Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Barkley Fall Classic: Like Nothing I've Done Before

I haven’t done a race report in a while, but Barkley is such a crazy, different experience from anything I’ve ever run before, I wanted to record the experience – as much to preserve my own memory as to share with others.

I registered for BFC50k on a whim, early in the morning before Georgia Jewel 50mi.  Growing up in the Huntsville, AL area and returning for a few years after college, I was steeped in Barkley lore by the likes of Dewayne Satterfield and Rob Youngren.  I wanted to experience Frozen Head State Park and see what all the fuss was about.  I expect many others have had similar motivations for toeing the line at the baby Barkley.

My wife and I had our first child a little over a year ago, and that has obviously changed my life, priorities, and running goals.  That, combined with the fact that I live in Cincinnati where you can only find about 300ft of elevation change as a time, I knew I wouldn’t be willing or able to prepare for Barkley with the focus and specificity that I have had for past races.  Instead, I tried to focus on the experience more than the competition, which has been a major motivator for me in the past.  I showed up Saturday morning confident in my fitness, but knowing I hadn’t run longer than 5 hours in the last 9 months.

The race began just before sunrise and quickly spread out up front with nearly a mile section on the roads.  I quickly settled into 2nd place as we transitioned to single track and climbed for several miles.  We climbed a bit longer on jeep road, hit the first aid station, and then descended quickly still on the jeep road.  I let the leader go on the descent knowing there was plenty of running to come.

A few minutes later the jeep road opened up and I encountered someone taking pictures.  Knowing a turn was coming, but knowing I wasn’t leading either, I asked if we turned or kept going straight.  The photographer replied with an unconfident straight.  I could see an open powerline cut to my right, but the next turn was a left, so I continued straight.  A quarter to half mile later I hit a fork in the road that was unexpected and unmarked.  I stopped and the third place runner soon caught me. We decided we must have missed the hard left turn and began running back with the leader somewhere behind us now.  The lady with the camera had been standing right in front of the “trail” where we were supposed to turn, and those that knew what they were doing were now breaking trail on the powerline known as Testicle Spectacle.

Testicle Spectacle was the first real Barkley-esque portion of the run.  There was no trail per se, but it was somewhat runnable.  I was in about 10th place now, but quickly moved around folks who were slower navigating the thick brush and occasional briar.  I was in the lead by the time I made it to the turn through the forest to the second aid station.  Around of the church and out of the aid station, it was straight back up Testicle Spectacle.  Magically, after some 300 runners had passed, there was actually a proper trail cut through the brush.  The difference in the conditions of the running path was just astounding.  Still the climb was slow, at times requiring some hand climbing and bear crawling.  The wet soil was turning to mud where those descending were sliding down the hill on their arses which made it a little more difficult to find traction.

I summited the Spectacle still quite alone in the lead and started down the other side which I saw when I initially missed the turn at the camera lady.  The descent down Meth Lab was rough.  It was much more overgrown with large portions of briars that were taller than me.  There was absolutely no trail, and we were required by race rules to stay in the powerline cut and not use the protection of the woods to advance more easily.  Clearing my way was slow and painful.  In the grand scheme of things, it didn’t take all that long, but at the time, it was not fun. A turn to jeep road finally came and I headed toward the infamous Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary.  James Earl Ray’s escape from this prison inspired the original Barkley Marathons race.

Even though the intensity of running had not been that high, I had a bit of an upset stomach already at this point about 2:45 into the race.  A volunteer at the aid station kindly provided me some coke and I took a fig bar, but I felt the need to hit a port-o-potty heading into the jail.  Exiting still in the lead, I walked through the jail taking pictures and acting more like a tourist than a racer.  As I climbed the ladder over the back wall, the 2nd and 3rd place runners finally caught up to me (the first leader who also missed the turn was now back even).  We took the tunnel back under the prison and then turned left to climb.

Rat Jaw.  One mile.  Straight up.  All briars.  I don’t think my words would do it justice, so I might as well not even try.  By the time we reached the top over an hour later, it seemed like the entire race field had formed a conga line behind the leaders.  The briars were so thick it was infinitely easier just to fall in line and let the first “runner” split the briars.  After initially putting in quality time clearing powerline trail, the eventual 50k winner took a little more liberty than the rest of us regarding what he determined to be inside the powerline cut.  This allowed him to summit ~15min faster than the main line that now included myself and Huntsville friends Rob Youngren, Dewayne Satterfield, and Martin Schneekloth.

