Rebuilding an Athlete
It’s the start of the new year, a time to set new goals, to make resolutions, and to try new things. The start of the new year is a time to reboot. I love taking this time of year to look forward to all of the new possibilities for what might happen as time swiftly moves forward and I am driven to reach my new goals. The past couple of years have been an important time of rebuilding for me, essentially finding my way back to myself and finding a new strong spirit. With my spirit engaged and ready to take on big dreams with passion and enthusiasm I am now working on rebuilding my body into a new stronger me.
I admit that I am hard on my body. I never give myself the rest that is needed in between races to let my body regain 100% strength. I live my life with a full plate, burning the candle at both ends. I sleep too little. I have a hard time saying no to adventure. Now that I am getting a little bit older (ahem) . . . my body is beginning to rebel against me. While my spirit is strong my body has given in to older injuries. My body has been compensating for an old back injury, from slipping and falling on some ice in college. My core is weakened by surgery during pregnancy followed by two c-sections. My body has been screaming for rest that I did not give it. I should have learned my lesson after dealing with tendonitis in my foot.
I ran a turkey trot on Thanksgiving day even though my body was hinting at me that this wasn’t a good idea. I ran the race. I ran fast. It was not a good idea. I was quickly forced into a month of no running. A back injury. I am now seeing a physical therapist at the Alpine Clinic trying to rebuild my body so that I can perform at optimum strength and speed again. After a full evaluation it has been determined that I have muscle imbalance issues in my pelvis which are causing my pelvis to tilt. When this happens I am experiencing, “abnormal sacroiliac joint alignment, lumbar misalignment, muscular imbalances, abnormal posture and of course subsequent wear and tear, degeneration, and lower back pain” (SOURCE). My PT also discovered that I have an issue with my C5 vertebra (dating back to 1998 from that fall on the ice) which is causing weakness and stiffness in my back and may be the root of the issues that I am having on my right side. The muscular imbalance and weakness are likely due to three abdominal surgeries which weakened my pelvic floor and transverse abdominus which supports the base of your spine and your core.
In my month of from running I have rested, I have iced, I have heated and I have spent a lot of time in the pool. Swimming has been my saving grace because my body craves the endorphins and swimming is totally pain free. I am gradually working my way back into running with some slow and easy treadmill miles and even one road run. I am also slowly reacquainting myself with my bike. The goal is to exercise with no pain so if at any time I feel pain I need to be disciplined and stop so that I don’t hurt myself. At physical therapy I am learning some transverse abdominus isolating exercises and let me tell you these are tough. Apparently I have not addressed this muscle group in a long time! Thankfully I now have a plan for recovery. The rest time has be rejuvenating and my attitude is positive!
Rebuilding is a slow process but it is important to give your mind, body and soul the time that it needs. I’m thinking of this time as putting the pieces of a puzzle together.
What are your tips for rebuilding your mind, body and soul? How do you stay positive? How do you keep yourself engaged in the process of rebuilding?
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