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Code Red - need help!

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by JoyceVT, Jun 7, 2015.

  1. JoyceVT

    JoyceVT Well known member

    Hi Everyone, sorry I haven't been on in a while. I've been training for an two Ironman events. A half Ironman in two weeks and a full in August. Work has been very difficult and training takes up most of my time. But I do love the training and getting stronger in all three sports (swim bike run).

    Last fall I suffered a very bad TMS flare up in my left hip which left me not running for about 2 months. I missed my late fall marathon as a result. Since I got better last December I've been training diligently for my Ironman events. I've had some minor TMS flare ups but nothing has stopped my training until now. I have a very sore right hip and feel it might not be TMS. I can't do my long run today and I'm besides myself with worry and grief. This can't be happening again!

    The reason I'm having trouble thinking it's TMS is that it started to feel sore after a very hard 82 mile bike ride followed by a 6 mile run right afterward (a typical brick workout for ironman training). It got worse the next day after my shorter bike on sunday followed by an hour and a half run. This past week it's slowly gotten a little worse even when I modified workouts and omitted some. Yesterday I did another 80+ mile bike ride and another 6 mile run. It didn't bother me on the bike that much but it was very sore to run. I have two weeks to my half Ironman and I am worried sick. How do I determine that it is TMS or a true tendon/muscle pull or strain? Last time this happened I couldn't run for a long time.

    The reasons it could be TMS is that I've had a very tough time with my job and it's coming to a head. Also we had to drill a new well this spring after putting in a new septic system the previous year leaving us wiped out financially. So I'm constantly worried about money and all the big expenses that go along with triathlons (both my husband do it so it's double the expenses). I feel completely trapped and miserable at my job as I can't quit at the moment due to finances.

    Just wanted to reach out in case anyone as any advice or words of wisdom. I would do anything to get through this and get to my event in a couple weeks. For now I running is out of the question.

    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Joyce,
    I'm not an athlete and never have been, so I don't have an understanding of what drives people to engage in extreme physical challenges like triathlons. But a few things jump out at me as I read your post. First, when you drive your body so hard you will always give yourself a reason to doubt that your pain is TMS and not something structural. You describe many issues that are a recipe for TMS. It seems like you have a lot of internal conflict about whether or not competing in triathlons is a good thing in your life--the financial strain and the pressure it puts on you. Maybe your TMS is giving you a way out. Also, there is an overall tone of desperation in your post and it is clear that you are putting yourself under a great deal of pressure to compete, in addition to job and financial stress. Maybe look at outcome independence with regard to competing in the triathlon. Is it really essential to your happiness to do this? What if you gave yourself a break and turned to physical exercise done for the sheer enjoyment of it--not to compete or to see how hard you can drive yourself, but just to feel the joy of moving through space in the beautiful outdoors. Just some thoughts.

    Wishing you the best......
    Walt Oleksy likes this.
  3. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Joyce. I like the tough love advice Ellen gives.
    I also have never been much for sports or athletics... I did love playing golf and tennis when I was younger,
    and before I got a dog. I discovered I was even happier just walking my dog. I've had three now for more than 40

    I've had friends who seemed like they lived to run. I never could understand that. They don't seem to look at anything
    or experience the beauty they pass by. It may be hard for you and your husband, but triathlons seem to be giving you emotional stress, being able to financially afford them, and worrying you might be hurting your body. Why not just enjoy the activities but not compete against anyone or yourself?

    As for job stress, we all have that and just have to find ways to shrug it off. One of my two bosses is a certified nut. I've learned not to jump through his hoop. When it gets rough, do some deep breathing. Go into the john and cover your mouth and scream, or laugh. I prefer laughing. It's very good for the body and mind.

    If you decide to keep on with the triathlons, try to enjoy them more and pressure yourself less.

