Health by Heidi
|Posted on October 29, 2015 at 1:10 PM|
I am two and a half weeks into a self-imposed hiatus from running. I have a hamstring/glute injury that is not getting any better and I need to let it heal. I remember exactly when and where the injury occurred. It was two years ago on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The morning was cold and rainy with thunder and lightening booming through the canyon. We had some big rapids to run that day so I decided to ride in my husband's cat boat rather than paddle my kayak. His boat was not really set up for passengers so I had to sit in kind of a modified runner's stretch in order to keep my knees out of the way of his rowing. We were in the middle of a big rapid and hit a HUGE wave that stalled the boat for a brief moment. The momentum of going forward and then suddenly stopping was too much for my stretched-out glute/hammy, and I heard a loud POP followed by a sharp stabbing pain. “Uh-oh,” I thought, but we were on the Colorado so what could I do? My leg was sore for quite a few days and then started to feel a little better.
Since then, my glute/hammy has felt worse and worse. This past summer I was in chronic pain, and running just made it worse. It just ached all the time, regardless of what I was or wasn't doing. I tried massage, stretching, physical therapy, chiropractic, and cranial-sacral therapy. Nothing helped. My cranial-sacral therapist recommended a technique called rolfing. Rolfing is basically a super deep, unbelievably painful massage that is meant to break up scar tissue and release fascial adhesions. Why not? I like pain. So I went to the rolfer.
It was 90 minutes of the most brutal, intense pain I have ever experienced. I have never given birth, but I think this could compare. I yelled. I laughed so I wouldn't cry. I cringed and squirmed and grimaced and cursed and tried my best to breathe through it all. Just when I was near my limit, the rolfer would ease up just enough to let me catch my breath and relax, and then he would start in again. When the 90 minutes were over, I felt like my leg had been beaten with a baseball bat. I knew I would wake up the next day bruised and sore and swollen. I told the rolfer as much with colorful language and a lot of gestures. He just smiled and said, “See you soon.”
I woke up the next morning, anticipating the soreness and bruising that I was sure I would have. I got up, walked into the bathroom, and for the first time in two years noticed that I was PAIN FREE. Pain free!! Not only was I not bruised or sore or swollen, but my glute/hammy had NO PAIN!!! I was amazed. I was impressed. I was ready to worship at the alter of rolf. I promptly laced up my running shoes and headed out the door, only to quickly undo everything that the rolfer had done.
This cycle of rolfing and running continued for about four weeks, culminating in the flag football tournament. I knew I would push my leg to the limit during the tourney so went to see the rolfer the day before. It worked. I made it through three back to back games with no major pain event. The next day, however, was a different story. I vowed on that day to take four weeks off of running and get this thing healed up.
I saw the rolfer last week and I think he got me back to where I was before the football tourney. I am back to the chronic dull ache. I am realizing that my four week hiatus will be more like six weeks. My goal is to be running by Thanksgiving. It's been hard. This is my favorite time of year to run. When I walk into the gym in the morning to do the elliptical or ride the spin bike, I always stop in the parking lot and look up at the sky. I miss it. I miss running. I miss everything about it. I love the solitude in the early morning. I love the quiet; the only sounds are my feet and my breath and Zoey's little tags jingling softly. I miss the moon and the stars. I miss sweating in the fresh cold air. I miss the bonding time with Zoey, just the two of us running side by side. I would be lying if I said I haven't been tempted. The voice in my head says, “Just do it. Zoey wants to go. It's perfect outside. You can't do any more damage than you have already done. Just do it.” Then the voice of reason, calmly and softly, says, “Don't be an idiot.” I am trying hard not to be an idiot. I keep focusing on the big picture. If I can take six weeks off of running and then run pain free forever, I will do it.
So I will see the rolfer tomorrow. I will grit my teeth and yell and curse, and I will feel so much better when the session is over. I am sure he can fix my leg. I had a dream a few weeks ago that I could do a seated forward fold with no pain. I think it was a premonition. With rest and rolf, I will get there. Don't be an idiot. Big picture. Don't be an idiot. Big picture...