Thursday, February 19, 2009

Can I rent wrist guards?.... What about knee pads?

As a kid I was a skateboarder; fearless, faithful and fanatic. I was either riding that or my banana seat bike with the high handlebars. Speed, skills and maneuvering were a passion.

Many, many, many years later….
I’m riding the chair lift again, skis on, watching the snowboarders and thinking I sooo want to do that, I think I can do that…. yesterday I did.
Oww. I’m sitting here, no actually propped to one side, and can hardly move my arms. There isn’t a muscle from my ankles up to my forehead that isn’t in stress. There is something about repetitive falling, pushing up, then falling the other way all within seconds that takes it toll on the body. I lasted 2 ½ hours nonstop, spending a good deal of that time on my knees and hands (slam landings), on my back (thanks for the helmet) or just lying face down in the packed snow as the tots wiz by. I love studying physics, and forces and how the body reacts to stress and this was the ultimate demonstration. When you fall, especially with the element of speed and momentum you automatically brace for impact. Then those very muscles are forced into a stretch while contracting…sound familiar? We talk about eccentric (lengthening) contraction and it’s affect on muscle soreness in workout situations but OMG I am a walking science experiment! I feel like I’ve had a car accident that just kept repeating itself from different directions. I had heard many first hand accounts of tailbone and wrist injury…. no one told me about the knees but I guess I should have figured that one out on my own. My nephew suggested I put a pillow in my pants, I wish I had known to wear my daughters volleyball kneepads. Since the last thing I wanted was an injured tailbone (experienced that) I tended to favor falling forward if given a choice (most times you don’t have one). I asked about wrist guards when renting the board/boots and he said “not recommended” since the brace would just cause the stress to go up the arm and you then risk upper arm or shoulder injury. It just kept sounding better.

You have to understand that walking with a snowboard attached to one foot, sideways (severe inward rotation, not a retired ballet dancers’ favored position) is actually a dragging limp as you learn how to propel forward. This is a trip in itself. Then it’s off to the “magic carpet” that lovely strip of moving walkway that carries you up the “hill”. Getting on and off that without falling so they have to stop it (for everyone!) was the first challenge. Taking in the view on the way up I couldn’t help but think this looks easy, I can do this. We’re talking minor incline on this slope here but once on the top, strapped in it looks like a black diamond. And then you begin to move…

My brother, love him, was the designated instructor for my daughter and I. Only problem is he had two of his kids with him whom of course get first right of attention. Their patience for our learning curve didn’t last as long as we needed. My daughter goes one way, I go another…neither can stop. Brother needs to get fries for the youngest. I am alone on my face. My motherly instinct says I should go check on my daughter but I’m only facing one direction and now in the trees. Backward roll flip legs over, now heading the other way but I have no clue how to “drive” to my daughter, or stop when I get there. All the great tips my brother gave me make total sense but for some reason either my application is incorrect, or the irrational fear that wants me to hug the mountain requires another sacrifice slam down. Agghh…

Now the great news is you learn, you discover, you adapt and you win. Adult training is not easy…that is why we stay with what is safe, comfortable and affirming. Bottom line is you want to QUIT!! That first hour of learning, especially when it is something exceptionally challenging and requires skills you don’t have yet can be a true test of self. Do you have it in you to keep trying? Why say to others “don’t give up you can do it” if we can’t put ourselves on the line and stick with it…when things seem the most impossible.

Yes, I hurt today. But I feel so good. I am not fragile and I feared in this decade of life I would be. Or that it was just too late to learn something so physical…

The gym is here to enhance your life. We not only want ProRobics to take you to your next workout, let your workouts take you to your next life goal. If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines silently wanting to try something that you believe you can do…don’t wait. Life is short. Find out a way to work with any real limitations you might have and use the physical, mental abilities you have going for you now. Make the most of what your body lets you do. (And of course with doctor’s approval…)

I, for one, will be on that magic carpet again…as soon as I can move.


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