I was on a fast train to Slump City over here and I’m fairly certain my sob story is completely cliché, both in it’s cry-for-pity-ness and it’s, well, typical-ness. Recovery sucks just as much emotionally as it does physically, and I’m going to tell you about it.
More than anyone I know, with the possible exception of my beloved, I am completely in tune with my body. This, accompanied by a keen flair for drama, keeps me pretty tightly wound these days. I know all of my body’s tweaks; I know what works and what doesn’t, what I should be doing and what I most definitely should not be doing. I know exactly what feels right, sore, strong, tingly, tight, stretched, or strained. And, usually, I know a completely valid, physiologically logical explanation for everything, and as long as I can explain something and craft a plan of resolution, I’m good. Until now; I’m not good. Two weeks ago, I was on top of the world: I was moving well, making noticeable increases in my chin ups and push ups, and thinking positively about the next phase of lifting. Yesterday, I was two lip quivers away from a sobbing mess, with tingling in my right leg, acute pain in my right glute, and the weight of five moons on my shoulders. Please, do not let me be hurt again. In the back of my mind, I know that there is only a 7% chance that I will re-herniate this year, and that after this year, those chances are reduced to 3%. Most people would consider this to mean that there is a 93% chance that re-herniation WON’T occur. But I am not “most people.”
I hate this, living in fear. I want to move. I want to compete. I want to lift up something really really heavy and then put it down, steel myself, and do it again. I want to ride my road bike, possibly attempt Cyclo-cross, and I’m even considering an Ironman, if the doctors will let me. I know that I can do all of these things, and yet I am absolutely side-lined by the fear that this minor tingling in my leg is IT. I “check in” constantly, monitoring the rate of tingling and the origin of the pain. When I wake up at night, my first thought is, “what hurts?” For the last five days, I’ve been worthless at the gym, a delicate flower barely lifting a finger for fear of bruising another petal. I surely have not gotten any stronger.
Thankfully, I have some wonderful friends who don’t think I’m entirely crazy, and who happen to work out with me at the boathouse every Tuesday and Thursday. Yesterday, in tears, I told them of my current symptoms, concluding with everything I’ve written above. Karin looked at my sympathetically, said, “I’m so, so sorry, and we’re here to help.” Emily looked at me, smiled, and said, “Welcome to fucking life. So you had surgery and now something hurts again. What’s the worst that could happen? You have surgery again…” She didn’t need to finish; I already knew what she was going to say: this feels really big. It’s a really, really big deal, today. But tomorrow, maybe it won’t be. Maybe there will be something else, or nothing at all. Or maybe it will continue to be a really, really big deal, and maybe next week or next month, next spring, or next year, I’ll have to go through another surgery and maybe another one after that. Or, maybe not.
Nothing hurt this morning when I woke up. Nothing hurt when I walked the kids to the park for P.E., and nothing hurt while I was outside playing with Wyatt. No tingling, no sharp pain, no tightness. Maybe tomorrow, it will hurt again. Indeed, however, maybe not.
For the record, this week’s workouts were nothing to write home about. My in-the-gym workouts were the standard fare, with no improvements or changes in routine. My workouts on the bike were downright lackluster. On Saturday, I did another round of 10 sets of 30” on / 1’ off. Usually, I get my HR to ~155 on these, but this week I was barely hitting 150 (my resting HR is 42, so 155 is pretty high for me). And on Monday, I did 12’ / 10’/ 8’ with 4’ rest between each round. Typically, this workout gets me into the low 130’s but again, I couldn’t break 130 until the last 2 minutes of each round. I’m assuming this means I’m tired (I am) and that I’ve been working hard (I have) and that I need a rest (I do). So I’m taking my rest day today, Wednesday, and tomorrow will be a little lighter than usual.
Onward and upward.