The Blonde Runs

Colorado lovin'

…to a PT


I visited a PT earlier this week, on the recommendation of the lovely and talented Courtney. It wasn’t so much that I thought I needed a lot of work done as it was just wanted to check to make sure I was on the right track. Because as good as I’ve been feeling this past month of buildup, I want to be confident there is nothing else going on that I need to be addressing.

So, when I visited Heather North of Boulder, I was anxious yet excited. Can you be excited about PT? Well, I was. Turns out next time, I won’t be. Not for the poor diagnosis (there wasn’t one) but for the pain I had to endure.

While I sat and talked to Heather North of Boulder, going over every little detail of the past year’s running; Rim Rock marathon, the hamstring tweak I felt a few weeks before that race, the cutback, the Boston training, the miserable Boston 2012, the summer trail running, the back to back halves, 6 weeks off, the gradual buildup; she was able to make some interesting connections that, of course, I hadn’t considered.

It all boiled down to the fact that runners run through pain. Truth.

I had felt something off in my hamstring before a marathon almost a year ago. But hoped that through cutting back on training, I’d be fine. And while I really was mostly fine, I wasn’t great. I felt a dull ache in that hamstring all through Boston training. So I eased up, stuck to trails, and threw in some hip conditioning. But it never truly healed. Not when I keep pushing through and run back to back halves. So I took time off.

I thought it was my hip rotators, all in a cluster, and the pain was running into my hamstring. Turns out, the pain in my hamstring, is really just my hamstring.

Luckily, “it’s not as bad as you think”, Heather North of Boulder said. She stated I had scar tissue in my hamstring; because I had run through the pain, like most do. No guilt. No judgement. Just truth. But when she bore down on my hamstring, breaking up the scar tissue, I clinched my teeth, my upper body contracted, and my eyes watered. I may be 31, but I’m not beneath crying. It happened in the dentist chair not too long ago…

She worked on my hamstring for about 10 minutes; just breaking it all up. It had to happen in order for it to properly repair. You see, scar tissue is just a way for your body to repair itself when there has been an injury. The cross fibers stabilize the affected area and it will restrict motion. By breaking up the cross fibers, you restore normal function to the damaged tissue.

Afterward, a pinching round of acupuncture, and finally electrical stimulation.

An hour and half later, I’m out. But with the assurance that I should be running “an easy long run each week and also a simple speed workout.” Um….okay! Gotta love when your PT is also a distance runner, with a professional runner husband, who GETS IT.

So, it looks like I am on the right track after all. And I can increase my workouts. I need to be diligent with heating my hamstring before every run and doing the hamstring exercises I was given. Piece of cake.

See you in two weeks Heather North of Boulder! Hopefully, for the last time.


17 thoughts on “…to a PT

  1. That’s great to hear you are on the right track! PT can be so incredibly painful sometimes. I had to go about a year ago for some IT band issues and it was always the most miserable hour of the day!

  2. Aw I understand how painful that is! My BF is an athletic trainer and will break up all kinds of stuff on my IT band and its so painful but it helps! Hope you’re feeling good soon ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Wahoo! Just in time for xc skiing season in Steamboat!

  4. Yep, just finished 2 months of PT for hamstring strain (lots of scar tissue built up), so I know the pain of graston scraping and deep tissue massage! It will take quite a few weeks to break up the scar tissue and repair the tissue, but it will be worth it! I noticed that my lower back hamstring felt ‘numb’ and felt weird phantom knee pains when I initially had no idea what my ‘problem’ was. Hamstring issues can present in different ways, glad its getting some attention!

    P.S. I did notice weird ‘twinges’ of pain during recovery, but now that I’ve been out of PT, I no longer have them. So I think it had to do with the breakdown/repair process. Just FYI if you have the same!

    • Interesting you say that about phantom pains. Although I feel the hamstring strain, I also notice strange pains in my knee, hips, and glute. At least, I hope they are just phantom pains! ๐Ÿ™‚

      How often did you go to PT?

      • I went 2x/week for the first 6 weeks and then 1x/week for the last 2 weeks.

      • That is intense! But likely well worth it. I think I have taken my body for granted in some ways. Not that I don’t notice and pay attention to every little ache and pain, but I haven’t necessarily done anything about it every single time, aside from doing what I know to do: cut back, slow the pace, foam roll, ice, heat, etc. It has been comforting to talk to a professional about it and get sound advice that may, or may not, measure up to what I’ve been doing myself.

      • Yep I feel it was worth it too because I also learned alot! Although, I HIGHLY encourage you to pay attention to your uninjured side just as much because I just developed an injury on my previously ‘good side’ because it had overcompensated for so long (inflammed bursa).

  5. The therapists I had when dealing with sciatica many years ago were all small women with various UK accents and they were all evil. My therapist for my elbow was nearly my size and she worked me so hard she made me cry a little. But it’s all good later. Doing the drills AFTER you are feeling better is the really hard part.

  6. glad you had a good experience with her! for a tiny woman she’s crazy strong isn’t she?!

  7. I love love love Heather! I’ve been working with her for several years, and she’s held this old ship together!

    • Oh my gosh! So cool! I intend to see her whenever I feel “off.” But now the dilemma is “when is that?” What do I run through and what do I see Heather for right away?

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