For the past 2 weeks, I am continually reminded of Dory from Finding Nemo as I repeat to myself “Just keep stretching, just keep stretching.” Because I haven’t been able to run, I have been doing numerous stretches to work my psoas tendon and the rest of my leg muscles. I’ve never stretched so much in my life!
Last week I finished my steroid pack and began physical therapy. About 3 days into the steroids, the pain had significantly decreased, which is when I began stretching and doing some upper body exercises to try and keep in shape. On Friday, I had my initial physical therapy assessment where I found out that my left leg is 2 cm shorter than the right. The therapist seemed perplexed on how to handle my injury…oh how I love to be a mystery to the experts. She had me do a few stretches and told me I could start walking on the treadmill. I made 2 follow up appointments for this week with my usual therapist who I saw for some shoulder issues last year.
I was feeling better over the weekend and began my walks (and continued stretching) on Monday. The first day I made it 1.65 miles and the second day I went 2 miles. It felt great to be moving again, but I still felt stiff. When I went to therapy on Tuesday night, my therapist Will knew exactly what to do. This is why I love him. After some heat and a painful 6 minute massage of my tendon, he gave me better stretches that really exercised the source of the pain. Here are 2 of my favorites:
He also told me I need to baby the area. Doesn’t he realize I have a race in less than 2 weeks?! This was not what I wanted to hear.
Today, I’m still a bit sore from the massage, which was to be expected, but I decided I needed to at least continue walking. I did 10 minutes of various leg stretches before starting and then walked for 20 minutes at a 17:15 pace. The pace you must keep for a Disney race is 16 min/mile. So I turned up the treadmill to 15:40 min/mile to see if I could do it and I was fine. It wasn’t as fast as I thought it would be. With my new found confidence, I thought “Let’s see if I can run!” Will is going to be so mad at me when I go to therapy tomorrow, but you know what, I did it. I RAN FOR A 1/2 MILE!! At first it was painful and felt awkward, but as I kept moving the pain lessened. I had only planned to try for a 1/4 mile, but I just kept going. I was SO excited and it gave me renewed hope that even despite this injury I’ll be able to do this race. I stretched for another 10 minutes and felt great with minimal pain in my leg.
Now this afternoon, I’m sore. But despite that, my confidence is boosted (which has been lacking for the past few weeks) and my excitement is building. I’ll do my heat and stretching combo tonight and continue to do this routine twice a day up until the race. It’s really incredible how all of this stretching has not only helped with the pain in my psoas, but has made me so much more flexible over all. I’m hoping this will help with my running for the long term. Maybe I’ll try for a mile this weekend
All I need to do is keep reminding myself…JUST KEEP STRETCHING!