Finally at the top, I paused to take some pictures from the fire tower then it was back to running again, approximately 4:15 into the race.  The low intensity of the climb had actually helped my stomach recover, so I was feeling pretty good again and continuing to pursue my original nutrition plan.  I totally lost track of my place during my pause on the fire tower, so I continued on the jeep road alone and at my own pace.  I knew there were 5 Barkley miles to the next aid station so I settled in on cruise control.

Our map showed two trails breaking off to the left that we were NOT to take in this section.  There were no trails shown breaking off to the right, so I was careful to bear right and look for signs (the race had marked major turns, but there were no confidence markers).  I ran along Jeep roads until my foot pod measured that I should have arrived at the next aid station.  Maybe I should have realized well earlier, but I hadn’t seen anyone in over 30 minutes and it just didn’t feel right.  A couple on an ATV pulled up but couldn’t help tell me where I was on my map.  So I did the only thing I could do, turned around and headed back the way I came.

I eventually ran into more folks who had missed the turn.  There were probably 30 folks stopped on the trail trying to decide what to do.  My buddy Cary Long was one of them.  I love Cary to death, but I’m not supposed to see him after the gun fires.  I was way back in the field.  I worked my way back to an unmarked fork in the road that actually had logs placed across the correct direction.  It broke to the left, the direction I had been intentionally avoiding.  Up the trail a little ways there was an arrow (thanks, now you tell me) which makes me think it might have been vandals that removed the turn sign at the missed intersection.  I was at least an hour behind the leader now.

I carried on, passing many folks on the single track downhills, but beginning to slow on the climbs.  At 6:30 into the race, I reached the 5th aid station.  I carried on passing more folks and was still generally enjoying the single track trail.  This section was primarily down hill, so I was making descent time again.  But I knew there was a major climb left before the 6th aid station and the marathon cutoff point.  As soon as I started hiking this climb, I knew I was in trouble.  My stomach had shut down and I had no further desire to eat or drink.  I was belching constantly and almost vomited several times.  After hiking the entirety of the climb, I gingerly began the descent back to Laz’s aid station, feeling a little loopy at times.  I knew I would not be able to continue on to the 50k loop without taking in more nutrition, so I decided to drop down to the marathon and limped in to the finish.  I actually won the marathon in 8:36, but that wasn’t very reassuring, because I knew I should have been running to win the 50k. 

If you’re still reading at this point, you deserve to know that after I finished, I attempted to re-hydrate but promptly puked up everything.  The second time this happened, they put me in the ambulance to treat me for heat exhaustion.  After cooling off for over an hour after finishing, one swallow of Gatorade was, again, almost immediately rejected by my stomach.  The paramedics encouraged me to go to the hospital as their procedure would not allow them to treat me with nausea meds and IV fuilds without a trip to the ER.  I had a very similar experience after dropping out after Mohican 50 in June, but I drove myself to the ER hours after the race when I still couldn’t quit throwing up.  Long story short, after a short trip to the ER, I felt much better and was able to eat some soup before bed that evening.  Mohican was a much worse experience in the end.

I don’t know what’s going on with my stomach, but it sucks.  It’s taking much of the joy out of running and severely limiting what my legs can do.  Doctors suspect it could be acid reflux/indigestion and have suggested that I start taking an OTC acid reducer to alleviate my symptoms.  But how to do I test this theory?  It only happens in races longer than 5 hours, and when I trigger it, I end up in the hospital.  It’s not really sustainable, so racing longer than 50k is on hold for a while I suppose.

After all of that, I will say Barkley Fall Classic was fun.  It was a different and challenging experience.  I wasn’t constantly staring at my watch an wasn’t focused on hitting any particular splits.  I saw people during the race I don’t normally get to run with.  Even with the frustrations of missed turns, I ran free for 7 hours (until my stomach revolted).  It’s such a unique experience that I’m already registered to run again next year so I can finish the 50k. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Pinhoti 100 Race Report

Thanks to Gregg Gelmis and WeRunRacePhotos for most the pictures in this post.

Well, it's been nearly 2 years since I last wrote a blog update or race report. I was injured throughout 2014, and although I was running some in 2015, I wasn't healthy enough to race yet. Of course, instant updates via social media also seemed to have replaced blogs as the preferred race report medium over that time as well. But Pinhoti 100 deserves more than a few words. It was a significant race focus for me, a sign that I am completely healthy again, and my best race performance in 2.5 years.

