I’ve been walking around foot loose and fancy free since three days after the marathon. No pain. No exercise. Just doing my thing, catching up on Picky Bars and Believe I Am stuff, and living my life. I had every expectation I’d just start right back up with a fresh, rested body, ready to kick some ass.

First run back was last weekend (8 days ago): an easy 3 miles. Felt like a million bucks. Alright, lets train! The next day I tried to go for my 6 mile loop and my knee flared up (same one from before the marathon). I ended up walking 2 miles home, peeved, worried, and trying to figure out what to do. What happened?

Well, I hadn’t done shizz-all since the race for training OR for rehab, despite being told to do lots of stretching. I stretched my quads and that was about it. I just wanted to disengage from being an athlete for a while; to escape. And it really was lovely to do that.

But then the whole first week “back” was fruitless, unable to make it further than 10 or so minutes before my knee started suddenly yelling at me. I decided to see John Ball in Phoenix, as soon as Thanksgiving was over, and just making that decision lifted a load off my shoulders.

That is, until I started trying to make it happen. Ticket prices were astronomical last minute. In order to make this work, I was going to have to find ways to cut costs. So two days ago I contacted a runner, Kerry, who had offered me a place to stay via my blog next time I came to Phoenix to see Dr. Ball (as an alternative to sleeping in my van like last winter). Despite never having met one another, we made arrangements. Rental car was booked on Hotwire for $9/day. Jesse and I got back from Thanksgiving in Bend, OR yesterday and I unpacked and repacked my bag to leave our house at 6:30am this morning.

After several flight delays and missed connections, I unloaded my bags at Kerry’s house and made my way to see John Ball. When he asked me what the deal was, I stuttered, stumbled. Here I was in Phoenix after all that arranging and moving things around and I could hardly get it out. I just wanted to say, “Here I am. Fix me please.” I didn’t have the energy to explain all the “when I do this, this hurts, but when I do that, this hurts over on this side, and it might be related to this but when I wake up in the morning it doesn’t do that so…” My mind and heart needed a spa massage with a Buddha fountain and that yoga-sounding music, where I could simply melt away. My body, unfortunately, needed Active Release Therapy.

This disconnect between what I wanted and what I needed was illuminated in giant neon lights after a brief conversation with Dr. Ball while he dug into my gritty hamstring.

“It’s obvious you haven’t been getting enough treatment lately.”

“I’ve been on my break. I just wanted to live like a normal person for two weeks.”

“Lauren, I hate to break it to you, but you don’t get to live like a normal person until you retire.”


Dammit, John Ball. Grrrrr.