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  • Writer's pictureRUSH Physical Therapy, CARA Partner

RUSH PT Success Story: Mary Cady

At the start of summer marathon training in 2019, Mary was struggling with an IT band injury. Through exercise, hands-on therapy, and dry needling with RUSH Physical Therapy’s Greg Z, Mary was able to get to the starting line of the Chicago Marathon with a PR! Learn more about Mary’s road to recovery with RUSH Physical Therapy.

What is your personal connection to CARA?

After training for eight marathons by myself, I joined the CARA Summer Marathon Training Program in 2019. All the friendly CARA runners I would see out on the trail while training the previous summer encouraged me to join. Thanks to the power of the group, I've gained confidence, strength and speed. Long runs are so much better with friends.

Tell us about the injury you dealt with and your experience working with RUSH PT to overcome it.

At the start of summer marathon training in 2019, I was struggling with an IT band injury. I had taken the three prior weeks off from running in the hope that the injury would go away with rest. I set out on a group run only to turn back after a mile. I limped back to the parking lot where I met Greg from RUSH Physical Therapy. Another great benefit of running with CARA is the access to RUSH PT. Greg was at our training site that morning to answer questions and offer advice to the CARA runners. I'd never been to physical therapy, but after consulting with Greg, I knew that's what I needed. My first Chicago Marathon was in a few months and I was panicked I would miss the race. Greg put together a plan to get me to the starting line. We met twice a week from July until a week before the marathon. I was amazed by how much strength I gained in a short period of time. Greg's expertise enabled me to target my weak areas and improve my overall running ability. Through exercise, hands-on therapy and dry needling, I was finally running without IT band pain.

What kept you motivated during this time?

My excitement to run the Chicago Marathon 2019 kept me motivated. I didn't want to miss out on celebrating a marathon finish with my new running friends. All the comeback stories shared with me by everyone in the group kept me in a positive frame of mind.

Do you have any advice for runners who may be struggling with an injury?

My advice for anyone setback by an injury is seek the guidance of a physical therapist. I followed Greg's plan. I worked hard and was consistent in doing my homework exercises and stretches. Greg not only got me to the starting line, but a PR (4 minutes), too! When I injured my glute/hamstring this past fall, I scheduled appointments with Greg right away. I knew enough not to try and fix the injury on my own. It's so important to know which exercise to do. And, to have the correct form when doing the exercises so they are effective. A physical therapist's knowledge is invaluable. Coming back from these injuries has given me a new appreciation for running.


Greg Z., PT

RUSH Physical Therapy

Tell us a little about Mary’s journey back to running with the support of RUSH PT.

I've seen Mary twice now for running-related injuries. As I've gotten to know Mary, I've learned that she is driven to run and will push through pain if she can. The first time I met her at the Saturday long run, she wasn't able to do it and was distraught. On the spot I was able to reduce some of her complaints and advise her on what was necessary to return to running without pain. She faithfully attended physical therapy and was compliant to her home exercise program, even doing exercises from therapy that I had not prescribed for her home program. She is one of the hardest working patients I've ever encountered She is consistently trying to perfect her form and increase the muscular endurance, strength and flexibility that we were aiming to restore.​ I was super excited that she responded with her PR at the Chicago marathon.

Her recent injury was due to "overdoing it" by running three marathons in seven weeks. She was able to run, but at a much slower pace and distance. Mary had been attempting to manage the pain on her own, but couldn't do it any longer. What was unique this time was identifying her common sitting position, which resulted in tightness in her hip and thigh. We were able to reduce these restrictions and address areas of imbalance and compensation. Through Mary's persistence and compliance to physical therapy, she was able to return to long runs with a quicker pace. She is currently training for her next marathon.

What advice do you have for other runners returning to running after injury?

My advice is to listen to your body. It's OK to return with a slower pace and shorter distance. That's a starting point from which you can build, but it's important to let the body adjust to the demands of running.

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