Friday, November 29, 2013

Pre-Post Update Friday

Well, It's Friday. If this thing is working correctly and posts it at the time I told it to, that is! I'm not planning on spending time writing a blog Thursday or Friday, or really even most of Wednesday, so this is just filler. Hopefully by now I will have completed a 5K turkey trot, though honestly I'm a little concerned because the weather is cold (the coldest Thanksgiving on record here! Sheesh!) which means my muscles don't move as fast as I would like. My goal is 1.5 hours, but with the weather prediction it's looking more like 2, which isn't any better of a time than the SRA 5K back in June so dang. I did tandem a 16 mile bike ride with BikeLafayette president Jen Steele, and it's looking like I finally have a working bike/trainer combo so that's fun!

Ya'll have a great Thanksgiving weekend! :)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Maintaining Happiness

If you're in Lafayette, and you love cycling and mountain biking, please please please take part of planning the Horse Farm! Even if you're not in Lafayette but feel that the city can benefit, you can take part in the survey too!

Planning with some of my favorite people :)

I've been doing a lot of thinking on what I can't control, and what I can. I really try not to dwell on what I can't control. Sometimes it gets the better of me, so it's good to be reminded time to time! A friend reminded me today. It's not productive to waste energy dwelling on things I can't control, and also trying to please everyone. SO
*What I can't control, well, I've got to move on with what I can. I have to make sure I've covered all my bases then forget about what I can't and work with what I have. That's the tough part, knowing what it is you can and can't! Knowing when to relax. You've got to recognize you're human and therefore not perfect but doing the best you can, draw a line, and Let Go. Yikes! But it's how to stay sane.
*Trying to please everyone - here's the truth about me. I think this is going to disappoint people though I don't mean for it to!
It was something I felt I had potential at and was getting better all the time. I was on a huge upswing with my speed. It's not that I liked crushing my competition, it's that I liked living up to the mental and physical challenge to have what it takes to be that good. That level of determination is still my goal. I have a lot of work and training to do, and I want that challenge. BUT, if I can't get to the place where I feel I can be competitive, racing this way will stop being my goal. The goal will be something else hard that I can do exceedingly well, like maybe climbing a crazy mountain or hiking a continent, or whatever else tough that if I focus on I can excel at. It's not that I'm against people racing just to better themselves, that's fantastic! That's how Nic and so many other amazing people feel and that's all good. It's just not why I personally had started getting hooked on racing, and why I stay focused on getting back to that now. I may never have been that fast, I my never be now, but I don't know that yet. I just watched Ride The Divide and I want that feeling. Keeping balance on the edge physically and mentally. THAT is my goal. It's when I'm happiest.
PS If I ever win a race, even just my AG again, I'm going to Norway. I don't know why Norway exactly, it's just sounds cool. Er, cold. Come with me!

What I CAN control: getting faster swimming all the time! Huge challenges with my body, but it works and I'm in love with the technical aspects of swimming. It's a perfectionist's dream come true! Here's my swimming log if you haven't seen it, it ain't much! Swimming Log
I am just now able to really weight train, and Anytime Fitness Upper Lafayette has volunteered to help me with it! Awesome, awesome, awesome. I'm so glad to be part of such a great community, where when a bunch of doors slammed shut for me all at once, a bunch more opened that I wouldn't have if I wasn't here. LOVE all of you!

Lastly, a tiny shout out to Couer Sports. Only tiny because they're new and I barely know them, but I'm stoked to see all the coolness they're doing. Couer is a new line of women's athletic clothing and while I haven't gotten a chance to try it out, as a company they've been fun to watch. They're already working hard to stay engaged with the public, and have started a "Heart and Courage" award that commends "the bravest move, have the most courageous race, or in some way exhibit tremendous heart on the field of competition." On top of that, they're going to give cash compensation to their sponsored athletes, and already donate 1% of their sales to The Challenged Athletes Foundation.  They're taking applications for ambassadors right now - check it out!

Not all the pics of me working out can be pretty ;) This is another Pilates machine, the "reformer", It makes me have a well-balanced body (my right side is looking good, right?) and I can even mimic running on it!
I kinda have the best Pilates instructor, ever. She's sweet and amazing, and I've learned so much already. Honestly, the best thing for my recovery outside of therapy. I really need to designate a whole post to this. You can find her here: Wise Body Pilates


Saturday, November 16, 2013

True Story

I volunteered at the Audubon Zoo as a Junior Keeper/Keeper Aide until I was 15-years-old. There I was able to work with several different kinds of animals. I befriended the sea lion trainer, Carolyn, who was a bit older than me and sooooo awesome! It was great to watch her with those guys, she was very very good at what she did.
Part of her duties included "Asian Domain" which had several types of animals in it, including Garth the Lion.
One day, I got to go help Carolyn behind the scenes in Asian Domain! The way it works, all the animals stay in their inside homes at night, and go to the outside exhibits during the day. There is a hallway that you can walk down to access all the inside rooms. There are chains that you can open and lower the animals's gates from this hallway so that you never come in direct contact with the animals  themselves. SO, to let an animal outside, you open the gate to it's outside enclosure, open the one to it's inside enclosure, and they run through the passageway from inside to outside, and you close the gate behind them. Look, I have a picture.

