I met the kindest man the other day. I was at the car dealership looking for a used car and this lovely man was helping me. When I arrived at the dealership he was sitting in a golf cart in front of the building enjoying the afternoon sun. I introduced myself, we’d been communicating via email, and he hoisted himself out of the cart. Just the act of moving his body from a sitting to a standing position winded him. I could see that he was in his late 60’s, maybe early 70’s. He was overweight and as he walked with me toward the front doors, he moved stiffly.
Turns out, my kind car salesman had an injury in college. He played college basketball and in his words “blew out his knee.” Since then he hasn’t really been able to play basketball, ski, or do any of the other activities that he loved without pain.
So that’s 50-ish years of not moving his body, of not really exercising. And this sedentary lifestyle, probably combined with a good old Standard American Diet (SAD) had led to weight gain, which is terrible for joints, especially compromised ones.
It made me mad/sad, and it reminded me of my own personal experience with injury and the choices that I made.
Debilitating Hip Pain
Probably close to ten years ago I struggled with hip pain. I couldn’t go a mile uphill without being in excruciating pain. It came to a head when I attempted to run a half marathon. It was mostly flat with a lot of downhill and a little climb at the end. I hit 9 miles and my right hip just seized up. I hobbled the remaining four miles and finished the race, but it was an awful experience.
After the race I made an appointment with the best of the best doctors. This guy took care of Olympic athletes and professional cyclists. I knew I would be in good hands and I would get the answers that I needed to resolve my hip pain.
I was so wrong.
He told me that I would never run again.
He told me that if I wanted to age well and without chronic hip pain, that I would need surgery.
I told him to go F himself.
Actually, I didn’t say that, but I did in my head. Surgery? Never run again? I didn’t believe him. It didn’t feel right.
So I went on with my life (without having surgery) and I modified how I exercised and started looking for answers.
Most importantly, I started CrossFit.
CrossFit helped me strengthen the surrounding and supporting muscles in my hips, back, and legs. This helped my joints stay in better alignment so they could function optimally. CrossFit also helped me become more flexible and mobile. A coach recommended MobilityWOD and Kelly Starrett’s mobility exercises. I started working on them.
My pain went from an 8/10 to a 0/10. No pain. I could run without pain.
- Last year I ran a 30K race in Utah called “Behind the Rocks”
- I paced my husband for 24 miles in a 100 mile race.
- I paced him the last 15 miles in a 100K race that had a lot of uphill miles.
We All Have Challenges
We all have injuries we need to overcome and lifestyle habits or challenges that can get in the way.
We have genetic conditions or predispositions.
We have illnesses and handicaps.
But here’s the thing… we also get to decide how we handle these challenges. Do we take “No” for an answer or do we find a way to make it happen?
My lovely car salesman took No for an answer. It didn’t serve him well. He’s accepted obesity, chronic pain. And I suspect he has COPD and heart disease based on his breathing and weight.
Are you going to take No for an answer?
Are you going to let someone else, or circumstances, dictate how you live your life?
I hope not.
I hope you look for answers. I hope you try things that may support you to live the life you want to live.
There are so many amazing people out there who want to help you. Start looking for them. Start looking for answers and start saying YES to your life.