Saturday, March 28, 2015

Werde, der du bist -- Become who you are

The above taken from Nietsche a German, Latin, and Greek scholar, poet and composer.  The line was found in a current book I'm reading "Life After Life" by Kate Atkinson, which by the way is EXCELLENT!  Nietsche took that line from Pindar (a lyric Greek poet from Thebes)- when translating Pindar's Greek line to English his line means: "Become such as you are, having learned what that is."

I'm forever learning that, but I really like that- become such as your are- based on what I've learned about myself. 

Yesterday I broke.  I was trying to lift the weight and bar with my right leg sitting at the leg extension machine at PT.  My right quad was quivering right in front of my eyes as I tried to lift it.  You know that quivering when your legs are really fatigued and you begin to shake from weakness.  Well that's what I was feeling and seeing.  Seeing not just feeling let the flood gates open and I broke. 

Why I broke, because this was the first rep, not the 10 or 20th.  It was the first.  I couldn't lift the weight.  WTF- why had I regressed?

I knew the answer and it came from the "event" that occurred at the end of February.  I had gone to the gym and rode a flat easy ride with little to no resistance on the spin bike (15 min for 5 miles) followed by leg extension weight machine and leg press machine doing single leg presses.  I left feeling great and that I had a productive workout.  The next day I was at work and just felt strain in my right knee and by that night it was swollen and even more swollen the next day and by Friday I had total discomfort bending my leg in and extending it out.  I couldn't do a thing at PT on Friday.  He, my PT, measured the swelling and wrote down numbers, discussed that this was likely just a small kink in the road and maybe I had either had the seat too low and really bent my knee when riding or I did too much weight with too much bend on the leg press machine.  Like I tell my own patients when they come and see me for fainting/syncope, I can't totally determine the cause of their faint, but I can hypothesize what may have happened.  Well now I was the patient and I was experiencing the hypothesizing that really gives the patient no true answer.

So I rested, iced and elevated and pretty much stayed off it.  The next week I didn't have PT because I was in Las Vegas, and then the next week I was in Alabama for spring break.  I walked, I did some squats, toe raises, and "quad clenches" (squeezing your quad and holding it to increase the muscle firing and build up muscle) during this time off, but with the swelling taking longer than I expected I really didn't push myself. 

Then yesterday came, after a really good workout week- Mon, Tue, and Wed up and doing some cardio and weights at 5:30 a.m. ( this after having a "come to you know who talk" with Coach (aka Hubby)- basics of the talk: I can't train for a race and I can't really "run" but I can train or plan workouts that get me in shape so what's stopping me).  Despite the early morning rolling out of bed it was worth it and felt good and I felt purposeful in my workouts, which I hadn't felt in awhile.

So despite the good workout week, no swelling, seeing my quad so weak was utterly frustrating and I broke.

My tears I'm pretty sure freaked PT man out, but he handled it well running for a Kleenex box and handing tissues my way.  I just told him what I felt in my head- I am frustrated, I'm worried what this means for me long term, and I was struggling with feeling so lost from my conversations on running, racing, and training.  I enjoy interacting with others who have the same hobby/passion to train, race, etc.  The night before I had two different discussions with women at my daughter's hockey banquet about races they would be running.  We talked about how hard it was to find that ugly word "balance" with being moms, professionals, and runners.  I miss those talks, I miss those feelings of figuring out the workouts, work and life "to do's" for the week.  Right now I'm living vicariously through other's race schedules, workouts and soon to be races.  It is I've found at times painful. 

I'm not resentful of these people, but I worry that I will never again experience those feelings, those accomplishments and that life.  I've also felt lost with my writing because for so long I've always written about my racing, training, and the life that intertwines those things. 

I wanted to write a book about my year of training for 70.3 tri and what that encompassed and what I learned about myself through that journey.  I'm doubting the validity or the importance of that writing because I'm no longer feeling like that person, and my goal with writing it was to be a motivational read on how an "everyday woman" could accomplish a "big" in hopes that others would be inspired to go out and do their "big" even if they feel they are "everyday" too.  It is hard to feel inspirational and write thus when trying to figure out the "now what" after injury, surgery and continued rehab. 

