Lessons I learned from trees, take two

Spring is about to burst upon us!

As we stress over being stuck inside and away from each other (not to mention the cause of said isolation), I thought this post might be worth a rerun 馃檪

I am always happy out in nature. I can see the sunrise turning an opalescent pink, spread across the horizon and kissing clouds on the way to work and inhale that beauty, bringing calm to start my day. But I have a particular affection for trees.

I love being in a forest, and lag behind everyone else snowmobiling as I take in the trees. I love texture, and trees have tons of that. Craggy bark, smooth bark, light bark, dark bark, curling bark. And leaves! Smooth, fringey, delicately shaped or large and bold, with varying shades of green. In the fall I truly am a distracted driver when all the gorgeous burgundys, oranges and golds appear.

The variety of trees living and growing side by side is a lesson in itself for us.

don’t be afraid to be the first one to change
-or maybe-
don’t be afraid to stand out

as Jeff Goldblum likes to say, life will find a way.
Even after falling or being cut down, these trees continue to put out fresh growth each year.

trees are full of hope as they renew each spring — this beauty is from today’s walk
You can’t always get what you want
I love birch trees. The color, delicate leaves, curling bark. My town is littered with birch, I took this picture less than half a mile from my house.
However, I don’t have any birch trees on my property

you can thrive anywhere, regardless of your surroundings
unique beauty comes from adversity

Image may contain: tree, plant, outdoor and nature
“Hey, is that a tushie???”
Humor can be found anywhere

Quick Note

Like so many other runners, my race for Saturday (the Thirsty Leprechaun 5K) has been cancelled. It was the first race of my season, and I trust there will be others in the season!

Meanwhile, I hope everyone out there is safe and staying that way. I happen to work for a hospital (I am NOT medically trained), and I thought I would put out some of the stuff they shared yesterday.

What Should I Do if I have Flu-like Symptoms?
For your health and the health of others, do not arrive unannounced at any Express Care, your primary care office or the Emergency Department. Please call ahead so our medical staff can prepare for your arrival.
聽路聽聽聽聽聽You or someone you know experience fever or symptoms like the flu or cold, stay home.
路聽聽聽聽聽Call your primary care provider if you feel you need to be seen for your symptoms.
路聽聽聽聽聽For an emergency, call 911.
What Can I do to Protect Myself and My Family?
Here are some things we all can do to lower the risk of spreading any virus:
聽路聽聽聽聽聽Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
路聽聽聽聽聽Don鈥檛 touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands; and
路聽聽聽聽聽Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue away.

Additionally, try to stay out of crowds (which is why they are cancelling everything). For accurate info, go to the CDC.gov website. They have current data, updates and ideas to keep you and the family safe as possible. And don’t panic!! Toilet paper will be available–if not, there are always tissues 馃槢

See the source image

Speed. Or lack thereof.

A man by the name of Eliud Kipchoge set a miraculous time last October for the distance of 26.2 miles: 1:59:40.2. It was his second attempt for a sub 2 hour marathon. To bring it in, he had to shave 1 second off each of the 26 miles. Seems easy enough, but to lose focus for that one second could add seconds to each mile instead of shaving them off.

Kipchoge did it by picking a location he felt comfortable with, in temperatures that were peak for his running and with rotating pacers to keep him focused. Since it wasn’t official race, he didn’t qualify as an official world record. But he ran 23 miles in a row at a 5:19 pace.

Seeing as how I can’t run 1 mile in 5:19, I am suitably impressed. I am not chagrined, however. When I see a runner like that, I am inspired by what we can do. I don’t feel lessened because I can’t do it.

Kipchoge was already the dominant marathoner in the world. But he thought he could do better. And he did. I can certainly improve myself in my little corner of running.

I don’t compare my times to anyone but my own. So many things play into what kind of runner we are–genetics, determination, amount of time training, where and how we train. Frankly, I don’t want to run a sub-20 5K.

I like to enjoy my races. I go for the comradery, for the different courses, and to do better than I have previously. I really don’t want to spend the money and drive time just to run for 18 (or less) minutes.

I am always trying to increase my times and have better runs. But I don’t worry that my times are as good as someone else. My nephew is a foot taller than me, has 25 years on me and loves to train. I would be nuts to try to compare my time to his.

I freely admit I like to see where I place–and I am hoping to keep it in the top quarter of the racers. I look to see how far off I was from the person above me in time. But I don’t feel competitive with their time, only with my own. Keeps me much happier 馃檪

A Whole New Year

Well, here we are mostly through the first month of the new year already. My streak has ended and I am on to a Burpee challenge for this month.

