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NYC Marathon 2010: The Idiot Runner copes with injury



I’ve always been the kind of guy who would much rather kick back with a cold one and watch other people play sports than actually do any myself.

Soccer, football, basketball, baseball … you name it, I’d happily sit back and watch somebody else do it, but I’ve never been the kind to wield a bat myself. My couch potato gene has always been somewhat dominant.

This year, that all changed: my genetic re-engineering of myself began this Memorial Day weekend. I started running and very quickly set myself the goal of running the New York marathon on Nov. 7. I did everything by the book, or as by the book as somebody going from zero exercise to a full marathon in just a few months can do. I followed a respected training program, never upped my mileage by more than the recommended 10 percent per week, I cross trained (OK, not that much, but some), and I always took the prescribed number of rest days. Those were my favorite: I’m an expert rester.

In short, I tried as hard as possible to be a sensible runner, and for the first couple of months everything was going swimmingly. Then, all of a sudden, I felt something in my right hip. It started as a dull pain that went away soon after running, but it got progressively worse. Within a week or so it was constant. Before long, I found it difficult to walk and running was absolutely out of the question.

One X-ray, two doctor’s visits, two physical therapy sessions and an MRI later, the diagnosis was in: tendinitis in my hip, a labral tear and a minor gluteus medius (butt) tear. That’s right, a literal pain in my butt, to go with the figurative one. The two tears aren’t that much of problem, but the tendinitis is more of an issue. It’s basically tennis elbow in my hip.

Honestly, who gets tennis elbow in their hip?

So I’ve taken a little enforced time off, and the good news is I appear to be making a good recovery. My 2010 marathon dream is thankfully still alive, but I’ve had to scale back my ambition somewhat: A month ago I was pretty confident that I’d be able to break a sub-four hour marathon, now I’ll just be happy to finish.

I resume my training this week, fingers crossed that all goes well. And if anyone ever tells you that this marathon training lark is easy, they’re lying.
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