already a change of plan!

Adaptability is an important skill, right? I feel like the last few months have been a test of my adaptability. I’m still here, so I guess I’m doing okay in the adaptability arena?

Backstory: a year and a half ago I broke my right ankle very badly. I had to have surgery and now my right lower leg and ankle are covered in plates and pins (the X-ray is pretty weird-looking). At the time, I had about 2 1/2 months of physical therapy, but I discontinued for a couple reasons — I was a grad student with a pretty small income and PT is expensive, and I started my crazy series of moves across the country for internships and finally to move in with the BF — not a lot of time to find new PTs in each place and start a PT program only to move again. My leg was in good enough shape to walk on so I decided it was okay. I was cleared by a doctor to return to normal activities “as tolerated”. I hiked part of the Appalachian Trail (which led to overuse soreness) and I started lifting weights and running.

But my ankle still isn’t 100%, which I know for a few reasons: 1. Overuse pain (overnight backpacking). 2. Decreased range of motion. 3. It affects my ability to distribute weight evenly while lifting weights — my left thigh (the one with the ankle) is 1 full inch bigger than my right thigh, which says a lot about muscle usage and muscle growth.

I am an SLP and I work in skilled nursing. By default my closest colleagues are an occupational therapist and a physical therapist. Earlier this week during a rare lull at work, I asked the PT for a quick consult about my ankle. I figured, given that I’m at a crossroads in my exercise program anyway, now would be a good time to get an opinion from a PT about what I should and shouldn’t be doing on my ankle. The verdict:

<strong>”Listen to yourself. You get overuse pain. Your thighs aren’t acquiring muscle mass evenly. Your ankle is telling you it’s not ready for heavy weight-bearing exercises and high-impact cardio.”</strong> Le sigh.

The PT (who is an amazing PT and a great colleague) recommended a very different kind of exercise program than I’ve been doing: bicycling (for ROM), yoga (for ROM and strength), toe-walking and heel-walking on soft/unstable surfaces like grass (for balance and strength), step-ups (progressing to box jumps), weighted ankle flexion/extension/rotation, body-weight wall squats. Day hikes are fine (yay!) but overnight backpacking is not (boo). No heavy lifting. No running on streets (a little trail running is okay but it should not be the cornerstone of my training program).

Of course I am hugely grateful for the free consult. But I have to be honest: yoga and bicycling are not terribly appealing. I don’t even own a bike. This is all so different from what I’ve been doing exercise-wise over the past year that frankly I’m feeling a little lost.

So for the moment, I’m just letting this info sink in. It’s not completely antithetical from what I talked about in my last blog post – there definitely needs to be a body-weight strength component to my exercise. But I also need to fit in yoga, and some plyometrics type stuff, and figure out the bicycle situation.

So that’s where I’m at. Trying to be positive: I want my ankle to be at its best so I *can* go back to doing my preferred activities as safely as possible. But… it would just be really nice if the world would stop with the curveballs just for a little while so I could have a break from all the adaptability. Because it’s exhausting.

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Well hi there!

It’s been a while. It’s been a long, long while, and I have missed this–the blog, and all of you who read and comment, and all of your awesome blogs.

My real life (the non-blogging, off-the-internet life) went more than a little crazy the last few months. I was due to start a job, and we found a house in the new town, and packed our stuff, only for my job situation to change right at the time the BF started a new very travel-heavy job. That meant house hunting again, partially unpacking what we’d packed for moving, and then repacking. I did manage to fit in a visit to Seattle to see my dad, sister, pseudo-step-family, and some friends right before I started work. I’ve now started work, and although I enjoy my job and the people I work with, the circumstances of this job (versus the job I was originally due to take) necessitate a massive amount of driving, about 130 miles per day, or a tank of gas every 2 days if you’re eco(-logically, -nomically, or both!) conscious. (I am singlehandedly destroying the air in Northern California and I feel bad about it.) Now we live in a lovely house in Woodland, CA, where we have barely any furniture and nowhere to put most of our stuff. Fortunately, this is temporary: after 9 months to a year, I will qualify for my full SLP license, at which point a much wider variety of jobs will be open to me. My dream: a full time caseload at a single facility large enough to have therapy aides to keep track of and file all the paperwork, one I can live reasonably close to.

