Under the Influence

Getting back on the horse... or treadmill

I have never fallen off a horse, but I would imagine if I did, I'd probably just never ride a horse again. I don't really like horses, but I do like my legs. So after I fell off those I was eager to get back on.

Utter disappointment was among the things that flashed through my brain when I fell off the treadmill and lay writhing in pain. I had been doing so well with a new workout routine. I had lost weight, I was in a pattern of waking up early, I alternated running and weightlifting to maximize my time. I was training for triathlon that would take place the week before my birthday, a date by which I planned to drop into a new set of numbers on the scale. In short, I was seriously proud of my level of fitness.

Then my whole routine was derailed in an instant. I was disappointed as I thought about how I was going to lose two or three weeks to injury.

We are now five weeks out and I am just able to walk without the boot. I'm starting physical therapy soon. My two greatest accomplishments so far are tracing the letters of the alphabet with my toes, and being able to stand long enough to shave my legs in the shower.

Being patient is not a strength of mine. And as much as I exercise for my body, it's far more for my mental well-being. When I tried to go back to the gym a few weeks ago, getting to the car, into the gym and up the stairs to the weight room took all of my energy. I was on the floor, under the pretense of doing sit-ups, when I realized I couldn't stand back up. I had to roll over, on all fours, and then use a bench to pull myself up. That first day I literally went to the gym, sat down and went home. It was exhausting.


Clearly a two-week hiatus was optimistic. Now that the boot is off I've realized that my calf muscles have both atrophied and tightened, resulting in a sexy T-Rex walk. I can go up the stairs, but not down them. I have perfected the one-legged squat. It will still be a while before I'm back on the treadmill. But in the meantime, I'm rejoicing in the little victories.

Liz Marsh's "Under the Influence" runs every other Tuesday in the Colorado Daily.