Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cowbell or massage, it's one or the other

Right now as I type this, I can not get comfortable to save my life.  And while it sounds dramatic, it's totally true.  The problem is, I have some recurring issues with my IT bands, which has been causing substantial leg, knee, hip, booty, and lower back discomfort.

The only cure for all of this?


Okay, not really but really because it's flipping hilarious and laughter makes everything better.  What has been helping in a really roundabout way is massage, and a lot of it.  I say roundabout, because the massage actually tends to inflame the problem for a day or two while everything tries to heal and get better.  Once those couple of days have gone by, I start to feel A LOT better.  Until I run a long distance again, and the pattern starts all over again.  So far I have had 2 massages in 2 weeks, which to most people seems like overkill, but it is the only reason I will be running on Saturday.  I am thankful I have a massage therapist who totally rocks, and has helped me figure out where the problem is stemming from, and what needs to be done to fix it.

Super sexy knee taping to help with IT band pain on long runs.  It's a quick fix strategy that's totally helping me get through this half marathon intact.

When I say this is a recurring injury, I really mean it.  After a lot of consideration and evaluation, we've determined that my current IT band issues stem from my knee injury and subsequent recovery in early 2003, when I was a Senior in High School.

Yes, I'm really that old.  And yes, an injury from 11 years ago is apparently still haunting me in its own special way.

The problem is that when I went through recovery, they spent a lot of time strengthening my hamstrings, and the supporting muscles around my knees, but my quads never came back on line quite the way they were supposed to.  Over the years following that injury, I believed that my hamstrings and glutes were always going to be substantially weaker than my quads, and put more effort into strengthening those muscle groups.  And apparently, for 11 years or so, my hamstrings and glutes have been compensating for my disengaged quads, which caused the backs of my legs to tighten up, putting immense pressure on my IT bands.

Anatomy and physiology is so dang cool, guys.  If you get the chance, take a class or two, so that you can talk to your massage therapist, chiropractor, physician, etc without forcing them to dumb things down.  Also, you'll understand your own body better, so you'll be able to communicate what is happening inside of you better.  Like I said, it's pretty dang cool stuff.

So my goal after the half marathon on Saturday is to approach my training in a different way.  I'm going to target my quads, and work on stretching/lengthening the backs of my legs and glutes.  I want to start doing more yoga again for my range of motion and flexibility.  Also, I am looking forward to cutting my distances way back in running, and working exclusively on speed training.  Hopefully, this combination of factors will be able to help me finally lick these problems for good.

I just hope that I don't create new ones in the process.
Do you have any lingering injuries or issues that impact your life?  How do you handle them?


  1. I got kicked in the back of my knee by one of our horses 8 years ago or so and my knee has never quite been the same. It's not as serious as your recurring injury...but it does effect some yoga poses I do.

  2. Oh no! I've never battled an injury thank God. Hope you feel better soon. And holy cow! I didn't realize your half is this weekend!

  3. Oh no!! It's been too long since I've checked up on your blog (so sorry!) and your knee! I'm so sorry! I injured my IT band 2 years ago and it's never been the same. I don't think it ever TOTALLY goes away once it's been damaged. I really feel mine when I run in the cold, ugh! I never thought about how massage could help. I have a foam roller that hurts like the dickens BUT I have immediate relief as soon as I'm done rolling! You should try that right after each run!

  4. Consulting specialists such as a massage therapist, a chiropractor, and a physician would be very helpful. They make you understand what goes on inside and outside your body. Attending a class is an idea. But you can also choose to visit their clinic for a consultation, which is more advisable since it gives you the chance to talk privately about your condition. You have been tormented by that injury from 11 years ago. I think it's time to have it medicated for good. _Loura @ US Health Works (Gilroy)


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