TLF…WTF Is That? {And Other Fun Stories}

About 3 weeks ago I ran 4 miles of “hills” — hills in Orlando typically equals an overpass — which is exactly what we ran. Back and forth for 4 miles. You can imagine how much fun that was.



Yes, this is a “hill.”

Thankfully, I have been running with such a fun and motivating group of ladies.


Things were all good until later that day when I got up from my desk to go to a meeting and it felt like someone stabbed me in the side  — right on the iliac crest of my hip. FUUUUUUUUDGE.



(Except… it’s the other side that actually hurts)

Later that night I massaged, foam rolled, and stretched the crap out of it. However, the next morning it was still a little sore so I skipped my run (YES, I actually listened to my pain – plus it was a holiday at work so I enjoyed “sleeping in”). The next day however (aka July 4th) was my last run with this guy…



Of course, I wasn’t going to miss it for some silly hip pain. Despite it hurting when I walked (really, when my left heel struck the ground) – it really didn’t start to bother me until the end of our 8 miles — so I thought maybe I was just overdoing it. The next week I ran and worked out like usual, and while it was still sore, I could manage. It continued to be more of an issue when I WASN’T running, so I was hoping that I just need to stretch more — so stretch I did. Unfortunately, it has continued to hurt after I run, and that pretty much freaking sucks.

So…I did what any runner would do… I Googled the crap out of what could be causing is and then did nothing about it.


Google pretty much told me that my hips where probably misaligned, and I figured Google was pretty right since I have a 27 degree curve in my spine (thanks scoliosis!). I also figured I needed to visit a chiropractor, but I was in total procrastination mode and I kept putting it off. I just have so much free time – I don’t know what to do with it! Fast forward to last Friday… I ran 4 miles with my group and attempted to kick up the speed a bit. I’ve been running a 9:45 pace lately (sometimes slower depending on the humidity), but I KNOW I have some speed in me, so I tagged along with someone I knew was a little faster than me and pushed myself to keep up with her. It was a TOUGH run – the humidity was intense (we’re talking at least 1000000% here), we  felt like we had run 8 miles, not just 4. I had a tiny, tiny tinge of pain when I was running, so I was hopeful that maybe, JUST maybe it wouldn’t hurt later. Yeah, that was a stupid thought.


It actually hurt MORE. Shocking, I know.  

So, I finally got my shit together and called a sports chiropractor. I could have called my old chiro, but to be honest – I don’t know that he would have done anything helpful. He didn’t seem to special in sports injuries and I didn’t feel like he was going to get to the bottom of my issues. I did my research (more Googling) and decided I needed to find someone who focuses on my spine, but also realized that there are a gazillion (accurate estimate) of other muscles, tendons, and bones in my body that work in conjunction with my spine – and I managed to find someone really close to work who also happens to work through lunch. Yes!

I called and they were able to fit in me at lunch that day. After providing the Dr with my history and my sob story on why I was there – he did a bunch of fun assessments (including the Ober Assessment). For starters, my left hip (painful hip) is higher than my right — which I expected. He said I am firing from my right hip and overcompensating for my left hip (the trouble hip). When I started running “hills” it probably knocked me off balance and locked up my left hip. *You probably didn’t read this paragraph because I said the word hip 830998 times.

One significant thing he noticed that is contributing to this injury is that I have extreme flexibility in my hips. He asked if I took ballet growing up — and yes, yes I did. Although, I think my flexibility is also related to the hypermobility  I have in several of my joints (I can hyperextend my knees, thumbs, and wrists — and apparently my hips).


This is normal, right?

This is a big deal and it’s causing my hips – particularly my tensor fascia lata (TFL) muscles to be incredibly tight. The TFL is a short, pain in the ass (LIT-rally), muscle situated right at the pocket of your jeans. It’s part of the hip flexor family and works together with various other muscles to keep your hip in motion. It’s small, but important.

