Post PT Report: Session Uno

Yesterday I went to see the physical therapist. I did this with some trepidation, the last time I met with one was way back in my Army days where they treated me like a piece of meat that needed to be bent and stretched in order to be tenderized. Needless to say, the experience was a memorably painful one. An experience I wasn’t eager to repeat.

But I’ve come to trust my Doc, and rationally I know he’s not going to send me to another part of the same medical unit because it’s the only place that offers the service next in line for my treatment.

My back has been complaining now for seven going on eight weeks and I suspect that he wants a cure for me as much as I do. So with his recommendation I trooped off to Sammamish and gave private practice physical therapy a try.

The take away from yesterday morning was that I should not fear the physical therapist. In fact, I should probably try my best to become his life-long friend. Bring him apples or candy or whatever a physical therapist might enjoy most because I need this man in my life. At least for the time being. I walked out of that clinic standing tall and without pain. This for the first time in nearly two months.

This morning I’m tender. Yes, that’s a good word to describe what’s going on in my back because my pelvis is being a jerk. Tender. I’m already looking forward to my return trip to the PT tomorrow in anticipation of more highly productive therapy. And for the first time in a while I’m able to see a path, off there in the distance, some of my more immediate goals. There is light at the end of this tunnel.

I understand that now is the hard part. Especially for me. I’m ready to get back out on the trail, counting off the miles one after another, but per the PT’s recommendation, I’ve got another three to four weeks of taking it easy. Nothing harder than the standard, run of the mill stuff I do around the house and that done with a keen eye for the prevention of additional injury.

I’m also looking for a coach. When I get this thing under control and can start training again I really want a second set of eyes to help me. I need someone who has experience turning slightly overweight (damn you xmas cookies), middle age dudes into long distance gobbling machines. Someone who knows how to help me realize the endurance that is latent within.

Another important aspect of endurance, and one that differentiates it from all-out speed, is aging. Endurance can persist for many years. Instead, too many athletes lose endurance with age—not always for lack of training, but for lack of proper training, and lack of health. Many endurance athletes can continually improve well into their forties and fifties. Master athletes often outrace younger athletes, despite having a lower maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max). But improvement over time also means that athletes who begin serious training relatively late, such as in their thirties or forties, can perform their best even in their fifties and sixties. And, athletes beyond age sixty and seventy can still achieve remarkable feats, and sometimes still outrace some twenty- and thirty-year-olds.

Maffetone, Dr. Philip (2010-09-22). The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing (p. 16). Skyhorse Publishing. Kindle Edition.

I know I’m an unlikely individual. I’ve had more surgery performed on this body than most and I’ve racked up some hard miles too. Nothing like hard living to wear down your body long before it’s time and when I was a kid I tired hard to do it all on my own and invariably over trained. I’ve got some bad habits to unlearn. But that’s what age can do for you, if you ever encounter the wisdom to seek the assistance and advice of others.

PCT Section I (White Pass to Snoqualmie Pass) in 2009. “Where did I put my pack?”

So, if you know anyone, especially someone who has experience with busted, older dudes, you know where to leave the comments. I’m going to go stretch, gently stretch, my pelvic girdle in the well-informed hope that I will continue to release that rat bastard thereby freeing up my back. And while I’m doing that I’ll be dreaming of Grand-to-Grand and R2AK.

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