Second time was the charm.
About a month ago, I signed up for a gait analysis workshop at a pilates studio in Kitsilano, which was being held this weekend. Because I want to do everything I possibly can to stay injury free when I start regularly running again, I figured this would be a good workshop for me as it was all about the biomechanics of the lower body, and seeing as how it’s my lower body enabling me to run, it seemed like a no brainer. But when I woke up Saturday morning, I was freaking out. And rightfully so.
I woke up at 5:37 a.m. to a half-hour long coughing jag interspersed with me choking up massive amounts of grodies. I seriously thought my intestines were going to start shooting up through my lungs I was coughing so hard and I’m surprised I don’t have a six-pack given that my abs still hurt like I do. How the heck was I supposed to go to this workshop like this, I thought. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite about the whole spreading germs thing, but I paid good money for this workshop, and I had already been sick for nearly a week, and the grodies weren’t looking quite as infected as they had days earlier, and I couldn’t possibly still be contagious, I reasoned with myself. So after debating whether or not to wear workout wear or regular clothing (I had no idea if it was going to be an interactive workshop or not) I chose the Lululemon pants figuring I’d fit in with the rest of Kitsilano, and headed out the door. It took me an hour to get there, I parked the car, loaded the meter with $3, making note that I’d have to come back out and load it again, and ran up the stairs to the studio. A woman welcomed me at the door with a friendly but questionable look. “I’m here for the workshop,” I announced, thinking it was awfully quiet. “You’re a day early,” she smiled. Oh no!
I knew the workshop was on Nov. 28, had even looked at the online brochure before leaving the house, but because I’d been sick at home all week, I had no idea that Nov. 28 wasn’t Saturday. Mind you, there were some blessings to come out of the mixup. First, I knew how to get there, which is key for someone as directionally challenged as me. Second, I had an extra day to recover from the greenbola. And third, I figured out where to park – coinage free!
So I walked through the doors of the pilates studio Sunday morning and sat down with six other women all ranging from about 25 to 40ish, all wearing non-workout wear, and all in the pilates, body biomechanics know. When we went around the circle to state our names and reasons for coming, it was assumed everyone was a pilates instructor. And then they landed on me. “Well, uhm, my name is Princess, I have absolutely no pilates training or history for that matter … but I’m starting next week.” 😀
The Gait Anatomy and Assessment Workshop was put on by the Movement Studio Pilates and had physiotherapist Trish Kazun discussing abnormal gait patterns and looking into the causes for the abnormalities. She spent a good hour and half exploring the basic anatomy and biomechanics of the lower body from the torso down, and to be honest a lot of it went over my head given that she was using highly medical terms and not Princess Go Runner terms.
It wasn’t long before I realized that maybe this wasn’t the workshop for me. See, when the physiotherapist and studio owner were figuring out what to concentrate on for this workshop, walking or running, they decided to focus on walking and would hold a second clinic on running later. When the physio told me this my heart sunk a little, but I figured I was already there and I could probably still get some interesting bits out of it, so I didn’t check out. And I was right, I did learn some stuff. I learned:
- that pilates instructors focus a lot on foot muscles, more so than physiotherapists, which is good for me given that my feet take a beating on the pavement, and given that I’m starting pilates this week.
- that if you alter your gait to alleviate pain, you could be causing further damage. If it’s not acute pain, but just severe tightness, like say after falling down the stairs, or running a marathon (sound familiar?) it’s best to try and walk as normal as possible.
- that if one of your legs is always dirty after a run (which is often the case with me) your hip is probably excessively externally rotating on the opposite side.
And I learned an achilles tendon strengthening exercise just in case I ever need it. The ‘slow heel lower’ is supposed to repair the achilles tendon back to good collagen. What you do is stand on one foot, holding a wall for balance, go up on your tippy toes (think of your toes as a tripod when gripping the ground) and slowly lower your heel down to the count of 10. Do three sets of 10 repetitions every day. It’s okay to feel pain during the exercise, but it’s not okay to feel pain the next day – that means you’re not ready for the healing just yet, Trish said.
It’s not a quick fix though. It could take up to six weeks before you see changes. So if you have achilles issues, patience my friend, patience. Ps. I’m not a doctor, not even close, I’m just going strictly from my notes here, so if you want a second opinion, Google is your friend. Oh yeah, I’m all about the Google Doctoring 😉
On the drive home I was trying to figure out if it was worth the money, and I got to be honest, I’m not so sure it was. I mean, I did learn some things, some interesting things, but I think I would have liked the knowledge to have been combined with something a little more interactive. I would have liked to have walked away with insight into my own gait analysis, and not a sore butt from sitting on the ground for several hours, and a desperate need for a dose of ritalin to calm my self-diagnosed ADD. But that’s just me.