Sunday, October 29, 2006


Its been 8 weeks now since the accident. I was really thinking I would be ready to start working out hard again. In fact, earlier this week I started back to the gym in the mornings and actually had 3 days of fairly decent workouts, all things considered. But, what started out with a bang, ended with a whimper, and I do mean that literally and figuratively. Thursday I didn't feel particularly motivated to work out. Wednesday had been a harder day so I had planned to take Thursday either off or easy. What I didn't plan to do was take Friday off as well. I just didn't get rolling in the morning early enough, had one of my busiest days since getting back to work so didn't take a break for lunch, and by quitting time I was ready to go home. I had a chiropractic appointment for after work, which initially I didn't think I would get out of work on time to make, but when I knew I would be cutting it close, I decided to go, since my body hurt everywhere, particularly the shoulder and ribs, so I suspected I probably was out of alignment enough to cause all this discomfort.

My chiro worked on me quite a while after I described my complaints and then said something I had completely forgotten about. When I told him my x-rays indicated I was healed, he said (same thing ortho dr. said), but that doesn't mean the soft tissue is healed. That takes quite a bit longer. Hmm, is this the 3 month period the ortho mentioned??

So now I am faced with a balancing act here--finding workouts that fill my need to do something but at the same time do not cause further trauma to my injured areas. Its going to take some rethinking on my part, but I would think I could continue to do workouts but work up to longer periods of time and try not to do the same thing every day. All I can do is try to come up with a workable plan, and if that doesn't work, try something else.

This leads me to believe that I made the right decision to NOT sign up for IMFL for next year. While I believe I am willing to do the workouts required, I have no idea if my body will cooperate and let me get that far. I do not want to stretch this injury out to a second year, so I need to go slower with workout plans. If I can get through this next week without constant pain, I still plan on attempting to do a short run/walk at the 2 month date (Nov. 3) and see how that goes. If I am in constant pain on that date, I will put it off a week.

Today would have been my latest attempt at a half marathon (Grand Rapids Marathon) had I been running, which obviously I was forced to transfer to next year. Don is running the marathon, and hopes to do as well as or better than last year (3:49). The weather yesterday was so windy and cold I'm glad it wasn't race day. He always says he doesn't care what the weather is, but I know better. Who wants to run 26.2 miles in 30+ mph winds and icy cold? I plan to head out to the finish line in time to catch him and others I know running the marathon and half.

And best of luck to all those heading to IMFL or the NYC marathon next weekend!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


I've been making it a regular thing again going to the gym in the morning. Today I really increased my workout time up to 1 hour but divided it up in 3 parts to avoid overdoing any particular muscle group: 20 min. on spin bike, alternating increasing tension and standing; 20 min. on elliptical, this time getting my heart rate up in the 150s and increasing strides per minute (it helps to be warmed up first!); 21:45 in the pool, one half mile swim. My swim is okay, but of course not as fast as before, but I expect that will come soon enough. I'm not worried about my swim as long as my shoulder and back do not bother me. Keeping it easy and short should be okay until I build up more.

I also have physical therapy this morning, so it remains to be seen whether I can swim and do PT on the same day. I'm pretty sure though this will be my last day if I have anything to say about it. The exercises are becoming routine and mundane and I am resenting the time I have to spend there. Its been okay up until now, but I do think I am past needing monitoring. I am more than willing and perfectly capable of doing my own PT. If they would give something to follow and then schedule me for a followup in a month, that would work for me. Then, if anything arises in the meantime, I will have somewhere to go for advice.

Part of my workout plan is geared to start running again. I'm willing to wait the 2 months as initially recommended, but I find it hard to believe I need to wait 3. If I were a pro or world class athlete, maybe, but the reduced schedule I plan to follow should not be harmful to any further recovery. In the meantime, I am concentrating on getting my heart rate up higher than I do with a walk, getting out of breath to force the lung recovery, and extending my workout time--all to make it easier to transition back into running. I am hoping this will keep me from feeling like I will die on the first real run.

