Funny title for a post written by a triathlete, no? But appropriate, in this case, because for the past week, I haven't been able to walk without my knees hurting. It's been scary, frustrating, and just plain strange. I think I've always felt a little invincible when it comes to training - yeah, I've had my fair share of muscle problems, but joint problems have been non-existent. So, after a crazy yoga spree, I had to come to the realization that I am, in fact, not invincible - am actually susceptible to all the same weird problems as everyone else, and cannot running around doing stupid stuff like doing 9 hours of yoga classes in a week and a half after not doing yoga for 2 months - my knees pretty much felt like someone had knocked 'em with an aluminum baseball bat in a back alley (though somehow my wallet still kept its contents...). So I sat around being cranky (and not updating my blog...) for a good few days because I couldn't train and how completely miserable is that?!
But yesterday, thanks to my brilliant sports chiro/ART guru Dr. Laney who I here and now profess my undying love for, I suddenly realized I could take a normal stride again. I had wicked point-soreness due to the beating he gave my quads and groin muscles, but I could (kind of) walk without hurting. Today I did as instructed and gave my quads a good stretching, and I can walk - like normal!! Muscles are still a little sore, but knees feel about a million times better. Truly amazing. I went to my favorite all-organic cafe this morning and ordered a big breakfast with eggs and black beans and toast and hot tea and sat on the patio in the beautiful Texas weather and just thought about how completely wonderful life is.
And, while I'm excited to be on the way back to normal, I learned some really good lessons these past few days while I was unable to train - and was unsure when I would be able to start training again. Here are some of my insights on dealing with injuries - the right ways, and the wrong ways...
1. Remember that you were a complete human being before you started doing triathlons. You were happy and alive and reasonably entertained - triathlon did not define you, and you were ok.
2. Don't go around telling everybody about your injury woes - it's depressing for you and for them. Tell a few people who really love you and will care and be sympathetic... but otherwise, keep the talk to a minimum - more negative vibes are not what you need when you're injured, you've got enough already.
3. Go to all your favorite places. Your places where you can be sane.
4. Don't try to train through it. Duh. We all know this one, and yet... never seem to FOLLOW it... it is irrational to think that it will just go away if you KEEP USING IT!
5. Try to help out the athletes in your life. Encourage, lend a helping hand - let yourself live vicariously through them a little bit. Be there for them if they need advice or help with gear or scheduling.
6. Eat well. Don't go on a giant junk food binge, but do enjoy the foods you love. Stay healthy, but indulge a little bit on the foods you really like. If you're like me... hit up Central Market.
7. Do what you can. If you can swim - go swim your little heart out. If you can walk, take some long walks, and use the opportunity of being warmed up as a chance to really get a good stretch in. If all you can do is stretch... stretch away! And ice. Lots and lots of ice.
8. Get outside. If it's warm enough, go sit in the sun. It'll make you happier. I promise.
9. Don't freak out. Don't. Freak. Out. It's going to be ok. Worse things have happened. This too shall pass. Freaking out leads to irrational thinking. Irrational thinking often leads to irrational actions. Which will make the problem worse. So stay calm!
10. Stay proactive. You can always be doing something. Talk to your doctor. Find out what you can do to speed recovery. Research what's wrong with you, and see what's worked for other people. Talk to your triathlete friends who have dealt with similar problems, and find out what they did. Just stay positive and remember, perseverance wins the prize!