Since my last blog post I have continued to deal with lower back pain. My back has ceased up on me to a point where I needed steroids three times in the past year and a half. This time, I did nothing to provoke it. To make matters worse, the usual steroid dose pack did not completely resolve my pain as it has in the past. My "runner's knee" still hurts and I have not even ran in two months. I have researched enough to know that all of the aches and pains I've experienced over the past 18 months were most likely linked to my lower back issue. You see, all those years of bumps, bruises, and injuries resulting from soccer and working with horses have not fared well while sitting at a desk 40 hours a week with poor posture.
For me, reality is knocking hard at my door; my body is broken. Even though I "rehabbed" past all of my small injuries, I was just working around my problems without addressing the root cause. After four months of relatively no training, my body is in constant pain. Not being able to stand up straight is definitely an eye opener. I broke down and stepped out of my comfort zone. I admitted that previous decisions were poorly made and that I needed to find someone to help me fix my body’s underlying problems. Only then can I rebuild correctly. My search lead me to a Chiropractic office as well as an Osteopathic Physician. I am still in the midst of having them identify my problems and lay out solutions for me. The issue could be anything from not-so-serious to very serious. Fear and anxiety grip me. Did I wise up early enough to be able to still reach my goals this year? Or [more importantly] did I wise up early enough to still live a long, healthy, active lifestyle?
I am upset over the loss of training and races this year. The only peace I have found in this situation is knowing that my body would never have reached its potential the way it currently is. The continuous manifestation of small injuries would grow and my body would fail me before I ever reach the level I desire. I have decided to sacrifice time now so that I can experience growth and prosperity, not to mention the ability to walk, in the future. A little bit of delayed gratification. Something I've been thinking a lot about lately.
You see, OCR has been fantastic at catapulting people into fitness and ripping them off the couch. However, the sport has a downside that becomes ever more increasingly evident as its popularity grows. These people have started mimicking long time athlete's workouts with the poor form they stood up off their couches with. They pick up bad fitness advice online from other OCR participants who continue to make the same mistakes they regularly give out information on. They think they can race every single weekend for months on end just because the injured masses around them do the same. They want to make years of progress in months. They never take the time to learn, understand, or respect the athlete's way of life. Training periodization, nutrition, biomechanics, sleep habits...all are serious topics with endless importance that are commonly disregarded.
Day in and day out my social media feeds are full of people pushing through pain, fractures and strains. I am all for a little grit and a no-quit attitude, but people are completely disregarding what their bodies are telling them. These people have joined the "Injured and Proud Bandwagon." They have fallen into a vicious cycle of injury-rehab-injury and it is only a matter of time before their bodies quit on them altogether.
Pride, ignorance, and ego stand between them and fixing issues that will prevent them from ever reaching their goals. Ignorance is the shortest track to failure as an athlete. The all-too-common mentality that ‘it could never happen to you’ is great for getting you through your first couple of seasons, until you wake up one day and realize it has been happening to you for two straight years and you have done nothing but turn a cold shoulder. As I dive more in depth into my own issues, it only breaks my heart to see others having a complete lack of respect for their body's long term health.
If this post offends you, then it probably describes you. You can ignore it and continue down the well trodden path of short-and-sweet athletic careers, or you can acknowledge what your body is trying to tell you and take action. Are you looking for a moment of glory; your friends telling you "you're a beast"? Or are you looking for a long lasting, healthy, and active lifestyle that helps you reach your goals? Your life. Your decision.