Fun with Needles and Sticks

I’ve entered a new realm of weirdness in my efforts to stay fit.  Yesterday was my first meeting with Michael, physical therapist and dungeon master.  He started with good news – my shoulder is not really frozen.  Apparently I can’t move my arm because it hurts a lot.  Thanks, Michael, I did not know that.  The great news is that I am completely fixable.  Yay!

Michael decided the best way to kick off our time together was to insert two needles into my shoulders and wiggle them around.  This is called dry needling and is as much fun as you think.  The idea is to get a “release” in the tormented muscles such as is experienced through pressure point massage. Needles can hit spots that fingers can’t and who wouldn’t want that?  Sure enough, I felt a noticeable jump in my shoulder while he was playing around with the needles and I guess that’s a good thing.  It was sore last night, but feels better today.

Michael then instructed me in the art of performing painful stretches involving a three foot long pole.  I’m to do these thrice daily (luckily I happen to have a three foot long pole at home) and lay off weight lifting, swimming and strenuous running for a while.  He authorized the use of a stationary bike to get my endorphin fix so I won’t kill my family.  I foresee heavy Netflix binging this week.

***

Finally, please share in my success at degrumping a 16-year-old girl in the middle of exams.  I tried retail therapy at the mall, which worked while I was buying her boots but failed when she tried on a sweater dress that was ego-destroying.  On our return home, we lit the backyard fire pit and cooked dinner in the coals of an open fire.  Result?  Happier daughter, yummy dinner and pleasantly surprised husband when he came home from work to find a campfire meal.

(In case you want to degrump your loved ones, I thinly sliced potatoes and onion and briefly steamed them in the kitchen.  After buttering pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil, I layered on the potatoes and onions, sprinkled with Lawry’s seasoning salt.  The chicken, soaked in Stubbs barbeque sauce, went on the potatoes.  I sealed up the packets allowing a little space for steam and tossed them on the coals once the fire had burned down.  I then listened to the daughter kvetch while turning and generally mucking around with the packets – for about 25 minutes.  I brought them inside and threw on Monterey Jack cheese and resealed until the cheese melted.  Nom Nom!)

Categories: Moving Down the Road, Tummy Training | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Frozen, my way

Apparently it is not unusual for a woman to visit a doctor because she can no longer fasten her bra.  According to Doc, it is the telling complaint of women who have frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis. That’s my problem, in a nutshell. Apparently seven years of taekwondo drills combined with ill-advised attempts at bouldering have resulted in my current inability to dress myself. Or reach into the backseat of the car. Or play tennis, not that I could ever do that very well.

Doc gave me two shots into the shoulder, which felt terrific I assure you.  He assured me that eventually this procedure would reduce the pain of the coming torture, but in the meantime I can expect a great deal of pain from the shot.  Very reassuring. So next week, I’ll begin physical therapy, a process that I hear is going to last months and feel like regular visits to an S&M dungeon. I am hoping my insurance will pay for the pleasure.

So here I am.  Doc said no running for the next week and thus my streak is terminated. No unauthorized lifting, or pushing or carrying for a while, whichmight make weight lifting and yoga difficult. Here’s the thing – I get VERY grumpy when I don’t work out.  Hopefully by this time next week I can report on alternative exercises for the shoulder impaired grumpy mature woman. If anyone has any suggestions, PLEASE let me know!

 

Categories: Cross Training, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

What Now?

First, a confession…I’ve only run twice since the marathon.  My excuse?  Well, the weather has been less than optimal.  It has rained nearly every day and the temperatures are dropping, but it cleared up last Tuesday.  So, yesterday I ran.  Wow!  It doesn’t take long before running feels hard again. My legs felt heavy, my breathing was painful and I just sputtered out a few times.  Still, it felt great to be outside.  Running through slippery leaves and rolling acorns is a new kind of fun challenge.

I debated discontinuing this blog after the marathon, but frankly I enjoy writing it and I don’t plan to stop running.  Maybe some of you are also fighting to stay in shape through the long, cold and wet winter months ahead.  We’ve got a lot against us don’t we?  Holiday travel, rich food, work, early dark, the natural desire to crawl into a cave and hibernate until spring like any sane animal would.  But, I know that come spring I’ll be wanting to bound out the door and go for a run. It would be nice to not look like a lumbering, panting mama black bear while doing it.

