Injuries, a quiet ski day # 3, and a quiet but warmer riding night

What with going back off the holiday and everything else going on, I’ve fallen behind on the blogging front.  This year, though, I’m trying to be more productive by being kinder to myself.  That also ties into skiing–taking the long view rather than the nail-it-now view.

For one thing, I’ve been wrestling with a long-term muscle injury in my hip that has stubbornly refused to improve.  I was able to finish out last year’s ski season with little impact, but skiing was definitely harder and more challenging, despite an improvement in skill level.  I kept wrestling to control things I shouldn’t have needed to control and fatiguing more in my legs and hips than I should have been.  The hips have been difficult for me to deal with when I get injured.  I thought this last injury was just another strain and I’d be able to work through it.

Well, a year ain’t working through it.  I still had hip pain and my range of motion in the hips has been drastically limited.  While I’ve never been able to adopt a full yoga sit, at least I could sit cross-legged.  Not now.  I’ve been to the doctor, the massage therapist, the yoga studio, and now the acupuncturist, soon to be joined by a very short Pilates interval (a LivingSocial coupon for private Pilates training, three classes).  Dr. Lady, Massage Guy, and Needle Guy all agree it’s the hip, not a back or joint issue.  Another flareup of the lovely myofascial pain syndrome I’ve been wrestling with most of my adult life.  I don’t get bone and joint failure, I get tendon and muscle issues.

The acupuncture has appeared to have some dramatic and effective results, however.  I went to a local sports/athletic-oriented acupuncturist.  We talked, he had me lie on the table, assessed my range of motion in a manner similar to my sports massage therapist, and summed it up in simple terms–hips frozen up, range of motion significantly limited, acupuncture on back and hips this time, next time the quads, series of exercises to perform daily.  For the most part, the needles went in smoothly.

Two stood out.  One, on the side of the new injury, burned.  I commented about that.  The other, on the site of the thirty-two year old injury, slugged me.  I literally felt as if I’d been hit by a hammer.  Obviously, I commented on that one.

I moved slowly the next few days, but there’s been some obvious pain relief, and maybe a little bit of freedom of motion.  Horseback riding has definitely shown improvement, and skiing….

Well, I also had the boots assessed as a factor in why I’m fighting the skis again.  The most crucial piece was that once again I’d overlooked the adjustable factor on the boots, with one ski set to soft flex and the other to hard flex.  Soft flex is more forgiving and takes less muscling; hard flex is more aggro.  But the fitter also added heel stabilizers to the custom footbeds (thankfully, those aren’t packed out) and adjusted my buckles.

Between the needles and the fitter, things appear to be better on the boards.  DH was happy because the conditions were the hard pack he prefers to ski.  I was just plain happy because, while I was still being overcontrolling (taking care of myself), I wasn’t fighting the skis.  The frustrating thing was that I got tired and achy after two runs down Kruser, a little run down Pucci, and then four runs down the Mile.  Yeah, some of that is still early season conditioning stuff, but still, it’s annoying.

But–sunny day on top of Hood while clouds boiled all around us for the win!  And of course I forgot my camera.  At one point, I looked across at Mt. Jefferson and could barely see its tip while clouds boiled between Hood and Jefferson.  The cloud bank boiled just about at eye level up at the top of the Mile, but it didn’t curl around the upper, open slopes or the higher level of trees.  Very much a low-level foggy mist cloudbank.

So a nice day and sun we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

Last night was my first ride after going back to work.  I was late getting to the barn, of course, but that’s not surprising.  It’s warmed up so Miss Mocha was plenty warm and energetic.  We did an enthusiastic but low-level schooling based on inside and outside bends at all three gaits, with some two-tracking.  She’s definitely regressed a little on the counter-canter, but I think that also has to do with my hips deciding to lock up more this winter, footing slickness, and her own winter issues.  We had solid inside and outside bends, and even got some nice short counter-canters.

Happy girl at the end, with treats, a good roll, and a thorough brushing.  As we went into the stall, I noticed that one leg strap was looser than I liked, so I had her stand at the door while I adjusted it, before I pulled off her halter and let her eat.  She waited patiently.

Damn, I love this horse.  No worries about taking her away from her food.  She leaves it willingly for work and, while she’s eager to get back to it, she’s confident it will be there (though the barn manager says she’s been noisy at grain time).  And she waits for me to okay it before she goes to her food.  Lots of training there, though, it didn’t happen overnight.  Plus I am generous with the cookies while tacking/grooming.

And now, time to write and then head off to the day job.  Whew.

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