Here I am again, with another wholly unsatisfactory post regarding injuries and old age. It’s been almost three weeks since my last post and in the meantime I’ve spent two weeks in France drinking pretty much all the wine I could force down my stupid fat neck. It was lovely, but not especially conducive to working out. (Not especially conducive to anything actually, apart from falling asleep in a pool of my own dribble.)
We’d hired a big old farmhouse out in the country, so naturally I’d been hoping (before I got injured) that I’d be doing plenty of running and workouts to try and counteract the effects of all that wine. And cheese. And meat. And bread. It wasn’t to be. Pretty soon after we arrived, both pains started to get worse. I wasn’t sleeping well and was getting increasingly pissed off with everything. Not the best frame of mind in which to enjoy a family holiday. So basically, I took the well trodden path to happiness that I’ve followed a few times in my life. I said bollocks to exercise, hello to painkillers and alcohol. Sometime you just have to make the hard decisions.
The holiday turned out great, but it was still frustrating. About a week in, I decided to try an easy three mile run. Flat and slow. And it was going great, I was moving along at a decent clip and feeling strong. About two miles in, I developed what I thought was a severe stitch. But unlike every other stitch I’ve ever had, I couldn’t breathe my way out of this one. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made injuries worse by not stopping, so I did the right thing for once. I stopped. There followed probably the most miserable ten minute walk home that I hope I ever have to endure.
Over the next few days, the pain was up and down. I even went a couple of days where it felt like everything was getting better, so I stopped taking the painkillers. Naturally that was when everything returned to bite me in the arse. I decided to go and see the doctor again when I got home, and concentrated on just keeping a smile on my face. So yeah, wine. Plenty of it. My liver’s probably fucked, but at least I was happy.
When we got home, things seemed to improve again. I put off going to the doctor (much to my wife’s annoyance), but last night it flared up pretty badly so I bit the bullet today.
I saw a different doctor, but didn’t mind that. Always good to get a second opinion. After much prodding and manipulation, the upshot was that he still thinks it is a muscular problem in both cases. The pain in and around my shoulder has been caused by damage to my major pectoral, and the pain in my side is likely being caused by damage to a muscle I can’t remember the name of. I’ve been put on a two-week course of some pretty hardcore anti-inflammatories, which he’s hopeful should sort it out. In the meantime, I’ve been told in no uncertain terms not to stop exercising, but to avoid Freeletics until the course is over.
So what about Freeletics then? Both doctors agree that the overwhelming likelihood is that I’ve put my body under more strain than it could handle in too short a space of time. I’ve got mixed feelings about that. Freeletics is hard, but at no time did I ever feel like I was pushing myself to absolute breaking point. But guess what? I’m not a doctor. So, you know. Neither doctor I saw was particularly interested in talking specifically about Freeletics, so there’s that suspicion (on my part) that maybe they’re looking for generic causes they can nail something to without having to go further. I’m a cynical bastard though.
What does it mean for me and my 15 Week Coach? Well, it means that this one is effectively over for me. I haven’t got time to finish it. My great hope is that I’ll be able to get back to it in fourteen days and go again. But I was lectured today that even if that is the case, there’s a chance that the injury affecting my side could be something that recurs pretty easily.
I’ve got to say that I was a little bit disappointed by the response I got from Freeletics after I emailed them to explain my situation. I shouldn’t be, because it makes sense and would have given me what I was asking for (a time extension on the coach) if I wasn’t such a pig-headed prick. But basically, I was told to get a doctor’s note explaining that I was unable to commit to regular physical exercise, send it to them and they would extend the period, although they didn’t say by how long. This was just a little bit too much like having to take a note into school for my liking, so I didn’t bother. But I think the sensible course of action for me at this point is not to renew the coach and just concentrate on getting better. If all goes to plan, that will mean Freeletics workouts, but I will put the structure together myself based on how I feel. Hopefully when I’m strong enough again, I can fire up the Coach once more.
It would be remiss of me not to point something out here. I’m the absolute world’s fucking worst person when it comes to warming up. Never done it. Ever. Don’t ask me how, but I’ve somehow managed to cultivate the idea that warming up is for arseholes. I guess I got away with it for a long time, but I’m 40 in a few months. From this point on, warming up is going to form a proper part of my exercise regime. Plus I am actually an arsehole.
So, two weeks of anti-inflammatory drugs. Blood test on Wednesday to make sure there’s nothing else untoward going on. If the drugs work, great. If not, I’ll be going in for an ultrasound so that they can get to the bottom of it.
If you’ve read all of this miserable bollocks and managed not to throw yourself into a canal, congratulations. Just for you, I’m going to end the post on a positive note. After getting back from the doctor’s today, all I could think about was going for a run. I was a little bit apprehensive about it given what happened last time, but it went well. No pain, no stitch and I even managed to push pretty hard over the last mile. I felt really good, there wasn’t any noticeable deterioration in terms of fitness. Then when I got back I did fifty pullups. (They’re actually starting to get a little bit easier. A little bit.) The plan is to run every day for the next two weeks and go from there. We’ll see what happens. So it’s back to skipping gaily through ankle deep mud and cow shit for the foreseeable.
Everybody has a holiday song, don’t they? Something that they listened to a ton of times and they can’t shift out of their head? I certainly do. And the great news for you, reader, is that I have pretty specific rules about only exposing my ears to music that I like. And I have impeccable taste. So please be upstanding for Mr Bryan Black, AKA Black Asteroid. Because sometimes you just need some really fucking good techno.