Self Love and Injuries

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Well, I've done it again. I've injured myself.

The first time I suffered from an athletic injury in my entire life was in 1992. I was taking step aerobic classes at my local YMCA and enjoying my improved fitness very much. But, without a lot of warning, my knees gave out. Proud, young and, okay, also stupid, I did not seek help. I continued to barrel along with my fitness goals until my knees pretty much stopped working. I spent 6 months having to set the alarm clock 30 minutes ahead in the morning so I could use that time to limber up and get moving again. I walked stiff legged, developed gastric distress from all the ibuprofen I was sucking back and quit working out altogether.

I remember being really angry - as I was much of the time anyway. I was angry that my body did not appreciate what I was trying to do for it! Angry that I was trying so hard yet it didn't work for me. It was a self sabotage that made me quit - the ultimate "cutting off of my nose to spite my face". I don't remember saying "fine then, if that's the way you're going to be then to heck with it - I'll be fat" but I'm sure that was the rationale behind the return to a sedentary lifestyle.

I also injured myself last year when I recommitted to this healthy lifestyle. I was also angry as all get out. I felt betrayed, again, by my body. I had just run my first 10 km in over 20 years - slowly and with a lot of fatigue and general discomfort, but 10 km none the less. I strained my piriformis muscle - the site of old, vague pain from years prior. This time, despite my anger, I sought some help - first from a useless massage therapist who did little to assess or treat the problem but felt sure enough to suggest that my running days were over. Second from a chiropodist who runs - better treatment and a better prognosis. Slowly, with time, the muscle released its tension and I could run again - much more attentive to warming up the hip flexors and much more willing to accept that my aging hips were likely to whine regardless of my TLC. I'm okay with that.

What I learned from that injury is that anger is an almost completely useless emotion. My DH still kids me about storming around the house (okay, gimping around the house) crabbing and complaining about my seemingly pre-ordained inability to meet my athletic goals. I was so angry at the pessimistic RMT that I wrote a letter in my head to report her to her College. I berated myself for letting my shoes get too old, not seeking help for my hyperpronated left ankle earlier, not icing post run enough, for neglecting to rest etc. etc. etc.

What a waste of time that was! Yes, I could be disappointed but angry at myself for being human? How helpful was that? Time, attention and knowledge got me back out on the road in less than 2 weeks - had I let my anger bubble up unabated, it could have spilled over into my motivation and I may have quit - like I've done before.

So, here we are again - a year later, considerably thinner and fitter - and injured.

I was out for a gorgeous 23 km run on Sunday. What a beautiful day! 23 km is not an unusual distance for me, I'm fit enough for it. I returned home feeling tired but okay. Yesterday, I ran my weekly fast run - 10 km in 52 minutes. But I was rushed - didn't warm up, ran fast out the door because it was cold outside at 5 am and I wanted to get the blood moving. The ping hit about 6 km in and didn't respond to my mental games that usually get an ache moving elsewhere. I slowed down, nursed myself home and found a bag of ice.

I've definitely strained my hamstring. And I'm not even the slightest bit angry. I am icing it. I am not running until I can sit without discomfort. I know that this, too, will pass. I am grateful to be travelling to Denver tomorrow morning to visit my grandson - I hadn't planned on running this coming weekend anyway so, the rest will do me good.

I feel a little sad for my hammie - I clearly mistreated it and it had no choice but to snap! I can neither blame it nor myself for this - athletes get hurt all the time - it's part of the game. I am so enamoured with my athletic self that I'm viewing this as a badge of honour.

I've gone into my nutrition tools and decreased my planned aerobic burn for the next 10 days - it's responded by taking away 200 calories from my daily intake - I can live with that. I've already sized up the options for swimming - won't be easy to fit laps into my day but I can manage it. I can still lift weights and do modified yoga. And I can still plan on running to 30K Around the Bay in March.

No need for anger - it's counter-productive.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    What an amazing blog. I admire your focused approach to injury. I myself was/am a big anger person, and it holds me back in a lot of things. You are so right about injury being part of being an athlete.
    Thank you for saying it so smartly and so well. This blog is just what I needed today!

    Thank you,
    3841 days ago
    I am so sorry you are sore. I too am sore but think it is from physio pushing me too much. I feel that 3 reps of 10 of at least 6 -8 exercises is too much too fast. I cant do them all but. so since sunday my SI joint is so sore, had chiro, massage etc. and then this eve while at work again still on light duties, I was walking to get something for a resident and OUCH an extreme pain in the butt and sharp to boot. so bad that when leaving I got in the truck and went to reach for seatbelt and even that movement. so had to drive into driveway instead of back in. Sweet dh had supper ready and was amazed that i can barelymove without pain. so tomrrow at physio will not do much and the new assesment well sorry i will still be on light duties. OMG the pain is so bad now that it is worse than when i initally hurt it.
    so take care of yourself and rest and relax. I am so imprssed with all that you can and do. I will someday be able to do what I want to eventually do.
    hugs and enjoy your grandson!
    3857 days ago
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