Training | Week 6

Good news and bad news this week….

We’ll start with the bad to get it out of the way – Week 6 was yet another “recovery week.” But I have to say, it wasn’t all bad. In fact, it was actually a pretty positive week. Which brings me to the good news – I’ll be able to run again soon (hopefully) pain-free!!

Thanks to a some Instagram recommendations and advice from my amazing coworker Kelly, I decided to go see an active release therapist to evaluate my condition and try to relieve some of the pain. I made an appointment with the best in Boston, Dr. Ian Nurse at Wellness in Motion and hoped for the best.

Going into the appointment this past Wednesday I was excited to finally get my body back on track, but on the other hand I was also extremely nervous that my situation was past the point of recovery for the race. Trying to stay positive that morning, I went in with an open mind.

The appointment started off with Dr. Ian listening to my long lists of aches & pains and then evaluating the injuries. He looked at how my body was moving, if I was tighter in certain areas of my leg more than others, and he even checked out my running shoes to see how I was striking and getting support.

The verdict: My legs were extremely tight and I had a lot of scar tissue that was holding me back from moving properly. Plus, I needed some extra support in my shoes.

The shoes were easy an easy fix. Per Dr. Ian’s recommendation, I went over to Marathon Sports and got some PowerStep Orthotic insoles for my sneakers. I’ve had my fair share of orthotics over the years since my feet are FLAT AF. They’re annoying and painful to get used to, so I always used to give up about a week into breaking them in. But these insoles felt a lot different than the custom ones I had when I was younger. They gave me balance and support, but there’s also some cushion so the fit is actually pretty comfortable. We’ll see how they feel after I put a few miles on them 😉

Now the scar tissue problem, that’s going to be a not-so-easy fix. The process would be painful and I had to be willing to put in the time to treat this. My first session was a mix between Active Release Techniques and the Graston Technique. I did a little homework on these before I went into the appointment so I knew what to expect, but I’ll give a quick description for those of you who are unfamiliar with this type of treatment.

Active Release Techniques (ART) is a patented, state of the art treatment for injuries to muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves. Usually the most common underlying component to injuries is scar tissue, which ART is used in locating and eliminating in different areas of the body. Each treatment session is a combination of examination and treatment – using hands to evaluate the texture, tension, and movement of the tissue. Abnormal tissue is treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements.

Dr. Ian identified my pain points and tried different techniques to try and loosen up my muscles. It was painful, but it was a “good pain” because I knew I was getting everything worked out.

Then there’s the Graston Technique, aka TORTURE. The treatment itself probably only lasted a couple minutes, but the pain made it feel so much longer. Basically, the doctor runs a specially-designed stainless steel instrument over the treatment area to detect and effectively break down scar tissue and any muscle restrictions.

Dr. Ian used this tool on my IT band and around my knees. The treatment creates a burning sensation and it literally felt like he was scraping my skin off with the tool. The area was tender to touch for the rest of the day and I had a big ‘ol bruise for the week! I can’t say that this one was necessarily a “good pain,” but I was happy that things were starting to feel a little better.

After my session, he suggested I have some quality time with my foam rollers and lacrosse ball to continue to work everything out. At the end of the appointment it was time that I asked the question tearing me up for weeks – “do you think I can run this race?” 

He reassured me that running the marathon was indeed a possibility, but I was going to have to put in a lot of work to make it happen. For starters, I’m going to have treatments twice a week to help with mobility and recovery from all the miles I’m putting in.

I already have my second appointment tomorrow and depending on how that goes, I think I’ll be able to go for a run on Tuesday!! SO EXCITED to get back out there and make this dream a reality. 71 more days left until race day and I’m determined to make each one count. 

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