Saturday, September 26, 2015

What I Hope Will Become a Full-Fledged Success Story

I found something buried below a recent post that I wanted to share.

TriAgain, as anyone who regularly dives into the comment section knows, has been participating for a long time in the dialogue here about how to heal painful knees. His interest, like that of so many others, arises from his own struggles.

Over the course of many months, he has shared his story with all of you in bits and pieces. Recently he set down the long version in a forum for triathletes. (U.S. English speakers, note that the Australian usage of “trannie” differs from ours ;). Also, TriAgain says there's a little "salty language" in his account FYI).

First, here’s a trimmed-down version of where he says he’s at right now:
3.5 years into the journey, pain down by 70-90% (varies a bit), function up by about 50% ... Day-to-day living/tasks much better. I do think prolonged sitting was a major factor in my demise.
This sounds pretty good. Not victory yet, but a lot closer. Note that he’s been working on healing his knees for 3.5 years. That will no doubt sober up first-time visitors to this blog. But sometimes the process takes a long time as you navigate setbacks and figure out what works and what doesn’t.

His full story is extremely detailed and quite interesting (I had to skim some parts, as I read it on a workday morning over breakfast and my train schedule is unforgiving). He credits Scott F. Dye with helping him arrive at a good framework for understanding what was going on. Dye’s common-sensical idea of “envelope of function” I wrote about here.

One thing I find interesting about TriAgain’s story is that he can wade about for hours, fly fishing, while on a rocky riverbed -- and his knees aren’t bothered.


I wonder if: (1) fly-fishing is something he enjoys, so he’s relaxed (2) the walking is slow, at a sort of aimless wandering pace, which when combined with some standing, makes for a winning combination of easy movement and rest (3) water helps a lot by cushioning the impact on his joints: walk over a rocky field and you’ll find the activity is very knee unfriendly, but walk over those same rocks under a few feet of water (which effectively unloads the force that your body lands with) and the experience is quite different.

Anyway, I encourage everyone to read this story. It’s broken up into pieces, and you can tell by the interspersed comments that TriAgain quickly manages to hook his audience. A good read (and encouraging for others worried about how long their knee program is taking).

Saturday, September 12, 2015

On the Virtues of Going Slooooowwwww

My contributions to this blog will soon become less frequent. Honestly, I just don’t have as much left to say. I don’t want to become like that tiresome grandparent who’s always telling the same story, as if you haven’t heard it eight times before.

Of course, I’ll always be monitoring the comments. And the best way to reach out to me, as I’ve said before, is to leave a comment.

Occasionally, when thinking up ideas for blog posts, I ask myself which messages are worth repeating -- what have I said that should be said again and underscored, with a few exclamation points added at the end? One such message, I believe, is lose weight.

Another is this: you won’t believe how slow healing a pair of bad knees is.

No, really. You. Have. No. Idea.

Now some of you, whose knees aren’t too bad, will be on the comeback trail in a few weeks and may be much better after a month or two. If so, congratulations and utter a small prayer of thanks. Because you got off really easily.

Most of you won’t be so lucky. You’ll spend months tinkering with a recovery program, changing diets, exercises, and all sorts of variables. You will wonder if you’re making progress. Self-doubt will sometimes become intense.

The problem is, often it can be hard to tell if you’re moving forward or running in place, going nowhere. I think this is especially true for people with really bad knees, who most likely need to spend a few years just to get them to improve from terrible to bad.

I know there are a lot of mysteries about how healing occurs. But I think it can. That, to me, is a tremendously inspiring message.

But it’s always good to keep in mind that slow, gradual progress -- even slower than you think is slow -- is the best way to go.