So when I read the above line "become who you are" it really resonated with me. I have some work to do because I do want to "become who [I] am".  I know "Who [I] am"- I'm an extrovert, mother of two, professional, friend, sister, daughter, wife, reader, writer, sensitive soul, and one who loves and needs other's in her life.  It is time to embrace the "become who you are" and move forth with all the little bumps, tears, frustrations, and triumphs. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Being Present on Spring Break

It is siesta time at our condo overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. I've just spent the most pleasant 8 hours with my kids and in-laws. The soft, white,almost baby-powder like sand has loofah my feet like a $65 pedicure should do. It was one of those perfect 80degree days where the breeze blew just enough to keep us from feeling burned by the sun.
The beach walk I took with my lil partner was so nice this morning. It was peaceful walking along and hearing the crash of the waves and the giggles of my blonde.
She makes me smile and see how I should be:patient, smiling and perseverance. Along with her added benefit of a smile that just lights up my soul when I see it.
My son looks so old on this trip. He looks so lanky and his ever love for reading was apparent when toting along a backpack full of books through the airport yesterday. He enjoyed some much need technology time- downloading a new car/race game. You know me and my non- love of techno games but alas this is Spring Break and one of my goals is to let go. Not be a crabby mom, annoying, or easily irritated.
We'll see how I do with those large, somewhat unattainable goals.
I share the above picks of my perfect day of "being present" on the beach.
So blessed to have this life!

----- Sent from mBox Mail Hotmail for iPhone and iPod Touch

Saturday, March 7, 2015

February Reads...

Not quite as voracious reader as January, but my excuse is February is only 28 days long.

I recently was on a phone call with a writer/author- whom I hope to be in contact with more about learning how to write.  She went through three areas she feels are important in regards to writing: 1. writing- a duh! 2. reading and 3. community (book club, writing group, conferences, blogs, social media content one has written, etc).  The #1- is coming, but will likely be a long uphill learning process.  The #2 I thought I did already, but come to find out I don't really "read with purpose" I read to escape, for entertainment, and do little to none of analysis of what I read.  The #3 I'm working on and doing a good job at it for starters. 

So "reading with purpose".  This "mentor" suggested reading short fiction/short stories to better analyze- easier to really "read with purpose" a short piece vs. a novel.  So I bought "The Art of the Short Story by Dana Gioia and R.S. Gwynn- per her recommendation.  It arrived this week and I look forward to starting my "reading with purpose" journey.

However, I hope to not give up on the dream of reading 90 books this year.  Might be tough to read the books- 90- and "read with purpose".  I will try though.  So here are February reads in no particular order:

"One Dog and His Boy" by Eva Ibottson  I read with daughter.  It was a great story about a boy who wanted a dog.  How materialistic parents tried to appease him with a dog rented for the weekend and what the boy did when he discovered the dog wasn't really his.  It was a tad bit unbelievable, but I think that's why my daughter enjoyed it.  For anyone who enjoys dogs, and kids this is a good read. 

"Exercising Your Soul" by Gary Jansen  was an OK read.  It was based on the Catholic Religion and so I did skip over the two chapters or so on "the stations of the cross" because that isn't something we follow/I know about indepthly in the Lutheran Church.  I enjoyed the following quotes/lines from the book:
-"spiritual living doesn't make you immune to the troubles of life. but it does give you strength" (pg 18)
-"Sin is a big hairy, chafe, naked guy" (pg 36)
- "The promise of this book is to practice certain types of formal prayer so that you move toward a state of living in perpetual prayer" (pg 38)
- "(Contemplation) is the highest expression of man's intellectual and spiritual self...It is spiritual wonder")Thomas Merton.... In essence, contemplation is an experience of God that comes from God". (pg 42)
-"You know what we're critically missing now, more than anything else in the world? Enthusiasm...Ask yourself 'How can I serve?')pg 73)
-"In order for us to be compassionate, we need event if it's only monetarily to imagine we are suffering the pain.  Usually people who have suffered are the most compassionate because they know what it's like" (pg 83)
If any of the above lines speak to you think that you might find this book interesting.

"The Storied Life of A.J.Fikry" by Gabrielle Zevin
I enjoyed this book very much.  It was an interesting story with some interesting characters.  Much of the main setting of the book takes place in a book store, so an added bonus.  I give this book 4 stars. Entertaining story.

"Breaking Night A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard" by Liz Murray.  This was our February book club book.  I found this story to be a true story of perseverance and strength- the kind of inner strength that some of us have and some do not.  Despite a crappy environment to live in as a child with drug addicted, alcoholic, and later AIDS stricken parents Liz Murray prevails.  I thought some of the story could have been elaborated on while other parents of the story seemed to go on and on with utter horrible detail instilling in the reader a true belief that Liz was living in a garbage dump, infested by vermin, lice, no food except eggs and mayo and her entertainment was watching her parents shoot up- their apartment- her home.  I liked it for the sheer reminder of how inner strength can get you a long way. 

"Cover Her Face" (Adam Dangliesh #1) by PD James.  I've never read a mystery by PD James and when she died last year I thought I should read one.  It was just alright.  I was disappointed that Adam Dangliesh didn't have a more leading role in this book.  I felt like he really wasn't the main character, but instead 2-3 of the suspects and of course the main character was the one murdered.  When I googled PD James best books this was one of them, and I know those type of recommendations are just that recommendations, but I was disappointed.  I thought the ending, the murderer revealing was a tad bit anticlimactic and felt like all the questions/clues hadn't been answered.  Onto another mystery, likely not by PD James. 