So, my plan is to write a few posts on how to keep moving through the winter months.  Right now, I’m planning on doing a cardio workout three times a week, with a longer session on the weekend.  I’m shooting for more weight training on the alternate days and then I want to explore some new ways to move because, frankly, I get pretty bored working out indoors.  So, I’m challenging myself to try new things and hopefully will emerge in the spring in better condition than I did last year.  (I’ll also spend some time this winter scanning for the next racing challenge, but don’t tell my family yet)

If anybody has any ideas on how non-hibernators survive and train during the winter, please share.  I’m open to suggestions!

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View from January

This past year I hit 50 and achieved a major life goal.  I’m standing at the top of the hill metaphorically speaking and am looking around.  Is life all downhill from here?  Downhill is good if you’re running or riding a bike.  It’s easy – no fighting gravity to push yourself along.  It’s fast too, don’t forget.  You just fly!  Do I want time to fly by for the next fifty years?  Do I want things to be easy?  Do I really want to go down?

Could be that from this little mountaintop, I really want to keep struggling upwards.  Maybe I’ve got new goals to achieve, new struggles to take on.  Maybe life should continue to be a challenge to do more, learn more, love more.  Maybe there’s a higher place ahead.

I’m thinking 50 is a good age to get a second wind – to take a deep breath and plod along towards the next great thing.  Things.  And, because I enjoy writing this blog, I’m inviting you to travel along with me.  It’s good to make goals public, to share the adventure and run with the pack.  I’ll be honest.  I have NO IDEA what’s ahead but I started the year off with a one month running streak challenge.  I’m committed to running at least one mile or ten minutes every day for the month of January.  Yup – it’s cold out there.  Yup – I’m traveling this weekend. Yup – it’s dark too.  Gonna run anyway cause that’s the only way I’ll get anywhere.  Want to come?

 

 

Categories: Moving Down the Road | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Marathon Recap: It has a Happy Ending!

Well now, that was fun. The logistics of getting to the starting line of the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington D.C. are intense and I won’t bore you with the details.  We plowed through DC traffic Friday afternoon and parked the car under the hotel.  It stayed there.  On Saturday, we took the metro to  Expo and picked up bib and shirt.  Located at the Washington Convention Center, it was easy to get in and out.  Sadly, next year, they’re moving the Expo to a remote location not on the metro line.  That will be unpleasant.  On Saturday night, we ate at Carmine’s with Team Fox.  The runners were delightful to talk with and we were thrilled to find out that together we had raised $76,000 for Parkinson’s research.  As far as I’m concerned, our race was won right then and there.

It was raining on race morning and in the 50’s.  Up at 4:45 to try to eat, again on the metro and to the Pentagon.  Thousands of us stood in the rain in our garbage bags and throw away sweat shirts to get through security and into runner’s village.  The chaos was actually well organized and eventually we found our way to the starting line.  There we waited and shivered and were soaked some more.  By the time the parachuters had dropped in with a giant American flag, the planes had roared over head and we had cried our way through an emotional national anthem, we were ready to run!

The first 13 miles were simply amazing.  It rained and drizzled and the crowds were intense so going too fast was not an option.  I have so many snapshots of memories: signs in the sideline crowds (my favorite: “Trump says he’ll drop out of the race if you make it to the finish line!”), shirts on other racers (on the back of one runner’s shirt: “If you can read this, I’m not last), the many bands including a group of a dozen bagpipers, and runners in costume including some guy with a box that blinked on his head who looked like a robot.  I was passed by cookie monster, a hot dog and a penguin.

By mile 15, my legs were starting to ache and my pace was falling a bit.  My strategy had been to run/walk, and I’m so glad that I had started out that way from the beginning.  I took three ibuprofen (not advised, but necessary), visited a portajohn, ate some pretzels and kept on keeping on.  By the time we rounded the corner on to the national mall, I was feeling pretty awesome.  In fact, I realized that I was having one of the best days of my life.  That feeling was even better when I saw my husband in the crowd.  The rain had cleared and the energy was at maximum when I made the bridge at mile 20.  My pacing goal was to avoid being picked up by the straggler bus and I made this cutoff with an hour and a half to spare.  Oorah!