Just to catch everyone up, I began having groin pain in the summer of 2013. After continuing to race for months, the injury was finally diagnosed in March of 2014 as a severe stress fracture in my pelvis. I was warned that it could take months to heal, and there was really no treatment aside from no running. With the diagnosis, I ended my 7 year daily running streak. Even with no running, the dull ache in my groin persisted for months. The bone seemed to have healed by early 2015, but I had compensated for the injury for so long, the collateral damage was extensive. I started to train through tendonitis for most of 2015, before finally backing off enough in the fall to let it heal. I wasn't running pain-free until early this year.

My build-up back into racing the first half of this year was gradual. Trail half marathon, trail marathon, road marathon (2:33), trail 50k and then Mohican 50mi in June. I really focused my training on the Flying Pig Marathon this past spring and let Thunderbunny 50k and Mohican fall out. I was able to fake my way through the 50k, but imploded the last 20 miles at Mohican. I finished 2nd in that race to Nicholas Kopp, the eventual 4th place finisher at Pinhoti.

After taking a few weeks off this summer, my training was solid and laser focused on Pinhoti. My wife and I welcomed our first child in August, but thanks to generous paternity leave, my training was largely unaffected. When I returned to work in September, I overloaded my mileage to the weekends, which is great for 100 mile training. I used Georgia Jewel 50mi as a training race and was pleased with my fitness, especially in unseasonably warm conditions. In my last long run before Pinhoti, I cruised to a win at Stones Steps 50k. I was confident in my fitness, but I was extremely nervous in those last couple weeks. It has been years since I put this much pressure on myself to race well.

It was good to see many of my old Alabama running friends as the morning dawned at the starting line. But the reunion was much too short as we were onto the single track just a few minutes after I could finally make out everyone's face. I hit the trail in 2nd place and chatted with the eventual second place finisher for the first mile or so. But I quickly settled into my own pace and was alone in just a few minutes. I pondered the fact that, if everything went to plan, I would be running alone for the next 16 hours. That was a little depressing to think about, but any other outcome would mean I didn't have a good race. At the same time, I felt an incredible peace, because no one was pushing or pulling me.  I was running exactly the pace I wanted run.

Very early in the race. The only company I had all day.

I cruised through those first several hours uneventfully. The weather was nearly perfect in the morning, and the trail conditions were extremely dry. It was so dry that it was difficult to run uphill without slipping on the pine straw covered trail, so even though there were no significant climbs the first 35 miles, I started power hiking the numerous short, but steep, rollers early in the race.

I saw my parents who were crewing for me at the first 3 aid stations. After the 3rd aid station at mile 18, there was a big gap with no crew access until mile 40 at the highest point on the course. I was trading bottles of Sword and my high-calorie sweet tea mix when I saw my crew. I took one gel in those early miles, and that was the only gel I took the entire race. Honestly, my energy levels felt great. And the climb to Bald Rock felt surprisingly short. I started feeling really confident when I saw my split on top of Mt Cheaha.

Ask me later.

Enjoying the boardwalk after just climbing up Mt Cheaha to Bald Rock.

Getting some aid from my dad.

The descent off Cheaha down "Blue Hell" was rapid ... glad I wasn't going up that beast. I flew down a few miles of roads and after another aid station, I was back onto the single track and cruising.  I started counting down to half way with everything still feeling really good. But a few miles later I started having my first low point. I got some calories just in time to get my strength back, but my stomach soon made a turn for the worst. By mile 60, I was feeling nauseated and got ginger chews and Tums from the aid station to help settle my stomach. This is was also when I began to realize that I was running so far ahead of schedule, but aid stations weren't set up and ready for me to arrive.

I pressed on to the next aid station, but my stomach was not getting much better. I quit drinking my Sword in hopes the belching and dry heaves would subside. I got some ginger ale from my crew around mile 65 which tasted great, but I was reduced to walking the next 400ft climb for fear of losing the few precious calories I had just consumed. I sent a text message ahead to the next aid station at mile 69 requesting some soup thinking I needed some different calories other than just sugar. And I knew soup wouldn't be ready unless I specifically asked ahead of time.

I drank some Ramen noodle broth, but it wasn't the remedy I had hoped. I puked it up a few miles later. By now, it was dark and the hardest climb of the race was staring me in the face. You could hear the music blaring from the aid station but it felt like miles before I arrived. I was forced to walk almost the entire climb to keep the stomach under control. When I finally made it to the top, I sat down on the ground totally dejected. The Pinnacle at mile 75 was my lowest point in the race.

