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Paranoia and Injuries - Geek Turned Athlete

Paranoia and Injuries

Last week wasn’t the greatest week, and I didn’t really want to mention it on the blog until I knew more about it. About two weeks ago, I felt this pain in my lower pelvic area on my right side. I trained and ignored it until the following Saturday. After a 5 hour ride, I laid down on the couch for a nap, and the pain started up again. It hurt. My husband got fed up, and said, “This is ridiculous. We are going to the hospital. I don’t care if you don’t want to go. We are going.” So we went.

After 2 hours of watching a homeless guy with an extremely swollen eye lecturing scared children about not doing drugs and ending up like him and checking out what my symptoms might be on webmd, we were finally called into see the doctor. He felt around on my abs, took some blood and urine from me, declared me the healthiest patient he has seen in a while besides a possible strained pelvic muscle (he didn’t seem like he cared much), and offered me an ultrasound. I was happy that it wasn’t appendicitis or a hernia, but I wanted an ultrasound to make sure it wasn’t a tumor or anything like that. HOWEVER, I didn’t want to wait 2-3 hrs for the procedure and the results after being at the hospital for 5 hrs already. I immediately regretted my decision to skip the ultrasound when we got home. I made an appt with my primary care physician the following Monday, and cancelled all my workouts for the upcoming week. I didn’t know what the pain was, and if it was in fact a strained muscle, only rest could help it. Standing up from bending over to pick things up hurt, the act of pushing urine out of my bladder hurt, random body stances hurt. Something was wrong.

A few days later, I got my ultrasounds and results. I still had pain. The results: I have moderate skeletal muscle strain in my pelvic area. The doc said that these take 4-6 weeks to heal. After momentarily freaking out about the prospect of not being able to train for my Ironman, I got an email from one of my teammates about calling Heidi from Rockwood Clinic here in town. She works at the sports rehab clinic as an athletic trainer. I guess she has worked with a lot of people from my tri and running teams.

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I got my gait analyzed. One thing to work on at a time. Pick my feet up about 1/4 of an inch more than I usually do.

We did some strength tests which were utterly embarrassing.  Apparently, even though I train a lot, my stabilizer muscles aren’t very strong which causes my body to compensate with other muscles leading to bad form and injuries.

According to Heidi, my body is unbalanced.  My left side is stronger than my right side.  I need to do more ab and abductor work. Apparently, I am very weak in those areas. People can get away with being weak in those areas training for 1/2 marathons and such for a while without injuries, but according to Heidi, Ironman tends to bring out the imbalances in a way that you can’t ignore them (ie. my pelvic muscle strain that sidelined me for a week at the least).

I’m allowed to train this week, but I’m not allowed to run or bike up any hills since I’m still recovering. It kinda sucks. Only trainer rides, easy swims, and slow flat runs. However, I can’t complain too much. Considering the alternative: tumors, appendicitis, hernias, pregnancy (sorry, had to add that in too), it isn’t too bad.

Do I regret having all that testing done? Heck no. That is such a sensitive region down there with the ovaries, uterus, etc., I’m glad I know for sure it is a strained muscle.

After my trainer session, a run with the dogs in the rain was called for. Although you can’t tell from this horrible iphone pic, I was soaking wet from the rain. It was kinda of a therapeutic run. Nice.


Heidi gave me some exercises to do until the next time that I see her, and I’m actually going to do them!!  People say that the few months before your Ironman you start getting paranoid about your health, and they aren’t kidding!!  I’m so paranoid about getting sick and injuring myself right now.  I have spent way too much time thinking and training for this thing, not to mention the $$$!!  I’m not going down without a fight! haha

Obviously, I did the smart thing and did not train at all last week.  And you know what?  It worked.  The pain has gone away (at least for now), and I have the peace of mind that I don’t have a tumor.  Onwards and upwards!!

Have you ever seen an athletic trainer (not a personal trainer)?  What did you think?  Have you ever NOT rested, and your injury got worse?  I’ve heard of way too many stories of that happening.

