Sunday Trails

 

                       Daisy didn’t get the point of a shadow selfie — to not be in the picture! 
                                                (my fav kind of pic-plus it makes me look tall)

 


      for a  forecasted cloudy day, that was an awful lot of blue sky

 

 

 

                                                                  Sniffing wears a puppy out!

 

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Sunday

I did NOT want to run Sunday morning.

I finally got up out of my chair to feed the horses, and decided I might as well get moving. Honestly, I felt better as soon as laced up my sneakers–the decision was made. Not that I wanted to go out there. But I was going.

I decided to do just a couple of miles, and do them slowly, to “enjoy” them. Truth was, I had pushed with every run the past week and my legs were tired. By the second of the seven hills in my route, I decided that hills really suck!

But I made it through, and it even felt pretty good while I was doing it. And then I could go on with my day, feeling relaxed and happy that I had run.

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.

Me vs Tech, #1

I didn’t forget my Weekly Rundown post this week.  I lost internet. It is unbelievable how much we rely on that now. How odd that I grew up without internet and now can’t live without it.   I just felt lost.

My husband and I don’t have a lot of data on our phones, as we have internet at home (usually) and at both our workplaces. So we hopped on email or Facebook for a quick moment, then got right back off.

And, I admit, texting is great, but I prefer a real keyboard for lengthy  writing. Also, since I am on open wi-fi 40 hours a week at work, I don’t have anything important on my phone. Wanna hack my email? Dang. You got into my Facebook? Ah well. But I don’t have any bill or finance info on my phone. That sucked over the weekend,  I couldn’t do anything.

When I called my company the first time on Saturday, they said Wednesday. I said that was really unacceptable, and the tech agreed. He told me dispatch would call in an hour to see if they could do sooner.  Two hours later I called back. And then again several hours after that I called again, when I found out that the following Sunday was the soonest I could be home when they could get here.

A whole week of no internet? What, were we in the 80s? I couldn’t take it.

Fortunately,it occurred to me–no help from my internet company–that I could exchange the modem (which we all believed was the  problem) at my local cable office.

And lo, we got internet back last night. Much rejoicing was had. But no typing was done…..ooops!

 

Exercise Plan?

I am having an unusual week, as I am flying by the seat of my pants this week. I normally sit down Sunday  and figure out my plan for the week. I admit to being a bit OCD/controlling when it comes to, well, just about everything. Except housecleaning.  I will cheerfully let dust gather.

I find that once I write down what I plan on doing each day, I DO it. Otherwise I tend to just float and I find I took more days than I should have on off at the end of the week.  Or that I didn’t work hard enough on the days I did exercise.

I am kinda enjoying this week, tho. I took Monday off, so I know I have to exercise for the rest of the week. In the back of my mind I know I want to run as much as possible, and I should do yoga to stretch out a couple of times. But I can mostly do whatever I want each day.  Freedom! 

So my question is, do you plan your exercise week?  Why or why not?

Hard Lesson Learned

A couple of weeks ago we got about 8 inches of heavy wet snow. We had to clean the vehicles off, and plow the driveway so we could leave for work.
One of the better things that came out of my accident was my new car.

Now, its only new to me, not actually new. But it is a Subaru Tribeca and it KICKS ASS  in the snow. I have gone to work almost every snowstorm this winter and I had not even a slip in all my travels. It was the same on this particular morning, we plowed around it and it just dug itself the rest of the way out. Love it.

However, I learned the hard way that just ’cause you can do something, that doesn’t mean you should do something.

When I got to work, the employee parking lot was full as always. We have a huge lot out back. I never mind walking, but some days……

Except, wait, there was a space, only  four  spots deep in the very first section!

The spot was clearly left by the night crew, as the snow was flat and even and had no tire marks as yet. Remembering how easily my Tribeca dug itself out that morning, I said, “hey, I can do that!,”  while mocking all the wussies whose car wouldn’t drive in the heavy snow and had bypassed the prime parking space.

Now, it did take me three tries, mostly I was worried about going too fast and nailing the car in the front parking space.  I locked it up smugly and went into work.

On the way home I stopped for gas, went around the front end, and, damn! I had popped the (admittedly) plastic pins that held my front fender on the passenger side, and it was all out of whack. There seems to be a tray under my engine, about 6″ x 10″ on either side, and that was also hanging on the passenger side, bent back from being dragged on the road. It was quite heavy snow I had plowed through.

So I fit into the snow spot just fine–but some damage was done to my car.  My husband was able to repair it (although I still need some pins for the fender) when I got home, but it was a hard lesson learned.

I had a similar experience with my leg. I recently got this new treadmill that goes up to 10 MPH! The one I had previously was my mother’s, and primarily made for walking, so only went up to 6 MPH. I hadn’t really run faster than that, but I was anxious to start.

So I decided I was going to run a mile  a couple of times one week, and of course I wanted to see how fast I could go.  I made it up to 6.7, producing my first sub 10 minute mile since before the accident. I felt great.

So I did it again later in the week.

And by the end of the week I was sitting in my chair with ice on my knee for the first time in months.

Again, just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should do something!

I have a new running plan, and it includes patience. Although, I still want to push it to just see how far I can go. But I don’t, because I want to run again and again, not fast one day and limp the next.

It helps if I keep telling myself that.

 

Reflections on Procrastination

So I have been slacking. Not so much with the exercise, but with the writing about said exercise and other related subjects. Do I have a good excuse?

Nope. My personal life, like everyone else in the world, is busy and complicated. But no more so than when I started my blog. I just let more stuff get in the way.

I always make time to exercise. Now I need to make that time for writing too.  I have a half-dozen partially written posts from the last few months. So my goal is to finish them. And write the rest of them that I have planned.

