I finally saw my physical therapist get flustered and backdown. Let me explain.
The first day I met him, after the preliminaries and the evaluation, he told me what all would be involved. Most of it sounded nice..electrical stimulation and heat, ice, stretching..then the tough part was uttered. Physical manipulation of the ITband. Which means he uses his razor like fingers bent at a 90 degree angle to apply insane pressure and run from my knee up to my hip bone–for about 30 minutes. It would be painful. It would work, but would be painful. My IT band was a mass of knots that refused to let me run. Different people respond differently to pain, so he would see how I responded. I looked him in the eyes and said ‘If you expect to determine that by whether or not I cry, you’ll have to look elsewhere. I don’t and will not cry in response to physical pain. I’m weird that way” He didn’t scoff or try to patronize me. He just smiled and said, “let’s get started then”.
And so began the long now 6 month, 3 times a week grudge match we have going. I’m a smartass, but I never complain about whatever he asks me to do. In turn, he learned my few moods quickly and talked when I felt like it but kept quiet and left me to my own thoughts on the many days when I didn’t want to be social. It was like he understood and observed over the weeks how my mental state of being was directly tied to running. It’s for that reason alone that I think he got me to running quickly but for only quarters of a mile at a time. For that, I will always be thankful for him and Leslie..his assistant who did most of my ultrasounds since they required an insane amount of my “hip” to be exposed. I’m not a prude by nature, but I don’t let men view my ass for any reason.
But today, a corner was turned. I’ve been battling the flu. Yesterday I went back to the doctor for a secondary sinus infection and bronchitis..complications from the flu. I got some shots and some powerful antibiotics that made a huge difference. I actually woke up ready to go to school. After school, I grabbed my training bag and wandered into the office that’s been my second home for 6 months, spoke to Leslie, asked about her toe surgery, then meandered to the dressing room sidestepping people using various objects in various states of therapy. I’m, by far, the veteran of the group. Mr. M speaks, I speak back, in my croaky voice. After changing, he came over for the quick consult and said that we would bypass the strengthening exercises. Before I can protest a little, he reminds me that he himself is recovering from the flu (that I exposed to him), and he himself was still suffering from the weakness. I got an ultrasound from Leslie with my special medicine just for diabetics and I practically fall asleep. Then the heat (LOVE the heat) and stim for 30 minutes. All is going good, I’m napping and barely notice when Mr. M removes the electrodes and gets ready for the manipulation. I’m okay for the first 20 minutes, it’s not that tight today, and then the shock of all shocks. He hits a minor sore spot and I start crying. ..tears rollling. He had been talking to someone over on the other table and happened to glance down to see my face. I wave him away, trying to laugh or something to break the tension I was feeling. He stopped what he was doing, knowing that I wasn’t crying from intense pain. He said “well, I would have never believed it. You’re worn out so let’s get you finished up so you can go home”. He wiped off my leg and gave me another round of heat..something he has never done, but I think he did that to allow me to get myself together. He set the timer for 15 minutes and I’m back to normal when the timer goes off. Thank goodness he didn’t dwell on my moment of weakness. It was bad enough crying in front of someone who has seen me in the worst pain I can remember without flinching yet has just crumbled under basically NOTHING, but it could have been worse if he spent too much time on it.
Now for the technical stuff. I’m responding well to the therapy now. I’m working on balancing exercises to strengthen the weaker leg and groin muscles. The shorter leg is surprisingly strong. The IT band in that leg is tight, but the groin and hip muscles are very strong and keep the band stabalized. All my work is being done on my longer left leg.
I’m going to be in therapy until I can run 5 miles pain free..on the road. The trails..well..those will take much longer to conquer. He assured me that I will run trails again. But he told me to realistically abandon any trail racing for the rest of this year. It was a blow that I couldn’t digest…yet.
Next up..I want to run like Mo for a while. ..
Shoes: Brooks Adrenaline ASR