June 1, 2011

Exercise Injuries are the Best Teachers!

Although this isn't exactly what I used to think...it's
pretty damn close. Why rehab today what you can
rehab tomorrow? Stupid! Stupid!
Over the past year, I have been rehabilitating a knee injury...and a back injury, oh...and a foot injury....and maybe a wee little shoulder injury. I remember the May long weekend (2010) like it was yesterday; lying on the couch with my leg up in ice feeling sorry for myself as everyone else was outside having fun. Needless to say, it blew major goats. At that point, I did a little soul searching and re-evaluated my relationship to exercise (I blogged about it and everything). For 20+ years I have been an extreme exerciser. If I was going to do something, I was going to be as good as I could be at it. If I was passed by another rider on the road, I would take it as a sign I wasn't working hard enough. Let's be honest, I was highly competitive (...in yoga class I wanted to be on the cutting edge of relaxation). So being unable to walk for a while really had an impact on me. I knew, if I wanted to continue with exercise, I was going to have to change my attitude. So I took one year and dedicated my exercise to rehabilitation, strength building, balance, and developing a new approach to fitness.

So it's been a year and what have I learned? I've learned that if I want to maintain a healthy (and challenging) level of fitness for the rest of my life, I have to check my competitive personality at the door. I am constantly challenging my thinking when I hear about so-and-so running a marathon is record time or whats-her-face running 10k a day in less than 60 minutes. When I feel this pang of competition or envy (and sometimes downright jealousy...I'll be honest) I remind myself that it isn't about fast or best....it's about health. 

To date, I'm run/walking 3 x's per week and rode for the first time yesterday. I have to admit (and I have not admitted this to anyone yet and admitting it on my blog doesn't really count) I am feeling some pain around the knees and know that I need to step it back a bit. It's almost like dating someone you know isn't good for you and you know it will end in a broken heart and many martinis. But you do it anyway only to find yourself (broken hearted) drunk as a sailor on his first day of leave with your head in the toilet and your best friend holding your hair back (not that there's anything wrong with that.....although in this case, I think there may be).

So for those of you who are going through or will go through an exercise injury, instead of sliding into a huge depression or shame spiral, try seeing the lesson in it. How can you change the way you exercise or think about exercise to ensure (as much as you can) that you are able to exercise for the rest of you life? What supportive exercise can you do that you may not have done in the past. I now do 30 minutes of stretching almost every day (the weekends are touch and go...but the workweek is a sure thing). Are you strength training to support your chosen sport? These are important considerations if you desire an injury free, active life. DO NOT be one of the many who continues on after the pain dissipates only to re-injure again and again. This will only lead to a bigger and better injury down the road, I guarantee it (as much as I guarantee I'm sitting here dreaming about a pepperoni pizza, a glass of red wine, and a really scary movie).

In the meantime, I'm on my way to the gym to read trashy magazines on the stationary bike.

That's all I got.

1 comment:

  1. lol.... we have no more magazines in our gym! But, I am in the same boat KC and thank you again for this post! I have been feeling "why me" but now I am swimming 2 x p/week soon to be 3 and also weight room 3 x p/week. Swimming doesn't seem hard yet it is (weid). But, it leaves me with racoon eyes and a line on my forehead for a couple hours after (my only complaint). So... off I got to swim laps and hope no one is looking out through those office pool deck doors (glass/mirror sliders) at ISC!!! lol - bring back memories???