Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Positive Energy

Wednesday Word is here again, where a bunch of us bloggers join up with DebRuns.com to write our thoughts about a particular word. This week's word is ENERGETIC, and if you click on the Scrabble button here, you can see their positive energy.

Deb Runs


And now I'm going to tell you about the positive energy I got last week from a visit to my physical therapist.

I'm seeing a great PT to strengthen up the muscles in my leg to support my achy knee. The company is called Excel Rehabilitation and I am working with a terrific young woman named Jackalyn. She is smart, understanding, and is challenging without being mean. I've been to five sessions now and I'm really pleased with how my knee is feeling. I have a lot of confidence in Jackalyn and Excel.

The rehab place shares space with a racquet club that has a nice gym. I was getting warmed up on one of the bikes in the gym when I heard a very familiar voice. I turned around and was delighted, thrilled, overjoyed to see Mrs. Halverson.

Mrs. Halverson has known me longer than anyone alive except for my aunts and uncles. She and her husband were Navy friends of my mom and dad, frequently sent to the same duty stations. They were very close. After my mom died in 2004, I'm pretty sure that Capt. Halverson's companionship is what kept my dad going. When my dad passed away in 2007, Capt. Halverson died two weeks later. And, sadly, my sister and I kind of lost touch with Mrs. Halverson.

But there she was at the gym, looking like she always had.

Mrs. H. is a beautiful woman. She is so elegant that when I was a kid and was acting like a jerk (it happened), she would step in and announce that she was going to give me "princess lessons" because of course she was a princess. And if you met her, you would believe it. Silvery blonde hair, always dressed impeccably, and her Alabama drawl is so smooth and soft you'd think she had a drop of honey in her mouth all the time.

It's that inimitable voice that I heard as I got off the bike. I gasped, and she looked up and asked, "What, did I do something?" And then she recognized me and we had so much fun catching up that Jackalyn had to come get me for the rest of my PT session.

My dad would have been 80 in January. Mrs. Halverson can't be too far behind. But there she was working out with her trainer, perfect hair and make-up, a cute t-shirt, and telling me about her new car ("Did you see my car in the parking lot?"). That is the kind of energetic that I want to be not just in the future, but right now. Princess lessons, indeed.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Judge This!

It's Wednesday Word! A mess of bloggers are linking up with DebRuns.com to talk about a particular word, which today is JUDGMENTAL.

Click on the Scrabble box to go over there and read what everyone has to say. Then come on back here. Because JUDGMENTAL is fun!

Deb Runs


Now, come on, you all know that you can't be judgmental when it comes to exercising. Remember the Pearl Izumi We Are Not Joggers ad campaign? Maybe that resonated with some super speedy runners but most people I know were kind of mad about it. And here is a thoughtful piece from Shut Up + Run about the contention that "slower runners have ruined marathons." Spoiler: the author does not agree. Nor does she care about the pace of the people running in that race with her (which is awesome).

I don't know if the same holds true for swimming but I for one will never judge a swimmer who is slower than me (or faster, either, because that would be stupid because that's 99% of swimmers). Pool walkers? I've done that. Dog paddling? Pretty darned close.

But I did see one group in the pool that I will judge without a moment of equivocation. I think I've mentioned that the pool I swim in is part of a large university. We get students in the pool. Not all of them swim. Most of them try. But one day, a group of four students (two ladies, two fellas) took up a couple of lanes and just stood there. Well, stood there and got romantic.

All I can figure was that it was during the school's spring break and they were imagining that they were on the Lido Deck of a cruise to somewhere. But no. They were right there in the lane next to me, in beautiful Fairfax, and they were getting judged for sure.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Adjustments

New this week:

  • I left behind most of my running groups on Facebook and unsubscribed from running-related emails (they don't mean to bum me out, but they kinda do);
  • I did some yoga that my employer offered after work (a Yoga and Yogurt Happy Hour!). I'll be honest, I was enticed by the possibility of winning a new yoga mat and a FitBit, neither of which panned out. But it gave us something to talk about this morning because you know what? That yoga instructor went a little hard for a happy hour
  • I pulled my old bike out of the garage and took it to the local bike store for a clean-up
  • I made an appointment to start some PT to get that knee feeling fine again
I have been listening to a mediation series that is centered on transforming oneself, and I think it helps. I'm still not sure what I am transforming myself into but I am fine with this being a work in progress.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Trying to Be Brave

It's Wednesday Word time! Deb, at DebRuns.com, hosts a bunch of bloggers to talk about a particular word this week. This week the word is BRAVE and you can read some good stuff about bravery if you click on this Scrabbly link right here. And then you can come back and read this uncharacteristically long blog post (sorry about that!).

