I was in the Army. I ran the London Marathon. I've done Tough Mudder and only used the bypass lane twice. And, though I'm mentally grabbing at enough wood to build an ark as I say this, I've never been injured. Until last week. When I woke up and legit could not move.
Quite what I'd managed to do in my sleep I will never know. What I do know is that I had to suffer the ultimate indignity - I lay semi clothed in my childhood bed, sent mum an SOS text and waited.
I didn't have to wait long - I've been at the family home (want to buy. At some point. Plus the washing fairy is so so good to me here) the past few months, and although she tuts and tisks as I Hansel and Grettle my way through the house, I think mum secretly likes having another human to look after. Actually, she's taken to sending me messages reminding me that "PA goes off-duty at 5pm". She's joking - I think. Anyway. She arrived and diligently rubbed DeepFreeze onto the top left area of my back. DeepFreeze - if you're unfamiliar - is the slightly less stinky sister to deep heat.
I won't go so far as to say that the cold treatment cured me, but it certainly was a welcome release from the gnawing pain. Feeling cocky, I booked a session with Kristy, my PT. This turned out to be an error. Ten minutes in, I discovered just how crucial my back is to absolutely every form of exercise. Which might sound obvious, but I had hoped we might find a way around it. We did not, so retreated to the physio room for a sports massage. Which - let's be honest - was a bit of a win. I'd started feeling tired anyway.
Massage over, Kristy grilled me about what I'd changed to render myself quite so immobile. I informed her proudly that I always double strap my backpack, and don't run on concrete when it is avoidable. Oh, except that really long run in Milan last week, when I wore my low-impact gym shoes because I forgot to pack my Asics. Yeh, that might be it.
So I've strained my left rhomboid from the lack of shock impact in my gym shoes. Blah. Having googled the problem (initial self-diagnosis equalled imminent death by a collapsed lung - it hurt when I coughed - but I'm over that now) most advice seems to be largely stop exercising so much and rest. And wait. Which ticks none of my boxes, since I'm Etihad-ing to Abu Dhabi in a couple of weeks for some pre-summer sun and therefore need to look sh*t-hot in a bikini.
So I'm self-medicating. The worst part is sleeping, so I've invested in what dad calls torture and the label calls an acupuncture mat. It's a load of small spikey bits of plastic you're meant to lower you're weight onto for 20 minutes before bed. I'm yet to work up the balls to actually do it - will keep you posted.
Slightly more appealing is phase two: massage. But when I say massage I don't mean a nice gentle stroke - I like a deep pressure, sports-style massage. The release from working through the knots and tension spots is akin to poking a bruise, but it can be hard to find a therapist willing to bully my posture into shape. Last time I went to the Aveda Institut, the girl happily jumped onto the bed with me to increase the downward force through her elbows. Best. Feeling. Ever.
My third and final attempt to cure the back is stretching. Of which apparently - according to every PT I've ever worked with - I don't do nearly enough. Jodie is the resident sports masseuse at Duo Chelsea, so I picked her brains about a pre-bed routine. I now have all manner of pilates-slash--yoga style moves under my belt. If you need me, I'll be in child's pose.