I had a blast running three times a week throughout the summer of 2007. Then, during a 17km run last November, I broke down.
I eventually tired of all the disappointing attempts at running again. I loved running, but every time I gave it another shot, I'd feel the same damn pain in my right leg and I'd have to stop. This usually happened at the 3.5km mark. I'd feel good for 3km, then the pain would set in, and then I'd spend the next week or so limping around.
As you can imagine, all this leg pain started to mess with activities I love like playing ball twice a week and going for nice long walks. I made a decision to shut it all down for the summer until baseball season was over. Then, I figured I'd try it again.
My baseball season ended Thursday and then I got a taste of that running high when I participated in the Terry Fox Run on Sunday, so tonight I decided to go for a real run for the first time in about four months. The result broke my heart.
It's the same pain in the same place and it's no better than it was last November. I hereby announce my retirement from the running game. Put a fork in me, I'm done.
When I got home tonight I had a package waiting for me from Martha McClew, Ontario Provincial Director of The Terry Fox Foundation. In addition to a nice letter thanking me for my contribution last year, there was a DVD with a great Terry Fox documentary and other inspiring stories.
My son loves the Terry Fox story. As he just told me, we can finish Terry's Marathon of Hope for him. As I type this, James is watching the Terry Fox documentary and he's mesmerized. He's always loved Terry Fox.
This is precisely why I once called Terry Fox the greatest Canadian. I can't think of a more inspirational story. I just have to think about Terry's pledge and everything falls into perspective.
I haven't been able to run since November, but I'll make sure I complete The 2008 Terry Fox Run on Sunday, September 14, 2008. Click below and be the first to sponsor my run.
I'm a biomechanical mess. Although the heart and mind is strong, the body won't cooperate. I haven't been able to run longer than 3km since pulling up lame last November. All the gory details are right here.
Mike Hoo, or The Hooster as he's better known, is an RMT (registered massage therapist) and ART (active release technique) certified in lower extremity. I've seen him twice this week and he's got a laundry list of complaints about my biomechanics and flexibility. I like The Hooster because he's brutally honest. I ran with him quite a bit last summer so he doesn't feel compelled to sugar coat anything. Sometimes I wish he would.
I asked Mike Hoo to put together a top ten list of things that are wrong with me. He was more than happy to do this. As you'll see, it's a miracle I was able to complete 10km races last year, play on a championship winning slo-pitch and dodgeball team while living a normal active live chasing after two young kids. I'm a mess!
so here you go as requested.....drum roll please.......
10) weak gluteus medius, aka glute med
9) ridiculously tight hamstrings, normal range is 79-90. you've got 40 maybe 45.
8) fascial restrictions in hamstrings
7) tight hip flexors. mostly iliopsoas and rectus femoris (quads)
6) tight gastrocnemius
5) natural tendency to point toes out, aka increase fick angle
4) decreased proprioception and balance
3) you still like pearl jam
2) you still think the leafs will win the cup
1) you don't stretch
It's really a top 7 list, as the last three don't really count, but still... that's 7 significant issues that makes me wonder how I ever managed to run 17km. Hell, I'm pricing electric wheelchairs. I'm a 33 year old man trapped in the body of a 67 year old.
Right now I'm radioactive. I was injected with a radioactive substance at 8am and now I'm just waiting for the substance to collect within my skeletal system.
Infection in the bone (osteomyelitis) can be detected or confirmed by a bone scan, often days or weeks before an x ray would reveal it. Bone scans are useful in diagnosing early arthritic changes, and monitoring both the progression of the disease and the effectiveness of treatment. Unexplained pain may be evaluated with a bone scan, because it can demonstrate fractures that are difficult to detect on x ray. Abnormalities caused by altered circulation to the bone may be diagnosed with a bone scan.
I feel different with this radioactive fluid ripping through my body. Just don't make me angry... you wouldn't like me when I'm angry...
I saw the sports doc today. I was feeling pretty down about myself last week when I hit my 3k wall, so it was good to reassess everything and come up with a modified game plan.
There is now a three prong attack.
1. X-RAY - I'm getting an x-ray of my hip, pelvis and knee. It's time to look for structural damage.
2. Nuclear Imaging - I'm getting a bone flow and scan of my right leg and pelvis. This involves me getting injected with radioactive fluid to provide functional information to complement the structural infomation.
3. Beating the Crap Outta Me - I've got these trouble spots on my right side that need to be worked on aggressively. This is extremely painful. The spots are already tender and sore, and Hooster is going to work at it until I cry uncle, and then he's going to work on it some more. They want to kick this up a notch and beat the shit out of me for an hour at a time, twice a week.
