Overcoming the hurdles

I had my weekly session of physical therapy on Tuesday with Stephen, and it was made clear that I am making great strides in my healing. First we took care of the warm up and some stretching, but then he had me completing a series of new, interesting, and challenging activities. I may hate leg raises, but by far my least favorite aspect of any physical therapy exercise is when it involves balance, for which I have no natural ability. I blame my mangled runner’s feet. Throw in a weak hip and it’s just plain wobbly fun. You can imagine how thrilled I was when I found out that all of the day’s activities involved balance. Joy.

For the first exercise, I had to pull a tense cord towards my body with a slow, fluid rowing movement while standing on one leg. He had me start by standing on my good leg (the left) so I could get a sense for the tension on the cord and figure out where to place my weight. I lifted my right leg and held it at a 90 degree angle while pulling the cord back to my waist. After a few rounds, it was time to shift my balance to my right leg. The first time I let the cord retract, it almost took me with it. However, once I gathered my bearings and tightened my core, I was able to do 20 reps with little problem.

Next we moved onto bungee activities. I belted the giant rubber band around my waist and proceeded to walk forward, backward, and sideways to get a feel for the tension on my body. Once I felt comfortable, Stephen placed four low hurdles on the ground. While they looked innocent enough, these hurdles, which probably only stood about 4 inches off of the ground, provided the biggest challenge for me to date since my surgery.  While walking out and forward – placing a great amount of tension on the bungee – I had to step up and over the hurdles. This means that twice I would have to lead with my right leg. While that is a relatively easy task for me to complete on any given day, being strapped to a wall with a cord and stepping over obstacles tends to make that situation a teensy bit more harrowing. The first time I had to do it, my body completely froze. My brain would not allow my foot to leave the ground for fear I would lose balance, fall, and be dragged backwards. After a few seconds, however, I convinced my left leg to lift off of the ground, step over the hurdle, and move forward. I did it and I didn’t fall! I then completed the task moving forward and sideways. I was nervous and it was tough, but I was not going to be defeated. Not once has there been something I couldn’t accomplish at physical therapy and I plan to continue that trend.

Stephen said I would probably be sore/inflamed the next day, and I was a little bit when I first woke up, but by  late morning I felt like a million bucks. I think the key to that is keeping up with my physical therapy at home and making sure that I am stretched out and strong. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: do your physical therapy! Your therapist knows what he/she is talking about, and though some of the exercises may look and feel stupid and pointless, they are not.

I did not get a chance to go swimming this week; however, I plan on hitting the pool hard this coming week. I’ve been doing a lot of reading as to how to improve stroke efficiency and how to complete a more effective open turn. After oodles of practice last year, I still don’t feel comfortable doing a flip turn when swimming fast, so the open turn is the next best thing. I’ll make sure to report back next week.

Though it was a l o n g week, the weekend cured my stresses…as did a couple of dirty martinis and some good diner food at Kim’s. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of my Irish friends! I made vegan cream of asparagus soup today. It’s green. Sláinte

It tastes a LOT better than it looks.

It tastes a LOT better than it looks.

Random side note: I found out earlier this week that Lady Gaga had hip surgery in February for a labral tear. We’re obviously living parallel lives.

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