As far as short-term goals go, I got an e-mail yesterday about signup for the indoor tri I did last year. I figure I can't do any worse than last year (even though I got 2nd in AG), but do know the competition has increased, and it won't be much longer before my friend Jan is in my AG. EEk! She will make it impossible for me to beat, but she will give a couple others a run for their money, and I do mean run. That's where she is likely to shine.

One big decision about winter training is how much do I want to do outside, if any? I am a little concerned about slipping and falling on the ice and messing up something, and I know I don't want to go through any more rib healing, so I am leaning toward the treadmill and elliptical. But past experience has led me to realize too much treadmill running causes me feet problems, and I want to avoid that whole mess again if I am able. But according to all the tri-geeks here and runners, you are only considered a "real" runner if you run outside all the time no matter what the weather. While that would be preferred, I suppose trial and error will lead me in the right direction.

Monday, October 23, 2006


I decided it was time. While I have gone a few times on the weekend and after work, I haven't made the effort to get there in the morning. This was almost a daily routine before the accident, so I know what is involved to get organized the night before to get there. And what with trying to recover, work, go to physical therapy, take care of my dad, and generally everything else in my life, I really did not feel up to expending any more energy (that I didn't have anyway) to going to the gym in the morning. So today was the day.

I have been waking up earlier and earlier anyway so figured I might as well try it. Since getting back to work, I have not set my alarm once--I just wake up when I wake up. But that is generally anytime between 5:30 and 6:30, so easily I can make it to the gym.

I got there by 6:30 today, all set to get in the pool, but decided to do a short warmup first (since this pool is pretty icy) on the elliptical. Two miles, just under 25 min., and then I headed to the pool. I never made it. The pool guy came in while I was doing my warmup, tested the chemicals, and decided they were off and closed the pool. Great! I was all set to swim. Hopefully tomorrow?? At least I did get something done. I realized I could use an elliptical, and if nothing hurt doing that I should be good to go once I start running--in two weeks!

I am liking this new gym and appreciate it now more than ever--no more hassling trying to get in the parking lot; no more walking in the rain, snow, wind, or bad weather generally, and then turning around and doing it again when I leave. No more waiting in line just to get in or get a towel. And no more zoo in the locker room. Of course the downfall here is the short pool and less equipment to use, but I figure the few times a year I use all the equpment at the Y is not going to be missed. I honestly think if I had to go through all of the above to get to the pool or gym in the morning, I would be less likely to go, and since I am now in the mood to get going on things again, it is worth the change.

On another note, my friend Jan QUALIFIED FOR BOSTON: 4:01:45! I knew she could do it, and she did it despite some less than ideal conditions. I really am excited for her and am glad she finally accomplished this goal. I talked with her shortly after she finished the race and she sounded good and said she felt good. She called again later indicating that she really did feel good--not only physically but having accomplished her goal. No doubt! My bet is on her doing an Ironman next, and I'm sure she will do well there also.

On another sports note: great coverage of IMH. I didn't see everything but did watch and listen to quite a bit while I was working and later checked again for updates and results. One of the triathletes from our area also competed, Jim Dyke, 61, and he did a 13:20. The guy is amazing. This is his 5th time qualifying and he just did IM Canada this year too! Congratulations to anyone having participated! One of these years I'd like to go as a volunteer, since there isn't a chance in hell I would ever qualify (I haven't even done an IM, so that makes it more likely!).

Saturday, October 21, 2006

DR. VISIT--Followup.

Okay, 6 weeks after the accident and new x-rays were to be taken to see if I was healing. I pretty much figured things were getting better. I felt more "solid." I wasn't aching as much in the ribs or middle of my back, and I seemed to have turned a huge corner recently, going from not having much desire to think about getting back to running or swimming, to actually getting in a first swim and then also beginning to think of running again.

Just when I thought I could start planning my comeback, my doctor visit burst my bubble. Yes, the bones are healed, "but 3 months recovery is normal for this type of injury." Whoa! What happened to the 8 week plan? Wasn't I told from day 1 that 8 weeks is the average?? "Yes, but that's just for the bones to heal, not necessarily the muscles and surrounding tissue and ligaments." So, when do you figure I can safely start running again?? "Three months is a good time." Sigh.

