Five years ago I was diagnosed with “too much booty shake”. On the spectrum of physical ailments, it could be much worse I suppose. Before you go making up your mind about what kind of girl I am, I should mention that the booty shake isn’t intentional or dramatic. And it’s not as cute as it sounds either. Basically, I have weak glutes that result in hip instability. So, while my husband doesn’t mind it, the booty shake isn’t doing me any favors in the body mechanics department. It has ended up being quite problematic for me as a runner.
In 2007 I ran a half marathon. Up until that point, I had never really experienced a chronic injury or dealt with anything that some good stretching couldn’t take care of. After the race, I had terrible pain in my left foot that kept me from running. One of my best friends is a Physical Therapist and performed a thorough examination of my mechanics and concluded that my glutes were not doing much at all. The lazy asses were just sitting there making my leg muscles do all the work. She summed it up by saying, “Nate, you have too much booty shake.” She gave me several exercises to strengthen my booty and lower body stretches to help loosen my tight leg muscles. Within a few weeks I was able to get back into the running routine. Since then I have been very intentional about strengthening my glutes and stretching everything from the hip down like it’s my job.
I have been able to manage the issue and still keep running as the keystone of my fitness. Through trial and error I learned to strike a reasonable balance between running, cross training, strength training and stretching. Yoga now shows up in my weekly routine too. Sometimes I get so excited about running that I ditch all cross training (cycling, elliptical, stair mill) and run several days in a row. While it is awesome for my mental state, and cardiovascular fitness, it throws the balance off and my left leg/foot injury flares up.
Since March I have been on a running kick (what’s new) and neglecting other low impact cardio alternatives. I know better and have been waiting for my left leg/foot to get pissed off … sure enough a week and a half ago it did. I have not run in 10 days. I have been here before and I know it is temporary, but I am still so disappointed and discouraged. I feel a little maniacal and on edge – I want so badly to take off and let it rip! My husband has reminded me more than once this week that it is only a temporary break and I’ll be back at it soon. But, I am struggling to find that perspective. Being physically limited, even if only for a week or two, makes me feel out of control and trapped. I don’t like it. I don’t tolerate it very well. More about that another time.
So, here I am in Plan B mode. Running is my wonderful, trustworthy, favorite Plan A. I love it. I don’t like that it is out of bounds right now. I don’t like not getting my way (turns out there is more than one toddler in my house). I feel like I am settling with cross training. I am proceeding with Plan B and pouting the whole way through.
By the end of my elliptical workout this morning, I had a more objective perspective. I thought back on the past 10 days spent in Plan B. There have been advantages to switching up my routine – I have been doing more group fitness classes, meeting up with friends at the gym, testing my strength in yoga, and trying new sequences on elliptical that leave me breathless and worked. I am thankful for the opportunity (albeit forced) to try new things and challenge myself in new ways. It is good for me to have to find a solution that works with my limitations and enjoy myself in Plan B. I want to be someone who can adjust to challenges and a change in plans. Isn’t that part of training anyways? To condition ourselves mentally and physically to adapt and perform?