Time Out

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My Facebook feed is filled with lots of pictures of friends running. Some are doing local races and others are down for the big Princess Marathon weekend at Disney. Looking at all the fun everyone is having makes me envious and makes me want to lace up my running shoes and start training again.

But I am in time out. And it is a much-needed time out.

I learned this lesson in my early twenties after I had ankle surgery and got back out on the volleyball court a little too soon. Of course being in my twenties I was in the indestructible phase of my life so I could play through the pain (or at least I thought I could).

Time out to recover doesn’t mean a time out from an active life. It’s just a different kind of active and on a much different scale. Of course it is frustrating not being able to play but over the years I have learned to appreciate giving my body a break. I’m hoping giving myself a long break now will keep me from breaking myself when I get back out there.

Good luck to everyone running this weekend. Can’t wait to get back on the road with you.

Connected to pain

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My ankle pain connected to my knee pain

 

My knee pain connected to my hip pain

 

My hip pain connected to back pain

 

With all that pain I still somehow manage to walk, sort of run, and surf.

 

Until you get the creeping pain you don’t always realize just how connected your whole body really is. Injuries are a great reminder of the connection because once you get one boo boo it manages to knock everything else out of what.

 

It is pretty impressive how your body will compensate and use other parts as you heal. Unfortunately this compensation can mean problems down the line. The worst part is you don’t even know you are compensating. It just feels normal to you. You find out later when the pain in your ankle turns into pain into your knee which turns into something in your hip and finally it lands in your lower back.

 

In the end you have to answer a few questions. What is the price of playing? Is it just a little bit of pain or something more?

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The first steps

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In February I thought I might never run again. Now I am open to the idea that I may never run the same way again.

 

Last weekend I decided it was time to lace up the shoes and go for a run. Okay- go for a jog. Okay- go for a really slow and short shuffle around the block.

 

Jim and I were shooting for about half a mile and we went just a little longer. I have to say after sitting out for this long half a mile was enough to make my calf muscles really sore. And yes to answer the question you are thinking of asking my ankle did feel tender both during and after the run.

 

Today we went out again, this time we made it almost a mile. After today’s run I am confident that I won’t be going much longer distances for a while, I still have quite a bit of rebuilding of muscles and confidence to do.

 

I think the confidence will take longer than the muscles. As Jim and I were running I kept imagining falling. Then after my imaginary fall all I could think about is how badly my leg hurt when I injured it.

 

As with all healing it takes time. But these two runs mark the first steps of healing.

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Bits and pieces

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Winter has finally given way to spring and summer is nearly here. I’ve been out of the water for months. I would love to blame the cold winter from my surf hiatus, but instead an injury kept me on land and out of the water.

 

After weeks of rest, recovery, and physical therapy I finally feel strong enough to get back in the water. To say I am rusty would be an understatement; I actually feel I am demonstrating all of the things not to do while surfing. So I’ve been trying to manage my time in the water by avoiding crowds, this way I am a danger to far less people.

 

To compound my reintroduction to surf, because of the nature of my leg injury I’ve decided a change was needed to protect my leg from getting reinjured. Since I began surfing I’ve always had a regular stance, which means my right leg is in the back and the leash goes on that leg. My right leg is my bum leg. So I’ve been learning to surf goofy, putting my left leg back and right leg forward.

 

In many ways it feels like learning from scratch. Right now my brain is wired to pop up the same way I’ve always done it. Telling my head to do it a new way is no easy feat. But it is coming along, although it is in bits and pieces.

 

I have moments where it makes sense followed by moments of what do I do next. I get the pop up but I can’t manage the turn. I make the turn but immediately fall. I catch the wave and look down at my feet. And everything is moving so fast; my brain can’t process it quickly enough.

 

Hopefully soon I will be able to string together each glimpse of surfing and it will start to feel more like the real thing. In the mean time, I’m just happy to be back out in the water because I’ve been Vitamin Sea deficient.

 

When is it time?

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Providence Rock n Roll

Good news I am back to running. Yoga is pain free. Walking stairs and hiking on rocks doesn’t really hurt me like it did a few weeks ago.

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Bad news, I still haven’t gotten back in the water and I don’t know why I am so apprehensive about surfing.

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It’s winter in Rhode Island and winter surfing is tough. The wetsuit is so thick that you can barely lift your arms to paddle out. Just donning the suit is a workout in itself. Once you manage to get geared up and in the water, during the paddle out your arms feel heavy. Heavy from the workout and heavy from the extra material you have to wear just to stay warm. After you are safely past where the waves break and you’ve rested, it is easy to settle into the surfing.

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But wait, the challenge is far from over. The extra gear can make a wipe out more daunting than during a nice summer day. And after the surf session you have the next major challenge of getting out of your gear. The workout resumes as you wrestle off gloves and booties. Even if you drive home wearing your wetsuit, you still have to free the proper appendages so you can drive.

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Aside from the logistics of winter surfing I think my biggest apprehension is re-hurting my knee. I surf regular, which means my right foot is my back foot. You steer your board with your back foot, which puts strain on your knee. Unfortunately I hurt my right knee.  How I surf I makes me more likely to exacerbate my injury.

 

I’ve been considering changing my stance to goofy so my right foot will be the front foot. However, changing your stance is akin to starting from scratch. Winter is not the best season to start over again.

 

Part of me thinks my logic for staying on dry land is reasonable and logical. But part of me wonders if I am just rationalizing reasons to not go because I am afraid. (And I admit I am mostly afraid of the really cold weather.)

 

Maya Gabeira is a big wave surfer who had a major wipe out in Portugal, which almost killed her. The other day I saw a video clip of her surfing again. Seeing that clip made me wonder what on earth is wrong with me and why I haven’t gone back out. Surfing almost killed her and she is back in the water, what is my excuse a bum knee? Yes it was great inspiration to get back out there, but she was wearing a swimsuit and surfing in warm water.

 

You know what, there is no shame in taking some time away from the water. Spring will be here before we know it. The conditions should be much more conducive to surfing. Now if I am making the same excuses when it’s warmer…….well we will know I am just rationalizing.

 

How do you know when it is time to start up again after an injury?

Best mile EVER

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The best mile ever

It was far from graceful. It was nice and slow.

But for me it was the best mile ever.

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After being laid up from running, ummm…..laid up from pretty much all physical activity, I finally got the all clear to start doing stuff again.

 

My last trip to the doctor we ruled out a torn meniscus and are leaning more to your knee is just a hot mess. Though it’s not a definitive diagnosis, we are trying to find out what makes the hot mess not a hurt mess. So we are trying steroids.

 

With a roided up knee and a few days of rest it was time to put my leg to the test.

Yoga- check.

Running- check.

Next up paddleboard.

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Yeah it hurts and I have to ice after, but just getting out there is amazing.

I think it is one of the best gifts I’ve gotten all year.

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