Then I fell apart.  The crowds on the sidelines disappeared as we made our way over the longest bridge on planet Earth (I’m sure of it). The runners around me had all dropped to a walk and it was hard to motivate myself to keep going.  I was hurting pretty badly.  Things picked up in Crystal City when I passed our hotel and saw my husband again, but I hit the wall at mile 24.  The last two miles I walked.

The finish was absolutely fantastic.  There was the final .2 mile stretch straight up a hill (of course) to the finish line.  Once over the finish line, we entered shoots and were greeted by marines who snapped to attention and saluted.  Me. Yeah, that felt very weird.  But great, awesome, wonderful.  They hung a very heavy shiny medal around my neck and I spent the next hour trying to get back to my hotel room.  After a shower, a college friend picked up my husband and I and we were whisked away to another friend’s house for the world’s best margaritas and delicious Mexican food.  Thanks Nancy, Meg and Beth – that was fantastic!

So, I met my goal.  I finished my first marathon with a smile on my face.  When I looked at the official race pictures, there’s a silly grin on my face in almost every picture. I’m still processing it all and my next post will be on the lessons I learned.  In the meantime, I’m feeling awfully content with life.  My legs are sore, but they’re already better.  My family and friends have been supportive beyond my wildest dreams and I’m happy with the world.  Thank you all.

Categories: Parkinson's Disease, Running Long | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Marathon Recap: It has a Happy Ending!

Well now, that was fun. The logistics of getting to the starting line of the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington D.C. are intense and I won’t bore you with the details.  We plowed through DC traffic Friday afternoon and parked the car under the hotel.  It stayed there.  On Saturday, we took the metro to  Expo and picked up bib and shirt.  Located at the Washington Convention Center, it was easy to get in and out.  Sadly, next year, they’re moving the Expo to a remote location not on the metro line.  That will be unpleasant.  On Saturday night, we ate at Carmine’s with Team Fox.  The runners were delightful to talk with and we were thrilled to find out that together we had raised $76,000 for Parkinson’s research.  As far as I’m concerned, our race was won right then and there.

It was raining on race morning and in the 50’s.  Up at 4:45 to try to eat, again on the metro and to the Pentagon.  Thousands of us stood in the rain in our garbage bags and throw away sweat shirts to get through security and into runner’s village.  The chaos was actually well organized and eventually we found our way to the starting line.  There we waited and shivered and were soaked some more.  By the time the parachuters had dropped in with a giant American flag, the planes had roared over head and we had cried our way through an emotional national anthem, we were ready to run!

The first 13 miles were simply amazing.  It rained and drizzled and the crowds were intense so going too fast was not an option.  I have so many snapshots of memories: signs in the sideline crowds (my favorite: “Trump says he’ll drop out of the race if you make it to the finish line!”), shirts on other racers (on the back of one runner’s shirt: “If you can read this, I’m not last), the many bands including a group of a dozen bagpipers, and runners in costume including some guy with a box that blinked on his head who looked like a robot.  I was passed by cookie monster, a hot dog and a penguin.

By mile 15, my legs were starting to ache and my pace was falling a bit.  My strategy had been to run/walk, and I’m so glad that I had started out that way from the beginning.  I took three ibuprofen (not advised, but necessary), visited a portajohn, ate some pretzels and kept on keeping on.  By the time we rounded the corner on to the national mall, I was feeling pretty awesome.  In fact, I realized that I was having one of the best days of my life.  That feeling was even better when I saw my husband in the crowd.  The rain had cleared and the energy was at maximum when I made the bridge at mile 20.  My pacing goal was to avoid being picked up by the straggler bus and I made this cutoff with an hour and a half to spare.  Oorah!

