And the MRI says…

…stop running you fool.

Here’s the good news. For those of you who could care one iota about running, I won’t be hitting the pavement for a long time, so I may not be blogging much about it either.

Then again, I may need the catharsis because my dear husband encouraged me to get an MRI last Wednesday (I’ve been processing everything for over a week now), thinking that I may have taken the whole “no pain, no gain” thing too far. Further good news: The MRI showed that my piriformis is just fine, thank you very much.

And now for the not-so-good devastating-oh-my-gosh-how-am-I-going-to-survive-months-maybe-a-year-of-recovery news. Per the MRI I am the lucky recipient of:

  • Partial tear left semimembranosus tendon at ischial tuberosity (AKA partial tear in the upper hamstring. If you search “worst running injury ever,” a forum will immediately pop up debating which injury takes the prize. Guess what? My lucky injury wins. Yay for me!)
  • Reactive marrow edema left ischial tuberosity
  • Proximal left hamstring muscle complex edema with no intramuscular hematoma or rupture at myotendinous junction
  • Edema does surround left sciatic nerve
  • Mild left femoral shaft periostitis (This lovely medical mumbo jumbo can lead to a stress fracture if I’m not careful.)
  • Edema in the gluteus minimus bilaterally with possible partial tear of the tendon at the greater trochanter on the right (only partially imaged)
  • Small scattered areas of muscle edema bilaterally likely delayed onset muscle soreness secondary to the recent race

Translation: My body is breaking down, and I won’t be running or doing much of anything for several weeks. Total recovery time is nebulous. I was given the range of eight weeks to one year. That’s 365 days. Yes, I cried me a river.

Last week I was angry and frustrated, too, because the first injury, in particular, is rare and not easy to treat. I’ve played the it’s not fair game. Well, of course it’s not fair. But it’s not fair that children are involved in human trafficking, and that brides are still getting burned in Asia. Or that people get cancer. Kids get cancer. It’s not even fair that my parents’ sweet dog/pet therapy superstar, Ivy, died yesterday. Maybe “Why me?” should really be “Why not me?”

There have been moments when I’ve wanted to scream and pound my fists because I feel like I am capable of so much more than my body is allowing me to do, but I’ve got to make peace with this broken body of mine.

I’m supposed to rest from all aerobic exercise, not just running, for several weeks, so I am afraid that I am going to turn into to a useless, energy-sapped lump, and all my muscles will atrophy. Yoga and Pilates – or anything that stretches that hamstring of mine – is off limits for the short-term, too. So I guess I’ll be doing lots of push-ups. Those don’t hurt.

Funny aside: Apparently the proximal hamstring injury is more common in elite athletes and older athletes (older than my 34 years). I was bemoaning this aloud when Madeline, my “glass-is-half-full” 8-year-old said, “Well, Mommy, that means you’re an elite athlete.” I was very grateful she didn’t say something about me being old.

Ann Voskamp wrote, “Patience is a surrendering to suffering — a willingness to wait — a carrying of the Cross.”

I have to embrace a willingness to look beyond myself and my real or perceived flaws, and then to just wait it out.

I want to take action and make this better. Now. I don’t want to believe the naysayers I’ve found on the Internet who say they’ve never been able to overcome their proximal hamstring injury. (Here’s some advice for anyone dealing with a sports-related injury or even a sickness: Do not read discussion boards or forums because you get the miracle stories and the hopeless ones. There are plenty of “in-betweens” who don’t share their journeys online.) But I am rendered powerless. All I can do is ice, rest, and wait.

Pray that I will wait with grace.

No Kiawah Half in December. No fun girly runs for several weeks, probably months. But I’m determined to make a comeback and to beat my 1:44 half marathon PR that I ran with a jalopy of a body.

But you know what? I must be nearing the acceptance phase of all this because I’m okay with it if I come back as a turtle. Slow and steady and healthy. Or even not at all. I will be okay if I never run another day in my life. I don’t think that’s the case, but I will be okay.