And it looks like winter has finally arrived in our neck of the woods.

After having more snow in the month of November than December or January (so far), we finally got dumped on. A wet layer on Monday and a fluffy layer Wednesday night. Might be good for some winter sports. What a pity I prefer summer sports!!

I finished my Streak on Christmas feeling stronger than I had in a while. I had clearly been slacking and the first couple of weeks were, um, not fun. I didn’t succeed in 2 miles everyday, but I did do 2 miles or more 80% of the streak. Now I am just trying to keep it going.

Even before the snow there was enough ice that running outside wasn’t going to be safe. It would be warm, everything would melt and then it got cold and everything froze again. Repeat ad nauseum. But my treadmill and I have become best friends. And my husband got me an Alpha Ball for Christmas, so I have been doing resistance training as well.

My Burpee challenge is not as, well, challenging as previous ones, but it is keeping me going. I started with 10, and every other day I Burpee (can I use that as a verb??) and add one to the count. Currently up to 21 — 22 tomorrow.

Now I have to figure out what I am going to do next month! Definitely need to keep my momentum going so I am shape for spring. I didn’t do many 5Ks last year, but I think this year I am going to aim for one a month. I don’t tend to make New Years resolutions, but I find that having a plan absolutely is key for me. Guess I am going to add some 5K tees to my collection!


So, its Saturday. Three years ago today I had a really bad day. I didn’t know it was going to be a bad day. Started out just fine.

I remember feeding the horses, and I have a clear view of Daisy sitting on the rug, waiting for me as I came back in. I told her as I went by that I had to work and couldn’t stay home with her. I took a shower, and I remember deciding to take my running stuff so I could run at the hospital, knowing that by the time I got home in the early afternoon I wouldn’t want to run (an unfortunate decision, as I lost my running gear).

That is my last memory for about a week. They tell me some idiot (driving for a school with kids in the van) ran the red light and slammed into my driver side door doing 50 MPH. Totaled my car. Paramedics聽 got me out and took me to the hospital where I work (fortunately I was only about a mile from work at that point), and apparently I got a Life Flight ride to the bigger hospital down state. It does irritate me聽 that I got a helicopter ride for the first time ever and I wasn’t awake to enjoy it!

My lung was punctured, ribs were broken and my pelvic girdle聽 snapped in three places, along with various lacerations. After they stabilized me, my mom asked why my right foot was hanging at a really odd angle, and they realized my knee needed some help too. Strangely, that last thing they found is the longest lasting effect of the accident–besides me being a really bad passenger. I mean, seriously. You do NOT want to put me in a car and take me on the highway unless you have a lot of patience.

I was hospitalized for two weeks, one week in CCU and one week at rehab in my home hospital after my surgery for my knee. A marvelous surgeon rebuilt my knee, added some bone grafts and stuck a metal plate under it to hold it all together while I healed (he did another surgery a year later to take the plate out).聽 I spent two months home, using a walker and unable to put any weight on my leg. I was very happy when my home therapist put a basket on my walker–I couldn’t even get carry a cup of coffee til then.

Gonna say, it was boring! And daytime tv is awful. The doc okayed me to put weight on the leg on a Friday and I gratefully聽 went back to work the following Monday (with a cane). I used the cane until I started leaving it in patient rooms, then I decided I must not need it anymore.

I followed the surgeon’s rules (and added a few of my own), and have seen great improvements in my knee in the last three years. He thought I needed to look two years out before seeing how my knee would recover. I have actually made great improvements in this, my third year.

My best moment came when I sat on the floor and unconsciously folded my legs into a cross-legged seat. I’m short, and that was always my favorite position–on the floor, on chairs, wherever. It’s not a tight cross, but I am sitting with my knees bent. I never thought I could do that again.聽 My running expanded this summer too, I ran better times and even a聽 10K this summer.

Not that everything is perfect. My knees (yes, plural) did not react well to my pushing this summer, and I had to take most of September off from running. My left knee has been achy too, probably the effect of taking the brunt of, well, everything in the last three years.

But I am fine tuning my workouts to keep my knees happy, and I believe that I am seeing the full ability that my right knee will have. I can’t bend it completely, but when doing a quad stretch, I can at least hold the heel now.聽 I may not run a 10k again, but I am already planning my 5Ks for this summer. Now it is not so much about pushing my limits as much as it is just running.



