Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sober October, 2011 edition

“I’m so hip, I have difficulty seeing over my pelvis.”

The time of year has come again for the Daddy Life to lay off the booze for a few short weeks in celebration of my favorite season. We’ve had an action-packed month here at the Life and it’s only half over. We nearly bought a house, the weather turned to shit, and I threw out my hip. Not an auspicious beginning to my favorite month of the year, but I see better things on the foggy horizon.

First, Sober October. I began this tradition one year in an attempt to clear my head and enjoy the crisp fall air, the outdoor exercise, and the general romance that I have with this season. I always seem to find my stride in October. It’s a great time of year to be alive, to suck the marrow out of life. This year has presented few difficulties, other than a few stressful events worth noting below.

We’ve been thinking of moving. And then we started looking at houses. And then we found a house we love. This began a long week of negotiations with the seller about what exactly the house might be worth. This also prompted us to spend a few weeks looking at every conceivable house on the market. This makes for busy times and difficult decisions about our immediate future. Do we sell first, then buy? Can we scrape together enough for the down payment otherwise? Do we really want to move in November and carry two morgages through the holidays? Heady stuff. But then walking into a house that we love, my wife and I look at each other and we think: yeah, this one will work. We can raise the family here. It’s like peering into your own future and liking what you see.

During the first week of the month I managed to raise my running mileage a tiny bit. What I mean by this is that I actually ran three days in a row. None of these days were out of the ordinary, and I was feeling no ill effects apart from a little tightness in the legs. And then BANG. Twenty four hours after my last run I began to develop a heavy limp. And then it got worse. By evening I could barely sit down, and that night I took a shower and went straight to bed.

What ensued was 10 days of decreased mobility, excruciating pain, and several trips to the physical therapist. Getting into the car sometimes took fifteen minutes. Taking care of the kids was not even a question. Linden stayed home from work a few days to manage the household. And then suddenly, over the second weekend, the problem just went away.

I don’t know what happened, but here is my best guess. Two weeks ago today I ran the Fairmount Loop with Jude in the baby jogger. He weighs 42 pounds. We were in a hurry, so I didn’t bother to stretch. In addition, I ran as fast as possible, while steering with just one hand. After the run, we went home and I ran the pressure washer for 2 hours. I think this process exhausted my hip flexor muscle, which decided to quit working. When the hip flexor quits, there are several other muscles that all start making up for the loss. The peraformis, the psoas, the IT band, and other areas in the general ass/hamstring location all start screaming. What I experienced was nothing short of a full mutiny from my lower (some might say better) half. I have received this message loud and clear. They may have given me back the ship, but now I know what happens if I don’t feed the crew. I’m getting older, and I need to remember that!

Having this experience with pain has given me some cause to reflect. There are people who live with this kind of pain every day of their lives. I feel lucky to have my health, my family, and my own safe world to live in. I know it could come crashing down every day, and I shake my head to think of the times I’ve tried to crash it down myself.

Here’s to October! Raise a glass of orange juice to falling leaves, sweet decay, and a little perspective.