Saturday, September 1, 2012

Acknowledging Injuries

Injuries, frustration, disappointment, acknowledgement, commitment , change, excitement, growth, renewal.

A circle

It’s a process I just went through and I am sure anyone who is actually devoted to their training has experienced it, but did they realize they even went through this process?

Since June I have been working through some injuries, it has taken me three months to get where I am. Most of that time has been spent convincing myself I wasn’t injured. It took me that long to work through the process of admitting what I need to do so I heal and can start to move forward.

Training is a very big part of my life, I am not really complete unless I have done my training for the day, and it is the best part of my day. It is a rare occasion where I do not look forward to going to the gym, to the track, to train with Roy.

I strained my hamstring back in June and just kept pushing through it. That’s the “tough” thing to do right? But that really wasn’t my mentality, it was actually the fact that I feel fairly invincible, I couldn’t be hurt, it must all be in my mind, it’s just a muscle that’s a bit sore.

It took a few visits to the Chiropractor and my physician to convince me that it was more than what I had actually thought it was. And there was the hip flexor pain, sitting was unbearable, I would wake at night due to the aching in my hips, especially my left side (where the hamstring strain was).

Then I started physical therapy. The first session was nothing strenuous, he put me through several stretches that did not really feel like much, but it turned out he was assessing me more than anything.  I figured it was being paid for by insurance; I should go through with all sessions and see how it turns out, any stretching will be helpful to regain my range of motion right?  

The second session was different though, it seemed better, or maybe my head thought it was. Sid started by foam rolling my leg as I lay on a massage table, I said “good luck- I use a lacrosse ball!” Smart ass I was, he was good. Then he used his hands. This was even better. Next came assisted stretching, better still.  I asked him not to stop so he continued a while longer.

As we moved to another room I went through other stretches and exercises.  Brian shouts over “Be sure she uses what she calls the kettlebell jewelry”, which was what I said the itty bitty bells looked like since they weighed only 2 pounds.

I explained how my hip flexors hurt so much, and what my training has been like. I have been trying to grow the legs; I have been hitting them hard, really hard. Heavy and volume. He suggested that they may also be strained or just need a break.

I told him David had said the same thing, and so had Roy, we actually had already decided to cut squats to one day a week instead of two.

Since PT was mainly dealing with the hamstring strain, I had decided to see Dr. Leahy immediately afterward about the hip flexors.  He could at least do some Active Release to loosen up the tight muscles; the tightness was what was causing so much discomfort.

In his office I go through the whole story again, he works on both hip flexors and the hamstring.  He asks when my “event” is and I tell him not until May. He says I am progressing right along. “What does that mean?” I ask “It’s a compliment, take it!” he replies. 

I tell him I know, but I need to know what he “sees”. I see myself everyday and want to know what he sees. “Well, it looks like you have been adding mass, in fact, quite a bit. That’s what you are trying to do isn’t it?”

“Yes!” I tell him it’s the peanut butter sandwiches (I am joking) and I laugh.

Dr. Leahy suggests that I stop squatting all together- at least for a week or even two if I can manage the downtime. If I cannot take the downtime he suggests some light therapy.  He said I should just avoid anything that hurts my hip flexors, and when it no longer hurts, I am ready to train again. Insurance does not cover Dr. Leahy, doctors can be expensive when you pay on your own.

Sounds simple doesn’t it? It might be for some people, but it hasn’t been a simple process for me.

How many people would even have an issue with this? It has taken me a lot of time to actually confirm in my own mind that I am OK not training my legs for a couple weeks.  I sent a message to Roy and explained.

We had decided that I would be replacing my Saturday squat day with a biceps and triceps day, and move some of the the other splits around, so we just axed the squats all together and started the arm training then, the following day, on Wednesday when we would usually do squats. 

I really don’t train arms much; I train the shoulders but not the rest.

Wednesday was fun; we went through barbell triceps lockouts superset with scott curls. Then on to skull crushers and reverse barbell curls. I felt like a wimp, it was a lot of new stuff for me.

Thursday I did my hamstring training, but modified it slightly so that my hip flexors felt no pressure, I concentrated on the glutes so that’s where I felt it. I tried some kettlebell snatches at the end, but the hip flexors immediately felt the strain and I stopped after one set.

I will switch my Back training to Saturday (instead of squats) and repeat my arm training on Sunday, adding in some pullovers too. My upper body will be fried by Monday.

I’m excited again and looking forward to the changes! I already have some impressive arms, so imagine what they will look like after all this training in a few weeks! 

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