Thanks for inspiring me!
The best part of my job is watching you all meet your goals. I get to be part of amazing transformations over and over again. I have to tell you, it never gets old. I should also let you know that half the time I’m totally jealous. Setting a goal, systematically chipping away at your goal and then accomplishing it is an amazing, sometimes life altering experience. I know this because I did it over and over again until 4 years ago. It was exactly 4 years ago that everything changed.
In 1998 I began a racing career that completely changed my life and came to define me. It is why I became a personal trainer. I was not athletic AT ALL growing up. So when I began distance running and triathlons (at the insistence of an amazing group of co-workers who became close friends), I found this completely new person inside of me. That new person ran close to 20 half marathons, a full marathon and became a triathlete who regularly placed in her age group.
It was exactly 4 years ago that I went for a 6 mile training run on a very rainy day and sustained an injury that brought my racing career to a screeching halt. It was 2 weeks before the Seattle Half Marathon, a race I’d completed many times before. All my long, grueling training runs were behind me. I was strong and pumped for this race. So I headed out on a 6 mile run in Magnolia. I picked a route that had as many hills as I could find (hills are aplenty in Magnolia!) Because of the relentless rain, there were huge puddles everywhere. Some of the puddles came well past my ankles. Within the first mile I was soaked and my shoes were carrying a ton of extra water. By the end of the run my legs were *completely* trashed from dragging shoes full of water. My hips were achy, but I figured some rest would do the trick.
Rest did nothing for my right hip. I had to drop out of the half marathon. I spent 2 years with doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors and acupuncturists. I had X Rays and MRIs. No one could diagnose my pain. And I could not run. Here and there I would eek out 3 miles, but then I often couldn’t comfortably sit afterward. I carried a donut pillow around for 6 months, trying to cushion my hip every time I sat down. Let me tell you how much it does for one’s credibility as a personal trainer to be sitting on a donut pillow for 6 months.
My identity as an athlete and a trainer was damaged – big time. I couldn’t do many of the things I loved without pain. No running, no biking, no yoga, no lunging. I couldn’t do most of the things I told my clients to do. It killed me. Plus, I was completely freaked out about gaining 50 pounds overnight. If you’re used to high intensity workouts 6 days a week, it is really scary to think what will happen to your body when you just stop that.
I had not been without a fitness goal in years. I was frustrated, depressed and cranky. Additionally, I was completely jealous of my clients who were kicking ass, meeting goal after goal. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to see my clients succeed. But it was incredibly hard for me to not push myself the way I push all of you.
My saving grace was discovering boxing. About a year and a half into my injury I found Cappy’s Boxing Gym. After my first class I called my husband from the car, “Oh my God, it was so much fun!!!” It was the first endorphin high I had in a year and a half and I was immediately hooked. Boxing provided as AMAZING workout. I mastered the jump rope and the speedbag (my two nemesis’s intitially.) But I still had no goal. I still missed running. I was still DYING to cross a finish line.
Enter the foam roller. . .
I have long been a fan of the foam roller and myofascial release. Myofascial release is like deep massage work. With a foam roller you can release your fascia and muscles in a way that stretching cannot. Over the past couple years I have been using the foam roller more and more to treat aches and pains – almost like self massage. I started to work on my hips and made a connection between foam rolling and my hip pain. If I really worked out some of the kinks in my bad hip, it seemed to be much less cranky. Over time, I pretty much rid myself of the pain and discomfort I had withstood for the past few years.
Then my good hip started to misbehave. Luckily, I had my foam rolling technique down pat and was able to treat the good hip as well.
About a year ago I began running again, consistently. 6 months ago I began to increase my mileage. This summer I got up to 6 miles without pain. This was a HUGE milestone. But it was HARD. Distance running is physically and mentally challenging. For me the mental challenge always gets me. Without a goal (an upcoming race) I have a very hard time doing much mileage. So I quietly set a goal. Seattle Half Marathon 2010. The same race that I dropped out of 4 years ago.
Two weeks ago I ran the course where my injury occurred. I slaughtered that course. I finished fast, strong and painfree.
I have trained up to 11 miles now. The race is two weeks out and my hips aren’t loving me, but they aren’t hating me either. So, I’m taking really good care of them and training really smart. I’m not pushing too hard and I’m not looking to PR the Seattle course. I’m looking to finish. I’m looking to sweat it out. I’m looking to conquer that damn hill at mile 8. I’m looking to cross a finish line with tears in my eyes and my fists in the air. I’m looking to find my inner athlete again. I’m looking to accomplish a goal. I’m looking to inspire those of you who inspire me everyday.
Can’t wait to let you know how it goes 🙂 .