Since I've tried just about everything under the sun for Hampton I tested out A.R.T. today with a local massage therapist who is certified in it. A.R.T. stands for Active Release Techniques and is a "movement based massage technique" that is supposed to help with a multitude of issues. It focuses on treating overused muscles and I've heard a lot of good things about it from many blogging friends and triathletes. In fact, KC, was the one who recommended it first and gave me the guy's contact information.
I wasn't sure what to expect this morning but I had a dream the night before last that it was really strange and borderline inappropriate. Heh. Damn this over active imagination. The good news is that it wasn't at all like my dream and the therapist was great.
He started by asking about my injury and assessing tightness of my leg. As it turns out my IT band is wound up tighter than Justin Bieber's skinny jeans. He also said I had good strong quads that were more than likely working harder than the poor hamstring and jacking everything up. Go figure.
The first painful process we did focused on the IT. I laid on my back with my left leg (the jacked up leg) almost off the table. As he pressed really hard on a spot just under the IT I was told to bend my leg back. He did this all the way up my leg and it hurt like a mofo. Which of course made me laugh. Awkward, painful laughter. I do this at PT as well. I'm sure everyone thinks I'm nuts but at least I am not screaming.
We did similar movements all around my leg and he thinks I've got an awesome combo of a weak left hip and tight IT band which all basically led to the straining of my hamstring. I think it's all due to my overuse and running way too much just exacerbated all of the above issues.
Honestly at this point, I've already heard all of this from the physical therapists as well. They also massaged my hamstring, IT band, and had me do some hip strengthening exercises. The difference with them is that it's less manual therapy and more exercises.
Did the A.R.T. magically heal my leg? No. It's a little grumpy right now but you'd be pissed too if some strong dude beat on you for an hour. Is it going to allow me to run on Sunday? Only time will tell. I will say that I appreciate the fact that A.R.T. is endorsed by Ironman and that this therapist works with a lot of triathletes. I'm going to see him again and maybe put the kibosh on PT for a while. I certainly cannot afford them both. Injuries are expensive!
The big positive out of today's appointment is that the therapist is one of the main therapists at my race this weekend. Score! He's going to KT me up on Saturday at the expo and hopefully give me a little loosening massage.
I've decided to race. I'm going to swim and bike as I have no pain during those activities. I'll start the run. If it hurts, I'll bag it. I'm just not making this injury worse and completly tearing my hamstring when I've already put in a good four weeks of recovery. Someone commented asking me if it'd be worth it in a year if I did this race. And that's a damn good question. It won't really matter in the long run if I take a DNF to save myself further injury.