I’ve been running marathons almost half my life. Over the past 17 years I’ve run 31 marathons and have been able to do this with the help of not one, not two, but three physical therapists.

I’ve been a runner since middle school. I was a junior in high school when I first found out about the Boston Marathon. I remember my dad told me the Boston Marathon was the holy grail of marathon running. At age 16 I decided I would qualify for Boston by the time I was 26. I took some breaks from running during college, tried some other sports, but came back to my true love of running in my early twenties. With a lot of training I finally reached my goal to qualify for Boston by 26. I went on to run several more marathons and two Boston Marathons before my world crumbled and I made the tough decision to have microfracture surgery on my knee due to a hole in my cartilage.

My first real experience with a physical therapist came after surgery. I was non-weight bearing on crutches for eight weeks. I was scared when I saw the loss of muscle in my quad muscle after a few short weeks. My physical therapist was my rock. She was confident she could get me to the start and finish line of my twenty-first marathon, so I set the goal to run the Philadelphia Marathon. I followed her strengthening program and a year later I made it across the finish line and qualified for Boston again. I would not have gotten there without her help.

Fast forward a few more years and nine more marathons and I had my first child. Our son was a wonderful blessing for our life, but I had no idea the impact pregnancy and childbirth would have on my body and the ability to run. Three months after the birth of our son I planned on running the Boston marathon. About eight weeks post-labor my training wasn’t going well. In fact, when I walked I had an extreme limp. It looked like I was walking in a hole. I faced the fact again that I was severely injured and I knew I needed to see a physical therapist. Through the Find a PT function on the Ohio Physical Therapy Association’s web site, I located a physical therapist in my area that specialized in women and post-partum injuries. I contacted her, was evaluated and she determined I had injured my sacroiliac joint.

Once again my physical therapist saved my running and my sanity. She was extremely knowledgeable and strengthened my problem areas. I had a reoccurring injury with it later that year and saw another physical therapist that specialized in pelvic floors. And, with the help of my physical therapy team I ran my thirty-first marathon when my son turned one.

Eight months ago I had my second son and thanks to what I learned from my physical therapists I’m training for marathon number thirty-two. I am so grateful and lucky for all they have done to keep me injury-free.

Holly Dorr, MBA, CAE