A week off, not by choice

Every year, I try and take a week off of practicing golf completely in order to provide some mental clarity and physical rest.  When I return I am always refreshed and invigorated and am amazed at the breakthroughs that tend to come the first week back.

This past week I didn’t pick up a golf club, and it was the first time that has happened since September 2013.  But, it wasn’t by choice.  The back is just messed up and posting on my lead leg was not physically comfortable in the week leading up to that one; at times so bad that I either fell down in the follow through of a swing or had to walk forward after hitting the ball to not put any undue pressure on the lower back.

It started about two weeks ago when I felt some pinching on the lower right side of my back.  I took a few days off and rested and then came back to hit balls and try to play some holes.  That day I made it through roughly 14 holes before it was obvious that I needed to stop for the day.  I took another day off and then went back out and focussed on good posture and a strong core and made it through 18 holes, although the  last few were a bit off feeling.  I then took Friday, April 24, off to rest before a two-day two-man best ball tournament at Rose City over that weekend.

The tourney was fun, but a bit of a disaster on my part.  I couldn’t really find a tee swing and on Saturday anything longer than a 7-iron approach shot caused pain, and the wrong type of pain, if there is such a thing.  I was determined to help my partner out more on Sunday so iced and rested it that evening in preparation for our final round.  We did much better and managed to at least shoot even par on the day, but tee shots were still feeling physically alien to me the whole day and I knew I was in for some trouble after the round.  Throughout the day, every swing I made felt worse than the previous and a smarter me knew that I should pull out, although I was stubborn and determined to play better than Saturday.  We finished strong at 4-under for the back 9, but that stubbornness, I think, took a toll on my body.

I called chiropractor Dr. Seth Alley after the round and set up an appointment for Monday.  He has been amazing through the entire project and can always diagnose and fix whatever ailments my body has had to date, so I was excited to see him.

On Monday Seth, basically, said I was out of whack and my hips were out of line and the muscles through the back were all screwy.  (He of course used professional terms for everything, but I’m not one to remember the exact terms and don’t want to say the wrong thing, so will just stick with “it was messed up”).  He worked on the area for over an hour and was able to get close to moving some things around but needed to wait for the inflammation to go down before making any adjustments.  Two days later I went in again and visited Seth and this time he was able to straighten out my left side.

It was feeling better and I was hopeful to see him again on Friday to fix up the right side.  But then, unfortunately, my body decided to get exceedingly sick late Wednesday night with Norovirus and  I was bedridden all day Thursday and did not want to potentially spread that awful little bug so had to postpone the next adjustment until Monday.

I don’t want this to come off as a sob story, I’m totally fine and things happen to people.  We all get sick and get injured all the time, but I do want to explain why I have not practiced or played in over a week.  The flu was just a fluke and quickly passed and what I took from it was that having that was a great way to cleanse the system.  As soon as I was able to consume again I set a healthy base and have felt wonderful this past weekend and today.

At any rate, I went and saw Seth again today as the right side just will not simmer down. It literally feels like my hip is jammed inside itself.  He worked it out and told me to go and ice and then do some specific stretches later on as well as visit the range either later today or tomorrow to see how swinging a club feels.  I know it’s going to feel a little foreign as I have not hit a ball in a while, but as long as the pain has gone down and I can post up on my right side all will be well.

Injury is basically my only fear in all of this and I will do however much preventative work or rest I need to do to make sure something like this does not progress into a major injury.  It’s just part of the journey and something we all have to deal with in one way or another.

I wish I could say that I was on an amazing camping trip and taking a week off to hike and contemplate, but this year I think my “vacation” chose itself in the form of forced rest.

I am not very good at “taking it easy,” so this is something I have to be very deliberate about.  When I have some down time I tend to want to do something physical, even if it’s just heavy-ish yard work or moving furniture into my new place.  So, not being able to golf and not being able to lift heavy objects takes its toll on me.  But, like everything, this is a learning experience and I will do my best to do my best.

On a more pleasant note, I will be traveling some coming up for a combined golf and family visit trip.  The first stop will be in Chicago where I am participating in an exciting and fun fundraiser event called the Beat Tom and Bill Foundation.  Check it out here:  http://www.btbfoundation.org

This event is going to be a ton of fun and all of the money raised goes to a wonderful cause.  If anyone is in the Chicago area on May 15 you should come out and play some golf with us all!

No matter what, I will be back to 100 percent before then.  That is my goal and I expect to in full swing much sooner.

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