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runner on the rebound
"What's changed, Mom?"
This was my daughter's question last year as I did my cool-down stretches and slurped water after my morning run. Renee could see I was flushed from pumping up the driveway, exhilarated with oxygen recovery - happiness smeared all over my sweaty face.
It had been many months since I was (practically) painfree while running, my fitness "love affair" of fifteen years.
Niggling pain in my sacroiliac (SI) joint and a tight lower back and hamstrings were the main symptoms that not only hampered my physical activity but messed with my sleep. Two years prior to this enforced "detour" I'd had a "buff and polish" (arthroscopy) on my left knee resulting from an injury, wear-and-tear, overuse, and?! - but I resolved not to give up. The expanded story will be part 2 and maybe 3 or more to this series.
First I'm sharing how I arrived at the present outcome: how "a little bit of a whole lot" factored in for my rebound.
Honestly? It was like months of a hilly rabbit trail "run." Flip-flopping from submitting to my "cratering" body or questioning God why my body was betraying me - to fighting back to dig as deep as I ever had in my racing days when I was "so done" before reaching the finish line.
It really was a matter of seeking for the proverbial "needle in the haystack" (what didn't I try!?) - a lengthy list I logged in my journal. To be clear, over the period of about 18 months, I was receiving one, maybe two, of these treatments at one time, spacing them out as finances and mental will could afford.
Yoga - how much flexibiltiy is in a tight rope? That was me, my routine still includes stretching after exercising.
Chiropractor - both "traditional" and NUCCA
MELT - a self-"massage" treatment using a foam roller (I took a few classes, bought the roller and use it a few days/week)
Massage - mostly deep tissue release, which is not a pleasant "touchy-feely" experience, but can/did help alleviate some muscle knots
Osteopathy - utilizes joint mobilization and cranial techniques
Physio - a new-to-me technique using ropes
Pilates - a single one-on-one session
Acupuncture - I was unfamiliar (read skeptical!) about this but my first treatment with Dr. Connolly completely changed my thinking. Since then I've had many sessions with Jason Lomond, occupational therapist (OT) who specializes in neurofunctional acupuncture especially for athletes - and lives in my community. Perhaps it's due to being the most recent, but of any one treatment, this (including manipulative muscle work) has appeared to be the most effective.
Minimalist shoes - the founder and editor of Toe Salad (who happens to be my son-in-law), switched to minimalist footwear several years ago and his example and conversion helped me to finally "see the light". Merrell Pace Gloves are what I'm using now - love 'em.
I am convinced this is the on-going most significant contributing factor to my rebound.
(Unfortunately no free shoes or other Merrell products for this endorsement!)
In reality, all of the above contributed to the "what changed."
There were constants from my life/running history that I carried into this "marathon."
nutrition - for the last five years I've significantly adjusted my diet to more veggies and fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds and minimal animal protein. Having our vegan family live with us for six months last year was a huge support to this menu plan - my body loved it.
setting a goal - as the months went by and I could gradually add on mileage without suffering for it after, I took a leap of faith and registered for a half marathon. To "train with my brain" and finish the race was the plan - and I was going to enjoy the trip, without painkillers. October 16 was my version of "the amazing race" - a gift - thanks to training, God's help, guts to go for it.....(The same medals were given to finishers in both the full marathon and the half.)
thankfulness - to God for life and the strength and desire to be a (wacky) runner
perseverance - before I got my Merrells I wiped out on the paved road by our house. Frontal splat. By the grace of God, with herbal poultices (my daughter's initiative), a quick acupuncture treatment (thanks, Jason), an afternoon of rest and recovery, the only reminder is a scar on my right knee. Stubborn, persevering, whatever you want to call it, you gotta have it if you're going to get to any finish line.
I'm still a happy runner but I'm on a quest - to truly live the truth that my joy of living won't be based only on the ups and downs of my physical body (and I have to admit this is more difficult than running intervals or going for an endurance run).
My rebound is a gift returned, to be treated with respect and perspective.
I am happy and I'm still running.
Are there any changes - invited or otherwise - that are helping you reach your heart's desires?