Hips don’t lie

Oh I hate that song. Anyway.

Three months of base training in the books. Altogether, it’s been very productive. I did miss 2 weeks over the holidays with a hellcold, but I rebounded and was back on track by mid-January. This month we ramp up the intensity, and then it’s April and time to hit the road. Right now I weigh at least 14 pounds more than last year, and I am confident that while some of it is garbage weight, most of it isn’t. This will definitely be a stronger year. Hooray eating.

I spend a lot of time on the trainer, and I’ve been noticing that the position I sort of settle into on the bike is kind of messed up. My hips are rotated to the right, and my left leg nearly rubs the top tube. I’ve been riding that way for years, and have never really noticed it. I’ve noticed the symptoms for sure – back pain, knee and hip pain, outer foot pain – but they tend to come and go, and the dots have always been hard to connect. But now, after months on the trainer and catching my reflection in the windows on my porch, I see that something is off.

This morning I went to FitWerx in Peabody for a cleat alignment. I thought that with a little help down there, it might bring everything into line and help straighten out my hips. Which, after about an hour and a few shims, it did to a degree. But my bigger issue, we discovered, is that my left leg is longer than my right leg by 2.5cm. It’s enough of a discrepancy to be obvious by looking at it. It’s funny because I have never noticed it, but also, I have never ever actually looked for it.

I have had this – I would presume – for most of my life, and as a result, my hips have compensated for the difference by twisting, which as a result requires my back and spine to twist to compensate for my hips twisting. It’s a chain reaction that helps explain the bouts of lower back pain that I’ve had almost my entire life. Although I never thought anything of it, which seems nuts, but believe it or not for some (rare & random) things I’m not much of a complainer. Sometimes I have a shooting rush of pain from my lower back that is so intense it freezes me, but again, I’ve just never considered why because eventually it goes away for a few weeks or a month; enough time for me to forget about it. And then it comes back. So now I see why.

The recommendation now is to have some X-rays done, and then use that output to work with a physical therapist. I guess upping my insurance this year was a good call. It sounds like it could be a long (and maybe costly) process, so I have to figure out how much this is worth to me.

In the meantime, I have a stack of shims under my right cleat to help make up for it, and it definitely seems to help. As well, my saddle is now pointed to the left, which points my pelvis left, but brings my legs into a straight line somehow. It looks weird, but it basically works. I need more help, but that’s as much as technology is going to do for me right now. In a month or so when we rip off a good 70 miler, we’ll see how it holds up. For now, spin spin spin.

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