So I spent the next couple of days slightly depressed, trying to figure out how long this whole thing really will take to recover from. But then I started thinking and made a decision: I would attempt to start running 8 weeks after the accident, to the day, and see how it went.

The next thing to do was figure out what to do to get started again. While I have been walking most days and my pace has picked up considerably since that first week home from the hospital where it probably took me 20 min. to walk around the block, walking just doesn't have that heart pumping quality that I want to experience to feel like I was getting back to the fitness level I was at before the accident.

Looking through various beginner running programs, I finally found one that I figured would be extremely conservative for me but at the same time give me a plan and goal to work toward. It involves walking and running, starting mostly with walking and eventually getting me running 30 min. This whole process is stretched out over 8 weeks. Eight weeks takes me to the beginning of the year, and my first thought before I looked at these programs was: I would like to be running 30 min. at a time by the first of the year. So it looked to me like a good plan, one that meshed with my own thinking, something I could work at slowly but at least 3 days a week, and hopefully take me to my goal of starting at the beginning of the year to plan which races I want to do next year. And if worse comes to worse, I can delay the plan on a week-by-week basis. I certainly hope I won't have to do that though!

This week too I have finally overcome most of the shoulder pain and limited range of motion I have been having for a couple of weeks. I finally caved in and started taking 1 muscle relaxant a day, at night, and after 4 days the pain was mostly under control. At least it doesn't consume my every thought and movement. The shoulder still will take weeks, if not months, to regain the strength and mobility I had before the accident, but just getting the pain under control is a big accomplishment.

I swam again yesterday, after swimming 2 days in a row on Saturday and Sunday. Two days in a row, I found, was 1 day in a row too many. So I gave it 5 days for the shoulder to calm down, mixed in with the muscle relaxant therapy I concocted, and it really wasn't bad afterward. Today I decided to try stationary biking. I haven't been on a bike since the accident, mainly because there was no opportunity to get on a stationary bike until recently. I had hoped to start spinning soon, but after today, I see I have a LOT of catching up to do! Five minutes of pedalling got me huffing and puffing and actually sweating. After 15 minutes, I was done in. So much for spinning for a while! At 60 minutes for each spinning class, I would be way out of their league right now. I am going to have to build up over the next 2 months on this too. But I'm glad I finally tried it, so I know where I stand and can come up with some plan for that too.

I guess the good thing about this whole process is I like to plan and work toward a goal. I do not like just working out to work out. Yes, that serves a purpose, but it isn't the same as a goal. And its a lot easier to skip a workout without a goal!

First game of the World Series tonight! Go Tigers! I know what I'll be doing tonight!

Thursday, October 19, 2006


No, its not the typical kind, kids leaving for college or just leaving home. Its a different type of empty nest feeling I'm referring to: My friend Jan is heading off to Chicago Saturday for her annual attempt at qualifying for Boston. She will most likely make it this year, and when she does, or lives will change forever. Our story goes back several years.

Six years ago, I was limping along in a 10k race when I came upon Jan running with some of her friends. We were about 4 miles into a 10k race on a wickedly hot day. I was going through one of my many injured periods and was not only surprised but a little annoyed to see her there, doing great. I didn't even realize she was a runner. I saw her husband frequently at the races over the years and assumed he was the runner, only to find out he was her ever loyal support crew.

After that day, we talked from time to time about running and her goals. She pumped me for information and frequently asked my advice. While I had had many years' experience in running and had just started on the triathlon scene, I guess I knew something about which I spoke, but I was always in one of those "forever injured" states it seemed--something was constantly needing fixing, so I have seen little progress over these years.

When she did her first marathon, I was there to support her and was there every step of the way, virtually of course, but there nonetheless. I was at the Great Floridian that year, so it must have been 2000, and she ran the Chicago marathon as her first marathon. While I do not remember her time, it was impressive for a first marathon, and I remember calling her from the road to find out her time. She did great, probably around 4:35, so close to my first time.

Year after year, she trained and trained and trained, running one or two marathons a year, all in the hopes of qualifying for Boston, but that magic time always alluded her. Still, she did not give up her dream.

