It all started a few weeks ago when I rode to Radium Hot Springs. I was in the aero position with a good amount of speed going when I hit a bump. Snap! My head snapped back and I wondered what my neck was going to be like...
It had been niggling at me since then and last Wednesday I got a massage where there was a ton of crunching happening as Pat worked on it. In fact we were listing off veggies that sound like my neck. Celery, bok choy, cabbage...
Yesterday I went for a stellar bike ride and a little later on I could feel a knot get tigher and tighter just at the top of my right shoulder blade. The tightness was sneaking up along a path to my neck.
So I did what any triathlete would do, I panicked. Not. Actually, I got out the roller and started trying to squish the knot out. That didn't work. So I grabbed a small squash ball and used that to try and squish out the knot. No luck. So then Mum recommended that I try Dr. Ho.
Dr. Ho was on television at some point and offerred this wonderful little electrode pulse gadget under the guise of massage therapy. It's actually what physio's use to stimulate your muscles.
So I gave that a go to see if it might stimulate the muscles to let go.
I'm not sure what exactly was the defining factor for the incident that was to occur in the wee hours of the morning, but one thing that came to mind was 'Never trust a Ho'.
At approximately 2:33 am Sunday morning I was rudely awakening by a piercing pain that shot from the top of my right shoulder blade and nestled into base of my occipital. I must have been trying to turn onto my side when the pain woke me up. At first I thought the monster under my bed had stuck me with a pen knife. Turns out it was just muscle pain.
It was so bad I was immobile. I tried to move my head side to side. OW! No go. Then I tried to sit up. HOLY PETE! The pain was unbearable. Great, I'm stuck. I am never going to be able to get out of bed again. Sigh. I really really wanted to turn on my side in hopes I might get some sleep and maybe the pain would be gone in the morning. I reached up and pressed on the knot in my back and then took a deep breath. Slowly, I turned on my side. I found a position, not unlike how I slept when I had bursitis in my shoulder.
When the alarm went off at 6 for my run I was zonked. So tired from the night before and from the hurt. Not to mention the pain was still there and bad. I was supposed to go swimming today in the ocean. I really really wanted to go.
As I lay there I started to say, 'Think, think, think' Winnie the Pooh style. Okay. It hurts. I got that. Would it hurt so much I couldn't get my run in today? Maybe if I ran the blood would flow through and it would heal. Or maybe just warming up my body would help. First things first, I had to figure out how to get out of bed!
Very slowly I managed to roll over and slide off the bed. With great difficulty I got changed and put my hair in the trademark braids. Okay, if I could do that, surely I could run! I did a little bit of running on the spot to see how things would work. Technically my upper body shouldn't be moving so as long as it was okay to swing my arms, I could run.
Everything checked out. I could run. I would just have to remember to not look down, or to the left or right or I'd be reminded of my muscle knot. Come to think of it this might help my posture whilst running.
I headed out about 6:30 am. It was so nice out and very peaceful at that hour on a Sunday morning. It was a little slow going for my warm up. My body was tired and sluggish from lost sleep. After the 15 minute mark I was to pick up the pace. So far so good.
As I ran through the forest part of my journey I wondered if there were any animals hiding out in the bushes sensing that wounded prey was about to go by. Then I remembered how powerful adrenline could be so if anything scared me the pain in my shoulder and neck would disappear! No problemo.
I love this section of my run so much. The arch of evergreens makes my heart sing. I made it through the forest safely and headed out onto the dyke. The temperature was perfect. Even though I could feel my neck now and then I was doing fairly well. It was kind of like having a side stitch, only higher up. On the way back I had to walk a couple of times. It never ceases to amaze me how the human body reacts when it's hurt. A good porotion of my energy was going into my run but there was some that was going into protecting my shoulder. This was enough to drain me now and then.
I was to increase my pace every twenty minutes but I really wasn't able to for the middle intervals. So I just accepted that fact and focused on my technique and the beauty that surrounded me.
