Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Everyone Has to Start Somewhere: #100DaysofFitness - Day 1

Yesterday morning was my first day back at the pool, as I had mentioned.  So far so good with the meniscus, my knee is a bit tight but not intolerable.  Post-workout, I'm in the locker room and I overhear a conversation between two women about how crowded the parking lot and locker rooms were, to which the other replied that she shouldn't sweat it, most of the New Years resolvers would be dropping off soon enough.  While I certainly have been one of "those' people in the past bemoaning the onslaught of newcomers into the gym every January, and getting annoyed when "my" locker was being used by a new comer or by the lack of available parking-  being on the other side of the coin… i.e. A new resolver (even if its not technically a New Years resolution), I couldn't help but realize how judgmental the collective we can be.    Instead of criticizing the new members, maybe reach out and make a friend.  Everyone needs encouragement everyone  even those who have been at the gym for years and years.  We should be celebrating the fact that people took the step to better themselves rather than cutting them down because they inconvenienced us.  Even if these new years resolvers didn't hear those specific comments, certainly their own self doubt, and perhaps similar comments from other people weigh them down enough that they do drop off and stop coming. So instead of discouraging people, we can all make an effort instead to encourage people.  Even if it means having to walk ALL the way from the back of the parking lot into the gym (I mean, really we're all there for exercise anyway), and even if it means having to get a locker ALL the way in the front/back instead of settled nicely in the middle by the showers -  maybe one person will stay encouraged enough to see their goals through.  So, that’s my take away for the day.  Everyone- even the storied athletes started with Day 1.  Find a new someone tomorrow or the next time you are at the gym, and help them to Day 2, Day 14, Day 86, whatever it is.  There's enough discouragement out there, lets try encouragement for a change :)  

Monday, January 13, 2014

My Meniscus & Me: A Soap Opera

Hello - Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy New Year - etc.  Yep, it's been a long, long while since I've posted.  According to the lovely reminder on the back end of Blogger, it informed me the last time I logged in was June.  Yay me.   So the quick and dirty on what's been going on of late.  As you know I was having major problems with my knee.  After a second opinion and a lot of smarmy comments about someone like me (read:fat) doing triathlons and how dangerous for my joints it was... it was finally determined that I did in fact have a tear in my meniscus.  Unfortunately the tear is too small to warrant surgery.  So, its just a waiting game.  It can take up to a year for a non-surgically repaired meniscal tear to heal.  I have good days, I have bad days.  I was having a lot of good days Thanksgiving through Pre-Christmas. I thought 'Hey! Look at me! I'm on the road to recovery!'  Then, I hosted Christmas Eve...and I didn't just host Xmas eve- I repainted three rooms in my house, reorganized as a result of the new paint-  we refinished our cabinets in the kitchen and just all-in-all did a whole lot of work the 2 or so weeks leading up to XMAS. (In our defense, it wasn't just some psychotic need to give our house a quick face lift-  we had been entertaining the idea of selling our house and had filled cracks, painted ceilings, updated trim over the summer, and had to "finish" our facelift work).  Christmas eve comes, dinner is yum family has fun. I get up off the sofa to say goodbye to someone and BAM! Back to square one - well really like square 4 1/2.   Then the ice storms cometh and well, its not really easy for a meniscus to heal when its a skating rink and a snowy desert as far as the eye can see.  Unstable snow isn't exactly the best thing for a trying-to-heal unstable knee to be walking on.  Needless to say, XMAS injury has been slow going healing wise.

HOWEVER- I'm determined to help the healing progress further.  I need to build the muscles in my legs and core back up- Im thinking that if those are stronger that will take some of the pressure off the joint.  So its back into the pool I go.

I saw a blog a few days ago about a woman who committed to 100 days of fitness.  In exactly 100 days from today Mr. Millie and I will be celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary on a cruise to the Eastern Caribbean.    I have made this whole 100 days of fitness thing my new goal (here's hoping I can stick to it)

Tomorrow morning is my first day back in the pool.  We'll see how good of friends the old meniscus and I are post-workout.  I'm going to take it slow and mentally Im committing to 100 days of fitness, of course Im simultaneously afraid of mentally committing to this because of my stinkin' knee.  But, I have the pool - which is low impact and one of those bouncy medicine balls here at home, and I'm hoping between the two I can commit to doing *something* every day.  Let's hope.

