I’ve been pretty loyal to the Maestro and I think he’s a fantastic physical therapist. He wasn’t getting anywhere with this latest injury though, I think largely because we had an incorrect diagnosis. It turns out I have a bulging disc in my lower back rather than tendonitis of the butt. I started to ask around and got a few recommendations from friends. It seems there are quite a few really good physical therapists in this corner of Connecticut and I got started with someone who specializes in something called the McKenzie Method, which seemed quite promising. In the meantime, though, I met Wesleyan’s assistant cross country coach, who is also a physical therapist.
After a couple of sessions with McKenzie Man, I decided to switch to the cross country coach. I’m pretty sure either of them could have fixed my back, but PT Coach is an amazing runner and very focused on getting me back to running as quickly as possible. I’ve been seeing her for a few of weeks now. We do a LOT of core exercises. She’s also got a cool slide board, so I can pretend to be Apolo Ohno while strengthening my hips. At the end of each session, we do some stretching and then she cracks my back. Yowza. That feels weird, but also kind of good.
I’ve been gradually able to resume running. I did a few runs of one minute running followed by one minute of walking. Then a ten minute run, a fifteen minute run, a twenty minute run, even thirty-five minutes! I got to start running outside. The weather is so incredibly crappy still that I don’t mind mostly running in my comfortable if ugly basement. Last week I went to Austin for spring break and got to run outside in the warmth. I even did a Warrior Dash [race report forthcoming]!
The Warrior Dash definitely set me back a bit so on Monday PT Coach did something called “dry needling.” This is somewhat similar to acupuncture, but the needles are inserted at the point of injury or pain rather than along the meridian. Given my feelings about needles, I don’t want to know a lot more than that so I’m attempting to stay away from Google on this one.
She also cut me loose this week. She gave me some guidelines for building mileage back up and a free pass to come back any time I have questions or hit some kind of roadblock. Otherwise, it’s back to Coach Cowboy!