Setting the Stage

Have you ever had an experience in your life-call it a setback-that you found difficult to work through?  Most people have.  After all, if you live long enough, adversity does show up in your life.  Well, I want to share mine, not just to discuss my life but also to encourage you if you’re going through a challenge in your life as well.  So let me set the stage for you.

It all began almost five years ago.  When we lived at our old house, there was a hook for hanging plants between the garage and porch.  It was a spring day.  I’d potted a nice hanging basket of petunias and was stretching way out to hang it on the hook (rather than breaking down and finding a stool).  Pain seared my middle, and I found I had to sit down on the steps and wrap my arms around my stomach.  I knew I’d probably torn a muscle.  I just didn’t realize how badly.  Gradually, it dissipated, and I went on about my business, including exercising.

Fast forward four years or so to 2009.  It’d been a busy summer.  Moving.  Training hard for triathlons.  I’d completed two that summer and was in probably the best shape of my life.  Until December when I decided to do crunches on an exercise ball at the gym.  Well, the next thing I knew, I had pain in my middle.  Thinking it was something like a gall bladder attack, I went to the doctor.  The PA recommended an ultrasound, which showed that nothing was wrong.  “So what do you think it is?” I asked.  She thought it was a muscle tear and recommended that I simply let it rest.

I did.  Yet the tenderness never really went away.  Each time I worked out, it flared until one hot day in June this past year, I actually had to stop cycling to let what I thought was a stitch in my side subside.  The one triathlon I completed was awful.  Finally, I returned to the doctor, who asked a myriad of questions.  Then it happened.  He admitted I’d stumped him and sent me to physical therapy.

I must say that physical therapy was one of the best things that happened to me last summer.  It didn’t take long for B (yes, that’s what he told me to call him) to diagnose that I’d suffered from a torn hip flexor muscle.  It’s the muscle that starts at the top of the thigh.  It wraps around the core and splits, with part of it attaching to the inner back part of the pelvis and the other part wrapping further around the core and attaching to the spine.  My leaning several years before had torn it, and scar tissue had formed.  My exercising had inflamed it.

Unfortunately, while in therapy, I couldn’t exercise.  It didn’t help that last summer was extremely stressful.  I have to admit I was a basket who went completely out of shape and gained weight in the process.  When I received the go-ahead from B to begin exercising, I was ecstatic.

So why am I writing about this?  I want to set the stage for what I hope will be a way to trace my comeback to physical fitness and ultimately (I hope) to running an Olympic distance triathlon in September.  I’ll periodically update everyone here.  God willing, I truly will accomplish that goal.  I hope tracing my experiences will also serve as a source of encouragement as well.  Stay tuned for the next installment.

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