    And keep reminding yourself, it's all TMS, from psychological stresses, not structural.
  4. JoyceVT

    JoyceVT Well known member

    Thank you both for the thoughtful responses. I appreciate it. :)

    I do really love triathlons, marathons and competing. I enjoy the whole training process and the excitement of the event. I love pushing myself and seeing what I can do.It's exciting to be 45 yrs old and be in top physical shape. It feels so good to be this fit and strong and knowing I've worked so hard to achieve it. The training and racing events bring me a lot of joy. And there is the satisfaction of completing a race/triathlon/marathon and knowing you gave it your all. Words can't even begin to describe it. So what I'm saying is that my athletic endeavors are my passion. I love to do this. I don't think I'm trying to get out of doing them. (but then again maybe my inner child feels different about it all)

    I think that if I truly believed this is TMS and not an overuse strain, I might break through. And I might stop getting these flare ups every 6 months or so. I was just reading Enrique's older post about his TMS and triathlon adventures.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015
  5. JoyceVT

    JoyceVT Well known member

    PS - I do really appreciate the beauty around me when I'm racing and training. It's one of the many many reasons I pursue racing at a high level. I get to be outside all the time. :)
  6. David88

    David88 Well known member

    Hi Joyce,

    I know nothing about triathlons, but I'm an expert TMSer (wry grin). It struck me that your pain got worse when you modified your program to take it a bit easier. To me, that suggests TMS. If it were an overwork strain, you would expect it to feel better. But TMS often gets worse if you back off even a little bit, because it reinforces the physical thinking. Is not proof, but it is suggestive.

    Focus on your psychology. What might you beTMSing about? It's not the stress that you're aware of that causes the pain, it's the stress you're overlooking.

  7. UFGatormom

    UFGatormom New Member

    Hi Joyce: Your thread resonated with me even though I am far from being the elite athlete that you are and what accomplishments they are! When you stated that your athletic endeavors are your passion and it kind of defines who you are, I do understand that. Living in Florida allows you to be outdoors all the time. I am quite a bit older than you by almost 20 years and from my early 20s thru now I have always engaged in a lot of cross training stuff from running, (never more than 10K) long distance cycling, HIIT classes, yoga, spin, and now swimming (not really my favorite thing but I will get to that later). The comments that I noted also as Ellen was that it seems you put a tremendous amount of pressure on yourself...I think after doing an 80+ bike ride and then putting in a 6 mile run, my hips would be sore as heck too and especially after the amount of training that you do. Do you work with a really good sports medicine doc who leans towards mind body stuff? Abigail Steidley, a wonderful life coach, has some great blogs on going easy on yourself because even though this is your passion, it becomes way too much of what defines you. I am a long time fan of Sarno and got rid of back pain in one week, interstitial cystitis in about 6 months thanks to Abigail and Dr. Schubiner and have been a sufferer of severe anxiety since my childhood. Still working on that. (on medication still that I would like to discontinue). Lots of past trauma. Dad died at age 40 when I was 12 and I did not even know he was ill. Very close to my Dad and not Mom. Mom went back to work (we were low middle class) and one week after my Dad's death, became a victim of child molestation by an uncle. Still dealing with these issues for 51 years. In my present life, my business went under three years ago and have been trying to find employment so financial issues have been an issue. Mom now with Alzheimer's disease and the list goes on. For me, the "cure" for my anxiety was to, every single day, be active...exercise was my outlet for five decades and now I have orthopedic issues that I am hoping are TMS. Bilateral meniscal tears are getting way less noticeable pain wise but bilateral hip labral tears seem to just be getting worse and worse, and as much as I want to believe this is just another TMS manifestation, just maybe (there's that little nagging maybe) this is one ortho issue that may truly be structural. (In fact, just spoke with a friend who is an avid runner at 61 (half marathons). Diagnosed with labral tear, had to completely give up running, had arthroscopic surgery and one year later, is back to running halfs with NO PAIN. I think in your case, it is just a matter of TMS and definitely over training. I have tried to run through excruciating pain, modify in gym, and swim now but after four decades of this pressure that I had put on myself, for me personally, I rather slow it down just a tad!!! ! I truly do have sooooo many things to be thankful for (two successful twin daughters, one PhD and Masters degrees), great son-in-laws (hopefully grandbabies soon!), doing some volunteer work, great friends, so I guess as I get older, I will always remain active but my priorities are definitely taking a shift. Working with a therapist who is mind body based which is helping now also. The best of luck in all your future athletic endeavors. (BTW, going for a road cycle ride now..used to ride about 35 over a few bridges, now do 20 and still really enjoy myself!) Also check out Tennis Tom's thread on anxiety,m depression and athletes.
  8. JoyceVT

    JoyceVT Well known member

    Thank you UF Gatormom and David 88 for your posts. UF Gatormom I'm glad you understand my athletic endeavors. Thank you for sharing.

