Sunday, April 18, 2010

humpty dumpty in reverse

My body is changing.

The weight isn't necessarily melting off, but one of the changes I've noticed recently is pretty major. I don't know if it's due to my new food choices or to the running, but it's something I had no idea how to manage before now.

At least eight years ago I began to notice that at some point each day, the area marked by the end of my ribcage would swell and become hard, and would last through the rest of the day.

The swelling would extend pretty much down to my belly and nothing I did seemed to change it. I couldn't even tell if it was water retention or something more.

I tried massaging myself to both calm the swelling and try to detect if there was anything inside me that felt odd, but I never found anything other than tight muscle and tissue. Still, the swelling made me look 'matronly'.

One day, while working with a yoga instructor, she noticed it. What was amazing at the time was that she, too, experienced it. I'd never known someone who taught yoga who had anything other than a well-toned body, but here she was with the same tough belly that extended out from under the bottom of our bras (near the diaphragm?).

The thing is, in the mornings the swelling isn't usually there, so I know it's a consequence of something I'm doing through the day. The yoga instructor and I had talked about it being stress-related (another reason I tried the massage), as though we were holding in all the emotions and anxieties of the day.

Well, for at least the last week, maybe two, the swelling is completely gone. It doesn't show up at all. The first day I noticed it, I couldn't believe it would last.

I showed the South African hottie on Friday and even he was happy for me (it takes a lot to impress that guy, believe me). I can even pull in my belly muscles enough that I can envision myself in a bikini, someday soon.

For the last week I've been aware of how good my belly feels under my clothing, how comparatively flat it is and how it doesn't feel heavy with pressure. It's an unexpected bonus from the changes I've made.

I've been hoping that the issues with my back would resolve as quickly but no luck. There's so much going on with my spine I'm not really surprised, though. And I can't deny that overall, I'm in much better shape even in that regard.

One of my legs is half an inch longer than the other, I've got flat feet/fallen arches, the area over my sacrum is constantly - and very noticeably - puffy, and I'm susceptible to tension headaches as a consequence of all the imbalances and their impact on my neck muscles.

I sound like a freak, wha? Lordy.

Anyway, I find that the exercise helps to loosen things up and take away a lot of stiffness and discomfort, but it's not 100% and I wish it were. Maybe in the long term....

Finally, one of the wackier things I've been experiencing is this: for the last two days, when I step with my left foot it feels as though something is sliding up and down on the outer side of my knee. I've looked at a bunch of articles and images at Wikipedia and my guess is the area affected is near the top of my fibula. The sliding feels like an elastic band, so I'm guessing there's a tendon or ligament involved, but I can't figure it out exactly.

I didn't notice it that much during my run tonight, but it's quite remarkable when I go up or down stairs. There is zero pain, so I'm not concerned, but I am curious. I did take a bad step during one of my recent runs (Tuesday? Thursday?) and felt something sharp and unpleasant in what I would call my inner ankle, but that pain was completely gone the next morning. I just wonder if they're related.

All in all, I'm falling apart ... but less so than I was before I started Couch to 5K.

I can't ask for more than that.

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