For the past 24 years and 354 days stretching (my reluctant muscles) and I have had a tough time. Yes, you are right that is a shameless plug for the fact that I have nearly been on this planet for a quarter of a century. I reckon stretching has got some weird sense of satisfaction out of being my enemy and causing me pain a bit like James Bond and Doctor No. However, over the course of lock down my mortal enemy and I have turned a corner in our relationship – maybe I am just in desperate need of friendship as I have had to put up with the same three faces (Mum, Dad & my brother). Every. Single. Day. I am learning to appreciate everything that stretching does for me and coming to terms with the fact that the pain is in actual fact for my own gain (I know that sounds odd but the sign of a good stretch is to feel the burn).
So, I am sure you are wondering what on Earth caused me to turn my nemesis into my lock down pal. Well, the truth is stretching lets me do everything I love on a daily basis so I guess I need to be grateful for that. Whether that be walking, running, cycling or playing crazy bananas. Over lock down I have increased my running in a desperate effort to escape the confines of a mad crazy house. In addition, these runs have been getting progressively longer as I uncover new routes and create new challenges for myself (yes I know my legs hate me, they let me know daily). So, the weird and wonderful thing about stretching is that it brings me back to life like Lazarus. It makes me feel slightly more human again after my poor legs have been annihilated on a run. I know that without stretching there is no way in hell I would be able to get out running the following day – my legs would just go on strike and I would have a mutiny on my hands.
Maybe it is a result of the post run endorphins which means that I am just on such a high that my delirium allows me to enjoy the process of stretching. I think it is down to the fact that I am no longer being forced into stretching and nagged constantly by physios, doctors, Mum and Dad or the stray grey cat that strolls through our garden every now and then. The stretching is now something I do completely of my own free will at a time that suits me. Also, stretching gives me more time to escape from the mayhem. I whack on the tunes (David Gray is the one – please don’t judge) with my top quality noise cancelling headphones (so I don’t hear Dad mowing the lawn or Mum blaring out BBC Radio 4) and just get moving. It is immensely satisfying for me to also find that I can hold those stretches for a little bit longer and for each day to be a little less painful than the last.
So, there you go we have come through some tricky times, but our friendship is now the strongest it has ever been, so I guess that is one positive to come out of these strange times. I hope this shows, for those of you struggling with your stretches or other treatment currently, that it is not purely there to cause you pain. I completely understand that this is hard to believe – trust me I have been there with many an angry tantrum at being forced through my stretches before school. Despite this, I am grateful for everything that my stretches allow me to do and I hope that this post helps you to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel and fingers crossed one day you may feel the same.