I promised you all some updates on my sacral stress fracture recovery, and I have to share with you a recent discovery that has come to light that is both great news as well as incredibly frustrating. At the moment (12/22), we are right in the midst of the 3rd week of forced rest. So how do I feel, what am I doing, where am I going, and what were the results of the Bone Density scan??
First, let’s review:
Sacral Stress Fracture Recovery and Injury Timeline
- October 11: Chicago Marathon, Followed by week of rest and then light running before return to running. Longest run in the next 3 weeks–one 10 miler during vacation and 8 milers otherwise.
- October 28-29: acute onset of Sacral Stress Fracture
- November 1: Initial PM&R and Chiropractic Appointment
- December 3: MRI of Pelvis and Spine
- December 4: Diagnosis of Sacral Stress Fracture; Commencement of crutches use, onset of Forced Rest from waist down (Previously doing upright bike workouts and some upper body
- December 9: DEXA Bone Density Scan
- December 11: Initial Consultation with Certified Clinical Nutritionist
- December 17: PM&R Follow Up, Bone Density Results
- New Years: Follow Up with PM&R
Not that I’ve kept track or anything.
Stress Fracture Recovery Check In: How Do I Feel?
By and large, I am about the same as 2 weeks ago: pain is minimal and during certain transitional phases, such as lifting things that are placed off to the side, and certain shifting when I am laying down. The best way to describe it is that I know that my injury still isn’t healed and 100%, but I can’t say OUCH necessarily.
Impact hurts it less and less, which is great news–that means that the area is actually healing. Walking feels totally fine, by and large! If I do too much that stresses the area, I can feel it, but increasingly the feeling is more that of a soft tissue strain than a bone-deep ache. I think that is a combination of the soft tissue connections to the injured area and the fact that I try so hard not to mobilize the area.
Last week–two weeks into my forced rest and being on crutches–I had some achiness, and I had a pretty rough moment last Monday as I realized that there was no way that I would be cleared to add bike back on and a freak out about Boston, which I had started to get my hopes up about again.
But this week, I am much more at peace. The ups and downs of stress fracture recovery! Edited to add: I have had a big setback this week, and I am now worried that there has been a reinjury. Read about it here.
Stress Fracture Recovery Check In: What are the Next Steps?
When I went back to the PM&R last week, I knew that I wouldn’t be cleared for the bike, but I was thinking maybe just another week of not doing it. Dr Sheng, however, thinks that it is best (and I, honestly, agree) that I hold off on the bike and such until at least New Years, when I will have a phone call check in with him to verify my progress. The hope is that I can start doing bike again then.
Sven and Olaf (my crutches) are with me for the long(er) haul for my stress fracture recovery–I will likely continue to be on crutches full time until we go to Cabo the second week of January, and it looks like I will be traveling with them. Hope Alex is ready to carry all the luggage! I will admit to not being on them 100% throughout the day, but I use them for about 75% of my day.
Edited to add: I am now scared that with the reinjury, I will be pushed even further back in my recovery, but my plans remain the same–to give my body the time that it needs to heal!
As to when I will be back running, the plan is to take my own advice regarding how to start running again after injury and use a run-walk program and really work hard on rehabilitation. I will have to concentrate super hard on assessing pain versus discomfort, and make sure that I take it slowly, just as I did before Ragnar.
What about Running and Training For the Boston Marathon after Stress Fracture Recovery?
I have made the decision that I am going to do the Boston Marathon, unless something catastrophic occurs. As long as I am able to start my run-walk program by the end of January, I will be able to complete enough of a marathon training cycle to be able to safely train.
I want to be 100% clear that I am doing this with the blessing of my doctors (who I consult along the way), that working with runners coming back from injury is a huge part of my run coaching business, and that I am prepared to pull the plug if something happens. But the race and accommodations are payed for, I’ve earned the right to the experience, and I can’t keep putting off having a family. Edited to add: if I have indeed reinjured myself, I will just take my time and do what I can–I have to take care of my body over my ego!
In many ways, going to Boston, crossing the finish line, and getting my jacket and medal are integral to the closure that I need as I move on to the next phase of my life. That might sound crazy, but think of it as my Bachelorette party, but for marathons and pre-preggers.
But again, my long term health is #1–if it turns out to be a bad idea, I will honor that.
Results of the DEXA Bone Density Scan and Meaning?
This was the huge surprise for me of the past week. As I mentioned previously, I rated as Osteopenic (or lower-than-optimal bone density) three years ago; we expected that, with my stress injuries from this year, to have similar findings, if not more progressive osteopenia.
Well slap me with a pool noodle: I don’t even qualify as osteopenic any more. I am back to the healthy bone density spectrum.
You mean that my running, strength training, careful nutrition, and supplementation programs… have worked?
Follow up post to come, but this is incredible news for my stress fracture recovery, as it means that I will be able to heal completely, and far faster than if I were dealing with sub-par bone density.
And yet, the news is a bit frustrating. I talked to Alex about it last night, saying that the news made me really blame myself and feel vulnerable as I work with my clients–who am I to help others when I can’t read myself? It makes it seem more and more that I made stupid decisions and “did this to myself.”
So… Did I “do this to myself”?
But Alex, in doctor (as well as husband) mode, made an important point: Athletes get hurt, no matter how carefully they train, when they go big. My heart broke yesterday when I heard about Suzy’s husband Andrew’s hamstring. In short, you can be as prepped as possible, but something still happens. I think that I ran too hard of a marathon without realizing just how hard I had run it, and no, I didn’t give my body the recovery that it apparently needed. My soft tissue was okay, but my bone was not.
And, as Alex made the very good point: It is still remarkably rare to stress fracture your sacrum–it is very likely that my disease and body chemistry paid a role in that.
So, in the end, blame lies in both forces within and beyond my control. But that is life. And now we move on.BIG NEWs in @suzlyfe's stress fracture and bone health update #runchat #fitfluential Click To Tweet
So here is to a new year, where I hope that I will FINALLY be accomplish my goal to be injury free. But either way? I can’t fault myself for using my extra oxygen.
Sometimes you go big and you burn yourself–when was the last time that you did that?
Tell me about the power of exercise in your life to make you healthier!