I hate my body. It’s an untrustworthy piece of rubbish that turns against me the moment I try doing something nice for it. Here I am, trying to get fit and stay healthy, and all it rewards me with is pain.
About a year ago I wrote how I started running. For those of you who missed it, an elliptical trainer gave me false confidence regarding my physical fitness, resulting in a painful case of shin splints when I actually took to the road. That eventually cleared up, and I managed a few more runs. Then winter arrived with bang, I got a cold, I stopped running, and didn’t start again. I did keep up with other exercise, but not running.
Then, a few weeks ago, I actually felt like running. We had a bout of late-afternoon load shedding (the reason we don’t have to participate in Earth Hour in South Africa – government switches the lights off for us on a weekly basis) so I couldn’t use the computer, I didn’t feel like reading, and the urge to run simply overwhelmed me. This isn’t something that normally happens to me (I regularly amuse myself with quoting Proverbs 28:1 at runners: “The wicked man runs
away when no one is chasing him…”) so I dusted off my running shoes and hit the road.
Having learned from last year’s experience, I made sure I warmed up properly and I kept the distance short. No overdoing it this time. All went well for two weeks. I ran four times a week, just under a mile at a time, and after some initial stiffness I considered myself well on the road to becoming properly fit once again.
After last Tuesday’s run my knees hurt a little. Nothing severe, and Wednesday was a rest day in any case, so I didn’t worry. Thursday it was still hurting, so I decided not to run, and by Saturday I could barely walk. The wife consulted Dr. Google (in a complete break with character I didn’t even think of that) and my symptoms perfectly matched what is commonly known as runner’s knee (or patellofemoral pain syndrome).
I read up a bit on the condition, and as it turns out, PFPS isn’t caused by a problem in the knees, but by weakness in the hips (well, that’s one possible cause – as one article put it, the “syndrome” part means nobody’s really hundred percent sure what’s the problem). So I started doing the hip exercises (Did you know you can exercise your hips? I didn’t.) suggested in the article. They were easy enough, though they did introduce me to muscles I didn’t previously know I had.
Come today. My knees were feeling better – still painful if I got up after sitting a while, but I could climb the stairs at my apartment without basically pulling myself up via the hand rails – and I decided to walk to town to fetch my new contact lenses. Big mistake.
I guess subconsciously I must have adjusted my gait to compensate for my aching knees, for after only a few hundred metres my calves started protesting (I walk on average between ten and fifteen kilometres a week, so it’s not an issue of fitness). Luckily the wife was meeting me in town so I could ride home with her. We had a quiet afternoon, having lunch, reading, watching House, a typical Friday. Then I stood up.
I’ve never been stabbed, but the sensation emanating from both hips at that moment is what I’ve always imagined getting stabbed must feel like. It would appear my compensating during the walk did a number on those joints as well.
While sitting down it’s okay, but the moment I try to walk I’m crippled by pain in both my hips and my knees. And my ankles. I can’t think what I could possibly have done to offend them, but they’re hurting as well. I reckon they just saw all the other joints rebelling and wanted to be in on the fun.
Earlier I got up and the wife’s first remark was, “You’re walking like an old man.” Now, I won’t deny that a few strands of silver have started making an appearance in my otherwise black hair, but that hurt, possibly even more than my hips.
Luckily I have ibuprofen to help with the hips. The pain of the insult, though? I’ll just have to live with that.
Stupid, treacherous body.