This Saturday, April 30th, would have marked my father’s 71st birthday. How would we have celebrated? Same we are this year–with a thought. I can’t remember a time when we celebrated his birthday with lavish parties or gifts. It really wasn’t that important to him. I am sure we made cakes. Once we moved out, however, it came down to a card and a wish for a happy day.

We lost my father in 2007 to Pulmonary Fibrosis, a genetic marker that was most likely activated by his long and varied life.  I don’t dream about him much anymore. When he first past, I dreamed about him constantly.  But I think about him a lot, and thought that a post for the man who inspired my active life, as well as my love of learning,  would be a good birthday present.

My father was, at one point or another, a roofer,  worked for a boat building company, taught zoology (he had a PHD in it) at Rutgers, taught biology to nurses at community colleges, and farmed very seriously. Learning was important, and he dug into learning about farming and keeping records with a passion.

He believed in learning all one could about a subject, and loved books, and later, the internet. The TV was always on, tuned to the news once 24 hour a day channels came into being. He was a mix of thinker and physical prowess–a new age Renaissance man.

Before I really knew what running was, Daddy (he was always Daddy to me) was running races. I just remember going and, hopefully, finding a playground to occupy me during the boring race. He ran 10Ks, biked to work (as a roofer) and went from a part-time garden patch to a full-time farmer.

By the time I have real memories, Dad had stopped running and biking, but was physical all the same. When we moved to Maine, he was  cutting  wood for the wood stove, tapping maple syrup, growing veggies and building. And building. A fresh farm needed a lot.

He built our barn, which was no little feat as it was no little barn; as well as our chicken coop (later to become our grain and tack room). To  build the barn, he found a decrepit barn in  a nearby town to tear down in exchange for the wood. I have vague memories of helping, but I am sure my brother and he did the real work.

I have a so many “clips” of Daddy in my memory:

…we lived out in the country, so no cable for us; but in the early video era, our local NBC would play a half hour of music videos. Daddy thought Duran Duran was clever, and had great videos.

…he loved music. Classic rock would have him playing air guitar,  but he spread his interests around, jazz and classical also finding their way into his collection.

…he was incredibly supportive. He would shake his head and tell you where you went wrong, all the while he was helping you fix it. And if a book could help, a book you would get from him.

…he gave left over eggs and veggies from the Farmer’s Market (we sold there every Tuesday and Friday) to the local food kitchen.

…he was a natural-born teacher. If you asked a question, make sure you had time for the answer as it would be in-depth–and there might be a quiz later. Many a person found this out at the Market after asking about how to grow something and getting a lecture.

…he grew 26 varieties of potatoes, earning him the name of “Rudd, the Spud Man.”He never met a potato, blue, red, or gold, that he didn’t like.

…if he ever failed at anything, I don’t know about it.  Daddy was self-sufficient and willing to learn: he was  a photographer with a dark room, he built a spacious two-story addition on to our house in Conn,  he plumbed when necessary, worked on the wood stove’s chimney, kept the tractor running, and did about every general handyman need on the farm.





Weekly Rundown

We had excellent weather last week, that made me just want to get out…out…out! I have to admit, although I am in good spirits with my recovery overall, I felt a twinge or two of envy when I saw runners out and about. Race season has started and I realized I really won’t be doing any this year.  Which means I just need to focus on getting better so I can do some next year!  Or maybe in the Fall?

Speaking of improvements, I took over feeding the horses, much to the gratitude of my husband. They have been very nice to me, not making sudden movements. They seem to like the face rubs too. I think that I will soon be sturdy enough to lunge them.

Monday: my yoga practice, with a few new moves added so that it took 21 minutes. I did a side plank, and tried legs lifts while up there. My right leg is not quite strong enough to hold me while I do lifts with the left leg. But I can do three-point Down Dog, so that’s a good tradeoff.

Tuesday: off. It was planned, as I went to have coffee with a friend.

Wednesday: Arm Weights and Leg PT, my two repetitions of 15. I also did squats, two sets of 10. I feel like the squats are getting deeper, and when I sat in a chair on the porch that night with my husband, I could put my foot flat on the floor with a good bend in my knee! Progress is definitely being made.

Thursday: Treadmill for 10 minutes, and then 18 minutes of Yoga. This is year my week started to go off the rails. My yoga felt fabulous, and I felt loose afterwards. But when I did my standing stretch, grounding my heel while leaning forward and extending my other leg back, stabilizing with my core; I decided that I didn’t need the cane. I had been using the cane to help with this pose, as well as the airplane pose, while on my right leg. I did do it, but I felt it later!

Friday: off, as my leg was not feeling too good. Oops!

