Sunday Confessional: today I did a poor imitation of Superman

This morning I went out on the trails to run. I haven’t been out there in two weeks, in part because of the snow and rain-and-more-rain we’ve received. Muddy trails are no fun. But the last two days have been sunny and warm, and sure enough, once I got out there the trails were dry. That’s the good news.

Image by Prawny from Pixabay

The bad news is that as I neared the end of my run and was on a slight downhill, I hooked a toe on a rock. The next thing I knew my arms were outstretched and I was soaring. Through the air and then on the ground where I slid across the dirt and rocks.

It all happened very quickly and my best guess is that I hit first with my left knee and then slid onto my right side. I lost a chunk of skin from the heel of my right hand. My right elbow is a mass of bloody scrapes. My right hip bone is scraped. My right thigh is scraped, but not bloody. Same for my stomach. I got dirt in my navel and my mouth.

My immediate reaction was to scream profanities. It all hurt SO MUCH. But when I stopped screaming, I realized I didn’t feel pain anywhere that wasn’t bleeding. In other words, I hadn’t jammed a shoulder or wrist. Even though it was the worst fall I’ve taken out there in a few years, it wasn’t too bad. I think adopting the Superman pose was key. That allowed me to slide along the ground in a bumpy imitation of a batter sliding into second base.

Still, I’m thinking that next time I run out in the open space I should wear a cape. Might stay afloat that way.

Twofer Tuesday: Zebu edition

Yesterday Zebu had surgery to reconstruct his ACL. We were all rooting for ACL-only intervention because that would mean a mere 10 days on crutches. Alas, while poking around in Zebu’s knee, the surgeon confirmed a couple tears in the meniscus which means Zebu is now on crutches for six weeks. The good news is the surgery went well.

This morning a nice man delivered and set up a Continuous Passive Motion machine that will help Zebu’s circulation and flexibility. He’s supposed to do a minimum of six hours per day. That’s a lot of hours. But as I pointed out: he’s got nothing better to do right now.

I had no idea way back when that basketball could be so incredibly hard on the body. Would it have changed anything? Probably not. Basketball was his passion.

Still. I probably owe an apology to football.

Running Sly, Running Free

I didn’t used to listen to music while running because I didn’t like how the earbuds force-fed my brain the music. The sound felt too close and too loud. Too much.

Then in January I began what turned out to be six months of PT that, for most of that time, kept me from running. And then once I could start running again, I ran on the one “flat” street in my entire neighborhood, the same street I’d walked twice a day for the past six months. Up and back and up and back and oh-my-goddess-am-I-really-traveling-this-same-stretch-of-street-AGAIN?

So I started listening to music while I ran. Fortunately, it didn’t feel as close and loud as before, probably because I knew the music was the only thing that could keep me motivated.

This morning it was Sly & the Family Stone. Even while slogging up a half-mile hill (today was my first day all year that I attempted running from the bottom of my neighborhood to the top!), I had a big ol’ smile on my face. That’s pretty damned impressive.

Sly & Family Stone album cover

If you don’t own any Sly Stone, I highly recommend it. Smiles at no additional charge.

Updates: Reading, Writing & Running

READING: After giving up on The Portrait of a Lady, I went back to my shelves and selected Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser. I’m happy to report I read the entire novel and, when I was able to push aside my prejudice against authors who explain-explain-explain their characters’ emotional landscapes, found myself pulled into the story. Hooray!

However, I then started another book (this one published in 1998) and read 90 pages 2515913-lbefore I’d had enough. I absolutely loved this author’s debut novel, but now wonder if it was equally bad and that I didn’t realize it because I wasn’t reading as critically at that point in my writing life. The one I quit today is nearly 900 pages (!) and narrated by someone I find unlikable and whose dialogue is not-at-all believable. Reading it made me angry on several levels (for one, knowing many trees died for this New York Times bestselling book), and when I get angry at the writing, it’s time to look for another book.


WRITING:
I’m plugging away at my YA and have, at least momentarily, quit beating myself up for working at such a slow pace. SONY DSCI’m essentially now writing the first draft because these later scenes are all new to the story, but because I’m being thoughtful and deliberate in my writing I’m confident I’m not driving the story into the ditch (or cornfield).
Also? Thoughtful + deliberate = doesn’t read like a first draft.

 

RUNNING: Per my PT/rehab instructions, I’m easing back into my running. The rules are (1) that runs must always have at least one day in between and (2) I can add 5 minutes to the run after having at least two solidly good runs at the previous time length. “Good runs” translates to reasonable pain (that can be addressed via stretching, massage, rest) and feeling halfway decent energy-wise. For my last three runs, I ran for 35 minutes each time. This whole thing has been such an adjustment for me, not just physically but also psychologically. I’m learning to cut myself some slack, to celebrate the gains and to not beat myself up when I don’t perform as well as the previous run. The key word here is “learning.” This is all very much a work in progress. Zippy encouraged me to run a 5k with him this past weekend, but because I knew I wouldn’t run nearly as well as I had last year, I declined.