Last year, she did her first triathlon and beat me by several minutes. This year, she improved her time (I had to miss that one!) by several minutes as well, as much from her improved running as her determination to do well. Her distant dream is to do an Ironman.

But first and foremost is her need to qualify for Boston. This year, I can see that she is on the brink of conquering that distance. So, as she is getting ready for the big event again this year, I have looked back and reflected on our time together in her quest for this goal.

What I see here now is that she no longer needs me to succeed. She doesn't need any advice from me, although she frequently flatters me by asking for it. She doesn't need me to tell her what she has to do, because she knows. And then I compare our lives and what I see is that she has more money--to get those weekly massages, to buy all the coolest running gear, to finance her marathon trips--a more flexible schedule--she can take off during the day to go train or come in as late as she wants in the morning or just take a day off whenever she wants--a husband who dotes on her--someone who does everything for her and follows her to every race, being supportive and present--and many other things I do not have to help me succeed in this way. But then I realize that it doesn't matter what you have or don't have. The bottom line is that she puts in her time on the road and the road is finally rewarding her. No matter how many pluses she has over me, she has done the work. She deserves whatever reward is there.

So here I am like a mother bird, watching her last baby leave the nest, feeling proud and sad at the same time. I can only hope that our flight patterns cross and that we can continue to find a common ground as she soars above the clouds.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Like anyone else following the baseball playoffs, I have to get on the bandwagon and support my team! My sons are so excited about this. Its been great fun watching them watching these games. One gets so worked up you would think his life depended on it. The other is like me, not quite believing they can pull it off. (Can you blame us with their sorry record?)

I don't actually sit and watch the games, but I do check the score from time to time, so I was really excited to see the last play to clinch the playoff series--bottom of the 9th, 2 men on base and one of their best hitters is up, and 2 outs. I'm thinking: Get a hit into the stands now! And sure enough, it happened. Very exciting. I can't sit at those types of games because I get so worked up!


After the race Saturday, I thought I was really too tired to do anything, but I had brought my gym bag with the thought of swimming after. I decided to give it a try anyway, figuring 10 min. would be good.

As I mentioned earlier, my shoulder had been so sore all week, I was a little skeptical about even attempting 10 min., but I wanted to see what would happen. I could always stop.

I couldn't believe how excited I was to get in that pool--excited yet apprehensive. Get in, start to stroke. Ow, okay it hurts some. Not where I would have expected either--my shoulder wasn't bad after the first few laps, I got a slight sidestich in the rib area at first, but what surprised me was my foot! The whole top of my foot hurt on kicking. One thing I have is a good kick, and my feet are part of that kick, like fins or paddles. Nothing wild or anything, just a flutter kick. And yet, my left foot hurt the whole time. This is the foot with the broken toe, but I didn't remember the bruising my foot had until now. The entire top of my foot for at least 2 weeks after the accident was black and blue, but I never had much trouble because of it. Well, its not going to break, so just keep going.

I stopped after a quarter mile and checked my time. Almost 10 min. But I'm feeling good. Another 5 won't hurt. As I swam, I realized how easy it was for me to get back to swimming, almost like I hadn't been out of the water for over 2 months. Nothing hard or fast, just easy swimming. So 5 minutes turned into another quarter mile. I decided then it probably was a good idea to stop. One-half mile, not so shabby here! And my time? Under 20 minutes. Whoa! Much better than I figured I would do. And I felt pretty good.

I did decide to soak in the hot tub for 5 min. and after that felt great! One hurdle down. Now I know I can add that back into my routine. I'm excited about that!

The day turned out much better than I had expected!
RUN THE RAPIDS--5k walk report, October 14, 2006.

Saturday I participated in another walk that should have been a run race. This time I entered the timed event, as there was no other choice. But I was ready to see how much of an improvement there would be from three weeks before. During the past week, my toe had been feeling much better--to walk on but not to the touch--so I know my regular walks were getting a little speedier. I'm doing this for exercise, not speed anyway, as a way to measure my progress. Some days I don't particularly feel like walking once I get out of work, but I figure 30 minutes is better than nothing.

