More Confessions Of A Recovering Runaholic
The human body is an amazing thing. We’re really just a pile of bones held together by muscles and ligaments. Our heads are attached to our bodies only by the action of muscles. Likewise, our arms and legs do not sprout out of our trunks like branches out of a tree. Our limbs are created from a complex and elegant interplay of muscles, which attach via tendons to different bones, and connect the peripheral parts of our bodies to our core. Our muscles contract this way and that, each having its own role in extension, flexion, rotation or what have you. I find it fascinating that our bones are basically floating about in our bodies, only anchored by the action of our muscles. I think of how floppy my babies were when they were born, and how they could barely move intentionally, and how they then gradually learned to lift their heads, then their upper bodies, then they crawled, and then the extensors of the legs were strong enough for that first little push to standing. Absolutely fascinating.
I’m learning lessons about the impact of this on my own body, which is many decades past being a floppy newborn. About how my gluteus maximus muscle (the big one in my butt) is weak on the left side, and fails to extend the hip. (The classic line from Sir Mix-a-Lot comes into mind right now…) About how my core muscles (transverse abdomens especially) have been obliterated by carrying two babies to term, and how this affects pelvic (and hip) stability. About how those dang pelvic floor muscles are about as strong as a newborn kitten. It always comes back down (pardon the pun) to the pelvic floor. I should know better, as I counsel my patients daily about doing their pelvic floor exercises after noting prolapse after prolapse while doing Pap smears. Those sneaky pelvic floor muscles are to blame for so many of the aftermaths of having children. And now they are partly to blame for the fact that I have not been allowed to run for the past eight weeks.
I’m definitely on the road to recovery. The exercises I have been doing diligently every day (well, most days – there are regular days every week when I fall asleep once the kids go to bed and no pelvic floor exercises are done) have resulted in a much more stable hip joint. For the first time in four years I can walk normally – without feeling like my left hip is stiffening up. And my physiotherapist has stopped grimacing when I ask him about when I can start running again. The last time I asked him, he gave a little smile that I couldn’t interpret. Was he waiting for me to ask? Was I being too predictable? Was I being too type A? Who cares. He plainly said that next week I can start running again. Short intervals, and monitor my pain levels. Increase slowly. He also said that a half-marathon in October did not seem feasible, but a 10K race did.
So it looks like my little affair with the spin bike might be coming to an end soon. I still can’t believe I’ll be back on the track next week; I’ll celebrate when it happens. Until then, I’ll be doing my pelvic floor exercises. Every day. Ok, most days. Forever. Because you never know what else they are going to affect.