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Everything is Slower than I Want.

16 December 2014

I’m in an impatient place at the moment. My anxiety has been off the charts lately, about everything. Health, home, work. I’m disappointed at how rapidly my fitness falls off when I take a break. Even just a few weeks off and I feel like I’m substantially degraded from my peak at the end of November. And I’ve been injured.

My big injury from the scooter crash is mostly healed. My knee will need a couple of months before it’s back to normal, but it’s just a scab at this point, and doesn’t hurt unless I kneel on something hard. My ribs, which were significantly bruised, are at about 95% now, and I can do things like push-ups without shrieking in unholy agony. But I also have a more enigmatic injury.

I pulled something or tore something or did something to my right lower abdomen. Reasonably close to where it would be, I think, if it were a hernia. It doesn’t hurt, exactly. It’s just there. And has been for a month now. I’m terrified and very anxious that it’s a small hernia. But it doesn’t seem to fit what I know about hernias in other ways.

It doesn’t, for example, have any bulging or hurt a lot. It seemed to get better after a two week rest, but then got worse again when I started running and working out again. But the truth is, I don’t really know much about hernias, and so I don’t know if this is one or isn’t. I should probably go see my doctor. And I will if it doesn’t get better. I did a good hard workout yesterday, including a bunch of stuff that hit my abs, and it feels fine today (though it is not gone, just there, but not painful).

So I’m annoyed that I’m injured and not healing rapidly. I’ve been working on doing pull-ups for about two months now, and I can do two sets of eight, as long as I have a support strap assisting me. I still can’t do one with no assist. I’m getting stronger, slowly but surely, but it takes time. I’m just vaguely disappointed that it’s so hard to get into shape, but easy to get out of shape.

Getting reasonably fit has been, now, nearly a four year process. In that time I’ve dropped 55 pounds, and gone from being able to run a quarter-mile to being able to run 14 miles. Now, of course I could have done that faster and better by being scientific and disciplined about it from the outset. But I did it the way I’ve done everything: idiosyncratically, foolishly, haphazardly. Without direction or plan. It’s worked, mostly.

Now that I have a partner who actually understands how to train and improve rapidly, I’ve make great strides in a short time by following her advice (mostly). That’s wonderful. And I’m now in a place where the training needs to be more disciplined because it really is easy to injure yourself when running for hours at a time. And I suck at that discipline.

I want it to be fast. Just like I wanted to suddenly be 20 years sober, and wise. Learning how to slow down and enjoy the journey is hard for me. I can see it in the way I run, versus the way BB runs. When I run, I stare at the pavement 6 feet in front of me. BB looks around and sees things, like deer and other people and bicycles about to run us down.

I’m tempted to say, “I need to do a better job of enjoying my journey.” But that’s placing more pressure on myself. I should relent and let go of needing to do a better job. Relax. Let myself miss things, let myself be imperfect. Here is my life. This is my time. Pause. Breathe. And then run.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. 16 December 2014 08:45

    So relate to the worrying about needing to get somewhere quick, then worrying I’m missing out on the journey… never satisfied…

  2. 16 December 2014 09:23

    So relate to this. I am just getting back to shape, getting over injury, need to learn so much new stuff, be more organized, finish projects or at least carry them to the next step, all the things. And not only am I impatient, I feel like I should be further along than I am now. I want to be there, not patient. And that can make me feel like I need to be productive at all times, no breaks, no rest. And obviously, that’s not quite healthy and ignores the fact that I’m a human that needs rest/fun/time to reflect too.

  3. Karen permalink
    16 December 2014 10:25

    Know what’s worse than a hernia? Bowel cancer. It’s probably not bowel cancer, so good news! It’s probably a hernia. Which are not always painful, especially early on. But they also don’t just go away. So make an appointment today, and you can put it behind you with concrete action instead of hanging on to it as an ever present free floating background anxiety for as long as the condition will allow you to. Heck, after 6 months maybe you can even persuade yourself you have bowel cancer

  4. tehbride permalink
    16 December 2014 11:59

    As usual doc, what you say rings so true. I often feel like other people get it – get how to have relationships, how to do things right in life, and I’m constantly screwing up and baffled and learning things in my 40s I should have known in my teens. And in some ways it sounds like you feel similarly. Plus you want it now! (and goddamned yes – fitness is so hard to gain and so easy to lose!!)

    From the outside though, I hope you know you’re much admired. I’ve learned so much from reading you and talking to you on the twitters. You’ve accomplished so much, and sharing how you feel helps folks know they’re not alone, too.

    Unsolicited medical opinion – see a good PT, ideally one who can do trigger point therapy and is an athlete or works with (every day joe, like you and me) athletes. My trainer had the same symptoms, and it was muscular, not hernia. I had terrible hip problems and couldn’t sleep much less train, it was muscular, not joint (so surprising to me). My family is full of MDs, and I’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for them, but almost always, when it comes to something to do with athletics, they have been wrong, and my PT fixes everything.

  5. Honey permalink
    16 December 2014 12:11

    I am also a runner and do strength work in the gym. About a year ago I also noticed something that I thought might be a hernia. Turns out it is something quite common called an angioplasty. Basically a non cancerous fatty growth often occurring in the abdomen. It bothers me if I do to much ab work or if I sit in a certain position for too long but other wise its fine. Could be that’s what ailing you!

  6. Syd permalink
    20 December 2014 10:30

    Sounds like a good idea to make an appointment especially since you are at a hospital. Better to know. I work out with aches and pains but nothing like a hernia or bruised rib pain. And lately my back has not been hurting which is good.

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