Listening to my Body

I would like to think that time has increased my wisdom and understanding of how things work – not always the case though! Just recently, I reminded myself of how far I have come in terms of listening to my body. In the last week I was aware of a general tightening of my left leg – nothing specific stood out that said, this is your calf talking to you, it was just being aware of the whole leg not functioning as it normally does. I had raced at Frost Giant in Estes Park, and been 45 secs to a minute slower than I had anticipated, but put that down to some breathing problems I was having – a reaction to pet sitting for friend’s miniature schnauzer with long hair! I tracked back the last few weeks to see if I could find anything that could have been the start of an issue that was now bearing the hallmarks of developing further. Only thing that I could come up with was I had fallen heavily on my left hip on some ice, chasing dogs..I was chasing Hannah who was chasing Timber..I wish someone had had a video camera there that day – it was just like a comedy sketch. Apart from some local bruising, my hip had seemed ok. Just took it easy for few days and then back to normal running routine. Luckily, I had a previous experience to draw on to guide me.

Back in 2007, I had not been so good at listening to what my body was telling me. I had fallen twice, both times heavily, on a trail run back down from Thunder Lake. I had not hydrated enough, concentration wandering and bam..hit the deck twice! Next run my left calf seized up, and that was followed by 3 months of struggling to run at all, trotting out only when coaching, and then suffering as a result. I tried everything I knew, stretches, icing, elevation, compression…nothing touched it. Then I was talking to my friend Heather North, who just happens to be a PT, and described what was happening to me. She asked if she could take a look. I said yes – a few days later she had me laid out on a massage table, had found the root cause of my issue, corrected the misalignment, and then had me in tears and screaming as she worked on my calves and Achilles. I remember that pain well – Heather is not a big woman, but boy can she inflict pain when she needs to..and in this case she definitely needed to! My continuing to run when there was clearly something wrong had just led to a series of acute muscle and tendon damage that took 2 treatment visits and 1 follow up to make sure everything was ok. I was able to start running again soon after the first treatment, and within a couple of weeks felt like I was a runner again! It was glorious… I vowed that I would never let myself get to that same position again.

Fast forward to 2010, and a wiser runner. I wondered if that fall a few weeks back had knocked my hips out of alignment again. That feeling that something wasn’t right was spot on – I set an appointment with Heather at InMotion Rehabilitation in Boulder. They are conveniently situated in the heart of Boulder above Boulder Running Company, with plenty of free parking just out back. Heather asked me what had been happening, and then checked my alignment on the table – sure enough, my hips were out again, and this was definitely what had been causing my issues.

Within 10 minutes Heather had me straightened out, and then went to work on those muscles that had been overworked and tightened as a result of the misalignment. Heather, and Mark Plaatjes, owner of InMotion, both believe in keeping their clients as active as possible during recovery. They see a number of runners, many of whom could have helped themselves more in terms of recovery if they had come in earlier to be seen – I have been one of those! 3 days after Heather had treated me, I had an awesome run that made it clear that my legs were ready to be working the way they usually do…it felt great and I am thankful to Heather, her expertise, and that she too is a runner. When we’re not running, well…life just isn’t the same! I am sooo pleased that I listened, and acted.

About Terry Chiplin

Terry Chiplin - Owner, Active at Altitude
Terry describes himself when people ask as an athletic experience facilitator.

He has an extensive background stretching back over nearly 20 years as a health and fitness consultant and personal trainer, and more than 15 years as a running coach. He has been a runner and cyclist for >30 years and have encouraged and inspired many people he has been in contact with to become physically active. He has been fortunate to have worked with athletes of all levels, from Olympic competitor to rehabilitation patients. Terry's studies and life experience has given him a unique ability to motivate and inspire athletes of all abilities – he truly believes in the unique incredible potential of each and every athlete that he works with and will be creative in assisting everyone achieve that potential.

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