The Hips Don’t Lie

I haven’t run in a fortnight.

If you didn’t read ridiculous amounts of Brit Lit in high school or college, that’s two weeks, y’all.

Two agonizing, never-ending, insufferable weeks.

I’m pretty ticked off. And grumpy.

My husband might use more colorful terms to describe my mood. I don’t blame him.


I’m not sure what triggered the injury.

For once, I can’t blame zealous overtraining for landing me on the inactive list.

After recovering from the Richmond Marathon, I spent most of January rebuilding my base. I avoided speed sessions and hard tempo runs. I enjoyed laid back trail runs when the weather permitted.

In February, I felt a niggle in my left hip after another snow day forced me onto the dreadmill.

I felt fine while I was running, but afterwards my hip protested. Loudly.

It wasn’t a sharp pain I could pinpoint to a single spot. It was a radiating ache that spread down the outside of my hip.

I took a few days off and tried again. Same results.


I tried to play it smart. To err on the side of caution.

I took an entire week off running while I was on a business trip. I did strength workouts and cross training. I started to feel better.

I got home and tried running again. Bad idea.

My hip felt fine during an easy 3.5 mile run, but I paid for it the next day. Just sitting at my desk was uncomfortable.

That’s how I ended up here, two weeks later, my forlorn running shoes collecting dust and my poor psyche pounded to a pulp.

I haven’t been to the doctor yet. Ridiculous, right?

I’m blaming my procrastination on three factors.

  1. My work schedule is so freakin’ insane right now. I barely have time to blink, much less schedule an appointment with the ortho.
  2. I was sincerely hoping time off would magically resolve the issue.
  3. I’m not sure I want to hear what the doc has to say!


We’re leaving on vacation next week. With everything I need to wrap up at work and home before the trip, I really don’t have time to schedule an appointment.

Thank Goodness for Cross-Training

I’m ignoring the guilt-inducing looks from my kicks and going to the pool instead.

Just call me Flipper. Or Nessy.

With all my angst and excess energy channeled into swimming, I’m a beast in the water.

At least I’ll have sexy swimmer shoulders for our trip!

I’m also wearing my ass out on the trainer. Literally.

I hadn’t been on my bike in ages, so that first ride was killer on my derriere. I’m slowly rebuilding my tolerance for the saddle, while tearing through my Kindle backlog.

And I’m mixing in plenty of body weight exercises to strengthen my hips and surrounding muscles. Loads of lunges, squats, leg lifts, and more. Pure fun.

If your idea of fun is the fiery sensation of a million solar flares engulfing your quads, hammies, and glutes for the duration of your workout. And days after.

A Wake-Up Call?

If we get back from our trip and my hip is still hurting, I’ll drag my sorry ass to the doctor.

Who knows? Maybe two more weeks sans running will actually do the trick.

Maybe the warm waters of the Caribbean are chockful of healing minerals and magic. Maybe Vitamin D is the perfect remedy for what ails me.

Maybe this injury is the universe’s way of telling me to mix it up. To give my body a break from the pavement pounding. To slow down, take a breath, and enjoy a little R&R.

So I can come home in two weeks and reunite with my true love.

I sure hope so.

Because it’s been two weeks, y’all. And I’m going crazy!

When was the last time you had to take a break from something you love? How did you handle it?


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69 thoughts on “The Hips Don’t Lie

  1. I hope all you need is a break. But I am sure the swimming will do you good. Many years ago, I was training for the NY Marathon and about 16 miles in on a training run , my knee gave. I could barely even walk, let alone run. I was out for months, and miserable. I did train for another marathon after that, but I never did the really long runs after that. I truly hope your vacation is relaxing and you come back feeling completely refreshed (and uninjured!).
    Michelle recently posted…White Bean Chicken Chili {Quick and Easy Meals}My Profile

    • Thanks, Michelle. I’m hoping this vacation is just what my body needs. When I trained for my first marathon, I got hurt the WEEK before the race. It was devastating when I couldn’t go. I’ve been relatively injury-free since then, so I guess I was overdue. Boo!

