Injuries require patience
It’s not easy for me to be patient with anything. Especially myself. I’ve learned over the years that you need to be patient with others or you’ll drive yourself insane. No one seems to move at the pace you do because the things that are high on your totem pole are not necessarily as important to others. That blows, but is a reality.
We also need to patient with injuries.
Just over one year ago I pulled both of my hamstrings while sprinting about 250 yards. I was hydrated and my muscles were in good shape, but I wasn’t as warmed up or stretched as I should have been. I have this tendency to pull hamstrings- more on that later. I was down and agitated about my injury. I love working out and running around and optimizing my fitness; just working upper body doesn’t do it for me. I was impatient as f*ck.
I rested my legs for probably two weeks. My attempts to further the healing in those two weeks were faulty. I was stretching my legs in attempt to heal. A big no no. Don’t stretch pulled muscles. It only makes them worse. I was using a dry heating pad. Another no-no. Only use wet heating pads and only use heating pads once you’re past the 4-day ice only stage.
My legs were feeling decent, but not great at all, when I went on vacation to North Carolina with my family. If I have nothing to do in a given day, my only priority is the thing I love to do most: work out. My immaturity, impatience and zeal had me surfing the web for the nearest CrossFit to our condo. Of course, and unfortunately for me, there was a box that was one mile away. I was erroneously pumped. I threw on my vibrams, ran over and introduced myself to the team. Day one went well. Something like 100 pullups, 100 bodyweight squats and 100 pushups.
It all went wrong on day 2. Despite my legs not feeling great, I participated in a workout that had us maxing out with 2-3 reps of the heaviest weight you can handle while performing single-leg barbell split squats. Real easy on pulled hamstrings. WTF was I thinking? My thin veil of invincibility got wrecked on the final rep of one of the sets. I ended up pulling a groin and re-tearing one of the hamstrings.
I hobbled home and alternated between hobbling and icing the rest of the trip. I then hobbled around for another month afterward. So stupid. I healed in the end, obviously, but my impatience made the healing phase probably 3 times longer than it could’ve been.
I pulled a hamstring again three weeks ago while sprinting. This time I was warmed up, stretched and hydrated. Something must be wrong with my gait. Rather than be all pissy and impatient, I learned from my prior experience to effectively play the cards that were dealt.
This time I iced every hour for 15 minutes for 4 days. I did no stretching for three weeks. I procured a muscle stimulation machine from one of my friends and used it a few times per day. I purchased a sleeve from Sports Authority to compress and bring heat to the muscle after the icing phase. I wore this sleeve all day long every day. The only workouts I did with my legs was walking for three weeks.
I am now back running around and using my legs for workouts, but am definitely in the ramp up phase. I am going light on the running and with weights. I am content to slowly ramp up, making sure I’m back to full strength in one month rather than three.
Patience is truly a virtue. Take heed from my story. Learning the hard way is typically the only way I learn lessons. Dang.