Speaking of blond, I've been humbled recently. You see I injured my Piriformis muscle running. This is just a fancy way of saying I busted my ass...literally. The Piriformis muscle is located deep in the gluteal region (aka butt) and helps rotate the leg outward. Even though I had been running regularly in California, the transition to my Tokyo route apparently did me in. My Tokyo route has something my California route does not...stairs. In Tokyo they have these structures that bridge intersections. It's great. Instead of waiting at the light you can just run up the stairs and over the street to the other side. My Tokyo running route has two sets of these and two large hills. I was taking the steps two at a time. After about two weeks of this, (running every other day), my hip started to ache. So I did what I usually do when I feel pain. I ignore it. I kept running. After two weeks of this ill fated plan it hurt so bad I couldn't even sleep on my right side. Pain killers had to get involved and that's never good.
I decided not to run for a couple of weeks, which for me is really hard because running is the only thing that keeps me sane. Well that and alcohol. When that didn't help, I mean not running, of course I kept drinking. I decided to seek professional help. My neighbor recommended a physical therapy clinic called Tokyo Physio, which apparently has a great reputation, and even more appealing, is in walking distance from my apartment.
I expected a large, state of the art office, with a general waiting area, reception desk, and several examination rooms. You know the kind, white and sterile with glossy floors and glossy pictures of professional athletes on the wall. But the reality was, the office was tiny, tiny, tiny with Japanese sliding rice panel doors to separate the two "examination rooms" from the front desk. The "waiting room" turned out to be the kitchenette with a small bench nestled between the fridge and the bathroom door. The reception area was congested with exercise equipment: a folding stationary bike, a mini-trampoline hanging on the wall, jump ropes and a few of those giant exercise balls. It kind of felt like an exercise junk yard or "romper room".
After a few minutes waiting in the kitchen, I mean waiting room, reading the top twenty "aussie" slang expressions, (did you know a "tinny" is a can of beer or a small aluminum boat?), my physical therapist came in and asked me to accompany him to to the examination room. I looked him over. He was young, muscular and hot. Oh, I'll accompany you...
After he asked me what the problem was and evaluated the soles of my running shoes for any pronation issues, (which means do I wear my shoes unevenly and therefore need orthopedics - I don't) he asked me to change into something more comfortable. Ok, well maybe he didn't say that exactly. I was already wearing running clothes. But I guess what he really meant was something looser so he could see my muscles operate. Scary. He provided me with some baggy, elastic waisted shorts. Even scarier. Then he asked me to do some exercises, specifically squats, first with two legs. Fine. Then with only one leg. Not fine.
I felt like an idiot. An old idiot. I kept losing my balance and tottering to one side or the other and I hadn't event been drinking. He had me lay down on the table and felt my glut muscles. Ouch. Then he pressed his fingers against several points of my lower back. That seemed odd to me so I asked him why he was doing that. He said, to determine my pelvis flexibility. Apparently I have a very unhappy pelvis. Who knew?! When I asked him how he could tell he said, years of experience. So I was waiting for the worst. He was going to tell me I'm old and the hip has decided to retire. Soon I'll be buying a lazy boy and watching soap operas all day.
Instead he told me I have a weak ass. Ok, well maybe he didn't say that exactly, but that's what he meant. The good news was, the injury is muscular, not the bone - so I got that going for me. In my nervousness I started to blurt, "Oh good, now I don't have to go to a REAL doctor." Even though I didn't finish my thought he could tell what I was about to say. I may not be able to run up stairs but I can clearly stick my foot in my mouth. He also said I have tightness in my pelvis. I don't really know what that means. Treatment consisted of 15 minutes of heat applied to the affected area - the affected area being my right butt cheek, followed by deep tissue massage - ouch.
Then he showed me some exercises I would need to do daily between PT sessions. When we were finished, he told me I could get dressed and after a suspiciously pregnant pause he suggested I take a look in the mirror before leaving. Look in the mirror? Uh yeah - apparently my make-up was so embarrassed for me it had run away - all over my face. Great, not only do I have a weak ass and an unhappy pelvis but I looked like Tammy Faye Baker after an especially passionate plea for donations. I muttered, "pretty" to which both the receptionist and therapist laughed sympathetically. Oh the humanity!
I wiped my face off and gathered the remnants of my pride from the floor, paid and took my weak ass out the door with an appointment for more humiliation next week. But at least he didn't tell me I was old.