Hamstrings and Fake Grass
Due to the muscle pain I was having last week, this week’s training has been limited to swimming. Taking Friday and Sunday off and sticking with drills in the pool has been a big help in eliminating the stiffness and the minor pain that was still hanging around. So naturally taking up an offer to try a boot camp class at D1 in Franklin Tuesday night seemed like something I could handle having just gone through some down time.
D1 is a Nashville area sports training complex co-owned by Peyton Manning that draws top college and professional athletes from around the country, most recently athletes training for the NFL Combine. I must say first that I have never given a rip about football, with the exception of the New Orleans Saints. I’m from the Mississippi Gulf Coast and they are the closest thing we have to a hometown team. We love us some Saints, y’all! However, my football knowledge is limited to the following phrases:
“I think the chains are moving.”
“It’s anyone’s game.”
“It’s a real barn burner.”
I learned the last one from my triathlon coach during this year’s Superbowl and I’m still not sure what it means. My sports commentary has always been more Andy Samberg than Erin Andrews and I’m OK with that. So I was surprised to find myself recently drawn to the TV to watch the NFL Combine broadcasts. The capabilities of the human body, specifically what those pro-athletes accomplish is astonishing and intensely inspiring. I may never be capable of a ten-foot four-inch broad jump but dang it, I’m going to put my body to the test and see what it can do!
That leads me back to the boot camp class. The D1 complex is the real deal and one of the coolest athletic facilities I’ve ever walked into. Not that I’ve walked into a lot of athletic facilities in my life, but I can surmise that D1 is one of the best. Knowing that some of the guys I had just watched in the combine had been training on the same Astroturf just a week or two earlier made me feel 6’5” and invincible. But as it turns out, in reality I’m still 5’4” and prone to muscle pulls.
My first struggle at D1 was overcoming the embarrassment of verbalizing to the boot camp instructor the internal conversation I was having with myself regarding the grass.
Me: This grass isn’t real. It’s Astroturf, right?
Me: Well, it kind of feels real.
Me: Just ask the teacher.
Me: I won’t sound dumb?
Me: You won’t be able to focus until you know.
It was one of those moments that as soon as my mouth opened I was immediately regretting it and wishing that I had the ability, even on rare occasions, to just keep it shut. For the most part I’ve accepted that I am who I am, but still wish that someone would invent a filter that prevents a person from saying things out loud that maybe they should keep to themselves. They would make a fortune off of me.
The second struggle involved my hamstrings. I stepped onto the field to start the warm-ups and both my hamstrings immediately seized up like a car engine that is completely devoid of oil. That is the best way I know how to describe it. And unfortunately I know what it feels like when a car engine completely devoid of oil seizes up, but that’s another story for another time. As much as I wanted to power through the workout like a pro, I took it at my own non-professional pace and did what I could. The workout alternated between running, some legwork (lunging) and working the upper body with weights. I was able to run for most of the workout, but by the end was walking because of the pain in the back of my legs. I’m wondering if it wasn’t my hamstring last Thursday that was the real issue presenting itself in my hip instead of my leg. My coach did say that was a possibility.
On a positive note, I felt the benefits of the swimming I’ve been doing during the upper-body work. I felt stronger and more capable of getting through all of the reps without flaking. It doesn’t feel great to admit it, but in the past I would have put on a great show while the instructor was looking, then put the weights down and run out the back door when he wasn’t.
So here I am again with my heating pad (post-icing) cursing myself for not being smart. I will definitely go back to D1 for the boot camp class, if not for a while. Coach Dan was a great instructor, the class was one of the best boot camp classes I’ve taken and I can see how it would benefit my overall triathlon training. My goal for the next post is to have no aches, pains and embarrassing conversation to report. Progress not perfection, people.