I went to the athletic therapist at the clinic this week to get some support (ha! support!) for my achy joint problems. (Oh man, I totally crack myself up!) Athletic therapists are those people who run onto a field when an athlete is hurt, hauls them off, and gets them back on the field right quick. Except I think athletic therapists for the NFL and the like use a lot of numbing agents that get injected (under the supervision of doctors), and this one really doesn’t.

Tim did an hour long assessment of my foibles, uh, joint pain. Not much you can do about an arthritic creaky wrist, but I can stretch out the forearm muscles and (god help me) ice the wrist after squash. Have you ever iced a wrist? It’s a little like someone took a giant chef’s knife and plunged it into your bone. I’m super looking forward to that tonight, let me tell you.

The good news is that there’s a lot that can be done to help my poor rusty knees. Here’s the sitch: I have a dominant side of my body (as does everyone), and uber tight hamstrings and glutes. Yes, I have a seriously tight ass. Given the amount of whimpering I do in yoga (and I’m a paaaaaaaaaaale imitation of my achy gimpy dad, let me tell you), this really isn’t a suprise. I also have a wee bit of weakness, no, more like an imbalance of strength, in the muscles that are sort of on the side of your hip/butt.

But as always, there’s stuff you can do to fix this business! Unfortunately, most of it sucks hard enough to separate chrome from a tailpipe. There’s some hip flexor stretching. Some butt stretching. Some hamstring stretching. Okay, lots and lots of hamstring stretching. And a little move I haven’t seen since the 1980s when I was forced to take an aerobics class. It’s one where you lie on your side with your legs together and pulled up towards your chest a bit. Then you lift up the top leg. Repeat 20×3 times. Sounds innocuous, right? That’s what I thought, til I had to take a break on set two. All I could think was “wow, that’s gonna hurt later today”. In the next couple of weeks, I get to graduate to doing “the clam” with resistance! I can hardly contain my excitement!

But you know what? Even though it’s boring and kinda painful and a bit depressing that I have to do it (oh for a magic wand), I’m doing it. Because Tim says I can still work out and this will reduce my pain. I like working out without pain. I like playing squash (especially because the league’s about to end, which means we’ll be able to book courts easier). I like the thought of being able to do this try a tri. And maybe within a month or two I’ll be able to get off the anti-inflammatories and be back down to… um… fewer pills a day!

I say this with enthusiasm and hope. I’m going to play my last game of this round of the squash league tonight, my first major physical activity since last tuesday. I’m going to lose (I’ve played this woman five times this season due to injuries and replacements, and lost every time, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to lose tonight), but I’m going to have fun. I’m going early so I can cheer on my best friend, who I introduced to squash in December and who is playing her last league game for a while as she grows her third baby. I’m thinking about making a sign to go along with my hootin and hollerin.

This weekend, I’m going to play squash on sunday. Next week, I’ll go to yoga on monday, swimming on tuesday, and play squash on the weekend. Then next week, I’ll try running again. And the week after, a spinning class. I can do this. I can get back on track. I can conquer all.