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My third Physical Therapist drove home the point that my poor posture and seated office lifestyle was a critical element of my running-related pains. This was after my second Physical Therapist prescribed orthotics for my knee pain. I also learned I had a pelvic rotation due to a muscle imbalance. I never imagined I’d need to heal poor posture to improve my running. I also hadn’t realized I could relieve pain through exercise.
Two of my three Physical Therapists agreed I demonstrated little gluteal activation: “Odd for a runner, since that’s the biggest muscle in the body and the most important for running.” All of my Physical Therapists agreed exercise would be helpful. Looking back, I see this makes sense. By that time, I’d already been an adult cyclist for a few years. I saw my semi-random lower back pain disappear over my first two years of adult cycling. I’d already been able to relieve pain through exercise!
Become A Runner And Look Good Too!
What I didn’t learn then, but concluded more recently, is my pelvic rotation was related to left-right imbalance in my abdominal muscles, which is also related to my poor posture. I’ve slumped too much, and I’ve lived with relaxed abdominal muscles, which has left them atrophied. That’s part of the rarely-specified “muscle imbalance” discussed by Physical Therapists. The good news is this is an opportunity to firm up the butt and tighten the abs at the same time!
The Strongest Feet And Ankles Of My Life
In addition to the early knee pain, more recently I had a year where I routinely twisted or rolled my ankles. The rehab for this involved a lot of one-legged squats (glute work — no surprise), plus foot and ankle strengthening. The net effect is I now have the strongest feet I’ve ever had! Once again I was able to relieve pain through exercise. Stronger glutes have also helped heal poor posture: a swayback I’ve had since I was a kid. Finally, I can stand and even do some exercises on one leg. Neat party trick?
Over the ensuing years, I’ve kept running and getting stronger. Since my first orthotic fitting in 2011, I’ve been fitted for orthotics 2 more times. Each time the orthotics changed a bit. Now that I’ve done a year of foot and ankle rehab, the artificial arch of my first pair of orthotics pushes too hard into my arch and causes foot pain across the top of my foot. I’ve had to retire those orthotics. I’m calling that progress!
What’s The Point Of It All?
At the end of my first marathon (in 2012), I asked my Sweetheart how many she’d done. I knew the answer, but I had to ask for effect. She said, “Five”. I asked her, “Why would you ever do more than one?”
Consider And Act
- Why do you do the things you do?
- What’s the most extreme thing you’ve done in your life?
- How far have you gone to pursue and deliver on a personal goal?
- How far would you go to deliver on a goal?
- What goal is big enough that you’d do just about anything to achieve it?
Also published on Medium.