At least, you're supposed to close the gate to the outside exhibit after the animal runs in there. But somebody must have not done it all the way, or something, because Garth was in his passageway when we came in!
This wouldn't have been that big of a deal if there wasn't a very thin sheet metal door for human access to the hallway. And if Carolyn didn't love Garth so much. You see, Carolyn was fascinated by him, and before she was able to work with him, she would every day go eat her lunch or whatever outside his exhibit and watch him. Stare at him. For days and days. Come to find out, this makes a lion think you're threatening, and Garth Hated Carolyn. She stopped when she realized it was happening, but by then it was too late.
SO, Garth realized Carolyn was just on the other side of this thin door, and kept trying to bang down the door to get at her! She couldn't leave the lion loose in case someone else walked in, and I wouldn't leave her, so she kept running to the roof to lure him back to the outside exhibit while I kept trying to close the exhibit door behind him fast enough to keep him in there. BUT he knew what was going on! He would see the gate closing and dash back in the passageway, banging down the metal door.

And then, it worked, he got the door down, and was loose in the hallway with us. And then he saw us and then...

We died.


(ending loosely based on Shel SIlverstein's "True Story")

Friday, November 15, 2013

Turkey Trot, MACCA'S IN SKN?!, and TMI

I'm warning you, there is one issue I am writing about in here that is TMI (too much information). Sometimes, there are just things that need sharing, whether you want to hear them or not! ;)

But First, I have a 5K scheduled! It's the Calvary Baptist Turkey Trot, where I feel incredibly guilty for making the race director feel bad enough to make people stay late to accommodate my slow walking. I'm going to try to start early so that it won't be necessary for them to stay overtime, but I'm really excited, because this will be with Nic's family who I love dearly! :) My goal is 1.5 hours, which will be a push for me, especially because it's cold. I swear, I'm the most reptilian mammal I met! My body slows down significantly when it's cold. I need sun!!! But I really want to put them out as little as possible.

HOLY COW MY TRIATHLON IDOL IS ON THE ISLAND THAT I USED TO LIVE ON!! MACCA is having the MACCAX Triathlon on Nevis tomorrow, celebrating 12 years of triathlon. I went to vet school on St. Kitts (which is part of the country of St. Kitts and Nevis) and it is where I was first introduced to triathlon. I was there for the first! Please Please Please Please Please my SKN friends if you see him tell him hello for me! Better yet, maybe have a pic taken with him tand show me, then everybody wins! YAY!! Nevis Triathlon

I know you've seen this pic before sorry, it's my favorite of Rebel, on St. Kitts with Nevis in the very background.

I don't know what has gotten into me, but I have been Little Miss Overachiever lately. I had a goal of a mile swim, and I did 2100 yards. On a different day, I decided to walk 2 miles just before two hours of therapy, and then 1 hour of Pilates. Then walked another mile. I finally am back on a bike trainer. So all is good. (update - still no bike trainer sheesh flat tire now bikes are obviously (understandably) scared of me can't win but all is still good)

Also, USAT has a friendly off-season competition that I entered my triathlon club in. I couldn't race and get us any points this past year, but this is something I can participate in! You enter all the training miles for your participants, and they're weighed differently. For example, I can log my elliptical time, and it is weighed differently than running, but it still counts. This goes on for 3 months and you can see how you match up to other similarly-sized clubs around the country. SO if you're a TriCajun and you're reading this, I really and truly am trying to guilt you into participating with me! ;) I know, I know, not everyone believes in training in the off-season, but if you do, please help us out!

Okay - on to the TMI. I promise never to do this around you, but, I can pee underwater! I know it doesn't seem that big of a deal, but there was a time where my detrusor muscle (the one that makes your urinary bladder contract to urinate) wasn't even strong enough to micturate. I had to be catheterized every several hours. Some people with spinal cord injuries live with this their whole life. Not me, I'm lucky. Then, though, my sphincter muscle was not strong enough (or spasmed too much) to hold  the urine in, so I had to wear diapers for a while. This too has healed. Water pressure makes it even harder for the detrusor to work, so this is a BIG deal for me, my muscles are strong enough to perform not just adequately, but well! So this is very worth me getting excited over,  even though I'm sure I put you through some terrible mental images just now. You're welcome. It's part of the injury though, and I wouldn't be doing justice to those that deal with this daily if I left out all the bad things.

