Running Can Be a Pain

Running with pain is a fact of life if you have a chronic inflammation like arthritis.

Two weeks ago I found out arthritis is the cause of pain in the hip (only about 9 inches away from being a pain in the ass). I stopped running after that, doing cycling on my trainer and resting while I re-grouped.  Bike trainers are great torture machines if used correctly. I just put it in a resistance gear and pedaled for a while.

kirby kineteic trainer

Since I was out of town on business this week, I decided to take a few days off. Usually running is my mainstay workout when I travel, but not this time. There are a lot of reasons for that, but I’ll wrap them in a future post.

On Friday I worked at home and decided to take a short three mile run after my calls ended at 2pm. I’ve been running in minimal shoes – sandals and zero lift/low cushion shoes with flexible soles. For this run I reverted to my technical running shoes – a pair of hardly used Nike Vomero’s to get the cushion that they offer. Most of what I read about running with arthritis is that you need more cushion.

I ran the three miles, feeling a tinge of the inflammation with each step of my right leg. I focused on staying as smooth as I could, not overextending my stride and not worrying about speed. It felt good to be out and running again, even with the pain. Here’s my SportsTracker output.

Photo Sep 20, 3 33 34 PM

It’s a mixed box of information for me. I ran the distance and finished feeling no worse than when I started. I also ran one of the slowest average speeds I’ve ever logged. Although speed isn’t why I run, it is the barometer I use to gauge how good my fitness is.

Later that afternoon my inflammation rose to a level that I hadn’t felt for a while. I hydrated and took some ibuprofen and waited for the morning.

The pain was still there, so I iced it with a package of frozen peas. It is a perfect ice pack. I prefer organic frozen peas (just a joke).

fozen peas

The icing helped immensely and saved me from cycling into a “can never run again” depression. This reminded me that maybe there are simple things to do to abate the discomfort and gain some control back. I will ride my bike today and continue to stay mobile because that makes it all feel better. Most of all I am determined to find a path forward that includes running and cycling and keeping in shape.

Fortunately, my mind has no symptoms of arthritis (no more than normal) so my creative writing continues and is getting better. My writing reminds me that from any starting point it takes a discipline and persistent desire to continue to improve. Writing also reminds me that every endeavor is never perfected and always offers improvement and discovery if you keep working at it. I know from creating a novel (several actually) that you don’t control the plot. The characters and context take you where they need to go.

With arthritis I have a new starting point for my athleticism. A wicked twist in the plot of my running life. I need to listen to my body and context and I’ll work it out. And I will learn a lot in the process.

As always, I am interested in what you have to say. Send me an email or post a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Run Free and Smooth.  

7 thoughts on “Running Can Be a Pain

  1. “A wicked twist in the plot of my running life.” Indeed. We all encounter wicked twists in the plot of our lives. Your determination to learn from your plot twist and continue ~ and not sink into ye ole’ depression ~ is an inspiration.

  2. I’m sorry to learn you have arthritis in your hip. I have it in both hips, and as you know, I’m not a runner but I walk as much as I can to keep the joints moving. Plenty of icing helps ease the pain. Stay positive and strong, Jerry!! Always keep writing, I find it an excellent place to pour my aggravation and discouragement when life takes a swing at me! 😉

    • Nina, Dark Angel. Thanks for your thoughtfulness. Yep, we are in the same boat, so to speak. I take strength from knowing you have managed it so well and I definitely find exercising my words is fantastic therapy.
      You are the best.

  3. How are you and your joints? Yesterday, I read a blog about how running can damage joints for arthritis patients. The blogger also mentioned that instead of running, patients should try spinning instead, coz spinning is just minor exercise. I think the article made sense. I don’t have the link now and I forgot the blog name. Anyways, I also had problems with my joints. I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis when I was a teen. I had physical therapy but it didn’t work for me so I switched to regenerative medicine. My stem cell treatment took 5 weeks. I had it with my orthopedic surgeon, Dr Purita and although I had fever for 2 days after my first treatment, it went well.. I went back to running several months after my last therapy session. I also want to try spinning. I hope you get better and find the suitable treatment for you. 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment. Your friend should check a little deeper. There is a lot of research recently published that shows runners have less incidence of arthritis than the normal population. Genetics and trauma tend to be the biggest links, but quite frankly I don’t think anyone really knows what causes it. I have had arthritis in my shoulders for several years. I have never had anyone look, but I am certain I have some in my hands, too.

      That said, I am also a cyclist and will be picking that up again. My fundamental belief is that exercise has to be intense enough to show any value. That intensity should vary and recovery is important, but we need to stress ourselves. Just like anything else we do there is benefit from pushing beyond our comfort zone. That’s where we grow. It doesn’t have to be painful, it just has to be harder than what you are used to.

      I’m glad your treatment has shown positive results and I hope the improvement continues. It’s good to know there are options.

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