Running is something I do alone. It’s something I depend on for my sanity and my health and the purest and most powerful way I have to connect back to myself when I am drained or depleted or lost. My ability to run was something I had to really work for when I started in college, and has since carried me through all kinds of hell. It’s very hard for me to admit when there’s a reason I can’t run, especially to myself. So once I realized my knee wasn’t getting any better, it took me a while before I had the courage to make my appointment. I showed up full of dread and feeling hopeless that yet another running season would be forfeited to injury.
I should have called sooner because my time at Professional PT with Chris Costello and Ivan Mak has been nothing short of life-changing. Though the frequency and distance that I run is relatively low, Chris took me seriously as an athlete from the moment I walked in. In past PT settings, my question, “When can I start running again?” was either ignored or answered with guesses and trepidation. Chris and Ivan’s goal for me has ALWAYS been to start running again, and that has suffused my healing process with fun and optimism–just what I needed. Where other physical therapists have been focused on basic remediation, Chris has targeted prevention. Ivan analyzed my stride and gave me corrections, so that I can run injury free. The Professional staff have been the first to actually notice and figure out why I keep hurting things on the left side of my body. Ivan’s strength and balance training has been creative, consistent, and effective. He is patient with my at times comically poor coordination and has a way of helping me believe in myself that allows me really push through when things are challenging. Chris’s assessment, treatment planning, and constant guidance has been right on target and under his care I’m probably the healthiest athlete I’ve ever been in my life. Though I’ve worked with her less often, Natalie also deserves gratitude and praise. I don’t know how she keeps it all in her head but she has never skipped a beat with my routine and is always attuned to when I’m ready to increase the difficulty of an exercise. The front desk staff always greet me with a smile and have always helped me find ways to fit PT into my schedule. For a kid who used to need to walk the Presidential Fitness Test mile holding two inhalers in grade school, the feeling of being supported and challenged by real athletic trainers who actually care has been incredible.
From here on out, I may still go out to run by myself, but because of everything Chris and Ivan have taught me, I will never again be running alone. Guys, you’ve given me my life back. I know to you it’s all in a day’s work but please never forget what that day’s work has meant to me. Photo: the view from my first pain-free run after starting at Professional PT.