Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Arizona or bust.
And, just like that, I'm running pain free again.  How did this happen?

As I said in my last post, I had been in contact with Dr. John Ball these last couple of weeks, bouncing ideas off of him about this injury.  I was receiving treatment from Dr. Lau, but my body wasn't responding quickly enough for me to get back to hard training.  On Sunday, after a few days with no contact, I got a message from John, "running yet?"  I told him what was going on and that things had gotten worse--now pain was coming on as soon as I started running.  His next message said, "Car. Drive."

So, I kissed the Genius and my puppies goodbye that afternoon, and jumped in my car headed for the desert.  I decided to drive rather than fly when I saw that tickets were $700 round trip.  A month ago, I had already planned to take most of this week off from work because I needed to burn some vacation time.  I also thought, way back then, that I would be in the thick of my hard training and could use the break right about now.  Prescient, I am!

B-52 Bomber at the Edwards AFB gate
I spent Sunday evening at Edwards AFB.  It was nice seeing the old Buff (B-52) at the main gate when I arrived.  I worked on these beasts for a few years when I first joined the Air Force.  I woke up early Monday a.m. and kept driving east through the desert.  I really, really love the desert.

I arrived in Arizona Monday late afternoon and went straight to Maximum Mobility Chiropractic.  I was standing in the lobby talking with my old pals about my trip when a woman behind me said, "hey, you're Jaymee, right?"  I turned to see a runner who it turns out is from Folsom, CA and had read about John Ball in my blog.  Michelle was in town for work and decided to schedule a few appointments while she was here.  She's been off of running for 8 months and had run out of treatment options in the Sacramento area.  It was totally great to see firsthand someone benefiting from this blog.  I have no doubt she'll be back to running in no time.

John called me in, made me touch my toes and do some lunges and then told me to go run.  I ran for about 10 minutes and the pain was immediate and depressing.  I reported back.  I pointed to the place it hurt and he immediately pressed on that area, deep in my gluteus maximus, though the muscles involved are underneath that monster.  He worked on some bad tissue in there, had me do toe touches and lunges again and told me to go run again.  I ran for 10 minutes, and it felt better.  I came back in, he worked on that area again and I ran another 10 minutes.  It felt even better.  He told me that was it for the night and instructed me to run the next morning long enough to see how it really felt.

The next morning, I was all excited to test this out and started a run expecting to go for an hour.  About 1/2 mile into the run, I started feeling the familiar twinges in my glute and the run soon became unfun.  I knew I was fine to keep running on it and wanted to see how it felt the longer I went.  The pain/soreness pretty much leveled out after a couple of miles, and I went for a total of 5.  I got back to the parking lot and called John.  I told him he still had some work to do.  He said that the fact that the pain came on 1/2 mile in was progress over my baseline run from yesterday when it had come on immediately.  He felt confident he was working on the right thing.

I saw him again at 4:00 yesterday and he had me go for a pre-treatment test run.  I ran 2.5 miles and it felt much better than my morning run.  I told him this, and he seemed pleased.  He worked on my glute again after my test run and had me go out for more.  This was the breakthrough run: the run where you know you're on the road to recovery.  I felt like I could have run forever, but I stopped at 2.5 miles--10 miles for the day.

He asked how long I was staying, and I told him I wanted to leave Friday afternoon so I could drive back in time to see all of my friends run the California International Marathon on Sunday.  He had indicated when I first got here that we had some "clean up work" to do in my hamstrings and other areas, but he didn't want to work on that until we had eliminated the thing that was causing me to not be able to train.  He didn't do anything more and told me to test it this morning.  I just finished 10.2 miles pain free! Boom!!!!!!!!

While my decision to drive all the way here may seem impulsive or desperate, I had a feeling I would gain more from this trip than just a healed leg.  In addition to a great therapeutic outcome, I have also had a great time meeting, in person, some of the ladies that I have only known through Facebook or their respective blogs.

Kerry Camberg is a masters runner that I first found out about from John Ball the last time I was in town.  We talked on the phone back in May, but I was never able to meet her in person.  We've kept in contact over the past 6 months as she's continued to pursue her goal of qualifying for the Trials (which she's going to do at CIM this weekend!!).  I was going to meet her this week in Sacramento and we had planned to talk on the phone last weekend.  I emailed her on Sunday to let her know that I'd be meeting her in AZ instead!

She and her lovely family have been so gracious.  I have dined with them the last couple of nights and got to watch her kill a goal-marathon-paced run this morning.  She also introduced me to Susan Loken, the legend, as she's known here locally.  It's been amazing to run and talk running with these fantastic women.

When I contacted Kerry to let her know I was going to be in town, she said that Lauren Fleshman would be staying with her this week too.  I was thrilled to get a chance to meet Lauren.  After all, she was the one who introduced me (via her blog) to John Ball.  It's like the circle was connecting in some crazy cosmic way.  I have spent some time with her these last couple of days, and she's just as real and charming in person as she is in her blog.  No, more so.
Kerry, Lauren, Jaymee
I feel really blessed right now to have had this experience.  I feel so charged up about my training and hopes for the Trials race.  Despite John's reminder that I "don't want to get lapped" at the Trials, I feel pretty confident I can set my sites a wee bit higher than that.  What I do know is that I can train hard again, and I feel a renewed sense of passion for my running and training that wouldn't have come about any other way.

Thanks to everyone for your encouragement and kind words. You're all rock stars!    


  1. That is super news and a killer mixed metaphor ("pulled a rabbit out of my arse"), though not as cool as my all-time favorite -- "I'll burn that bridge when I get to it."

    So many Trials qualifiers seem to get hurt in the months before the race, and I'm sure it's because of the understandable urge to do just a little extra -- a few more miles, and extra few reps, a couple more hills. But this is more symbolic than sensible, and I think I've already thrown the "dance with the one who brought you" line at you. Or maybe that was someone else forced to suffer my version of wisdom. Anyway, I hope to finally meet you in Houston.

  2. Glad to hear you are running pain-free! I hope it continues and you have a great training cycle leading up to Houston!

  3. You're the rock star, Jaymee! I'm delighted that Dr. Ball has literally and figuratively put his finger on your problematic posterior's problem ;-)

    I'm also a fan of Lauren, and love reading her blog since she's both genuine and generous in sharing her running and racing experiences.

  4. What a turnaround! That's great news Jaymee. Worth the drive through the desert. Must say, I love the US desert from when we toured through that amazing landscape in '06 - quite different to the central Australian desert.

    Yes, Lauren's pretty cool. Great to get a photo with her and Kerry. It'll be good to meet up again at Houston. Not Lauren though - she's no marathon runner ;)

  5. Woohoo! Everything about this post is awesome. So glad you can train again. This Dr. Ball person, what is his secret? I've read his name on several different blogs now, and clearly it's not just hype because he seems to fix everyone who's anyone (Lauren Fleshman, for example) - is something about his approach different from everyone else's, or does he simply possess an amazing talent for what he does?