You’ll hear it on the first day, and again (often) in my dad’s classroom: The two most important rules of writing are attitude and write about what you like.
So I’m writing about what I know best: my friggin’ pain in the ass body.
When it comes to physical pursuits (LOL; sounds very Christian Grey), I demand a lot of my body. As a result, I’m hyper-aware of my physical health.
- Sleep: 7-8 hours to “properly human”
- Food: Processed is out; Exceptions: rare (baffling to friends who view food like most of the population: variations of “eat all the things” and “who cares what’s in it; it’s delicious”)
- Hydration Level: Vigilant, 100+ oz
- Added Sugars: Extreme caution because 1. Addictive, 2. Makes me fat AF, and 3. I feel like total butthole when consumed. But I have a massive sweet tooth, so I’m constantly waging war against my sugar fiend
- SMR (Self-Myofascial Release)(Foam Rolling): Dedicated. Serious committed relationship with the Pokey Roller/Torture Porcupine/Murder Burrito
- Self-diagnosis: Bafflingly accurate
I know more about my body than the average bear. Or human. Or human-bear.
ANYWAY, years back, I destroyed my hip flexor running. Worse, I took the stereotypical “tough guy” approach: This hurts. A lot. But I’m not dying, and I can still go, so I’m going to push through (also known as stubborn runner syndrome. See also: masochism). And I landed myself in the worst place: injured and unable to recover. It’s been years, and I’m still dealing with side effects from my meat-headed choices.
I’ve been in and out of physical therapy (PT). I’ve seen several practitioners. Often, I left angry and frustrated, because the “answer” was, “Hip flexors are tough. Rest, ice, stretch.” To which I’d respond, “I’ve done that. It’s getting worse. I haven’t run in months, and I can barely walk.” That resulted in more reassurances that “I need more time,” so I’d bite my tongue, leaving annoyed that no one would actually listen to what I was saying. Over time, all I felt was, “Fuck it. They don’t know how to help me.”
Then, a friend referred me to an amazing PT. It meant driving 2 hours weekly, but I was desperate. I knew he was the right one when he spotted my problems just by watching me walk, finding issues I didn’t even know existed. He got me running pain-free, and working with him taught me a lot about assessing my body.
I did well for a while, but after a year’s worth of Spartan training and racing, the bod is toast. I pulled back on training. I started swimming and doing yoga. I took a week off here and another one there. Rinse and repeat. I’m working on this whole “being responsive to my body’s needs” thing.
That “tough guy” mentality is both a blessing and a curse. I’m so used to pushing through discomfort that I’ve had to actively spend the last few months teaching myself to recognize different pain. And then respond to them. Which means quitting early, slowing down, and cutting back. Even with all these positive, beneficial changes (which have been a friggin’ battle to make because stubborn), I am still a physical car wreck.
And I just flunked out of physical therapy. Not as a student, but as a patient. I’m not getting better. *sigh* Not that I’m overly surprised.
I walk with one hip hiked up. I cannot, for the life of me, get it to drop. I have a bitch of a time getting my left side, from my shoulder to my toes, to move in synchrony. If you see me walking and frowning, it’s because I’m concentrating so damn hard on how to walk properly.
Aside: The body is an amazing system. It’s so adept at healing, re-routing and problem solving that returning to baseline feels like Mission: Impossible. My neuromuscular pathways are so used to firing incorrectly that even when I’m physically a.o.k., I’m so cognitively impaired that I default into the easiest movement. See also: the wrong one.
My body is a deceptive little bastard. When I started with the last practitioner, she said, “I can already tell you’ll be a tricky client. Your body hides your injuries, and they’re buried deep in the muscle. That’s going to make it tough to figure out the source of all this.”
I saw her twice a week for three months. I’d leap forward, and then accelerate backward. I had my muscles scraped (horrible). I had side-butt laser therapy (still waiting for my superpowers). I endured a great deal of intense discomfort, and I always came back enthusiastically ready for more (because I’m a raging masochist who puts physical pain behind her quickly – LOL but not emotional pain because OUCH FUCK ALL OF THAT).
So now, it’s on to needles, poking and prodding, and testing to check my hormones and immune system. I can’t wait to see what this beautiful beast of a machine can do when she’s not harboring little assholes in her muscles.