I was getting tired by the end of that last post so I neglected to note that what I had mistakenly thought was an overwrought groin muscle was actually iliotibial (IT) band syndrome.
And how do I know this? When I finally swallowed my pride and told Kathie of the severity of my pain, she checked for lumps along the left side of my left thigh and knew right away what the problem was, having suffered with it herself in the past.
And the treatment? Rest, ibuprofen, awkward stretching exercises, and Kathie’s pointy little elbow digging into each lump to tenderize it. Really, I think Adolph’s meat tenderizer would’ve been less painful. You know that sudden sharp pain you get when you stub your little toe on the bed frame in the night – the one that would make you fly up and hit the ceiling if gravity wasn’t holding you down? It was a bit like that…except you don’t stub your toe repeatedly and intentionally, thinking that it’s eventually going to feel better.
All the lump gouging in the world wasn’t going to be enough to get me on the road Saturday morning, though. Bigger guns would be required. Kathie fished around in her first aid pack ‘til she found her Vicodin. On the one hand I wondered if it would be enough; on the other I wondered if it was going to leave me staggering along the trail, drooling, and generally looking like a drunken fool. She very wisely gave me just half a tab and we took off.
I tell you that Vicodin worked like a charm! That Saturday and the following two days, I took half a tab around 9 or 10 in the morning (when massaging the lumps while walking no longer worked) and then another half around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. And was I a happy hiker or what? I left the other girls in my dust…
…although uphill was still (and will always be, I’m afraid) a challenge.
We met other hikers suffering with similar problems. For several days, we tracked along with one young man whom Kathie aptly dubbed “Barcelona” – after all, he was from Barcelona. The last day we saw him, he was hobbling along, barely making any time at all. When he described his problem, Kathie – without any warning – reached down and palpated the side of his bum leg. (The look on his face was priceless.) Yup, she said, IT band, and she recommended he get some rest and take ibuprofen. Amazing – I had never even heard of IT band syndrome before.
OK, so the next post will be about the hike to Puenta la Reina. By now, my whining was (almost) over.