Fun Fact

Everyone is always wondering if herbal medicine聽 works. We see all these vitamin boosts, miracle herbs, and energy mixes and wonder, hmmm, can that actually help me? GNC has definitely made a business of it. And I don’t know if they all work. I don’t feel the need for most of them.

But I do take turmeric for my knee. Shortly after my accident I read an article touting ginger and turmeric for inflammation. I decided to get turmeric* pills, and I added ginger root to my tea for a while. I don’t know that the ginger helped, frankly I think it is better for digestion. But everyone’s body reacts differently, so it might help with inflammation for some. The turmeric works for me. How can I be sure, you ask?

Well, I ran out. My knees were achy anyway (I don’t think they like the cold), and I realized the bottle was almost empty. I took one instead of two for three days, then forgot to order more. My knees reminded me when I was going down the stairs at work a couple of days later.

This happened right after I realized that I can’t run on an incline. I was on the full dose of turmeric when I tried to run the incline, I ran out directly after I ran the second mile on the incline. Bad timing!

I immediately ordered the pill from my trusty Amazon and they arrived yesterday. I am curious to see how long it takes for them to kick. It’s going to be warmer next week, so that should help. Meanwhile, I am doing a lot of walking and yoga!

*there is a wide variety of turmeric pills available. Unfortunately, not all come with curcumin, also known as black pepper. Curcumin is necessary for the turmeric to be absorbed into your body and affect the inflammation. Or do anything else. Something to keep in mind if your choose to try some.

Do what you gotta do!

Those of you who have been following along know that I am coming up on my three-year mark of the accident that shattered my knee ( it did more, but that seems to be the longest lasting effect).

I still wear a brace almost every day. I have gathered a plethora; light knits and compressions and hefty ones for the actual running. I may be addicted, as I am always looking for the “perfect” brace that won’t slide and will give excellent support.

Sometimes at home I don’t wear one–but I can always go grab one if needed. I am amazed at how a little piece of compression nylon can make my leg feel so much better. I have tried to not use them at various points in the last couple years, and my leg always informs me the it really does still need them.

And the point of this, you are wondering?

I had a wonderful surgeon who rebuilt my knee, and I am deeply indebted to him.聽 He was supportive about my future progress, although he really didn’t think I would like running.聽But he never suggested the knee supports.

That was a light bulb moment for me in the local drug store.聽 And I am so glad I stopped in front of the brace section that day.聽I probably wouldn’t聽 enjoy running without the braces; both the heavier ones for exercising and the lighter ones for every day.

But the point. The point is that sometimes you have to think outside the box, and if you want to try something, do it. Absolutely do whatever your doctor suggests, but feel free to add-on (safely-I would suggest caution when it comes to unusual medications. There was a very low risk factor putting a nylon brace on my leg!). You never know what will help your progress until you try. And if it doesn’t work, try something else!

My Week of Not Running

I spent most of the week avoiding exercise and being, well, pissy.

I didn’t realize until I was sitting at my desk on Wednesday afternoon just why I felt that way. I had taken Monday off, cuz that is always my day off. I took Tuesday off cuz I was tired and cranky. I didn’t want to get up the next morning and walk on the treadmill.

So I was sitting there at my desk, thinking about how much I DIDN’T want to go home and exercise and how much I needed to after taking two days off.聽 And the lightbulb went on.

I was pissy because I couldn’t run. After walking the last half mile on my run last Friday, I’d decided my knees needed some serious time off. It seems to be working, walking down stairs isn’t as painful as it was. I still think I need to give them a little more time. Clearly taking six days off last week wasn’t enough.聽 Therefore, I am resisting temptation.

I have known for some time that my knees had a shelf life–and it probably wasn’t all that long. But I didn’t think they were going to give out just yet. And they most likely haven’t. But I am worried. And while, in theory, I had a plan for when they do give out, I don’t want to do it.聽 I don’t want to exercise this week because I am pouting. Just took me a few days to realize it.

I went home Wednesday night and walked Daisy–briskly. We did a mile in 15:16. Might have been 15 flat if someone hadn’t gotten all excited about seeing the neighbor’s dog. To be fair, he was barking at us from the lawn, and they hadn’t met yet. And still haven’t, as I scooped her up (she HATES that) and carried her right past. I followed the walk聽 with weights (for my core) and yoga (for my brain). Then I got up the next morning and did another brisk mile on the treadmill before heading out to work.

And felt the best on Thursday I had felt all week.
(but I still want to run!)

Sunday Trails


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


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




聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽聽Sniffing wears a puppy out!



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.