Rest -- complete rest if possible.
I knew what Dr. Jen was going to say before she said it but even so, the words, actually hearing them, stung.
After running the epic but brutal Hood to Coast relay two weeks ago, I began noticing some twinges in my left hip flexors as I resumed my training for Fort4Fitness and Veterans Marathon. It didn't hurt but it didn't feel good, either.
As the week progressed and the mileage on the hip accumulated, I began to feel more uncomfortable -- during the runs and after. I had to resort to a limp after running the Oak Brook half marathon and the 4-hour drive home Monday.
I iced. I stretched. I foam rolled. I took anti-inflammatories and added fish oil to my diet. I hoped that it would all ease the discomfort in my hip flexors ... and my psyche.
And it did. I woke up this morning without stiffness, much less pain, so I threw on my Brooks Ravennas and headed out for a test run on what was a perfect morning. The first mile was slow but uneventful. The second was still slow but my focus was starting to drift to the left side. By mile 3, I knew that my grand visions of hitting 5 or 6 miles for the day would be unrealized. At 3.75 miles, I stopped in front of the driveway and nearly cried in frustration.
The only thing that was consoling me was that I had already scheduled an appointment with Dr. Jen at Hoosier Sports & Chiropractic, 3621 Lake Ave. I had seen her last year when I had some IT Band problems training for the Columbus Marathon and knew I could trust her to get me back to running and running healthfully.
We went through some assessments to test function and range of motion of the joints before she got cracking -- literally. It was nice in a sadistic sort of way. She then moved to the hip, pressed down and asked, "Does that hurt?"
"Yes," I said while thinking something not quite so benign.
As it turns out, the source of my pain is my psoas, one of the primary hip flexors. It's tight, if anything, and could be strained but nothing run-shattering or sole-crushing. For now.
The "for now" part being key. If I want to show up to the starting line of my fall races healthy and happy, than I need to step back and risk being slightly undertrained rather than overtrained and hurt.
Dr. Jen taped me up to support the hip flexors, as well as the right hip extensors as those are likely to compensate for a change in movement, and sent me on my way.
If there was any good news, she said I didn't need to come back ... unless the pain isn't better by next week, and that last part was added as an afterthought.