Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My bad side

I have been running for years.  I have had a tight right IT band for years.  Or, at least, that is what I thought it was.  It is, but it is so much more, too.  A few weeks ago I proclaimed, via social media of course, that my entire right side was f***ed.  And sometimes it feels that way.  It is always my right side.  My IT band, my hip, my neck even.  And now my foot.  Just 4 short days before I was supposed to run The Northface Endurance Challenge 10K I went out for a quick 3 miler and woke up the next day with really bad pain on the bottom of my foot, my heel, all the way up my calf.  So bad that it hurt to put weight on my foot and leg.  I could barely walk, much less run.  Most of my work shift is spent on my feet, since I am teaching on the Pilates equipment.  By the end of my day my foot would be aching.  A friend recommended that I go to her chiropractor that specializes in sports therapy.  I was hesitant.  I have been avoiding seeing a chiropractor for years.  Stories from friends that have to go 3 times a week, every week, indefinitely.  Stories about pain going away only to return a few weeks later.  Plus, many of my students tell me, happily, that thanks to Pilates they are able to cut back or stop going to their chiropractor all together.  If it's a good thing to stop going, I thought, then why would I even want to go?
But there are some appealing aspects to seeing a chiropractor.  They aren't in it to prescribe medicine.  They focus on proper alignment of the joints.
Plus, I was desperate.  I had to do this race.  My marathon relay team had dwindled and I was forced to dissolve that, but I had then signed up for the 10K with the one other person from the team that had stuck to her word that she was in.  Even with an injury I didn't want to back out.
So I went to the chiropractor.  I went in very much on guard.  Ready to refuse crazy, joint-popping treatments, back away from an enforced appointment schedule, and run out if they tried and weird fourth dimension type stuff.
But you know what?  If felt a lot like a physical therapy appointment.  Or a preliminary Pilates appointment.  She asked what was wrong.  I told her.  She gave me a wonderful deep tissue massage and suggested a couple stretches.  She did align my SI joints by lifting the mid-section of the appointment table and then lowering it quickly.  Sideshow flair or anatomically helpful?  Eh...not sure...but it didn't hurt.
I received the diagnosis of Plantar Fasciitis.  Which means that the muscle tissue that is on and around the foot is inflamed.  She told me to rest, to not do the 10K, but did give me the option that if I was pain-free I could go ahead and run.
This was on a Thursday evening.  The race was coming up on Saturday.  I took to Instagram, of course, to ask advice.  I got everything from "stay off your foot, NOW" to "go ahead and run, stretch and ice after, but you will be fine."  The latter advice came from runners.  I also talked to my race partner, who, it turns out, has had PF herself.   She said running would make the pain go away once I warmed up, and as long as I was okay with more pain post-race, that I could do it.
Poll results:
Chiropractor:  stay off of it, but listen to your body.
Level-headed individuals:  stay off of it.  Rest.  Do the next race that comes along.
Crazy-brained runners:  Go for it!  Run it!  The pain of PF disappears once you start running.  You can rest later!

So...of course I went with my people, the crazy-brained runners.  BUT.  I only ran the 5K.  And I ran it fast!  4th in my age group.  Woo-hoo!  Looking back, I probably could have ran the 10K, but I am glad that I used discretion and shortened the distance.  I do work on my feet and it is important to stay healthy and strong.  If I can't walk or stand, I can't teach!

I had a second chiropractic visit yesterday, this time with the doctor my friend recommended.  This time I got an even tougher, deeper massage on my foot and calf.  Hurts SO good!  I definitely will recommend a sports/muscle-focused chiropractor to people in the future.  He also gave me the go-ahead to run, again, if I listen to my body and stop when it hurts.
I have at least one more visit where we will continue to work on my foot, my IT band, my gluteus medius and that entire pesky right side of mine that gets oh-so-tight.

Thanks to my friends, virtual and real, that have helped me and supplied advice!

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