Running: My aching, creaking hips

I’m running the Monument Ave. 10k in a few short weeks.

Gulp.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so unprepared for a race.

My last race was the Richmond Half Marathon. Back then I was just five months postpartum, had a bad cold, and was totally and completely sleep deprived. I felt — and looked — like I’d been wrung out and drop-kicked across the finish line.

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After the half I starting looking toward the 10k. It’s a perennial favorite of mine; I’ve run it every year since I moved to Richmond. But I didn’t just plan to run it, I wanted to race it. I wanted to do strength training, speed work and get fast; I wanted to PR.

The Monument Ave. 10k has never really been “my” race. I used to cook a spaghetti dinner for 30+ friends the night before the race, which meant I spent the day before the race on my feet cooking and usually didn’t go to bed until past midnight, so I’ve never really had a “good” Monument Ave. 10k.

Then I ran it pregnant, ran it postpartum, walked it very pregnant, and here I am again.

I thought that, following a pretty decent (for me) half marathon, training for a 10k would be cake.

But the half marathon really took a lot out of me. When I started training for the half, I was recovering from pregnancy and childbirth, nursing a lot, and barely sleeping, and I kept getting sick. Running didn’t really feel good — or even healthy. It felt like I was really pushing my body beyond its limits. So I decided I needed a little break.

Then the cold weather settled in, we got sick overandoverandover, we got less and less sleep, and it just kept snowing. I lost a lot of motivation.

And this is what made it hardest of all: my hips have been hurting. A lot.

The hip pain started at the very end of half marathon training. They’d feel a little achy after my long runs. Then, during the race, they started aching around mile 10. Ever since then it’s just gotten worse.

I’m a pretty injury-prone runner. I’m used to an achy calf or sore tendon,  but this injury isn’t getting better like it should. Since the half I’ve drastically cut back on mileage. I’m running fewer than 10 miles a week these days, but the rest hasn’t helped at all. If anything, the pain has gotten worse. Along with rest I’ve added in some strength training, but that hasn’t helped either. Now my hips hurt for a day or two after each run. (But they never hurt while I’m running, only after.)

I’m still running a few times a week, but pretty low mileage, and always with rest days in between. Because of the weather and sleep deprivation — not to mention the effort it takes to load up two kids and their entourage of snacks and toys in the stroller — I haven’t been super motivated anyway. But with warm weather rolling in, I’m getting impatient. What the heck, hips!?

Last weekend I did a rare run without the stroller — 4.2 miles in 37:59 minutes. Not too bad. If I can run the 10k at that pace I’ll be happy. In fact, I’ll be thrilled.

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But what I’d really be thrilled about is this hip pain going away. Spring is here, and I’m looking forward to getting back to running for real.

I’m thinking this might be a postpartum thing. Maybe too much running too soon after baby #2? Maybe supporting muscles — my core, especially — weren’t strong enough after pregnancy, and my hips paid the price?

Running moms, does this sound familiar? I’d love to hear your experiences.

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6 Comments

  1. Cabell March 21, 2014

    I like that you took the picture of David without pants!

    Reply
  2. Grammy March 21, 2014

    back massage?

    Reply
  3. Marnie @ SuperSmartMama March 21, 2014

    I only have one child, but I haven’t run consistently since he was born in 2011. In 2012, I started running in the fall and then the holidays happened. In 2013, we moved from California to Colorado, and I gained a ton of weight, which really discouraged my attempts to get back to running. Now it’s 2014 and I’m going it again. My goal is to try and run a 10K by Memorial Day. I even have a race picked up! I am feeling your frustration!

    Reply
  4. Jorie March 21, 2014

    It might be worth talking to a physical therapist. My physical therapist said my hip and it band injuries are pregnancy related. Everything got out of alignment while pregnant with the weight and hormones, then I did the half still out of alignment which injured everything. She got me back and now we’re strengthening specific muscles to keep the alignment. She also taped me running and has me doing some exercises to change my running style to prevent further injury. Hope this helps!

    Reply
  5. Tom March 21, 2014

    babe – it’s not a few short weeks. it’s 8 days!

    Reply
  6. Sarah March 23, 2014

    Amanda, I agree with Jorie. Time to see a PT who can see where weakness/muscle imbalance is and can give you exercises to target specific muscles. Pregnancy wreaks havoc on your body…I’m just starting to get back into a running routine..almost 2 years post-partem.

    Reply

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