Monday, November 22, 2010

The Injury Guide (or, How Not to Do Things)

Let's get the obvious out of the way: injuries suck.

The hard part, of course, is to not let them get you down. It's one thing to wind up hurt; it's quite another to wind up getting hurt and letting it eat away at you. It's those little things that nibble away at you on the inside until there's no enjoyment to be derived from those activities anymore. At which point, you should throw in the towel, and find something else to do. The lesson, as always: have fun.

The past year and a half have tried my emotional will. On numerous times, it has seemed like my will has been broken. Another obvious statement: thank God for Hannah, for without her I don't think I would've gotten through some of these times. Here's the definitive list:

  • Illotial band syndrome, both knees, July 2009: We had just moved to Portland, and moving that much stuff up and down the stairs was giving my knee hell. I have had an on-again, off-again relationship with my IT, and it was clearly at the "on-again" stage. Kept my running shoes off for a bit, till it finally quieted back down.
  • Stress fracture, right first metatarsal, October 2009: With ski season fast approaching, it was time to get the body into shape. I had also been doing my fair share of the "natural" running craze, so I was rocking Vibram Five Fingers as a secondary running shoe. Nothing too crazy; just two 5Ks a week in them, on a soft surface. However, the score remains: Ground 1, Ryan's bone density 0. I still rock Five Fingers on occasion, but only off-road, or at the gym.
  • Torn ulnar collateral ligament, left thumb, March 2010: Great ski season this past year. Ripping up glades, new mountains, and new trails. However, one trail has always, without fail, eaten me up: Sugarloaf's Misery Whip. The aptly named trail is the former t-bar line for the King Pine area. For those without T-experience, it's probably no wider than 20 feet. Typically includes Volkswagen sized moguls. Always a blast. Well, plant your pole the wrong way with your thumb on the top of the pistol grip and...let's just say you could take my thumb and have it touch the inside of my wrist. Surgery #3 later...and here I am, typing away.
  • IT Band/Patellar femoral/what else can you think of, current: It hurts to bike. It used to hurt to run. Swimming is OK, though.

The things that I've taken away from all this experience?
  1. Never get discouraged. You will come back from this, as much as it sucks currently.
  2. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Your mind will often times get in the way of what your body can accomplish, or what it is trying to tell you. Often times, when you are hurting, it is for a good reason. If it's just a little ache, you can probably go through it. If you're hobbling, or hurting without activity, it's probably time to get it checked out.
  3. Set your goals, but be flexible with them. I wanted to attack triathlon last year, but obviously the hand injury got in the way of things. (It's not fun to run when you have a piece of metal sticking out of you...) I just moved my schedule back a year, and it is probably for the best.
  4. Just have fun: if you got hurt doing something that you love to do, remember the reasons why you love to do those things, not what you did that got you hurt.
Happy training, all. I'll be taking this next week to be thankful, and then it's time to start getting serious. Training program for Rev3 Quassy begins on January 20. Plus, Saddleback opens on December 11.


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