Saturday, February 4, 2012

You've Got to Know When To Hold 'Em...

...and know when to fold 'em!

Thursday night was a tough night for me in the gym.  I was in about 5 out of 10 pain using the scale Angie has me use to describe my knees to her when I arrived.  I know the shut down point is 6 or more, so I planned on doing a light work out anyway.  I also figured that having physical therapy in the morning on Friday would erase much of the pain I might create, so I decided not to skip the workout on Thursday.

The workout began normally for a treadmill workout...sore knee that loosened up a little bit as I continued to walk.  But at the usual "all better" point...which for me is about 1/2 mile actually was tightening, not opening up.  That was my first signal that this wasn't going to go well.

I kept going up until the mile mark...which I walked in 18:10...slower than usual, but a lot better than back in September when I was begging to break a 20 minute mile.  I reassessed at that point.  The knee was now about a 7 out of 10...not getting better.  Getting worse.  So I shut the workout down, despite the fact that I hadn't reached the goals I had for it.  I went home soon after and began about 4 hours of on and off icing for my knee and anti-inflammatory/pain relievers.  By morning, I could walk again.

I'm sharing this story for a few reasons.

First...I think it's important that we each know our body's rhythms and routines.  To understand these things, you do have to push yourself and pay attention to what your body does.  6 months ago, I'd have never gone to the gym feeling like I did on Thursday night.  I'd have said the pain was too much and just gone home after work.  As it was, I did get the chance to at least get about half of my workout in...and any moving is good moving!  I got that, though, because I understand the way my unique body works.  I know, for example, that my knees on a treadmill generally open up at about the half mile mark.  If I just listened to the pain up to that point and stopped, I'd have never learned that it's significantly better after the first few minutes.

Second...I also think it's important to DO WHAT YOUR THERAPIST TELLS YOU!!!!  I am saddened to hear stories of people who take the time to see a physical therapist, get treatment for whatever they need to have fixed, and then DON'T do the stretches, exercises, etc. that the PT gave you to do on your own.  Really?!  Why bother going at all if you're not going to listen and do what your PT is asking you to do??  My PT is saving my life.  LITERALLY.  I trust her with my life and my health.  When she tells me it's OK to work through a certain level of pain...that I really NEED to push through it, but then stop when it reaches another point...I listen!  And I do it.  There's a reason we go to see doctors, shouldn't we trust them and do what they ask us to do to heal?  I'm just puttin' that out there...!!!

Finally...and I'm still learning this one...I think it's OK to change up your routine a bit when you encounter pain.  You really do have to know when to fold.  And this weekend is a "FOLD" for me.  I'm not going to the gym.  Didn't go last night.  Won't go today.  Therapy yesterday helped my left leg...but it also hurt...and right now, I'm trusting my own interpretation of my body and what it needs.  It needs rest.  I'll walk today...leisurely...around a mall maybe...or possibly even outside before the bad weather we're expected to get tomorrow.  But I'm not gutting it out on a treadmill or an elliptical.  And you know what?  It's really OK.  I'll be back on routine soon enough.  This week was only a 4 workout week...and it's gonna be fine.  The world isn't going to end.  (Well...not because I missed a few workouts!)

Hope you have a great weekend, well!  :-)

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