Why, Gluteus Medius, Whyyyy?!

On Monday this week, I decided to give myself the challenge of NOT running for a week. No one gave me this challenge. My coach didn’t tell me that it would be a good idea. I listened to what my body was telling me and (stubbornly) imposed the goal on myself.


I chatted with my Coach about what I was feeling and the specific motions that made my hip hurt. We decided it was time to start asking the experts for help and schedule some physical therapy. I saw a sports med doc and he basically agreed that my outer hips are weak compared to the larger muscles that are taking on the majority of the work when I run (not surprising). The pain isn’t enough to make my stop when I’m already out for a run, but any sideways motion exacerbates the discomfort.

Prescription: Physical therapy 2-3x/week for 4-6 weeks



Woke up feeling like a big baby. I spent my morning pouting and wondering why this is happening to me now. I feel like I’ve been concentrating on my hip strength with the lunge matrix and Myrtl routines for the past year. I keep thinking about the timeline and how many weeks I can comfortably give myself to heal before going into Boston training. I worry that this is going to sideline me for too long and I won’t get back up to a strong training level until too late in the game. Will I beat my PR at Boston? I haven’t even been running consistently the past 2 months and I feel like I’ve given myself more than enough time to recover from Twin Cities. Basically, the question “why is this happening NOWWWWWW?!” keeps swirling around in my head.

I’m so frustrated and all I want to do is go for a run, which is the ONE thing I can’t do. I’m such a baby about all of this.

I realized today at noon that I never asked the doc if running was “allowed” (see how stubborn I am?) so I emailed him. He responded promptly with this:

This is an injury that you can continue to run with. However, it will take you longer for your pain to completely resolve. Since you have some time before dedicated training begins I would advise 10-14 days off running with cross and strength training substituted.


After wallowing in my “sorrows” for far too long, I made my way to the gym to do a 40-minute easy spin. I didn’t want to make eye contact with anyone (yes, I was still in “pout mode”). For once, I envied the people running on the dreadmill. (I know. I’m dramatic). I made my way to the empty, dark Spin Room and adjusted the bike. I climbed on, turned the tunes on, and turned over the legs. 20 minutes in & and I felt like myself again. My hip didn’t hurt. I kept the resistance low and the cadence high. I had endless entertainment as I watched people check themselves out and flex their muscles in the one-way mirror that leads to the spin room. (Note to self: NEVER do that, even if you think that there’s no one on the other side!). After 40 minutes on the bike, I spent 20 minutes on a basic core routine that skipped the side and rotating planks.

I walked home and realized that my attitude was just silly all day. Not being able to run is not the end of the world. And despite being emotional about the whole thing, I know that the pain will subside and I’ll feel stronger after a few weeks of PT.


I woke up this morning feeling refreshed after a good night’s sleep. And one of the first thoughts that occurred to me was that I had been sleeping on my left side most of the night. The dull ache in my left hip had prevented me from flip-flopping for the past week because it was uncomfortable. Guess what? No ache. I’m inclined to think that the cycling helped move some junk out of my legs–good for the body, mind, and soul. Hello Optimism!

Neither hip hurt as I went to meetings downtown. Surprise surprise. All of that Wednesday fuss was seriously for nothing. Still, I know that I’ll have my good days and my not-so-good days while I strengthen muscles that will get me to a PR in Boston. I spent the evening in Andersonville with my mom and cousin. If I can’t treat myself to a run, I’m at least good at treating myself to delicious food and St. Lucia rolls from the Swedish bakery.


I took a day off work today and treated myself to some pre-birthday pampering. I rarely get massages but after feeling sorry for myself and realizing that a lot of my back pain has to do with the glute muscle that is giving me problems, I decided it would be a nice treat. I walked out of that massage a brand new person. Jude at Massage Envy is a genius, a god, or a saint. He did a lot of active isolated stretching of my creaky old lady hips. It was (BY FAR) the best massage I’ve had in my entire life.  I spent the rest of the day hanging out with my mom and didn’t think about my hip for more than approximately 4 minutes the rest of the day. 🙂


Sleeeeeep. Sweet, glorious sleep! 4 PM rolls around, at first, I’m a bit disappointed in myself that I haven’t made it to the gym since Wednesday. What the hell—just go with it. A birthday manicure and a nap on the couch under the Christmas lights was in order. I’m good at pretending to feel guilty about not running and then realizing that’s just what I am. Thank goodness I had my birthday to look forward to and distract me all week.

Annnnnnd. TODAY! To sum it all up, I basically haven’t felt any hip pain since Tuesday. I will go to my first session of physical therapy tomorrow. I spent way too much time this afternoon deciding which yoga and spin classes to take this week, but that’s what happens when you don’t get your Sunday long run therapy. 🙂 Looking forward to nipping this in the bud and getting back to it in January!


6 thoughts on “Why, Gluteus Medius, Whyyyy?!

  1. Pete B says:

    Glad to hear that you have not had any hip pain. Sometimes I need an expert like the doc to order me to rest. A couple of weeks off from running can do wonders for healing!

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