Luckily they had ginger ale because that was the only thing that tasted good at that point. I sat for a couple minutes, but started feeling better, and I knew it was pointless just to sit there, so I started walking out of the aid station. Soon I got bored of walking and felt good enough to run again. The flat gravel road helped as I can shuffle at 9 minute pace with almost no effort. I slowly made my way to the next aid station which I remember being lit up and well-manned. They were very helpful offering me soup, boiled potatoes, and coke. But the soup was too hot, and the potato was instantly unappetizing, and the coke wasn't ginger ale, but it worked well enough.

By this point I had accepted where my stomach was at and knew I could keep moving. I also knew I would soon be descending off the mountain and seeing my crew at the upcoming mile 85 aid station. This was a long stretch, but I was certain I could finish if I made it. Plus, I was still hanging on to course record pace. The Bull's Gap aid station was run by volunteers from the Huntsville Track Club (thanks friends!), so I knew many of them, but most everything was a blur by this point. I refueled on ginger ale, refilled my bottle with plain water, and set off down the hill.

It was only 4 miles to the next aid station, but it was water only ... not a good situation for someone surviving off soda at the aid stations. Luckily it was mostly downhill on a gravel road, so I made relatively good time shuffling the descents and walking moderate uphills at about 9:30 pace. Somehow my energy levels remained even and I never felt like I went into bonk mode. My stomach had settled down as well, but mostly because it was empty. I could have pushed the pace a little harder, but I knew I was still on course record pace and worried I would risk a complete blow up if I altered my strategy.

I was surprised how quickly I arrived at the last aid station where my crew was waiting. More ginger ale and they said I only had 5 miles to go. It didn't make sense, but things get a little foggy after 15 hours of running. I figured it out after I left the aid station though. Some last minute changes to the positions of the last 3 aid stations changed the distances. I ended up have 6.4 miles to go from the last aid. Luckily I figured this out because an unexpected 1.4 miles feels like an eternity when you've run 99 already. There was also a surprise (to me) return to single track in the last section before hitting the paved road which led to the track.

Finally I could see my crew guiding me into the track. I ran half a lap and finished in a very anti-climatic fashion at 11:24pm, breaking Karl Meltzer's previous course record of 16:42 by 18 minutes. The only folks at the finish beside my crew were the race director Todd Henderson, and my favorite photographer, Gregg Gelmis. After a few minutes sitting on the infield, I headed to my uncle's RV and got a shower. I tried to sleep, but my legs ached too much and I only got a couple hours of restless shuteye before the sun came up.

This race report is long enough, so I'll close by saying thanks again to all the volunteers at Pinhoti. You were great. And looking back now, I'll say that I'm happy with my race. I accomplished by "B" goal and know I could go faster if I can get my stomach/nutrition figured out. Next up, I'll be running The North Face 50 mile Championships in San Francisco on Dec. 3. I won't be in perfect form since Pinhoti was my goal race this fall, but hopefully I can have a respectable showing among the 68!!! men on the elite entry list. Wish me luck!

Thanks to my parents and uncle (not pictured) for their tireless crew support.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 Year End Update

Well, I'm finally forcing myself to publish a blog post before 2015 arrives. There isn't too much to review about my 2014 racing season due to my injury, but I'm overdue for an update. I'll try to make it quick.

The injury that sidelined me for almost all of 2014 actually started during the summer of 2013 so I wanted to begin there. It was then that I began experiencing mild groin pain on the left side that felt like a muscle pull. I ran through the summer of 2013 and raced Hood to Coast, a small road 50 miler in Cincinnati, and Run for the Toad 50k in Canada all as my injury worsened. The pain had spread and grown more severe by Tussey Mountainback and I was forced to drop. I dramatically reduced my mileage and temporarily recovered enough to race the North Face 50 mile championship last year. Despite still being in pain, I finished a respectable 11th place off of residual fitness.

After North Face I ran an easy 3 miles every day to maintain my stupid 7.5 year daily running streak. No trails, no hills, no workouts. In late January 2014, I attempted to race the Mtn Mist 50k while clearly not yet healthy. At this point, the loss of fitness was beginning to catch up with me, and I had a horrible race. I stubbornly continued my running streak into March when I finally decided to visit a sports med doctor.

I knew groin injuries were notoriously hard to accurately diagnose and I felt confident I had a "sports hernia," but was hesitant to see a Dr. that didn't specialize in this type of injury. So I delayed until I got a strong recommendation for a doc in Cincinnati. He ordered an x-ray, MRI, and blood tests.