"Sister Wendy on Prayer" by Wendy Beckett
Goodreads description of Sister Wendy:
Sister Wendy Beckett is a South African-born British art expert, consecrated virgin and contemplative hermit who became an unlikely celebrity during the 1990s, presenting a series of acclaimed art history documentaries for the BBC.
I picked this book up off the "new nonfiction" shelf at the library.  It peaked my interest for figuring out this thing called "prayer".  I felt this book was extremely interesting and the tie in to art was an added bonus.  I didn't get all the answers I need or want on prayer, but I appreciate her few words of wisdom. 

"The Son" by Jo Nesbo
is I believe my first audiobook of the year.  I first got hooked on Jo Nesbo when I listened to "The Snowman" a Harry Hole mystery- #7.  I've read a few and listened to a few and I can say that the ones I've listened to I've enjoyed more now it makes me wonder am I just intrigued by the readers voice, or did I just pick his better written work to listen to?  "The Son" was good, not "The Snowman" good, but I really liked it and this was not a Harry Hole mystery so something a little different.  The story line was well written and I always find his characters interesting.  If you haven't read or listened to one of his books you should!

Well off to another month of reading.  I'm looking forward to reading for entertainment and "purpose" this month. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The little bumps in the road are sometimes hard to haul myself over.

I'm not a patient person. Never have been.  Despite trying to be better at taking some deep breaths throughout the day along with counting backwards from 10 before the white trash mom voice yells out I still find myself with road rage, frustration with trying to teach my children (don't enjoy math or spelling homework), and totally lose it internally in Grocery lines when having to wait for longer than 5 minutes to start hauling my load onto the conveyor belt.

So it doesn't surprise me that my "hiccup" in my training schedule/rehab has not gone over well, internally with me, and probably externally (bet my kids would tell you I've been quick to snap at them this week).  I have been progressing and was able to run for 14 minutes straight last week.  I've also been doing some physical activity daily since the first day of Lent (part of my "to do" list for Lent).  I normally walk at least 10 minutes or more on the treadmill with some abs, knee/PT, and the days I'm suppose to run I do.  So Tuesday I headed to the gym to spin on a bike for 15 minutes getting in 5 miles of pretty much flat road, followed by weighted toe raises, one leg sitting leg press, abs, and arms.  Well the next day I was sore, and by Thursday I was really sore and worse yet really swollen at the top of my knee.  By Friday I was at PT able to do none of the exercises because my PT really felt the best activity for me was no-activity, also known as rest, ice and elevation.  So I'm now to Sunday and the swelling has improved, but when a retired veternarian from church remarks on the residual swelling in my right knee peaking out between the right boot and skirt line on my right leg I knew the swelling was still there. 

I'm compensating- trying to avoid any up and down stairs.  No treadmilling it until the swelling goes down and of course: rest, ice and Ibuprofen (Oh and of course a "natalie pour" or two). 

I had really felt like I was making progress a week ago and I know I likely still am, and don't doubt that I will be able to run one day, but as I told "the coach" (aka husband) it is sometimes hard for me to be optimistic.  I still have a pile of old Runner's Worlds below my night stand at my bedside, because I just can't read about running right now.  I've become very disconnected from the Tri group I was an active member of last year.  I just am not where those people are right now.  If I can't even ride a bike for 15 minutes without my knee blowing up I shouldn't be joining in on "Sufferfest" Spin with the group.  I see people out running with all their cold weather gear and feel resentful and depressed.  It will be a long time before I can just lace up and go for a run.  I miss that freedom, and I miss the training, the planning, the organizing my schedule to accomodate those activities with the rest of my life.   It also bums me out to think I might just actually have to becomes friends with "MyFitness Pal" APP and track all my dietary intake, because without expending my normal energy/burning calories I'm going to have to stay a health size by, oh yes that hated word, moderation, in my eating.  I'm not a bad eater, but I eat a lot and don't always make the right decisions because I'm such an emotional eater. 

So I tell myself "suck it up buttercup" (one day I will have a t-shirt with this eloquent saying on it). 
I keep moving forward- I sign up for a 30 day plank/push-up challenge ( and keep dreaming about running.  I try to busy myself with the rest of my life, which is full and indeed I'm grateful for loving to do so many different things.  I still miss it and miss my fit body and the emotional health I got from training and running. 

So if you see me driving my car or even taking a walk and you are running and I look the other way or worse yet glare at you know that it is only my own deficit of physically not being able to do what you are doing that is brining out this beast of impatience and disappointment. 

One day I will be back, oh yes, I'm determined, but just not sure when that "one day" will be.
 "Suck It Up Buttercup !"