Chronicles of Less Urban Living, Fresh from In the Night Farm

I Can Squat! and Other Amazing News

Eight afternoons ago, I was coiled in a ball on frozen ground, dialing 911 while my horse bucked off into the sunset.  I couldn’t walk the length of my ER gurney without breaking into a cold sweat and battling nausea from the pain.  I couldn’t even lift my own feet to recline on the sofa.

Today, I did air squats.  5 sets of 10, perfect, ass-to-grass air squats.  Yesterday, I walked 2.5 miles.  The day before, 1.5.  The day before, I climbed stairs without crutches.

What is going on here???  I’ve done some major soft tissue damage before (the most notable incident involved an aggressive border collie and a torn hamstring, and then there was the time I parked my raft on a rock in a major rapid and slammed into the oar with my thigh) but this is my first trauma since going paleo in August 2009.  And let me tell you, I have never experienced this kind of recovery.

8 days out from incapacitation, and I’m squatting?  And doing planks?  And messing about with dumbbells?  This paleo schtick, to borrow from Robb Wolf, is potent stuff. 

Okay, they’re only air squats.  Big deal.  But I didn’t expect that have that range of motion back for weeks.  It has occurred to me to wonder whether the injury wasn’t as severe as it seemed.  Those who saw me in the first 48 hours, however, insist that’s not the case.

More than one person has pointed out that had I not been so fit, I would likely have suffered even more upon impact; and, had I not been so well-nourished, I’d probably still be on Vicodin and crutches.  As for intense workouts, I reckon it makes sense that a body accustomed to frequent, minor repairs is better equipped to handle major repairs when necessary.

Nerd that I am, I spent some time searching for information on paleo nutrition and injury rehabilitation.  I didn’t find much, but Dr. Loren Cordain’s comments in this Q&A are worth a read.  Anybody got more for me?

Now, don’t worry.  I’ll still be spending plenty of time on my ice pack.  I’m taking this slowly. Hey, I could have gotten under the bar today…but I refrained, like a good little invalid.  Day by day, I’ll do what I safely can, and nothing more.  It surely feels good to have pumped biceps again, though.

Go forth and eat well, my friends.  Lift heavy things.  Sprint occasionally.  Be strong.


9 responses

  1. you’re wild…way to go!

    January 17, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    • Thanks — 🙂 I was STUNNED to try that first squat and discover that it didn’t hurt!

      January 17, 2011 at 6:53 pm

  2. Agreed, you are wild! Very compelling stuff. I am a vegetarian (because of the cruelty), but now I’m thinking paleo could be done if I find the right, local farmer to supply the protein… hmmm, you have started me thinking on this.

    January 17, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    • I’m there with you on the abysmal conditions in factory farming, Carmen. I ❤ my grassfed meat producer! And the animals we raise right here on the farm, too. 🙂

      You probably know that I was vegan before I, too, was compelled to investigate paleo. Lierre Keith's book The Vegetarian Myth provides some real food for thought re the ethics, nutrition, and politics of it all.

      January 17, 2011 at 7:15 pm

  3. Ah yes, I do remember you being a vegan, before.

    I actually raised grass-fed, chicken-tractor meat chickens on my farm last summer (YUM!), but I moved in to town to continue my college education, so I cannot raise my own as I would like to.

    I’ll re-read your articles, and do some more research. Thanks for all the inspiration on life in general! You are living my dream: the farm, the endurance riding, the Spanish barbs, the sheep! Love it.

    January 17, 2011 at 8:02 pm

  4. Sarah

    Yay for you! Optimal nutrition + fitness is certainly the key to a fast recovery. You’ll be back to hauling water buckets out to those sheepies in no time! 🙂

    I suppose, if you’re going to suffer any great injury, this is the time to do it. You want to be rested & awesome by the time it gets to be spring & you’ll need to be out kneeling in a garden!

    January 19, 2011 at 9:59 am

    • I had the same thought — at least it’s not my horse training, endurance, and gardening season! 🙂

      January 19, 2011 at 10:13 am

  5. take it easy!!!!!!!!
    (I’m one to talk. After I broke my rib or two, I thought I was going to ride a 50 miler 7 days later. After I tripped walking the night before and almost passed out, and realized that was not a good idea. So I took it easy for 6 weeks, though I was not happy about it.)
    The Equestrian Vagabond

    January 30, 2011 at 9:54 am

    • LOL I remember that, Merri! I’m staying out of the saddle for now. Even the thought of riding hurts, and I know if couldn’t stick a spook if I needed to because my hip has so little strength. 😦 But like you, I’m not happy about it!

      January 30, 2011 at 10:16 am

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