About this time last year, we were getting used to the idea that M was running track. What really got her sucked into the sport was an invitation to participate in the Dartmouth Relays. When she first started out, indoor track was just an opportunity to hang out with friends and keep in shape, but then she started qualifying for meets that you only get to attend if you’re fast enough. And her trip to Dartmouth made a huge impression: you skip a day of school to take a charter bus and spend the night with a bunch of friends running in a great facility. She was excited to be invited and she had so much fun, and it was an unexpected bonus fairly early in the track season that made her suddenly a track enthusiast.
This year’s indoor track season got off to a shaky start. Remember how M was limping around when we went to see Kirsten Gillibrand? M had hurt her knee in the first couple of weeks of starting track, and it kept getting worse. First it hurt a little when she ran a lot, and then, even with taking breaks and trying to take it easy, she’d gotten to the point where she was limping when she walked.
I decided it was time to visit her doctor. She was not psyched about the idea.
“You know,” she said, “a guy on the track team keeps telling me that I have to go see The Magic Chiropractor.”
“Oh, really?” I asked, as neutrally as possible. “And what did you say?”
“I said that I was pretty sure that my parents think that chiropractors are just fake doctors.”
I laughed pretty hard. I couldn’t remember ever having particularly discussed chiropractors with M, but I’d say her assessment wasn’t too far off. M pressed her argument. A teammate who’s now on a full athletic scholarship had recommended this chiropractor to others, and there was a devoted and adoring fan club among many in the team. Eventually, we agreed that we’d visit both her pediatrician, because going to your primary care physician is the Responsible Adult Thing To Do, as well as the Magic Chiropractor, because It’s Worth A Shot.
Long story short, the doctor was not a great deal of help, and the Magic Chiropractor was immensely helpful. On our first visit, he figured out that the pain on the outside of her right knee was her IT band which was hurting because her left glute was much weaker than her right glute. Which is what the school’s trainer had suspected, but he explained it well and gave her a specific exercise regimen to follow. He told M that she could run if it wasn’t too painful and she should keep up with exercises and ice after running, and likely they could resolve it in a few more visits.
That was before Christmas. Because of the injury, M wasn’t able to participate in the first track meets, and then we traveled to Savannah for a week. She had more follow-up visits with the chiropractor and received some new exercises to do, and she seemed to be improving, so that was good. Over our Christmas break, Cute W and I fretted about the injury, though. She’d missed out on a ton of training: would she be able to compete at all this season? And was there any chance that she’d be able to get invited to go to Dartmouth again? She had had so much fun last year, and she had been really looking forward to it before the injury.
M managed to run in her first meet shortly after we returned home from our Christmas trip, and she did. . . okay. Not close to her best, but not terrible considering how the last month had been for her. Last weekend she was glad that she qualified to go down to New York City for a track meet at the Armory. I came home from a JCC workout and heard a report from Cute W and J, who had watched her first race, a mile run, live on-line. Apparently it started out well and. . . did not end well at all. Poor J was absolutely distraught as she watched her sister fall behind, but apparently M’s coaches were okay about it. They’d assigned her a race that was longer than her middle-distance specialty and had basically just figured it was a chance to keep working on getting back in shape.
The excellent news is that M was invited to go back to Dartmouth this weekend. She’s still not quite up to speed (pun intended), but she’s happy to be back in the race.