Over the years I’ve had various injuries to my right knee which I’ve found difficult to accept – usually because the injuries have prevented me from keeping fit (something I’ve become heavily reliant on for peace of mind and a sense of well being).
When I lived in Dubai I started playing Gaelic football (why not). I would train through hangovers during the week because of excessive drinking from the weekend. At the time I thought I was in relatively good condition, when in-fact I was chubby and exhausted. It wasn’t that I was unaware of the impact of alcohol and over eating, I just wasn’t interested in looking at it. My mind dictated my lifestyle as opposed to listening to how my body was feeling. When my knee ached (which it did regularly) I’d visit the doctor for anti inflammatory’s and then play through the pain – I’m fairly certain these decisions are coming back to haunt me.
I spent years strength training when I moved back to England and for the most part, felt strong and injury free. I invested in a personal trainer and he was invaluable at helping me correct my attitude to training, posture and form. I also joined a crossfit gym but unfortunately got caught up in lifting as heavy as I could as fast as I could and pulled my lower back. Just FYI, I think crossfit is an amazing sport but my ego took over at the time and I lost my form. I couldn’t train fully for around three months but it served as a reminder that I should pay attention to what my body has been trained and conditioned to be able to do as opposed to what my mind wants to achieve quickly.
For the first time last year, I actually WANTED to listen to my body and chose not to run the London marathon after reaching the end of my training. Despite being careful, only running three times a week and incorporating yoga into my routine, my knees just didn’t feel right. I was miserable from the pain – I had zero runners high and a lot of concern about potentially causing irreversible damage. I later found out I patellar tendonitis caused by tightness in my hamstrings, a few session of acupuncture and I felt brand new.
Over the last eighteen months my exercise routine has consisted of yoga and strength training once a week with a personal trainer. I’m constantly learning how moving in certain ways will put other parts of my body at risk, for example if I’m not careful my knees track over my ankles when I squat which causes pressure on my knee. Recently I squatted down in work to pick up a book and just by moving my right knee inwards, I caused a tear to my MCL (the inner ligament around my knee).
At this stage I feel like I’ve learnt the patience to accept what is and look after myself accordingly. I’ve reflected on my movement, whether I could get more protein into my system to repair my muscles better after a workout and whether I pushed myself too hard that week. I like to think there is a reason for everything (it keeps my sane) and if I’m learning how to improve my fitness while accepting parts of my body that need a little more attention, then that’s what I’ll do.