You know what doesn’t make sense? What I did last year (AKA running through pain until I injured myself then seeking treatment). This year is different! This year I’m taking preventive measures to make sure I don’t get injured!
I am such a huge nerd, but I loved going to the physical therapist on Monday. I kept asking myself why I was so dumb and changed my major in college. Darn you, 1995-Kerrie!
After checking in at the front desk, I went over and introduced myself to Suzanne (our appointments overlapped), who was having her calf worked on. She referred me to this particular clinic. We chatted for a minute, and I asked her and her PT, “Why is it that some people can run one, or even two, marathons every weekend and the rest of us can’t even run one?” The PT just shook her head and said that these people are lucky and their bodies are built in a way that allows them to do this. Sad. But it makes sense and I know Christopher McDougall may argue that point, but it’s not always about the feet.
Sometimes it’s about the hips…and a toe.
So yes, the evil anteversion is, in fact, the main culprit. Probably. I mean, it’s all educated guesses, isn’t it? Most women have some sort of anteversion because our hips are typically wider and so our knees point inward in order to balance us out. Mine’s not horribly bad, but it’s a little more pronounced. So, like I suspected through consultations with the podiatrist last year and some Interwebs reading, it puts a majority of the impact of running on the inside of my lower leg. Not a huge deal.
Well, not a huge deal until you start talking about marathons. Sixteen miles, 17, 18, 20, 26.2. As my PT put it, it’s the sheer number of reps the leg is doing. This would definitely explain why it’s been all good until I started to ramp up the mileage in the past couple of months. Same goes for last year.
But like anything, it’s not as simple as a hip anteversion. There are other factors in my shin soreness on the left side. One I hadn’t noticed before, but I noticed it immediately once the PT had me do some barefoot heel-raises with my left foot. “Whoa!” My heel-raises on that side are shaky and rolling. Right side? Nice, smooth, up and down. Left side? My foot starts coming up nicely and then rolls out toward the pinky toe. This would explain some random soreness I was feeling on the outer side of my shin.
Why am I doing this with my foot? Well, my freakish big toe on my left foot is not very flexible. The joint is stiff. The PT explained I may have some arthritis in that toe.
“So you’re saying barefoot running is out?” I half-joked. I also speculated the rolling might be from me babying that side when I started running in 2009. I was battling a painful bulging disc (sciatica) so I sort of limped-ran for a long time. He agreed. So, basically, my left foot is weaker.
I also have flat arches. That doesn’t help me, and because of the orthotics I wear, my feet muscles are weak. But that’s all part of the ball game…er, run game. So. Just because I/you wear orthotics doesn’t mean you don’t need strength in your feet. Do your feet exercises!
The prescription? Muscle memory and strength exercises (coming in a separate post). I was instructed to do these every day (except long-run day) and I intend to do them. However, if I get lazy, Mr. T informed me that he’ll be making sure I get them done.
The most important thing is I can run! But I have to ice afterward. After every run. Thankfully, I have an ActiveWrap. I’ll be asking for another one for my birthday.
There definitely is no fracture, which I was 95 percent sure of. I’m trying to be preventive instead of reactive.
My PT called me today. Surprise! He wanted to check in and he gave me a soleus stretch to do. I had a couple other questions I’d thought of. So nice to be checked up on.
Next week, I go back to the clinic. I may have my running evaluated by their expert — the one that helped Suzanne go from walking with a cane to running Boston. If the expert’s not available, however, I will still see my PT again for an update/progress report. And, if I get clearance, I may even be able to run a 20-miler around Memorial Day. Maybe.
I’m wondering, though, if it is decided that the super-long run isn’t a good idea, maybe I can run 10 and then bike the rest of the way equal in the amount of time I would be running 20 so I can get the aerobic benefits. Make sense? I think so. As T Junior would say, “You’re making sense, Mommy.” (He always forgets the “not” part.)