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8.18.2009

Fall goeth before the pride

"I'm strong, fast and mean. Hell on wheels." -- Frank Miller's Wolverine


I've been theoretically aware that having bilateral ACL replacements would greatly diminish my athletic capacity both prior to and following my surgeries. I have daily experienced the indignities of limbs that are weaker and stiffer, ready to betray me without notice. I thought I had accepted these as part of the recovery process. I am...was a good athlete I have won national and international titles in different combat sports and sparred professionals to a draw (and sometimes better). I was...am prideful in the physical gifts I possess and arrogant in my contempt of the small things that are a lot more difficult than we think they are.
I was made acutely aware of my weakness with a lower extremity high-intensity training / rehabilitation workout I did today. I started with leg press, doing two sets of warm-up with only the sled, my thighs already protesting a weight that I would formerly have found laughable. During my heaviest weight training I was able to leg press over half a ton for reps, today I found my legs twitching and trembling after three sets of 12 x 180# (that's right a weight less than my body weight), these were also leg press keeping my knees bent less than 60° (or when you don't need to bother setting the safeties because you don't have to undo the brake). I couldn't even do the hack squat at the gym, even on its most liberal setting my surgically altered anatomy couldn't bend itself into a position capable of doing the exercise. I worked my abductors and adductors with three sets of 12 x 50#, embarrassed by the shaking induced by what had previously been minimal effort. One set of 12 x 10# LLE hamstring curls concluded my shame, I went to teach and stretch. If anything this injury has already made me a more grateful person, it will probably also make me a humbler one. Everything we have is a gift, take none of it for granted.

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