In the days before the race, our weather was some of the worst in a long time for this time of year, without any snow accumulations but cold, windy, and icy nevertheless. Friday was so bad I had decided if I got up on Saturday and it was that bad, I would not go to the race. At this stage in my recovery, I do not need to put myself into gale force winds, sleet, sideways rain, and bitter cold to risk getting sick. Everyone at work has this nasty bug and I'm trying to avoid it at all costs. No way do I want to have a hacking cough right now!

I also had been very tired this week, not sleeping that well, because my shoulder was aching all week to the point where no meds or ice or heat or anything cut through the pain. And after working like that all week, my back between the shoulder blades where the other fractures are was tight and aching too. So I did the sensible thing and took a muscle relaxant. That was just what I needed! I was zonked out by 8 pm and slept well all night.

But I was awake at 5:30 am. For a 9 am race. All kinds of time, right? And since I wasn't running, I decided to take a shower, fix my hair, and put on some makeup. Why not?? Might as well look good out there! I wouldn't be getting that sweaty so figured on not showering after anyway.

The weather was perfect for a fall race day, nearly clear skies, crisp air, and very little wind, but it was very cold, only in the low 40s, a day for tights and jackets for most. I arrived late--go figure, I wake up at 5:30 am and can't get to a 9 am race on time! By late, I only mean that packet pickup was supposed to be closed at 8:30--something I didn't realize--but they were still there handing out packets when I got there at 8:45 so I had no trouble getting mine. I noticed while waiting for my number that all the walkers had 900 numbers, so I figured they would be easy to spot.

I saw my friend Jan from work and wished her well. She was ready to run. She's ready for Chicago. This is just a waiting game for her. Her running has taken off this year, even after her mishap on the bike and having a broken arm. We both say it over and over--Chi Running. There is no doubt in either of our minds that this has given her the boost she has been needing for so long. (Now I can't wait to get back at it and prove the same thing for myself!) On Friday we figured what pace she needed to run a 4:05 or better at Chicago and with the formulas they give you, she realized she needed a 52:49 for the 10k. To the people I first started running with years ago, a 52 min. 10k was slow, but I know better from experience with "real" athletes that 52:49 is still an 8:40 pace, and that is pretty fast to me.

Just before the race started, I took a look around and sized up all the 900 number people. All different types, some I recognized as crossover runners. I was not criticizing anyone for walking, that's for sure. Who knew what their stories were? I decided to start up on the curb to avoid any initial trampling, even though I was safely in the back. This lasted for about 1 min. because of spectators spilling into the streets and basically blocking any movement. About this same time, I noticed the "walkers" were actually running! Since this was a timed event, I realized what was happening. They obviously figured they would fare better in their age groups walking/running than the would running! Okay, a new trick. But I wasn't able to run at all and wouldn't have anyway so just kept as good of a pace as I could. I would estimate 90% of the "walkers" were jogging easy at the beginning. Cheaters!

But as soon as the first hill was upon us, they all were slowed to a walk. Fakes! I pushed on, alone, until I came to the hill and a couple of women passed me, actually walking quite fast. Then there were a couple of others trying to keep up with them and one I realized had previously worked in my office, so she asked if I was alone and when I said yes invited me to walk with her and her friend. That was nice. Of course her first question was "Why are you walking?" So I explained the accident and we discussed my options for a lawsuit (she is a plaintiff's attorney), even though I already pretty much knew my options.

We then got into a discussion with the other woman about her husband, who had passed away a year ago from cancer and I found out then that the 5k race was a memorial race in his name. That was nice, too.

Because the day was so pleasant--cold but pleasant--and walking with others, this walk seemed much more enjoyable than the last one in the rain. By myself. Three weeks out from the accident. I actually felt like I could have walked faster had they been willing, but the one said she didn't even put a chip on. (Okay, I guess I won't be competing today.)

