When I was on the dance team at my high school my freshman year. It was the first time I was actively participating in a school sport, and with it came 6 am conditioning workouts on Wednesday mornings. As someone who went to art camp over sports camps every summer I was in no way prepared for the brutal feeling of doing ab workouts with 16 other girls in a smelly gym.
I distinctly remember one morning early on that bicycle crunches in particular were really hard for me. So hard that at one point I actually felt like they were really painful on my inner thighs where my leg and hip connected. I told my coach that they were hurting me and I remember her starting down at me and saying point blank “It’s because you have weak hips.”
Fast forward 8 years to when I started hiking. At the beginning I was only tackling a couple of miles at a time usually maxing out at 4, so I wasn’t running into any issues. As I’ve grown as a hiker and upped my distances I started to notice some pain in my leg/hip area starting around mile 5 for me. If there’s one pattern you’ll notice about me throughout this blog it’s that I don’t like to admit there’s a problem until it’s REALLY a problem.
This all came to a head 2 days after an overnight back packing trip I went on. The trip had been amazing, and when I started to experience some pain towards the end of our first day I brushed it off as just a lot of walking. The next morning when I got up I was stiff, but again it was easy to dismiss as simply exertion from the day before.
Well, 3 days after my trip I was in agony every time I stood up and walked more than 12 steps in any direction. For a while I couldn’t figure out what was going on; that’s when I remembered the conversation all of those years ago with my coach telling me my hips were weak.
I didn’t want to feel like my body wasn’t capable of carrying me in my day to day life ever again, and I was terrified that I was going to be like this forever. It took me about a month and a LOT of Advil to finally get back to ground zero and in that time I accepted what I should have a long time ago; I have weak hips.
Something really great has come from being honest with myself about a weakness of mine. Because I’ve started to be open with myself about a reality of my body I’ve also started working towards changing that actuality. Yes, right now I do have weak hips, and because of it I can’t cover the distances I’d like to, BUT there are things that I can do both on and off the trail to improve my hip strength and my hiking.
I think there are always going to be things about ourselves that we don’t love or need to work on, and then biggest step you can take is owning up to them. When we have a real conversation with ourselves about the things we need to work on creating a plan to take steps to change them becomes a lot more manageable. It’s not always easy to change our perception of who we are, but at the end of the day it’s the only way to get better.
I’ll write a blog post soon on some things you can do to strengthen your hips and some preventative methods for on the trail, but in the meantime:
Question: Tell me about a weakness you have and what you’re doing to tackle it!