Sunday, February 17, 2013

I’m not the machine I thought I was…

I’m not the machine I thought I was…

Machine, beast, animal. Whatever it is you call someone who trains incredibly hard, someone who won’t give up, someone who seems invincible, this is what I thought I was.
I was a machine. People called me an animal, a beast, and a machine, and I actually began to believe I was unstoppable. I thought I could go and go, I thought I could push my training harder. I thought a few more burpees and pull ups before bed at 1 AM was fine. I believed just one more challenge from yet another Face Book group would not be a problem.

I’d already been blessed with high energy and a brain that could not stop.  Add a little adrenaline and increase the endorphins and you get someone who does not and will not stop.

Friends said, “Slow down, take time to rest.”  Strangers asked, "Do you ever take a break?”  Family suggested, “You might be overdoing it.”  Me? NO!  I was a machine. Machines don’t need to rest. Just add a little fuel and a little oil here and there and machines keep going.

I fueled with veggies, proteins, and coconut water. I oiled with glucosamine, fish oils, vitamins, and six hours of sleep per night. I stretched before and after workouts. I received massage therapy and did yoga.

Besides, what is rest? What is a break?  I interpret rest as what you do in between interval sprints and a break what you do when you’ve hit your maximum number of repetitions with the kettle bell. I tried taking a few days off of not getting the heart rate up there, in return I got cranky, irritable, and restless.

I did not have a coach or a trainer.  I was just going by what felt good to me.” Listen to your body,” people would say. I did, mine said, “Go harder, get stronger, you are a machine.”

And then something went haywire, my machine of a body broke, something popped where it shouldn’t have.  I had a funky twinge in my right knee, it wasn’t painful but extremely uncomfortable. I shook my leg a little, tried walking it out, and decided to work it out on the bike. After 30 minutes of hard riding I thought it felt great…until I got my land legs again. Holy @#$%!!! That knee hurt, and not the good hurt you get from a killer workout.  

How do you fix the human machine? Ice, right? Elevation and compression too, and even a few ibuprofen tablets. By 7:00 PM I would be fine for my track workout of sprints and lunges.  However, by 7:00 PM this machine was agonizing in pain and had the knee propped up on pillows with bags of frozen peas around it. I had taken in the maximum amount of ibuprofen for the day, too .

Two weeks later, this machine is still not fixed, it is still not functioning the way it should. Although I’m not sure exactly what part is broken, and not sure who the right mechanic might be to fix the problem, I do know I am most certainly not the machine I thought I was.  I am now forced to sit on the sidelines, forced to take an unwanted break. I can tell you being forced is not the way to go, I now wish I would have chosen when to rest and recover. The week before the start of a competitive season is not the right time to find out you are not a machine.







  1. Awww... BOOOO! I was looking forward to racing against you in Miami :-( I'm hoping your healing is quick! You will be up and racing again in no time.

  2. That sucks!! I know EXACTLY how you feel. At some point, the body just says "Enough, and I mean it!". I'm still recovering from injuries last spring that came out of nowhere. Find a good sports doc and get better. Don't rush the comeback. If you need to share your misery, I'm always willing to listen.

  3. Thank you for this post. I'm heading down that road too and not giving myself enough slack. I'm writing this with a hurting heal, calf, and now IT band wondering how many more days I can workout before taking a break to heal before the Spartan Sprint in Burnet on Saturday. It looks like I'm going to take it easy for the rest of the week. Thanks again.