I should have known better. Everything was going far too well for me and something had to give. Fitness? A permanent job? Money? That doesn’t happen to me without some kind of cosmic payback and today I got it.
Since starting Muay Thai I’ve noticed my flexibility, particularly in the legs, is more akin to that of a 70-year old than the spriteful specimen writing this post. Determined to remedy this and improve the deadly kung-fu power of my kicks I embarked on a twice-daily stretching routine, the key component of which being a series of reps of leg swings – basically swinging legs forwards, sideways and backwards to loosen them up. It’s a piece of piss, it wakens me up a treat and the whole lot only takes 15-odd minutes.
Except – in the mornings I’m quite sleepy and not exactly paying attention…
I rolled out of bed today, assumed the position at its foot and commenced swinging. Nice steady motion, feeling a good stretch, all is well with the world, when BANG! A bolt of internal nerve-induced lightning shoots from my toe to my skull, burning every fibre of my body on the way to a cinder. In a second I’m lying prone on the bed stifling a scream which would likely consist of every swear word known to man, as well as a few which would shock the Ancient Ones themselves. My stomach tightens as though I’ve just been punched by Mike Tyson and I’m suddenly aware of a pressing desire to vomit, my face feeling icey cold and clearly drained of colour.
Looking down for the source of my agony I see the small toe on my left foot. Oh. Fuck. It never used to be that size, swelling up enough in seconds to give my big toe an inferiority complex. It never used to be that horrendous deep red and purple colour. And it absomotherfuckinglutely never used to point 30 degrees away from it’s neighbour…
Putting two and two together I realise that on one of my leg swings I’ve lost concentration for a second and kicked the leg of the bed full force with an unprotected and formerly very tiny toe. All the force contained in my now athletic legs and a reasonably heavy wooden futon condensed into that tiny area. FUCK. Why couldn’t Newton have been wrong?
I try to get through to the bathroom and realise I can’t walk. I can’t even limp for fuck’s sake, I’m reduced to hopping. Even then every jump feels like an elephant has stepped on my foot. Thankfully my stomach is settling after the initial shock although my face still has the shellshocked expression you tend to see on soldiers in the trenches of World War One.
After ingestion of many painkillers – to no avail – and a call to my work I’m in a cab and en route to the doctors in Porty, chauffeured by an extremely chatty and generally salt-of-the-earth woman who had recently had a similar experience and was overflowing with the verbal equivalent of hugs and bunches of grapes. We eventually navigate the nightmare of Edinburgh’s roadworks and I make my way gingerly inside, my right leg rapidly tiring of its new found role as sole transporter of my thankfully decreased bulk.
After a brief and unexpected word or two with the ex I’m finally attended to and discover that, to my relief, it’s not broken and is merely (ha!) fractured. Unfortunately the doc’s advice is much as I expected – stay off it, bind it up, use a cold press, take painkillers. Doesn’t he know I’m training for a half marathon? That I cycle and walk to work? That I’m newly addicted to heavily leg-based martial arts? Where’s my miracle cure? What the hell do I pay my taxes for???
Well there’s no point complaining. If I want to run this race I have to do what he says, be a good boy and just not move for a couple of weeks.
Actually that’s not true. I spoke to Marty and the ex (an expert in injury recovery…) and figured out some exercises I can do at home without involving the injured appendage. I got crunches, sit-ups, push-ups, stretches and weights, I can go to the gym and use the machines, I’lll be able to cycle soon enough, it’s all relatively good, all things considered.
It fucking sucks though.