Pick-up Soccer: Straining my way into 2014

6 years ago | Fitness


I’m a User Interface (UI) designer/developer and an athlete. In a past life, not too long ago, I raced bicycles at a professional level, competing in Europe and across North America with some of the world’s fastest cyclists.


I’ve taken on a new activity to start 2014 in good spirit – for the first time in 10 years I’m playing soccer again, in a pickup league. The only problem is that my body is failing me, really badly.

Last week after having a conversation about marathon training and sports, my friend invited me to come play soccer with him at the Southpointe Fieldhouse just outside of Pittsburgh. I literally haven’t played soccer since high school. Since then my athletic life has mostly been dedicated to cycling, which involves a niche set of muscles and muscle movements.

I love soccer, so I figured I would give it a go. I ended up playing a full 90-ish minutes of the game. It was a blast! The only problem is, I’m not 17-years-old anymore and my body is reminding me in a painful-truth fashion.

After that first game the skin was peeling off my feet from blisters and I couldn’t walk for three days because of strained and pulled muscles. My body had just plain failed. I wasn’t used the short and quick bursts of movement and lateral strain. I have a pretty strong lower body from years of cycling, but I was projecting my body in ways that movement patterns that it wasn’t accustomed to.

Anyway, I thought I had healed up by a week later, although I was feeling really fragile and feeling my muscles pull just from walking down stairs and getting off the couch. Naively, I embarked on the next weekly pickup-soccer game, thinking I would come back stronger.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

It wasn’t 20-minutes into the game that I had to call it quits. I pulled a muscle in my quad after kicking the soccer ball the first tim I got it, and then I pulled my hip and back so bad I that I was running lopsided.

Moral of the story for me… I need to do a couple weeks of conditioning before I play again. Your body is way too fragile if require it to perform is ways it hasn’t done in 10 years. But don’t be fooled – I’ll most certainly be back.

In the meantime, I’ll be doing as much running as I can and riding once the temperatures crawl out of the polar vortex.

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