About The Unnatural Runner

I was built for a lot of things: lifting heavy items, contact sports, aggressive booty dancing, to name a few.

Running? Is not one of them. Yet, I took up the sport at 16, ran my first Chicago Marathon six months later, and have spent the better part of the past ten years following training plans and draining my bank account to run races. (Full disclosure: I took a spate of hiatuses between the ages of 18-21 so that I could dedicate myself to the drinking of vodka and eating of doughnuts. Priorities.)

Between April and August of 2011, I ran three half marathons and one full. I was running faster splits and higher weekly mileage than I ever thought possible. I was six weeks away from lining up for the Chicago Marathon. And then doctors confirmed what I’ve always known: I was, indeed, not built for running.

More accurately, my left hip was not built for running. I had a syndrome called femoral acetabular impingement (FAI,) which basically meant that the ball of my hip was too big for the socket. The hip ball (technical term,) was knocking against the socket, and had, consequently, torn a hole in my labrum (gold star if you made a labia joke, you’re so darn original!) I couldn’t run more than three miles without feeling like someone was trying to tear my leg off and serve it as fair food.

Sadly, FAI and torn labrums don’t (usually) fix themselves. I begrudgingly nixed the marathon and was scheduled for arthroscopic surgery. I was devastated.

This is how I look when I'm devastated. In this particular instance, I am not devastated about a running injury, but rather, because we ran out of Prosecco. Regardless, I'm sure you get the point.

On November 23rd, my handsome, but freakishly tall orthopeadic surgeon, pumped me full of propofol and jammed a camera in my leg. Seventy two minutes, and five metal anchors later, my ridiculous hip was fixed. (If you enjoy stories about forcibly dislocated joints, bone saws, and morphine-induced vomiting, I suggest you read my full surgery story here…when I get around to posting it some day). For those of you who would prefer not to read about mildly-invasive surgical procedures, the least you can do is take a peek at what my hip looks like today.

The scars are way bigger than they should be. Apparently, I'm not built for normal healing either.

I learned how to walk on my “new” hip during the last two weeks of December, and had my first post-surgery run on January 17, 2012. It clocked-in at five miles per hour and lasted one minute. It was a humbling experience.

From what I’ve been told, I’m in for a long road of humbling experiences. So stick around. The fun is just beginning!


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