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The Long Road Back

Last weekend I had the privilege of participating in my first 5K obstacle race of the season.  The LoziLu is an all women mud race that raises money for kids with cancer and donates thousands of pairs of “slightly used” sneakers to people around the world who are in need of footwear.  On the obstacle course race continuum, the event falls much closer to Fun Run than Death Race.  But it is a great opportunity to gather a bunch of girlfriends and do something a little bit crazy together.  It was so much fun, and my team of 16 awesome ladies crossed the finish line together, covered in smiles and plenty of mud.

This was also the first event I have run since fracturing my foot, and I thought it would be a good test of my post-injury strength and agility.

To clarify, this was not really a “race” as it was not a timed event.  The idea was to get dirty, have some fun and finish.  So the amount of  time I spent doing actual running was pretty limited.  Many of the ladies on my team do not train regularly but still wanted to participate.  So we did a little bit of jogging and a whole lot more walking as well as some climbing and crawling.  Suffice to say, it wasn’t very hard, especially compared with some other races I have done in the past.

I was happy to see that my body handled the day’s event just fine but was very cranky after I sat in the car for the 2 hour drive home.  Based on my limited range of motion, you’d think I had just run a marathon.  And won.

To fully understand how I got here, this is a quick review of my life since I stepped on that rock back in April:  After confirming that my foot was fractured, I spent 10 days hobbling around on crutches and was forced to wear the world’s most hideous footwear – aka “the boot” – for 2 months.  Naturally during those first several weeks, my body was completely unbalanced as I favored the bad foot, bearing almost all my weight on the good side.  Once I was relieved of the boot, I attempted to return to my usual workout routine only to find that my newly healed foot and the entire leg it was connected to were completely dead.  No matter what I tried, I could not get those muscles to wake up and get back to work.

Completely frustrated, I complained incessantly to anyone within earshot, which eventually included my sister.  She suggested I make an appointment with the chiropractor she works for to see if he could help.  I have never been to a chiropractor before, so I was a little bit hesitant.  It took a couple of weeks and my sister’s gentle prodding before I mustered the nerve to make the call.

I did not know what to expect.  I had visions of a madman in a lab coat rearranging my vertebrae with some hocus pocus before sending me on my way.  Fortunately I could not have been more wrong.  For the past 3 weeks I have worked on stretching, balancing, strengthening and running.  And I have had my hip adjusted.

Let me say that even using the phrase “my hip” makes me feel like I am about 90 years old.  And the idea of needing to get it adjusted seems like a sign that I should be hanging up my CrossFit shoes and kettle bells for good.  However, the chiropractor is wonderful and is totally on board with my goal of being in proper condition to complete a Spartan Race in early August.  That’s how I know I found the right one.  The good news is that I am doing all my exercises as prescribed, and it is working.  I WILL be read

Nothing delivers a giant dose of reality better than recovering from an injury at a certain age.  The sad truth is that the older we get, the longer it takes to heal.  There is no way around it – our bodies are simply not as resilient as they once were.  And us older folks are just not that patient.

The way I see it, we have 2 choices:  We can use the injury as an excuse to give up on ourselves and our goals.  Or we can use it as an opportunity to dig deeper and find the determination and perseverance that got us this far.  I am kind of proud that my injury came as a result of doing something active rather than from sitting on the couch for too long.  And I will be prouder still when I cross the finish line at the Spartan Race, symbolically giving my hip a flip of the bird.



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