2 months ago my husband and I made a very big move. We sold our home in Labrador, packed up our truck and our camper and hit the dirt road (literally) to move to Ottawa. I worked as a physiotherapist for 9 years at the hospital in Goose Bay, so accepting a job with Whole Therapy was a huge change for me. I was very nervous and excited and obviously was wondering if I had made the right decision.
Fast forward 2 months and I can say with absolute certainty that yes we made the right choice. My husband and I, along with our 14 month old daughter Emily, absolutely love Ottawa. We love to run, hike, cycle, canoe, and camp, so Ottawa has been a fantastic fit for us. But even more important is I love my new job. My coworkers are fantastic and have taught me so much in just a few weeks. I have met a lot of really cool clients and I love working with the team here to help people reach their goals as fast as possible.
One huge benefit to working at Whole Therapy is that the staff here not only work together to help each other’s clients but they also work together to help each other. I have been running competitively since I was in high school. Over the years I have completed 9 half marathons, 2 full marathons and a bunch of 5 and 10km races. Back home in Labrador I was a member of the Trappers’ Running Club Executive where I helped organize the annual Trapline Marathon (it’s a Boston qualifier and a fantastic race if anyone wants to experience a run in the rural north!) I helped organize and lead the running clinics for the Trapline and I offered education sessions on running form, injury prevention, stretching, etc.
So needless to say I am a runner and am very passionate about the sport. After moving to Ottawa I joined Run Ottawa and I immediately started exploring different running routes and trails around the city. I was having some persistent issues that seemed to start while I was running pregnant with my daughter in 2017. These issues particularly occurred during/after tempo runs, interval training or races:
- Stitches under my ribs during my higher intensity training sessions that were just completely ruining my runs. Everything I did to stop them failed. I tried to eat at least 2-3 hours before running, do a good warm up, breathe deeply through the stitch. Nothing seemed to work.
- My hamstrings were just destroyed after speed work. They were so tight, sore and stiff.
- The area around my C-section scar just felt, for lack of a better word, ugly! Very achy and empty if that makes sense.
My first race in Ottawa was the 5km RBC Run for the Kids in the middle of September. I had a great race but again all 3 of the above issues definitely limited my pace. When I came to work that Monday and chatted to my co-workers about how the race went, I became the client instead of the therapist and it was awesome!
Jamie took me into the gym and focused on why my hamstrings were working so hard. Turns out my glute max was extremely weak especially on the left which meant my hamstrings had to work overtime to compensate. He gave me some homework which included single leg bridge reps, step downs and reverse plank on the stability ball with knee extension. He also worked on my breathing technique which he figured was the cause of my frequent running stitches.
Mel got her hands on me to work around my C-section scar. Emily is 14 months old so it has definitely healed, but I learned after that session that it was not so much the scar tissue causing the “ugly” sensation but the very tight hip musculature surrounding it.
My second race in Ottawa was the 10km Ottawa Fall Colors Run. I ran stitch free, I felt my glute max was definitely working harder than it had been a month ago which meant my hamstrings weren’t totally exhausted following, and I didn’t have the ugly C—section scar feeling!
I still have a lot of work to do over the winter months but I can say with confidence that I think I will be able to run some personal best times next year with the help of my fantastic coworkers!
If you are a runner and you want to run as efficiently as possible, the off season is coming up and it’s a great time to book an appointment and be assessed for any muscle imbalances you may have!