Friday, June 29, 2012

Deep experience is never peaceful. - Henry James

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 343:

Oh, BlogLand. I have gone back and forth about this post and trying to decide how and what to write, because I didn't want to sit here and rain on everyone's parade. Here's the post I started out with in my head today, after Physical Therapy:
"Knee still not better. Still can't Run. Still crazy frustrated." On one hand, that is the truth. But I was also reminded that there is much more to it... not to mention lessons to be learned from it.

So, thanks to a few gentle nudges back on a constructive (versus negative spiral...) emotional track by a few fabulous people, and the ever-steady and patient GT, with some concrete plans for me.... I find myself here to tell you some stories. Just remember, kids... It ain't always pretty, but here at WhataBeautifulWreck, it's always the Truth. ;-)

I went off to my Physical Therapy appointment, not feeling too positive about the outcome. If you've been following along, you'll remember I went to an evaluation appointment last week, he tweaked my pelvis a bit and told me to go home and rest, etc. to let my tendons (where the pain in my knee was coming from) chill out. Per his instructions, I went out on Monday to try a little bit of a jog/walk. I walked up a little hill and started to feel the familiar nagging pulling in the back of my knee. Tried a little bit of a jog and my knee said NO-GO. Thankfully, in my old age I've learned (sometimes the hard way...) that when your doctor/PT says take it easy, or don't do it if it hurts, you should probably listen. With a resigned sigh and a real frustrated mindset, I went back to my walk.

This was the attitude I was coming into my PT appointment with. My knee was pulling and ouchy like crazy again, I couldn't walk without limping and there was no way I could even walk uphill, much less go for a run or resume hardly any of the activities that I normally do. I'm pretty sure that I had a virtual blinking neon sign of Frustration and Disappointment broadcasting over my head.

After a further evaluation (versus the quick, squeezed in appointment I had last week), the PT determined that we hadn't quite gotten both sides of my pelvis back where it should be. Yes, we'd relieved some of the problem, which was why it felt "better", but we hadn't fixed it completely. We had to do some more prodding of my pelvis.

Greeaaaat. First, I get to lay on my back, while the PT Guy - mid to late 40's, grey hair and who thinks he's extremely funny - pokes around and pushes on my pelvis bones/hip area. Awkward, but I'm pretty good at disassociating from mildly awkward experiences like this. Then, I get to flip over on my stomach. Why? Oh, because now we have to check the alignment of my seat bones.

.... do you know where your seat bones are? They're in your butt. This means, I spend the next couple of minutes with some creepy 40 year old dude (who insists on making joking, pleasant conversation and not letting my brain wander off...), poking my butt. He has to find the bottom points of your seat bone (where you sit on) with his thumb, then find some top point of measurement with his index finger. Yeah. Just a big handful of my butt. AWKWARRRRDD.

Thankfully, I do a lot of squats. I would like to think that this is a little pleasenter experience for him than doing this same process on the withering parade of geriatric ladies that are always before me. LOL.

We discussed a 20 minute series of stretches I'm supposed to do twice a day to help this get better, and then he said the magic word: Massage.

When you've spent the last (almost) 3 weeks limping, with super tight tendons and what not, eventually your muscles just get angry. I had a raging aching in my hamstring and calf that certainly wasn't helping the situation. Creepy old PT guy assured me he could take care of this and it would be good to speed up the healing. Reluctantly, I rolled back over on my stomach and prepared for another awkward moment.

Lee (who I now decided should be referred to by name due to his now-proven awesomeness) started rubbing my calves, pushes his thumbs in and - I'm pretty sure - began peeling my muscles apart and off the bones. It hurt SO GOOD. There was a moment, as he agressively pushed his thumb through a particularly tight spot in my calf that I pondered proposing to this man, with one stipulation: He massage my legs on a daily basis.

Lee. I'm so sorry I ever called you a Creepy Old PT guy. You are Lee of the Miracle Fingers, henceforth.

The net-net of the situation is that I just need more time. My body is not fixed yet. I'm still limited to walking, while I do all of these stretches and icing and what not, so everything can heal and the inflammation can go down. However, if it keeps feeling good, next Monday I can try walking and running again - hopefully this time without pain.

I came out of this appointment ready to cry, BlogLand. I'm pretty sure I stomped out of that office like an angry 5 year old. I STILL couldn't run. I STILL couldn't train (squats and things that pull on my knee are realllly limited...) like I would.... and I was suddenly awash with failure and disappointment. Perhaps it was my inner Fat Chick that was freaking out that we might be back-sliding in our progress, as a result of this injury. I'm right in the middle of race season and I can't train... and there is STILL so much work to be done. How was I supposed to do it with this knee thing stopping 85% of my activities?!!?!?

As per usual, I sent the results (and my feelings about it) to the GT for consideration. As ever, he sent me his sage, calming words: "We will work through it. Your progress won't be lost. Keep at it." Which he followed up with suggestions for working my upper body (pushups and pull ups..... who doesn't love THAT? lol) and some constructive ideas on how to keep moving forward, when I'm feeling so stuck in the mud.

*deep breath*

So. It seems I need to work at changing my mindset, BlogLand. Injuries and set backs happen. When you train like a Beast, sooner or later, something's going to get a little wonky. Thankfully, I'm not seriously injured, just laid up a little bit.

Things I CAN DO:
- I can keep following my eating plan to help continue my weight loss, so I can be at my goal by the time the Spartan Beast rolls around.
- I can do some more focused work on my upper body, hopefully helping to eradicate my lingering T-rex arms.
- I can go swimming to help the healing of the leg, while helping to maintain some conditioning (my triathlete doc suggested running in the water!).
- I can try out some new activities - like Rock Climbing! It seems that I have aquired myself a knowledgeable climber, in my circle of friends, that's willing to teach me how to climb! That seems like a fun, new activity that will focus more on my upper body, while not inflamming my knee any more. I'm pretty excited about that.

It has been a long few weeks dealing with this setback, for sure. As any active person would tell you, when you suddenly go from super active (training intensely 5-6x a week) to real low activity (walking!! what?!), your mind goes a little crazy. I feel a little bit like a tiger in a cage, pacing back and forth. It is challenging to keep yourself out of the negative loop of thinking ("All my progress will be lost!" "I'm not going to make my goals!"), and rein yourself into the postive mindset again.

Here's the Lesson, Blogland. Use your resources. So yes, there are a lot of things I can't do right now, but I'm trying to look at it as an opportunity to try some things that I wouldn't have otherwise done (real consistant upper body only wods), or find new activities (running isn't the only thing out there... I can rock climb!). I'm not going to say it's easy all the time, because I grumble growls of frustration every time I see one of my friends has gone out for a run, but you have to do the best with what you've got.

Where there is a will, there is a way! I intend to use my indomitable will to beat this little speedbump into submission. RAWR.

Quitting is simply not an option.

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