On the road to recovery

Yes, I’m back running 🙂

A visit to the champ-runner-physio saw her refer me to her own physio.

It seems that she unfortunately had a serious knee injury a couple of years ago – I believe (note: ‘believe’ due to my lack of Spanish language skills) this was an ACL blow-out – and as a result was told by five physios she would never run again. Luckily, the final physio she saw said that ‘yes, he could help her get back running’, and he did.

Given the complexities of my right leg she felt more comfortable sending me to see the physio who got her back running. The treatment suggested combines traditional physio, osteopathy and other techniques to give a whole body approach in a package called Global Postural Reeducator (GPR). Yes, I had to google it too!

What’s Global Postural Reeducation?

Typical physio treats the site of injury. GPR looks at the whole body to discover the cause of injury in an attempt to prevent further occurrence. So, in my case, I knew the knee cyst was not the cause of the injury, merely the site of current injury.

GPR treatment

So I knew physio and osteopathy would be involved, but I was a little bit shocked to walk through the door of the treatment room to see a body shaped table (no nicely padded surfaces here) with rotating arm plates and straps, plus a rope pulley system above. Maybe I sidestepped and started to walk backwards but Marcos the physio immediately pointed at my right hip and said that was the problem.

This was looking good! I’ve always known my good ol’ right hip doesn’t play ball.

The first session involved a general assessment and a discovery of what GPR really involves. There’s definitely some physio, osteopathy and then chiropractic, PNF stretching, yin yoga (almost) and no small amount of torture. It’s certainly an aggressive treatment – you can only manage one of these sessions a week – and it’s 100 per cent dignity free!

How it works

Most of my first session was spend working on my right leg, hips and lower back. I was pushed and pulled in every direction going. In GPR, the physio applies PNF stretches to try to realign deep functional muscles which have gone awry due to chronic injury and the body’s attempt to compensate around the injury site. This is NOT pain free.

When your body is injured it does everything it can to protect the injury site. If the pain is long term, your internal muscles realign which can cause a multitude of other issues.

My right hip is pants so the rest of my body has over many, many years rearranged itself to try to compensate.  Many of my joints and muscles are doing jobs they aren’t designed for. It’s actually pretty amazing that the human body is capable of this but detrimental in the long run.

Marcos also discovered many past injury sites. Remember the cockroach-leaping-gracilis-strain of a couple of years’ ago? Well there’s a nice amount of scar tissue from that! That cockroach has definitely made a lasting impression. However, on leaving that first torture, err I mean GPR session, the pressure in my lower leg had pretty much gone.

After three sessions we’re working on increasing hip mobility – I have a nice 50 min a day physio set to work on – as well as lengthening my abs, getting my right shoulder back where it should be and leveling out my diaphragm – and I’m allowed to start to run again.

Back running (and racing)

After a couple of painish free easy runs, I decided to get back racing using some shorter races as tempo sessions.

First up a semi-night run in the flat bit of Granada. My goal to hold just under 5 min/km for the 9km. I finished just in time (as it got very dark!) as 4th in age group and 10th women, but most importantly feeling okay.

The start line for the Cuna de Lorca.

Nine days later and I was back on trail for a local CXM Sierra Sur De Jaen Minitrail. In all honesty the 15km was a bit much distance wise, however the 400m positive was manageable and the track of a level surface, which is important for my recovering ankle.

I’m so far back, I’m not even on this photo of the start of CXM Minitrail 😉

I decided to dust of my poles, in case my leg needed some help, and as a result was forced to start at the back (a race regulation). As a slow starter this gave me chance to warm up and gradually pick off the other runners. By 7.5km I was pretty sure I was lead woman after passing a woman at the second aid station. I’d do my level best to hang on, but conscious I shouldn’t push my HR out of my chosen range. This meant I crossed the line in 1:32:07 less than 50 seconds ahead of the 2nd and 3rd women.

While I was delighted to come home campeona, I was aware there weren’t many women running and the heat had tortured the ladies in 2nd and 3rd. I still seem to have my Qatar-gained heat acclimation.

Crossing the finish line and I caught the camera man off-guard. He was also trying to roll out the tape for me to run through (he didn’t manage it)!

My recovery is sound, so here’s hoping my right hip continues to play along. We’ll see at my next GPR session.



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