Friday, October 11, 2013

A Leg up on the Situation

In the Woody Allen classic, Hannah and Her Sisters, Woody (Mickey) is convinced he's going to die.

(GAIL)
Two months ago, you thought you had a malignant melanoma.

(MICKEY)
(gesturing)
Naturally, I, I--Do you know I--The
sudden appearance of a black spot
on my back!

(GAIL)
It was on your shirt!

(MICKEY)
(sighing)
I--How was I to know?!
(pointing to his back)
Everyone was pointing back here.

I found myself in a similar situation juxtaposed between a mental state of hypochondria and serious pain in my lower left leg that had me convinced I could have something that would prevent me from racing in nine days.

As a Columbus Marathon Instagram Ambassador, our Instagram post question this week was "what is your goal for the upcoming race?"  I normally have at least three goals for a marathon and the first is always consistent--show up to the start line having completely the training and feeling healthy.  Sometimes easier said than done.

The pain in my lower leg has grown steadily over the last month or so to the point of me "feeling it" when I walk or get out of bed in the morning.  Insert, "it's a bitch to get old" statement here.  Having run the Chicago Marathon before on a stress fracture that I thought was shin splints, my rational mind prevaled over my alpha male denial state and set an appointment to have it looked at this week.  I was afraid to find out what they'd say...the worse case situation being the dreaded F word.  At this point, I felt like Mickey in Hannah and Her Sisters and envisioned all the bad things that it could be.

I have been down this path before even to the point of getting a hip x-ray before a race (see "Hip Check.")  The pain was not imagined, but I found some solice in the fact that it seemed to get better after a few miles into a run.  Previous discussions with professionals would claim that the really bad stuff would get worse, not better over a run and I certainly couldn't run 20 on a bum wheel.

My normal running PT's (option #1 and option #2) were both out of town so on a lark, I made an appointment with a new PT who had worked on my son in a tent at IronKids Boulder.  A bit of a gamble to try something new so close to a race, but ignoring it was no longer an option.  Noah Drucker works with a combination of ART (Active Release Techniques) and NKT (Neuro Kinetic Technique) which I met with a tinge of skepticism, but was hoping to hear, "you're fine."  As he tested my motor muscle strength, he identifed an area of weakness in my back that had completely disrupted my gait and lead to the leg pain.

If you've ever strolled by the Power Balance (bracelet) booth at a marathon expo, you'd seen them demonstate the "before and after" effects of putting on their miracle bracelet.  I was feeling the same skepticism, yet everything he said made sense.  After finding the problem areas, and using some NKT, I hopped off the table and walked without pain in my shin.  The good news in all that mumbo jumbo technical jargon is yes, I have some pain in my leg, I know why, I have exercises to help alleviate and no, that's not melanoma on my back, it's merely an ink spot.

I have booked my flight and will run my eleventh marathon in nine days.

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Average guy w/ an above average appetite for marathon racing and triathlons. Ran my 5th Boston in '15. 3:21, 1:29, 19:21 PR;full/half/5K Opinions & wit are mine