I ache for the touch of your lips dear,
But much more for the touch of your whips dear
You can raise welts like nobody else
As we dance to the Masochism Tango
-The Masochism Tango by Tom Lehrer, Mathemetician, Songwriter and Wannabe Ultrarunner
Some people may point to our desire to run 100 miles as a clear indication of masochistic tendencies. I disagree. Masochism is going to your first physical therapy and chiropractic appointments and then deciding it would be a good idea to go back.
It all started a few weeks ago with this strange new sensation behind, to the side and in front of my right hip. Highly attuned to even the slightest change in my machine, I promptly ignored it. After all, I have been pretty much indestructible for the past 15 years and denial has always served me well.
Until it got worse. A bolt of pain shot up and down my leg on the 17th lap of the Howard Aslinger 24-Hour Endurance Run and I pulled the plug with over 20 hours to go. Two days later I was making my first visit ever to an orthopedist who diagnosed piriformis syndrome and/or labral tear. No bone-on-bone, just a soft tissue issue. With less than 4 weeks to go before Boston, doc suggested physical therapy for a couple weeks and then possibly a cortisone shot to patch me up before the race if the PT didn’t work.
Physical therapy. To me those words conjured up a little stretching, massage, maybe some new age music, a zen-like water feature and herbal tea.
I showed up for my first appointment at 6 AM a few days later. They had Haight-Ashbury psychedelic rock, guttural expressions of unsuccessfully suppressed pain and no herbal tea.
Let our love be a flame not an ember
Say it’s me that you want to dis-member
I don’t like to take time off from running. I will in order to get healthy. But taking time to heal this year just isn’t all that convenient.
For one thing, Boston is coming up in a couple weeks. I never really expected to qualify for one Boston Marathon, much less ten. And there’s an urban legend that if you qualify and run in 10 Bostons in a row, they will wave the cutoff as long as you qualify in the future. Having missed the cutoff by 2 seconds for 2014 and 1 second for 2015, that is HUGE. If necessary, I will crawl from Hopkinton to Boylston Street to see if the legend is true. Plus, I already had my jacket embroidered.
Your heart is hard as stone or mahogany
That’s why I’m in such exquisite a-gony
So, I do what my PT tells me to do. She smiles. She is upbeat. She is motivational. She is encouraging. She hurts me. And I’ll keep going back.
The stretching, strength exercises and Astym may be helping bring muscles back in balance, but the rubbing of the piriformis on my sciatic nerve has not been getting any better.
My PT sent me to a chiropractor who specializes in broken down athletes who don’t listen to their own bodies. He makes you listen. Generally by bending your legs back behind your ears.
Doc tells me I have “adhesion” issues, which is code for “I’m going to enjoy this more than you.” And he is correct.
So now I am out in Breckenridge for a long weekend to enjoy some skiing and long runs. This is normally my happy place . . . the thin air, mountains and snow are my elixir. But yesterday, 6 miles on the trails had me hobbling home and wondering where all the PT-ing and chiropract-ing is getting me. Apparently not any closer to Boston.
My friend, Chris, channeled Leo Tolstoy this morning: “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”
No doubt both Chris and Leo are correct. But Boston is in 16 days and Western States is in June. I’ll continue with the PT and with the chiropractic manipulation.
Fracture my spine
And swear that you’re mine
As we dance to the Masochism Tango
But screw patience, I’m getting a cortisone shot.