What’s that? A new post one week following my previous one?
Yes, I am back in the pole game which means that break time is over for writing consistently as well. I realized my last several posts felt almost like essays what with the constant editing and fretting, and while I enjoyed putting a lot of effort into my writing I know it’s unlikely I’ll have the time to keep that up on a weekly basis.
But today may be another long one as I have many, many overdue updates. I’ll get to the most obvious and exciting one first:
Update #1: My Recovery
I was a good girl and stuck to doctor’s orders, taking it easy and not lifting anything heavier than 10lbs (save for Ellie, obviously) and twiddled my thumbs as the six week deadline (slowly) approached. Now, normally if I have a health concern I check in with Dr. Google day and night. Being raised by someone who treats The Merck Manual as the bible probably contributed to this but I gotta say, my mind didn’t even go there this time. I didn’t go looking for outside advice, however outside advice found me. In droves. I was contacted by several polers and fitness folks from around the world with their own tales of abdominal injuries, diastasis and hernias and it started scaring the bejeezus out of me. DOOM! DOOM!!!
I went to my assessment with a physiotherapist who specializes in Diastasis Recti and I was expecting to hear the worst. I told her what happened, what my symptoms were and she nodded sympathetically. I lied down on the examining table, lifted my shirt and let her feel the gap for herself.
“Oh this isn’t so bad! It’s not large enough to cause any problems but I’ll give you some exercises to help strengthen your transverse abdominal muscles.”
Starting with both knees bent, she had me lift one knee towards my chest before lowering it. Frowning, she then had me slide that leg down and asked me to raise it off the table and hold it. I did so without any effort at all, all while yammering on about pole fitness. Her eyes bugged out of her head.
“Wow, ok. This is supposed to be very tiring, hmmm. Yeah, you’re fine! Besides, Diastasis Recti and hernias don’t cause pain, you must have had a really bad abdominal strain. Just ease back slowly and don’t do anything that causes you pain. But I’ll be seeing you next week for your back.”
Yeah….about that. I’m almost too embarrassed to admit it, but I did something super DUPER stupid. While at my new job my coworkers started showing off their bridges (I’ll get to that, hold on a sec) and not wanting to feel left out I jumped right in and whipped one out. In a cold gym, without so much as doing a couple twists or forward bends beforehand. Yeah, my coworkers were fine, but they’re almost 10 years younger than me. The second I extended my back I realized what I just did. Oh god! From that point on I couldn’t arch my back even slightly, sit for prolonged periods of time, stand for prolonged periods of time, get up from sitting, reach for something in the fridge or roll over onto my stomach without feeling like I did when I had sciatica pain while pregnant (oh, memories!). This was the first time a foam roller didn’t magically erase my pain. Is this what it’s like to get old? I don’t know if I like it.
I had my first physio appointment and it was determined I strained a joint in my lower back which caused my muscles to wrap around the joint, preventing me from arching my back at all. To fix this she had me lie down on my stomach and bend my foot back towards my butt, making sure my hip stayed down. At first I could only lift my foot a couple inches and with excruciating pain but each time got easier and less painful. I couldn’t believe it! After three days of doing this exercise I was able to extend my foot all the way back without pain. In fact, I’m no longer in constant pain! But, I’m not in the clear yet. It still hurts to attempt a bridge and last week while prepping for handsprings at work (hold on!) I did my first handstand pop (go into a handstand and immediately shrug your shoulders and spring back to your feet without bending your arms) and I wanted to DIE! My lower back felt like a nickel rattling in a tin can. Ok, no handsprings for now.
Update #2: New Job
I took Ellie to her first drop-in playtime at a gymnastics club this summer and I had never seen her so excited about anything. Christmas morning does not even compare to jumping on giant trampolines and diving head first into a foam pit. I signed her up for classes in December and felt the place had a really fun (non-competitive) environment. During our first class I started talking to the instructor about pole fitness and she mentioned that her and a friend were already looking into it! I steered her in the right direction (*cough* OPF! *cough*) and she signed up for level 1 that night! The owner and manager (the owner being a life long gymnast) heard wind of this and were immediately intrigued by pole fitness, asking me lots of questions. Finally I had found a group of people who needed no persuading in regarding the pole as any other gymnastics apparatus. I talked to some of the staff and learned that not all of them had gymnastics backgrounds. Sure, some did, but most did not. Interesting.
I approached the manager with my resume and he practically hired me on the spot. After a practical interview where I helped teach a class of adorable four year-olds it was done. I was now a gymnastics coach!
I get to spend my mornings singing silly songs, stretching and walking on balance beams. And if it’s not busy I try things like this.
One day out of the blue, the owner asked me point blank if I was interested in teaching pole fitness to the staff and if there were any stand alone poles available for purchase. Once the shock wore off, I told them YES! X-POLE STAGE POLE! CHROME! 45mm!! EEEE!!!
They most likely will not be offering classes to kids. The Little Spinners Scandal is still fairly fresh in the public’s memory but I can still dream.
Update #3: Happy 1 Year!
February 15th was my one year anniversary of my journey in pole fitness. Knowing now is not the time for the pole jam of my dreams, we decided now was as good a time as ever to go on our first real family vacation (driving half way across the country twice with an 8 month old does not count as a vacation) and settled on a resort in the Quebec wilderness. Three days of lounging by a stone fireplace, dog sled rides and sleeping in a bed I know I will never be able to afford. The day we packed up and went home (only an hour away this time) was my pole-versary. That afternoon we had some visitors from back home (Dartmouth!) and one of my friends went straight to the pole.
“I signed up for classes!!!” she squealed. “But I’ll be missing my first one, can you show me a couple things?”
HECK YES I CAN.
So, technically I cheated a little bit, but I didn’t go upside down or hold myself up longer than a few seconds at a time. I felt like I was cheating on a diet, “But it’s my special dayyyyy”
Guilt aside, I showed her a basic pole turn, the fireman spin and a chair spin and it was so rewarding watching her face light up as she spun around the pole (with a surprising amount of control for a first timer). She left smiling and massaging her arms. Success.
Update #4: Back On The Pole
Last Monday as I was browsing some You Tube videos I came across a move I had never seen before (I can’t even find a picture of it anywhere), a No Hands Shoulder Mount. It’s not the prettiest move in the world, but it looked crazy and involved a shoulder mount which means I NEED TO LEARN IT NOW. I pulled out the last remaining pair of Lulu shorts my dog has yet to devour, cranked up the heat and started warming up. Thanks to muscle memory it felt like I had never been away, but there was no denying my stamina was effected. I tried the No Hands SM for a while but I was only left with a sore shoulder and lots of sliding, and slightly frustrated I decided to move on to other things before I lost my strength completely. I managed to get my SG Ayesha and my Cupid came back as well (disappeared completely when I switched to a 45mm). It wasn’t long before all that spinning and inverting unleashed the flood of good vibes and I soon washed upon the shore of happiness.