I’m into fitness, take 23: Dealing with pain

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The latest ache is nagging left shoulder pain, probably from increasing weight on my lifting routine.

One of my favorite columns at The Topeka Capital-Journal was one I wrote on Kansas legend Jackie Stiles, who shattered a ton of girls’ high school and women’s college basketball records in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Stiles’ work ethic was the stuff of legends, almost mythical. She was up at 5 a.m. training for basketball, cross country, tennis, you name it. The devotion made her an icon by age 20.

Unfortunately, she paid a heavy price. By her late 20s, Stiles was out of basketball. She’d suffered more than dozen injuries after college, many attributed to that tireless work ethic.

I’m obviously not Jackie Stiles. Two years into my fitness makeover, I’m even more impressed by what she put herself through. It took more than a decade of grinding for hours every day to wear her body out.

In the span of nine months, I’ve had several painful injuries. And my workouts aren’t comparable to Stiles’.

First, it was a painful heel bruise on my left foot. It was painful enough that I nearly fell down some mornings when I got out of bed. A few months later, it was a nasty shin splint on my right leg. That felt like somebody tearing a piece of paper inside my leg.

There have been aches and pains, sometimes my back, sometimes my calves. Nothing major, but they’re there. The latest is a sore shoulder, likely from taking it up a level in the weight room.

So how do I deal with the pain? Ice. A lot of ice. On most nights, I have an ice pack under my heel, one wrapped around my shins (preventative) and one wrapped around my shoulder.

It’s also important to rest. I rarely lift on the weekends, and I try to take a day a week off from running. The 110-degree temperatures make that much easier.

It might be even more important not to overdo it. That’s how I got a shin splint (that and wearing the wrong shoes). We all know our limits. When you hit that point, you stop.

If you don’t stop and keep pushing it, you’ll end up on the sideline. And you aren’t winning on the sideline.

When you average burning more than 1,000 calories a day, you can afford a day off here and there.

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