Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hello Foam Roller!

I had the most fortunate opportunity to meet the Director of Clinical Rehabilitation at Harvard today who kindly discussed my knee problem with me. I told him I was diagnosed with Patella Femoral syndrome and he said, “That’s as vague as me saying ‘I work at Harvard.’” After answering a few questions he was able to determine that my problem is my IT band. He explained how everything works and why this would be causing my pain and discomfort (and it all makes so much sense!)

He then prompted me to the foam roller.


I’ve heard so much about the foam roller but never really knew what it was for or how to use it. He was kind enough to show me…and man, this thing is NOT messing around!

I never really thought about my IT band being an issue, but that’s only because every orthopedic I’ve seen has said patella femoral syndrome is the problem and that I’m basically screwed. My last orthopedic told me I was not ever allowed to run more than 3 miles at a time---EVER—because my knee is so messed up that there’s no fixing it. This is the same guy that I waited an hour and a half to see and only saw him for … maybe 15 minutes. MAYBE. He saw “patella femoral syndrome” in my records and said, “Oh, so you already know what your problem is…here, take this (generic) packet and read it. Thanks for your money sweetheart." (well, minus the money part)

I didn’t learn anything new from this guy, and he told me that running long distances is out of my future forever. So I started signing up for 5Ks and thought I’d be leaving my dream of running at least a 1/2 marathon good-bye.

But then I started feeling better, stronger, more stable. I was running three days a week but no more than 3 miles at a time, with other things in between such as the elliptical or stationary bike. Then I started weight training, which helped me to feel even more stronger. So I started running longer and honestly I’m feeling OK. Except, of course, for the fact that my knee feels like it wants to pop out when I’m done with a long run. What’s up with That??

Gary barely touched my IT band and it sent me into screeches. I got on that foam roller and practically cried. But it was the first time that I felt like someone understood the pain I was feeling and actually listened to me when I told them what my problem was instead of just shoving me out the door to move on to the next patient…and this was all for free!

I could immediately feel the results of the roller since my knee felt a little weak afterward (not for too long) so I know he’s on the right track. (Thank GOD!) He said with the proper treatment (i.e. proper stretching, sports massage, and use of the foam roller) I will be like a new woman. It might take me longer since I don’t have the resources of the Harvard University athletic dept. but at least I’m in the right direction (it only took 11 years!)

So here’s to Gary Geissler, for taking the time to help me from the bottom of your heart. THANK YOU!!!

I’m actually in the process of working on a post with much more detailed information and maybe even a video/interview with him….I’ll keep you posted. I’m sure you’d just LOVE to see me on that foam roller…ha!


I got up and ran this morning…a quick 20 minute run. I’m not exactly sure how far I went but I was moving, so I’m sure it was more than a 10 minute mile pace. Maybe 2.5?
I forgot how much I love to workout in the morning, but running 15 minutes after I wake up is really freakin hard! I was halfway down the street before I realized what I was doing!

Before I went I ate one of my Pumpkin Power Protein cookies….they’re so good! They’re dense and super filling. I think when I make the next batch I’ll use just raisins and no chocolate chips though.
Before I left the house I had a half a banana. This was somehow, plenty for me.

When I got to Harvard I grabbed an iced coffee with soymilk and half the sugar stuff at Starbucks. Then I went to the athletic dept to meet Gary at 9 a.m.

By 11 I was pretty hungry, so I dug into my lunch shortly after.

TJ’s Tobuli and sliced pearl tomatoes




And about a half hour after this I was still hungry! So I dug into my supply…another power pumpkin cookie (which for some reason I didn’t take any pictures of)

By 2:30 I was hungry again, so I drank/ate my green monster.

  • 1 cup vanilla soy milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 3 cups spinach

This worked…but again by 4:30 I was ready for another snack so I had half of my Oatmeal Walnut Raisin Clif bar.

Then when I got home (not until 6:30) I made a “small” salad and a bean burger with roasted garlic hummus on a mini whole wheat pita.

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Together (my bean burger kind of  looks like Pac-Man)


Then I had a parfait with:

  • 1/2 cup 0% vanilla Chobani (I’m really starting to like the plain yogurt much better)
  • a handful of blackberries
  • 4 low-fat graham crackers

And I MIGHT have had 2 pieces of organic dark chocolate too…

Also, when I was leaving the athletic department I got to see the Boston Breakers scrimmage on the football field. Awesome!  Dennis and I are planning to see them play this month so this was very exciting for me!

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I didn’t actually watch TOO much but I was able to see them get a few touches on the ball…I LOVE soccer!!

I wanted to leave you with my buddy Marley, who has lost 2 whole pounds!! That’s like 10 pounds in human weight!
Marley is ALWAYS hungry, so this is what I saw when I walked in the door this evening….


The big guy waiting for someone to feed him (even though he just ate) How sorry does he look? Like he’s deprived or something!

Question – have any of you guys had success with a foam roller?


  1. I just tried one for the first time today too! My running partner told me that if it hurt I was doing it correctly and boy did it. but the good pain you know? because it certainly isn't good pain when I'm running! I'm going to keep at it 2x/day and hopefully massage it out - good luck with yours!

  2. Is Marley an indoor cat? YOu might try a suction cup (to the window) bird feeder that he can watch. My cat has one and "hunts" inside all day. he lost 4 pounds.