Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The time it takes to heal

Traveling at godspeed
over the hills and trails
I have refused my call
pushin' my lazy cells
into the blue flame
I want to crash here right now
the hourglass spills its sand
if only to punish you

for listenin' too long
to one song

“Sing Me Spanish Techno,” The New Pornographers

So I did a couple of things today that bummed me out. The first was visiting my physical therapist in the morning, still crusty-eyed from another rough night of sleep and carrying the shame of relapse. Instead of getting the stern lecture I deserved, I got some wince-inducing stretches that didn’t even touch my knees. For some reason, the PT has started to direct almost all of her focus on my IT band, which I don’t even understand. All I do know is I now have a new burning sensation - in my upper leg - and no real source of hope. And, if nothing else, a physical therapist should offer hope, don’t you think?

So after that I hobbled over to the gym and renewed my membership. I had a membership when I first moved to Juneau, back when I was a real baby about all the rain. But once I adapted to the whims of seafaring life, I downgraded my membership to punch passes and then barely used them. Life was good then. I got out a lot, and I fell way behind on my celebrity gossip. But now that I’ve sworn off cycling, my options are limited. It’s really best to keep my swimming down to two days a week ... at least until I chop off “that rattrap,” which is what Geoff calls my hair now. And I do need to do more weight training in order to build strength where atrophy reigns. So it’s back to hamster wheels and People magazine for me.

In the meantime, I continue to search for reasons. Back when life was good and I had no idea which body part Britney Spears shaved that week, Geoff and I actually had a couple of discussions about my one-note bicycle training. It think it was after we came home from some short cross-country ski outing. I started complaining about the various areas where I was more sore than I should be (in my ongoing effort to prove that skiing isn’t actually fun). “Well no wonder,” Geoff said. “It’s not like you ever use your feet.”

And it’s true. When I wasn’t bicycling, which was really rare, I was skiing, running on the elliptical machine or lifting weights. In fact, after snow first covered the mountains and I stopped hiking, I didn't participate in a single full-impact activity. I had been shielded from gravity since October. No wonder my knee buckled under the first sign of stress.

Now that I’m several months wiser, I’d swear my allegiance to cross training in a millisecond if I thought it could help. I realize, though, that I don’t really have a choice.


  1. Success is counted sweetest
    By those who ne'er succeed.
    To comprehend a nectar
    Requires a sorest need.

    Not one of all the purple Host
    Who took the Flag today
    Can tell the definition
    So clear of Victory

    As he defeated — dying —
    On whose forbidden ear
    The distant strains of triumph
    Burst agonized and clear!

  2. "It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to cry." -Bob Dylan

  3. I'm really sorry about your set back. I won't song quote you, as you can go to my blog to get that. There are other PTs out there even in Juneau, so if yours isn't offering hope, you need to find another. At least mine understands my frustrations and agrees with me when I see stuff ain't happening as it should.

    The gym isn't that bad. You can enjoy it. I know I do. Being stronger certainly can't hurt.

  4. I get the feeling your not good at waiting =)

    A time for peace, a time for war....

    I think the human body is able to do these amazing feats but pushed to far it well shut you down.

    Maybe you just gotta play it mellow for a bit?

  5. Jill,
    I'm sure that you've had a ton of advice on this subject but reading about your doing more gym and cross training workout prompted me to ask you if you've ever heard of the CorePerformance website or routine.
    I recently read CorePerformance Essentials and thought if anything it might be a decent read for you while your on the hamster wheel at the gym. The logic behind the system is incredibly simple, yet not always the most obvious when we're going about our daily exercise routines.
    Well anyways good luck healing!

  6. Hi Jill,
    yep the slideshow thing in Palmer on the 19th is happening. Check mtbr.
    hope to see you there!

  7. All I can add ti this is ine of Freidrich Neitzche's best known quotes....paraphrased a tiny bit:

    "In life's war, what doesn't destroy us utterly, makes us stronger."
    Twilight of the Idols

    My point is that you will come out of this stronger, faster and wiser. Keep the chin up, relapses happen.

  8. Sorry to hear that you are hurting. I hope that summer finds you all healed and ready to ride on.

  9. Jill, things will get better!

    I've had a few overuse injuries in the past, and they were all caused by not having balanced strength. Certain muscles were overcompensating for others etc. etc.

    Keep up with the cross training. It makes a huge difference!

  10. I know the knee thing well, stick with what they tell you to do... seriously. I'm on the comeback trail myself and it was only after I switched PTs and learned the virtue of stretching seemingly unrelated areas that I started to see improvement. You'll be back.


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