And the MRI showed a huge stress fracture in my pelvis. My doctor said "You damn near broke all the way through the bone" when he saw the image. What's more, my blood work showed I had low vitamin D and high blood calcium levels. Without going into too much detail, that's a bad combination when you're body is trying to repair damaged bone.

Once the stress fracture diagnosis came back, I completely quit running and ended my streak. I knew a pelvic stress fracture would take longer to heal that a typical stress fracture because it's a big bone that doesn't get much blood flow, but I did not know exactly how long. After 6 weeks of no running, I could feel barely any improvement. It still hurt walking the dog. At three months, I felt better walking so I tried couple days of running, but it was clearly not healed enough so I shut it down again. Moderate hikes were still bothering me at 4 months.  In August I borrowed a bike and started cycling just to be able to do something outdoors.  In September I started doing weekly 1 mile test runs but wasn't ready. In October I was able to do 2-3 mile runs every couple days.

Finally in November, after 7 months of virtually no running, I worked up to 24 miles in a week with no groin pain. Unfortunately, lingering imbalances from my weakened left hip caused tendonitis to flare up in my knee. I backed off for a while, but it still wasn't healing well enough, so I stopped running again December 21st and have decided to wait until the new year to resume running.

To say the least, it was a very tough year for me. In some ways, the stress fracture news was a relief because it allowed me to let the streak go and begin healing. But I didn't think it would take this long to heal. I enjoyed the time off for a while. Unlike some folks, I don't go stir crazy when I quit training, I just find other stuff to do. I don't love exercising; I love training. I love competing, racing, and improving myself. And I love running. Cycling is fun, but it isn't running. I still have the fire. I just need to finish getting healthy. The good news is that I feel better today than I have at any point in the last 18 months.

Finally, I want to say a big thanks to Salomon and Suunto for sticking with me this year even though I wasn't doing much to support the brand. They are part of a great company that clearly cares about their athletes as much as their bottom line. I'm also excited to announce that I'll be on the team again in 2015. Even though I wasn't running much in 2014, I still discovered some great products that I plan to share in an upcoming blog post, so be ready.

I hope to see you all out on the roads and trails in 2015.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

All good things...

Locked down no more.

I was supposed to see my sports med doctor for a follow-up appointment yesterday. He wanted to review the results from the MRI that he ordered just in case. Unfortunately, my doctor called in sick and had to reschedule me (for April 16!!!). This would normally have been an unacceptable delay, but it really didn't matter on this occasion. I completely quit running last Saturday.

When you get an MRI, a generic radiologist reads the images and sends a report back to your doctor. My doctor likes to read his own MRI scan following the full examination to support his diagnosis. After he diagnosed me a couple weeks ago with osteitis pubis and recommended no major changes in my training, I had planned to wait until I saw him again to decide how to approach my future training and recovery. Then last Friday, while I was working in Paris, I received the generic MRI report via email. It stated that my MRI findings were consistent with a non-displaced stress fracture on the left side of my pubic symphysis.

Stress fracture. As much as it sounds like bad news, at some level I was actually relieved. It was also frustrating because I've struggled with an injury for almost 9 months that did not match any of the symptoms of a stress fracture. It never was tender to the touch at the location of the fracture and it never hurt during high impact activities like jumping. It always felt like a muscular injury. Granted, it's very clear that groin injuries are notoriously hard to diagnose. But back to relieved ... I was relieved that there was now a clear issue that I could focus on fixing.

Even so, I admit that part of my mind tried to rationalize that I could keep running until I saw my doctor again. Who knows, maybe he would disagree and say it wasn't really a stress fracture. But, why? Just to keep my daily running streak alive and so I could say I had a streak? If you're going to have an addiction, I guess running is a good one to have, but even this addict knows too much of a good thing is just that.

I spent all day Saturday walking around Paris and riding a boat up and down the Seine, but I'm proud to say that I never ran -- my first day off in over seven years. I will say, if you're going to pick a place not to run, Paris in the spring is a great place to be.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day.

When my doctor cancelled on me yesterday, I was so happy that I'd already made the decision to quit running. It would have been absolute torture deciding what to do for the next two weeks while I waited for my appointment if I had kept running.  But now I'm free.

Where do I go from here? I don't exactly know. But it will be at least a month before you see me running again.