  2. Sorry to hear this Nicole, injuries are so frustrating! Maybe if you could fit in a visit to the sports doctor before you go you can get some rehab exercises to do while you are on holiday, so you’d be that much further ahead when you get home? I know when I was injured I really focused on my exercises, which was my way of coping. I’m too impatient to wait!
    Your holiday sounds amazing – have an awesome time! (and take lots of photos for us!)
    Sherry recently posted…I must be a runner because…My Profile

  3. I’m so sorry. You know I get it. It really stinks that you can’t find a reason behind it, too. Perhaps a different gait on the treadmill? Whatever the case, I’m crossing my fingers that it goes away quickly. Vacation is well timed to take your mind off it, at least.

    Sending you healing vibes.
    misszippy recently posted…Improve your cadenceMy Profile

    • Thanks, Amanda. Having gone through an injury recently, I knew you’d understand. It’s the pits! But I’ll figure it out and work my way back! At least I’ve got a year til Boston! Plenty of time!

  4. Oh Nicole, this is not good. I can’t imagine a two week break – even though you’re only taking a break from running and not sweating entirely so thank goodness for that!!! I think this vacation is just what you need to hit the re-set button. That said, you should get your sore hiney to the doc as soon as you get home. That hip sounds like there’s something not-so-good going on.
    Allie recently posted…The Rundown: No Rest for the WearyMy Profile

    • Yes, thank goodness for swimming and spinning. Otherwise they’d have to lock me up! And I will definitely get my ever-expanding hiney to the doc as soon as I can. Promise!

  5. I hate hearing this! So this might be a far fetched idea, but hey, you’ve got to consider at everything. You say it felt better on your business trip, but reared it’s ugly head when you got home and ran. Could it be that it’s not the running. Could it be something like hiking that hip up to carry Monkey around (and she’s weighing more now). You had an adorable picture of you carrying her on a very recent post. Maybe that’s the root of the problem and running is exacerbating it. Just a though…

    Anyway, injuries that keep us sidelined are no fun! And I hope you get it figured out quickly.
    Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted…2002 Washington DC Marathon Recap And A Class Action LawsuitMy Profile

    • Aren’t those eBibs great? Ilovetorun.org has all kinds of great ones!

      I’ve learned a lot about my hips and how easy it is for women to get out of whack, especially after giving birth and during certain times of the month. Argh. So frustrating!

  6. Hi, Nicole! So sorry about your hip – not good! I had to post when I read about it because I also had a hip injury where I couldn’t pinpoint the exact trigger. Wanted to give you the rundown of what eventually worked. Started with cutting back on the running, laying off entirely. No better. Went to a sports med dr, did PT and injections. No better. Finally took the advice of several running friends and went to see a chiropractor who practices ART (Active Release Technique). Totally worth it. I couldn’t run more than 1 1/2 miles without it bothering me and after I worked up to my normal distances again. I ignored mine for 5 months before taking action and I don’t recommend that – just prolongs the running withdrawal! When I couldn’t run I felt like I was missing an old friend so I feel for you! Good luck, have a great trip and please tell the family hello! :)

    • Thanks for chiming in, Emily. I’ve never been to a chiropractor, but I’ve been wondering if this is all stemming from underlying alignment issues. My last major injury was related to my hips being way out of whack, and I was only abel to get them realigned with lots of PT and some chiropractic-like moves. I’ll definitely check out ART! Thanks for the tip and give the kiddos a hug from us. The girls ask about them all the time!

  7. I am so sorry to read about your hip pain. I am strangely in a similar situation, and it is so frustrating. My body is literally and figuratively aching to get back out there and move. I think it’s wonderful you can still do squats and strengthening exercises, as well as the swimming! I have not been able to build back up to that level yet and it is very frustrating. I could certainly relate to your image about my husband having other words to describe me lately :) I bet your vacation will do you wonders! Maybe call to make an apt. with the ortho now for your return, and if you don’t need it, you can cancel. Better to be proactive, than wind up with a secondary injury and out of the game even longer (ahem, like me).
    Jes recently posted…A Few DelightsMy Profile

    • Isn’t it so frustrating to be sidelined? I’m trying to see the silver lining, but it’s tough to stay positive. Great idea to go ahead and make my appointment now. The ortho is next to impossible to get into quickly!