The course follows the river, crossing bridges, following walking paths along the river, and through the parks along the river. A little confusing for the 10k as it crisscrosses the 5k, but well contained as far as traffic management goes. And it isn't particularly large anymore. This race is now a 10k or 5k, but in years past, the name was Run Through Apple Country, and at that time there was a 20k (my favorite course ever), taking you, where else? Through apple country--out of town and through the orchard country. But with all the expense of traffic management and the selling off of all the orchard land, and the development boom in the area, the race was reduced down to a 10k and 5k, 5k walk, and used to have a kids run. Now, only the 10k and 5k and 5k walk and in a completely different venue. Since the river goes through the town, dividing east from west, it is a focal point for many races and other civic events.

By the time we crossed one of the last bridges of the race, I finally took a look at my watch, since 10k people I knew were now passing--44 min. Well, that's not so bad, I thought. If I could just get these ladies to pick up the pace some, we could be done in 50 min., and that would be a big PR from my last race. That wasn't going to happen, I soon realized. Both were starting to fade and the cold here was getting to them since the wind had picked up and was blowing right off the river. I was dressed in all my running layers and a fleece so I was plenty warm enough. I probably looked as big as Kool-Aid, but I was comfortable! But pick up the pace I did and they kept pretty close to me.

One more bridge to cross and another 3 blocks after that and we were done. It had gone quickly in my mind and I felt good--nothing hurt, my back wasn't tight, my toe wasn't bothering me (I finally got a pair of running shoes on), and it was so much fun watching people passing by so I could see what kind of times they were going to have upon completion.

Within the last block I again looked at my watch and realized we were at 50 minutes and some change. Where's Jan?? I started worrying. I could not beat her in this race or it would mean she wasn't keeping the pace. Just then, she came by and touched my shoulder and I was so relieved! I started hustling then to see her finish. Her time? 52:27! She did it. I crossed the mat in 53:07, so I was happy about that too! She took third in her AG and was very pleased with her medal.

I felt good, and didn't really think I was that tired, but once I sat down, I realized how good it felt! Three miles and I am whipped! I have a lot of catching up to do.

A final note here: When I checked the walker results, I realized they had grouped all the women together and all the men and the top 3 got medals. Guess who got them? All the run/walkers. Well I wasn't there to win any awards, just to prove to myself I was improving, but I couldn't help but be annoyed with them. Since they all finished doing better than 14 min. miles, I pretty much knew they ran more than what I saw. I know its possible to do a 5k in that much time (I actually did one years ago--when I was in great shape and MUCH younger--in 42 minutes), but the people who do usually only WALK!

Friday, October 13, 2006

STILL SNOWING! Its cold, its blustery, its wet. They're saying its one of the earliest snowfalls. Hmm. Yeah. Comforting. I hate being this negative about something that's as certain as death and taxes, but I just never get used to it or like it! Drat my parents for living in Michigan!

That being said, it looks like it will be another cold, wet day for another walking 5k--another event I signed up for in anticipation of progressing with my running toward the half marathon at the end of the month and now will be walking. Once again, I'm thankful I can even participate in any way, but I can't help feel just a little put out by the fact that to me there is no real victory for walking a 5k. I feel most people should be able to walk--if not a 5k, then something. Maybe I'll go faster than the last one. But it doesn't really put me where I would have liked to be right now.

What I am looking forward to is mingling with everyone again and seeing how everyone else is doing and hearing about their lives and training. So many people right now getting ready for their big event of the year--a marathon or half, and IMFL. My friend from work is gearing up for Chicago next weekend with the hope and plan of qualifying for Boston. She has been training so hard for so long--like she said this has been her dream for 10 years. Whew. That's a long time to be waiting for something to happen. I have a lot of confidence in her abilities this year.

And then everyone who is gearing up/down for IMFL. So many of you! I know you will all do well, whether this is your first (Nancy) or one of several (Shelley--I lost count!). I will be there in thought with all of you.

And I am planning my comeback, and soon I hope. I have fears about my abilities again, but I do know I have come almost full circle from the beginning of the year, so I feel I'm ahead of next year already. I am looking at training plans and trying to come up with some sort of schedule for next year. So I guess my downtime isn't going totally to waste.

Next week will be 6 weeks since the accident and new x-rays will be taken. This will tell me how I am healing and hopefully what I can start doing. I really haven't been motivated to get back to the gym, but planned to go when I felt ready. I think I am ready now to venture out once the x-ray results are known.

