Category Archives: Injury

Hamstrings: my blessing and now my curse

One of my favorite sayings when it comes to yoga is “you do yoga with the body you brought, not the body you want”. It really sums up the mindset of there is only now and you shouldn’t put off doing yoga (or anything) until some future date when you {insert your personal demon to overcome here}. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say they ‘need to lose weight’ before they start yoga or that they can’t do yoga ‘because they aren’t flexible’. It’s like saying I’ll start living my life when I think I’m good enough to do everything I might ever want to do. I love saying that yoga is a journey not a destination because you start on a journey and end up someplace different. You don’t do yoga because you’re flexible, you do yoga to gain flexibility. Anyway, stepping of my yoga soapbox and getting back on topic…

Another truth about yoga that most people don’t know is that everyone has something they are naturally good at and it’s different for everyone. From flexible shoulders, innate upper body strength, open hips to stretchy hamstrings, we all have something we are good at without having to work for it. My blessing is super flexible hamstrings. I can bend over and lay my palms flat on the mat without having to warm up or bend my knees. My first down dog of every practice is all it takes to get my heels flat on the mat. My tall and lanky yoga instructor still can’t ever get her heels flat in down dog after more than ten years of teaching. It is just how I’m made. Some might argue it is because I’m short and squat. I’m okay with that being the reason since I like the side effect regardless of how or why it happened.

Two weeks ago, I was blissfully enjoying a seated straddle stretch… picture sitting on your butt with your legs straight and both spread wide, bent over at the waist trying to lay your head on the mat between them. And yes, blissful for me since I always feel accomplished when I can go a little further toward the mat thanks to my hamstrings. And all of a sudden I heard and felt a pop in my upper left leg right under my butt. I ignored it as I have a habit of doing and two days later did my epic one hundred and eight sun salutations to celebrate the solstice. I haven’t been the same since.

I took it easy for a week when it was clear I had actually done something to myself. How did I know? I could barely bend at the waist without pain, forget about touching the floor. I even went in for some therapy a week ago with my amazing sister in law. It helped so much that I assumed I was all better. But, this morning I was back to being limited in what I could do.

This is where most people would be disappointed and unhappy that they can’t do whatever they want but I saw things differently this morning. Subconsiously I must have known I wasn’t one hundred percent because when it was time to set our intention for the morning’s practice I decided to focus on just being on the mat and okay with whatever showed up there without judgement. When I had to step out of a pose because it hurt, I just listened and did what my body was telling me rather than pushing through it. When I could have gotten all up in my head about how I could barely bend over in standing straddle stretch when I can usually put my head on the mat, I just did what I could and didn’t push it.

Here’s the bottom line since I’ve been thinking about it all day… I’m injured, yes, and will have to take it easy for a while. But that means I’ve come full circle with my health and fitness and am capable of doing things full out where there is always risk of injury. A year ago yoga was something I did to keep myself sane while dealing with lots of stress associated with a new chronic disease. Now, it is a lifestyle and a way to challenge myself physically as well as emotionally.  I’m choosing to look at this injury as a new challenge and a positive indication of how far I’ve come in my quest back to fit. What a wild journey it has been. And even injured, I still love my hamstrings!

Ahhhhh, bliss

This week of happiness brought to you by the generosity of my best and only sister.  She bought a treadmill a couple of years ago, used it for a while and decided she hated to run and even if she liked it couldn’t do it on a boring treadmill.  It’s been in her basement doing nothing.  Now it is in mine getting run on daily since its arrival.

It is my new best friend.

Of course like all friends it has it’s flaws.  It doesn’t go downhill like the ones at the gym that I’m only able to frequent one day a week – if I’m lucky.  But let’s be honest that will make me a better runner in the long run.  (ha ha, pun intended!)  I’m still building up my endurance from my injury and I can’t lie – it is frustrating as hell not to be able to just run for hours like I could last year.  But, I can see improvement each time thanks to my heart rate monitor and I know it will come eventually.

This weekend was heaven. I ran while Baby Sister was napping and Hubby had taken Big Sister swimming.  Couldn’t have done that before.  I ran while Hubby had gone to the gym after the kids went to bed.  Couldn’t have done that before.  And I have the option to get up early and run before work now.  To do that before, I’d have had to leave the kids alone in the house, sleeping in their beds, since Hubby is at work at that time of morning.  AWESOME!

I slept better than I have in weeks.  I am less stressed because I can run all my stress away daily.  I’m almost back to myself.  And best of all, I am no longer worried about how I’ll survive Ragnar in sixteen weeks because I wasn’t able to train.  Now, I’ll be a training machine like a good little honey-badger should be.

This one little tweak made all the difference in restoring balance to my life.  No longer do I have to stress at work about how I’ll find time to work out.  If I can, I’ll lift weights.  If I can’t, I just won’t.  And either way my training won’t suffer.  My healthy and committed mojo is back.  Turns out it was life that had stolen it in the first place and I just wrestled it back.  Go, me!  Now maybe I’ll quit feeling sorry for myself and watching TV at night instead of writing and get my first draft finished in the near future…  Imagine writing every night fueled by the endorphins of an amazing run.  I sure can!

By the way, thanks for sticking with me through the whining and bitching times… I can be such a pain when I can’t run!

Reinventing myself because life stole my mojo

I’m not entirely sure who swooped in and stole my mojo but I really wish they would return it.  I keep making plans to work out and get back on track with my training for Ragnar now that I can run again.  And day after day life gets in the way and I find myself drained and ready for bed without having lifted a single weight or run a single step. Each day ending with a vow to make it happen tomorrow.