Deb Runs


Running, like anything worthwhile in life (amIright?), gives you lots of opportunities to be brave. I got to see a boatload of bravery first hand on Sunday while volunteering at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in DC. It was cold and windy to the extreme! Our water stop was at Mile 9.5, after all those runners had braved the crosswinds of Hains Point and were near their goal.

They were hurting, most of them, and the courage for them to keep going at that point was super inspiring. One woman I talked to had taken a wrong turn: she was there for the 5K. (Because of the fierce winds the mile marker signs were taken off the course.) She was my favorite brave person out there.

And Meagan, over at Turkey Runner is getting ready for her first 50K. That is so brave. I can't even. Keep your fingers crossed for that woman!

And I think about the aforementioned Deb. Her post this week is about Braving the Elements and running in all kinds of weather. I know she speaks from experience on this one because she is pretty much unstoppable. But she has also stared down skin cancer and injuries and still puts herself out there to support a community of runners. Brave.

This week, I am following the example of these people and trying to be brave myself. I went to see the doctor on Friday to find out why my knee wasn't healing well, and why it had swollen up after trying to run just a bit the week before. The visit had elements of the good, the bad, and the nasty.

The good? That meniscus thing that tripped me up in February isn't much of a thing. "We don't chase a meniscus," the doc said. Unless the knee is freezing up (which it's not). So that's great news.

The bad? The doc moved my knees all around and told me something that I already knew: they snap, crackle, and pop. She then used words like "losing cartilage,""degenerative," "osteoarthritis," and "there isn't a cure for it." And in the back of my mind, I really did know it was there but it's different when BOOM it's in your face.

"Can I still run?" I asked.
"Is there anything else you like to do?" she asked.

I pressed a little. "But I'm supposed to run a half marathon in September. Can I train for that?"
She pressed a little. "We're not taking surgery off the table."

She ordered x-rays along with some physical therapy. Then came the nasty part where she did an ultrasound and found a bunch of fluid on my knee that was causing the swelling and fixed that up with a big old needle. To tell the truth, that did help. But it was gross.

I got x-rays done on Saturday and just got a call from the doctor's office confirming what we'd discussed. I spent the rest of the weekend feeling very sorry for myself and wondering what might be next.

When I started writing this post this morning I was thinking that this experience and the idea of giving up running was right in there with the word of the week. But the bottom line, of course, is that there are worse things. Much worse!

I'll see you in spin class.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Knees, Puh-leez!

I've been writing off and on about my messed up knee, the one I tweaked in February.

It was feeling steadily better, until I decided to test it with a little run/walking while visiting with my in-laws the week before Easter. We flew home a week ago and that knee of mine swelled up and started hurting all over again.

I'm off to the doctor this afternoon. This time, I'm going to see a sports medicine doc and see what's up. It's super frustrating having gone from a pretty busy running year in 2015 to a pretty crummy running year in 2016.

Feeling sorry for myself? Yep.

Mad at my knee? Oh, yes.

Anxious for an answer? You bet.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Choose Your Own Adventure

For this week's Wednesday Word, we are all talking about being ADVENTUROUS. You can see what a bunch of bloggers are writing about their adventures by clicking on the Scrabble board here and going over to DebRuns.com.

Deb Runs


One of my favorite things about running has been the weekly long run because I always felt like every long run was its own little adventure, whether I was heading out to meet some friends or going off on my own. Thinking about them that way was WAY better than thinking, oh, no, here comes another long run.

And I consider those amazing people who do things like IronMan races. Now THAT is an adventure. On the other hand, I just asked Jim what came to mind when he thought about "adventurous" and he said, "I don't know, maybe going to Starbucks for an iced coffee."

Jim is the best.

But I think I see his point: that maybe being adventurous is simply doing whatever it takes to jazz up the day-to-day and keep things from getting too humdrum. And since my knee still isn't cooperating, finding something new is going to be my own personal adventure. And that iced coffee sounds mighty good.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Back At It Again!

We returned Friday from an almost-week-long trip to California to visit Jim's family. Jim's parents have been snow-birding out there for the past three winters, and since it was a round-number birthday for Jim's mom, they encouraged us to spend our spring break with them on the other side of the country.

It was a busy time -- there is much to see in the desert in California! While out there I was able to get some walking in (and even a bit of run/walk intervals, with mixed success). I will post some pictures here soon, but today I am just glad to be back into old routines, including heading in to work momentarily. There really is no place like home.