For what is such a simple activity that requires a minimum of gear, running certainly eats up quite a bit of my bank account. And I'm not even talking shoes and sports bras, two items which definitely need to be replaced more often than I do. (O.k., maybe not so much on the bras; Lycra doesn't stretch much holding up mini-pancakes.)
What drains my money is trying to figure out what is going on with my left hute (glute/hip) and knee. At this point--over two years into the condition--I've seen two PT's; one highly renowned orthopedist whose biggest suggestion was changing my shoes (oh, so glad I waited three weeks and paid an out-of-network cost for that brilliant advice); one sports chiropractor; one biomechanist; and had multiple sessions of ART (active release technique); one set of x-rays on my lower back (after seeing my arthritic back, the tech asked me, "Have you ever been in a car accident?" Fortunately, no.) and one MRI on my knee; and more deep tissue, definitely not-relaxing massages than I care to remember.
I haven't added up the total of all that inconclusive care for fear that it'll cripple me more than my left side does now.
I admit, I haven't always been the best patient with the best follow-through, but still. We can put a man on the moon. Six qualified experts and countless hours, should, one would think, be able to piece together an explanation as to why, on most days after I run, I feel like I'd be better off just cutting off my left leg than trying to untangle and soothe its ligaments and knotted muscles.
I don't have to tell you that our country is in a scary place economically, and our family is feeling it as much as most families are around the country. We got some shockingly high insurance bills last week from the sports chiro, the one who has definitely had the biggest positive effect on my body, and my husband and I had a minor domestic over them and, consequently, my running.
To me, running isn't just a hobby: it's my mental lubricant, my confidence builder, and, um, as you may have guessed, a significant source of my income.
To him, also a runner, my running has mostly been a financial and emotional suck; after the half-marathon we ran together in Austin over Valentine's Day, I couldn't stop the tears because I was in so much pain, and I knew how much sitting for three hours on a plane would slay me even further. (Romantic, huh?) I know he's sick of hearing me complain, which I totally get--I'm even sick of hearing me complain--and the bills, I think, were the catalyst to finally let him vent about how frustrated he is with the whole ordeal.
And his concerns are rational: I understand money that should be going to college funds (or, better yet, our retirement) is going to my body. But running for me isn't rational. It's more religion, and I'm at odds to reconcile the situation.
So I stumble forward. Next to-do on my diagnosis list is a costly MRI of my lower back. I do think this examination might be the one that finally unlocks a few secrets, as I have little power in my left leg and am fairly certain I've got some seriously blocked nerves. But will it lead to THE diagnosis? Doubtful. At this point, I don't think there is such a thing, unless there's a diagnosis called Dimity Not Natural Runner. And there's a chance it may lead to a recommendation to stop running totally, which I won't be able to stomach.
My appointment, which I'm still not sure I'll go to, is in about 1.5 weeks. I'm taking it easy, running-wise, until then. I haven't run since Monday, but have been strength training and PT'ing and spinning. I know two weeks of relative rest and rehab won't cure me, but I'm hoping I feel a slight step in the right direction, and, with that progress, I can confidently cancel the MRI and stay the course. (I'm sad to report, though, that six days of R + R hasn't produced any marked improvement.) I dropped out of the Zooma half-marathon at the end of March in Austin, which is the first time I've picked recovery over racing.
It wasn't easy to say no--and I'll still be there cheering obnoxiously on the sidelines--but enough is enough. Time to really focus on a new, more important race with a different goal: to have both my body (and our finances) eventually be healthier, if not totally healed.
Do you have tough decisions, financial, injury or otherwise, you have to make about running?