Sunday, December 14, 2008

Why is it so hard to be "Sage"?

As a personal trainer, I've given lots of advice to clients and friends about taking it easy or taking a day or a week off from their preferred activity when there's potential for injury or further pain. When knees or shoulders are sore or something is just not right, I always say it's better to err on the side of being "sage" and giving it a rest.

Or those friends who have an injury and are complaining about not being able to be active because the doctor says they need 6 weeks to heal. I am very good at giving more sage advice such as, "Look on the bright side! This will allow you to do that project you're always complaining about not having any time to do. Think of the books you can read! Think about how much you can accomplish! This is the time for being patient."

But Why? Why is it so hard to take my own advice?

My knee has been bothering me all week. The only thing I've done differently is to do lunges with my clients; you know, to get them ready for skiing! (Oh yeah, and I've taught 5 classes per week for the past month, a couple of them 90-min classes). Yesterday it got pretty bad, with a sharp pain in the left knee going upstairs and general tightness in the joint.

Last night we had winter storm warnings with predictions of 1-3 feet of snow! I live in a ski area as you know, and most residents of this area moved here (originally at least) to ski. One of the first things I learned when I moved here may sound very foreign, even callous, to those of you who don't live in, or near, or know anything about, a ski area that prides itself on dry powder snow. That expression is:

There are no friends on a powder day!
Meaning, all bets are off. Any appointments are canceled when there is double digit snowfall. If you can't ski the stuff, and you're out visiting and we hardly ever see each other, too bad! I'll meet you in the lodge in the afternoon for apres ski! You don't wait for people on the runs because you just might miss out on that untracked line on the next run. (Honestly, I'm not this bad!)

I learned this early on and I learned how to ski powder to find out what they were talking about. It's quite surreal to ski.

This kind of snow is EPIC (to employ a huge cliché). I wrote about one of those days last spring.

And today is going to be an Epic day. There is sure to be several feet on the windward slopes. Probably thigh deep in spots. I was almost in tears as I was waffling about whether I should or shouldn't go this morning. I even pulled out all my gear, started to get dressed, thought better of it and threw it down and just generally whined. My husband said, "Make up your mind dangit!!"

So I called a physical therapist friend who told me (as he was walking to the lifts and commenting on how much snow there was) that it was probably an irritated synovial capsule since there was no mechanism of injury that might have twisted it. Of course, the best (i.e. SAGE) advice is to stay off it, ice it and takes lots of Vitamin I (that's athlete-speak for ibuprofen). He reminded me that the season is just starting and there will be a lot more days ahead. Why ruin the next month potentially just for one day?

Ah yes, Sage advice indeed. Why does it hurt less when someone "professional" gives me the same advice I knew in my heart?

I just ran out and took some photos (well, I hobbled out) on my back porch to show you what I'm talking about. If we have 8-10" on our porch at 7,600 feet, then the mountain has much, much more at 9,000-11,000 feet!

Above is my patio table looking towards the town of Edwards. Below is my dead flower pot. Nice, huh? (The snow, not the dead flowers).

So now I need to take more of my own Sage advice and re-read my post from a few days ago about finding the silver lining in things. Here's the attitude of gratitude that I've come up with, and what I can do today instead of ski:
  • This storm that came through is also a very cold front - it's probably single digits on the mountain. And my boot heaters aren't charged yet, so it's probably better that I stay inside. I'm a whimp up there when it's this cold! (Or is that sour grapes and not gratitude?)
  • I finished my eBook last night and can spend today getting the website ready to upload it and promote it. You guys will love it, so I can't wait to tell you more!
  • I have a lot of PR to do for my bike tours. Why not today?!
  • The Giro d'Italia route was announced yesterday. Robert is helping me plan a tour to the Giro - I'll use today to study the map more and come up with more ideas.
  • It's only December 14th! There is 4 1/2 months left of the ski season! Woo Hoo!
  • Maybe a little rest today will allow me to ski tomorrow when there's no one around (and it's supposed to continue snowing all day - up to 1-2 feet more)! Today is Sunday and it's no doubt crowded. (OK, maybe skiing tomorrow is being a little too optimistic...)
  • GREAT time to do Christmas cards, which I almost always get out late....
  • Jeff and I can rent a movie and snuggle on the couch with some hot chocolate. Yeah, I like that one!
  • I can take a nap! Another good option!

I don't think Spinning caused this, but teaching 5 times this week no doubt aggravated it. Wednesday I have a Lactate Threshold Field Test planned (basically an all-out race pace effort for 20-minutes). I've never taught completely off the bike for this group, but I think that will be best. It will be interesting.

BLOG update:
I've got some great stuff coming for you guys so keep checking back often. Here's some upcoming posts and info:
  • I've got some controversy regarding the Jillian Michaels letter I wrote. Controversy is great for blogs! I'm going to post a not-so-nice letter I received. You'll find it very interesting...
  • I'll be posting a lot on Aerobic Base Building and how and why (or why not) you should do it. I'll give you lots of aerobic profiles, including some great ones from guest instructors/bloggers.
  • I did a fun interval class last week I want to share with you. Will post that profile soon.
  • In the next few weeks, I'll be moving this blog to another platform, which will include changing the name. Funhog is cute, because it has meaning to me, but now that this blog has actually become somewhat popular in this crowd, I need something more widely appropriate. You'll be kept up-to-date when I'm doing that.
  • Keep an eye open for my eBook announcement! It's called "Keep it Real In Your Indoor Cycling Classes"!

Thanks for reading and Happy Holidays!

Now excuse me while I go charge up my boot heaters.... ;-)

Jennifer not-always-so-Sage

PS I still get a kick out of having married a very cool guy with a very cool last name that I can USE in this manner! Thank you Jeffrey Sage! My sister-in-law has a license plate that reads "SAGEWMN"!


lamspin said...

Hi Jenn,
When you share your personal experience or feelings, you made me feel human again. We have so much in common. I am also a personal trainer and a yoga instructor. I have made a diffence in some clients' and participants' lives (as they told me) with my advices, my mental coaching in spinning classes, my spiritual sayings in Savasana at the end of a yoga class... However, there was time I felt like a hypocrite because I couldn't help myself with what I had preached.
Talk about injury, this summer I had finished 2 half-marathons for the first time with amazing PB=1:59(Believe it or not, I used your 9 concepts in Moving Mountain ride that I was able to flow smoothly to the finish line--Thank you). I trained hard and reached my goal. Now the winter is here, didn't think I could and didn't want to run outside but I gave it a try: went out reently for 13km practice only, after 8km I almost quit (too cold, feet hurt so bad because of icy route...) but pushed myself to the end regardless what my body tried to tell me. The result is now I can't find the joy in my running like before, dont't even want to get on the treadmill and my feet are having pain lately. Now it is up to me to find the way to heal and to balance myself and get back on track by the spring to be able to race again. I am so ashamed to write to my running coach right now because I had nothing good to report. Go figure! My spinners and yogis & yoginis think I am the best. Who will be the judge?
Thank you for reading. Hope your knee will be better soon.

Jennifer Sage said...

Once again, thank you Le. I love your story of using the 9 components of Flow. I occasionally hear stories of how that really helped someone to reach their goals, and it is so rewarding for me to hear that!
Isnt it funny how we have such a hard tie taking our own medicine? I guess it's human nature.


lamspin said...

Hi Jennifer,
Thought you might like to watch this video: I love it! "Kindness" is my favorite.
If you know the name of the song played, please let me know. Thanks. It would be an awesome warm-up song or a finale to get to the peak...
Still reading your recent posts, but want to write to you in the right topic.