Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Injured, Sick, I Still Exercise

I usually don't put pronouns in the titles of my posts. I have a big ego and feel like I know what's best for everyone. However, in this post I'm going to give terrible advice. So I had to place emphasis on what I do. Because you probably shouldn't do it.

Unless you're crazy like me.

I know what the good advice is regarding injury and sickness. I read it every day on feel good sites. "Got a sniffle? Take a week off!" "Banged your toe? See a doctor!" I'm being a bit snide. You should take a break when you're hurt. It's just that I never do. I can't. I've convinced myself that taking a day off of exercising will do me more harm than the Bubonic Plague (which I think I may have right now). If I don't run, I die.

In the week from the 20th to the 26th, I ran 75 miles. Most runners will tell you that you should increase your distance week-over-week by 10% at most. I increased mine by about 50% over Christmas. So it came as no surprise that after I ran yet another 10 miles on Sunday, I got a nasty calf tear. It hurt to walk. I had to use the rails and hop on one foot going up and down the stairs. This was exactly the time when I should have taken a few days off running.

I did not.

Again, I'm going to emphasize that you shouldn't do what I do. But I'm not really interested in writing a bunch of fluffy bullshit to make friends and get mad clickz. You get the bad with the good.

I did deadlifts Monday morning. Then I ran 6 miles. I had to run on the ball of my left foot the whole time. Then on Tuesday I did deadlifts again and ran 7 miles. 90% of that run was on the ball of my foot as well. I took Wednesday off of running, because it's my usual rest day. But I still lifted and bicycled for an hour. Then Thursday through Sunday I ran a total of 43 miles. By the end of that my calf was totally healed.

This road leads to success! And calf injuries.

Would it have healed faster if I hadn't run? Maybe. Though it healed pretty impressively fast. I find my body recovers really quickly from pain, soreness, and injury these days. Because it has to.

After New Years, I got a brutal cold. Awful. I can't remember the last time I was this sick. It feels like I was hit by a train, and then while I lay there, a rat came, crawled up my nostril, and died. I didn't realize I was sick at first. My deadlifts over the weekend were very weak. My runs were exceptionally slow. I still did them.

On Monday, I couldn't get up. I just couldn't. Thankfully I had already taken the day off work to detox from the holidays. I lay in bed until about noon. I'm not even sure what time it was. I just know other humans were up, living their lives, rejoicing in their vigor and good health. Not me. I was idly swatting at the grim reaper. "Go away, I'm only almost dead."

Then I got up and did deadlifts. They were awful. Then I rode the stationary bike for an hour and ten minutes. I watched Catwoman while bicycling. It is not a good movie. But it felt good to sweat. I felt better for a couple hours after exercising. Then I collapsed and spent the rest of the evening in bed. Which screwed me up because I couldn't fall asleep that night. The feeling of my brain trying to dissolve inside my skull didn't help either.

At about 1am I emailed my boss and said I probably wouldn't be coming in to work Tuesday. And I totally did not. Again I was woken up sometime near noon by the cheerful sun beating on my face and my cat trying to chew my arm off because she was starving.

Note to self...

I got up and did deadlifts. They were awful. I rode the stationary bike and watched Orange is the New Black. I walked a couple miles to the grocery store. Then I spent the rest of the day drawing a spaceship and drinking Coors Light. The wisest decision? Perhaps not. But I'm at work today, writing this post on my lunch. So maybe Coors Light is the magical cure-all we've all been dreaming of.

"Drawing" is never a wise decision for me.
I'm like a retarded 3 year old with a broken crayon.

Should you exercise when you're broken, or on the verge of death? No. You shouldn't. You really shouldn't. But I've never cared about what I should or shouldn't do. When somebody in my karate class comes to class despite being injured, I tell them they shouldn't push themselves. That they can aggravate their injury. But secretly, I feel proud of them.

I know I know. It's a macho guy thing. It's dumb. Someday I'll really break myself.

But I haven't yet. I've been trying. Oh how I've been trying. But my body has just been taking it all and getting stronger and stronger. I'm almost at a point where I couldn't kill myself even if I tried. Almost.

If I was to try to give you any meaningful advice after all that, it would be this. Compromise. Find a balance between those folks who look for any excuse to take a break, and lunatics like me. Push yourself a little harder than you normally would. That's how you grow. That's how you test your limits. That's how you find out what you're capable of. That's how you accomplish things you never thought you could.

Accomplishing amazing things.... in a kilt!

Um, but yeah. If you feel like North Korea just tested their new hydrogen bomb on top of your head, then maybe take a day off.


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  3. Best Rx for an injury:

    Get a new one so you forget about the old one!

    Peter! I use Echinacea all year all (the natives had it right) to prevent those nasty colds and flus. Try it out!!!