A year ago my gait changed for the better after Trainer D introduced me to the Farmer’s Carry and his good friend, the kettlebell. The next week my PT noticed and started talking about throwing me out of rehab so I went to The Gym and had words with Trainer D for hastening the end of my formal Rehab career – a “job” I had gotten comfortable with since it’s the only thing I had known since waking up.
I felt like he owed me so I tasked him with helping me learn to run. However, his overwhelming enthusiasm for ORFR concerned me. I soon decided that I’d rather trust a machine than another person, so I made an appointment to try out my local AlterG within the week.
Happily, the Traffic Cop at The Running Gym is Coach R. You have to get past him in order to use the machine, but I ascertained that he knew he could help me within minutes even though I am nowhere near his regular client population. I sensed favorable brain activity from his line of verbal questioning and physical evaluation. On that very first day he stood in front of me while I was on the elliptical machine and made the same exact form adjustments Trainer D had made a few days before. The second time it happened I figured I should start paying attention more.
Coach R showed me around The Running Gym and as I did my first set on the leg press I tried to illustrate my teachable spirit by doing whatever he said and saying, See how well trained I’ve been, R? I know how this gig works. He left me with some papers explaining my two paths: (1) Just running on the AlterG, (2) Training – we’d incorporate the AlterG as my warm up. I indicated that if I were to train it would have to be with him. I waved my hand around the room – “I’m sure these people are proficient,” I said, “but I need you. At this stage in the game I’ve decided to be picky.”
Side note: I’m kind of mean like that but I also quail at my own brassiness.
I considered my options over the next week and decided I’d try to get Coach R to help me if he was willing to take my case on. So I came in the following week and as I got ready to get in the AlterG I made my sales pitch and asked for his opinion on what to do. I really like people to “opt-in” and try to give them ways to demur gracefully if they choose.
This is when Coach R famously said, Well…if you wanna do this RIGHT….
Snicker, snicker. Now that we have a year of Training under our belts I can freely admit that I was thinking, No, R, I want to do this WRONG.
Side note: Aren’t you thankful that we don’t have thought bubbles following us around over our heads?
After I “ran” he walked with me to the waiting room to meet Tanpo. I breathed a sigh of relief bc I was so pleased to recruit him formally for Team Tanimal.
“I would consider this to be a successful day,” I told him when we reached the desk.
“I would, too,” he said, and we shook hands solemnly.
Last week we celebrated a year of Fun and Games by doing a new exercise. It was a walking lunge – a partial version of a movement I saw him demonstrate for a rehabbing pro athlete on my first day. My eyeballs almost fell out of my head as I saw him lunging, high-stepping, and twisting with a medicine ball in slow motion with astonishing control. We were just walking to another part of The Gym and he stopped to demonstrate this in passing. I looked on with interest – this was one of the moments I knew I would benefit from Training with him. If Ed Blueberry had been there I would’ve said, We’re not in Kansas anymore…
He simplified the movement so I just had to lunge and step as low/high as I could, plus I had the benefit of a bracing handhold. Good thing Trainer D had made me do a walking mini lunge exercise while holding a bar (for resistance, not support) this summer that I practice at home. When I’m not holding on to anyone I lunge and step minimally, but with Coach R I could lunge pretty well. It helps that he stands right there, exhorting me to challenge myself, etc.
I lunged semi-respectably, except this one time when my right leg was in front and I went to pick up the left one and there was this loud s c r a p e as my left toe dragged on the floor until it got the message from my brain to lift off the ground. PS. This set of sneakers isn’t doing great. I couldn’t help giggling. Even Coach R chuckled. Pretend like you didn’t see that, R, I said, and we kept on going.
I had noticed that although I was feeling better pain-wise I was having some left leg control issues. My left toes kept on hitting my right leg midstride while I was “running.” What was just some redness at first developed into a significant bruise that evening. It doesn’t hurt but I hope it heals before I see CMD. My left foot also kept on hitting the step when we did step-ups. It was worse than it’s ever been – Coach R actually had to adjust it mid-set.
Overall, though, the tenor of our time has been positive. What was a successful day in February 2014 was the beginning of a successful year. This statement is in stark contrast to how I told Coach R that I was very close to declaring the entirety of 2014 to be a “wash out” before Thanksgiving. Yes, I am still frustrated by the things I had hoped to accomplish that did not materialize, but I’m in a better frame of mind now to acknowledge and be thankful for the things that did happen.