Body, Mind and…Ouch

I am most definitely not a super-buff workout freak, but in the recent months, being in shape has become fairly important to me. Not because I want to live forever, or because something something societal pressures, but because it’s what I want. I like how my body looks and feels when it’s in shape and toned, and I like feeling strong and capable.

I’ve almost always been in shape, but in a different way entirely. There’s a huge difference in being in shape to play a certain sport versus whole body conditioning. Both are totally worthwhile, but this is the first time I’m tackling structured workouts instead of conditioning mixed with the sport in question.

But I’m starting to wonder where the stopping point is. I still want to run a marathon, but runners have notoriously painful joints after years and thousands of miles on the pavement. The circuit training I’m using for Tough Mudder is difficult and challenging and I love it, but it’s killing my joints. This is my leg as I type, ice packs wrapped around a strained muscle that I hurt doing burpees (I’m sitting in the Trex’s room since he’s having a bad night, I only wish those were my toys):

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I’m having trouble typing because I smashed my elbow doing a freakish version of Leap Frog called the Dirty Ballerina. My ankles are swollen and sore, and my hips started popping again when I walk. All these injuries and pains are reminding me why I stopped playing soccer despite being very, very good at it: It hurt way too much. Bad ankles, bad hips, and a bad back just chased me away from competitive play entirely. Now that everything is resurfacing, I’m asking myself if it’s worth it.

The flip side is to fall back out of shape and for me, that’s not an option. I’m having trouble determining the breaking point, though-when do I stop? How much pain is enough?

Maybe after the Tough Mudder I’ll focus on parkour a lot more. It sounds funny, but a lot of the philosophy includes learning how to land softly and safely, saving your joints from wear and tear.

But that’s a big maybe. We’ll see. It’s funny, I never thought I could be in so much pain and feel so fantastic.

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4 thoughts on “Body, Mind and…Ouch

  1. Hey Govneh… Salami here. Running is a very high impact exercise. What is your goal? If it is to get more fit and lose weight, there are many other options, and cardio sometimes works against that goal. Because the body wants to store energy when it knows grueling 3 hour runs will be commonplace.

    My suggestion would be to find a personal trainer or research more, find an exercise that you enjoy but won’t cause joint pain. Kickboxing, P90X, crossfit, free weights. Nothing burns calories like a higher metabolism built on toned muscle from a sane free weight program. And you won’t look like Arnold… he worked out 6 hours a day 6 days a week, used steroids, and was genetically predisposed toward muscle. 🙂

    Best of luck. You’ve taken the big step, but don’t run until you need knee surgery. There are many other options, even hiking in hilly areas with walking poles (to reduce knee stress) will give you a hellish workout, get you outdoors, and save your joints.

    1. Hey, Senor Salami! Thanks for coming by, first of all.
      I think I’m going to scale way back after the Tough Mudder in July. As of right now, that is the goal in view. My biggest problems in finding compatible workouts are convenience and moderation. If I don’t go until I’m dying, I don’t feel satisfied and if I can’t work out within a few miles of home, I won’t do it. Right now I’m mixing running and full-body circuit training, but the impacts from some of the circuit exercises are too hard on my already abused joints. Also, definitely not going for Arnold, more just tone and keeping in shape.
      Thank you for the awesome suggestions though. I’ve never considered doing Kickboxing or crossfit, but I think a structured, regular workout like that will kick my ass enough to keep me happy without all this fun, fun pain. Definitely heading back to parkour, too, as well once this is all over. Landing softly and safely is a core in that sport and I’m anxious to see if my joints can take it.

  2. I think the Tough Mudder and a Marathon are worthy goals. But after you’ve completed those, I think a lower impact fitness philosophy would be worth it for you. Running is not for everyone. Staying fit is for everyone.

    I also want to complete a marathon, but I only want to do one marathon. I think I’d probably get myself injured if I did any more than that.

    If it turns out that you’ll injure yourself too much when you train for a marathon, then you shouldn’t do it, I think. It’s not worth it if that’s the price. And parkour is wicked cool, so that could totally be your exercise. You’d have an excuse to build a giant foam pit to practice moves.

    In the end, if you’re fit, you can still do 5Ks or 10Ks occasionally. You’ll have endurance from other exercises you do, but you won’t kill yourself by running every goddamned day.

    Perhaps you should also look up Dr TFred. She might be able to give you some advice. She might know some good stretches and physical therapy stuff to keep your injuries to a minimum.

    Long story short: Don’t hurt yourself. It’s much more challenging to get fit in a wheelchair.

    1. Haha…foam pits are for those crazy-ass freerunner types.
      I know, I need to cut back. I have July in mind, and then we’ll see.
      I’m getting that brutal workout addiction I think though. HURTS SO GOOD!

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