Sometimes you CAN change a leopard’s spots

At the end of our absolutely incredible run Thursday night in which everything felt fantastic, we pushed ourselves harder than usual and I’m sure I experienced that runners high they keep talking about, Tricia and I stood around chatting and watching a film crew set up a scene on the street for about 20 minutes or so. When I finally headed home I decided to run the 700m back to my condo. But when I started to run I had the worst pain I have ever felt in both knees and my back. It was excruciating! I couldn’t run at all. I thought to myself this is what people must feel like when they’re 40 km into a marathon and they’ve had a really tough time of it.

I’ve been going to physiotherapy for the last few weeks ahead of the marathon training trying to fix a couple of things (my back being one of them) in the hopes that they won’t worsen with the increased miles I’m about to put my body through over the next few months. So, when I got home, it was obvious to me that I needed to do my physio stretches. Getting down onto the mat was almost impossible. I was having trouble bending my knees and my back was so tight I felt like I was 90 years old.

I went through the daily routine that’s been increasing as the physio sessions continue, with more care than usual. I mean, I always do them, but this time I was really concentrating to make sure I was doing them right. That my body was lined up properly and I was using the right muscles for each exercise. When I was finished I added a fairly long set of back stretches. I have to say, those stretches felt amazing!

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The next morning when I woke up, I immediately noticed a huge difference. My back had absolutely no pain at all. For the first time in months, I was totally back pain free! I felt great! I went through the day in amazement, stopping often to think about whether there was any pain and marvelling at the fact that the answer, for the most part was an astounding no.

Now, at the end of the day, as I’m writing this, I can say that the pain has, for the most part, been absent all day. There have been a couple of very small twinges in the area of my back that I started going to physio for, but nothing at all like I’ve had.

Tonight I got down on the mat and did the same routine again. Only now I have a new attitude. Before I was doing it in the hopes that I could lessen the pain. Now I do it because I can see, if done right, the pain can be removed totally and I can enjoy a much better quality of life and hopefully that means running pain free. If there really is such a thing.

All I know for sure is, I’ve never been a post-run stretcher. Sure, I know I should stretch, but I’ve never bothered with it. As of this morning, I am reformed! Not only will I stretch as a post-run activity, but as a daily activity whether I run or not.

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