I’m posting this from my iPhone, which is a no-no, but I’m currently immobile and just need to let my thoughts flow, so here I am, typing away to you on my teeny, tiny iPhone screen!
I took my state tests yesterday for my dual teaching licensure and ESL endorsement. I find out in July if I passed. I had a hard time because my mind was full of thoughts and I was tired. But I’m glad it’s over and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I won’t have to re-take either test! :/
Yesterday morning, I noticed a little ball in the back of my leg (behind my knee). It’s about the size of a pea and is VERY tender to the touch (come near it and I’ll shank you!!). It caused me discomfort in the test all day yesterday, especially since the hard desk chair was hitting it! On the drive home, I couldn’t bear it and thought I must be dying of something, so when I got home, I did a thorough Google search to self-diagnose myself, ha! Don’t tell me you’ve never done it!
I couldn’t come up with anything, so I turned to my Twitter followers, who are amazing peeps! They’re fitness freaks of all sorts (mostly runners like myself). I got quite a few replies that I have a baker’s cyst. I Googled away and yep! That’s it!
Basically, it’s a build-up of fluid…inflammation. It can also be caused by arthritis, but I’m ruling that out because I’m young.
A baker’s cyst can, in some cases, be a cartilage tear. It can rupture, which sounds and looks terrifying. Serious ones need to be popped or removed via surgery. Popping it? Yea, that’s not so fun! It involves needles being injected into the cyst and letting all the fluid drain. Some also need cortisone injections. (Cortisone is a steroid.)
The cyst itself is on a major tendon in the leg. It can cause pain all along the calf or hamstring. I literally feel it from my knee, up my hamstring, and to my glute on my right leg. It’s lovely.
The good news is, that with anti-inflammatory meds and RICE, they go away on their own. And luckily, I have naproxen and pain killers left from my foot injury back in January. Isn’t that special?
So mark this as running injury number three for me! What have I learned from my injuries? Well, I’ve learned to stop and listen to my body at the first signs of discomfort. I used to run through the pain, and see myself as strong for it, but now I think it takes more strength to stop and recover. In the long run, stopping at the first signs of pain means less time on the bench and more time on the pavement. I’m also reducing the likelihood of permanent damage by letting my body rest instead of pushing through it. I want to run for many years, and being macho by running through the pain won’t help with that!
This injury is a way that my body is telling me I need to start building some more strength. Being stronger will reduce my likelihood of injury. I can’t just run anymore. I need muscle if I want to keep running as much as I am right now. Which is why I’m proud of myself for seeing a personal trainer for the first time this week! *pats self on back*
We had an initial consultation a couple of weeks ago. All of my numbers looked good, but he said my fat percentage is bordering a “Danger Zone,” which is mainly why I scheduled the consultation. Running makes you real lean. In fact, he said I’m lean enough to be a female body builder right now, but that they don’t stay at that fat percentage year-round..only when they’re competing. So I’m now on a fat building mission. Ha!
This is the main reason I decided to see a trainer. I am beginning to have problems with my period, which, after another thorough Google search to self-diagnose (ha!), I know it can be from all my running.
The condition is called amenorrhea, which would stop my periods completely and could cause me to become infertile (which is reversible with proper treatment). I’m starting to feel the change of hormones in my body from having almost no period, so I decided enough was enough, and I needed guidance. (I did rule out anemia at the doctor.)
At the consultation, the trainer told me running releases a lot of estrogen but hardly any testosterone, and this is probably why my periods are becoming almost non-existent. He said weight lifting will release more testosterone, so if I do both, I will balance out my hormones, and I should be ok.
He put me on protein shakes for some meal additions (and also to increase my protein intake, since, as a new vegetarian, I’m not sure I’m getting enough). I’m also now taking a fat supplement three times a day, and I’m working my way up to eating 2,200 calories a day.
I saw him for my first official workout this Friday.
I asked him a TON of questions and learned a lot. He’s teaching me why I do things a certain way and how to do them correctly. He’s very patient and supportive. He knows running is my primary sport, so all of my workouts are designed to make my running better and not interfere with my training.
He’s letting me do the workout circuit style, which I like! I think it’s the runner in me: I just can’t stand stopping to rest. I like my heart rate to stay up.
He writes my workouts down. He writes the weight I’m using, as well as the number of reps and sets. (As I get stronger, all of those numbers will change.) There are drawings to go along with certain things, like my ab and conditioning exercises, and I can use them on my own and refer to them as needed. I like this because the goal is to be able to do this alone someday! He also told me how to structure my strength-training workouts throughout the week, to allow my body to rest and recover appropriately.
He’s going to be giving me new workouts every few weeks too, so that I don’t get bored. That’s one reason I never took to liking weight lifting. I hate doing 30 reps for 3 sets over and over! I need variety!
For this first workout, we did upper body. We started with weights and ended with abs. My trainer took me to the area of the gym I NEVER enter…the part of the gym where all the crazy body builders lift scary barbells and whose eyes are strong enough to kill you with one wrong look! It was intimidating because I was the ONLY girl in said territory (there are hardly EVER any girls in this area). I also feel uncomfortable in this uncharted territory because I have a “scrawny” body now (as my students, children, and hubby have all pointed out to me..thanks, guys!). But that will change soon if I keep this strength training up!
Anyway, the guys in this part of the gym DO NOT kid around. They all look like Hulk. I’m no Hulk. I almost tapped the trainer on the shoulder and said, “Um, Sir, excuse me, but aren’t the machines better for me? I don’t belong over here.” But then I got mad at myself for thinking such a thing, because I’m a feminista at heart, so I resisted the urge to express my initial thoughts and I crossed over into the new territory. Eventually, I know I’ll get comfortable there. Besides, I don’t want to depend on machines. I can learn from this and buy my own bench, weights, and barbells and workout anywhere. There’s a lot more freedom in this type of a workout!
The ab workout was totally killer! I loved it. It was my absolute favorite part of the session. It was a circuit workout and I did ab moves I’ve never seen anywhere. Boy did I feel it! I started saying, “Ahhhh” at one point during it, and my trainer (let’s call him Trainer from now on) kindly responded, “You want a six-pack, don’t you?!” I replied, “I’m not so sure anymore!” Ha! But I pushed through it. Trainer was laughing at me. I’m glad I gave him something to laugh at lol.
I’m hoping that I get stronger. I mainly want a strong back and a six-pack. Having nice, defined arms wouldn’t hurt either! You can’t be a strong runner without a strong upper body. If your body is unbalanced in strength, you’re at risk for injury, and you’ll impede your ability to improve. So this is the beginning of my mission to GET STRONG! I hope I see results soon. I want it now already!
Have you ever had a personal trainer? What was your experience like?
How do you cope with injury? When do you decide to take it easy? How bad does it get for you to see a doctor about it?
I’ll be back soon to tell you all about my summer challenge, which will begin next weekend (June 16th), so MARK YOUR CALENDARS and get ready to have some summer fun!