Saturday, August 28 — Day 2 with the new Durolane and I woke up without the usual stiff hip. Mind you, I haven’t run since Wednesday, so I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Maybe it IS all in my head, but I’m taking this as a positive sign that the Durolane really works. Tomorrow’s 20-miler will be the first real test.
The radiologist said he tells patients to expect relief in 2-3 weeks. I recall it being almost immediate last time, but since I didn’t really know what ‘relief’ I was expecting, I wasn’t 100% sure that was what I was feeling… or not feeling. This time, I made a point of remembering the pre-injection pain, and I’m not feeling any of it right now.
Sunday, August 29 — I woke up with no pain or stiffness in the hip again. Of course the real test was my first run since the injection, a 20-miler to New Westminster.
The run went fairly well. The hip was problem-free until about an hour in when I could start to feel it throb a little. It was a different, duller kind of pain that I was having before the injection. After a brief pit-stop at Slocan Park a little past halfway through the run, it felt a bit stiff as we got going again.
By the time we hit the final downhill stretch to New West, the pain had levelled off and my sore left ankle started flaring up again and demanding all my attention. We hammered the last third of the run pretty hard and I was a bit of a wreck once it was done. I can’t deny the hip was stiff and sore afterwards but it probably didn’t crack the top five aches on my body (which would probably be my left ankle, left hamstring, right achilles, both feet). I had hoped the hip would have flown through that first run without feeling a thing but that was overly optimistic. Maybe it will take the 2-3 weeks the doc tells patients to expect before it really kicks in.
Monday, August 30 — The hip doesn’t feel too bad this morning. It’s mildly achy, but it’s nothing compared to this tendinitis in my left ankle. Actually, it’s nothing, period. I feel a little tightness in the groin, but the right hip joint doesn’t feel any worse than the left one. Considering how it felt yesterday and how bad my ankle feels today, the hip passed its first test with flying colours.
Tuesday, August 31 — What a difference a day makes. No, not the hip. It’s still feeling pretty good, thanks. Yesterday morning I was pretty bummed about how painful and weak my left ankle was and I was starting to question whether I’d even be ready to buckle down and get through this last month or so of training for Victoria. I iced the hell out if it, did some of these one-legged exercises I’m doing to help my upper hamstring (I figured the balancing aspect would be good for the ankle) and today I think I might be able to hit the track with the guys for more than just the token run up.
Well that was a little more of a workout than I was expecting. Despite the rain we had a full house out at the track. I ran up with Tim and Brian and met Steve, Noah, and Aaron who were about to do a pyramid workout of 400-800-1200-1600-1200-800-400 metres. More than I was planning but what the hell, I figured I’d give it a shot and see how it goes. Michael and Dario showed up to add a little more fuel to the fire.
It was tough, especially watching the kind of reps Steve, Noah and Aaron consistently laid down, but I wasn’t too far behind what I would have run had I been 100%. I haven’t been going to the track regularly since before Scorched Sole in June so I don’t feel I have that speedwork rhythm and flow back yet.
Also, it may be my imagination but I feel like I have to adjust and learn how to run again with the juiced-up hip. It sounds odd and I’m not sure quite how to describe it other than to say the hip feels like it moves a little differently than before: more freely and much less painfully, but just differently enough that it doesn’t really feel like my hip right now. It’s kind of like having to break in a new pair of shoes.
After standing around for a bit chatting, my right groin was tight for the first part of our cool-down run back to Broadway and it felt like something needed to pop to relieve the tightness but it did loosen up. The hip is a little sore now, mostly through the groin and across the outer side but if Monday was any indication, I expect it to be pain-free by tomorrow morning.
Wednesday, September 1 — Okay, maybe my hopes were a little high. I wouldn’t say the hip is sore, but it is a bit stiff and I do feel something there. I’ll cross my fingers — including the broken one that I took out of the splint last night — and hope it loosens up during the day.
Well that was silly. Went out to the Running Room for the Wednesday night run club and while I wasn’t planning to go hard, that seems to be what always happens when you get the right (or wrong, depending on your perspective and frame of mind) combination of people out. Last night was one of those nights and the Queen E Hill route, with its climb to the turnaround atop Queen Elizabeth Park and the long 10th Avenue bike route stretch on the way back, is one of those runs that really invites bad behaviour. After a relaxed pace on the way up to 33rd chatting with Tim about his decision to sign up for Western States, the fun began with a spirited climb to the top. It didn’t help that Wayne had a massive headstart on me by the time I hit the lamp post I use as the official starting point of my climb, and that crazy Marten thought he’d give it a go as well. Nope, with those taunts I wasn’t about to take it easy. I would catch Marten on the way up en route to one of my fastest runs to the top ever, but with Wayne’s headstart and the massive cut he took off the big sweeping bend in the middle (you’re only cheating yourself Wayne!), I finished well behind him.
It was a good test of the hip since last time I climbed that hill during the marathon clinic Boot Camp run three weeks ago, the hip stiffened up so much at the top of the hill that I could barely get started again.
The pace was a little quicker on the gradual downhill back to 10th and with Brian and Wayne winding up for the charge down 10th, I took the bait. Sure enough, it turned into a classic hammerfest on the way back. Once I caught Brian, he and I spat the other guys out the back and ran shoulder-to-shoulder the whole way over the 2.7k stretch of rolling blacktop. We did have lights at Cambie, Oak, and very briefly Hemlock to offer us a little recovery so technically it was more of an interval session, but it was a solid run and a great test for my hip. The hip felt great and the ankle only gave me the slightest clue that it had been unbearably sore just days earlier.
My hip was a bit stiff afterwards, but the run was too much fun not to attack 100%. I could tell I was going to be sore, so I sucked it up and had a 25-minute ice bath while reading the end of Running with the Buffaloes, Chris Lear’s book about the 1998 Colorado University Buffaloes cross-country team. I was so c-c-cold afterwards I could barely hold the book while lying in bed.