In the middle of one of my long runs, I felt it... that cramp that won't go away. I tried stopping, stretching, hydrating, but still that tight pain in the back of my leg / hamstring wouldn't let up. I did a run/walk combo for the rest of the run, refusing to stop and get off schedule. I paid for it the next day; I could barely bend my left leg to walk, let alone run. It was a Sunday, so I got some curbside advice from my friend who is also a runner herself and is a PM&R (physical medicine and rehab) doctor, and she diagnosed me with a hamstring injury and gave me treatment advice. But how was this going to fit into my training? I felt like the wheels were coming off and I was derailed... I went and saw a physical therapist who came up with a rehab plan, which included a suggestion to visit a specialist in fluid running. Huh? It is not the same as water running from 1 side of the shallow end to the other. Your feet never actually touch the ground. I had never heard of it, but I thought at this point, I will try anything. I contacted her and she told me on the phone of her inspiring story of how 6 weeks before her marathon, she pulled a calf muscle which left her unable to run on land. After 6 weeks of fluid running combined with land running, she was able to finish the marathon in what was almost a PR for her. I reluctantly signed up for a session... and as a marathoner and iron man finisher herself, she understood my desire to get back on schedule as soon as possible. My first session ended with me feeling as exhausted as if I had run for 45 minutes, with the heart rate to show for it. However, with none of the impact. And my hamstring was not hurting! I am less than 5 weeks away from my first marathon, and have raised (with the help of friends, family, and community) almost $1,000.00 for the American Cancer Society. I feel like the wheels are back on, and I am on my way to completing my first marathon.
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