Running hard as I can, but not yet flying . . .

Running hard as I can, but not yet flying . . .

I Am Not My Brain (and Other Insights)

Three weeks ago today I wrote about going on my first run in a long, long time.
Today I am writing about not being able to run. Again.

When I received the go-ahead from my PT dude to ease back into running, I ran a total of four times. The first two runs were completely pain-free. During the third and fourth runs, my left Achilles tendon was sore. Not excruciatingly sore, but it did hurt. I backed off, but I should’ve backed off sooner.

Shoulda-woulda-coulda.

I’m now on forced rest and cannot even take walks because that’s enough to fire up
the ol’ tendon. Joy in the land. Last week during my PT appointment I was so discouraged
by what felt like a never-ending cycle of injury jumping from one body part to another, that I smacked my kind PT dude in frustration.

Yesterday I had another appointment, and I started with an apology. I then explained that while my tendon was still giving me trouble, I had a better attitude.

What happened? YOU ARE NOT YOUR BRAIN happened.

You Are Not Your Brain cover image

YOU ARE NOT YOUR BRAIN is a book that’s helped me recognize the false messages my brain sends me, messages I’ve internalized over the years until they were hard-wired in my circuitry. The book is helping me rewire my brain so I’m not held hostage by that nasty voice. Basically, YOU ARE NOT YOUR BRAIN is a highly readable how-to on neuroplasticity. (Say it with me, people: neuroplasticity!)

Testimonial: Monday afternoon I lifted weights (an activity I’m easing back into) and as I stood in front of the full-length mirror that helps me maintain good form while lifting, I felt a wave of all sorts of yucky thoughts and feelings around the fact that I’m weak and now must lift much lighter weights and have put on some pounds and don’t look so hot in my workout togs. The thought of starting over to get back to my strong and fit self felt like too much; I felt ugly and weak and worthless and overwhelmed by the entire situation.

And then I reined myself in and talked to my brain. I followed the steps and began the process of rewiring my brain by lifting weights while maintaining eye contact in the mirror. I didn’t look anywhere but in my eyes, because that’s where my true self was evident. Not in my waist or thighs or arms. My eyes. I smiled into my blue peepers and lifted those weights, knowing that by taking action I was drowning out that voice and making it harder for it to reappear. It will come back, it always does, but each time I take positive action while that voice yammers at me, the voice loses power over me.

Tracy taped tendonIn the meanwhile, I’m rocking the RockTape and trying to focus on how far I’ve come. I won’t be running the Bolder Boulder next month and am still royally frustrated with my limitations, but I’m trying hard not to take those personally.

One step at a time.

 

 

Running Wild, Running Free

The last time I went for a run was 81 days ago. Today, with the full blessing of my physical therapist, I ran again.

It’s been a hard bunch of months around here as I went from being someone who did yoga almost every morning plus ran a couple times per week plus lifted weights three times per week plus sneaking in a hooping session or two, to a woman who couldn’t do much of anything.

How did that happen? It was the strangest thing but apparently my old gluteal muscle aka left butt cheek issue didn’t like how I ignored it and let it get tighter and tighter, and so triggered other tight points in my body which culminated in my back getting so tight and painful that it hurt to move. I literally went from being able to put my palms flat on the floor to the next day not being able to reach much past my knees. It was bizarre.

Depression ensued. As did loss of muscle and weight gain. Many tears were shed as I wallowed in what I was afraid would be a permanent condition. I went on my first job interview in about twenty years (with the hope I’d be better by the time the job started) and was hired to work at the library, but ended up having to tell them I couldn’t take the position due to my physical limitations. I never, ever would’ve guessed I’d have to turn down a job for that reason, and it was humbling.

But my physical therapist and I persevered, and then I started getting massages from a genius therapist who focused on trigger points which then allowed me to do more of the stretching and strengthening exercises without pain. We saw light at the end of the tunnel.

Today I came out of that tunnel. I walked for ten minutes then ran (slowly) for fifteen minutes then walked another ten, ran another fifteen, and walked ten more minutes for a whopping total of 60 minutes of exercise! All I’ve done over the last several months was walk for about thirty minutes at a time, and when I walked home this afternoon I wept tears of gratitude and happiness and oh-my-goddess-I’ve-missed-running-so-very-much-tears.

I’d left a note for Zebu letting him know when I took off and when to expect me home, asking him to drive up the street to find me if I hadn’t returned by then. Just as I walked into the driveway, the garage door went up. There was my son, the one who’s been so sad on my behalf as I struggled to regain my mobility, getting ready to come haul his sad mama home. He smiled when he saw me there and his smile got bigger when I told him I felt great.

Here I am, fresh out of the shower, so very happy to be back:Tracy after run on April 9 2014 (for blog post)