I got beaten up today.
Or to be more precise, I got beaten up today by a petite blonde.
A petite blonde who apologised before, during and after the aforementioned beating.
Those of you without smutty minds will have already worked out that today was in fact the day of my first physio session. For those of you with smutty minds, I’m pretty sure the internet has countless things more appealing to you than a blog written by a short, vaguely ewokesque, bloke whose style of movement can be described as running in much the same way that a naan bread can be described as a state of the art supercomputer. Obviously, if short-arsed joggers feature heavily in your sordid little peccadillo then you may as well keep reading. But for God’s sake, just shut the curtains in case the vicar walks past.
Where was I?
Oh yes, physio. I’d made the booking a couple of days ago, after an invisible person hit my right knee with a similarly invisible hammer during my last run. Thanks to good luck and prompt ice, the pain was gone completely by the very next morning, as if it had never been there. But I knew darn well that it‘d be straight back if I were foolish enough not to rest for a few days, and next time it would bring it’s mates. There are very few things worse than being a runner who can’t go out and run* so I must admit that I felt quite hopeful when the day of the appointment arrived. I wasn’t expecting any sort of one-day miracle cure, but I had my fingers crossed that I’d at least find out how serious an impact my grumpy knee was going to have on running from now on.
This particular physio had been recommended to me by my friend/colleague Maclary, and this in itself made me feel more than a little uneasy, given the slim but ever-present chance that he’d referred me to some sort of monkey-physiotherapist, just for the fun of it. At best that would mean a physio who specialised in treating monkeys with plantar fasciitis. But at worst, I was about to put my very health and wellbeing in the tiny hands of a malevolent screeching spider-monkey with only a rudimentary grasp of Direct Myofascial Release. It was madness! For starters, where would they get small enough lab coats?
Anyway, I arrived at the health centre and allowed myself a sigh of relief when I noted the complete absence of mad-eyed therapists with a thickly encrusted layer of monkey poo all over their shoulders. I was instead greeted by an actual normal person, who I’ll refer to as H, simply because I’m bored of making pretend names up for everyone. I felt a little short-changed that H wasn’t wearing a lab coat, although I was pleased to see that neither was she a spider monkey.
Is it just my imagination, or am I going on about monkeys rather a lot?
The actual consultation and treatment passed in a flash. I was gently prodded and poked, and I managed to stand on one leg without knocking myself out on a filing cabinet, which is always a bonus as far as I’m concerned. H quickly diagnosed the nature and cause of my injury – overpronation on my right side had resulted in my VMO (Vastus Medialis Oblique) becoming weak, or possibly it was my already weak VMO that was causing the overpronation – I forget which way round it went. In any case, the end result was that this in turn was allowing my knee to track out of alignment during my longer runs, hence the pain. I was far too much of a gentleman to question H’s credentials and point out her glaring mistake – I didn’t know what a Vastus Medialis Oblique was, but I was pretty certain that the thing she kept pointing at was actually my leg.
The next stage of the physio saw me laying on my right side while dozens of tiny angry midgets jabbed at my leg with fiery pitchforks, occasionally headbutting my IT band for good measure. …But in a good way, if that makes any sense. As I grimaced my way through every kneading, twisting, pummelling moment of the massage, I could feel the tension being pulled out of my muscles and politely told to f**k off. Metaphorically speaking. And just like that it was over. I made an appointment for two weeks time and walked out of the clinic with a list of homework in the form of stretches and strengthening exercises, and some sound advice to ease off slightly on the distance running for a couple of weeks. Even from that first session I felt supple and full of energy; I’d have done one of those jaunty little jumps where you click your heels together, only I’ve never been able to do them and, supple or not, the end result would have seen me knocking myself out on a filing cabinet, which is quite impressive in a car park.
I really quite enjoyed my first ever physio session, not least because I was half expecting just to get there and be told “you’re not built for running. Just pack it in. Here’s a set of dominos instead”. Somehow, knowing what caused the knee pain really gave me a boost, and I’m feeling positive that the injury could be no more than a temporary setback rather than the game-changer I thought it would be.
Half Marathon in five weeks. Five!!!
*That is of course a lie. There are LOADS of things worse than that. I can think of at least seven off the top of my head that just involve walnuts.