My last physical therapy appointment was today. Call it a premonition or whatever, but I knew exactly how it would go and sure enough, it did...exactly to script. I'd go in, tell her how my short 13.5 went at the Run for Regis, speak honestly about how the adductor and iliopsoas felt, I'd do some exercises to identify current problem areas, then she'd whip out those Graston tools again so she could dig for some scar tissue that might be lingering from the first two treatments. I also knew this would be the last treatment. There really isn't anything left for her to do. I've got the exercises, the rubbery bands she gave me, and the problems areas have been "Grastonized" three times. (my new word...like it?!) Now the ball is in my court...completely. It is up to me to get stronger on my own, run only on predictable surfaces that I have control over, and to be smart and listen to my body. Only after I have strengthened everything and the adductor (the REAL problem child) has completely healed, can I return to the trails. So for now, I'm banishing myself from trails for the next month. My plan is to run a consistent base of 25-40 miles per week, road or groomed/flat trail only...I think they call that a "Towpath" in these here parts! The adductor MUST heal and any side-to-side left-leg motion just sets me back. If I can run in mid-late February on trails without any discomfort, I'm clear to run the Oil Creek course for 50K on February 27th. I planned this run months ago and good size group is now planning on it. That's my short-term goal...to be "back" by then. No screwing around with a "trail run here...a trail run there" anymore. I'm just saying "NO" to trails...for a short, itty-bitty time. (for any of you medical types out there, the real pain exists at the insertion point of the adductor, deep groin. Regular running on roads (ie: not on the camber and not running hard/fast) feels perfectly fine and I feel no discomfort whatsoever. As soon as I introduce any side-to-side motion which is all the time on the trails, it aggravates that insertion point.)
I also had a superb 8 mile run yesterday. I set the alarm a bit earlier for 3am and just after 4, I was on the roads. I wanted more than a 5 or 6 mile run which is normally all I have time for on normal working weekdays. Well, I picked a good day to get up at 3am. It was 22F, no breeze, and sky was filled with millions of stars. It was surreal. During that run, I came to reconcile with myself about 2010. Reality: I'm in no shape to even run a 50K right now. Could I run it? Yes. Should I if I ever want to feel 100% again? Heck, no. Reality: if I don't fix myself, MMT is out. I will not show up to a 100-mile race ill-prepared. I want to run it but I will not "do it just to do it." That's just not me. For now, I'm just going to stick to my script and get strong again. There is still time. If March appears and I'm still having issues, I'm out. I'm a deadline-kind-of-person and that's mine.
Happy Trails, everyone!