Tag Archives: deep tissue

Baby Got Back

I like to consider myself inquisitive; second guessing or over analyzing may also apply.

Whatever the case may be, I can’t help but question my race preparation. Maybe I’ve done this enough times to just let it happen, and I am more ready than I let myself think. Or maybe I’m off the trail without a GPS. In my opinion, a big part of preparation is motivation. As much as my posts may be demonstrating brain waves that seem to zig zag and curve at will, I have the firm stance that motivation and “grit” (for lack of a better word) can trump inherited athleticism. Not always, but always possible. Maintaining that drive is race preparation.

I have pictures, mottos, quotes, sayings; motivational images of all sorts saved to my computer. I see where I want to be, I get motivated, I get excited, and I get my shoes on. When I need that pump up I am running alone, and what never comes to mind is some image I flipped by on my laptop.

Is motivation justified by getting out and running? Or does it mean we have to post about it on our social media, fill our closets with bright and flashy shoes, and finish runs with a slow motion water bottle chug? If you’re reposting images of others exercising behind a Starbucks latte and a snuggie, I struggle to tie that to motivation. That is promotion.

Does being driven and invested only manifest itself in a way that would mean living by the standards of carbo loading, electrolyte refueling, and IT band massaging? It can be an internal conflict to maintain motivation, but isn’t that normal because sport can be a painful passion after all. At this point, I will trust in my comfort zone and my ‘fly by the seat of my running shorts’ training style and see where my feet take me. Hopefully the end point is out of my comfort zone as that is the most encompassing way I can define success right now.

I have to admit that I feel a level of preparedness in the chaos that is my body trying to navigate the world. Maybe once you accept that your strategy is mayhem, you can relax and brush off all these events that don’t seem to support the end goal. This is a strategy, I swear. I am still moving therefore I am still progressing.

After my Canadian Thanksgiving with the family, today was my first day back to the gym after my back attack. Once again, there was so much genuine concern for me that I think I will just start sitting out front and ringing a bell with a  donation box. I started my new (and it darn well better be) improved rehab program. I am working towards square one and I will get there when I get there. On paper, this workout would have appeared that it was for someone who had lost their left arm and left leg and was hitting the gym for the first time. Let me tell you that this, coupled with my nicknames like Hop-along, and Limp Biscuit, are not ideal ways to sell myself as a trainer. Live and learn.

My fantastic nickname- creating co-workers do help me out, though. They all had ideas to contribute for how to best fix my back but my small and weak muscles fatigued before I could accept all their help. I am hopeful that it won’t take too long to regain some balance but it is hard to activate half my back throughout the day. When the weak side fatigues, exercise becomes detrimental because I’m jacking up the jacked side. Keep in mind I teach exercise for a living. Having experienced one potential outcome of a muscle imbalance, I am pretty eager to avoid that road again. Deep tissue massages and I will be best friends forever.

At this point, I have no strategy. I do, however, know what shoes I will wear. And I feel like that might be enough because I know I can get myself to the start line (with shoes on). And once we are all lined up in wait, we are all equal, and it is anybody’s day. Who worked the hardest to get to the start line, who can translate that into energy in the race… and then who can carry me home…?

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Not Back(ing) Out

On Thursday I woke up to my 430am alarm as usual and hopped out of bed. No crying, no swearing, and no pillow punching. I should have known something was wrong. My 3 kilometer walk to work was normal; a half asleep attempt at speed walking in the morning darkness. It wasn’t until I reached work that I realised how achy my back was. But as far as my normal goes, that is pretty much normal.

Time turned this ache into a soreness, then a stiffness, then immobility. And pain. And constriction. And an inability to do anything except lean awkwardly on whatever sturdy object was close by. A few (long) hours later, I was wincing in pain, seeing spots, and experiencing shooting pains in my spine. It felt like morphing into Larry King’s posture with the fluidity of a creaky robot. And not the good kind of robot like on the dance floor.

By the time I got home, I couldn’t get my shoes off or change my clothes so I just laid down on the floor. Not as graceful or simple as I made that sound, either. Picture it like I was being magnetically drawn to the floor but resisting it the whole way. Or one of those dancing inflatable attractions being deflated in slow motion. That is as best as I can describe it considering I had my eyes closed and was trying to hit the floor with my necessities as close to me as possible.

So living alone has its pros and cons. Con: My text response time was drastically reduced. My phone mocked me as it lay 6″ from my fingers. Pro: It wasn’t awkward when I did my ugly cry in a pile of cramped muscle on the floor.

Luckily for everyone involved, the desire to not pee my pants was the motivation I needed to get me vertical. I had spent nearly 6 hours on my back like a turtle that had flipped over, and to express the seriousness of the situation, I did not voluntarily or involuntarily nap at all. My love for sleep is borderline narcolepsy so that is saying a lot. My attempts to stand mimicked a professional women’s tennis match where each muscle contraction was a high pitched, over- enthused scream. I hope my neighbours thought it was tennis anyways.

I actually could not figure what caused this, and trust me I had a lot of time to think. Could it have been my back workout from the previous day? Or could it have been something I did in my sleep? It is sad when you can’t differentiate the two in intensity. I got in to see an RMT the next morning who was surprised I was still walking. I’ve heard that enough times that it is essentially meaningless to me now and my reflex response is something like a mindless,  “oh thanks, you too”. Basically, my asymmetries had built up so much that the muscles doing all the hard work cramped up, and once one seized, all the other ones joined the party. My “quick fix” is three sessions of deep tissue massage and a slap across the face to my rehab program. Not quick at all.

I was told this was bound to happen at some point considering what shape I was in, but may I suggest to everyone not to get injured right before a long weekend. It is really terrible timing if you would like medical treatment. I did singlehandedly make a large contribution to the company that makes Rub A535, as I spent several days in a cocoon of muscle relaxant which really helped. The amount of rum and cokes I had could also be an argument for my recovery too. Since I can’t be sure, I will keep up with both.

This was another setback to my journey, but what is a comeback if there is no challenge?! This was a learning experience for me anyways: being an RMT is now a requirement to date me, and I probably enjoy the smell of Rub A535 too much. I have so much sympathy and respect for anyone with chronic back pain but that being said, I don’t want to be one of them.

So here we go again. I have added another medical professional to my team and I’m back in business.

Cheesy puns come standard.

Larry-King-1

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