Athletes love numbers. ‘Big data’ has become big business in sports. Whether sports statistics and the resulting endless analysis is used to identify a problem, spot a pattern, or make decisions, it seems like athletes, coaches, the front office, the media, and even couch commentators like my husband are constantly crunching and sharing the numbers.
As a former junior olympic-level gymnast, top 15 WIAA state diver, and competitive co-ed college cheerleader, I am hard-wired for numbers. Mostly from counting. Counting points, counting lengths, counting swings, counting beats, counting rotations, and even counting to/with/for a crowd. For over 15 years as an athlete, I counted everything.
And the counting didn’t stop when, at the age of 20, chronic pelvic pain and multiple head injuries ended my athletic career.
For the next 18 years, I continued to count numbers. I counted calories and steps, hours of sleep and glasses of water, macros and daily supplements. Counted things that, according to some optimistic and somewhat misleading wearables and tech apps, should have made me feel like I was managing my health and ‘fitness’.
But, truth is, ‘fitness’ counting did not, could not, would not replace the kind of numbers and counting I found so absolutely satisfying when I was an athlete. Numbers that took the form of goals and records. Counting of the reps and miles that were logged to reach the goals and records.
My injuries had left me down for the count. Not only had I not been able to consistently put up big numbers of the athlete-kind [despite what MyFitnessPal, LoseIt!, and MapMyRun would have me believe], but my declining health had left me unable to function daily as an employee, spouse, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. And that began to count as an even bigger disappointment.
Last year, my husband and I moved to Chicago. The move, like most natural transitions, became an opportunity to reassess all the stuff one assesses when one counts down the hours in a dingy, isolated, soulless corporate rental stranded in the ‘burbs. I also couldn’t wait to get on a workout schedule. No better way to relax the mind, heal the body, and inspire the soul than to get back into the gym!
Yeah…not so much. When stripped of the daily distractions and work responsibilities I had prioritized for so long, my health hijacked my life. It sabotaged all the relaxing and healing and inspiring. Very quickly, the reality of my declining health became so obvious and so pressing that it could no longer be ignored.
But, even though I was clearly down…as it turns out, I wasn’t out. Not yet.
With the whole-hearted support of the Hubster, I decided to leave my post-MBA, 60+ hr/wk career in brand management and redirect my time and energy to getting my health back on track. Instead of trading meetings for gym sessions as hoped, I traded them for Dr. appointments. And as I re-told my loooooooong medical history to various med techs, nurses, PAs, physical therapists, radiologists, doctors, anesthesiologists, and surgeons [over and over again…seriously, what are the intake forms and networked patient profiles for???], some really scary numbers started to rack up. I can’t help but re-count them for you:
…to try to treat 1 complex and chronic pelvic pain syndrome.
Oh, and I also have permanent brain injury from 7 concussions.
The first official diagnosis…I am trainingwrecked!
But, seriously, my care team is taking those numbers and logging all of the data they continue to collect in order to identify problems, find patterns, and make decisions about my health. They even think I *could* become an athlete again. I’m counting down the days!
And that, my friends, is the basis for the trainingwrecked blog. All the fears, tears, and cheers of my past, present, and future road to becoming an athlete again.
Please join me on my journey and, if you’re so inclined, share stories and swap resources. And, please bring a supportive heart and keep an open mind so this becomes a safe and productive space to bare one’s honest and humbled soul.
10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…here we go!