Yesterday I went back to Active Spine and Sport yesterday for my 3ish-month gait checkup. At the first appointment, Dr. Maggs identified a few issues in my gait that I've been working hard to resolve - the biggest one was the "tightrope" running, but also some pelvic instability and glute inactivity that was contributing to the hot mess I've been rocking my whole life as a runner. Since that time, I've spent almost 100% of my time running concentrating on the way I land (not running on a tightrope), keeping my hips forward and my pelvis tucked under and my shoulders back and down. I've also been continuing with my booty-busting glute and hip strength program, plus doing all of the crazy drills and exercises he prescribed to hopefully send things in the right direction.
I feel like I've made a ton of progress over the past 6 months. However, as I've ramped up my running the past few months, there have been some small twinges and nags that I wanted to get checked out. Right now I'm completely hyper-sensitive to any pain or tightness, and I'm having a hard time differentiating between regular getting-back-into-running aches and pains and oh-shit-I'm-injured aches and pains. I thought a checkup would be a good call.
First of all, the great news is everything looks fabulous. When he brought up the first shot of me running (from the side), I started squealing with delight at my beautiful picture-perfect running form. My posture looked radically different from any other shots I've seen of myself, and I only wish I had thought to take a picture of it so I could put it under my pillow and dream of races and PRs and months upon months without injury and gingerbread. My shoulders were back and down, my neck was not extended, my hips were squarely under my body, I wasn't over-striding, and while there were a few steps that looked a little more "heel" than "midfoot" strike, my knee was bent and the foot in question was landing under me, not in front of me, which is perfectly acceptable. AM PERFECT GODDESS OF ALL THINGS RUNNING! (should probably be faster).
When we took a look at the shot from the back (spandex shorts are extremely unforgiving from this angle), I still was showing huge improvement. My right leg is leaning towards the midline just a hair, but nothing like the crazy tightrope walk of July. Because of this lean, my right hip is pulling up just a smidge, but he said that these things were incredibly minor (I couldn't even see this one on the video) and would continue to correct as long as I kept up with all the good hip/core/glute work. He really had very little to tell me, other than to keep gently stretching my hip flexors and keep doing the hip hikes to make the gluteus medius big and fat and strong.
Progress is as progress does. I'm so pumped that things are moving in the right direction, even if I did give myself a moderate case of lower-leg shin splints by a) increasing how many days I run in a week, b) increasing my overall mileage for the week and c) deciding to run all those days and miles in my "barely-there" stability shoes - all in the same week (Yes, I am just trying out my new brain, why do you ask?). But I don't even have a shadow of worry about this - I'm going to spend this week in the pool, do a light shake-out run on Thursday, and then rip the face off of Richmond with my teeth and spit it on the ground. If I don't cross that finish line and collapse in a shivering vomiting heap on the ground, I'm going to be just a tad disappointed. (Make sure you go and enter my "straight to the medical tent finishing time" giveaway!)