“After Physical Therapy was over, I went to Hawaii Ultra 2021 and finished in 12.5 hours!”
– Elvin Ngo
Just one more step, another step, one more, and hundreds of steps later and many hours more, I gingerly stepped across the finish line, thoroughly humbled by the 2018 Spartan Ultra in Lake Tahoe. There was an 11k feet of elevation gain, hiking up Black Diamond Ski Slopes for 30 miles with 60 obstacles did a number on me.
The next day, I couldn't walk because my legs were so sore and my knees hurt. I used a hiking pole to navigate my way home. This is how the injury started.
Originally, I figured I'd just toughen up for my next Ultra, but my better half persuaded me that it was probably best to get an expert opinion and I was recommended to Coury & Buehler Physical Therapy. So, I stepped through their doors for what would be an eye-opening experience. Christina Yu, PT, DPT assessed me, proceeding to disintegrate my notions that I knew how to run, and helped me build my strength back up properly. Probably as humbling as the Ultra. This taught me how important the Gluteus Medius, a functional muscle that helps with hip movement, is and I extol its virtues now.
Thoroughly armed with knowledge, I prepared for the Hawaii Ultra for 2019, but there was a hurricane. Then, in 2020, the Pandemic happened and I was unable to attend. Now, in 2021, I decided to go with the "ounce of prevention" approach and saw Christina Yu, PT, DPT, and Shane Ravenelle, PT, DPT prior to getting advice. In the last session, Christina said she was impressed, which was rather affirming, and off I went to Hawaii. It was a brutal 9k elevation course: muddy, hilly, with plenty of places to sprain an ankle. I waded through streams. I carried sandbags up and down hills, I ran as if a velociraptor was chasing me (Jurassic Park was filmed there). I ended up finishing in 12.5 hours comfortably, about 2 hours faster than my Tahoe time. The next day, my friends described me as, "obnoxiously not sore," questioning why I looked like I didn't run a race yesterday. It was pretty great.
I credit my lack of injuries to incorporating the physical therapy exercises into my training, which help me run as stable and balanced as possible so my body can endure the trials, I impose on it. Physical therapy made a huge difference in how I felt racing, and I'm very appreciative of the expertise and care Christina and Coury & Buehler Physical Therapy provided.