Saturday: And, again. I felt great while exercising, and I over did again. I took Daisy for a walk, which was lovely. My goal was roughly 2/3 of a mile (total), on mainly flat road. But we were doing so well when we reached the turn around point, I decided to go up the big hill. Up wasn’t an issue, coming back down was not all that fun. So on the bright side, I walked 1.16 miles. On the pathetic side, it took us 46 minutes.  And I felt it for the rest of the weekend. But I felt great that Daisy and I got out in the sun 🙂

Sunday: Yoga, mostly stretching poses. I decided to stretch out, but really wasn’t up to a rambunctious practice. And we had errand day, so I figured that was enough.

Yoga, after

My accident definitely changed my yoga practice. It did not change my need to do yoga, however. So now I search for poses that don’t require a bent knee. Who would have thought there were so many?

In the hospital while I was in the Rehab Wing, I was taken to the “workout” room at least two times a day. Slowly I and others worked our injured limbs. Then one therapist suggested “chair yoga.”

I was surprised how many of us jumped at the chance.  I was also surprised–and depressed–that I couldn’t reach my toes while seated  (that would be due to my pelvic girdle fractures in the back). The rest of the class went much more smoothly.  Once I got home I did some more investigation into seated poses on a chair so that I could practice on my own.

Yoga poses from a Chair

I learned from this experience that yoga is definitely available to everyone if they want to practice it. And grow with it.

If you want to try yoga, but feel that your balance or flexibility is unsure, try starting with a chair.  A chair is great to hold onto for standing poses as you progress.  I have reached the point where I am looking for poses for straight legs (which has definitely increased my flexibility reaching my toes).

Yoga poses with English Names

I do, however, use my cane when I need a little extra support for my right leg. Yoga is about flow and balance, and one should never be afraid to use a little help to move on to the next level.  The most important thing is to try. And you can be amazed at what you can accomplish 🙂

Weekly Rundown

Another week flown by! It is getting warmer here and the urge to go out is stronger. I took over feeding the horses again, much to the horse’s and my husband’s relief. They have been quite nice around me, no sudden movements. I think they just might have missed me 🙂
Monday–I decided that the 2 lb weights I have been using for my arms needed to go. I went back to my 5 lb weights that I had been using and did my Arm Weights and PT Leg Exercises, 2 sets of 15 repetitions.  I am happy to report that my arms took to the 5 lbs like I had never stopped.

Tuesday: I took it off.  My right leg was quite swollen, so I iced and babied it. The leg is always larger than the left, but sometimes I overdo and it gets a bit more swollen.

Wednesday: I am supposed to be going to Physical Therapy, but apparently they are so busy that I can’t get in until May 4. I decided to see what I could do for myself. The first thing was to get on my treadmill. At the incredibly slow pace of 1  MPH, I did 10 minutes. I focused on walking properly, bending and lifting my leg. Sometimes with the cane, I just do whatever is easiest.  Then I did 16 minutes of my yoga. One of the things I do is pushing up into a hands and knees position from the floor. My knee doesn’t bend much, but I try.

Thursday: another day of Arms and Legs, 2 sets of the 15 repetitions. The other thing I did for my personal “PT” is squats. My therapist who came to see me while I was home (she can’t anymore as I am no longer housebound) mentioned that squats were something she had knee injuries do. We hadn’t tried any since I couldn’t put weight on it. But now I have added 2 sets of 10 to my leg PT.

Friday: once more I did the Arm Weights and Leg PT. I did the squats again as well. I do think they are working as I can go just a bit deeper.

Saturday: I did 10 more minutes on the treadmill. This time I got up to the dizzying speed of 1.2 MPH. Afterwards I did 19 minutes of my yoga. I am doing the same poses each time, but this time I made sure to take 4 even breaths for each one. It did feel pretty marvelous.

Sunday: and now for something different. My husband was out back clearing land, and it was a warm, sunny day.  So I walked (slowly) out to see how he was doing. It was not likely more than 2 tenths of a mile, but quite uneven and leaf and stump strewn. I was rather impressed how well I managed it. Once back in, I did 20 minutes on the treadmill, with a break at 10 minutes to do a bit of stretching.


A friend shared this with me, and I thought it worth a share here. Because, yeah, who runs a marathon and keeps it a secret?

Normally there are two kinds of runners. One is the serious, dedicated runner. Most of their friends know they run, because they put off things because they have to go for a run. Or they go out to eat with friends, but pick out things that correspond with their training. The other is the “hey, I’m a runner!!” Everyone knows they run because they share everything with everybody. No tweet or Facebook post goes by without their sneaking in a mention of how far/how fast they went or why they can’t eat that cool recipe.

I like to think I am a middle ground, myself. I do have this blog (which I consider motivation), but many people I meet don’t know I run. Or ride horses. Or am a bit of an exercise fanatic. But my close circle certainly knows, and they know when I have a race coming up because I am so very excited about it.