Major fingers crossed that tomorrow post- workout I don't have another meniscal episode

Sunday, June 16, 2013

This is for the Haters

So-  the knee doctor says I should never do triathlons.  Fine.  But that doesn't mean that my entire training world has to end.  Papa Millie and my younger sister and I are once again hitting the relay circuit.  August 4th, we'll be rocking our pee yellow shirts in the  Naperville Triathlon.  I'll be doing the swim leg again.

It gives me a reason to refocus.  It gives me a reason to get my butt back into the pool.  Time to refocus, reevaluate and reestablish goals.

Obviously the knee isn't 100% - so the first week or so - and possibly longer depending on how quickly the knee adapts will simply be adjusting to swimming again.  The eventual goal (by the time the Tri rolls around in August)  will be a 20 minute mile.  Doable I think, it's like 2 months away- well like 6 weeks.

My -hope- is that I can wake up early in the morning, swim, and then head into work- hopefully killing 2 birds with one stone. #1 Avoiding ridiculous stop and go traffic now that every main artery out of this stinkin city is under construction simultaneously (geniuses that work at the village, I swear)... additionally, it gives me an "excuse" to get into the gym every morning.  I'm going to shoot for three times a week for now....  I'm hoping eventually to get it up to five or six but I dont want to over reach or over commit.

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, back into the pool I go!

One- Two- THREE P's.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

At Your Weight, You Shouldn't Be Doing Triathlons Anyway

Okay, its been forever and I don't really even have the right to ask anyone to open this and read it.  I mean, I'm like the worst fair weather friend ever.  As I've discussed ad nauseum I have never ending issues with my left knee.  

I've become a huge fan of Ivanka Trump shoes (they're super cute)  but very slippery.  One rainy day, my foot slid off a curb-  it wasn't a far slide, and I'm sure someone without bad knees would have just moved along like nothing happened other than getting a bit of a jolt.  Me however, hyper extended my knee.  After a week of not being able to walk on it, I went to an Orthopedist to see if maybe I tore something.  I went to OAD Orthopedics   and I have never been so flabbergasted at a doctor in my life. The Dr spent all of five minutes with me.  Looked at my XRays pulled at my knee a bit told me it was a sprain and there was nothing he could do.  I asked about a brace he told me their were no better than what I could get at Walgreens.  Pain killers- he told me to take something over the counter.  I told him I couldn't even walk on the knee-  it was just a bad sprain. Crutches?  No they weren't necessary either, the joint needed to move not be immobile.   If I didnt feel better in 4-6 weeks come back and he'd do an MRI.  He said according to my xrays there was arthritis building up in my knee and I'd probably need knee replacement surgery when I was older.  Great, but my need is immediate.  I literally CAN NOT WALK on my knee without intense pain.  And of course, his parting words, "With your knee you shouldn't be running...  and at your weight, you shouldn't be doing triathlons anyway."

Um- excuse me?  You know-  you read all these articles about health care and the cost of obesity on the average person and how expensive it is to insure heavy people etc etc because they never go to the doctors.  Given this experience, I can understand why some people wouldn't want to go.  Why would they want to when they great universally treated badly simply because they are heavy?  

Personally, since I clearly have experience in triathlon and was able to successfully complete them on multiple occasions-  wouldn't it be better to take me seriously as an athlete instead of just looking at me as a number?  

I get it- I have a really bad knee and triathlon isn't wise for the knee... but he didn't say "because you have a bad knee don't do triathlons" he said "Because of your weight don't do triathlons" and suggested I do something low impact, like swimming.

Which brings me back to the issue at hand. If I can't even WALK - how am I supposed to swim?  

This doctors appointment was either three or four weeks ago- Ive lost track now.  I was slowly starting to heal, I was even able to walk straight, but the joint still felt unstable  like anything would cause it to "go out"... I know there is something wrong with this joint.  Twice since then now, just the slightest wrong movement has caused it to "tweak" again -  I'm sitting here right now with my leg up and iced because I was sitting in a too-deep chair this morning and tried to get out of it (and it was essentially akin to straightening after doing a deep squat) and putting the slightest weight on it had me in tears.

I'm sending out an S.O.S.  I need a recommendation on a knee doctor.  Preferably one who also has experience with feet-  as I have blogged about before, my left foot turns in slightly - a childhood issue that never corrected itself.  I know the two are connected.  

