A number of posts back, I mentioned at the end that I've learned quite a few things as a result of this latest doctors visit. The gist of it all is that our past can somewhat dictate our future. There is a saying that is along the lines of "past performance is no guarantee of future results". And this is absolutely true. But the more I learn about my body, the more I learn about how my past IS dictating my future.
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I'll be the first to say that I've had my fair share of random injuries in my time. But I'm also pretty sure than anyone who has been playing competitive sports since they were 5 can spout off a laundry list the different injuries, broken bones, surgeries, etc that they've had over the years. In fact, I consider myself lucky to have "only" had the number of injuries that I've had. Growing up, the major sports I participated in included:
- 13 years of soccer from Kindergarten through high school (playing on as many as 4 teams per season)
- Cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track throughout high school
- 4 years of rugby in college
- A handful of other recreational sports leagues (basketball, baseball, flag football, etc)
And with that kind of past, I'm proud to say I've "only" had 3 broken bones (wrist, nose, finger), a torn hamstring, 1 surgery, and 3 physical therapy sessions.
Of course, then there is my post-collegiate endurance life - which has resulted in its own share of injuries including:
- Runner's knee
- Severe IT band tightness
- Plantar fasciitis
- Peroneal tendonitis
- Chip fracture in first metatarsal
- Countless other niggles, twitches, pulls, etc
You can see that the result of playing so many sports growing up and the associated stress from it all, may be at some of the root causes of the issues I now experience in endurance sports. Put in more simple terms, my involvement in sports has left me with somewhat disadvantaged biomechanical issues.
But don't worry, this isn't some pity party. It is just an observation of the correlation between my past and present. However, not everyone who is a former athlete falls into this category - there are certainly tons of former youth athletes that continue to progress through life without much issue at all. But I would also label them advantaged biomechanical athletes. The truth is, my body has taken a lot of abuse over the years. Certainly nothing I'd change about my past, since I've enjoyed every aspect of every sport I've played, but you can't deny the facts - I've been pretty hard on my body.
While many people get into endurance sports later in life, I've been doing this stuff for a while. For those who enter this sport in their adult years, you're blessed with a mostly clean slate and a full bill of health (at least in terms of your musculoskeletal system, maybe not so much from a cardiovascular perspective). Not to mention, you can learn how to avoid many of the common pitfalls people make along the way. When you're young, you just go out and do as you're told without thinking and you only stop when you can't go forward any longer. When you are older, you know when to take it easy and avoid pushing too hard (usually).
I'm not really sure how much of this applies to others who haven't been quite as involved in sports, so this post may be more of an introspective look on myself, but what I've learned that can apply to everyone is this: We are all given a body for which we choose to use in whatever fashion we want. If you choose to utilize your body in an active way, be sure to take care of it.
Has your past dictated your future in a similar (or different) way?
And no, this is not just a case of me getting old...although I'm sure that is part of the equation as well ;)