Usually taking a few days off after a hard week of skating is a good idea. Last week I had a couple of rough sessions, including one in which an out-of-control kid knocked me over and I got another bump on the head as well as a bruised elbow. Not fair! I had some knee pain towards the end of the week as well. Nooooo!
So I was happy to take a few days off to meet up with some good friends in Chicago, sans skates. I did absolutely nothing except for a few half-hearted attempts at stretching. Not much walking, either, but a lot of sitting and talking in the Windy City.
I thought I would come back all rested and refreshed. But instead I have felt really, really stiff since I got back. It’s as if my hips are out of whack again. Skating Monday was all over the place, Tuesday barely better. While in Chicago I saw a show at Second City entitled Déjà Vu. This week reminded me of all the tortured positions I used to do when my hips were really out of place. It’s remarkable that I survived!
I had a session with PT Sarah, and she noticed that my left side was tighter than it has been–not just my hip, but my entire side. We went through a series of stretches designed to put things back to rights. I have to work on keeping my lower left ribcage as well as my hipbone from popping forward. We also worked on foot positions (short foot on the left, slight roll in and spread toes on the right). Sarah did some manipulations on my hip that made me feel more aligned, but also more than a little sore. Gumby I am not!
The bright side is that I think that this is actually a good thing, another reminder not to take alignment for granted. Today I was ultra careful about making sure that my femur was over the middle of my foot. And I worked on not letting my left ribcage (and shoulder) pop forward. Applying some of Sarah’s ideas (getting that left kidney back, using what she calls the muscles of the “underbum”) to my edges has been really helpful. Still working on basics, but everything is getting better.
All this alignment work has made me really appreciative of those balanced and muscular bodies at the Olympics. I know this sounds weird, but I have been totally inspired by those incredibly strong feet that those divers have! My feet now have role models!
Some skating highlights even this week. The first was that two different people asked me about my forward outside and forward inside loops; this means that they are actually recognizable as loops, rather than as wannabe circles! Hooray! The second was that my feet have been pretty much pain-free on the ice. And third, I feel really focused on the ice these days. Even when I’m not necessarily doing things well, I still feel like I’m learning a lot about movement.
So even if this is a bit of déjà vu, I am never going back again!