How to Deal When Your Legs Can’t

It’s that dull pain after leaving the gym. The throbbing while you are driving. The ache that flairs up while you sleep. But it’s probably nothing…

At least that’s what we all think until one half assed workout turns into two and you find yourself earnestly explaining to your lifting partner…”oh no  I’m not limping.” You are definitely limping but that’s normal right? I mean you workout hard, pain is weakness leaving the body after all. That’s right see ya later weakness! This must be what being fit feels like, it just hurts so good. So good that you can’t walk up a flight of stairs. So good that you…ouch…have to stop mid workout wincing from this now raging pain. So good that now you can’t work out?

Okay so maybe it’s not nothing now. It’s probably a strained muscle. Your friend’s brother’s girlfriend’s aunt had something like this once and she powered through it. Except this isn’t sore like a strained muscle would feel. Actually this feels like a spot directly on the bone that’s hurting. You are already thinking about the F-word. That word that sends fitness nuts into a spiral of anxiety, stress fracture.

Time for a doctor appointment, just to confirm that it’s not in fact the f-word and probably just a strain from overuse. The week before the appointment reality has set in, your bone feels bruised, and every step hurts…definitely the f-word. You make the necessary preparations to come to terms with the reality that the leg is done for. It now feels like a possibility that you will never run again. All of the research points to that darn f-word. The doctor is a waste of your time, because you already know, but you will go just to confirm your spare time clinical skills. Doctor know nothing proceeds to ask if you have ever heard of shin splints, which officially makes the last hour of your day totally worthless…inducing the eternal health care face palm.

Sometimes your legs get tired and simply can’t deal. When they are tired it is important to listen to your body, or the above scenario will be a routine event. Over working and excessive training are a recipe for exhaustion. Coping with this feeling is extremely challenging and difficult for just about everyone. Below are a few methods through which to cope with tired legs and manage injury more effectively.

Look down stream: When it comes to injury looking down stream is what really allows the situation to sink in. Looking for the cause of the injury and making plans to strengthen the area around it is always a good idea, but can also prompt further working out when what the body really needs is rest. Take the time to look down the metaphorical stream one month from now. Visualizing where you want to be in the future can provide some motivation to start dealing with the present.

Don’t ignore: they always say athletes and active people are the most in tune with their bodies, but they are also the most eager to pretend like all things are fine. For whatever reason, accepting weakness or injury is never an easy thing to do, especially when you have plans and goal surrounding the activity. Clearly think about what is being felt and listen to your body.

Reassess: does everything hurt? If so rest. Do only certain things hurt? Find out what those things are and avoid them. Talk with your doctor about approved activities. Most of the time you will have the ability to do low impact activities, or things that do not irritate the pain you are experiencing.

Get a professional opinion: Appointments are never fun, and you may think you know what’s going on, but hearing it from a professional can make it real. Doctor know nothing at least has the authority to tell you to slow down or ease up and this can be much more meaningful than the friends and family who have probably been telling you the same thing all month.

Readjust: your idea of what working out is doing for you. Spend the down time going for walks, doing partner workouts with a friend, and trying new things that may have not been considered before the injury. And consider if what was being done before was healthy or excessive.

When things start to hurt impulse says to keep going. Throughout an active life the body endures tons of different aches and pains that other’s don’t have to deal with. Instead of frantically trying to maintain the same level before the pain, listen closely to what the body is saying and consider the balance between mental and physical health during times of injury.

-RV

Advertisements

Burgers and Beers

After months of searching high and low for somewhere to live that doesn’t feel like a bed bug’s paradise and without dodgy neighbors that stare ominously over the balcony as you walk into the building for the first time, we are closer to finding a place.

That’s not to say it was smooth sailing. The entire process felt like the scene from the recent Hunger Games when they are running through the woods and keep getting lit on fire, attacked by animals, and drowned by rain. Except real life booby traps come in the shape of grizzly plumbers. Needless to say the whole theory on landlords is officially valid.

See viewing number 2. It was the coolest area with brick streets lacking a lot of the original non-negotiables, but those have a way of being forgotten when there is a downtown view. Red flag #1, the door is wide open blowing in the wind upon entry. Red flag #2 A man’s voice upstairs echoes “the mold issue isn’t nearly as bad this time of the year.” and red flag #3 the neighbors door has a flag decorated with a naked woman on a pirate ship.

The place was the size of a closet and made the whole best view in town thing about as exciting as the closet sized bedrooms and the questionable nailed to the wall heating system. Rick the plumber was showing the place and didn’t say a word the entire time, besides the charming mold remark he just stared ominously like the balcony neighbors. Just when I would think I was alone to get a picture for the roommate I would see Rick’s wolf howling at the moon shirt out of the corner of my eye. The thought of that beard and t-shirt hanging around on a regular basis made me a little uneasy.

Image

animalworld.com

No thanks attic cellar apartment it wasn’t meant to be. As I snuck out of the house and start the car I get a text from Rick…”Burgers and beers if you’re still around?” The search was obviously going well.

Coping with a Rick:

1.Rick’s aren’t allowed to have access to your living space.

2. Burgers and beers would be fun if my name was Hank and we were going to a Reds game.

3. No response is probably the best response

While nothing screams first date quite like a burger and a beer, the Rick’s of the apartment hunting experience certainly add a little variety to otherwise lame apartments.

