Sunday, February 28, 2016

rebuilding

I bounced back from the second round of prolotherapy much more quickly than the first.  By the time I was 48 hours out, I was starting to feel okay, although still very sore and fragile around the joint.  I tentatively did a pretty short jog and swim on Wednesday afternoon/evening and both went better than I expected (i.e. I didn't turn around or get out after three minutes).  
My hip on that side has been locking up on and off over the last few weeks and with that, I think I am starting to finally understand how the various issues I've had all over my body are related to this central instability.  Nothing near or around my right hip was touched when I had the second round, but the next two days my TFL and piriformis flared up, hard.  I believe that what's happening is that when the joint is particularly unstable, those hip stabilizers are working twice as hard to try and provide stability around the loose joint.  As the week went out and my SI joint started to calm down, so did those other issues.  The same thing happens at the hamstring attachment on the opposite leg.  As soon as the joint rotates or gets stuck, the hamstring is working a little harder to provide strength/power where something else - I think the glute - is being inhibited by the joint instability.  Fascinating, likely, to only just me.  

With the help of my PT, I've put together a pretty solid mobility & strength mini-workout that I've been doing daily for about six weeks now.  Some of the exercises are things I was already doing except with a lot more intention and focus, which of course makes the exercise much more difficult now that I'm actually paying attention (shocker).  Some of the exercises are new to me and have really directed focus to a lot of the small stabilizers around my core and my glutes.  As this last week went on, I was able to add to & expand these small sessions and that felt like good enough progress to warrant a loud pants yes-I-still-lift-barefoot no-I-have-never-broken-a-toe selfie.  
Swimming came back fairly quickly, enough that on Friday I tentatively swam two rounds of 8x100 without any gear, and I was stoked to get through both sets without needing to open an interval or remove my kick.  I've been using the buoy in almost all of the swims that I've done for the past month because kicking seems to irritate the joint.  But recently I've been slowly weaning it out and by Sunday afternoon I was able to do a workout 100% as written (to be fair, a significant chunk of it was with gear but still...!).  As I worked through the set, I wasn't feeling great moving through the water but what I was seeing on the clock was more familiar than anything I've seen in a long time.  A broken set of 10x200, and when I was able to pull 2:39 :37 :35 off for the last three, I did a quiet little fist-pump to myself (as opposed to an Olympic-medal-winning-style water-slam).  It feels good to swim hard, to work hard (Rosalyn was less thrilled about it).
The run is coming back a bit more slowly but it is coming back.  Watching pace and heart rate has me pretty tuned in to where my fitness is (or is not) but I remain enthralled by the first weeks out, likely because training is so low that I need to fill up my spare time in some way other than binge-watching Fuller House and playing TsumTsum as soon as my hearts fill up.  I'm enjoying the high-frequency-low-intensity right now, short little runs that I can squeeze into my schedule with ease and none of them are taking too much effort or bites out of me.  I ran over an hour on Saturday morning and finished feeling tired; things in my hips and low back felt crunchy and used but right now the barometer is set at nothing feels worse than before I started so it was a success.
The bike, I'm afraid, is going to take a while to come back, and that makes me a little bit sad and also I'm not sure that I completely understand it.  I think part of it was that I had my fit updated in early January when I was first trying to troubleshoot this issue and some of the small & incremental moves just aren't working well with where my body is currently.  I've pulled my old TT bike out of the basement and am going to test it out a bit this week once I get all the cobwebs off to see if that improves the issue at all.  We've been having some warm spring weather here in Colorado and I am longing to get out and join the millions of cyclists happily clogging up the roads; it's been hard on that end to be patient, although a very short ride this weekend left me crunchy and inflamed and that makes it a bit easier to lean on the brakes.  I am admittedly not very good at patience in general but I am doing what I'm told in terms of recovery and rebuilding.  How very boring and grown-up of me.
Part of the reason that this whole injury has been such a struggle is that it has really affected my entire life, not just the training piece, but all of it.  I couldn't take the dogs to the dog park, or go for walks, or hikes, or really do much outside of sit and watch the world go by.  And as my body has oh-so-slowly calmed down, I've thankfully been able to add some of those things back in.  A friend was in town for the weekend and we set our alarms for 4:30am Saturday morning to make it to the top of Sanitas in time for the sunrise.  A decision that is rough when the phone starts buzzing but is always, always worth it.
I've been able to take the puppies to the park and on little walks and go out to dinner with the poet and finally, I feel like I am starting to enjoy my life again.  That's pretty big.  I have used this blog for a while to generally discuss training but the other stuff I was missing, outside of swim bike run, that was worse.  I missed having the rhythm of the schedule, of being able to use training as time to take care of myself or time to blow off some steam or time to just simply enjoy life, that's absolutely true.  However the little things, the stuff that makes life good, I missed that even more.  
And life has not been perfect, life never is.  I've experienced what feels like an overwhelming amount of loss over the last few years.  Some of it out of my control, like in death, and some of it simply the way life steps forward.  Some of it in relationships, some of it in lost opportunities, experiences; I have felt it keenly most recently.  For the most part, when people have chosen to move on for whatever reason, I've discovered after the fact that it almost always improves my life once they are gone.  It never makes the loss less acute, or painful at the time, and it's probably true that grow a thicker skin will be on my invisible end-of-year self-evaluation for the rest of eternity.  But the question always arises, should I stuff down my big-hearted extrovert, close down the circle, protect myself instead of always trying to create more joy out into the world?  I don't know.  I do know that I open my life, my heart, my home, I am inclusive always, I extend invitations and want to bring people into greater experience and share into my friendships and relationships deeply.  My husband said it to me today, you and I, we have high expectations, we believe there is a certain way to do things and a way to treat people, we are loyal and caring and that is why we are married to each other.  My family is certainly always going to be my highest priority and I will fiercely protect it, but I would hate to believe that outside of the walls of my home, I will never find friendships in which I can feel safe.  What I do know, now, is that my body is trying to heal, and my mind along with it.  It sometimes feels inappropriate to still be saturated in grief over the death of my grandparents last summer, but it pops up and surprises me with the intensity of it, still.  Maybe the crash had been a long time coming, maybe it took something as severe as that to send my journey flying off in a different direction, but whatever the root, the flaw, I am not the same person I was a year ago.  Sometimes that makes me feel hopeful, sometimes I simply feel lost, but for the most part, I have no idea what I want from life right now.  Other than, simply, joy.