Over the past few days, I decided to DO ALL OF THE THINGS to “fix” some wonky issues that creeped up on me over the past week or two. My workouts haven’t been feeling all that great lately and while a lot of that is probably mental, there are a few twinges that made me think more about what I can do to prevent them from becoming bigger problems.
The left side is the weak side. It’s been that way for awhile. Last fall, after Twin Cities my left hip started to ache even when I wasn’t running and it got to the point where even sleeping on my left side was uncomfortable (initial sign of injury!). After 5-6 physical therapy sessions and a plan to keep the hips strong moving forward, I felt like I nipped it in the bud. All set for a strong training cycle before Boston. And despite just a few days when I felt like I pushed the left hip too much, I felt great leading up to Boston.
Fast forward to the past few weeks. Again, training is going well. I’m hitting paces and I know I’m getting stronger but I’m not feeling the way I’d like to at this point in training. This past Friday, I started to feel a twinge in my left IT band. I’ve never had an issue with it and, ideally, the hip strengthening exercises I do should be helping to prevent injury. Beyond the IT band, I know my gluteus medius on both sides has been more sore than I’d like after hard efforts and long runs (because it felt the same way it had last fall).
Sure, a certain amount of stretching, foam rolling, and Trigger Point can take care of those little muscles that need extra attention. And I’ve been paying attention to them. But last Friday’s easy 4-mile shakeout was not fun. I ran it on the treadmill because I was too lazy to deal withs swirly winds that evening and I just felt like my left side was “off”. I felt a bit lopsided. I ran a very conservative easy pace and decided to just get it done, foam roll a bit that night, hydrate and hope that it would be okay for the long run the next morning.
Saturday’s run was 17 miles with the last 3 at tempo pace. Just like Friday’s shakeout, I got it done. I hit the paces I needed to and the last three were much faster than prescribed (I felt strong). I celebrated for a bit, but I would have celebrated more if it the run has just been more FUN. My left quad felt wonky on either side basically the entire time & I felt my adductor (inner thigh) straining more than I ever have before.
I already had a massage scheduled and thought to myself on Saturday afternoon, “Don’t worry. I’ll feel much better once I see the massage therapist”. Welp, I woke up to a voicemail from my massage therapist saying my normal appointment had been cancelled because there were plumbing issues at their location. DERP! I decided to book a sports massage and spend the extra money just to get the bodywork done at Cortiva Institute downtown. It’s a massage therapy school but you can also book with licensed therapists. I booked a 60 minute sports massage with Carolyn.
And I’m so glad I did. I had a great experience and I’m seriously thinking about switching therapists because of it. Carolyn worked on muscles that I’ve apparently been neglecting and ones that I didn’t even know were sore or tender in the first place. 60 minutes later and I felt much better.
But it doesn’t stop there.
I’ve always been interested in seeing a chiropractor. I haven’t had any major back problems in the past but I carry a LOT of tension in my upper back, shoulders, and neck on a regular basis, which isn’t necessarily tied to marathon training but working at a computer all day long. A friend referred me to her chiropractor and I went for my first appointment this morning. And let me tell you, beginning the week with an adjustment (AKA SNAP CRACKLE POP!) was a fantastic idea. The adjustment literally took all of 30-45 seconds in several different positions but I did not realize how much tension I was carrying. The chiropractor said that my left hip is 3/4 inch higher than my right and that I’m essentially running with a flat tire (which is appropriate because that’s exactly what it feels like when it’s really fatigued). She also said that it’s higher because of tight muscles, so it’s not anatomical. …Which meant that I received a 30 minute massage therapy treatment right after my chiro adjustment.
I was laying there before my mini-massage thinking, “when the heck did I become a high maintenance runner?!” and “why does my body seem broken all of a sudden?!“. 2 massages, a chiro adjustment, foam rolling, stretching, and tons of water in essentially 2 days seems really aggressive to me, but we’ll see how it pans out during this week’s training. I know that this kind of pain didn’t just magically show up. It had to have been building for awhile. When the chiro asked me what level of pain I’m experiencing on a scale of 1 to 10 and I said simply, “3” she told me she’d go ahead and equate that to a 7 or 8 because I’m a marathoner. Legitimate.
I also feel like I’ve been fighting a cold for 10 days now. Last week I had a bit of a sore throat, but now my energy level seems low, so I’ve increased my iron and vitamin D supplements to see if that helps at all over the next few weeks. It’s been years since I had a blood test so I’m also going to do that this week (you know, because I haven’t been concentrating on my health at all lately. Heh.) Rule #1: Pay for your health, right?
5 weeks out from Grand Rapids and I’m hoping these little things make a big difference in how I’m feeling going into taper.
Have you ever gone to a chiropractor? Are your hips uneven like mine? Do you need someone to massage your butt for hours just like I do? (If so, please share your stories.)