I have a big race coming up, the Scotiabank Waterfront Toronto Marathon, in October and my goal is to run it injury free and smiling when I cross the finish line. Last year I ran it injured and it hurt, it is not an experience I want to repeat. I've learned a lot since last year, a lot about listening to my body, dialling back when I need to and in general finding a better balance in my training and in life.
Last week when my knee started to hurt, I didn't panic and I didn't push. I dialled back and modified my workouts. I stretched more and I got a message from my friend Tara, an RMT at exactly the right time.
You see I make time to move and sweat, it's at the top of my priority list (right next to taking care of the kids lol). I'm admittedly selfish with my workout time, it keeps me sane and helps me be a better mother, wife, friend etc. But when it comes to making time for things like massage therapy, physio, chiro, heck even a simple hair cut I admit they are at the bottom of my list. Our weekday evenings are already filled with a give and take of activities (kids stuff, husband's cross fit, my run clinic etc) it is hard to find time to fit anything extra in. I tend to make time for therapy, a priority when I'm in pain and panicking. Case in point when I called my usual clinic from the treadmill on a tuesday morning in panic when my knee wasn't cooperating. I knew my last minute call was a long shot and I was right, there was no room. That's when a well timed, message from my friend Tara asking what was going on with my knee came in.
Truthfully, I had always been slightly embarrassed to see someone I know personally, I know me shy? Hard to imagine but yes true. Imagine my comfort when she asked me to come dressed in a workout bra and shorts. I knew right then that I was in store for a different sort of experience.
I met with Tara, at Apollo Physical Therapy Centres West, on Queensview Dr. Our first appointment was so very different from anything I've experienced before. Tara is trained in Myofascial Release, and more specifically the John F. Barnes approach. The best way to describe my experience is that it was a lot like a Yin Yoga class. She worked on an area 'lightly', for 3-5 minutes, moving slowly allowing my own body to release. At times the sensations would become much more intense, much like when holding pigeon pose for 5 min. There was even that familiar slight panic, then I would tell myself to breath and let go and I could feel the release happening. I say worked 'lightly' because she was never 'working' an area with force, hence I left feeling good. I didn't leave feeling sore (not that I am complaining I've very much enjoyed that type of massage too.) I really enjoyed the slow ebb and flow feeling to the treatment. I felt as though Tara was responding to my own bodies cues, at one point I felt the need to have my foot flexed while being worked on, and she went with it and incorporated it into what she was doing. It felt fantastic! All though I went in with the 'symptom' of a sore knee she spent time looking at my whole body and finding the cause of it. Hence the work on my hips, which I never would have guessed as being a weakness, as they don't hurt when running. Funny enough that night I had aching hips, but I smiled and popped an advil knowing that change was happening. I went for a run that next morning, HILLS of all things and I felt fluid and strong! I kept telling my poor workout partner over and over how good I felt! I wanted to cry, I may not have panicked when my knee started hurting the week before, but that feeling of fear was lurking beneath the surface.
I had a great first experience and this is where I would normally carry on, and wait again till I was in pain before going in for another treatment. But not this time. I'm finally getting how so much more then just my 'running and strength training' will contribute to my goals. I don't just mean my goal of running another Marathon, but my goal of running till I have a long white ponytail. Last year when I hurt myself and couldn't bend my knee for a whole weekend I got a taste of that fear that I could indeed hurt myself enough that I don't run again. I am a runner at heart, and I need to make sure I keep on running. So I am making the time, and making this a priority. I will cut back on Starbucks if I have too to pay for it, or at least downsize to a Tall. I had my second appointment today and get this I took both the kids with me. Tara made room for the kid's and their huge bag of art supplies and snacks. They covered her treatment room floor in paper, and crayons and drew fashion designs. When they had to pee, someone helped them find the bathroom. This is HUGE! All though, taking my kids with me is far from ideal, it is the reality of a stay at home mom in the summer. We made it work and I am so appreciative of that.
Today's experience was different then Monday's, which I think again goes to show how it follows your own body and it's needs. I didn't have any of the intense sensations today and generally felt very relaxed, I even got a little teary eyed while chatting. Funny how my emotions came to surface today, while relaxing and letting go. I'm sitting on the couch now, writing this feeling surprisingly warm and relaxed. Almost as though I just enjoyed a glass of my favourite Red. I have track practice tonight and am looking forward to seeing how I feel.
I"m going back for two more treatment's next week. When leaving today, Tara mentioned that she would spend some time on my upper body that it seemed 'angry'. Well she's right, my right shoulder tends to be a general mess, but I ignore it thinking that my LEGS are the important real estate. But now I'm realizing how my whole body effects me, and that it is all prime real estate. Literally, things that I would never have thought would effect the way I carry my body now, are at play. Imagine my surprise when Tara asked if I had ever had a miscarriage? Which I have and an etopic pregnancy, both of which effect the myofascia in my body and ultimately how I carry myself.
I wanted to share this experience with you because it has been very different for me. I'm also enjoying how well it matches my desire to find balance of late. Balance with food, with my body image, with my training, with my home life. If you have any questions you can visit Tara's Facebook Page here and ask away. I highly recommend liking her page and checking out her postings.
Thank-you for asking what was going on with my knee, and for putting up with two crazy kids messing up your office today Tara.