Friday, February 18, 2011

Pain

One of the challenges I have faced with the prospect of running 40 miles on April 8th in Napa and Sonoma in California Wine Country has been the general wear and tear that 40 years of living has taken on my body. After 16 years of baseball as a catcher and another 18 years of rugby, I have really put a beating on my knees. In fact, things got bad enough in March of 2009 that I finally went in to Doctor Annunziata of Commonwealth Orthopaedics in Virginia for arthroscopic surgery to clean things up in my left knee. I was actually thrilled with the job that Doctor Annunziata did for me and within days, my knee felt better than it had felt in many years.

After some focused physical therapy with Kevin Linde of Linde Physical Therapy, I started running again and eventually felt strong enough to hatch the concept of 40for40 nine months later in January, 2010. However, I've never completely beaten the pain in the knee as I've worked through hundreds if not thousands of miles in preparation for my 40 mile adventure. But through the pain, I have come to have a greater respect for the importance of good equipment and the importance of proper stretching and preparation.

Although even the best preparation and the most intense stretching will not prevent injury and injury is on the forefront of my mind as I move through the final 60 days of training. The week before running the Phoenix marathon last month, I started to feel some pressure building up in my left lower leg. The pressure would start as discomfort in the tibia and then radiate to the inside, but after a couple of kilometers on the road, the pain would always subside enough to push through and complete my training sessions. Even 26 miles on the road was manageable and I finished my training marathon well below my intended time. But after a few recovery runs in the days following Phoenix, I could tell that something was not right. There was no longer an option of working through the pain. The pain was here to stay and as no story is complete without adversity, I was ready to add a new chapter.

My first response was to back off completely - stop running and increase my swimming exercises. This helped, but the knot on the inside of my lower leg was not going anywhere and even normal walking was beginning to be a problem. After speaking with my friend, Schatem Boyd, owner of a Snap Fitness facility in Herndon, Virginia, she suggested that I meet Dr. Karl at American Health and Wellness.

Every athlete needs a pit crew and with the team at American Health and Wellness, I've found mine. Doctor Karl delivers the most intense deep tissue treatments I have ever experienced, coupled with extreme stretching and chiropractic realignment. The results were immediate. My range of motion improved. My stride straightened up and the pain has even started to abate. But as in any recovery, there are good days and bad, good weeks and bad weeks and now I am flatly in a recovery race - can I go pain free before attempting 40 miles in April. Only time will tell, but I'm glad to have Dr. Karl on my team.

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