While I can do a perfect pigeon yoga pose, I cannot extend my leg behind my back to save my life. The reason I am so tight (That’s what he said? God, that was awful.)? My hips are “too flexible” to get a good stretch. *mind blown*

I always wondered why certain stretches never worked for me (runner’s stretch is one prime example) – and this is why. Because I love researching this shit, I have since learned that if you have hypermobility in any of your joints – you really shouldn’t attempt to stretch them, because you won’t make your body happy. And once they are stretched past 104 degrees — there’s no going back. There’s just not enough tension to make the stretch worthwhile. It’s essentially like trying to stretch cooked pasta. Instead, I should be focusing on stability and strengthening.

There are two exercises my Dr. assigned to me. One is a simple leg swing. On the swing out, I turn my leg out (like I’m kicking a soccer ball) and on the swing in, I turned my leg in (like I’m pigeon toed). To the surprise of nobody, I’m great at the turnout, but the turn in is pathetic. You can’t even tell I’m turning it in!

The other exercise is lateral walking in squat position with a resistance band (aka monster walks).

(It was so hard for me to find a video of this! I watched at least a dozen before I found this one and they were all using incorrect form!) This exercise is a bitch — but I can feel a major difference even after a few days.

Because I’m seeing a chiropractor, I’m getting adjustments – at least for the next few weeks. The focus is on my hips (obviously), back, and legs. At the first appointment he could not adjust my left (trouble) femur. The right femur popped without a problem, but the left leg/hip just felt like it was stuck. At the 2nd appointment, he had to abduct my hip slightly, but after 3 attempts, he was able to get the femur to pop. Woo-hoo, progress!  I took the weekend off of running – but I don’t intend to stop, and thankfully he didn’t tell me I needed to, so I’ll be back at it this week and weekend (although, I will not be pushing it TOO hard. Promise.).

I’m also working on how I sit during the day. I know that my posture when I’m sitting in front of the computer for hours is atrocious. I also read that sitting in an office environment can lead to weaken glutes, which leads to glutes misfiring, which then leads to back, hip, and knee issues. So I’ve taken it upon myself to strengthen my glutes as well with a few of these exercises every day:

Glute Bridges

Glute Marches

Modified Clam


(Credit goes to Breaking Muscle for this lovely collage)

What I find funny is that I’m running half as much as did last summer (according to Facebook, at this point last year I had just run a 16 miler!), but my body is falling apart. Maybe this injury has been a few years in the making? I guess I’m glad it’s happening this year and not last year. Part of me is also bummed though. I’m so damn motivated to run and THIS happens!



Yep, that pretty much sums up how I feel right now.

Ever have a TFL injury?? How did you get over it? How did you cope??? 

50-Second HIIT

More Workouts – Full Body, Arms, Legs, and HIIT

Although I’m back to running – I’m still trying to be diligent about squeezing in some strength/weight workouts a few times a week. Nothing gives me that high like running, but I have to admit, my body looks better with some muscle. Below are a few of my recent workouts. The moves are pretty basic, but I… 

Read More »


Suck It Up, Buttercup 10K {Race Recap}

Oh hey there. Yes, it’s true… I’m still alive. Not only that, but I have my first official race recap of 2015 — because I love running again! I’ve actually been itching to post again about… something… anything… but I just haven’t had the time or energy or something. #excuses So yeah… back to this… 

Read More »


10K Me…Maybe?

While I have once again discovered the love of running… I have also discovered how miserable it is to run in the heat AND 100% humidity (more like 500% humidity). I was actually spoiled a few weeks ago (ha – if you want to call it that) and had a chance to run Mississippi (with… 

Read More »


How To Get Your Running Mojo Back

Oh hey there running. We’re totally in a relationship again. This is actually a very real depiction of what I looked like at the gym on Monday. It hasn’t been easy getting back to this place. It’s actually been a weird 6 months. I would see people running and feel wistful and nostalgic – and… 

Read More »