This must have helped because when I focused on my pace again for the last 20 minutes before cooldown I noticed I was going at a pretty good clip! It was a happy surprise.
Total run time was just short of two hours. It wasn't the best run, but considering the circumstances it was a pretty good run and I was happy with it. Unfortunatley it didn't do much to change my neck issue. I was able to slowly look right and left about 10 degrees, but that was it.
My ocean swim was totally out. Well, unless I miraculously grew gills! Major bummer, but I'll get to go before I leave here.
When Dad got home from his workout he suggested I go for a Japanese shiatsu massage. I've never been and at that point the pain was gaining strength to the point where I was getting a headache and nauseas. I figured it couldn't hurt...
So we went to this little place in the mall. It's actually totally open and located under the escalator. I wasn't sure how this was going to go but some of the dudes from dads gym go there so I figured it was legit.
Dad and I walked up to the counter and I told the fellow I needed a miracle! I don't think he spoke a ton of english but it was ok because Dad was there and he speaks Japanese. I only had to wait for a bit before the shiatsu dude returned and was ready to go. I explained my neck hurt and I couldn't turn it. He sat me down and started his magic.
With the first few pressure points I knew I'd have to focus on my breathing. He wasn't even at the side of my neck that hurt and already I was getting queasy from the pain. After a while he had me lay face down on the bed thingy and squish my face into a little hole on the head rest.
It was a little weird laying there because I could hear bits and pieces of conversations of the people walking by in the mall. 'No mommy I don't want to....Ewwww...So I told her....Oh, let's go in here...' As he started hitting some points the noise of the mall faded and all I heard was my inner voice. 'Okay, you can do this, just breath...I can only open one eye with my face squished in here...breath, breath, breath...ow! for crack and ice that hurts!...I'm sure he couldn't push my head into this thing any farther...if I wiggle my toes it will distract me from the pain...'
Then I started to focus on my face. That's when I almost giggled. My face was being squished into this teeny hole and stretched so I had a Joker like smile going on with one eye closed, the other open. My skin of my forehead was being pulled up so I had that botox happy look going. Oh if only someone could take a photo of this for the blog!
After that I think I slipped in and out of consciousness. I might have even snored. I'm amazed because he was hitting some good spots! He even hit my glutes and hammies. I was getting scared at this point that he'd find more points of pain. He did. I breathed through it. And I was really good in that I didn't kick him with the other leg. I think I deserve points for that.
After an hour of being pressed on he tapped my shoulder. I was in a fog. The paper from the head holder was stuck to my face. Huh. What. Where am I? He said in halting english that my neck and shoulders were very tight. I explained I was training for a triathlon so I did a lot of swimming, biking and walking. He said it was good to rest. Then he smiled and said to try turning my neck.
IT'S A MIRACLE!!! I could actually turn my head left and right. I still couldn't look down, but hey, I'll take the left and right. At least now I didn't have to turn with my entire upper body! I thanked him perfusely and was ready to hug him and kiss his shoes. Dad mentioned I may be back later in the week.
When I got home I took a nap and was out cold. I can still look left and right and the thudding that had been happening in my neck and shoulder has subsided. So has the headache. Hopefully it doesn't come back after my long ride tomorrow. Then again, if it does I'll just go back to Mr. Shiatsu for some squishing.
Oh, and I have to admit it. I don't necessarily blame Dr. Ho. (If you really ARE a doctor sir.) It's more likely that I had the electrodes up too high and on for too long. Lesson learned. I think I'll go put some of the Rub A-535 on that Dad also brought home. Or maybe stick the heating pad back on it.
I gotta say, it's good to be home when you have a mini situation. The parental unit have been awesome in trying to help me out and I'm so thankful for it. This is by no means a life or death situation, but it sure did hurt and having them here helping me out made a difference! If Dad weren't here I wouldn't know of Mr. Shiatsu, and if Mum weren't here I would still be in my jog bra...I couldn't get out of it without help.
Ah the journey of a triathlete...
Peace out my friends!