I was discharged from the physiotherapist yesterday. I’m bloody pleased, but also a bit scared. My back doesn’t hurt anymore and I’ve got full movement back, but it doesn’t mean that it’s healed. The healing process is still ongoing, and the physio said it won’t be ‘perfect’ for another 18 months. My current goal is to get 366 days without another physiotherapy appointment: 2016 is a leap year, and I’ve already decided that pilates with Lauren doesn’t count.
I currently have the heightened ability to break myself again, by doing something spectacularly dumb, or forgetful. That thought is a bit paralysing, and sparks some serious paranoia and hypochondria – I feel like I’ve been more aware of soreness and muscle aches post-parkrun today than I have in weeks.
Admittedly I have noticed that nowadays I am more sore after 5km than I have been for months. Possibly years. Because more of my muscles are looser, and some are stronger, I have ‘access’ to them and am using them when I run. I’ve been complaining of tailbone pain after I run, but after talking with Lauren last Monday morning, and having a look at an anatomical diagram of the spine, I realise it’s more my sacrum that is sore – that big pointy V-shaped chunk of bone that makes up the base of the spine, not the coccyx at the very end point of the spine. It all relates to using those muscles, no longer just having them practically seized up and atrophied.
It reminds me of the ache in my legs when I used to cycle, the ache of muscles being used, effort expended. Some days it would be a difficult ride; flying the ten kilometres into Fremantle solo, in the dark before the group would all head out with a good wind on your back, around the river to Canning Bridge, up the bike path alongside the Kwinana Freeway round to Mounts Bay Road, and once you hit Claremont and the train line you were heading into the increasing wind all the way back to Fremantle. I’d finish the ride, sit at the cafe and talk, eat, and drink then head back up the hill ten kilometres to home. All up it would be 75km, and some days I’d be so wrecked afterwards. I’d come home, shower, have some lunch and end up snoozing until 3.30pm. The naps would have been longer but I’d have to head out to the supermarket before it closed. Saturday night wouldn’t be a late night, because no doubt I was probably going to go pedal around the river from home the next day too.
Just writing this makes me nostalgic for cycling, and I really do want to get back out there on the bike. That ease of pedalling three or four strokes and coasting down the road hearing the hubs spin. It used to bring me great joy, and the fact that I haven’t been able to ride my bike with ease for years makes me melancholic. At some point in the next few weeks I have to gather my courage and get back on my bike. I can only hope that it doesn’t end in tears of frustration and pain. We’ll start out slow – just a gentle 10km pedal around the neighbourhood. It’s hard starting from scratch; 10km doesn’t seem like nearly enough time on the bike to warrant pumping the tires up and lubricating the chain, but if I go out and pedal 40-50km off the bat I’m destined for pain, and the fear of that has stopped me for far too long.
I am making progress, but I have far to go.