Today’s guest post is by Lori Franklin from the blog Janebenimble. It gave me goose bumps when I read it. To be honest, I got a little choked up. And then I said, “Oh, hell yeah.” Lori has been dealt a bad hand and is spitting in the face of all her obstacles. I love it. I love her and her attitude. You will too.
Cross-Train Your Life, by Lori Franklin,
- Pulled hamstring tripping over a rock—8 months of no running
- Strained hip flexor racing the California 1/2 Ironman Triathlon—6 weeks of no biking
- Sore shoulder swimming the 3-mile Rough Water Swim in the Pacific—1 month no swimming
- Strained hip flexor, again, cycling to work ~55 miles round trip—stuck in traffic by car (blegh…)
- Torn Achilles tendon hiking the Eastern Sierras—9 months of no running
- Bicycle accident with a concussion—no work for two days (not all that bad…)
- Torn cartilage in knee—no walking/hiking downhill for 6 months
Having been a marathon runner and road cyclist for many years I often trained as often as possible before/after work, during lunch breaks, and during weekends. Along the way, I’ve experienced the full range of common sports-related injuries. In fact, the reason I initially learned to swim, at age 30, was so that I could maintain my fitness while I was sitting out a hamstring injury.
Learning to swim later came in handy so that I could participate, and later coach men and women, in the sport of triathlon. And, swimming is probably a good thing to know since I live by the ocean and, as the glaciers melt, I have a strong possibility of waking up one morning under water.
Cross-Training and Carryover
Cross-training taught me this: the more I can learn about participating in various sports, the more fun and peace I will experience if my options become limited.
Cross-training started to seep into other parts of my life. I learned a few languages, I picked up HTML and graphic design, I became certified in massage therapy and personal training, I finished my Ph.D., I studied world religions, I became a more compassionate person, I learned to make home-made hummus.
When I felt backed into a corner at my job, I left to start a new career doing something that I had cross-trained for along the way. Later, when I tore two disks in my low back in a bicycle accident and could no longer meet the physical demands of my job, I adjusted again and became a full-time writer.
Looking back, I probably wasn’t giving my body enough time to recover in between races. But, then again, I was having a blast. I wouldn’t have done anything differently.
Plus, I didn’t have time to kill.
Multiple Sclerosis…Big Time
Neurologists diagnosed my Multiple Sclerosis in my early 20s. I lost my vision and ability to walk for a spell, among a few other unpleasantries off and on, but regained all function by the time I hit 29. Statistical probability told me there was a strong likelihood that in about 5 years my MS would transition from relapsing-remitting MS to a form called secondary-progressive MS, characterized by slow debilitation over time. But I didn’t care, remission was all I could think about, so I pulled out all the stops, including a team cycling race from Oceanside, CA to Flagstaff, AZ (start to finish in ~26 hours).
The doctor’s predictions turned out to be fairly accurate and I came out of remission last year at age 38. I have also been ‘upgraded’ to SPMS. Damn! But, hey, I’ve cross-trained my whole life and, now, I see this as a new challenge. I can see a path around this thing.
As Josh so awesomely demonstrates, cross-training in life is key. In part, Josh uses a strong man approach combined with guest post marathons to deal with Tourette’s Syndrome. I believe I can re-wire my brain and circumvent the damage by writing and doing as much as possible to stimulate my brain, including the engagement of neuro-muscular connections, so I can get back on my road bike. I also want to hone my parkour skills
Screw SPMS! It doesn’t know whom it’s dealing with!
Granted, some days I must curl up on my bed and that’s about the extent of my day. I won’t sugarcoat. The fatigue, dizziness, balance problems and confusion are real—I’d rather run a marathon or swim 3 miles any day than deal with this. But cross-training my brain and body is ingrained in me and it is going to save my life.
I encourage everyone to continue adding to his or her toolbox by cross-training in all walks of life—even just a few minutes here and there. Cross-training may someday save your life, too.
Learn what you love. Love what you learn. Pass it on.
Don’t waste a second. Create your day!
About the Author:
Lori is the author of JaneBeNimble.com, a blog about striving for an agile body and mind. Jane Be Nimble is a 100% MS-free zone. The author wishes to thank Josh for letting her speak her mind at World’s Strongest Librarian. While Lori does not blog about MS, her email is wide open for personal correspondence about MS, or training, or how to make home-made hummus: lori [at] janebenimble [dot] com.
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