How do I accomplish that goal? I need to write everyday, just like I exercise. It won’t always be for this blog, I still have my other blog on writing as well. But hopefully, there will be much more new fresh stuff  to read here @ RunnerWithABlog.

Musings of an Elavator Snob

This week marks one year since my accident. February 6th, to be exact. Or so I am told. I don’t have too many memories of the week.

If you weren’t reading my blog at the time, I was hit by another car on the way to work. After three broken ribs, one broken knee, a lacerated live, a punctured lung, three fractures in my pelvic girdle and a Life Flight ride, I woke up two days later.

Oddly, the broken knee was the most lingering of all my injuries. Over the past year I have worked hard at trying to make it bend again.   And last Thursday I had the last reminder of my accident removed: the plate that held my knee together while it healed.

Talking with my husband, it occurred to me that I had come back from the incident like an athlete. That is not something I would have called myself. Definitely not graceful, and not terribly good at team sports. But I knew what I had been able to do before the accident, and I was determined to be able to do it again. The shape I had been in definitely helped me as I tried to get better. I definitely had the focus of an athlete.

I learned at an early age that anything worth having doesn’t come easy. My parents were prime examples of this, they worked hard and they didn’t let pain or sickness get in their way. In my 20s I didn’t have much of their drive, but I have come into my own in the last  10 years.  So after the accident I have worked really hard to regain my fitness.

My husband constantly accused me of pushing it too much. And of course I was. But how would I get better if I didn’t? It’s a fine line. Pushing enough to improve, but not enough to hurt oneself.  It needed to hurt a little, just not too much.

Stairs in particular presented a challenge. My job at the hospital required a lot walking to the patient rooms, on all the floors. When I went back to work, I had to use the elevators. I was able to walk up  stairs before I was able to walk back down them, since my knee didn’t bend and the muscle above it wasn’t strong enough to hold as I stepped down. Even after physical therapy, my knee seemed stuck at a 90 degree bend and tripping sent  uncomfortable reverberations up my leg.

But I kept at it, and eventually (about a month ago) I could walk down the stairs fairly comfortably without holding onto the railing. Not that I just started using them, I have been two-stepping down the stairs since mid summer. Which leads me to my title.

I have become an elevator snob.

I know sometimes they are quicker (although it seems  not to be while you are waiting for them), and in our hospital it is hard to take a direct route from the basement level to the third floor, however, as I trot up the stairs with metal in my leg and sheer determination to not fall on my face, I do have a tendency to look down on the people waiting for the elevator. Especially when I meet them coming out of the elevator on the first floor!

 

 

State of the Leg Address

My 6 month marker of the accident will be Saturday, so I thought it was a good time to check in with the state of my leg. Progess has definitely been made, although there is more to go.

When I came home from the hospital I was using a walker, then gradually got to a cane and now can walk at will. I was so slow, everyone passed me in the halls at the hospital! As someone who is used to whizzing in between people and speeding past everyone, that was beyond frustrating. I also quickly grew tired of people asking me what was wrong with my foot (that seemed to be the first guess, not my knee), so I put a lot of effort into walking properly, if not quickly.  And now I can walk fairly quickly, as well as not staring at the ground obsessively as I walk. I can walk downhill fairly well, even with Daisy on a leash. I am watching the ground pretty hard then, though!

When I came home, my leg was so sensitive that I couldn’t slide a towel out of the way with my leg, now I can kick the dog toy into the air–much to the enjoyment of Daisy 🙂 If I tripped or knocked into a rut while walking, it reverberated all the way up my knee–painfully. I didn’t play with the dogs when I got home, because I was worried that one of them would knock into my leg, and because I just wasn’t that mobile. And I definitely didn’t go out to see the horses. Now, I feed the horses, lunge the horses, and have even ridden a horse. I play with the dogs and I can fetch a toy if they lose it.

I started exercising with the PT exercises they gave me for my leg, and added on as soon as I could handle it. When I came home I could barely lift my right leg up, and did hip raises with only one leg. Now  my right leg is good for front or side leg lifts; and I can bend my leg enough to put my foot flat on the floor, so that I can do two-legged hip raises.

One of my favorite activities is Yoga, and much progress has been made in my sessions. My first attempt at Triangle almost landed me on the floor, as my leg wasn’t strong enough for me to stretch out over. Warrior positions were not even to be thought of, since my knee couldn’t bend at all. Now I can do Triangle easily (although getting out of Triangle takes thought), and I can do some Warrior positions–I can’t hold them as long as I would like, since holding my weight on my bent leg feels like someone driving a nail straight down into my knee after two breathes, but it is progress nonetheless! I am still trying to do Butterfly, and Lotus will definitely have to wait.

Stairs, oh, stairs. Up the stairs was the first thing I could do, leaning heavily on the railing. Gradually that became easier. Down the stairs is taking much more time. I am still in progress with that. The railing is still definitely needed, and I am now working on “form” so that I look like a rather normal person going down. A very slow normal person.

And I ran! Something I wasn’t sure was going to happen again. My doctor wasn’t sure how much cushion I had left in my knee after the surgery, and he wasn’t positive that running wouldn’t be very painful because of it. I did three minutes on the treadmill in a rather gimpy fashion, but with no pain and it absolutely lit up my whole day.

So I definitely have something to work on there. Once I can run somewhat easily, my other goals are  a Lotus position ( I love sitting in Lotus, in chairs, on the floor, whenever I get the urge), and Burpees. Bending the knee to get into these positions will be the key, and I will keep working on going down the stairs. I wonder if I could skip?

Memories

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.