Friday, August 22, 2014

Hernias & PBs

About 3 weeks ago, towards the end of a particularly hard treadmill threshold session, I noticed some pain in my lower abdomen/groin area. Thinking it was just a strain, I didn't worry too much about it, but it got progressively worse over a week, culminating with having to cut short an easy run while I was in Wollongong visiting a client.

After some internet research, I confidently self-diagnosed with Osteitis Pubis (I TOLD YOU, I'M NOT THAT KIND OF DOCTOR), and visited a massage therapist who had claimed some success with treating that sort of injury. He agreed that my ligaments seemed very tight through that area, and proceeded to subject me to all kinds of torturous manipulation that had me yelling in pain, for which I thanked him by paying him $80 and was on my way.

In the few days prior to seeing him, the injury had settled down enough to continue training, and in fact the Tuesday of my appointment, I broke my 14k lunchtime loop PB, an effort I improved on again two days later. The massage didn't seem to improve the injury though. Sitting up was difficult, coughing hurt as well, and sneezing was agonizing enough to have me doubled over in pain.

The running itself was bearable, with the pain at about a 5/10, sometimes worse. After a few kilometres though, I tend to be able to block it out, particularly as I get fatigued and concentrate more on keeping form and cadence. Apart from every stride being painful, it's actually been a pretty successful training block leading in to Surf Coast Century. The two 14k PBs came after a weekend where I did the 42k Arthurs Seat Triple on consecutive days, and by the Friday, I'd clocked 179k in 7 days, easily my biggest ever.

I treated myself to an easy weekend, hoping the injury would show signs of improvement, but by Tuesday, after a hard interval session on the Seaford Trail where I blitzed one of my splits in a quick (for me) 3:42, I was pretty sore again the next day, and decided I better go see the doc. Well it turns out, I almost certainly have an Inguinal Hernia, which wasn't the best news I have heard for a while. The doctor was pretty careful about advising whether I can keep running or not, but obviously once I got home, I jumped on the web again to suss it out.

The upshot is, the risks of doing serious damage are pretty low, and if I can cope with the pain, then I can probably keep running. The first available appointment with the surgeon was not until two days after Surf Coast Century, so I figured that was a sign to forge ahead. That decided, I celebrated by taking a couple of Panadol, and heading out for a hard 15k road/trail loop, which I completed in 1:03:18 at 4:13 pace. This is way quicker than I have ever done that loop before, which makes the injury news even more disappointing. Once I do have surgery, there'll be no running for 6 weeks, and at my age, it will take me ages to capture this sort of form again (if ever).

Given that I don't have private health cover, the waiting time for surgery could be at least 6 months, which means if it doesn't get substantially worse, I can probably still do Two Bays in January, but everything after that is up in the air at the moment. I'm trying not to be too despondent about it. There are plenty worse off than me, and I can still keep running for now. I'm fit, in form, and ready to give SCC a real shake, hoping to break 9:30, and run top 8. While it will be painful, I imagine that by 50k, it won't even be in the top 3 things bothering me, and by the end of 100k, probably not even top 5!

Two big runs coming up this weekend - back to the Arthurs Seat Triple on Saturday afternoon, then on Sunday morning, Andy Turner is coming down to join me for an epic 58k Greens Bush to Rye Back Beach return. It will be interesting to see how it holds up. Slow steady runs don't seem to bother it as much as the harder sessions, so if I get through the weekend OK, I'll have a lot more confidence for the race.