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Facing First Marathon Fears With Help From Urban Wellness Clinic

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Facing First Marathon Fears with help from Urban Wellness Clinic

Last year around this time, I decided to try my hand at a marathon. I was a competitive runner back in college, but only in the middle distances (800 meters, 1500 meters). A marathon always seemed like such a mythical distance to attempt back then, though. I couldn’t wrap my head around such a long race. I never wanted to “just run” a marathon- I wanted to compete and run a respectable time. But I was really afraid of getting hurt- I’d heard horror stories from other middle distance runners who moved up to the marathon that the dramatic increase in mileage left their bodies injured messes.

I signed up for the Chicago Marathon and began to slowly build up my mileage while attempting some longer workouts (for instance, longer tempo runs, long intervals, and long runs over 16 miles or more). After a few weeks, I started feeling some aches and pains I’d never experienced before. In track, the pain is much more pronounced and pin-pointed. In marathon running, I found that areas of my body would be extremely fatigued, such as my glutes, my hips, and my posture would sag. Once I’d get out of whack like this, my psoas would act up, or my back would hurt. I decided it was time to start seeing a massage therapist.

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Before I moved back to New York City, I used to see a therapist who was known in the running community as a “guru”. He was magically able to figure out where your pain really stemmed from, rather than simply treating the spot in pain. I looked far and wide for a person like this and came upon Dr. Emily Kiberd’s practice through a running club teammate.

I didn’t just want to be treated. I wanted to become educated, learning why my psoas hurt and what I could do to maintain a healthy body while packing on the mileage over the course of the next phases of my training. I wanted to get through the marathon in one piece and feeling strong.

 As soon as I walked into Dr. Kiberd’s office on 57th street and met her in person, I knew I made the right decision. Dr. Kiberd spent time explaining the root of my issues, assessed my biomechanics, all the things my “guru” used to do and then some. Dr. Kiberd and her staff were able to identify other issues as well, such as why I grind my teeth at night and how the way I sit at work affected my hip mobility. Without her help, I would not have been able to get through the most trying parts of my training, when my long runs crested 20 and 22 miles and my tempo runs got longer and faster. I became extremely conscious of my form, I incorporated Dr. Kiberd’s warm-up exercises into my daily routine, and I felt unstoppable.

Like I said, I never ran a marathon before last October. Thanks to Dr. Kiberd, I came away from the Chicago Marathon with a 2:49:57 debut performance. Not a bone was broken, no muscle pulled. I went into the marathon 100% healthy and was able to stay strong throughout the whole race. As I prepare to start training for another fall marathon, I’m looking forward to seeing Dr. Kiberd a lot more in the coming months.

-Ellen Doughtery