If you are in the Chicago area-  Western Suburbs preferably, and you know of a doctor who a. will not just see me as a pathetic fat girl with a knee problem...  and has helped you with a joint issue- please please let me know.  I'm desperate-  and any suggestions would be appreciated.  I refuse to go back and see Mr. Five Minutes is too much time spent on you-  at OAD 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Getting Back on the Horse... No One Mentioned it was a Clydesdale

Picture acquired from Anything Equine
UGH.  That is really all I have the strength to even type.  U.G.H.  If you follow me on Facebook  you may have noticed that my work outs with Brutus started again this week.

The month of December between holiday parties and getting sick-  like a step away from pneumonia sick- resulted in a full four weeks of once again stepping back from working out.  This week was my reintroduction to being beaten up by Brutus.  They say absence makes the heart grow fonder... in his case I think absence gives him too much time to think up really masochistic ways of showing me how much he missed me.  Can we say one workout of every form of squat imaginable.  That was Wednesday, its now Sunday and I can finally sit again without groaning.  Or beating my arms into a bloody pulp with with weights and resistance bands to the point that even brushing my teeth made me whimper?  That pain finally started to fade away yesterday (just in time for tomorrow's workout...goooooodie! )

I also have made a deal with him that I will check in to Lifetime every time I am at the pool so that he knows I'm sticking with my workout guess where I was bright and early this morning and yesterday morning?  You got it in the pool.  Though I can't complain on that one.. it made me realize just how much I missed it -  plus the pool workout made the ache in my arms go away.

Over the course of the past few weeks, whilst unable to work out but starting to feel slightly better, I decided that I have way too much junk in my house.  Like, we really should be on an episode of clothes hoarders.  Mr Millie and I both suffer from "But one day this will fit me again" syndrome.  I finally had enough.  We don't have a big house, and our master was built long before Master Bedrooms were truly "Master Bedrooms" and not just the biggest bedroom in the house-  so we have a VERY small closet.  I went through that thing like a crazy woman -  SEVEN Bags worth of clothes went to Goodwill and STILL my closet is packed.  I know I need to condense more, and I really need to detach emotionally from a lot of those clothes.  I keep hanging on to things because they have memories associated with them, and not because I'll ever wear them again.  Same with Mr. Millie- He more so with me (I mean honestly he has Tshirts from every Civil War battlefield he has ever visited...has he ever worn ANY of those TShirts? No.  When I suggested we take them and turn them into a blanket since he never wears them anyway- he acted as if I suggested we take our dogs to the shelter and give them away.  They're TSHIRTS... and ugly ones at that, collecting dust in the closet. )

It's a process, I know.  And eventually we'll get to the point where our house is pretty and organized... I'm not expecting Martha Stewart, but at least to the point where I can actually close my closet doors and to where I know where everything is so I'm not running around like a mad woman at 6:30 in the morning going "I Know I have a black sweater where is it?"  and then have to change because I can't find the dumb black sweater.

That's about it for now.  I know there was more i wanted to share-   I always sound so introspective and wise when I'm composing posts in my head as I swim.. but then its out of the pool and "dang its cold"  followed by "ugh whats with all the kids"  which then leads to "Hmm a post workout recovery shake sounds good"  followed by a drive home and "lalala- I love being able to listen to my Ipod in my car"  and then off to the grocery store.. and then FINALLY I'm home in front of my computer and I have absolutely NO idea what I had intended on saying.  *heavy sigh*

So I'll wrap it up now!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Trying to Find My Way Back

I know- its been a really, really long time.  At the never ending badgering suggestion of some friends, I decided to blow off the dust from the old blog and tri again.  Speaking of Tris... the knee- not so great. Running- probably never going to be something I can do.  So, I find myself stuck in this in between place of not knowing really where I'm going anymore.  Tri's are probably out of the question for the moment. This summer, if I can hack it I think I'm going to try for some swimming races in Indiana and Wisconsin (Sidenote: What do these swimming races have against Illinois? Last I checked there is a HUGE lake right smack dab at the top of the state that a certain THIRD LARGEST CITY IN THE COUNTRY borders)  but hey, what do I know.