Doc still thinks I'll be running this spring. After he beat me up this afternoon, I'm afraid to do anything but agree with him.
I had a blast running last year. Last March I took up running and I went out three times a week for seven months, even finishing a few races. I got in great shape, felt fantastic and thought I had discovered a year round activity for the long haul.
As documented on my running page, I hurt myself in late November and eventually got referred to a sports doctor who diagnosed my injury and outlined a treatment program. I was asked to shut it down for six weeks, and I did. I quit dodgeball, stopped running and let myself go for about two months. Starting with last week's slo-pitch tournament, I've started walking again and today I went for a light 4k run.
At the 3k mark the same old symptoms resurfaced. There's tender soreness on the right side of my right leg and the pain is so severe I can't run with it. About four months ago I was running 13k without a problem but now my leg is good for only about 3k before it quits on me.
I've written my therapist who will chat with my doc, but it's almost April and I'm starting to accept the fact I might not be running this summer. I'll play ball twice a week, as my leg doesn't complain about that, and I think I'll polish off my old bike and see how my leg feels about a good ol' fashioned bike ride. I used to bike like crazy, and I used to love it.
Acceptance is key, as I'm losing faith in my ability to heal from whatever it is that ails me.
This afternoon, about two months after my right leg quit on me, I met with Dr. Grant Lum, MD, CCFP, Diploma in Sport Medicine. The dude acts as a consultant to the NHL Players' Association and he really seems to know his stuff. I told him my story, most of which you can read here, and performed his many tests.
The doc believes it's my sacroiliac joint. That's the joint between the sacrum, at the base of the spine, and the ilium of the pelvis, which are joined by ligaments, don'tcha know. It's either fractured or knocked out of whack and the result was a complete shut down of the posterior kinetic chain on my right side. Posterior kinetic chain isn't just fun to say, it's also a bunch of important muscles like the hamstring and glutes. With my posterior kinetic chain shut down, I simply don't have the strength to do what I'm used to doing, so after a 3k of running it hurts too much to continue.
He's got a six week treatment that should get me back running, but since he thinks I could have a fracture, he wants me to completely shut down for six weeks. No running, no long walks and no dodge ball. I had to convince him my one hour of skating with James each Saturday could be nothing more than a light walk-like glide to support my six year old. My treatment starts with a chiropractor as we get the alignment right again so my posterior kinetic chain works again.
I know how exciting this is for you all, so I'll post updates along the way. I can't believe my illustrious dodgeball career is over after a mere three games. I could have been somebody. I could have been a contender.
I guess it's time for an update on my right leg. I have a pretty good sense for what news is most buzzworthy, and I'm guessing my right leg is the hot topic of the moment. If you need a refresher on how I hurt my right leg and what I've been through trying to heal it these past two months, visit my running page.
I've had a handful of physiotherapist appointments, and I really like the physiotherapist who seems to know his stuff, but he's admitted he's stumped. He doesn't know how to treat me because the diagnosis doesn't make sense. There's been no improvement in two months. I can't run 4k or go on a lengthy walk without immense pain, but I experience no discomfort when I play slo-pitch or dodgeball. This has the physiotherapist puzzled.
I'm getting awfully frustrated because I really miss running, so I got my bud Hooster to hook me up with a great sports doc downtown. Next Wednesday I'm off to Athletic Edge Sports Medicine so we can figure out what the hell is wrong and how we treat this thing.
I'll post an update after I meet with this guy. He is involved in the care of recreational, elite amateur and professional athletes, including players in the NHL, NFL and NBA. And now he's involved in the care of Toronto Mike.
After another physiotherapy session, it's become quite clear what I did wrong. I failed to respect the stretch.
My right calf muscle is plenty strong, but it's tight and now it's hurt. I kept increasing my distance, but I didn't stretch before or after. I knew I should, but I thought I could get away with skipping this step. I was wrong.
Now I'm stretching my calves all the time, trying to ease my way back. I'll try a light run tonight, just for he heck of it. I'll never run again without stretching beforehand and afterwards.
If I can save just one runner from the same fate as me, my pain will have been worthwhile.
As ordered by my doctor, I saw a physiotherapist today. Background on what got me to this point can be found here.
The therapist heard my story, asked some questions and performed some tests. He feels my calf muscle and hamstring is far too tight. He suspects the run that shut me down was just the tipping point. The fix is a great deal of stretching, focusing on my calves, hammy and IT Band.
The stretching, combined with regular physio treatments, isn't a quick fix. There isn't a quick fix. I've got to put in the time if I want to run longer than 2k.
I'll stretch like crazy for a week and then test it again.
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