Friday, March 1, 2013

And This Is Why We Have Modern Medicine

I've been seeing a chiropractor (who I really like) for about a year & a half now, mostly on account of a set of rogue hips that just *cannot* be bothered to stay square & aligned. At first there were big adjustments every week or two, but once the worst of it was dealt with, I started going maybe once every 6-8 weeks or so for smaller adjustments (the idea being that addressing smaller, recurring problems was better than waiting for them to accumulate & become a large, injury-causing problem again).

My last appointment was right before Thanksgiving, & I had another scheduled in early January that my chiro had to cancel. Every time I'd be like, "I should reschedule that..." my phone would ring or I'd get some urgent email or what have you, so it just never got done & it wasn't really at the top of my list of things to worry a whole lot about.

During my 31 Days of Awesome (Jan 23 - Feb 22, 174 miles), I felt GREAT. Consistent mileage? Check. Long runs? Check. Speed & tempo stuff? Check. Mobility / strength work? Check and double check. No aches, no pains, no limping around feeling like a train wreck after a run. I had some lingering soreness in my calves, but even that was pretty minimal.

Then I took two days completely off to go to Paso, came back & got on a treadmill Monday, and felt. Just. Awful. My legs were exhausted, my Achilles tendons felt like steel cable, my calves threateneed to cramp with every stride, and HELLO SHIN SPLINTS! Apparently I was a fool to think we'd broken up for good.

I could not imagine what was going on. I mean, wine tasting in Paso Robles is hardly strenuous work. I didn't drink all that much, or even wear ridiculous shoes or anything. Eh, maybe the legs just need to loosen up a little again, I thought.

On the track Tuesday night my legs were a little complain-ey warming up but was able to do my intervals at the prescribed pace. The about-to-cramp feeling in my calves was back (no surprise that speed work makes that worse), & though I never thought about quitting early, that last interval was exhausting & I had to work much harder to keep the pace as compared to doing the same workout the previous week. I'd planned a 1.5 mile cool down but the Achilles / calf / shin splint pain was so bad that I stopped at 1. I almost couldn't sleep that night for all the calf spasms.

Wednesday night at karate, my legs felt just exhausted again, in spite of the fact that I'd gone to yoga that day instead of Pilates & also skipped my usual pre-class easy 4 on the treadmill. My entire right leg felt tired & crampy & gimpy & generally a mess.

Thursday morning, I called my chiro to see how soon he could get me in. Thankfully he had an appointment the next morning. That afternoon I'd planned an easy 6-8 miles, depending on how I was feeling. And of course, two days before my first race of the year, I'd have my worst run in MONTHS.

(This is apparently an immutable law of the universe.)

All those leg issues I've mentioned already? Yeah; they were back. All of them. Even wearing my squishiest, most forgiving shoes, I could feel my feet slapping lazily along the concrete, sending shockwaves of impact up through my bones & into my joints, which is the main thing that happens when my muscles aren't doing their whole support-cushion-stabilize thing for whatever reason. I made it out to two & then turned around for a total of four. More than that just was not happening.

It's like my whole body has just run out of gas. NOT encouraging.

(Plus there was the barely being able to walk after sitting at the ballet for 2+ hours Thursday evening for all the pain & stiffness in my right hip & lower back, which has been happening more often in the past week or so.)

So Friday morning I dragged myself to the chiro, told him all of this, & begged him to please please PLEASE fix me up. Please. I've been doing everything else right.

He noticed some definite inflammation in my right IT band / hip area, some locking up in my left ankle (typical), improved strength in both hips BUT a notable imbalance between the two (right side weaker), and--shocking--that my rogue hips have gone all out of alignment again. Which I guess is what happens when I go 3+ months between appointments.

So he did some adjustments, some ART for my hip, some soft tissue work for my poor calves, & some traction for my lower back. He also recommended getting back to foam rolling the hip & maybe having some soft tissue work done for my calves & hips more regularly for the sake of circulation, so I'm looking into places close to me that might do that kind of thing at a reasonable price.

(And WOW...sports massage has gotten WAY insane price-wise compared to the last time I had it! Any recommendations out there? If it's going to be that spend-y, I at least want to know I'm not taking a shot in the dark.)

So the nice thing about modern medicine is that, yes, although it kind of sucks when you go to your person & get a laundry list of stuff that isn't working quite right, they then do something to (maybe hopefully) FIX IT! Obviously it's too soon to tell if the hip alignment thing has been what's causing my issues lately, but at least I feel like I've done something proactive to address it.

In the mean time, I'm trying to be positive about Hellyer tomorrow by reminding myself of all the miserable pre-race runs I've had that have resulted in awesome races. (It does happen.) :)


  1. I don't know what "reasonably priced" means to you (in this city and in the sports/massage/non-covered-semi-medical-care world, it could be literally ANYTHING), but: Rachael at Psoas Massage + Bodywork fixed my calf/achilles when I strained it being an idiot during peak marathon training. One of those things where the two hours after the massage hurt like hell but I woke up the next day and could barely feel the issue that had called for a massage in the first place. Psoas does ART too -- a friend recommended them to me for that -- but I haven't tried it there (or anywhere) so no personal feedback.

    1. I *have* read good things about the people at Psoas...While $100 / hour makes me choke a little, it seems like that's kind of the going rate for most reputable places, so I may just give it a whirl sometime (though probably not monthly as chiro suggested....I ain't made of money over here....)

    2. I also just remembered that I got a general sports massage once at Presidio Sport & Medicine that was about the same rate. It was fine, but of the two, I'd go back to Rachael.

  2. Sorry to hear that your amazing month of running had to come to an end. :( I bet race day adrenaline will help you through any aches, pains, fatigue. Good luck tomorrow!

  3. Yikes! I am sorry that all your leg issues have returned. :/

    I hope that your last chiro appt. will help you. It sounds like you got all the best treatments. I swear by ART.

    Sports massages in Spokane are anywhere between $50-75 typically. I didn't think that price was too bad.

    Good luck at your race!

  4. My east bay guy is $80. Right near Berkeley BART. I think there's more going on here. There's a reason why things get out of whack. Especially when it's an ongoing problem. You don't want to end up where I am. LOL. I seem to say that a lot lately ;-)

    I have some ideas. They do not involve stopping running...dont worry! When you're ready to hear them, let me know :)

  5. Sorry to hear about the injury. I see a massage therapist at Massage Envy in Foster City. I believe the first visit is only $49 for an hour. He's very good and specializes in Thai massage, but if you aren't comfortable with that just tell him. If you want his info, let me know. Hope it all works out!