I hope everyone has a good training weekend or their planned events go well. I'll report how the 5k went later.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Not! No, it is NOT winter yet. You wouldn't know that looking out the window this morning, but today we had our annual early snowfall day--just a lot earlier than usual. And this is after a 70s+ weekend!

The "S" word was in the forecast, but I'm sure no one really believed it until they saw it.
Here's what I saw heading to work this morning. Note, it is 8:15 am and see how dark it is! See what I mean about the "dark and cold" season??

While we really had quite a bit of snow for this early in the season, it is not predicted to last--fortunately!

Which reminds me that by the time I am able to run again, it will be November, which is always a hard time to want to get started at anything. So I am going to have to use those first couple of months to just rebuild a base, small that it might be. (But who knows??)

I am considering the book Training Plan for Multisport Athletes and wonder if anyone has read this or would recommend it. It has chapters covering any triathlon distance as well as nutrition plans, periodization, and heart rate training (or the Borg method for perceived exertion). Any good?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Friends and Family Weekend.

We had a delightful surprise in weather this weekend, with temps both Saturday and Sunday in the 70s. Add to that all the "Michigan" sports wins: Tigers beat Yankees! and U of Michigan over Michigan State! Woo hoo! Since sports pretty much dominated the airwaves, you would have to live in a cave to not know the outcome of the teams.

That aside, this weekend was the perfect day for Colorburst, the annual fall ride of our bike club to benefit MADD. Naturally I had to miss this, but Shelley did make it over to the west side of Michigan to join the Grand Rapids group for the ride. The pictures above are Libby and Shelley and me and Shelley at Libby's house. (One of these days I will get the spare bedroom cleaned out so she can stay with us again!)

Haven't caught up with her yet on her ride as today is her Thanksgiving in Canada, but I'm sure it went well. Only the big dogs decided to do the whole, hilly 100, but at least they had a glorious day to be out there.

I did get a walk in both Saturday and Sunday and after figuring things out, realized I have been walking almost as many, if not more, miles a week than I was running during the summer, but then of course I'm not riding or swimming. I also did some more figuring and if I can start running right at the 8 week mark or shortly after, it still will probably take me 4-6 months to get back to where I was on the day of the accident. :( The formula here is based on for every week off running, allow 2 weeks to come back. That puts me at 2 months, and that is only assuming I can run a full mile at a time to start. So of course that changes some of my planned events for next year. Again, I'm not pleased with this, but as with anything, I figure some good has to come out of this, right?

As for the family fun this weekend, I spent another day with the grandkids, this time they went miniature golfing, and for once they didn't fight and cheat (too much)! :) Not anything I can really do comfortably yet, but I did notice yesterday was the first day with no measurable back pain. Nothing more uncomfortable than if I had done a hard workout, and I'm always able to manage that pain.

Hopefully everyone got a chance to get out and enjoy the things they like doing most. We are counting our days before the dark and cold season is upon us.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

WEEK 4. Quote of the day: Those who do not complain are never pitied. Jane Austen

At first, reading this, I thought, "Well then just complain!" thinking it meant that to be heard you need to complain. But then I re-read this and re-thought this and realized that it means that people will not feel sorry for you if you don't complain. If you act positive, you will get treated that way. My firm belief is to not bring my personal life into my work. And that's pretty much how I want it. I know I fell into a pity party a while back, but didn't really mean to. Just a bad day, I guess. And I'm sure people realize this, but I don't want to make it a way of life, so I am always looking for ways to keep positive and motivated toward healing. Everyone's encouragement is always welcome and much appreciated. Its not like I still don't have doubts about how this will all play out for future athletic performance, but I can only go forward and believe that it will work out.

And this was also my first full week back to work full time. I wasn't sure how this would go either, but in reality, I think I am over a hump here. I have gone from dealing day to day with never-ending pain to something that just catches up with me at times of fatigue. I'm sure this will continue for quite a while though once I get back to a more normal routine. I have basically been taking it as I feel, but have to say that the physical therapy--with the emphasis here on "physical"--has been very beneficial. Just knowing what I can do and how much to do without setting off alarms in the body has helped generally with reducing the pain. If it hurts while you are doing it, that's okay. If it continues to hurt after you are done, that's not okay. The pain meds I have taken have not really eliminated the pain, just reduced or maybe dulled it, so I suppose I will get to the point where I can take or leave those and only keep them around for as needed.