It was a wake-up call when even the physical therapist who is known in town for getting runners back on the streets or treadmills looks you in the eyes and tells you that rest is the very best thing for you right now. He tells you that the way he saw you running on the treadmill made him believe you were feeling pretty great. Now he knows I just push too hard. He also reassures you that your biomechanics aren’t messed up and that you’re probably sitting there injured because of over-training and perhaps not being more mindful of sleeping enough and eating enough. He reminds you that perfectionism is not the bar to set for you. If you want to be the best runner, mother, spouse, whatever, then it’s your idol because it’s impossible. Perfection is impossible.

Is “PERFECTIONIST” stamped on my forehead? Because more than massage therapy or stretching at my PT session yesterday I received a much-needed “come to Jesus” talk.

In this hardship I’ve seen how blessed I am. Since I don’t see my running peeps for workouts anymore, we met to crochet and knit. We’re cool like that. Two other dear friends left cards and care packages at my doorstep. They get it. They get me.

A dear, lifelong friend of mine who knew me during my eating disorder days recently had dinner with me, and she gently reminded me that I don’t have to perform at running or anything else. I know this has been a persistent theme over on this blog and in my life lately. I’m not sure why I’m struggling again, but the first step to overcoming these chronic feelings of inadequacy is to recognize them and to counter them. This same friend also said that I have a history of running myself in to the ground and that maybe this injury is God’s way of urging me slow down a little and to just soak up life in all its beautiful simplicity.

And, my friends, all this angst and emotion is not just about the running or lack thereof. Something is unfurling with in me at a much deeper level. I write to heal, so I’m writing. That’s all.

Have a happy and safe Halloween and a lovely Feast of All Saints. I hope to post some photos of tonight’s motley crew and tomorrow’s saintly crew.



Enter the Conversation...

6 Responses to “And the MRI says…”
  1. Tracy says:

    I’m so sorry Kate. It sounds like you’ve found a graceful way through this though. ((hugs))

  2. Jessica says:

    I’m so sorry about your injury. That really stinks. Sympathy to your family on the loss of Ivy. She was a sweet dog and I know she meant a lot to you guys and your parents. I hear you about unfurling on a deeper level…I love to read your writing because you can express feelings that I can’t quite put into words. Take care and hope we can visit soon.


  3. Erica Saint says:

    I am sorry about your injury. I am praying for your healing.
    I had to stop my long and intense daily workouts because I realized that they were harming me more than helping me. My lower back and my knees started aching. One day during my prayer time, I realized that I was exercising so hard because I was unhappy. Just like my history with over eating, my over exercising was a form of self abuse. I know it isn’t that way for everyone, but it is for me. These days I am working on seeing and loving myself as God and my family do. Changing my perspective has been hard, but I feel like I am moving slowly in the right direction.
    I think it sounds like you are, too.

  4. Kris says:

    Sorry to read this news. I know it’s not what you wanted. I guess I could write all sorts of platitudes about God focusing you on other things, etc., etc., but I know you already get that in your own head! So I’ll just give you a big virtual hug and tell you that it stinks. Love you!

  5. Angela says:

    Oh, Kate, I’m so sorry to hear about this physical set back. I know how much you love those early morning runs! I won’t get all theological on you, but just as we lovingly course-correct our children, God course-corrects us. He’ll use this for good, so try not to fight it. Remember, He’s “got your back.” You’re in my thoughts and prayers!

  6. Misty says:

    What a bummer. I can relate (partially) in that my running husband has been sidelined by a labral tear and is bemoaning how much he misses running and how hard it is to wait out the full recovery time. (He is trying to avoid surgery by letting it heal first which it cannot do when he keeps trying to work out!) Anyway, I will pray for you and your injuries. The thing you both have going for you is a deep desire to heal and therefore run again which, of course, you will!

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