This past week was very much up and down for me, emotionally. By Friday, I felt spent and I did absolutely no exercise on Friday or on Saturday, not even my physio stuff. I was disappointed in myself, but I was also just too tired to move.
I was so glad for the swim on Monday morning. It loosened up my aching leg muscles after the soccer game on Sunday. Turns out I've been kicking the ball wrong. I knew it! I knew it was something in the mechanics. It took a soccer practice yesterday afternoon, and then an impromptu back yard practice with my husband last night after the kids were in bed to crack the code. Honestly, I was swinging so hard and the ball was going nowhere and it was hurting like crazy. Was it where I was planting my foot? Was it the angle of my upper body? Was it where my foot was striking the ball?
The odd thing was that my pass was very accurate and stronger than my kick. Turns out I was passing with my leg at the correct angle, but I was kicking the ball dead on. What helped was not my husband watching what I was doing, but me watching my husband kick the ball properly. I finally said, I can't kick it the way you kick it because you're coming at it from an angle and I just can't do that. Visually, I couldn't understand how to approach the ball except to come at it dead on. That's what made sense to my head. As soon as we realized that was what I was doing, everything changed. I watched my husband kick the ball, and saw how he planted his foot, and his hip acted as a hinge to bring his other leg back on an angle so that he could swing through the ball with full force.
When I was kicking it dead on, I had no force at all, because the hip doesn't hinge that way. There is no way to pull the leg back to give a good swing, so all the power was coming from my much-weakened and inflamed little thigh muscle. Ouch!
As soon as it made sense to my brain, my body was able to do it. It was like a switch flipping. Suddenly, I could strike the ball with force every time. Zero pain. It didn't even feel hard. I'm relieved. I hope this make me an asset to my team, so I can combine my speed with some actual useful soccer skills. Speed only gets me so far.
The week did have a good soccer flavour, though we didn't play a game yesterday (practice instead). On Tuesday evening, I practiced soccer with my daughter for a good forty-five minutes. We had to be at the field very very early due to only having one car and also having three kids playing soccer. As other girls trickled in, they joined our impromptu practice, and it was so fun. We kept adding defenders and forwards and basically doing one drill over and over -- passing the ball around before trying to score (my daughter was practicing her goalkeeping skills). When the real practice started, I headed out for a 5.5km run in the woods.
Got up early the next morning for a run with my friend: 8.8km.
And then "spittlebell" class on Thursday morning. More spinning than weights, which was a bit disappointing. I love the weights. I meant to run that evening, but instead I stayed home with our youngest and did dishes, laundry, and read books with him. One daughter was on a sleepover so she wasn't at her soccer game, which freed me up. It will probably be the only occasion this summer that it happens, so I took advantage of it, and took a break.
But the break stretched out. Friday I didn't get up early to do anything. And it rained and got cold by Saturday. Plus my husband was working. I just had no motivation.
Thankfully, I woke up Sunday morning, early and refreshed, and went for a long run. To get myself out the door, I decided just to run 10km. But as I was running and feeling good, I decided to run my 12km route instead. And then I was feeling so fit that I added some extra loops in at the park on the way home, and went 14.7km. Should have gone around the block just to add in that extra 300m so I could say it was an even 15km.
I had a bit of a break, and then soccer practice. I felt good, and feel fine today too. I did not run fast, and in fact it was a really slow pace. I never got going much faster than 5:30/km. But I think that's okay. The long runs are supposed to be slow. I can't run everything like I'm in a race -- though that is my instinct. While out running, I decided to get back on the bike again too. I also decided to organize a summer running club for my kids and their friends this summer. And I wondered -- why is it so hard, some days, to move at all? To take that first step? To force myself to go?
I never regret it. I always enjoy it.
So with that in mind, I started this week with another swim. I'm still not back on form, though I suspect it might be this wounded wrong-kick leg muscle which is troubling me and slowing me down. But I hung in for the hour, and swam 2600m in 59 minutes.
Planning a soccer practice with the kids tonight -- hoping, really hoping, it doesn't rain. We have to all go to one child's soccer practice, as my husband plays soccer at the same time. Last time, though, it was very fun, and we mostly played soccer too, passing the ball around. I'd like to practice that kick and really sink it into my muscle memory.