This is from a client of mine, Carrie. Carrie is an EXTREMELY talented marathon runner but was struggling for several years with a “dead leg” issue. To give you some perspective, Carrie ran the Boston Marathon in ‘05 (her second marathon ever) and was the 20th woman across the finish line. It was also 87 degrees at the start of the race-not exactly great racing conditions. When she was at her peak three years ago, she was in 2:50 shape and the US Olympic Trials qualifying time is 2:45. Congrats, Carrie! Keep up the great work. I hope your story inspires others so seek a cure!
At the peak of my running career, my dreams of a competitive marathoner began to drift further and further away. In February 2005, my right leg (hamstring) started to “go dead” 40 minutes into any run (fast or slow). I would not fall, but my leg simply would not work. It was as if my glutes would quit firing causing my hamstring to take over. Since it was physiologically impossible for the hamstring to perform the work of my glutes, my leg would become very weak and would not carry me forward. Because this forward movement was necessary for me to compete, I began what became a 3 plus year journey of endless therapy searching for “why” this was happening. At the end of the journey, I had a million dollar leg that still would not perform.
I started with your traditional doctor who went directly to the back stating Degenerative Disk Disease and a bulging disc was the culprit. Their solution was that maybe I “should not run so much”. That was quite the turn off so I sought alternative means to an unknown problem. I did not think it was back related, as I had never experienced back pain before; however, endless research led me to piriformis syndrome. Although I was introduced to some amazing modalities and therapists (acupuncture, chiropractic (several therapists), deep tissue massage, cranio-sacral, active release therapy, Rolfing (full series), prolo-therapy), NONE worked. My body would simply not hold any manipulated adjustments. Keep in mind, I did not dabble in any of these, I was committed (financially, mentally, and physically) to each “cure”.
My lack of progress led to immense frustration and a deflated attitude. For three plus years, I knew something was missing but could not find the missing piece. I would spend countless hours researching solutions on my own and incorporated plenty of stretching, yoga, and hanging upside down (all of which made things worse). The more research I did, the more labels I found. It quickly became what I will call “paralysis by analysis”. This injury had become an obsession. My hope was fading fast. I had “given up” the idea of competing so many times (taking months off of running), but always would return and so would the “dead leg”. Thankfully my friend (Denise) convinced me to give Egoscue a chance. “Ego-what?”, I remember thinking.
I had grown more skeptical with each modality, but deep down I knew there had to be a reason for this “dead leg”. I thought I had heard of everything. How in the world would I explain this one to my husband? When I first walked in, John asked if anyone had ever focused on my shoulders or my upper back. Are you kidding me, what does a dead leg have to do with a shoulder or my posture for that matter? Needless to say, I wanted to run. Good thing my leg would still go dead at that time…..by the end of the session, I was hooked.
Over the years, it had become very difficult to even explain my “problem” due to the constant guessing game that was never won. What a relief, someone who could care less about my symptoms and REALLY focused on my body as a whole. During my first week of e-cises, I could actually feel my pelvis shift. At first, my leg got a little worse becoming “dead” earlier into the run. I was a little hesitant, but what was 8 more weeks? Well, after the second week, I was running over 50 minutes without deadness, and then after 3 weeks – NO deadness.
In the midst of this miracle, another dream was realized causing my running to take a back seat. I am now 31 years old and have been married 7 years. We have two fabulous dogs, but no children. Although my husband and I refused to try to get pregnant, we also did not prevent children, and I struggled with ignoring the infertility comments as best I could. Thankfully pregnancy will never become another obsession. After a very short time with Egoscue, I became pregnant! My pelvis shifted into a place that would allow me to run again AND become a mother. While the “running” dream is on hold (for now), another dream has become reality! I am so thankful for Egoscue and for John Elder who gave me the confidence to keep pushing through this.