I stepped back earlier this week and tried to take the reigns again by scheduling in my workouts physically on my calendar.  Two workouts with weights happen at 9:30 PM each week after the kids go to bed; running twice during the week at the end of the workday assuming I can actually leave my office on time and run before Hubby has to go to work; a trip to the gym every Friday night; and a long run every Sunday.  I felt so much more in control after I put my “me” time in place.  And then I promptly missed every single workout since then.  I was too exhausted both nights that I was supposed to lift weights in the basement after the kids went to bed and instead went to bed myself.  My run on the workdays both got cancelled due to issues that cropped up at work that had me there late with no time to run.  Long gone are the days where I could keep up with my workload AND spend an hour in the fitness center every afternoon.  I didn’t run last Sunday because my foot hurt after having run seven miles during the week and I was scared shitless I was going to reinjury myself and wouldn’t be able to train at all.

So yeah, I’m seriously a mess.  Plus I’m giving in to my sweet tooth and eating crap that isn’t good for me because its all a viscious cycle.  If I’m eating great and working out I feel amazing and then I don’t even want anything that isn’t good for me.  But now I am back to feeling crappy because I haven’t figured out a way to squeeze everything into every day again which means I turn to food for comfort more often than I should.  I need to pull my head out of my ass is what I need to do.

I ran this morning – the first in a week and a day later than scheduled – and it felt great.  I can see progress on regaining my stamina and endurance even though I’m nowhere near where I was prior to my injury.  Maybe that’s also because I am running hills in an effort not to die on Ragnar this year?  Yesterday I ate better and I feel like I might be taking the reins back.  I still don’t have all my mojo but maybe if I take it one day at a time it will magically reappear.

I added streaks of red to my hair hoping to fool life into believing I’m someone else and letting up for a bit.  We’ll see how much that works.  Meanwhile, I’ll take every day as it comes and strive for progress rather than perfection where it comes to eating and training.  That and hope my sister really will let me store her treadmill in my basement instead of hers where I could use it whenever I could squeeze in a few minutes of running.

Back to the beginning

This past week felt like the beginning of more than another year.  I did my first run without pain in more time than I can remember and I started editing what I wrote in NaNoWriMo.
While my body has healed from my injury and I’m finished kicking myself for waiting so long to address it as the injury it was for a year, that doesn’t mean I just pick up where I left off.  I thought I could but I was wrong.  I have to start all over again.  I’ve lost so much ground with my cardio that I couldn’t keep my heart rate down in the aerobic zone if I ran more than a few minutes at a time at my comfortable pace.  After a frustrating mile of running with some irritating walking interspersed (accompanied by curses mumbled under my breath which I’m sure still offended the girl walking next to me) I climbed off the treadmill and opted instead for a spin bike.  It was my first time on one and I loved it.  Well, once I got it adjusted appropriately for my short legs anyway.  It was easy to lose myself in my audio book and make easy adjustments to keep my heart rate in zone 2.  I came away from it feeling as refreshed as if I’d run the whole forty minutes.  I guess I’ll be doing a bunch of walk/run and spinning for a few weeks until I can get my heart and lungs back in shape.  It’s a road I’ve traveled before and I’ve heard it comes back fairly quickly.  Let’s hope so!  I’m looking back and regretting skipping the gym entirely just because I was dejected about not being able to run.  If only I had kept up with my cardio… *sigh*
Editing my writing is a road I have not traveled too much – unless you count that first attempt at NaNoWriMo where I wrote a chapter and then obsessively edited it over and over again losing sight of the whole point.  This is different editing altogether.  NaNo is all about writing first and asking questions later which I embraced wholeheartedly.  The drawback of this is that you get to the end and your characters and even their motivations have changed since you’ve gotten to know them better.  Plus, the story itself evolves.  I’m at a place where I can’t finish the ending unless I fix the beginning to keep things consistent.  I started doing that this week and while it is cool I find it takes a lot more time to see progress than just banging out a first draft with abandon.  I’ve got my first two chapters pretty well polished and ready for my writer’s group.  They refuse to be patient enough for me to finish what I started during NaNoWriMo to read something and I really can’t blame them.  After all, they were with me every step of the way and should be rewarded accordingly.
So far 2012 is promising to be a great year!

Going crazy without an outlet

I’m currently an injured runner.  Something I never thought I would have to deal with.  I knew I got far more than weight management benefits from my running but until I was sidelined I had no idea the real impact running has on my life and my sanity.  Oh I had an idea but I seriously hadn’t come close to the reality.  It’s been three weeks since my last real run – minus the test run after I saw my therapist which did not go well.  And I haven’t been able to run regularly since before Thanksgiving. 


I can’t concentrate on anything.  All I can think about is running and how I can’t do it.  I get dejected thinking about going to the gym because I know when I get there I can’t run and then because I know I will be tempted to run if I go I just don’t.  I stay up too late, I sleep too late, I have too little patience with my kids and my husband.  I can’t sit still long enough to focus on writing consistently.  I’m a mess!!  I even found myself resentful about hubby’s gym time because he shouldn’t be able to do what he loves when I can’t.  Am I right?

There is good news, however.  I no longer have foot pain when I wake up in the morning – something I haven’t been able to say for going on a year.  (Yes, that long, really!)  And it was only a little bit of pain resulting from my test run after my last treatment.  So, progress!  I see my miracle worker massage therapist again tomorrow and I’m hopeful I’ll be back on the trails by early next week.  I’ve even managed to curtail the daily expansion of my ass by adjusting my eating.  No need to fuel my body for running I’m not doing at the moment… (I’m such a creature of habit!)

Whatever you do that you love, rejoice in it and cherish that you can do it.  And if you’re a runner – stay healthy!  I wouldn’t wish injury on anyone because it plain sucks ass.