Illustration for article titled Of Summer, Athletic Injuries and Payback

It’s the first day of summer, the longest day of the year, which means more time for me to experience all the aches from this morning’s training session with Moraitis. (Yes, of course I know it has to do with daylight, not hours, but I’m trying to wax poetic here.)


Here in Raleigh, the temps hovered in the upper 90s all day, where it will remain all week. I hate summer. I really do, and being in the South makes me hate it even more. I spent a year in Austin one summer, and was left with three lasting impressions: people there eat spicy chili all year long, including the summer months; armadillos as roadkill; empty playgrounds during the daytime because it is too freakin’ hot.

Yes, I’m grumpy. I checked the calendar; it’s not that. It’s just that I’m sore all over and know tomorrow will be worse.  Especially my arms, because Moraitis introduced me to a 15 lb. kettlebell. It was so small and cute – orange, my favorite color! – but halfway through slinging it down through my legs then up while tossing it to my other hand and then down through my legs and up, toss, down – I wanted to throw it across the room.


I do appreciate a good workout, but at the end of my 30 minutes I was seriously gasping for breath. Never ceases to amaze me how perfectly tame the exercises first appear. I arrive dry and fresh, often smelling like lavender massage oil with my hair in a neat ponytail, and leave red-eyed and wan, dripping sweat and trying to pretend I always stumble when I walk.

All that to say this: Yes, it’s absolutely worth it, and I look forward to Wednesday’s session – mostly because most of the pain and stiffness will have subsided by then.

Speaking of pain and stiffness, I think I have a rotator cuff injury. I AM SO EXCITED. I made an appointment with Dr. Bean today, but he’s booked this week and on vacation all next week, so I can’t see him until July 8. That’s fine. I’ll wait, because I’m also having him redo my bloodwork and I only want HIM to do it. Why? Because back in January he said I was pre-diabetic and prescribed something I refused to take or even acknowledge. Now, I want him to see how far I’ve come. It's payback time. (Sure, I can see any one of the other docs in the practice, but that would be Rubbing-His-Face-In-It-by-Proxy. This is personal.)

But back to the rotator cuff injury . . . I’m excited because it’s like a total jock injury. Laugh if you must, but cows don’t get injuries like this; the closest might be a sprained elbow trying to snag a bag of fish sticks from the back of the freezer at Wal-mart.


I’ve been dealing with low-grade pain for about two months in my left shoulder. It doesn’t bother me when I use the machines at the gym, and doesn’t bother me – much – when I’m working out with Moraitis. But I was unpleasantly reminded of the injury a few times this a.m. when reaching up to pull down some weights, and when I first held the kettlebell in my left hand.

Google says the most common symptom of a rotator cuff tear is pain. Check. Another common symptom is weakness in the shoulder. Double-check. The kind of weakness that makes it hard to lift the arm up overhead or difficulty reaching, getting dressed or carry objects. It’s a trifecta!


The good news: It’s usually treated without surgery. The bad news: Usually takes forever to heal.

I don’t care. I can’t wait until July 8, when I see Dr. Bean. There’ll be the tale of the scale, then a significant improvement in all that blood stuff that has to do with fats, sugars and cholesterol and whatever else. Finally, I’ll have an athletic injury to discuss – not whine about my weight, depression, or worry about being prescribed some new, obesity-related med.


This could be the first summer since childhood I truly enjoy.

If you can’t take the heat, don’t tickle the dragon.  ~  Unknown

Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.

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