Today was a great day for progress! I’m almost 4 weeks post-op and have been up and around without crutches for short periods of time. Today, however, I spent almost two hours in PT and am cleared to walk without crutches most of the time. I also got to do some “real” PT work, walking, marching and side stepping to begin the process of rebuilding towards running. It became quickly evident just how weak my hips are; while trying to march, the planted leg just wanted to collapse. When we worked on hip exercises (clamshell and leg lift), my range of motion was severely restricted. One major benefit of this layoff is that I get to rebuild my running from the bottom up, which clearly includes building stronger hips.
As I was laying in PT, another marathon runner was working next to me. She was there for a whole mess of issues, including a possible stress fracture. However, she refused to get an xray to confirm the SFX, and instead was planning on running Vermont City. I understand where she is coming from; a long layoff is not something anyone wants to volunteer for. However, after this experience, I am a firm believer that trying to fight your body might get you through one race, but that your injury will ultimately win out.
So why are runners unlike other athletes in terms of injury? Of all the patients at PT this morning, anyone who wasn’t in the geriatric age group was a runner. Some people were there for more preventative work, but most of us were there with major injuries. I am currently reading Born to Run which asks an iteration of this question. I’m interested to see what the book concludes; I am also interested to observe my own evolution over the next couple decades of running. Is it possible to be a high mileage runner and avoid injury or are we all doomed from the day we lace up our shoes?