Today, I took my bike out for the first time this year. My bike, wasn’t too happy and had lots of kinks to work out after an idle winter. My pack wasn’t too happy, as I splattered mud on just about every inch of everything. And my body wasn’t too happy as my shoulders felt the weight of my body leaning against the handle bars. My lungs felt the burn of cold spring air. My legs, were screaming bloody murder and my creaky hips knew that they were moving.
I went for what last summer would have been considered a short ride: 14 km. And I felt suddenly disheartened as something I have taken grated for so many years, is now hard to access, my athleticism.
For most of my life I have participated in sports of some variety. In my youngest days, I was a figure skater, then grade 5 reached, I shifted to Tennis, after that I had a go at Horseback riding (eventing), rowing and now most recently rock climbing.
I may have been very indecisive in regards to which aspect of athleticism, I always had unwavering faith that what ever sport I tried, my body would keep up. There was no question in my mind that I was an athlete.
In my first year of university, I joined the university’s rowing team. This was the most fantastic experience, I loved the sport and met many wonderful people, many of whom are now my roommates ( six of us squeeze into a house). However, nearing the end of the season I began to feel an ache in my hips and back, getting so bad during exercise, that burred vision and black spots in my vision were common. For a long time I ignored it and pushed through the pain. When I finally went to the doctor, they took x-rays and a multitude of other tests. They found slight scoliosis and arthritis in my SI joints.
In theory a few weeks rest, followed by management through physio and chiropractic should allow my body to come to a state where I could participate in sports that did not include repeated motion or impact. Basically everything that I loved about sport: running and cycling. I tried to go to the gym here and there, but I felt lost without the ability to run. Running had been my outlet. Stressed? Angry? Happy? Any other human emotion? Go for a run and guaranteed to feel better.
Yet, over the next several months, I began to eat differently (not for the better), stopped exercising completely and watched my motivation in many aspects of my life circle the drain. With this change I also felt my body change, I feel weaker, my body has considerably less muscle and generally I feel unfit. Yes I also gained a lot (roughly 25 pounds) of bad weight, but what bothers me most is no longer feeling strong, and no longer feeling healthy.
Recently I decided that enough was enough. So I have started rock climbing in an effort to enjoy sport again, and to enjoy what my body has to offer me: the ability to move.