Not telling anyone? I don’t think I am capable of that! Continue reading

Weekly Rundown

I was whipped yesterday–an extra hour of work and more weight on my arms. So I didn’t get around to my post. Last week was a good week, especially since I went back to work. I only worked 4 hour shifts, which was in fact my original schedule. I am working up to my new position, which is 40 hours.  I couldn’t jump right into that! Driving is great too, but since it is my right leg that is hurt, it can be tiring to drive using the leg.

Monday: after getting up at 5:30, driving to work, working and driving home, I was done! Generally we have a volunteer at the lab, which means we don’t have to go out and get each patient to register. However, we did not on Monday, so I had to walk much more than normal. Good exercise, so I decided to take the day off. A 3 hour nap after getting home didn’t hurt either.

Tuesday: back on the horse! After work I did my Arm Weights and Pt leg exercises, 2 reps of 15.

Wednesday: yoga 🙂 I strung together a set of 18 positions. It didn’t take as long as I wanted, I decided I must have rushed some of the poses and didn’t breath enough. I did do some new ones, adding Navansana (also known as Scale) and doing a three point Down Dog; as well as adding Locust to stretch my back.  I was pretty happy to do a three point Down dog with both legs–my right leg was strong enough to hold me while extending the left leg!

Thursday: I did the Arm Weights with my PT Leg exercises. I added squats to the list, to help work my knee on bending.  Not that I can squat very deeply, but I will get there. I also added double leg lifts–lifting both legs up forward while laying down. I certainly felt that one in my lower abdomen later that night!  Since I added that one, I went back to doing the front lift/side lift of my legs separately, instead of in one move as I did last week.

Friday: Arm Weights and Leg PT once more. I forgot to do the squats, I guess I need to write down the order!

Saturday: my new yoga session again. On Wednesday it took 18 minutes. Today I took more breathes and moved slower, so imagine my surprise that it only took 16 minutes! Although it wasn’t as long as I hoped, it was a really good session and I felt wonderful afterwards.

Sunday: my husband had big plans–the local Home & Garden Show and groceries. I decided that I should exercise first, I knew I wouldn’t want to do any when I got home. especially after we added in a few extra errands. So I did the Arm Weights and PT Leg, took a shower and was good to go!

Weekly Rundown

What a fabulous week! And the weather was so nice. Just in time, Mother Nature is reminding us who is in charge: this week Maine goes back to winter, snow included. But spring will probably be the following week 🙂

Monday: arm weights and PT leg exercises. I left the reps the same, doing two of 15 each. But I took two of the leg exercises and morphed them into one to make it a bit harder. I was doing front leg lifts and side leg moves while on the floor, so I changed into a front leg lift then out to the side without touching the floor (hello, tummy muscles).

Tuesday: more of the same, two reps of 15 of the arm weights and PT leg exercises. Then a bit of stretching. I noticed that morphing the two exercises into one actually made my time shorter, so I guess I need something to make my 25 minutes back to 30 minutes.

Wednesday: success! I added a bridge to my workout, doing it with one leg, while my right leg stays even with the left leg. I also did some yoga poses, adding in my plank. I tried a down dog as well, and it was mostly successful, although I imagine I looked like a lopsided tent! But my workout was 35 minutes, and that made me happy.

Thursday: a pure yoga day. Last time I could only do 10 minutes of yoga poses, this time I could do enough poses for 20 minutes. I could hold the plank–yay! I also did down dog again, and  purvattanasana–which I have always called a reverse plank.

So much easier to say. The session felt fabulous, I don’t think I have felt that peace and stretched feeling since my accident. Happy day.

Friday: ah, best day of the week, although it didn’t have much to do with my exercise routine. We had a big day, first we had to go down to see my doctor and find out how my leg was doing, then we had to meet with our lawyer. I also had applied for a 40 hour/week position in my department, as I was only working 20 hours since I got hired last fall. So I did exercise, first thing before we left the house. I knew I would not want to do it when we got home. My first good news was a call from my boss saying I had gotten the position, and that she would work around restrictions the doctor put on me. Then the doctor cleared my leg!! I can drive….oh, the freedom. I missed driving! I can go back to work–no more daytime tv!! I can put full weight it, and begin to treat it like a normal leg. I can get rid of the walker (whoo hoo) and did in fact pick up a cane on the way home.  It was a marvelous day!

Saturday: I did about 15 minutes of yoga stretching, but since I had exercised every day so far this week, it was not intense. I just wanted to feel the stretch 🙂

Sunday: arm weights and PT leg exercises. Since I can put full weight on the leg, I did try a wide legged bend, which went fairly well.  The muscles along my calf complained more about the stretch than anything else. But I held it, and the weight was not a problem for my leg. I did manage to stand on the leg while lifting my left leg, but it will be a while before I can walk without the cane I think.