A friend introduced me to Dan, a practioner of traditional chinese medicine, and he suggested acupunture for my knee. I decided to go with it.
He shows me to a small guesthouse behind his house. Harris hawks are screeching in a nearby eucalyptus, and the sun is pouring through a window, warming the tiny space. Books line the shelves along the top of the wall, and soft music plays in the background. We discuss my knee, and after I lay down on the table, he moves my legs around while doing "tuina" - chinese physical therapy. He works on my legs for awhile, then he starts the actual needle part. He explains what he's doing in a soothing voice, and I quickly relax.
If I understand this correctly, my pain is located along the gallbladder meridian. Apparently, by taking out my gallbladder, a vacuity formed, which is causing the pain along my leg and in my knee.
He begins with a large needle in my hip/glute area, then moves down to my knee. After two needles are placed there, he moves to my foot. The first three needles felt more like a quick electric shock, followed by warmness. The one in my foot hurts at first, then that fades away to warmth as well.
He leaves the room, and I am left laying on my side in comfort. I am wrapped in peace and warmth and a sense that eveything's okay. My leg is aching, a deep, pleasant ache reminiscent of a massage. I am yielding into the moment, allowing myself the luxury of complete and total relaxation.
After awhile (10 minutes? 30 minutes? I have lost track of time. Time is irrelevant.), Dan comes back and gently removes the needles. After a few more adjustments, he is done. I feel amazing. Calm. Peaceful. Right. We discuss the possibility of one more treatment, and the idea of life-long maintenance, using my foam roller or a tennis ball to place pressure on the area in my hip/glute.
I drive back to work, and as I walk back into the office, I notice it. The mis-alignment, the off-ness, the wrong-ness, of the knee and leg that I've been feeling for months - is gone. The pain comes and goes over the next 24 hours, but that feeling of things being back in place stays.
I haven't run on it yet - my schedule hasn't allowed for it - so we'll see how that goes. I'll report back when I do.
On another note, I have decided that I am no longer pursuing ultrarunning. I am seeking balance and moderation in my life right now, and there is nothing moderate about running 50 miles. I love ultra races and the ultra community, and will still participate as crew or as a volunteer (Jess, I'm still hoping to come out in February! Olga, I still want to crew you for ZG!). And I will DEFINITELY still be running. Just not wicked long distances. That being said, now I need to focus on my nutrition and health regarding food intake (uh, can we say junk food???), and also see what other forms of movement I can bring into my life to keep my mind and soul and body happy.