100 Ways of EarthFit- Day 68: Taking off the Training Wheels

I hate it when my husband is right.  I mean, I’m okay that he’s right when we’re in agreement, but when he tells me something I’m not prepared to hear, or scared to hear, in this particular instance, well, you’ve heard the term “Hell hath no fury…”?anigif_mobile-28087-1429471349-16I have bad knees.  This is what we call in the blogger-sphere an “understatement”.  I’ve seen a physical therapist after my knees were consistently hurting and interfering with my progression, and we confirmed that it isn’t structural, but functional.  Basically, it means I’ve basically been using them wrong.  Like biking 15 miles each way, 5 days a week, on a poorly fitted bike.  And squatting wrong.  Compensating for weaknesses incorrectly.  So, now my knees bother me when I bike, squat, and do high impact exercises.  Physical therapy helped me to work on correcting these problems, but it didn’t solve them.

When I was at my peak best, I performed my prescribed glutes and foam rolling exercises nearly every night.  I was kind to my knees, but didn’t pamper them.  I iced them when it was warranted, and worked extra hard on my form when I was working them.  The more fit I got, the less I depended on one of my big crutches: my knee braces.

But several things happened.  I stopped going to my physical therapist.  I started working out harder with CrossFit.  And I slowly drifted from doing my prescribed exercises.  It didn’t seem to take long for my knees to feel worse and worse.  I started depending on my braces again.  When my knees hurt even when wearing the braces, I’d double the braces up.  Rather than fix the problem the way I had been taught, I relied on the training wheels to keep me steady.  I relied on them so much that I wouldn’t do any workout without them, much less a leg workout.

Since moving first to Oregon, and now to Whidbey Island, I have been getting progressively worse in my fitness.  Moving to Whidbey renewed my resolve, but I felt like I was starting over from scratch almost.

So, Chris and I are nearly three weeks into our new home, and we’ve been working out for just over two weeks.  I’m still not where I’d like to be.  But where I’d like to be didn’t take me only two weeks to get to before.  I AM on my way.  (On a side note, one of the ways I remembered I would know I am well on my way or reaching the point I will be happy with once again is when it becomes difficult to shave my armpits.   I know, TMI, Pattie, TMI, but guess what, if you don’t like hairy pits, they have to be shaved, and I discovered in 2014 that when I was in peak shape, I had divots in my armpits that made it nearly impossible to do just that.  So, guess what I’m shooting for again….).  I’m watching what I eat, and actually eating better food than even the first go around, as I’m not eating nearly as much processed or packaged food as before.  I’m working out at least once a day.  And I’m starting to surround myself with fitness-focused friends that will keep me motivated and committed.

Today, during our Community Park Soccer Field Workout, I programmed some squats.  I did some on Monday, and it did NOT turn out well for me.  So, I felt it was time to work on them.  I had my braces on as usual, but as soon as I started squatting, my right knee had a short, sharp stabbing pain right over the patella.  I double checked my form, my stance, and tried again.  Nope.  Sharp pain.  Chris stopped our timer and came over to help me out.  After a lot of trials and still feeling the pain, he finally came right out and told me what I did NOT want to hear- “Go ahead and take your braces off.” Well, that’s just dumb.  If I need them for squats, why would I take them off when doing squats?  “Just take them off, geez.”  I reluctantly acquiesced, and tried a couple of squats.  They still hurt, but it was more of the twinge feeling, not the sharp pain.

Dammit!  That means Chris was RIGHT!  We ended up skipping the squats for the workout, and modified a couple other exercises, but I ended up doing the 20 minute workout AND the 10 minute Death By Burpees without my knee braces on.  I’d been relying on them to carry me through a workout so much that I forgot they were just training wheels.  I can do a big-girl workout without them.  Maybe not the super-squatting, yet.  Probably no box jumps or even one mile “jogging”.  But just like I’m on my way with getting where I want my body to be, I am also on my way to getting back to where I’d like my knees to be.

The workout for the day was a great one to try without my braces, as they were highly glutes focused, so it wasn’t meant to aggravate my knees.
Every Minute on the Minute for 20 minutes
Do 1 Burpee, and then….
1st minute- (Squats)
2nd minute- Fire Hydrant
3rd- Lunges
4th- Plank Hold
5- Push-ups
6- Single leg deadlift (right)
7- Single leg deadlift (left)
8- Jumping jacks
9- Single leg sit-downs (right)
10- Single leg sit-downs (left)
11- Squat jacks
12- Side plank crossovers (right)
13- Side plank crossovers (left)
14- Mountain climbers
15- Single leg glute bridge (right)
16- Single leg glute bridge (left)
17- V-ups
18- Quick feet
19- “Jane Fondas” (right)
20- “Jane Fondas” (left)

This is what progress looks like.  Being able to do what you couldn’t before, and having the inspiration and courage to do what you thought was impossible or improbable.  I may not be exactly where I want, but I’m on my way, and I am a work in progress.

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