Physical Therapy for Muscle Imbalance and Broccoli Clam “Egg Drop” Soup

by Joanne on February 10, 2011

I went to the doctor for a hamstring that won’t heal.  The result:  Muscle imbalance. My right hammy is considerably weaker than the left. Every time I stress my body, that muscle takes the brunt of it. What the doctor said:  “You won’t be ready for a marathon until next year”.  What I said: “Oh! You mean I shouldn’t try to RACE a marathon until next year .”   And so I can still run, maintaining an acute awareness of my pain level.  Speed training is restricted to tempo runs.  I begin working with a physical therapist on Monday. 

Funny thing, the doctor said the hamstrings are not primary RUNNING muscles so when injured, the body’s natural reaction is to protect the injured muscle by not to using it , or rather use the QUADS more. That’s why my muscle got so weak, I continued to run without the appropriate healing therapy to strengthen it. The doctor continued to say, if I had injured my quadracep, which IS a primary running muscle, the continued running would have built it back up.  Strange how our body works. 

I don’t like going to the doctor.  I don’t even have a primary care physician.  As I sat in the waiting room, those were my thoughts:  “I don’t like being here. Maybe I should leave”.  There was a lady breathing heavy beside me and that was getting on my nerves.  As I was in the exam room waiting for the doctor, I looked at the iodine, alcohol, swabs, gloves, etc. and wondered….”These are SPORTS MEDICINE doctors. What are they going to do with all that stuff?!  These are not the docs. you go to when a limb has been severed, at least initially. My knowledge of doctors and what they do is very limited…by choice. It’s one profession I don’t want to learn much about… being on the outside if you know what I mean.

Since my leg was the reason for me being there, I had to put on a pair of shorts so the doctor could evaluate the situation.  In taking off my pants, I noticed a bright green Dry Cleaning label stuck on my pants. GREAT! I had been at work and walking around Slocum Dickson with a Dry Cleaning tag hanging off of me.  

As I sat on the edge of the exam table , I started fiddling with my shirt. Seriously, what else is there to do in there? You could open some cupboards, steal a band aid or two but it gets a bit boring.  I did bring a book “50/50..” by Dean Karnazes but thought if I was caught reading a book about an Ultra Marathoner while in there for a running injury, they may think my imbalance was mental not physical.  Anyway, on my shirt, I noticed deodorant marks on the bottom.  THEN …wait! What’s that?!! It’s a tag! My shirt was on INSIDE OUT!   There was no way I could take it off and switch it because if the doc walked in and I had my shirt off when he was suppose to look at my leg…. well… REALLY! You think he might wonder?!

Guess it was a good visit after all. Got a go ahead to keep running on my leg. Took the tag off my pants, and was able to put my shirt on the RIGHT side out (after the exam was over).  It was worth the $25.00 co-pay anyway Sarcastic smile

A Quick Vegetarian Meal

Feeling like a quick, easy yet filling meal?  This soup fits the bill. It packs all the necessary nutrition and won’t leave you looking for something else.


Ted was having meat for dinner and I was at a loss as to what to make for myself. 


I had to use up some broccoli and 1/2 a package of Vegetable broth PLUS about 1 cup of white wine.  So I boiled the broccoli until it was nice and soft. 

What could I add for some protein and fat?  One hard boiled egg might do it, but I didn’t want it just stuck on the side of my plate.  So I decided to use it as a “finish” to this soup. 

The soup still seemed a bit lacking.   Nice chunks of red tomato might give it a little color and OH! add a 6 1/2 oz can of chopped clams for a little texture and protein.  There you have it! 


The final result:  The soup doesn’t burst with any particular flavor.  It lacked the velvety smoothness of most creamed soups but for a simple pureed vegetable soup, it hit the spot.

  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 2 cups broccoli, chopped (you can use some stems as well as florets)
  • 1 TBS dried onion
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 6.5 oz chopped clams – drained
  • 1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Optional:  One hard boiled egg *I used Egg-land’s Best since I won a YEAR’S worth of free eggs!  Fortified and healthy.  They REALLY are the best eggs!


Bring the broth, wine, broccoli and onion to a boil. Let cook until the broccoli is very soft, about 12 – 15 minutes.

Transfer to a tall bowl and using an immersion blender, puree the hot mixture until desired consistency.  Be careful not to burn you self with flying soup drops!

Put the puree back into the hot pan and add the tomato and clams.  Let heat through about 10 minutes on low.

Garnish with a hard boiled egg if you like.

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  • At 2011.02.10 16:37, Nancy Baber said:

    I was laughing out loud here at work, thinking “why didn’t someone at your office tell you about the dry cleaning tag?!” And your shirt inside out, too funny. But I have to tell you, I just looked in the mirror for the first time today and noticed I have two different earrings on … and no one here at my office has said a word about it!

    So sorry about the hamstring from hell. And I just looked back and saw you didn’t get to run the Beer & Chili race this past weekend. Good that you feel you can still run with the weakness, even the Boston if you don’t try for time. As you say, you’ve got awhile yet to work on it and glad to hear you’ve got professionals in your corner. Take good care, Joanne. Thinking of you, nj xo

    • At 2011.02.11 09:36, Joanne said:

      Aren’t you snow shoeing this week? Good luck and have a great time!

      • At 2011.02.11 08:13, kelly said:

        Hi! So I’m a marathon runner myself and have a lot of friends just as crazy. 😉 I can’t tell you how many of us have been to a doctor for some running related injury and been told that we have a “muscle imbalance”. We still run just as much and as hard, and back off when we need our muscles start screamin’. No one’s muscles are going to be perfectly balanced. I think the key is to listen to your body. That’s the best advice I’ve ever received. Yes, it’s common sense, but sometimes us stubborn runners need those little reminders! OH, and another thing I’ve learned. Make sure your doctor is a runner him/herself. I went from a doctor who thought running is crazy to a doctor who is a triathlete, and it makes a WORLD of a difference. 🙂

        • At 2011.02.11 09:35, Joanne said:

          Thanks so much for your comment.
          My Boston coach said just about the same thing as you.
          The Dr. I saw is not a runner, but the PT I’m going to on Monday is. I expect
          more from the PT.
          I think a few session with the PT will do me good since when I first hurt the muscle back
          in Sept. it really hasn’t been the same and a simple action of tacking my shoe off with my left foot creates a major pull on that right hamstring.

          Kelly – you made me feel a TON more confident with my choice to continue my long runs and sched. races. Thanks. Have a great weekend.

          • At 2011.02.12 12:25, World Spinner said:

            Physical Therapy for Muscle Imbalance and Broccoli Clam “Egg Drop ……

            Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

            • At 2011.02.13 08:50, Joanne said:

              It really is amazing the things that your body can do to try to compensate for an injury. LIke, for example, mine deciding to change my gait and put all my weight on my calves after my stress fractures made my hamstring and inner thigh muscles weak. Awesome. Said sarcastically.

              I totally agree with Kelly. I’m seeing a physical therapist right now who specializes in running injuries and it’s definitely helped!

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