Monday, May 17, 2010

Injuries are Annoying

I think I can safely say that I've become a runner. No - that gives the impression that I move fast, and I don't. Maybe I can safely say that I'm a jogger? Still, no - "jogging" has a connotation of moving swiftly . . . I can safely say that I'm a meanderer? I move about. I think, by the definition of the word "run", when it comes to speed-walking, that I'm actually running as there are times that both of my feet are not touching the ground (a qualifier for disqualification in a speedwalking competition if my "watching the Olympics while eating potato chips" education means anything).

Yes, I can safely say that I've become a meanderer, though my body tells me that I'm "running" during these meandering sessions (turns out that working out and writing really aren't any different for me). But, qualifying whatever the hell I'm doing isn't the purpose of this post (there's a purpose?). I hate injuries.

A few weeks ago, I made my first bicycle commute into the office. My schedule these days is a bit more complex than it was at one point -- I have symphony rehearsals on Mondays, teach bass lessons on Tuesdays, have band practice on Wednesdays . . . oh, and I have an infant son with a newborn daughter expected to join us before the summer really turns up the heat. So, I haven't gotten to bike into work much -- and the one fateful May Thursday was awesome. While my times were truly horrendous, it was just great to get biking again -- and I told myself that it was going to become a weekly occurrence. Then Friday hit. I went for a walk around the office -- wasn't really paying attention & stepped funny on the sidewalk. My left ankle "popped", but I kept on going with some discomfort.

That night, I got home, took off my shoe, and said "oh, dear", as my ankle was quite swollen (though not entirely painful, yet). The next day, I could barely walk, and I could barely walk on the damn joint for almost 2 weeks. Just as I was starting to hit my stride with my workout regimen, getting to enjoy the old (cycling) and the new (meandering), I had to put the brakes on.

The ankle took forever to heal - after a week, I made myself go to the doctor, just to ensure that there wasn't something seriously wrong (it never felt too bad, but a full week without any recognizable improvement lead me to worry). After some poking & prodding, I had the doctor stumped. See, I could walk on it, which generally means that nothing was broken. But, it was really, really swollen, and the epicenter of the pain said "this might be a bone issue". I mean, the doctor actually pulled out a plastic model of the foot bone structure - not to demonstrate what I had done to myself, but to try to figure out what was done. After some x-rays, it was confirmed that there wasn't anything really wrong - I was just being a baby with a really swollen joint. The final diagnosis is that I sprained the joint, but sprained it in an area that nobody ever sprains their ankle.

So, I went several weeks with barely working out. I did start a new rule -- as I've been overcome with conference calls at work, and I close my door for every conference call (so as to not irritate anybody in hailing distance to my office), I force myself to do pushups when I close and then open my office door. I also cleaned off the cat stuff from my weight bench & started lifting a bit -- I was simply going stir-crazy without being able to do much in the way of aerobic exercise.

Well, the ankle swelling is nearly gone now. Every now & then, I'll notice a little twinge, and apparently I still have a bit of a limp, though I've gotten back into running. I managed four miles on Friday after spending much of the day driving, four more on Sunday before heading out for an all-afternoon band practice, and then four more this morning before work. No real complaints (aside from a bit of soreness) from the joint, so I don't think I'm doing too much harm.

So, the rest of this week will hopefully see me fully back on track with the plan, though the dog-walking has already started in full-force once again. Eating, I've actually been pretty good throughout the injury recovery -- fruit + yogurt for breakfasts, salads or leftovers for lunch, snacks of fruit throughout the day. As this is national "bike to work week", I am hoping for three commutes (Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday - which is "bike to work day").

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