  8. I am SO sorry!!!! That just flat out stinks!!!!! Kudos to you for doing the cross training…when I get injured I usually just pout and long for running :). The last serious injury I had was runners knee a couple of years ago and I handled it terribly as expected. I ran on it till I no longer could then actually cried tears after 3 days and still pain. I ended up taking 9 days off I think and just stretching it and doing drills to help it and it worked :). My hip has actually been a little off since my fall marathon too! I think it is my IT band…but not positive. It is weird…it hurts right when I start running…feels like it is giving out and I am going to fall, but then is fine as I go on. I HATE going to the doctor! All those bibs are SO true!!!! YAY for vacation…prepping for vacation is always insane for me too
    Jen@milesandblessings recently posted…Big News Day!!!!My Profile

  9. Sounds like you might have some ITB issues. Other than the bike and your swimming, quit your other exercises until you get this under control. Stay off of the roads as much as you can and get on the trails. Forget the speed work and go on long runs (on trails). Ice, ice and ice some more. Use the foam roller morning, noon and night. Roll all of legs and back. Everything connects. Oh, use the tens machine while you are sitting at your desk working. Hope all goes well and most of all, enjoy your vacation and don’t beat yourself up over this.

    • Thanks for the great advice, Rick! This feels different from the IT issue I had a few years ago, and, oddly, my knee seems to be holding up just fine. Seems like a trip to the doc is inevitable at this point! Boo! I miss the trails big time!

  10. I had to give up running consistently 2 years ago due to the move, weather, and more. It sucked. I was miserable and lonely.

    I’m thankful that 2 moves after that I’ve found a great trail head .8 mile from our home. I need to soak in the runs, as we’ll be moving again in about 2.5 years and life will be vastly different in that state.
    Wendy recently posted…Marriage Words 2014My Profile

  11. Injuries are never fun, especially those that are a mystery. I’m the same way about going to the doctor in that I am always afraid of what I will find out. That’s great that you are still able to get in your workouts on the trainer and in the pool. I’m sure your body appreciates the break from running and will love you for the vacation you are about to have in the Caribbean. Jealous! Have a wonderful time!
    Kristen @ Glitter and Dust recently posted…Ten Ways Triathlon Training Has Changed My LifestyleMy Profile

    • Yes, thank goodness for cross-training! At least I’m able to keep moving, and I’m enjoying all the time in the pool. It’s amazing how easy those flip turns feel when your back and hamstrings aren’t super tight from running. Always looking for the silver lining!

  12. Nicole, I had a hip problem last year. I’m a P.T. on eternal maternal hiatus, so I thought I could figure it out. I took lots of time off, hit the pool, did strength work and stretches (with roller). Finally, after almost a year, I saw a PT. The problem was actually coming from my back- and now I know that I must watch my posture, balance flexion with extension, and stand at soccer games instead of sit. I wish I didn’ wait so long to get help. (HINT, HINT). If this won’t motivate you, how about my runner friend (also a PT) who ran on a painful foot for several months only to finally realize that she incurred many injuries, including a fractured calcaneous ?!? The MRI report of her foot was TWO PAGES LONG. Enjoy your trip, relax, and then go get it checked out. Just to be safe.
    Julia Tomiak recently posted…What You Need to Know About Divergent Before You See the MovieMy Profile

    • I didn’t know you were a PT! I really think sitting at a desk all day might be part of my problem. I promise I’ll get into the doctor soon!

  13. Oh – NO!! I’m sorry that you are having an ongoing problem with your hip! Hopefully your plan to go to the DR after you return from paradise won’t be necessary because the extra time off will heal it!!!
    I’m going to baby my calf this week – I felt pain Saturday while running but ignored it. This morning I wasn’t quite as successful. Hopefully nothing since I’m down to about 6 weeks until my 50.
    Kim recently posted…Lessons Learned from my Biggest Role ModelMy Profile

    • Thanks, Lisa! Runners are a sick breed. When we get to the point that 10 miles feels like an easy run (during marathon training), we’re venturing very close to certifiably insane!

  14. Ugh. My stupid internet connection ate my comment!
    I was going to say that I do know what it feels like to have to be apart from the one or two or three (non-human or dog things) that you love.
    And that I hope the healing waters and sun help you. If not, you may want to do physical therapy with Shakira!
    Tamara recently posted…I Had No Idea How Much I’d Need Her.My Profile

  15. I have the same thing on my right side. The hip area just aches, aches, aches. so bad it wakes me up at night. Except, I know my problem is because of my bad knee — I favour that leg via limping slightly, if my knee is hurting from an activity (sadly in my case, that can mean just going up and down stairs too much) — but lately I have also been on a lunge and squat kick to try and strengthen the knee. Hoping to solve both problems eventually.
    Running is pretty much out indefinitely for me — but I at least want to be able to carry the laundry basket down the stairs without falling.

