Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Grounding and Pounding Myself to Exhaustion

Sorry I haven't posted an update in four months. My recovery has been slow and full of ups and downs. The one thing about people who struggle with metabolic damage or chronic fatigue is that there are many days with peaks and valleys. When I hit a peak, I don't know how long it's going to last, so I try to do as much as I can. Unfortunately, for me, that's when I do the most damage. I push myself to the point of exhaustion, driving those stress hormones out of sync, and then I'm back to where I started: square one. 

Yesterday was a bad one, and I did it to myself. I lost my balance. In my posts on the Chronic Stress series, I mentioned the need to keep those stress hormones in check. Part of doing that requires me to temper my high intensity exercise with something less strenuous like swimming, yoga, Pilates, and strength training. I can no longer train continuously at a high level of intensity, every day, if I am ever going to reach a state of homeostasis with those hormones. I admit, however, that there are times when I get very impatient and I push myself beyond what I should be doing. 

Last week was a prime example of that. I had been exercising consistently in the last two weeks that I felt strong enough to work on some Krav Maga drills during a circuit work routine. One of those drills is what we call a 30 second, all out, Ground and Pound. The purpose of this drill is to help the practitioner stay in the fight should he/she get the upper-hand advantage of being on top of the opponent. It is non-stop, everything goes, with punches, elbows, and head slams. This helps to build the muscle memory to keep going during a struggle so you can disable him and go home safe. This drill is usually done after an intense workout when the exhaustion has set in and you are being forced to do more. 

Why not at the beginning of a workout? Because as with any situation, if attacked, it's not going to happen when you are feeling refreshed and ready to fight. It will come at the most unusual times, when you are exhausted or after a long day, or perhaps even during a jog at the park; so we are taught to train, as one of my favorite instructors put it, " to bleed in here so we don't bleed out there."

To put a long story short, I was already beat and my wonderful husband and coach pushed me to do more: THREE 30 second rounds of grounding and pounding. Thirty seconds does not seem like much, but I've included video of the last two rounds to demonstrate how easily exhausting it can get, especially after an intense workout. On a side note, because I know I'm going to hear it, if you are a practitioner, you will notice that I didn't have enough hip rotation to hit harder. The weight gain makes it more challenging to do that, but it is something I'm working towards. But I digress, as you will see, by the time I got to the last round, I fell right over the bag out of sheer exhaustion. Please note, that this is not the common practice. You want to be able to spring yourself away from your opponent once he's stopped fighting, usually when you've knocked the lights out of him.
Surprisingly, it didn't take me as long to recover from this as it had before. My muscles were not as sore the next day, and foam rolling shoulders, legs and back after a workout really helps, along with lots of water. 

Then, I made the following mistakes two days later: 

#1: failed to get adequate, restful sleep (7 hrs. is the minimum)

#2: failed to eat right. I was on the run, hadn't eaten anything but yogurt with Chia seeds in the morning, and by two o'clock, I was famished. So, what did this typical mom-on-the-run do? I made a pit stop for Sonic food while running errands. Yes, I know. I undid all the progress I was doing before. That was enough to put me in bed for 4 hours when I got home. It's amazing what bad food can do to a person when it's ingested. I KNOW better, but I'm not going to beat myself over it. It's definitely a lesson learned and I'm moving on. 

The struggle is definitely real. It's been a very slow process. I don't know if I will ever be able to continue moving on as an instructor, but knowing that I can at least enjoy being a student makes me happy. There was a time, two years ago, when I thought I had to put that passion to rest. Now, continuing on as an instructor seems like a very distant speck of light to reach. But I'm not going to worry about that anymore. 

All I can do is worry about what I have control over right this moment...and that's my health, which is the most important thing, and the knowledge that I'm finally working towards recovery. If I don't have my health, I can't take care of my family, and that scares me more than anything in the world. Everything else, my writing, even Krav Maga, takes a secondary place in life. I'm finally at a point where I can do that for them, and knowing that I can think well enough to finally get back on track with writing is just the icing on the cake.  I believe in a higher power, and just like he takes away, he also gives back in return. I'm thankful for the highs and the lows. But I'm most especially thankful that I'm getting my health back on track, and I can enjoy every phase of my kid's life, cause I know those moments are not going to last forever. In the meantime: one step at a time... one goal at a time... is what I'm going to do. 

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