“No running for at least three months.” That was the verdict from the orthopedist after showing me a spot on the MRI that confirmed a stress fracture in my right hip. “I know this isn’t what you wanted to hear,” said the doc, “but I don’t have a magic wand I can waive to make you heal any faster.” The doctor’s athletic prescription for the next 90 days: swimming and bicycling.
This is definitely not what I wanted to hear just a few short weeks after finishing the St. Jude half marathon, at which time I committed to running a full marathon in 2013. My training plan for the New Year was over before it even began.
According to the doctor, I had reinjured the same bone that had caused me pain in the summer after completing a June race called the Navy 10 nautical-miler (about 12 miles). Truth-be-told, the bone never healed the first time; because I never gave it time to heal properly. After six weeks of abstaining from my favorite athletic activity, I decided it was time to run again in early September. The pain soon followed, but I chose to ignore it until after I met my commitment to complete the half marathon with two sisters and a brother who were coming in from Texas. It was definitely worth the little bit of pain to finish the race with my siblings, but now I had to pay the price for my stubbornness. A 90-day sentence running hiatus left me feeling sorry for myself wondering how I was going to manage three months without the joy of my favorite athletic pastime.
Later the same evening that doc issued his three month sentence, I was whining to my most-supportive fan who reminded me that I had often talked about getting into triathlons. I had never followed through because I’m not a very good swimmer. Maybe my wife was right. This could be “just what the doctor ordered.” Perhaps this was the time off from running I needed to explore another sport. Thanks to my wife, the lemons I thought I would be suffering through might just be the lemonade of another athletic challenge.