Then I fell apart.  The crowds on the sidelines disappeared as we made our way over the longest bridge on planet Earth (I’m sure of it). The runners around me had all dropped to a walk and it was hard to motivate myself to keep going.  I was hurting pretty badly.  Things picked up in Crystal City when I passed our hotel and saw my husband again, but I hit the wall at mile 24.  The last two miles I walked.

The finish was absolutely fantastic.  There was the final .2 mile stretch straight up a hill (of course) to the finish line.  Once over the finish line, we entered shoots and were greeted by marines who snapped to attention and saluted.  Me. Yeah, that felt very weird.  But great, awesome, wonderful.  They hung a very heavy shiny medal around my neck and I spent the next hour trying to get back to my hotel room.  After a shower, a college friend picked up my husband and I and we were whisked away to another friend’s house for the world’s best margaritas and delicious Mexican food.  Thanks Nancy, Meg and Beth – that was fantastic!

So, I met my goal.  I finished my first marathon with a smile on my face.  When I looked at the official race pictures, there’s a silly grin on my face in almost every picture. I’m still processing it all and my next post will be on the lessons I learned.  In the meantime, I’m feeling awfully content with life.  My legs are sore, but they’re already better.  My family and friends have been supportive beyond my wildest dreams and I’m happy with the world.  Thank you all.

Categories: Parkinson's Disease, Running Long | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

You Can’t Control Everything!

Five days to go!  It would surprise my friends and family to learn that I’m something of a control freak and tend to get a wee bit tense at times.  This is one of those times.  We are heading to D.C. on Friday with 30,000 other runners and their families.  I may or may not have trained enough to get to the finish line.  There’s a 20% chance of rain on Sunday. And on and on.

So how do you train the week before a marathon?  You can’t run more. You really can’t change your diet or buy new gear. This is the time for mind training.  This is the time to sit down and breathe. I’ve gone back to my meditation practice, which has been neglected lately.  If you can train yourself to not hyperventilate when stressed, to keep your heart rate low when scared, to focus on this moment and not the endless moments ahead, you’re training your mind to run long distances. I want to stay calm before the start so I don’t pace extra miles.  I want to keep the adrenaline surge under control when that howitzer fires so I don’t start out too fast.  I want to focus on the moment so that I don’t shut down mentally when faced with the many miles ahead.  I want to enjoy the beautiful city of Washington, the monuments and the people.  The energy and the excitement, the crowds and bands, the marines and vets can keep me engaged each mile. I have the wonderful opportunity to think about the people I’m running for, the many people who can’t run today because of Parkinson’s Disease. The people I love and admire and respect.  I can get through 26.2 miles with a smile on my face, full of wonder and joy that I am doing this thing. Just get me to that starting line!

Categories: Brain Training | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

10 Days and Counting!

So, there’s this thing called a taper that I’m doing right now.  In the week or two before a big race, a runner cuts back on mileage and attempts to heal the damage caused from the excessive mileage of the past months.  When my head came up from daily training, I looked around and realized the damage is pretty extensive.

My body has taken a beating. My quads and hamstrings have become as tight as violin strings.  My shoulder, for some reason, is aching and my hand is twitching and tingling.  Weird. I have inexplicably dropped a couple of more pounds in the past week.  I work in an elementary school and am trying to avoid getting sick – yeah, I’m dodging hugs and mainlining Purell. However, I went for a run in the glorious fall chill this morning and felt fantastic!  No pain – anywhere.  Plus, I’ve managed to keep all my toenails and my feet are in great shape.  Maybe my old bod will make it to the finish line.  If the good Lord’s willing and the creeks don’t rise.  (Those of you who have survived this wet fall know this is a valid concern.)

Other damage also needs repairing.  My husband and daughters have put up with my obsessive running and, worse, running talk for the past half year.  I’m really bad right now as I chatter and worry about getting to the starting line in D.C. Happily, Philip and Kailey both agreed to come with me.  This is no small sacrifice for my husband, who is having to close his practice for a few days.  My daughter is also missing a day of school, but she’s not as upset about that.  Having them there means everything in the world to me. My parents, other daughter and you (if you want) can follow my progress on race day by downloading the Marine Corp Marathon App.  They have a track a runner feature that will let you get Facebook or text updates on how I’m doing.

