photo by Steve Penland

Saturday, November 1, 2014

On the Bright Side

I tend to be a glass-half-full kind of person, so now that I'm able to work out again and thus have moved past the "depressed injured athlete" phase of this hamstring thing, I think it's time to look at the bright side of my injury.

Now, a hamstring avulsion is hardly a life-changing event, so don't expect any "wow, I look at life so differently now" type of revelations.  No, this is merely a list of "gee, this could have sucked a whole lot more if circumstances had been a bit different" observations.  So without further ado, here are the "look on the bright side" aspects of my hamstring injury:

  • Professionally, this injury could not have come at a better time.  I have been a special education teacher for 25 years, and for the last 16 years I've had a classroom for kids with cognitive disabilities.  My class size varies a bit from year to year; last year I had 10 kids...and this year I have five.  And they're five of the easiest kids I've ever had.  Pretty much any of the past 24 years would have been a way worse time for this to happen, in terms of how difficult it would have been to have a reserve teacher step into my job for the first six weeks of school.
  • I've been speedskating for the past 10 years.  It's been pretty much my only sport and my only exercise, and it's all, of course, lower-body.  It's only been slightly over a year that I've been doing CrossFit, which has given me a fun way to workout the rest of my body.  So now that lower body stuff is out for a while, I still have workouts I can do.  If I had injured myself before I discovered CrossFit, I would have been mighty depressed if I couldn't skate and had nothing else to replace it with while my hamstring healed.
  • CrossFit not only has given me a way to workout that doesn't involve my hamstring, but I've been doing it long enough that the coaches know me and know what kind of stuff I can and can't do.  So, through personal training sessions with one of the CrossFit coaches, I'm able to get customized workouts that avoid exercises I shouldn't be doing and that help me work on my weak upper body areas.
  • My bicep tendinitis is gone!  One of my chiropractors had said that a 6-8 week break from lifting was likely the only way I would get it to permanently resolve, and of course I wasn't willing to do that.  Now that I've been forced to, I'm happy to report that my shoulder is feeling fine.
  • Because the Granite Games organizers had taunted us with the possibility of a swimming WOD, I had worked on swimming enough this summer that I can now exhale with my face in the water without panicking and risking drowning.  So I'm now able to use swimming (with a pull buoy, no kicking) as a cardio workout while the hammy heals.  It's not pretty, but I wouldn't have been able to do it at all if I hadn't done the practice this summer.
  • I gained a new appreciation of my husband.  I already knew he was wonderful, but I was surprised at how well he jumped into the "nurse" role...fetching me stuff while I lounged in the recliner, cooking and taking care of stuff around the house, and even changing the bandage on an incision I could neither see nor reach.
So despite the timing of this injury being very unfortunate in respect to the Granite Games (which of course I had to miss) and the upcoming Masters Long Track Allround competition in Calgary in early February (which I had planned on doing and which I will be in no way ready or able to participate in)--things could have been a lot worse, and there really are a lot of "bright side" aspects to keep reminding myself of...

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