After weeks of resting, a handful of intimate doctors’ appointments, and a lot of waiting, I was finally given an official diagnosis: dual hernia.
Surgery has been scheduled for mid-September and there will be at least another four weeks of recover. However, given how cautious I want to be about the thin pieces of mesh that will be holding my insides together I’ll probably wait a few extra weeks before I start running again.
I have not gone running since July 22nd.
In related news, I have not played basketball since July 23rd and I have not played soccer since August 3rd. I have been walking regularly and even managed a few mellow outings in the kayak in the last few weeks. But as someone who prides himself on being sporty this lack of activity has been brutal.
The trouble started in March. During training runs I was noticing a bit of tightness in my lower abdomen. It wasn’t pain, but rather some mild discomfort that usually went away after the first mile or so. If I wasn’t running, this tightness was nonexistent. I’ve had many muscle related injuries – pulls, cramps, strains – that usually go way with time. As long as I ignored them and kept the blood flowing, they would eventually disappear.
So I stubbornly pushed on.
Between March and July I ran a trail 10K, PR-ed a 5K, ran a tough (but ultimately very successful) half marathon on Whidbey Island, participated in a leisurely family 5K, ran another trail 10K, participated in my town’s annual a 5-mile fun run, and enjoyed the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half. Then in mid-July I pulled off perhaps my most impressive feat, posting a personally impressive time (25:10) at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago 5K. I did this on five hours of sleep after boozing it up with my college friends the night before AND it turns out I also did it with two hernias. (Mic drop.)
When I returned from the Windy City I found that my abdominal tightness finally reached Ouch! That doesn’t feel right at all status. As my discomfort morphed into more acute pain, I decided it was time to rest and perhaps visit my doctor. It didn’t take him long to make an initial diagnosis (Turn your head and couch, please.) that was later confirmed via ultrasound. Having Googled lower abdomen pain once or twice, I wasn’t shocked by the bad news and was, in some ways, kind of relieved to finally know what was going on down there. But the thought of a long recovery, which included weeks and weeks of inactivity made me cranky. For all intents and purposes, my running year was over.
Technically, I’ll be back at it before the calendar reads 2018, but I had laid out an ambitious year of running and now that’s done. My “race-a-month” streak has ended and I won’t be able to run a 3rd half in the fall. I’m planning on running a turkey trot in November, but I’ll probably be sucking wind the whole time, my body a shadow of what it was during the first half of 2017.
Not running blows. But I have enough perspective to understand I’m still somewhat fortunate. It’s not like I wrecked my knee or blew up my Achilles. I don’t have months of rehab and physical therapy in front of me. I simply have to endure a very common procedure then sit on my ass for 4-6 weeks. Sadly, there was a time when I was actually really good at sitting on my ass. This hiatus will be chance for me to return to my roots and get back to the sedentary, slothful existence I once lived. I’ll probably even enjoy the slower pace and the lack of exercise.
I just hope I don’t enjoy it too much.