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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Existing patients, please press 1.

Let's see.....about three years ago I tried to pick up the "hobby" of running.

It didn't go so well.

I ended up shredding 3 different calf muscles, and hobbled around like an old woman for months.

Eventually they healed, the pain went away, and I made a point to never try running again.

Rabid dogs in pursuit? Let 'em get me!! Can't be as painful as those torn calf muscles, right?? :-)

About a year later, I decided to try it again.

(I'm a sucker for punishment.)

It hurt, but it was a new hurt. If anything, you can never call me boring.

This time it was along the inside of my lower leg, not the big calf muscles along the back.

So, I got to a doctor.....they prescribe physical therapy. The therapist did MAT (muscle activation therapy) among other things. The pain persisted. They had me run on a treadmill to see if my issues were from my gait.

"Your form looks great."

They continue to tell me that my ankles are strong, my knees are good, I'm not a heel striker, my arches are really high (but they didn't seem to think that was an issue), my calves are strong, my posture is good.........etc, etc, etc.

"Your issue must be thigh growth."

Yep, an overweight person's worst nightmare......being told the pain you are experiencing is caused by the reason you're running in the first place......to lose weight.

Thigh growth?

Really??

I never went back. I stopped running. I gained back some of my weight.

I hid.

Then I volunteered at the HyVee triathlon in Des Moines.

I was in my kayak on the water safety crew. After the swimming portion was done, the boat ramp was blocked, so we had to sit and wait for the whole event to finish.

By far the best thing to ever happen to me, ever!!!!!

I sat on that curb and watched the bikes fly by. And then, I watched the runners.

There were TONS of runners, many bigger than I was. More out of shape than I was. And they were handling it just fine. "Thigh growth" didn't seem to be affecting them.

So, I went home the next morning, and sat on the couch with my laptop. I researched running more than I ever had before. I researched beginning running schedules. I researched leg muscles and injury.

I started a couch to 5K program on the treadmill. As long as I kept it under 5.5 miles per hour, and under 30 minutes at a time, the pain was very slight and manageable.

I called the physical therapist I used for after my shoulder surgery. He had me do different exercises, analyzed my gait, took videos of me running, and had me try different shoes.

He nearly fell over in disgust when I told him I was afraid my problem was "thigh growth."

After I'd done that a while, I tried running outside. Very slowly, but after 20 seconds, my legs were SCREAMING!!

So, I went back to the treadmill and called a specialist. He did xrays, MRI's, scans (etc) and found nothing out of the ordinary......so another prescription for PT came around.

This time, to a therapist that specializes in running issues. To someone that has run in Olympic marathon qualifiers twice before, and was training for the third.

She had me do exercises I'd done before...exercises I hadn't done before. But, most importantly, she got those pointy little fingers of hers out, and started deep tissue massages. Twice a week. The insides of my lower legs were bruised from knee to ankle.

This picture was later in the afternoon of my first appointment.


The next morning those bruises had all grown together into one big purplish green blob.....literally from ankle to knee. I had to wear pants for weeks so people wouldn't think I was abused. :-)

(Now, just imagine having to go BACK two days later. It hurt to look at those bruises, let alone let someone poke their pointy fingers INTO them!!)

After a month or two of this (twice a week), my muscle "fibers" were "straightened out" and I was able to run outside.

Without pain.

From May 2010, to February 2011.

And now it's back.

I've been avoiding the doctor and avoiding the physical therapist. You've been seeing my posts about leg pain one day, and 9 miles without leg pain the next. I've been getting deep tissue massages once a week for the past month, and obviously it's not doing me any good. After my run on Tuesday night, I was seriously questioning my sanity. Was I "running through the pain" or was I "making it worse."

Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen, few in pursuit of the goal.
Friedrich Nietzsche

* I've called my insurance company (to check my physical therapy coverage for any changes).
* I've called the specialist. Since it'd been a year, they wanted me to come in before giving out another PT prescription....I go in tomorrow am.
* I've called my physical therapist to schedule an appointment for early next week.

Here we go again. Bring on those pointy fingers! Slacks and long skirts, here I come! :-)

10 comments:

Pritch said...

So hoping things will finally get straightened out for you. Nothing stinks more than having a lot of motivation to run but not being able to.

Nej said...

@ Pritch - I'm taking this bull by the horns. I tried to do something about it myself, and that didn't work. No more messing around. This is war!! :-) :-) :-)

LoriV. said...

Kudos for not giving up!

Pat said...

Wow, sorry to hear about your history of injury and pain. It's very wise of you to not mess around and seek medical help. I hope the healing is much quicker and less painful this time around.

Pat said...

Wow, so sorry to hear about your history of calf injury and pain. You're very wise to not mess around (too long) and seek medical help. I hope you heal much quicker and with less pain this time.

Fran said...

I'm sorry to hear Jen that it's back, it went so good for almost a year. But good for you that you've taken action. I hope you will be running soon again without pain.

destination262 said...

Your running story is very inspiring. I love your determination. I truly hope that it all gets worked out for you. Thinking happy thoughts!!! :)

Krystal said...

I hope the solution is some pointy fingers!

Nej said...

Thanks everyone!!!!!!!!!

Mike said...

I feel your pain. It seems like I have a problem everytime I turn around, but go crazy if I don't run. Hang in there?