Weekly Rundown….

…..kinda

I haven’t been putting out my weekly posts, and not only because I have been busy with my husband’s health issues. I also changed my work schedule  and, of course, the first week of the new schedule was the week after my husband’s heart attack, so getting used to that during stress was, um, fun.

I am more used to it now, and have less stress. I was offered four ten-hour days with Fridays off, so of course I took it! The beauty is I get three days off in a row…..the downside is that I work 6:15 to 4:45, which means it is hard to get in a decent amount of time before or after work for exercise.

Also, I have been doing pretty much the same thing for the last few weeks, which makes it hard to think of new ways to write about it.  Basically treadmill running interspersed with yoga. I haven’t even been doing weights as I have been cleaning the horse barnyard every other night as each layer of ice lets go of muck. I  figure the heavy wet mess is a good substitute for weights, plus my shoulders and arms hurt enough. Good for my core too, as I have to stabilize before slinging the pitchfork load onto the manure pile.

I did start running the three days in a row, which was pretty exciting that I could do that weekly without my knee giving out. It has been six weeks so far, and I even added a short run before work once a week for the last two weeks. The first run on Friday always seems hard, but by Sunday I am loving it.

The weather has been slowly turning (after three snow laden Nor’Easters in three weeks), and it feels fresh and almost warm out there.  I am really excited to start running outside now. If only Mother Nature will cooperate! The good thing is that it is light until after 7pm now, so once I can get outside I can do a quick 2 mile run after work once or twice a week.

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Happy Accidents

I was doing my yoga last week and I had a thrilling moment when I sat down, absently and automatically placing my legs in Lotus.

One of the things I miss most in the two years since the accident shattered my knee is sitting tailor  fashion with my legs crossed. I don’t think I have mentioned this before, but I am, as one friend likes to say, vertically challenged–5’0″ on a good day. So I frequently sat cross-legged when my feet didn’t reach the floor, or when I had to sit on the floor, or any opportunity that it would seem comfortable.

They did a fabulous job getting my knee back together, but the muscles are very tight and I still can’t bend my knee enough to sit on my heels. At least, not without some hysterical screaming from the pain. I try to avoid that.

To be perfectly honest, I haven’t really been trying to increase the bend. I can ride, and run, and work around most yoga moves, so I figured it is what it is. When I stretch out, I push the leg to bend as much as possible, but I wasn’t doing any special PT to make it bend more.

I still have to wear a light brace everyday to give it support.  I use a pull-on neoprene for most daily use, and a bit heavier one for actual exercise. I have tried twice to give it up, once last March (my leg didn’t like it at all), and once last August (my leg was fine the first week but quite unhappy the second). I will probably try again this summer, but if I have to wear a brace on my leg for the rest of my life in order to be active, I can live with that.

But I am gleeful beyond description that an ability I figured lost to me forever has returned. It’s not perfect, my right leg is three or four inches in front of the left one if the left one is tucked in properly. But it IS a cross-legged position 🙂 and-

-I can sit in Lotus at the end of my practice, breathing deeply and happily.

Monthly Stats….

….for January. February was rather a lost month for posting due to our  “excitement” on the health front. Hopefully things are slowly getting back to normal.

Last month stats

So my Endomondo tracker doesn’t  track my treadmill miles. Considering that is all I have been doing since the weather makes it inconvenient to go outside, to have an accurate count, I have to add  all  my workouts together.

So I did! My January total was 38.8 miles.

This is where my record keeping addiction comes in handy. I have a Fitbit too, but a) it totals every step I take into  my daily miles and b) it doesn’t think I have gone very far on the treadmill. It tracks my steps, say 3000 for a walk on the ‘mill, but thinks I have only gone about a quarter-mile. Haven’t quite figured that out yet.

But I have my handwritten journal too, where I write down what I did and how I felt–Fitbit and Endomondo don’t know if it was hard, or if I was proud I accomplished it, or if I changed my workout based on time or feelings. That’s where I got my actual  mileage.

Thank goodness for my Dad’s genes 🙂

An Oasis of Calm

So people who don’t exercise always look at me and say “why?!”

There are a ton of reasons. I like pizza, and yet I still like to fit in my clothes the next day. Being healthy (not withstanding the pizza) is important to me. I think exercise is important in one’s life, and while I certainly won’t look down on someone who doesn’t exerise, I will always encourage someone to try a new activity and see if it speaks to them.

But the biggest reason I exercise is that it keeps me sane.

Three weeks ago my husband had a heart attack. He’s only 43, but had smoked for 24 years. This is my PSA to say, please don’t smoke. He had one artery–the one that delivers 70% of your body’s blood–blocked at 100%. And another artery blocked at 90%.  His job is quite active, and he eats fairly well, so again, a PSA for not smoking.

My second PSA is to say, if you think you might need to go to the ER, go! We spent quite a bit of Thursday night discussing what might be wrong, before we decided  he’d be fine. No one wanted to be the one to say “we ought to go!”  The next morning he went to work, then decided to come to the ER because of shoulder pain–he thought he might have torn his rotator cuff. Come to find out he was having a serious heart attack. Clearly, we weren’t smart enough to make the decision to go to the ER.

Fortunately for me, from the time they decided to move him from the hospital where I work to the hospital an hour south where  the cardiac specialists are, to when I went home, fed the horses, let the dogs out, met the person driving me south and actually arrived at the hospital, they had already put his first stent in. I didn’t know just how bad it was until they had started to fix it. Thank goodness. He spent the next four days in the hospital, having his second stent put in on Monday and coming home on Tuesday.

I traveled back and forth for the five days. I was fortunate enough to  have drivers over the weekend, and then drove myself on Monday and Tuesday. Since we have the animals, it wasn’t practical to go down and stay.

Not that our neighbors weren’t willing to help. I came home on Saturday to find out that someone had plowed our driveway, clearing the four inches of snow received overnight. Other offers were pouring to help, for which I will be forever grateful. But I don’t trust the horses around people who just aren’t used to horses. Sometimes the beasts move unexpectedly, although not maliciously, and they are a bit heavier than the dogs when they step on you. And so I traveled.

And each morning before I went down I got on the treadmill. That little bit of normalcy gave me the opportunity to run out my anxiety and worry and stress.  For those thirty minutes, my legs pumped, my breath was a struggle to get even and full and my brain was focused on running smoothly. When I got off and showered, I was calm and ready to face the day.

I have always felt better after exercising, for a lot of reasons. There is the “hey, I did it, even when I really didn’t want to.” And the “geez, my body is getting strong, I can’t believe I finished that workout” feeling.  My mood improves (those endorphins are wonderful things), and I can deal with problems better after even a 15 minute walk. I have always realized that nature and exercise make me happy, so of course it was my go-to during such a difficult time.

And I sincerely believe it made it easier to bear. So if anyone is looking for a reason to start an exercise program, I think that is a pretty good one!

PS – it was Saturday afternoon before I got around to asking if they had checked out his shoulder. There was nothing wrong with it, the pain was due his shoulder and arm being starved of blood. Also, he hasn’t had a cigarette since he walked into the emergency room 🙂