Delirious Ramblings Brought on by High Fever and A.R.T.
This sedentary lifestyle is starting to really kill me. Since my last post, the one where I was advising myself to take it easy, I have received A.R.T. treatment, run one of my favorite trails with a slight knee pain after the treatment, was super hopeful that I would be able to run the Noble Canyon 50K in a couple of weeks, then went out and ran 19 miles out and back along the coast, which felt great, until mile 15, then the wheels fell off, twitching eye and grimace pain with every other footfall. Limping around afterward, depressed, explaining to some of my friends that I was going to have to drop out of the 50K, I was down. That day I took the family to the animal shelter to look at puppies, just to look, but of course we fell in love with one and brought her home with us. Then I got sick, spending the last four days with a fever, dreaming about dried up seals stranded on the aforementioned trail, as I lay in a puddle of my own sweat, fever cruising past 102 and hitting 103, delirium, headaches and way too much daytime tv trash, and the worst part is, I still haven't been able to run.
A.R.T. (which I assumed stood for Active Release Technique, but which I quickly came to realize stands for Acute Repeated Torture) was recommended by a couple of people who read my blog including Paige, who claims to love it, but she runs 100 milers for fun (read her Leadville 100 race report, it's really, really good), which should have been a gigantic red flag. I knew a little about A.R.T., have even tried it once, a 5 minute free session at the gym with a 8 foot 3 ex-volleyball player, current weightlifter, who dug into my calf like it was play dough, separating the fascia which was as painful as it sounds. I went online to the A.R.T. website and scrolled through the list of certified practitioners and picked the smallest, most Asian one on the list. She specialized in Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, and A.R.T. Figuring I had found a lighter, gentler form of ART, I called her up and made the appointment.
When I showed up at the office, she shook my hand limply, all 90 pounds of her. I felt a little guilty, thinking I was getting off easy, avoiding the real pain while being able to tell my running buddies I was doing everything I could to treat this, even the dreaded A.R.T. She asked me to run, and watched me as I ran up and down her dark hallway, trying to run softly past the offices of accountants and investment brokers. She spoke in code to her assistant, listing muscles I had never heard of, analyzing my form, picking it apart, asking about gait. It turns out that I don't lift my feet enough on the back-swing, I don't push off hard enough, and that she was going to fix this by treating some muscle or ligament that I can't name, but if you want to see it, I can show you the exact spot because it is now a swirly brownish blue.
As she worked on the spot, she had me bend my leg back, pushing harder on the muscle as I assisted in my own torture like something out of Saw. She was talking calmly to her assistant as she channeled semi truck strength through her small hands and into my leg as my wince turned into a twisted mask and tears leaked out of the corner of my eye. This, she told her assistant, is the expression we need to see with him.
This was not my Dr., she would never ride a trike
She asked me to make 2 more appointments for the following week, and at that point I just nodded, a defeated man, her will be done. I asked the Dr. if I was allowed to run on it, and she encouraged me to test it out, so I drove down the street to my favorite trail (the trailhead was about a mile from her office) and had a relatively pain-free and joyous run. My hopes for the 50K had been restored, and I gave myself a rest day before the ill-advised 19-miler.
That was a week ago and I had to call and cancel my two appointments for this week. I spoke to the receptionist with the soft voice who told me she hoped I felt better soon and I should re-schedule for next week, so yeah I will, but let me get over this fever first, and your soft voice isn't hiding anything, I know what goes on behind that closed door.
I do think it helped, and I will go back, and I was stupid to try to run 19 miles, and I am probably not going to run Noble Canyon because I don't want to jeopordize the 50 miler next month or the Grand Canyon run the following month, so if you read this and you see me toeing the line out there at the Pine Valley Bible School, please punch me in the face. It's for my own good.
My new running buddy, Hazel
On a lighter note, we got an Australian Shepherd mix (with some German Shepherd), she is eight weeks old and I can already tell by the way she runs in circles around the backyard, that she is going to love the trails. Hopefully, by next year, we'll be out in the rain when no one else is around, both of us off of our leashes and drool flying freely in the wind.
This is a great song and it speaks to my current mood