...must come to an end.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Injury Update

Well friends, it's been a long and slow process, but I'm confident I'm making progress. Since North Face 50 in early December I've averaged less than 30 miles per week of mostly just light jogging on the roads and treadmill. Against my better judgement, I did "race" Mtn Mist 50k in January but I haven't done any races or trail runs since that time. I have continued to jog a few miles every day, but looking back it's probably easy to say I should have completely taken off a couple months. The problem is, the level of pain I've experienced is not indicative of the severity of the injury. I almost wish I had an incapacitating stress fracture that hurt so bad that I had no desire to run. My injury has never been like that. Although limiting, it has always been more uncomfortable than painful. I want to share a few more details in case it would help someone avoid the same injury in the future. 

First, a little background information. This whole story starts sometime last summer when playing with the dog out in the yard I pulled/strained the adductor in my left leg. The adductor is a muscle in the groin that allows you to squeeze your knees together (remember the Thighmaster?). It's also a very important muscle in running, and especially trail running. Unfortunately, I didn't realize the significance of the injury and continued my normal training. It felt like some tendonitis in my groin, but something I thought would gradually heal on its own. It stayed like this for months, but slowly started to cause me to overcompensate and alter my stride. Eventually it started to cause discomfort in my lower abdominals and affected my ability to stabilize myself on trail runs. It really wasn't until October that I really understood the root of the problem, but it was effectively a chronic injury by that point. I rested enough to get through North Face respectably, but ran through some pain, and realized I had to back way off afterward.

Fast forward today and after several months of no real training, I'm 90% there. I never felt that I needed to go to the doctor. I was confident that I had an adductor strain turned sports hernia. Complete rest or surgery...I knew those were really the only options...and I wasn't ready for either choice. But this week I finally decided to go see a doctor just to make sure it wasn't something more serious like a pelvic stress fracture that I needed to know about before I started ramping back up. I got an informal referral with a sports med doc that had experience treating sports hernias. He took an x-ray and diagnosed me with osteitis pubis. 

Any amateur radiologists our there?

Osteitis pubis is a noninfectious inflammation of the pubis symphysis that causes varying degrees of lower abdominal and pelvic pain. The symptoms are nearly identical to a sports hernia. The doctor also observed that my hip mobility was very limited. He prescribed physical therapy to improve my hip mobility and ordered an MRI just to rule out other possibilities. We are still waiting on the results of the MRI. He did not tell me to stop running, just to not make any big changes in what I'm currently doing.

If you get really curious about my diagnosis you might want to check out this article. It really helps explain why I've struggled with this issue for so long. It will also scare the crap out of you.
Groin injuries can be the most difficult sport injuries to accurately diagnose and treat. Osteitis pubis is a painful, chronic syndrome that affects the symphysis pubis, adductor and abdominal muscles, and surrounding fascia. If misdiagnosed or mismanaged, osteitis pubis can run a prolonged and disabling course. The abdominal and adductor muscles have attachments to the symphysis pubis but act antagonistically to each other, predisposing the symphysis pubis to mechanical traction microtrauma and resulting in osteitis pubis. These antagonistic forces are most prevalent in kicking sports, such as soccer or football.
...or trail running apparently.

The article describes four classifications of the injury with the 4th being the worst. Symptoms of stage IV include pain in the adductor and abdominal muscles with sneezing or walking on uneven surfaces. Check, check. I can proudly say that it no longer hurts to sneeze as it once did. Unfortunately, no one in the referenced study group had stage IV osteitis pubis. The lone stage III athlete required 10 weeks to fully recover. It's all beginning to make sense now.

I've been running competitively since the 7th grade...20 years now. Up until now, I had never had a serious running injury. Although I don't believe the root cause was directly related to running, it clearly became a running injury over time. It's really hard to talk about running and my injury when I am unable to perform like I once did. I have largely withdrawn from the sport and haven't been reading magazine or internet articles like before. On the positive side, I've tried to make good use of my extra time and invest in relationships outside of the sport that I had previously neglected. In any sport I have ever played, I've always been more of a participant and not so much a fan. Running is the same. I want to participate. I want to compete again. 

I'm only sharing this information in hopes that it might help someone else struggling with the same issues. The bottom line is this: If you have a groin or pelvic injury, do not ignore it. The pelvic region is incredibly complex and too important to the running motion to let it get go as far as I did.

I wanted to wait until the MRI results were back to publish this, but I'm heading to Paris for work this week, so I needed to get this post out today. If the MRI changes anything, I'll let you know.

Au revoir!