Ode to a non-functional leg

It has been a while, I know.  But I guess when you blog about home renos and tris and other stuff that you haven’t been doing a whole hell of a lot of recently, there is only so much to say to the interwebs.

But then I hit a milestone.  Okay, so that milestone happened a month ago, but it has taken a while to write this.  So excuse the liberal (i.e. completely inaccurate) use of temporal phrases.

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This post is going to knock you over with happiness and optimism.  I am not kidding – and I know that this is surprising for those who know me.  But consider this your day’s serving of rainbows and puppies and happy fucking sunshine with a side order of “I am awesome.”  And all because I am celebrating a milestone:

Today I put a shoe on my right foot for the first time in eight weeks.

community gif i never cry

Eight weeks ago today (exactly), I went barreling down a mountain in Peru.  Not off a cliff (which was lucky) but down a little stretch of mountain.  The unfortunate part of this was that my foot decided to be an asshole and say “nope, I don’t want to go down the mountain.  I want to stay right here.”  Which meant that this happened:

xray

No Bueno.

I cannot say I would recommend breaking a leg as a path to self-betterment.  But I would be lying if I said that there were not some pretty good things that came out of this whole shit show … which hopefully makes up for the fact that I have not had anything else to blog about race-wise this year :(.  So here we go …

1. You can over-accentuate the positive

If I were in a beauty pageant and asked what body part I thought was my best asset (which I assume is the type of question they ask), I would probably say my wrists.  I have cute wrists, y’all.

pagent gif

Pretty much the truth.

But runner up would be my calves.  Even two years ago after topping 200 lbs, my legs were looking good.  Probably because they were carrying my 200 pounds in triathlons and half marathons.

Which also meant that I spent a lot of time working on those leg muscles – working out to find new muscles and new lines and trying on new heels to see if they revealed even more new lines in my legs.  #vanity

Which made it easier to ignore my increasingly soft (read: flabby) arms (and back and core and …).  Over the years, I have come up with some marvelous excuses for not picking up that barbell or that kettlebell.  (I have never used these excuses to avoid picking up a case of wine, which is probably telling.)

So when one of one’s two favorite body parts have suddenly become non-functioning, one has a choice: sit one’s ass down until said body part becomes functional (while said ass becomes larger).  Or try to channel some of that energy into those soft areas.  I can’t say I am ready for the US Olympics weightlifting trials – or a Strongwoman comp like some of my kickass and ass-kicking friends – or even RX WODs.  But I have some new muscles – and they popped out easier than the leg muscles BECAUSE I IGNORED THEM SO LONG.  (I don’t know if that is actually true, but it is what I believe)

CT barbell

So thank you Right Calf, for sitting back and letting someone else step up for once. (but you can come back now, please)

2. Calories in, calories out, and I hate math.  

Don’t get me wrong.  When I went into surgery after not consuming anything for twelve hours (which, as I type it, does not seem like a big deal … but it was), Michelle asked me what I wanted to eat when I got out.  My immediate response: a pint of Celesti Gelati Just Ask gelato, with a side pint of Salted Caramel.

ice cream gif

(I regret nothing.)

Okay, but after those pints were gone (very very quickly), I did have to decide how I wanted to handle nutrition for the next few months.  In particular, my weapon of choice in the food wars (“I can eat this if I do an extra hard workout today”) had suddenly vanished.  And so, another tough choice: do I eat whatever I want and risk gaining all of my weight back, or do I be even a little more mindful and smart about my food.

I think I can say I went more in the latter direction – I started tracking food again (which I had not done in an undisclosed number of months).  Not obsessively, as the nice cashier at Sweet Frog last night can attest to.  But it was a good kick in the ass that something needed to happen to my eating habits unless I wanted two years of trying to get in shape to go waste.

3. Body worship is WAY better than body shaming.  Trust me, I have done both.

Funny story – after I broke my leg, I did a few things that are not advisable after breaking three bones but in some cases (such as being in the middle of Peru) are necessary.  These things include:

  • Riding a mule for 10 miles on 45 degree inclines and declines.
  • Sleeping in a tent with a broken leg.
  • Hobbling around on hiking poles while discovering that Peru has a serious shortage of crutches.
  • Attempting to pee and later falling on my already broken leg in a toilet tent.
  • Doing all of these things before (1) seeing a doctor, (2) getting pain meds, (3) putting a cast on my leg, (4) having my leg cut open, or (5) becoming the proud new owner of 8 screws and a plate in said leg.

Through this process, I made some promises to my body.  I recited these to myself in a voice that sounds like Andy Samburg impersonating James Brown.

dick in a box gif

These promises were things like “baby, you know I love you.  If you get me through this, baby, I promise to stop pointing out your flaws and calling you fat.”  I said these things (like you tend to do when you in a traumatic moment) having no idea whether I would actually stick to these when it came down to it.

But an interesting thing happened.  Me regressing to walking like an 18 month old meant that I got to celebrate the same sort of milestones that one celebrates when you are 18 months old (but less cute).  Taking a step without crutches!  Walking for 10 minutes!  Skipping!

Y’all, the human body is freaking amazing.  And when I finally run my first post-surgery race (hell, when I finally run period), I for the first time will not be thinking about how my time could have been better or how I should have pushed it to pass that one person.  I will throw myself a happy little dance party, hopefully completed without re-injuring my leg.

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4. It takes a village.

If you ever doubt that people are inherently good, break your leg.

(or just will yourself to stop being a misanthropic asshole – your choice)

I am  a control freak who does not like letting people do things for me.  It is a problem.  Especially when the things you can do for yourself reduces to about 7.5% of baseline.  The broken leg era has involved some temper tantrums, some mild depression, and some times that I have decidedly not felt like rainbows and puppies and happy fucking sunshine.

And despite my uninviting approach to being helped, people have been amazing.  Michelle deserves a medal for her patience and her will to not smother me with a pillow or steal my pain meds.  Friends made delicious food and drove my sorry ass places when I could not drive myself (special shoutout to those who drove me places that served beer).  And amazing physical therapists and coaches (Adrian!  Matt and team at Full Circle!) did not laugh in my face when I said “I know I am not out of the boot, but I want to get off my dead ass.”

Yup, people are fucking awesome.  (full stop, no sarcasm)

So would I do it again?  Hell no, but feeling like I can see the other side of the tunnel filled with puppies and rainbows and burpees and maybe even a race before the end of the year makes it a little brighter.  So here’s hoping I have a few more blog posts in me before the end of the year …

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