    wait…carry the?….what? who said that!?
    Rorybore recently posted…4M: How to Have a Spring Tea Party in CanadaMy Profile

  16. Go to the doctor as soon as you get home! Not knowing what’s wrong is not going to make it better. I hope it’s nothing major and you can get back out there soon!
    Dana recently posted…T. rex armMy Profile

  17. You sound just like my husband. He injured his IT bands and shouldn’t be running or probably biking, but did that stop him from competing in a Triathlon yesterday? NOPE. And then he sulked all day about how much pain he was in. But I get it. It’s really difficult when you can’t do the one thing you really love. And no amount of cross training can duplicate that feeling of power, strength, and invincibleness as a nice long run! Hope that hip heals soon.
    Alexa recently posted…Motherhood RealizedMy Profile

    • Thank you, Alexa! I’m really trying to be smart about this injury so I don’t end up sidelined for months. I’ve been injured before, and I’d rather take the time off now than do more damage and pay the price much longer!

  18. Oh Nicole, I’m sorry. :( I have everything crossed for you that it will take care of itself while you’re on vacation.

    I had either torn adductors or a pelvic stress fracture 4 years ago after running the marathon. It’s ‘either’ because my doc told me the only way to tell would be an MRI, but the rx for both was the same – no running. And crutches. It was brutal.
    Carly @ Fine Fit Day recently posted…Half Marathon PR QuestMy Profile

  19. Oh no. I’m so sorry you’re going through this Nicole. 2 words! Strength train! Strength training and focusing on what I could do instead of not being able to run got me through my injury last year and avoided having my family move to a hotel for as long as I wasn’t able to run.

    Back to running soon my friend :)
    jill conyers recently posted…The Ultimate Coffee Date Link-UpMy Profile

    • Thanks, Jill! I’m definitely focusing on cross-training right now and especially enjoying my time in the pool. If I can’t run, at least I can stay active in other ways.

  20. I’m sorry you are injured, I am probably sounding a little like your conscience “go to the doctor” but I totally get why you haven’t and can’t say I’m good at following my own advice. Weird that you can do other lower body exercises without any twinge or pain, though, huh? I hope your vacation is a healing one and you come back healthy and healed. And tan. Nice and tan – I’m a little jealous!
    Stephanie recently posted…Favorite Live Songs for Twisted Mix-Tape TuesdayMy Profile

  21. Have you considered voodoo? I know it gets a bad rap and all, but I’m convinced someone used voodoo to get the Colorado Rockies to the World Series a few years ago. How else to explain it?

    I just recently had to take a break from something I love. It’s tough to fill the void of something you love. It held a place because you love it. It’s not like you can start knitting to replace running, right?

    I’ve found the best way to deal with it is to take things day by day, try not to get too discouraged along the way, and keep that optimism that some day, when you’re strong again, you’ll find that feeling again.

    I feel pretty confident you’ll be back on the trail again. Take care of today. Tomorrow, repeat. You’ll get there.
    Eli@coachdaddy recently posted…What Happens When it’s Dad vs. Tree? It’s a Toss-UpMy Profile

  22. This sucks to hear. And I’m so sorry. :-(

    But(t), glad you’re re-introducing yourself to the trainer (YAY!) and the pool. Good things. So is cross training. *high five* for being smart. Sometimes our bodies need a break. If you’re looking for other ways to build up those stabilizing muscles, check out the Born 2 Run site. The balance board and DVD don’t come cheap, but I’ve been using them for the last few months, and really like the approach and theory behind them. Also…you mention lots of training but…how about stretching and rolling…? *hint, hint*

    Hope you are back to normal upon your return from vacation!!!
    Holly @ Run With Holly recently posted…Venus Run Cheer Squad 2014: JOIN ME!My Profile

  23. Thank you for defining fortnight for me :) Believe it or not, I read my fair share of Brit Lit when I was in school but never bothered to look it up! That being said, it sucks that I now know that a fortnight means you haven’t been able to run in two weeks. At least your hip is not keeping you from any form of exercise. Glass half full outlook? You’re probably not capable of that, thanks to the no running thing, so I’ll do it for you. Enjoy your vacation with your family and feel better!!
    Meagan recently posted…Beating boredom on the treadmillMy Profile

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