As many of you know, I was very stressed out about my first marathon due to the inflammation of my symphysis pubis (aka osteitis pubis).
It started during my first 20 mile run. Towards the end of the run, I had sharp and sometimes shooting pain in my groin area but I wasn’t about to abandon the run since my training plan said “run 20 miles. TODAY.” I mostly got through the run, taking it super insanely slow but towards the end, I was in so much pain that I called my husband and made him pick me up as soon as I hit 19.85 miles on my Garmin. I rested for a couple of days and then attempted a 3-mile treadmill run and knew something was wrong when I could only make it through the first mile. I started to panic, made an appointment with my sports doc the following day and crossed my fingers and toes that I did not have a stress fracture in my hip. My doctor had a concerned look on his face after the x-ray and he turned to me and said “you know how some people have huge noses or big ears? Well the neck of your femur is like a huge nose or ear. It’s really long and you’re susceptible to stress fractures.” Great. Awesome. That’s exactly what I wanted to hear. He then asked me how important my marathon was to me and recommended that I not run it. So with that in mind, he sends me off to get an MRI.
The MRI confirmed that I did not have a stress fracture (thank goodness!) but it did show inflammation of my symphysis pubis. I wasted no time at all and at 6:30 PM, I was able to score an appointment with a physical therapist the next morning at 7 AM and she also asked me how important the marathon was to me. After almost bursting into tears, she told me she would do whatever it takes to get me across the finish line, even if it meant running much slower than I intended. The first order of business was to massage my inner thigh muscles and then do some basic strength tests. It was immediately obvious to her that I had almost no core strength and very little glute strength. I was taken off my training for about 2 1/2 weeks and was given a set of specific exercises to do each day, along with some elliptical work. I had less than a month to go to the marathon and I had to abandon my training plan, including my second 20 mile run entirely. Each day, I was doing at minimum:
1) Planks, 2-3x for 2 minutes each
2) Side blanks, 2-3x on each side
3) Clam shells with a maximum strength rubber band: As many as possible until muscles are fatigued
4) Crab walks with max strength rubber band: As many as possible until muscles are fatigued
5) Single leg dips: Stand on an elevated block or stair and dip down to active glute
6) Glute bridges on an exercise ball; 15 on each side 3x
During each session, my PT added more exercises to the basic 5-6 that I started out with. When I started, I could barely hold a plank for 45 seconds but towards the end of my sessions, I could hold 2 minutes. My PT commented on the fact she likes working with athletes since we’re so dedicated and my dedication made me stronger and would push me past the finish line. I also found that while I did lose some running fitness, it wasn’t that bad and I had no problems completing my 12 mile run, which was my longest run before the marathon and after being diagnosed with this injury. In addition to my core and glutes not being very strong, my PT also thinks I was running my long runs a little too slow so she encouraged me to pick up the pace a bit more. Her plan worked and as a result, I was able to finish my 1st marathon in 4:49, must faster than I anticipated due to this injury. Hopefully I won’t hurt myself again but if I do, I like knowing that I have a PT who will help me through the injury.
Sidenote: I wore my long roga shorts to PT every day and all the PTs in the office constantly asked me about them. Not only are rogas great for running, they work wonders when going to PT sessions.