Chapter 9: I Can’t Stop
So here I am 4 1/2 weeks post-surgery. The healing has slowed down a bit, but it still seems to be going well. I can walk outside, go shopping, etc. with little pain as long as I have the foot blade in my shoe and I don’t walk too fast. The advantage compared to pre-surgery is I can wear normal shoes as long as they can accommodate a foot blade, and the range of motion in my big toe joint is fairly good. I can walk without the foot blade, but it’s still too painful to walk very far or very fast without it. Walking is actually not much better than it was pre-surgery but it’s still too soon to say how successful the surgery has been in that regard.
The most exciting thing these days is that I have been practicing on my unicycle and I can actually do 4-5 pedal rotations hands free!! Check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fK0agW5918&list=UU9–gPcNJAbliBLcyj_z3HA&index=1&feature=plcp It’s a lot of work, but so much fun! The first few times I practiced it hurt my foot a bit despite wearing solid shoes, but now as long as I have the foot blade in my shoe I don’t even notice it. It’s weird to be able to practice on a unicycle but not be able to walk very far, but there it is. I can’t wait to be able to “free mount” (mount the unicycle hands free) and to ride around totally hands free and to be able to stop and dismount instead of just falling off. I’m quite proud of myself for taking a negative (not being able to fly on trapeze) and turning it into a positive (unicycling). And I’m pleased with my progress so far.
This weekend I’m going rock climbing with friends. We’re going to try some easy trad climbs and see how it toes. If it hurts my shoulders or foot too much I’ll just stop and enjoy the day with friends out at the crag. I’m excited to be going with a fun group and being outside all day.
I am learning a lot more about how my body works from my personal trainer. I am already noticing some subtle changes. The other day I was tired and as I started to walk up the stairs I expected to feel a bit stiff or sore but instead my legs and gluts felt strong. Also, when I picked up a heavy bottle of laundry soap yesterday the muscles in my shoulder blade were engaged and I didn’t feel the expected strain on the top of my shoulder. That’s exactly what I’m aiming for.
And I’m learning to stop and rest when I need to. It makes a difference. Imagine that! I am not good at stopping, especially when I get excited about something like unicycling, flying trapeze, climbing, etc. And over-training in the gym is a given if I think it will make me a better flyer, climber, or rider. But I have to learn to train smarter and be aware of which aches and pains mean I have to stop and which ones are just par for the course. I don’t think I’m ever pain free, which is probably why I have learned to ignore it. That approach has been okay up until now but I’m more active than I have been for a while so if I don’t want to continue hurting myself I have no choice but to pace myself. And although “I can’t stop” sums me up pretty well, I actually can stop when I need to. Now I have to learn how to do that more consistently and how to stop, literally, on my unicycle.
So all in all things seem to be going pretty well. My emotions went waaayyy down last week, but I picked myself up and did some exercise, practiced on my unicycle, and voila! I was back to Honey Badger mode! (If you don’t know about the Honey Badger, check out this video by Randall: http://randallshoneybadger.com/). In fact, I think the sequel to this blog will be called “How to stay fit and not give a shit.”