The Rehab Diaries: Ouch

car-crashWhile in Pittsburgh, I got into a car crash. Luckily it wasn’t my doing, and the other driver was insured and apologetic. But, the fact remains that something is wrong with my neck, ny hip, the right side of my torso and lower back. Granted, it could have been far worse– far worse, as I did make my way home to Chicago the following day solo via rental car–but I did get a bit banged up.

I’ll spare you the specifics, but after a visit with trusted Dr. V & The Wellness Crew and some x-rays, I’ve bought myself a one-way ticket to quite a bit of physical therapy and rehabilitation. Quite a bit. Holy cow. It’s a lot, but I need it and I know it.

I’m disappointed; a few days before the accident I ran the strongest and fastest miles of my entire life. But, I’m going to make the best of it, come back stronger and better and just as active and healthy as ever. But, it might suck in the interim. I’ll keep you posted.

Developing Mental and Emotional Endurance

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” – Lance Armstrong.

My personal philosophy isn’t far from that of Cerutty’s Startan Philosophy, even when smarting from a ding. Most of us know the difference in an adjustment ding, an ache or minor pain that we can power through and relieve that is something like a mile-marker to let us know our bodies acknowledge we’ve done something different, and an injury, an ache or pain we maybe try to power through but is a sign that, no, sit ye down, something is off and we need to put our bodies in the best condition to let it repair itself.*

One of my very favorite blog posts on the subject of building mental strength is one to which I refer very often, and continually enjoy by Cameron Schafer and covers this topic rather wonderfully:

My high school football coach, John Deti, used to always ask players that limped to the sidelines during a game, are you hurt or injured? This may seem trite to some, but he was keying in on a fundamental issue. Soreness, stiffness, bruises…these are just parts of any game or any physically demanding activity, but they should not keep one from continuing. Injuries on the other hand, like muscle tears, broken bones, etc. are a different thing entirely and should be taken care of. One of the best ways to develop mental toughness is extreme physical exertion…if there is no discomfort , you aren’t pushing yourself hard enough. This is different from causing injury which hinders you rather than helping.

Sometimes, the only way to know if you are hurt or injured is a perfect stew of self-awareness coupled with stubborn trial and error. In that, I mean simply, if it hurts, I try to work it out. If it gets worse and doesn’t seem like I can work though it or shake it off, I wave the white flag. And, it always feels like a personal defeat to me, but I think that’s okay. I let it feel that way and take some solace by reminding myself that feeling disappointed by having to call it a day keeps me motivated down the road, because it makes me want to train smarter to prevent a repeat.

I’m thinking of this because yesterday, I called for a ride home. The night before, I attended an event and wore heels and got a bit off-map and walked rather quickly about a mile in the shoes. I woke up with a sense of stiffness in my right hip, but certainly not discomfort. With a training along Chicago’s Lake Michigan and beautiful, sunny weather ahead of me, I hopped into my New Balances and set out. I was aware of the sensation in my right hip and aimed to shake it off for eight miles with little success, but the ninth mile was slow, unproductive, and painful, so I called it a day and called for a ride. I felt disappointed, but spent the ninth mile with my sciatic nerve making a pinchy feeling in my right butt cheek and my right thigh cramping solidly from the back and side. On the way home, I made light of it, but I was disappointed that I couldn’t shake it off and continue. At home, I drank a lot of water, took my laptop to bed and stayed as still as possible for the rest of the eveing but was struck by the though that I had an opportunity to Pollyanna here. I could either feel disappointed, acknowledge it and let it motivate me to train smarter in the future, or I could see the events of the day and the night before as having revealed an under-trained area and feel the excitement that comes along with discovering a new training activity.

What about you? How do you feel when you have to cut training short? How do you let it inform your training afterwards?

*Statements are not meant to diagnose or treat any serious injury. Holding one blogger responsible for not knowing your own safety limits is daffy. See a doctor, licensed massage therapist or naturopath if you require aid.

Gear Check: IceWraps

I’m into simplicity, and while I make an effort to limit the amount of multitasking I personally do, I do insist upon multitasking in objects. By this I mean simply, if I am going to bring something into my home, it better do more than one thing, the more the better. And, with any luck, said object does its job(s) without creating a giant mess to deal with, right? Right.  So, it is with great delight that I found knee ice wraps from IceWraps. Though the name might imply otherwise, most of them, at least most of the ones a runner might find herself using, multitask as both ice and heat wraps. Not too shabby. Trainers and committed athletes (or perhaps the very clumsy) can pick-up the whole kit, which contains a wrap for almost everything that could possibly need ice, to treat sports injuries at IceWraps.net’s website.

Sorry, bag of frozen peas.