It's been a bit nippy outside, which feels awesome to me, maybe because I can't feel the cold very well ;) Have a beautiful day!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Don't Run For Me

The book The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz says this: "Love is ruthless; it doesn't feel sorry for anyone, but it has compassion. Fear is full of pity; it feels sorry for everyone. You feel sorry for me when you don't respect me, when you don't think I am strong enough to make it. On the other hand, love respects. I love you; I know you can make it. I know that you are strong enough, intelligent enough, good enough that you can make your own choices. I don't have to make choices for you. You can make it. If you fall, I can give you my hand, I can help you to stand up, I can say, "You can do it, go ahead." That is compassion, but it is not the same as feeling sorry."

Don't get me wrong, I'm all about fund raisers and honoring people, but I want YOU to swim/bike/run/whatever else for YOU! Otherwise I feel like a drag. I like to hear about you being healthy and doing well, loving life and accomplishing great things, and more than anything being happy. Watching you guys be awesome is so peaceful and honestly makes it all worth it to me! I've heard the best gift you can give someone is your happiness and it's TRUE! I love all of you, and it is definitely through your varied modalities of support that I'm doing better, but instead of pitying me please rejoice with me that it Works, your thoughts and efforts can help a person be independent and strong again. This week alone, I have walked over five miles, spent hours on the elliptical, and swam over a mile and a half; not to mention 2 hours of Pilates and 6 hours of therapy. ALSO eating healthy, and being super mom, and getting my house straight, and applying to residencies, and spending time with amazing friends. Not exactly worth feeling sorry for, right? ;) I still get sooo worried about the future sometimes, but this week I felt "good" for the first time in over a year. I mean my body did. The weather was beautiful, and my mind and body keep communicating better and better, and I could feeeeel!!! I didn't know if my body could enjoy being alive again. There's much more to life, believe me I found out, BUT I'm Super stoked about how good my body can feel! It's getting more confident and I'm getting mine back. SO I appreciate your help, I'm not out of the woods, but pitying me is not appropriate. Enjoying life with me is! Run WITH me! Run FOR you.

The "Mermaid" in Pilates. Everyone should do Pilates! More on this later.

This next bit makes me laugh: I had started writing this post and my right hand has suddenly started working all the way again whilst typing. So instead of typing, then pausing to think of what to say next, and then typing again, I just typed randomness. I've decided to keep it because COOL I'm going to be able to look back on the exact moment!
I want to type this  to retrain my hands to type again. I don't even care what I'm saying at this point, just the fact tat they're working correctly and I can do this is Awesome and feels SO giod! Keep typing and keep going Hooray for healing! The big brown dog jumped over the quick brown fox.

Then, I got tired, ha! Nic pointed out it's the fox that usually does the jumping in that sentence...oops!  It's been a good week, a fun trip to New Orleans and accomplishing my workout goals. This weekend's looking good to. Good luck to those running the Cajun Cup, and riding the Gran Fido. And everything else!

Friday, November 1, 2013

6 Months Into Training

Today is my favorite day of the year. I don't know why, exactly. All Saints Day just seems so peaceful. I like taking this day off just to do fun things. Halloween was also awesome this year.

Yup, it's been 6 months since I officially started training for February's Rock'n'Roll 1/2 marathon. As foretold, I'm a data whore, and here's my training log: NOLA RnR 2014 Training Log (started 28 Apr 13)

Let's recap.

28 April 13 - walked 0.9 miles with walker, 97:03 min/mi
29 Apr 13 - Eric's elliptical 30 min, 32 rpm avg
30 Apr 13 - bike trainer 15 minutes
7 May 13 - 500y swim, 50y at a time

8 June 13 - SRA 5K, walker, 42:09 min/mi
16 June 13 - .9 miles quad cane, 59:06 min/mi

7 July 13 - .45 miles straight cane only when needed from now on, 73:51 min/mi 
20 July 13 - 9 miles tandem on bike
27 July 13 - elliptical 10min x3, 40rpm

17 Aug 13 - elliptical every day (about) for 30 days
28 Aug 13 - walked 0.9 miles, 38:14 min/mi

23 Sep 13 - walked 0.9 miles, 31:26 min/mi
26 Sep 13 - 1000y swim, 1:07.0/M
29 Sep 13 - 45min elliptical

28 Oct 13 30m elliptical, avg about 40 rpm, maintain 55-60rpm 15min at a time, macine can't go faster
29 Oct 13 - walked 0.45 miles with cane, 28:35 min/mi ("normal" is 20-22 min/mi, 18 min/mi to finish the half within the time limit.)
Bike trainer - yeah, there's been malfunctions with this bike thing. Start again next week!
31 Oct 13 - swim 1000y straight, 100:01/M

It's not a perfect comparison, but I'm so much stronger after just 6 months! My upper body is much better too, not perfect but better. I am using 10# weights for most of my work-outs, including finger and wrist work-outs, I can clap and shake hands on a regular basis, and can type with all my fingers.

It's been quite the 6 months, but seriously, I'm confident and eager to get back to my profession and go even further with it. I donW't use a cane anymore in my house. My limitations are pretty minor at this point, and I'm confident on racing next year.

This Morning, love this day!