It’s all part of getting older . . Or not

The ultrasound gel was warmer than I expected. The technician applied the ultrasound probe and for the next 20 minutes or so slowly and carefully moved it around my lower abdomen and groin area probing for any indication of a hernia. She would stop every so often and capture pictures. It was a simple, procedure that would hopefully provide some answers to the nagging discomfort I’ve felt ever since moving the giant ice chunks from the end of my driveway after the big snow and sleet storm in March. 

Every winter I get grumpy when everyone wants “One big storm”. I don’t get it. I’ll never get it. Where is the excitement in having a foot of heavy, slippery snow on the ground? Everyone shouts “Snow day”! I haven’t had a snow day since I was in school. Work doesn’t close because it snows. We are fortunate these days in that the IT industry pretty much allows us to work from home but I remember some pretty terrifying commutes in some pretty bad conditions before that was possible. Clearly those that are so excited by getting a big storm aren’t the ones responsible for moving the snow out of the driveway and sidewalks because there isn’t anything vaguely fun about that. Especially when the big storm features a mix of snow and heavy ice and sleet. 

We had our “one big storm” in Pennsylvania back in mid March. It only lasted a few hours and while the driveway and cars weren’t too bad to clear, the result of the late-day snow plow was giant blocks of ice piled at the end of the driveway. A shovel wouldn’t penetrate them, and the only option was to pick them up and move them. Where were the 17 year old kids that were so ready to clear my driveway when we had 3″ of powder a few weeks prior? I set about moving the snow in chunks and shovel fulls. I’m in pretty good shape, but this was demanding work and I remember thinking “Wow. I’m a bit sore and tired from this”. There were parts of me that were sore that really shouldn’t ever be sore.

To the point of the big storm, Boston marathon training had been going exceptionally well. I had nailed every workout and was feeling fit and fast. After the snow moving incident, I knew something was wrong. There was (and is) not extreme pain but rather some mild discomfort or pulling in my lower abdomen. Of course, being a runner I ignored it. A week later my body compensated during a forced interval workout that left me barely able to walk home with a strained adductor. Thus ended the idea of a fast Boston. A month of care and pool running ensued leading up to my slowest marathon to date. 

Since Boston, I’ve been contemplating the Run for the Red again, where I qualified last year. As I sit here on the quiet back porch of my friend Joe’s Pocono getaway I can feel a bit of pressure in a single spot just above, er, my parts. I know I am not running tomorrow and need to get this figured out.

To that end, after another frustrating appointment cancellation by my now-former primary care physician’s office, I began seeing a new doctor this past week. As it turns out, my new doctor is a runner. A real runner. This is a major bonus! While the physical examination revealed no indication of a hernia, the ultrasound was recommended as a follwup. We decided I could run if I wanted to as long as there was no severe pain.

In fact, I’ve been running, and riding, and swimming all along. I’ve had some pretty awesome workouts in the weeks since Boston. But always afterwards there is tiredness or discomfort in the groin and adductor area. It shouldn’t be this way. 

Friday afternoon my phone rang. I recognized the number of my new doctor. Indeed the office was calling to tell me that the ultrasound results were inconclusive. Inconclusive. So no answers but it sounded like maybe there was something. Dr. Schrenk immediately recommended following up with a specialist. Okay. I’m all about it. Let’s figure this out. 

Frankly, I’m tired of nagging injuries. I was fortunate in my first few years of running that I was pretty bullet proof. I have non running friends and family that tell me “You are too old to be keep doing this stuff”. And “It’s all part of getting older”. That, of course, is nonsense. Exercise has long-since been proven to improve quality of life and health as we age. The age old notion that “you’ll ruin your knees” is equally dated and incorrect. (Again, just the opposite). I supposed I’d rather deal with things like a pulled muscle or rolled ankle than diabetes, cancer, or heart disease. Still, it would be nice to get back to being able to train and race at my full potential. 

The upshot of this rather whiney post is that I will not be participating in the Run for the Red tomorrow. I don’t feel fast right now, and I don’t particularly feel like driving myself through the suffering required to finish a marathon tomorrow. In my mind I know forcing myself to go try anyway would not be the smartest decision until I figure out what is going on inguinnally. 


  1. So sorry to hear that you are dealing with this. Injuries are frustrating (I’m dealing with my second in two weeks right now). They happen but it’s not because you are getting older. They just happen and they definitely piss us off. But they could happen doing anything, like shoveling snow. I myself am a bit bummed about not running Run for the Red tomorrow. Such a great race. But enjoy your peaceful time in the Poconos instead. I’m certain you will be back. And hooray for running doctors. They at least “get it.”

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