Here we are again, with an update reminiscent of Groundhog Day (the movie, not the actual day). If anyone needs a poster child for running injuries, I'm available, though not terribly photogenic.
If Brett Favre can retire multiple times, so can I. Right around mid-February of this year my left hip insisted that I immediately stop all running. My hip had been bothering me for a few months before that, to be honest. It became increasingly more painful, and felt a lot like the torn labrum that led me to have surgery on my right hip a couple of years ago. However, instead of backing down on the mileage, I DOUBLED down, recording three 30+ mile weeks in a row from the middle to the end of January. Before you judge and reprimand me, keep in mind that I'm very new to running, having only 35 years of running experience under my belt. Ahem.
The pain wasn't (isn't) only in the groin area (where the tear would be), but radiates all around the hip area. It aches even after longish walks. Given that my finances are a bit tight currently, I won't be able to get a scan, nor surgery (if needed) anytime soon. And even if I got it repaired, I don't know that a return to running would be a good thing. After a laundry list of injuries trying to send me messages over the years, maybe it's time to move on to other fitness endeavors, rather than continuing to pound my body into oblivion. I don't want to go into my golden years with the inability to walk without pain.
So, that brings me to the idea of striving for general health and fitness. As competitive as I am (was), this idea has always been hard for me to implement. But I know in my gut that it's time. The extremes (for me) ALWAYS get me injured. And the older I get, the more this is the case.
I've had a tendency to swing the pendulum hard the other way when I can't run. I've hit the weights hard-core and added up to 40lbs. of bodyweight in relatively short periods of time (no, I've never used any anabolics).
|Hello low back! Are you ready for this?|
|A wee bit heavier than my "race weight"|
|Less muscle mass than the above photo, but achieved by lifting safer, lighter weights.|
My goal, moving forward, is to see if I can, finally, find that happy medium. Building muscle and strength in a SAFE manner, and getting enough cardio exercise to promote good health and fitness, along with the satisfaction of enjoying the outdoors while getting my heart pumping.
My wife and I will soon be shopping for kayaks. We decided last year that this will be one of the activities we'll do together, for both exercise and a way to get spend some quality time together. We've tried cycling together before, but it's not enjoyable for her. She insists I'm too fast, even when I'm trying to ride slow. That said, I intend to do a decent amount of cycling this year, but with lower intensity and distances. I want it to be enjoyable and not feel like I'm killing myself to prepare for a race.
I know better than to say "never" when it comes to any fitness activity I've been interested in, but given that my body is clearly telling me to back off, and my desire to be competitive is waning (probably as a result of compounding injuries), it's probably time for a change of scenery, or at least a modification of my approach to exercise. Staying healthy for long haul is becoming more of a focus than personal performance in a local race, or how much weight I can lift.
And finding that balance can still be fun, challenging and interesting. My mission is to make sure it is.
In future blog posts, I'll go into my training program and diet in a little more detail.
Now, if you'll excuse me, this grandpa has a crossword puzzle to solve...