I went to my first physical therapy appointment this past Tuesday. How ironic that I walk into the Summa clinic in Green, OH and I think: "Gee, she looks familiar." A few minutes past and "she" calls me back. "She" is Ellen and is the physical therapist I was referred to by Dr. Shah. Dr. Shah sure is a smart man and one who is inside the mind of us runners...very slick to keep me with medical professionals along my journey who are all runners and "get it." Otherwise, I'd have to give a whole dissertation to each one after their jaw hit the floor about my "100 mile thing." "You did what?! Well of course, you're hurt! Stop doing it!" Wrong answer! But thanks to Dr. Shah, minimal explanation is needed. You see...Ellen was at Falls River Square (the Burning River 100 finish line but also the bus pickup at 3am on race morning). Many of us filled 2 Cuyahoga Falls school buses for the ride to the start at Squire's Castle. She was a volunteer to check people in and get us going. I was also doing that for Joe (race director) on race morning before running it. She saw me a few weeks later at Vertical Runner, too, and she's also a marathoner. Soooooo.....she gets it...sort of. Small world, eh?! She actually ran part of the Run for Regis Winter 50K back in 2007 when I was 4th overall and Mr. Dave Peterman whispered his famous words in my ear "So, you got anything left?", a 1/2 mile from the finish. She's not running it this year, though, but when I told her I was signed up, she actually told me she wants to get me to run it and be OK! Wow! "This is not what I expected coming in here today," I thought. But in reality, we both know what irritates my iliopsoas and adductor muscles and slippery trails right now are the #1 culprit. So it'll come down to trail conditions, I believe. (I do have my trusty screwed shoes, though.) I expect I'll start the event, regardless, and just go with it and see how I feel. The Run for Regis isn't the goal...simply a fun event to participate in and support. The overreaching goal is recovery so the BIG goal can be achieved.
Big picture, my big weakness right now is overall core strength. I have very strong abdominal muscles. It's the obliques that are wimpy and weak...those muscles on the sides of the center abs. Due to years and years of doing sit-ups and other exercises using those center abs, it's very difficult to specifically target the obliques to strengthen them but that's what the majority of my 'homework' is each night...doing static exercises to strength those and the surrounding core muscles. The exercises I'm going now are the normal plank, side plank, and a few other slow moving ones that force me to focus on driving the small of my back (lower spine) into the ground to shift the focus to the obliques and away from the center abs. That is VERY difficult to do and keep it there. It's like learning to walk all over again...well sorta. The fun part is doing these exercises while my 2 young girls try to mirror me doing them on the living room floor. Giggling girls wrecks my concentration! It's all fun, though, and cool they want to chill and hang out with dad while I am doing these "weird" things on the living room floor.
Running, in the meantime, is permitted, but on predictable surfaces and minimizing the slipping/sliding. No biggee...I'm actually enjoying this "vacation" from high mileage. :-) I'll see her again each week for this month then determine if more visits are needed. Oh yea, she did spend about 10min driving her thumb into my left psoas muscle. DANGIT, that hurt! But I gotta say, it felt so good the rest of the night. Whatever she did, it really felt good later on.
Happy Trails, everyone!