If you follow SMT on Facebook, you probably noticed I've been checking into Brutus new gym---  yep the dynamic duo is back in action.  He has a new gym that close to me (yay)  so  we're working out TWICE (yes, twice) a week now...  and after our separation, I have a sneaking suspicion that Brutus jumped on that 50 Shades of Gray bandwagon this summer and *might* be under the impression that being whipped into shape also should include pain, and agony.  I'm quite certain that Brutus has become a masochist... okay he probably was before too but now it's like to the Nth degree.  I am a sweaty, drippy puddle of goo at the end of every session... not that I'm complaining (Brutus if you are reading this I am NOT complaining.. *whimper* please go easy on me tomorrow)

I have a new job which I love (yay for employment)  and I'm slowly trying to find my way back again. My issue now is trying to figure out how to get back into the pool- as my old gym (Lifetime) while t was close to the old job  is nowhere near the new one... and their other locations are also nowhere near the new job.  Sadly, there isn't a gym within any sensible radius of the new job...   I wish that there was just a place with a pool -  just a pool- thats all I need.  When I was a kid, I used to be able to go and swim at the local high school for like $2 bucks a day or something like that... I'd even do that if they still offered it.  I don't need fancy schmancy gyms or classes or spas and juice bars just me and the pool.

I tried convincing my husband the cost/benefits of installing an indoor, in-ground pool in our backyard (or what woudl be left of our back yard if we added a pool)...  he didn't go for it.  Damn.

Anyhow~ I'm still not quite sure where I'm headed or what I'll be doing... but hopefully I'll be taking the blog along for the ride.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Inspirational Women, In Honor of Mother's Day #CleverHaiti and #spon

This Mother's Day, I'm working with Clever Girls in support of Macy's Heart of Haiti to shine a light on the "trade, not aid" program, which provides sustainable income to Haitian artisans struggling to rebuild their lives and support their families after the 2010 earthquake. Thank you to Macy's Heart of Haiti for sponsoring my participation in this “Share Your Heart" promotion. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Taken in Minnesota- on a boat.
She was re-entacting the "Titanic" scene.
In Honor of Mother's Day, I wanted to tell you about a truly inspirational woman.  She is no longer with us, she passed away a few years ago, but having been lucky enough to know her, I am honored to be able to share with you an interesting story about her.  This is my husband's grandma.  Her name was Lenore.  My husband and I have known each other since 1997, so by extension, I've known Joe's grandma for roughly the same amount of time.  You always learn such interesting stories about people at their funerals.  Lenore was no exception to this.

She was a nurse during World War II.  My husband's grandfather, John Henry, was a marine stationed in the South Pacific.  Their love was like many during that time frame.  Letters back and forth, during one of the countries bleakest times.  However, Lenore, so worried about her (eventual) husband's safety, she prayed daily for his safe return.  In her daily prayers, she also promised that in exchange for John's safe return, she would give up her favorite drink:  coffee.  Quite a sacrifice for a nurse.  John made it home safe and sound. They got married had and raised 7 kids.  Lenore worked the graveyard shift at the hospital so she could stay at home during the day and take care of her kids.  And for her entire life-  she never - never- drank another cup of coffee again... because that is what she had promised in exchange for John Henry's safe return.

I usually refrain from talking about religion, because there are a gamut of beliefs and views out there... but this is not necessarily about faith.  Her commitment to her promise speaks volumes about the amount of faith, commitment and love she had both for God and her husband.  Lenore is a perfect example of someone we should all strive to be like.  Committed 100% to whatever it is that we strive to accomplish.   Being "all in" in regards to loving, and believing that faith in a person and your commitment to them is all that you need to get through life, is something we can all aspire to do.  Regardless of religion or even relationship...  that level of commitment can be applied to practically anything in our lives, and is something we can all strive for.  And, for me personally,  she is someone I aspire to be on a daily basis.  To live your life with that much faith, and that much commitment to your faith, to me is absolutely inspirational.   I love that I am able to share a piece of her with all of you, especially on a significant day such as Mother's Day.

What is Macy’s Heart of Haiti? Heart of Haiti is a “Trade, Not Aid” initiative launched by artist and social entrepreneur, Willa Shalit, The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund and Macy’s. Already, Heart of Haiti has led to employment of 750 artists in Haiti, providing financial benefits for an estimated 8,500 people in the country.
Each item is a one-of-a-kind design and handmade by a Haitian master artisan from raw materials such as recycled oil drums, wrought iron, papier-mâché and stone. The collection features more than 40 home decor items including quilts, metalwork, ceramics, jewelry and paintings and is made almost entirely from recycled and sustainable items such as old cement bags, cardboard, oil drums and local gommier wood.  
Heart of Haiti products are available online at Macy’