thinking, and I need to trust the team of people who are helping me through this. It’s just a little (ok.. giant, enormous, annoying) curveball that’s been thrown at me. IDEAL timing, right?

Someone sent me a reassuring email a few days ago.

“Get some relief and comfort in having a diagnosis, knowing that it is treatable and NOT a crippling, life-long problem, and that it is absolutely nothing that can prevent you from competing in London.

Life is often ridiculously hard. Rest, breathe, and remember you can’t control much, but you can control your attitude.”

So I might as well have a good one.

Please don’t write me off just yet.