Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hips don't lie

On February 26 of this year I did a triathlon in Scottsdale, Az.  It was the first that I had done in over 10 years.  It was not a terribly long one.  I did not do as badly as I expected, if I recall correctly i think that I finished 7th in my age group and 40th overall.  500m swim (I think I was the 2nd or 3rd person out of the water), 20km bike (I got caught by a lot of folks but managed to average 18mph - could have been worse), and then came my weak link - the run.  It was a 5km shuffle in which I got whipped.  I had been running for about 5 weeks up to that point and I have never been a runner.  Every day (or damn near anyway) I would go a little longer and a little farther afield.  It is an activity that I am not supposed to do.  Ever.  Fused L4/L5 vertebrae.  Orthopedic doc was crystal clear about it years ago when he pinned my spine back together.  Turns out I was right.  He did not know how I can heal - how tough I am - how I can reinvent myself.  My back did just fine.  It was my my left hip that started to hurt after my 27 minutes of shuffling along.  It got steadily worse over the next several weeks too.  That 27 minutes was the last real run that I have had.  Somedays I worry that... well, best not say to it aloud.

Indeed, within two weeks it was so bad that I had to pull out of two back to back events - an offroad duathlon at McDowal Mtn Park on 10 March and what was to have been my first swim meet at Sun Devil's Nadatorium in Tempe on the 11th.  I felt like a failure.  In truth I still do struggle with not being there to plant my standard in the sand.  Ego is a powerful thing.

I have been to the Doctor.  Had an x-ray image.  Got a diagnosis.  Bursitis.  Tendonitis.  Arthritis.  Soft-tissue damage from repetitive injury.  Over training.  Getting older.  Anti-imflamatory.  Ice.  Rest.  Ease back into things.  I am reminded of the classic Mel Brooks scene in History of the World where the senators are all milling about in their togas repeating "bullshit, bullshit, bullshit".  What is real is that my hip hurts so much that I practically need to puke when I try to run and that a x-ray image shows no visible problem.  What is very very real is that I have no medical insurance.  Lastly, what is terrifyingly absolutely real is that if it does not get better this present story ends.  I don't end.  I get that.  But the path I am on does.  That is some sobering shit my friends.  

So... next Tuesday (Mayday) I go to the orthopedic doctor, pay $320, and get (hopefully) a cortosone injection.  One little challenge before then is that I have a race this weekend.  Before the doctor's visit.  A serious mtn bike race.  25 miles of single-speed off-road torture in the Prescott National Forest (  Say a prayer to the deity of your choice for me on Saturday.  I need to get through the weekend so that I can have a Mayday miracle.

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