    I have an Skype apt with Dr Sopher (a TMS doc) who has run 12 marathons and has worked with many athletes. I think it should be helpful. In a recent email he did say that he had no doubts my flare up is TMS. I've met with him many years ago in person and have had a phone consultation a few years ago.
    Forest likes this.
  9. JoyceVT

    JoyceVT Well known member

    I had a good Skype consultation with Dr. Sopher last Wed and he has no doubts my painful hip is indeed TMS. Basically he feels that I am an elite level athlete who takes great care of myself. The more I train the stronger I become. I have been training very diligently the last 6 months in a quest to do my first full Ironman. He says there is no way I am that fragile that I should get hurt a few weeks prior to a half ironman (training race in prep for the full ironman). He also stated that over use injuries are a myth when it comes to endurance athletes. And I do believe Dr Sopher and I do believe I am suffering from more TMS.

    This past weekend I decided I would run and push through the pain knowing it might get worse (I did this 6 months ago with my other hip and it got too painful to keep running so I stopped for 2 months). After Saturday's long bike and shorter run it was really bad but I still decided to do Sunday's longer run. I've never run 13 miles in that much soreness and discomfort. And today it's the worst TMS I've ever had. It's almost crippling where I can barely stand up without aiding myself. I'm in uncharted waters right now. I purchased Fred Amir's Rapid Recovery over 6 months ago when I had the same pain in the other hip. But didn't really work on the program that much. Now I'm going to give it an honest shot. Hoping it will help get me to the staring line this coming Sunday. If I ran 13 miles yesterday I can do it again this coming Sunday.

    Anyone else push through crippling pain and win the battle? At this point I'm fed up with TMS. I've suffered TMS symptoms in my athletic pursuits off and on for probably 20 years now. I've had enough!
  10. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi again, Joyce. You love to run and compete in Ironman competitions and I think that is wonderful. I wouldn't worry about pain if it comes.
    Just remember that it's not structural but coming from TMS repressed emotions or being a perfectionist or goodist person. Looks to me that it's from perfectionism. I wouldn't push to be the winner in a competition, just thank the Lord I can compete. I read where a woman about 100 years old completed a race. Fantastic! She didn't expect to be the first to cross the finish line, but was happy she could enter the race and kept running until she finished it.

    Steve Ozanich writes in his book The Great Pain Deception that he kept playing golf despite the pain. That perseverance and discovering his repressed emotions from anger over a doctor botching a post-operation on his wife healed him after years of multiple pains. His success story is amazing.
  11. JoyceVT

    JoyceVT Well known member

    Thanks Walt. Since it's going to be my first ironman and second half ironman, I haven't put big goals or pressures on myself. I believe someday after I have more experience with ironmans, I will have a good shot at doing very well in my age group (women 45-49). But this summer I just want to do the best I can and have a good experience. We chose Mont Tremblant, Quebec for both events because it's a beautiful course, a great venue and a super fun place to relax after the race.. I plan to totally enjoy the races and experiences. My swim and bike have come a long way. Running which is what I do best is where I'm prone to the most TMS. My goals are to enjoy the run and not be plagued by TMS pain and agony.

    I just need to get through my current predicament which is very painful at the moment. I can't even get up and walk to the kitchen without a lot of pain. :(
  12. JoyceVT

    JoyceVT Well known member

    PS I love SteveO's book. It's been helpful as well. He does state that the pain can get worse as you challenge it. I like how he would stomp his feet when when he would experience TMS while running.
  13. David88

    David88 Well known member

    Hi Joyce,

    Good for you for going on that run!

    I've pushed through a lot of TMS pain, but usually I do it gradually, slowly increasing my activity in order to build confidence. My unconscious is a slow learner (wry grin). If I try to push through too much to fast, I get anxious, and that makes the pain worse. But different approaches work for different people.

    While you are pushing though the pain, don't forget the other leg of healing: think psychological. Why does your unconscious feel the need to create the pain? It's there for a reason.

  14. JoyceVT

    JoyceVT Well known member

    Thanks David. I'm the perfect storm for TMS. My unconscious has a long list of reasons it's attacking me. Honestly I was surprised a month ago I was still feeling pain-free.

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