I don’t normally get to take the reins of the MCM blog, so this is a special treat for me!
As some of you know (because I am chatty), last month I competed in the Kirkland Half-Marathon. And I wasn’t the only one—several other MCM patients hit the pavement that day: a special shout-out to Michael Miller and Craig Beck for pulling down some blazing fast times on that 13.1-mile course! Woot woot! It was an incredible event: the day was warm and sunny, the course was beautiful (albeit a tad hillier than I’d expected…), and I smashed my previous personal record by 4 minutes. Plus they gave us free Jamba Juice at the finish line! FREE JAMBA JUICE! And while I didn’t quite beat Josh’s time (insert eye roll here), this race was still an important milestone for me in my journey from injury to fitness.
In 2009, I injured my knee while training for a full marathon. I rehabbed it all winter and trained for the same marathon in 2010—only to re-injure both knees halfway through the actual race. It was my own darn fault—I overtrained for both events—but I kept thinking, “Hey, I’m young, I’ll bounce right back.” And then I didn’t bounce back. To say I was frustrated would have been the understatement of the century. When I came to work for Magnolia Chiropractic & Massage in 2011, I had been to see a physical therapist, two personal trainers, and a sports medicine doc to try and fix my knee problem once and for all—but to no avail. And what I’m going to say next will make me sound like the biggest brown-noser on the face of the earth, but I truly believe that chiropractic and massage has helped me reach “pre-injury status” (as Josh would say), and turned my running career around.
Don’t stop reading! I’m not just kissing up to my boss here! Since last year, I’ve successfully completed a 12k, three 5ks, and three half-marathons—and all without injury. The way I see it, chiropractic has helped me recover from my injury in two important ways: 1) It addressed the structural issues that impeded my performance, and 2) It emphasized that there was no “quick fix” for my problem.
I am a lucky duck because the perks of my job at MCM include free massage and chiropractic adjustments. I have been getting routinely adjusted—usually once a week, but as frequently as three times a week when I was working through a back issue—for the past 12 months, and it has made A HUGE DIFFERNCE in how I feel while running. Dr. Penner is a veritable textbook of knowledge on the musculoskeletal system, and has helped confirm the diagnosis I got from my sports doctor, recommend rehab exercises and stretches, and address the issues surrounding my isolated injury (e.g., adjusting my low-back helped my knees feel better). And there aren’t enough positive adjectives to describe how incredible Tai and Allison are at their jobs.
But adjustments and massage alone were not enough to take care of my injury. This is something I’ve learned from sitting behind the front desk, watching patients come and go: the people who actually do their “homework” exercises get better faster than those who don’t. Simple. I’ve seen the data in our appointment tallies! I realized that all the sports doctors and physical therapists in the world couldn’t help fix my knee if I didn’t do my part. It’s not their fault that I didn’t do the rehab exercises at the frequency or intensity they prescribed—it was mine! Every time I went out for a long run instead of listening to my body and resting, I made my injury worse. Every time I skipped my exercises altogether, I made my injury worse. What I wanted was a magic Band-Aid fix—and what I got was disappointment.
Chiropractic has increased my awareness of my body—and when you pay more attention to what’s going on in your body, I think you naturally take better care of it. So as much as I wanted Dr. Penner to just Snap-Crackle-Pop my knee out of pain, I’m actually glad it’s been a long road to recovery. Because it’s taught me that I can take an active role in taking charge of my health. My body is my body, and no one else’s: I can become aware of it, I can listen to it, and I can discern (within limits) what it needs. Even if it needs me to slow down.
So, thanks to my crack medical team here at MCM, and some very careful and conservative training plans on my part, this past year has been the most fun and successful year of running I’ve had yet. Culminating in my 1:40 time at the Kirkland Half, and a 1:39 P.R. a few weeks later (just 3 minutes shy of Josh’s best time, so he better watch his back!).
Now my biggest problem is just figuring out how the race folks lost track of my bib number and didn’t record my time…but one thing at a time.