I also need to repair the damage to my poor old, battered home.  I’m supposed to host Christmas this year and, oh my!  There is SO MUCH work to be done.  I’m going to replace running with painting and scrubbing and cleaning… And shopping. Decorating. Cooking………….gulp.

Taper is a time of too much energy and tension.  I’m excited and scared and ready to go.  Those who have supported me are ready for me to go.  Life is wanting to march on.  As the Marines say – let’s “Get it done!”

Categories: Running Long | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Marathon Running for Weight Loss

Thinking about running a marathon to lose weight?  Don’t bother.

Seriously, I had this idea that I would lose all of my post-kids, middle-aged weight gain when I started running big miles training for this marathon.  I pictured myself in cute little shorts and sports bras, long hair pulled back in a pony tail as I effortlessly bounded down a wooded trail…nah, that was the high school girls cross country team that just blew past me as I heaved myself over another hill.  Let’s just say it hasn’t really been the dream.

The question has always been, to lose weight is it better to diet or exercise? The answer is – give it up. It ain’t going to happen.  I’m here to tell you that though I have spent 7-8 hours each week running, 2 hours a week lifting weights and the rest of my time stretching and foam rolling, I weigh only two pounds less than I did last May when I started all this nonsense.  During that time, I have shifted from a standard American diet to a vegetarian diet to a near vegan diet. I eat so healthfully now that I actually crave spinach and think that hummus is just perfect for a snack.  I have one margarita every Saturday night for medicinal purposes, but generally only have a glass of wine with dinner once a week or so.  Seriously, I am living the diet and exercise dream. So what gives?

Well, I look different for one thing.  My husband tells me I’m bony.  My arms seem to have shrunk, which is weird.  I used to have taekwondo biceps and shoulders but now have a stick person look to my upper body.  My legs have also changed, but shrunk isn’t really the word.  More like…condensed.  I’ve got some serious abs, which is nice, but I’m still the same overall shape and no one will mistake me for a college student.

So there it is… if you run an awful lot, and eat healthfully you will look better and feel pretty good.  Energetic. Strong, at least in the lower half of the body. You will not, probably, lose a ton of weight.  You need that weight to do all that running around.  You need calories to avoid flaming out mid-run. You need carbs to keep piling up the miles.  And, most important, you need a Saturday night celebration at your favorite Mexican restaurant to make it all worthwhile.

Categories: Tummy Training | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Go Ahead – You’ve Earned It.

Want to know what runners think about while running in the rain and dark? Well, this one fantasizes about things I think I’ve earned, or need, or want…

  • New shoes  Runners always need and/or want new shoes.  My running shoes cost more than any other shoes in my closet and I need several pairs.  They need to be replaced often and the temptation is always there to think that this will all hurt less with the right shoes.  PLUS, I can justify buying new work shoes that are more comfy for recovery.  Hey, my poor feet deserve coddling.
  • Massage  Oh yes, this one is easy to justify.  David Parks, my massage therapist (and should be yours too) is not a luxury – he’s a necessity second only to shoes (see above). He keeps my old legs moving, plus the weekly pain fest hurts so good.
  • Food  Yes, running does make you hungry and I know runners who fantasize about hamburgers while they run.  I dream about smoothies. And beer. And nachos. And hot drinks with buttery pastries. And margaritas with chips and salsa.  Yummy calories! They’re all good.
  • Travel Running locally is convenient but after weeks of long runs, I’ve pretty much covered Charlotte.  I’d love some new scenery and races farther away sound appealing.  Wouldn’t it be fun to run in the Smokies? In Tuscaloosa where my daughter is in school? Through the gorgeous Shenandoah Valley? Beachside down the Outer Banks? Disney World?  Sure, my family would love to go on vacation and spend hours waiting around for me to run a race.  They’re sweet that way.

And there’s more!  I need to download more music.  It’s getting cold – I’m pretty sure I need a reflective jacket. There’s a new running cookbook out I should get – it would be so inspirational.  Oooh, and look at that carbon frame bike!  She’s really flying…  Hmmm, cross training IS important.

Categories: Running Long | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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