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.


Stan ( said...

Hi Paula

I really hope you get better soon. We'll be cheering for you regardless of what happens!

"The Book of Don" said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anthropos said...

Ethos proving moments you are going through Paula. People aren't machines and thank God for that! Everybody has had his fair share of injury and I believe that reading about yours is actually helping those who are battling their own feel so much compassion! An athlete's cause is so much more than just winning, or looking good for the cameras when being rained on with champaign! It's about the fact that sports are actually meant to be a road for self improvement. And firstly, sports related improvement never comes without pain, but most importantly it isn't just about sports! It is about the fact that sports are meant to improve a person in every aspect of his life! No one ever wakes up feeling he has to break 40min in a 10k but many people hope that through training for a 10k they will manage
to improve their health, their daily routine, and teach themselves how to handle difficulties better! Well, the way you are dealing with your difficulties sets such an enormous example to all of us fans of yours!! Perhaps even greater than you winning! So I won't just wish you to have a healthy and quick comeback but I'll wish that these nasty experiences you're having these days do a lot more than a winning pose of yours does (that usually is to just put a smile on our face!). Personally they got me thinking instead of celebrating and usually this is when my mental improvements happen!! Thanks for sharing Paula!!

Serafeim Vasileiou, Greece

"The Book of Don" said...

"Don't write you off" ?? Not a chance. Go Paula !!

Sarah Groff said...

London will be your first of multiple Olympic Games experiences, Paula. I look forward to cheering for you long after I've retired! Take care of yourself!

Heather said...

No way any of us are writing you off. We look forward to cheering you on for a long time to come.

It sucks that the injury came last year and it only just was diagnosed fully now, at the start of the Olympic year, but at least there's some certainty in knowing what it is, how to manage it and how to treat it ultimately.

Hunter Robinson said...

Keep your head strong. Your mind can either be your greatest ally or greatest enemy.

I still have my money on your come the Olympics!

Unknown said...

Hey Paula: I am Dr.Bing at Victoria. I just like to tell you that your injury can be fixed without surgery and recover very quick! I know Kelly and I am taking care Stephen Kilshaw. So far Stephen has no injury and is doing really well since we have been working together for two years. we are basically applying Structural Dynamic Therapy to maintain human's structure so that everything is at its place to keep the efficient of the body! The regular treatment help to prevent injury from high capacity training and help athletes recover quickly. you can find me if you like to talk to me.

cyclingphysio said...

find a physio who knows how to image psoas major on a real time ultrasound, and train it to fire again. Best bet for labral tear stuff. Dianne Lee might be a good bet in Van.

KF said...

Whatever happens and whatever you decide know that we (your fans, your friends and your family) will always be supporting you and you are loved. Take good care of yourself. Good luck!

David Fernández said...

Hi Paula,

Just wanted to let you know that we(your fans) will always be cheering for you no matter what!

Just take care of your body and keep that positive attitude!


JHGS said...

Hi Paula, sorry to hear an injury is slowing you down, I’m sure not for long. On the bright side it means you are pushing yourself to be the best, all of your fans know you will get back stronger and faster. You are a young, talented and successful triathlete, you have a lot to offer in this wonderful sport.

Axel said...

Paula, I think you have just taken the best choose you had! I am sure that your mind will take you to the podiumn in the Olimpic Games! I will be following you =)

Axel Velazquez

Bron said...

My coach always tells me that we're never given a challenge that we cannot face. Use this time to your advantage and I know you'll come back stronger!

Scott Vowles, PT said...


It is so hard when you have a condition that is a minor deal for most people, but a major deal for an Olympic level athlete. Diagnosing the problem is a challenge. All the differing opinions you receive can make it difficult to commit to one treatment strategy for long enough to realize its usefulness. If the strategy is not optimal for you the results aren't optimal either. Sometimes you just have a frustrating injury and even the best strategy takes longer than you would like to realize successes.
Seems like you are arriving at a plan that fits. Keep working on tweaking your plan, keep asking yourself what you feel is working. Keep seeking knowledge. Keep all the positive people. Keep working hard. Keep staying positive!
Good luck!

2nuksabroad said...

Just finished watching your interview "Cabbie Presents - Paula Findlay". (

We think "you are the best too!". Good luck in your preparations for London!

The Whent Family said...

Hi Paula, Good luck with the injury and the training. I am English so forgive me for wanting Helen to win in London. But most of all I want to see the best women triathletes in the world standing on the start line in August and that line up is not complete without you. We look forward to welcoming you to London!

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