Everyone says I look good. That's encouraging, but as I said, I still don't know what they (or I) expected.

One "side effect" has been additional weight loss, which is good since I don't feel I am doing much if anything to control my weight except keeping my appetite under control and being vigilant about what I am eating. The weight loss was noticeable and commented on by everone who saw me in the early days after the accident. I think I probably looked a little frail at the time too so that may have contributed to the look. I think I look fairly normal now, and as most people say, they would never know looking at me what I had been through.

The only bad thing about the weight loss is honestly, I have NOTHING to wear, or more accurately, everything that should look good hangs. Pants are too long and with being able to wear only one style of shoe, this makes me look sloppy. Jackets that fit nicely before now seem too loose. I'm pretty sure I have gone down one pants size, which isn't all bad if, as I said, things didn't hang loosely even after buying a smaller size. I don't want to get too carried away here with buying another new wardrobe because, while I hope to not go back up in size, I suspect once the muscles return to their normal size, things will feel tighter again. Doesn't it seem odd that when you are working out the most and trying to lose some weight, it doesn't happen, yet sitting around doing not much of anything has resulted in another 4-5 pounds of weight loss! I am smart enough to know that this is probably temporary, as I said, about the muscle weight thing, but a few pounds less never hurt! And then there was my friend, Libby, who said, "Just think when you start running again and don't have to haul all that weight around." Gee, thanks, I thought losing 26 pounds on my own was pretty good!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A Day at the Orchard, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2006

And then it was Sunday. Such a beautiful contrast to the wet, gray Saturday.

My daughter and I took the kids to a nearby orchard, where they have baby animals, fun in the hay, pumpkin picking, and of course apple picking.

This was the first real outing we have had since back in August at the beach. We try to pick one good weekend in the fall to get to the orchard, and Sunday was perfect--sunny, warm, blue skies.

And the best apples of all are Honey Crisp, a fairly new variety. If you can get any--and supplies go fast--these are by far one of the best apples I have ever eaten, a cross between a Gala and something more tart. Firm and juicy, but the skins are not tough. That and all the other goodies and you can spend a bundle at these places. Fresh apple cider and donuts made on the spot. I am not and have not been for many years a donut person, but the pumpkin spice and apple spice donuts are almost irresistable and as decadent as the chocolate covered cashew clusters they sell as well. Everything hand made. Mmm.

Race for the Cure, Saturday, September 30, 2006.

Here we are, before the race. We had some serious rain overnight, and the skies were still threatening. Many of those here did the run, but there were a number of us who did the walk (me--first time for that!).

Here's a shot during the race. As you can see, it started raining before the race started and continued for quite a while afterwards. An umbrella was a good accessory to have this day.

Another lovely, gray day here in Grand Rapids!

And the winners' circle!

We had an awesom team. First in AG in W 40-44; 55-59; M30-34; 40-44; 45-49 (and 3rd overall!), as well as second in AG in other age groups, and Lecia, our star for the day, 2nd overall in AG in survivors.

This is one of the biggest races in our area and gets bigger every year. And it is such an emotional race, with the bagpipers playing Amazing Grace, the Zion Pentacostal Church choir singing their gospel songs, and the stories of all the brave and courageous women--those who are survivors and those who remain in memory.

Hard as it was to do this walk, I felt it was something I needed to do. My legs work, so it was just a matter of gutting it out for the entire 5k. It wasn't anything that was going to set my recovery back, and it was good to get out and be a part of a race event again. I couldn't help but think of my last race, a triathlon way back in August, where it rained almost the entire time too. I hope I'm not a bad luck omen!

After the race, they moved the awards inside thankfully, since everyone was wet and cold, but waiting around for all the walkers to get done was quite lengthy. Our team was the winner for the best team spirit award, so Lecia got some more goodies and prizes.

As for me, I hope I can get back to running soon! This walking stuff is too slow.