This is starting to turn from frustrating to maddening. I haven’t dealt with such a slow mending injury since I was a child and broke an arm, but even that didn’t seem to take so long to mend and there were ways to get around and do whatever I wanted to do (except swim and not being able to swim for a couple month in the Georgia summer was a total bummer).
I just have to keep reminding myself to look at the brighter side of the lot that was dealt and focus on the fact that things are actually getting better. Albeit slowly, but there are noticeable differences on a weekly basis. For example, in the past 6 days I played a relatively pain free 9 holes, was able to practice chipping and putting for 2 hours one day, played 18 holes of short par 3 golf and even went on a little jog.
I say relatively pain free because after 7.5 holes I made an aggressive swing and my old friend pain revealed itself in the same familiar spot. After that the lower back tightened up a good bit and the rest of the round was more or less all arm swings. In fact most of the round was played hitting a fade as I was afraid to try and drop the club in the slot and create a draw. The draw swing tends to really aggravate this injury. The good news is that even with a long time of not playing I shot a 1-over 37 with a birdie on the last hole. Very pleased that after the long hiatus the game seemed to still be there. As long as I focussed on a slow even tempo I could execute my shots.
The 18 holes of par 3 golf didn’t quite go as well, though. That happened this Monday and when I got to the course I did not feel quite as loose as I had the previous Friday. After a slow warmup and using just half swings through the round, which was actually 2 balls at a time over 9 holes in a little friendly competition with a golf friend, I wasn’t able to do much beyond 100 yards. I hit a lot of greens at first and made putts, but the swing definitely went downhill as the round progressed. Still, it’s forward momentum and something that I couldn’t have come close to doing a few weeks ago.
The next day I headed out to Riverside to start to get back into a practice routine and worked on finding my putting and chipping strokes. I hit some half shots on the range to decent results but anything greater than that was obviously not supposed to happen yet.
What I really enjoy about all of this is that I really enjoyed all of this. After so long off I didn’t know what it would be like to be back out there, but seeing a bunch of familiar faces and being on the putting green felt like home again. I think that the silver lining of the injury is that it has been a great way to both physically and mentally refresh after a 5-year push that was almost daily.
That’s basically the reason I have not been blogging much over the past 6 weeks. There hasn’t been much to say as I have been taking time away to recover and I felt like it was just as important to have space from writing as it was from swinging. Now as things start to slowly amp back up I can definitively say that I am excited about returning to golf and to writing about the return.
Another shining diamond is that I can finally start working out some again. For the longest time even core exercises tended to flair things up the next day, but over the past few days I have been getting back to some strength building and the results have been positive. There are plenty of things I still can’t do, like rotational or plyometric exercises, but sit-ups, push-ups, planks, and anything where the core needs to be engaged is starting to both be possible and feel good for the lower back. This is perhaps the most exciting bit of it all.
The jog I took today didn’t feel horrible yet didn’t aggravate too much, which is awesome. I wasn’t able to go very far, mostly because I am not interested in overdoing it, but got out in the heat and broke a good sweat. One of my favorite things to do is run in the peak summer heat and it has been 90+ for the past couple weeks here, but today was the first day I even attempted it. The funny thing is that I really don’t like the heat when just out and about doing normal things, but I love running in it. Not sure what that’s about, but perhaps it reminds me of being back on the cross country team as a kid.
Now that I know certain things are possible I will be slowly getting back into a routine. The last thing that needs to happen is overdoing it and setting back the recovery time, but I will take it week by week and add things as they seem possible. Along with that I will start posting more about the progress as there is finally something to write about and recovering from an injury is part of the story.
Speaking of recovering, it will be very interesting to see how Rory deals with the ankle injury and if he can play in the Open or if he will have to skip it. Not sure how bad the ankle is, but hopefully with the right people working on him and enough tape wrapping that thing up he will be able to go out and compete pain free. People win and people lose, but you never want someone to lose because of injury; what I want is to see a great battle over there at the home of golf between the world’s best players.
Off to hit some putts and chips!