Thursday, May 10, 2012

Paging Dr. Google

Okay, okay, I already know that Dr. Google is not a good substitute for an actual M.D., but I also live in a world where my health insurance (which I'm grateful to have) makes running to the doctor for every ache, pain, and twinge cost prohibitive.  And most docs, aside from those who specialize in sports medicine, will tell you "if it hurts, just don't run." rather than trying to actually find out what's causing the problem and treating it.  Um, telling me not to run, unless I'm truly injured, is like telling a fish not to swim. But...let's rewind a bit.

Coach Husband and I set out to run 7 miles tonight.  The first two miles were good. Actually they were better than good (9:38 and 9:26 respectively).  By Mile 3, I was starting to experience a nifty, stabbing feeling just inside my ribcage on my right side. WARNING: GRAPHIC DESCRIPTION AHEAD: Actually, it felt like someone was shoving a blunt metal object into my gut and twisting it.  It hurt like a beast.  Originally, I attributed it the big increase in my activity level over the last week and a half, figuring that my abdominal muscles were just a little twinge-y.  As we progressed through Miles 3 and 4, the stabby twisty feeling got progressively worse and, as the my pace got slower and slower, it occurred to me that it was sort of like a side stitch, but not quite in the usual side location, since it would go away if I walked or stopped moving altogether. I tried to ignore it/run through it, but by Miles 5 and 6, I couldn't ignore it anymore.  Those miles just plain sucked.  I couldn't catch my breathe. I alternated between wanting to cry or scream because I was so frustrated.  My head was in the game, but my body wasn't cooperating.  This is new. Usually my mind wants to quit long before my body runs out of gas.  On top of that, I felt like crap because Coach Husband was feeling just fine and I felt like a total failure and like I was holding him back.  To his credit, he was incredibly kind about the whole thing.  During my frequent walking/gasping/whining breaks, we tried to figure out what the hell was causing this. By the start of Mile 7, I still felt pretty crummy, but not as bad, so I was able to do what Coach Husband wanted: run the last mile in less than 10 minutes (9:58).

After dinner, I turned to Dr. Google.  And, as it turns out, I'm not the first runner to experience this problem.

(source)
From what I gathered, my stabby, twisty pain is a type of side stitch - caused by the stretching of the ligaments that extend from the diaphragm to the internal organs - particularly the liver.  And apparently exhaling as your right foot hits the ground can cause even more stress on those ligaments and the liver, which is located on the right side of the body.  (source)  Guess which foot I was exhaling on? Yep, my right.  I certainly don't have this problem every time I run, but I'm willing to try anything to try to prevent it from happening again!

3 comments:

BeringSeaJunkie said...

I (you may or may not be shocked to know) used to be a Cross-Country runner at school, and competed FOR my school. Not sure on the longest course I ever ran, I never paid much attention to the details... I just ducked my head down and ran to the finish line!

But I suffered with this exact same thing, I didn't know what it was, just put it down to a bad stitch... because as you said, never suffered with it every time you ran...

Who could have known it was so simple to remedy?!

Totally random part of the comment: 1500 metre race in a P.E lesson with my tutor group was timed. I came 2nd (out of 32 girls) I ran it in 7:12, probably about 20/25 seconds behind the winner & about a minute in front of the rest of the pack - I always remembered it, but don't know if it's impressive?! lol

Mary said...

I do recall you mentioning that you ran cross country at school. 7:12 for 1600 meters...wow! Only in my wildest dreams.

Delyth Edwards said...

I also ran at school.....To the canteen! LMAO

Google is very handy when it comes to these things, I would not have even heard of PCOS if it wasn't for Google, nor would I know about abcesses (gross I know!)