Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Sore - The Most Satisfying Pain

It is counter intuitive to get moving when we experience pain and soreness yet that is the very time when it is vital to get moving. Many years ago I ruptured a disc in my back. The wisdom then was to load me up on pain killers and have bed rest for 10 days. Fortunately, practitioners discovered the importance of the role of movement in allowing the body to heal.

If there's an injury one needs to be mindful about recovery and during the initial phase of recovery, rest may be indicated but I am referencing the kind of pain that comes with regular exercise that challenges the body and also for me, the discomfort that can often accompany Post-Polio Syndrome.

From "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953":

Shortly after being discharged from outpatient physical therapy I met Janine Hightower through Herb Simmons. He knew Janine through his participation in the Cardiac Rehab program at Boston Medical Center. I was launching my business New World Greeting Cards, original poetry for every occasion. She was a member of BNI, a professional networking group. As we sat in my living room, she talked about BNI and the benefits of being a member of this networking group. As she talked, I wasn’t focused on growing my business. My mind zeroed in on her sharing with us how she used BNI to promote her in home personal training business.

“You know I’m curious,” I said to Janine. “Do you think you could help me? I was just discharged from Spaulding Rehab.”

I went on to tell her about my journey.

“I don’t know,” she said “but I’d certainly be happy to set up an assessment with you.”

I couldn’t even pass the initial fitness assessment.

“You’re way too young to not be able to get off of the toilet seat without holding on to the sink or to not be able to get off of the couch,” she said to me.

It was a statement of fact without judgment. She spoke the truth about my deconditioned physical state. I signed on to work with her once a week in personal training. I had no idea what or why I was doing this. I did know that if I was going to be in pain, I’d prefer to feel the pain of recovery instead of the pain of decline. Janine held enough faith for both of us that I could come out of my leg brace and have a good quality of life despite the diagnosis and prognosis I received.

Janine’s mantra for our work together was a quote from Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right!”

After my first session with her, I discovered muscles I did not even know existed in my body. I kept asking myself "What have I done? Why did I sign up for this?" But somehow I knew deep down inside of me that this was all very good pain.

At my six-month evaluation in February, I made dramatic improvements in every area of the assessment. I had come out of my leg brace. I knew I was on a healing path.

“Let’s write down your goals for the next six months,” Janine said feeling proud and satisfied with my progress.

“Well I want to feel free in my body. I want to dance. I want to be able to walk outside and feel unencumbered when I take a walk.”

Janine feverishly wrote down my goals, and we worked out a plan. She gathered up her belongings and had her hand on the door knob.

“Wait. I have one more goal.”

Janine stopped and turned around.

“I want to run the Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab Hospital. I know they have a Race for Rehab team and I want to do it next year.”

Did you ever have one of those moments when words fell out of your mouth after rising up from the depths of your soul without going through any thought process?

Janine was non-plussed. I don’t know what kept her from turning tail and getting as far away from me as she could. She came back into my house, set down her things and without missing a beat said, “Well the first thing you are going to need is a pair of running shoes.”

She laid out a cursory training plan and said that we would begin indoors to build up my cardio endurance. As soon as the weather got a little warmer, we’d go outdoors and I would learn how to run.

What had I just done?

I did go on to run the 2009 Boston Marathon

and had many adventures as runnergirl 1953. While I am not running in endurance events, I am participating in 5K events. When I do not have any 5K events on the calendar, I get out for two-three 5K's a week and do cross training on the other days.

Some mornings, especially when it's dark outside, or if I'm feeling sore or the discomfort that can accompany Post-Polio Syndrome, it can feel like I'm on the struggle bus to get moving.

"I regret that workout" said no one ever and I love experiencing sore muscles knowing the satisfaction of taking care of myself mind, body and soul.

To your health and wellness
From my heart to yours

Be sure to visit my website at

Hear my interview with Kendra Petrone on Magic 106.7's Exceptional Women Show by following this link

My books are available on Amazon and "Feel the Heal" and "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953" are available in Natick Center Cultural District at Paula Romero Dunbar's Celebration Boutique Paper Fiesta coincidentally located on Mile 10 of the Boston Marathon Route.

No comments:

Post a Comment