Moments of Movement

Tuesday night, I went to bed with a feeling of physical satisfaction and mental contentment. In the previous week, I had had moments of flashing brilliance in my workouts. My mind and my body were giving me all of the right signs to indicate that it was time to look forward to the 2014 triathlon season.

IMG_2017As I fell asleep that night, I dreamt of sugar plum fairies, Ironman trophies, and Kona slots.

When I woke up, I swung my legs around to get out of bed.

Huh. That doesn’t feel right. There was a niggle inside of my left hip. A little tender, I thought.

I put my feet on the floor, took a step with my right leg, and howwwwwllllleeeeddd. 

In that moment, I realized my hip was a lot more than just a little tender.

After a few tentative steps, I realized that as long as I did not move laterally — like not even a smidgen, I wouldn’t feel that sharp pain.

Each step became a game to avoid the daggers in my hip.

In that moment, I didn’t panic. Of course, the panic did come later.

I’m just tight, I thought.

I convinced myself that it was my cat Lily’s fault. You see, Lily likes to sleep in between my legs, and sometimes this also means that she will lay on my butt. It’s her thing. I then spend most of the night trying not to disturb Princess Lily.

It is quite possible–okay a lot possible–that this nightly routine tweaked my hip.

Princess Lily. Yes, that is the look of the devil you see in her eye. She’s just so darn cute!

I had a swim and a bike session on tap that morning, so I thought that the swim would do well to loosen me up.

I told myself that I was “just” tight – as if that would somehow magically make the stabbing pains go away.

No dice.

As the morning wore on, and I found my way to work, I couldn’t help noticing that the pain in my hip was getting worse. The sharp daggers would come and go (oh, heaven help me on the stairs at work!), and a dull ache settled inside of my hip.

So, I did what any of you would do. I found myself at the computer keyboard; Google search bar ready to go.

“Pain in hip,” I typed.

I found the Mayo Clinic symptom checker website, and began to check the sensations.

Thanks to this miserable website, which should henceforth be banned from my browser (but it won’t be), I became convinced that I had torn my labrum OR I had dislocated my hip.


Nevermind that either one of these injuries requires some type of trauma, and I hadn’t had such an incident. But, hey, Lily could have easily been punching me in the butt while I slept.

I had an appointment with my magical chiropractor, Dr. Eric Nelson, that afternoon. By the time he said, “Okay, Maria, are you ready?” I had failed in keeping the panic at bay, and I was in a complete frenzy. I immediately began babbling symptoms and shrieking incoherently about stabbing pains, labrum tears, and ruined racing careers.

It is positively amazing that he was able to make any sort of usable diagnosis under those conditions. I was a complete maniac.


But, diagnose he did. The verdict? No torn labrum. No dislocated hip.

But, I did have some very pissed off obturator muscles. That is so weird because Google didn’t even give me that as an option.

See the picture to the right? Yup. Those are the ones.

So, now it’s Saturday morning, the pain in my hip is all but a distant memory–as fast as it hit me, that’s as fast as it left me.

But, before I get back to my regularly scheduled training, it’s probably best to reflect on what I learned from this experience.

First, I really should stop googling my medical symptoms. It does me no good. But, who am I kidding? This won’t stop unless Google somehow disappears from the interwebs. In that case, I guess I’ll have to use Bing.

Second – and this is very likely the more important lesson – I cannot take movement for granted. I regularly write about being grateful for the blessings that come from being able to push my body the way that I do. But, that appreciation for movement has never been stronger than in the moment when it was taken from me.

I like to think I don’t take movement for granted, but this experience taught me that on a daily basis, I do just accept it as a given. In the past several days, there were moments when the simple movement of getting up from a chair was enough to send shock waves up and down my leg.

There were moments when I wondered if I would ever race again.

There were moments when I wondered if I could walk from the office to the kitchen.

There were moments when the thought of taking even one simple step filled me with dread.

Each of these moments reminded me that I need to be more appreciative of my body’s movement, of the moments when my body pushes its limits and feels life. 

While I hope never to have the type of pain I had earlier this week, I accept the lesson that it taught me.

Movement is a delicate gift – not an expectation. I respect this gift more than ever because I’ve been reminded that it can be taken away in just a moment.


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  2. Don Martin

    This is a very big reason to what you can while you can. At some point you won’t be able to and being able to look back and remember things is great. When you look back and can say, “I gave it my all on that day and I’m pleased with the results”, it means something. But then I’m in my 60s and while there will great times ahead, there are also a lot behind me.

  3. LBA

    Movement and movement without pain are a gift, for sure! And if, someday, you stop being able to do what you do now, you’ll find new ways to push and to appreciate, within the limits you have. I have faith.

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