I have never considered myself a runner but I have always loved to be active. I was a dancer for sixteen years, competing at the national level, and loved the athleticism and artistry of the sport. While I’m past my prime dancing years, I’ve found ways to stay active – teaching kindergarten, taking walks with my husband, strength training, and, most recently, running. I decided my New Year’s resolution would be to get out of my comfort zone and train to run my first half-marathon in 2019. I registered for the Lake Minnetonka Half-Marathon and immediately began researching training plans and nutrition tips. I hit the ground running (pun intended) on January 1, fully determined to complete my training program and prove to myself that I can be a runner. I crushed my first month of training. My distances were getting longer, my body felt strong, and my stamina was increasing. I felt unstoppable and more eager than ever for race day.
One afternoon I was on the bike for a cross-training day when I felt a quick pain in my right hip. It didn’t feel unbearable at the time so I continued on the bike, thinking that I’d put my body through sixteen years of dance with no major injuries, so there was no way a bike session would cause a problem. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. The next day it hurt to walk so I forced myself to have a rest day. The following day I couldn’t make it down the hallway with my kindergarten class without pain. I couldn’t sit with my students on the floor. I couldn’t stand for more than a couple minutes to teach a lesson. I thought my hip just needed more time, so I took more rest days and developed a limp to ease the pain when I walked. Fast forward a month and I was still struggling with every day tasks. I couldn’t even get dressed without pain. I finally caved and went to Twin Cities Orthopedics Urgent Care. My story was heard, x-rays were taken, and a diagnosis of labral tear was given. The possibility of surgery sounded terrifying, so I was relieved when the orthopedic surgeon said my injury could most likely be treated with physical therapy.
I walked into my first physical therapy session feeling more nervous than I expected but ready for guidance. Nicole
was the perfect match for me. Not only did she put my nerves at ease but she has an athletic background and understood my desire to get back to running. That first session “hurt so good,” as they say, and I left with a goal to walk without limping for the next week. It was perfect that I have twenty-one kindergartners to help me on this journey: “Mrs. C., you’re leaning to the side again!” They kept me accountable and, with a lot of conscientious effort, I started walking “normally” again. My next several physical therapy sessions were all about helping my muscles learn how to operate correctly again. I found that I was excited to go to PT every week because I liked getting new exercises; I could feel they were making a difference. Eventually I was walking with no pain. I could squat next to my students’ tables to help them and get back up again. I could get in and out of my car. I could walk up and down stairs instead of crawling. I could climb on the counter to reach the top shelf of the cupboard. I was no longer restricted.
Eventually I received the news I’d been waiting for – I could try running again! My first run was slow and not very far, but I did it. Best of all, I experienced minimal pain and was able to run again the very next day. My hip hasn’t had enough time to condition for the Lake Minnetonka Half-Marathon but my goal is still attainable. I’ve transferred to the Halloween Half-Marathon and started a new training program. My distances have slowly been increasing, and while I’m often frustrated that my times still aren’t what they once were, I’m thankful I can not only run but do everyday tasks without pain. My kindergartners no longer ask me why I “sound like a grandma” when I get up from a chair. I know this wouldn’t be the case without Nicole and my time at PT.
I’m once again a runner, more eager than ever to cross that finish line on race day. This new race will be the perfect way to celebrate my recovery and 30th birthday, and I couldn’t ask for more!