The Inevitable Decline of Man

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How do you like that title? As I sit here, I really don’t know where to start this post. It seems as though no good deed goes unpunished. And so it begins. My good deed? Well, I guess that would be whipping myself into good shape over the past few years. It’s been a great journey to date, and I’m certainly hoping I’ve got a lot more athlectic accomplishments on the way, but yesterday, I was dealt a blow. The trouble with writing my post about it at this moment is that I think I’m in the anger stage. Let me set the stage. 2006 was by far my most active year. I’m sure I ran well over 2000km in total, as well as lots of biking, swimming and paddling. By all counts, the year went pretty smoothly. Good race results, and very little pains, other than the inevitable aches and strains. However, none severe enough to interrupt my training for massages or anything. I did go visit a doctor once during marathon training with a strained hamstring, but she just showed me extra stretches and got me to rest a couple weeks. So where did I go wrong, and what is wrong? Well, read on dear friends.

After my last race in September (the SAC champs on the 30th), I noticed some stronger persistent pains in my left leg and foot. I attributed it to the race, and wrote it off. I was heading to Argentina for vacation anyway, and decided to take a month off to recuperate from the summer. Upon returning, I decided to get back into training, and ramp up quickly. Well, the pain was back, stronger than ever, and worsened by training. Clearly, there was a problem. Things came to a head this past weekend, when I did about 3 hours of training Saturday (trail running and biking in the cold), followed by 3.5 hours of training Sunday (early morning run followed by 2 hours of spinning). Well, by the time spin class was wrapping up, I was barely using my left leg anymore due to the pain. It was clear I had to see someone to at least get a note for some massages. So I booked an appointment.

I went to PSI Rehab at the Scotiabank Place to see a doctor. After an interview and diagnosis period. I was informed that I’d have to stop running and biking totally! For at least 6 weeks, probably more like 8 weeks! Not only that, but I was given a mitt-full of prescriptions; for anti-inflammatories, physiotherapy twice a week, and massage therapy once a week ( I think that’s what they say, hard to read Dr. writing, isn’t it?). So what’s wrong with me? Well, apparently, a pretty bad case of tendonitis in my medial hamstring. While taking a month off wasn’t bad, it was pretty useless without some therapy. So now I’m embarking down the treatment road, rather than simply resting.

Of course, all that news was slow to absorb, but now with the snow flying, I just realized I’ll have to miss a couple races, and will be unable to hit the snowshoes or cross-country skis for the next while. Not to mention all my investment in spinning classes and running activities will have to grind to a halt. Being who I am, I must now question, well, what exactly does ‘stop running’ mean? The cynic in me feels that maybe just light biking would be okay, since it is lower impact. And isn’t skiing lower impact too? Well, although it may seem yes is the answer, the problem is related to the motions and stresses associated with them, not hard impacts. F*CK! I’m pretty sure I’ll keep going to my 2-hour spin classes on Saturday, but I’ll really just spin, not train. I’ll force myself to be lazy. Guess I’ll cut out the running though.

How will I cope? Well, the good(ish) news is that I’m not totally out of luck. I can certainly increase my swimming frequency, as well as do a lot more upper body workouts (including back and core) for the next 6-8 weeks. Meaning, I can focus on some of my other weaknesses, and try to make the best of a bad situation. The other good thing is that I’m addressing it now, so I should be patched up in time to start heavy marathon training again, to get my Boston qualifying goal out of the way! My winter racing will likely take a hit here, but I’m getting to the root of the problem, and should be in even better condition for the summer. Here’s hoping.

My biggest worry is that I’ll get lazy again, and possibly eat more than I should and lose some of my fitness gains that I’ve worked so hard to maintain. For example, yesterday, I had a blood pressure of 113 over 73, and a resting heart rate of 55 bpm. I’m also at a very respectable weight of 135 lbs. and fat composition at around 13%. I don’t want to lose that. Now that I’ve put it in print, I know where I have to stay I guess. I’ll also have to watch my alcohol intake over the holidays, since a) I’m on medication and b) since I won’t be offsetting the effects with exercise 🙂

Anyway, if next you see me, and I happen to be grouchy, you’ll have a good idea why that is. Sorry team and friends, I’ll have to pass on some of the upcoming training sessions. Consider it an investment in my future athletic pursuits. The doctor pretty much said I could ignore her, but I’d likely be asking for a lifetime of problems going forward. I guess I choose to get better given the alternative, and the fact that New Zealand is coming up. Till next time, stay limber and train safe!

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