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • lindsay September 28, 2011, 9:24 am

    i think its a great that you saw the athletic trainer. They are all above overcoming these injuries, the odd ones, the stubborn ones. You will come back stronger!
    lindsay recently posted..P.I.T (Pin It Tuesday)

    • Nicole September 28, 2011, 10:38 am

      Oh good! She is really good at what she does. I can tell already just from one visit. She has worked on a few pro triathletes in the area too which totally gives me confidence in her!

  • Lisa September 28, 2011, 11:20 am

    I’m so sorry you are going through this but I am glad you got tested and figured things out!! That’s good news. Now you can figure out how to improve your body and avoid injury.

    Last year when I got hurt (IT Band) I knew right away it was a real injury and I stopped running. Took 2 months off, saw lots of different doctors. It sucked but it also turned out to be a good thing. I realized I was too focused on running. I started lifting weights and it turned out to be the best thing I could ever do.

    I also saw a Sports Medicine doc (who was also a runner) and he helped me get back to running. AND he figured out one leg was slightly shorter than the other. So I was also running with an unbalance in my body. He gave me a $3 rubber insert for one shoe and it cured me!
    Lisa recently posted..These Hips Don’t Lie

  • Erica September 28, 2011, 2:14 pm

    Pheqwwwwww! Glad ita nothing serious. The body analysis sounds cool! I want to have it done
    Erica recently posted..Cookie’s Flour Free Energy Bars

  • Leila @ Spinach and Skittles September 28, 2011, 9:08 pm

    Ugggh, bummer! I go to Rockwood for physical therapy. I have really weak hips, and I hyperextend my knees, which brought about a strained IT band after my half marathon this summer. I had to cut running out of my life for 2 months…and now I am somewhat afraid to start again! So I have to build up my core and abductors as well. I’ve become a pro at the monster walks.
    Leila @ Spinach and Skittles recently posted..why I shouldn’t go to Costco hungry

  • Britt @ RunWithBritt October 1, 2011, 1:15 pm

    I had some really bad ITB issues right before I started training for my marathon and I had the same problem. I had really bad abductors and a very weak gluteus medius. Who would have thunk it?! Haha. I went to the chiropractor and got some awesome exercises to do which have helped tremendously. It’s cool you got to get your gait analyzed! I’ve always wanted to do that. 🙂 I hope you feel better soon, being sidelined is no fun.
    Britt @ RunWithBritt recently posted..Sub 2 Hour Half!

  • Jen W. October 6, 2011, 6:57 am

    Great to hear that it was nothing and you’re continuing on! It’s amazing what we take for granted with certain areas. Over the summer, at 31 years old, I have had both of my hips replaced. Before surgery, I never would have known anything about stablizer muscles…now it’s a whole new ball game. They are the MAIN thing I have to work on and it’s crazy watching and feeling the changes that happen over time as I’ve been recovering from the surgeries!

    • Nicole October 6, 2011, 9:40 am

      Wow!! I think it is super inspiring how you are working on becoming stronger. Many people would have just given up because they had to have surgery. Keep fighting!!

      • Jen W. October 6, 2011, 7:33 pm

        Thank you! 🙂 I have to! I have a 5 year old I wanna keep up with and do things with! 🙂
        Jen W. recently posted..Vroom vroom!

  • TriGirl October 6, 2011, 8:10 am

    Err, ouch! I also have virtually no stabilizing abilities and have started working with a PT. I’ve had to give up training for–and running–my first marathon because of tendon issues. It sounds like you took the smart route and will be an Ironman before you know it!
    TriGirl recently posted..Canadian Cycle Class: It’s American-like but with different-coloured bikes.

  • Ben October 6, 2011, 2:50 pm

    Glad to hear that you are getting your injuries under control. FYI – I happen to be an Athletic Trainer as well, hence the atc in my email address. If you have any questions or need clarification of anything your ATC tells you, feel free to send them my way.

    • Nicole October 6, 2011, 5:23 pm

      Nice to know, thanks!!!


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