Listen to Your Body and Other “Lies” My Doctor Told Me

Between pre and post-surgery physical therapy, I spent over 20 weeks attending regular PT sessions. I learned a lot of fun things over those 20 weeks, like how to use Lamaze breathing to get through manual piriformis release without crying, and that the anchors that are holding my labrum together will not set off metal detectors, and, perhaps most importantly, that I’m going to have to listen to my body if I want to run for the rest of my life.

So. Much. Fun. Want to do this forever (or until I bonk at mile 9).

That last one is kind of tricky because, well, I think the whole “listening to my body” thing is the biggest cop out ever. It’s become this perfect, not-to-be-argued-with excuse. “Listening to my body! Taking another rest day!” “Yoga > tempo run. Listening to my body.” To you it might sound all namaste, at-peace with my physical being, but all I hear is, “I’m lazy! Going home to eat Doritos!”

Eating a giant cheeseburger at 2 a.m.! Listening to my body!

And then race day comes and the body whisperers are all pissed because they missed their PR, and it’s like, really? Perhaps if you spent half as much time, you know, running, as you did, listening to your body, you’d have some sort of kick. So yes, when I was told by my physical therapist, and my surgeon, and several PA’s that I would need to listen to my body as I started back to running after surgery, I was just kind of like…

But, much to my surprise, returning to running with a marginally bionic hip is totally different than returning to running with an unadulterated skeletal system. Sure, the pain and soreness I felt when I started a new running plan after several months of laying on the couch inhaling cheesy garlic bread sucked, but this kind of pain and soreness? Suuucks.

It’s kind of hard to explain, but it just feels more serious than pre-surgery running soreness. It’s as if my hip is saying, “You push me to run another day this week and I swear I will bust into four pieces and make you drag me home.” Not to mention that no matter how much I foam roll, and stretch, and wear spandex shorts lined with ice packs, there are some days that I just cannot seem to recover. It’s frustrating. It’s foreign. And the only way that it can be effectively dealt with? Listening to my body. Not running when I’m excessively sore. Taking an extra non-impact day when I can’t seem to recover. Cutting runs short when I experience that excruciating, yanking sensation that runs from the bottom of my butt cheek to the back of my knee (thankfully, this has subsided the longer I’ve been running, but for a while there, it was a delightful, routine occurrence). It’s slightly ego-crushing–you’re lying if you’re a competitive human being who says they don’t get a thrill from gutting it out, no matter what–but it’s working. I am getting stronger and adding mileage without hip pain, which is basically the whole point of paying $79,000 for the surgery, in the first place.

You thought I was hyperbolizing. I was not. Yes, I have insurance.

So rest assured, when I say, “I’m listening to my body,” I’m not just trading my miles for cool ranch flavored corn chips and fat pants. Although, I do really like fat pants. Comment-baiting question: Do you listen to your body, or “listen to your body?”

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Take Out Your Syallbus

I hate firsts.

The first day of a new semester.

Every first day I’ve ever had at a new job.

The first run after a long hiatus.

They all suck. I’d so much rather be in that comfortable, middle stage where the routine is set, where everyone knows one another, where running three miles doesn’t feel like sheer Hell.

So, obviously, I hate this post. Because it’s my first.

I feel like I’m back in Psychology 357 just waiting for my turn to do some ridiculous icebreaker speech. Hi, my name is Kristen. I have two dogs. I love running. I own a hot dog stand. Two truths and a lie, because…what else is there?

So let’s not make this anymore painful than it has to be, k?

My name is Kristen, I do own two dogs.

Fez

Buttercup

do love running, I do not own a hot dog stand (sadly). I had a blog once before, but that ship has sailed, so like the unfortunate rebound guy I “dated” in high school? Let’s not relive the past.

I got married almost two years ago, which means that I have a husband. His name is John.

He’s the one wearing the suit.

As I said, I do love running, sadly, my left hip does not love running nearly as much. I had an abnormally-shaped femoral head (aka, hip ball), hence the torn labrum I suffered last summer, hence my DNS-ing the 2011 Chicago Marathon, hence the arthroscopic hip surgery the day before Thanksgiving 2011, hence me happily/exasperatedly/angrily/joyfully trying to get back into running shape, hence the, aptly titled, blog. (You can read a more exhaustive recap of my hip being a total ass in the About section).

I’ve come a long way since I started to “run” in January. I’m running the Chicago Spring Half Marathon this weekend and I ran 14 miles this past Saturday, so, barring any major catastrophes, finishing shouldn’t be a problem.

Well, I feel like we’re all caught up, which is nice. Now we can settle into a cute little routine where I indulge my closet narcissism by posting about my every minor athletic accomplishment, and you read while rolling your eyes in exasperation. Stick around, it’s bound to be a good time.

Welcome to The Unnatural Runner!