Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Zen and the A.R.T. of Motorcycle Maintenance

The date was September 12, 2010.  It was a Sunday.  I was in the midst of training for the Chicago Marathon and I "only" had 10 miles planned.  I ran those 10 miles and experienced something mid-run I had not quite experienced before.  Pain in my left hip.  It hurt.  I did what I do best and  ignored it.  Against advice from many people, I ran a scheduled 20 miler the following Sunday.  Surprisingly that pain did not vanish after the 20 miler.  Huh.

I was not going to let this hip pain prevent me from running a marathon that I trained so hard and long for.  I may never be in a position to run a marathon ever again.  I ran that marathon, albeit not in any sort of time I was even remotely proud of for more than one reason.   (My hip started to hurt around mile 4.)  I decided to take a few months off from running after that to let the hip heal on its own.  I did a few 5 milers here and there and even a 10 miler in there but no significant weekly mileage.

I started running again in January and gosh darn it those few months of not running didn't heal me.  Fast forward to today, that hip pain has been at my side since September 12, 2010.

I can be am pretty darn stubborn.  I ignored highly trained people that told me I needed to see someone about this hip pain for months.  The time had come.  I could not take the pain any longer.

I went to see a chiropractor today that specializes in A.R.T. (active reflex technique).  The guy that I went to  trains the US Olympic Bobsled team.  This guy is all muscle.  He has huge forearms and must have thumbs of steel 'cuz oh, man, this A.R.T. stuff hurt like bloody hell.  He pressed here and I winced.  He pressed there and I got sweaty.  I held my breath praying he would stop.  He explained what he was doing and why I was experiencing the type of pain I was with all sorts of anatomical references.  At one point he audibly gasped and told me how "short" one of my glute muscles were.  Bet you never had someone tell you you had a short glute muscle.  I didn't take that as a compliment.

I am pretty faithful about rolling on a foam roller.  He told me that the foam roller is too global and my at home therapy for the next week was to roll my hip and left glute on a tennis ball for 2 minutes before and after runs.  He also prescribed glute bridges to train my glute muscles to fire at the same time (apparently Mr. Left Glute lags a little behind the Mr. Right Glute).  He said we need to make room for my femur to move like it normally should instead of compensating like it has been for months which has caused short tight muscles with a shortened range of motion.  Good thing is that he doesn't feel there is any permanent damage.

After 50 minutes of pure pain, I thanked God it was over.  I hobbled out of there with hopes of pain free days ahead.

I came home and peaked in the mirror as I was changing my clothes.  I had perfect bruise marks of a thumb and knuckle on my left hip and bruises on my groin, glute and thigh.  It hurts. :o(

I have 4 miles planned for tomorrow and 14 for Saturday.  Wish me luck.

I am to revisit the torture chamber in 1 week.

(The chiropractor is actually awesome!  I must not be the only one who thinks so because it took me 3 weeks to get in.)


  1. Ouch. Glad you went to see someone, though. (Love the title -- had to "read" that book in high school.)

  2. 50 minutes of pure pain? What did you get a tattoo? At least when you get some ink done, it stays on your forever.

    Sounds like some unfortunate but necessary treatment - unlike a tattoo, of course. Hopefully it all works out in the end... the end... haha

  3. Does that qualify as "hurts so good"?

  4. Sounds like you found the right guy for the job..

    Sorry it's so painful.

  5. The drawback from ART is that you are bruised and it hurts, but it works, good luck on the 4 miler

  6. Bruises? Seriously? Ouch! Good luck with the next run!

  7. Well I have never experienced ART, but I have had several massages that left bruises. Ouch, this sounds painful, but hopefully it will do you some good! Good luck!