White Girl Can’t Run

I had never felt more one with the elements than during the time spent in Dominical Costa Rica. Like I was 24 hours away from abandoning bras and shoes forever and spend my days taming wild iguanas as a career path. No hair brushing at all which meant that for the first time ever dreadlocks weren’t out of the question either. The other most awesome part of Costa Rica was the running.

Prior to the trip, I had been running like a mad woman. Partly due to a slight exercise addiction and the other part due to the half marathon I was supposed to run later that month. Only this running was better than anywhere else. Miles of rich brown sand beaches darker than those cheesy Florida sparking ocean fronts and mangroves dipping from the shore line splattered with rickety fishing boats. It was the first time that the possibility of getting attacked by a gorilla sized vulture was a possibility and the chances of a wild dog tagging along for a mile or so was definitely going to happen.

So after feeling like Mowgli for an hour every morning Costa Rican running was obviously the new favorite pastime. This led to registering for the first ever Dominical 12k to” support the possibility of getting a lifeguard and for the wild dogs” so said La Casa del Sol who was putting on the race.

560378_3048794625575_967528822_n

Volunteers were gathered through a real life game of telephone where you just ask around and hope people will show up. I showed up race day ready for a our very own Central American Flying Pig turn out and a killer beach run…not quite.

The group totaled to a little less than 80 people with about 40 bystanders all of whom were definitely the person who was forced to drive the runner to the starting line at the crack of dawn. The starting line was drawn in the sand with a piece of drift wood and the signage was held between two trees which were held between two shirtless locals who they called Tito and wait for it… Jake. None of that start time nonsense a little whistle was all we needed and we were off.

After a long stretch on the flat beach where I had already considered where my international 12k running career would take me next, did I see a volunteer point up the mountain in the distance as the direction we were supposed to follow. Forget the fact that someone standing in the middle of nowhere was the only source of direction…I’m sorry up a mountain?

Not just up a mountain but up a vertical spiral of loose rocks and dirt. The brisk pace that was going on was abruptly ended as the natives skipped by oblivious to the fact that we were about the scale the equivalent of 5 miles up the Top Thrill Dragster in 200% humidity. My career as an international 12k beach runner was quickly fading in the distance as the only other white person I had seen for miles and I found wound up off course and in a stream with a drifting abandoned shoe.

One of the pointing volunteers appeared out of nowhere and just froze doing his best mile marker arrow stance. Another mile up and I was walking faster backwards than I could have run. A group of barefoot 20 somethings blew by and I hear…

“Muchacha blanca no se puede ejecutar”

My one year of college Spanish told me that this meant “the white girl can’t be executed.” Whoa, I’m just doing this friendly 12k for the lifeguards and wild dogs. I used the next half mile trying to understand if this mountain would be where I was going to spend my final moments due to sheer exhaustion or a good old-fashioned Costa Rican mountain execution.

I asked the next person who trotted by if I was going to be executed and she was bilingual enough to tell me that the phrase meant,

“White girl can’t run”

Thanks for everything Spanish 103, for all of that time pronouncing to run as correr all these years. I hadn’t thought I couldn’t do something until someone told me so as I drug my sorry ass up the side of a mountain.

The entire experience made me think about the discussions I have had lately with fitness instructors from all different backgrounds on motivation and how to do what you set your mind to. How you literally are the only person who can make yourself do it no matter what it is, for example running up a 90 degree angle in a sauna. That there is a huge difference between can’t do it and won’t do it. We all can’t have the geographical inclination to scale mountains like a stroll around the block, but you can still try and see what happens. Those who won’t will simply never know.

-RV

Sidewalk Sadness

It has been a long time since a post I know but it actually hasn’t because they are all on the other site I write for which can be found here!

This is also going to be a little random…

All last week I was walking the block to my car and was appalled at what I was seeing. It was like everyone dog and their owner had lost control of their lives and decided that it is now okay to simply squat it out (in a bad way) right in the middle of the sidewalk.

I understand the urban living of and surprise dog remains are one in the same; a good grassy spot isn’t always easy to find. But it looked like 40 dogs did a conga line down the street after a 5 day Blue Buffalo binge…sorry, but it had to get graphic at some point.

Why Clifton why?

sidewalk

 this adorable guilty looking thing

I was not only carrying laundry, groceries and a purse that contains my entire life, but I was dodging some foreign slobbery creature’s remains. A creature that I even think I would like to have from time to time, def not today.

The worst was right outside our building entrance. Like the first floor just dangled the dog out the window and hoped for the best. How can I see someone walking their dog around the block during the apocalyptic like conditions, in a poncho, and umbrella yet our building residents seem to let em let loose 2 feet from the front door. So I resorted to a new low, I scooped foreign dog nastiness. There was no shovel so it got even more pathetic when I found an old dustpan that was set out for garbage day and flung the goods to the nearest green.

As I sat in shame days later still dying over what happened and the new lows that were encountered, who even knows where that dustpan had been, when universe literally reached out and gave me a hug.

Turns out Spain (article here) is having my same issue and has even resorted to hiring a paid detective to snoop out these shitty (pun intended) owners who can’t handle their creature. The detective has the right to fine these perpetrators up to $300 which when I think about my level of laziness when the weather is bad sounds harsh, but still you can get paid to call these non-pooper scoopers out and claim detective status on the resume…win!

I feel obligated to link this back to health and wellness so moral of the story is…community wellness is a real thing and from Spain to Clifton, it’s sucking right now. If everyone is walking around the block resentful of other dogs letting loose at random no one is feeling all that healthy or happy.

-RV