The food and fitness update: for the most part, I’ve been able to keep up with relatively nutritious and predominantly intuitive eating (eat when hungry, stop when full, don’t feel guilty about eating and being hungry), and I’ve been able to get enough sleep (7 hours or so) most nights (although i really want 8). However, given everything, my fitness has really fallen by the wayside. I am able to get a quick walk in 1-2 evenings per week, but realistically if I have any time in the evenings I need to use it to go to the laundromat and bulk prepare food–I don’t have time every evening because of a variable work schedule, so going to the gym for an hour is honestly a risky prospect as it means I am quite literally taking the chance of not having clean underwear (ew) or being stuck ordering pizza for dinner every night (gets old fast). At the weekends I’ve been unpacking little by little, running all the errands I can’t squeeze in during the week, and doing yard work (which I guess is a fitness activity). What with the BF’s travel schedule for his job, the bulk of running the house now falls on me. Today I moved the new
mattress that was delivered today from the side of the house where FedEx left it, into the garage. By myself. I am Wonder Woman, hear me roar.

I have mixed feelings about this state of affairs. On the one hand, I am *choosing* (ie prioritizing) other activities over fitness, and that makes me sad and a little guilty especially considering all my success last year and early this year. But sadness and guilt don’t get me anywhere and they don’t change the fact that realistically, right now, it’s a huge challenge to be as active as I’d like to be under ideal circumstances.

The truth is I would like to continue losing body fat and building strength. But more importantly, I want to feel like I am consciously making healthy choices for my body, and right now I don’t feel like I’m doing that to my satisfaction. Here’s what I propose to do about it:

1. figure out a 30-minute (max!) body weight strength training program I can do 3 days per week AT HOME. If 1 strength day is at the weekend I only have to fit in 2 30-minute workouts during the week. And I don’t have to give up the added time of going to and from the gym, packing a gym bag, etc.

2. On non strength days, walk at least 15 minutes IF POSSIBLE. If I have to do laundry instead, that’s okay. If I can manage half an hour, great. But it’s much better to do a little than do nothing simply because I can’t do a lot.

3. Update the blog twice per week–goal: 1 weekday and 1 weekend day. I definitely can’t return to an everyday thing, at least for now, but I like that the blog helped keep me honest (not just with you, but with myself). Same as with the fitness– doing a little is better than doing nothing just because I can’t do a lot.

Having said all that, don’t feel bad if you want to unfollow my blog! This new and (not so) improved blog is a pretty far cry from what you signed up for. I promise not to be offended. Fortunately, I have a pretty thick skin (definitely an important trait if you’re going to work with people with dementia!), and I’m perfectly aware, this is just a blog.

That’s it for now. Hope you all are well! This weekend I would like to fit in some time to catch up on your blogs. The BF is actually in town this weekend (and it’s his birthday!). A good old bloggity catch up might just have to wait. Time will tell. 🙂

yet another update

The short story: my blog is officially on hiatus until… probably sometime in mid-to-late March.

The longer story: we don’t get to move to Clearlake. So much for our amazing lake-front house with its own dock. (Seriously. We were supposed to sign a lease for such a house tomorrow morning.) Giant kerfuffle at the rehab company I’m employed with. Boring details, the end result of which is that I won’t be working at the nursing home in Clearlake, where I would only be getting 15-20 hours per week (yikes). Instead I’ll be working half time at a facility in Sacramento and half time at a facility in Williams… 60 miles north of Sacramento. (I wish I was joking. We’ll live partway between, but the commuting might kill me.) So we have to start house hunting again — sorry, I have to start house hunting again, because the BF is otherwise occupied — which means chasing down letting agents and filling out applications and singlehandedly exhausting the post office’s stock of money orders for rental applications. All on a rapidly approaching deadline because our current lease is set to expire in 3 weeks. Because we thought we’d have a house to move into by then. All while I’m still (single-handedly) packing up our house. We don’t even have kids but already I understand why so many families have a stay-at-home parent. There’s too much to do if you’re both working full time.

The last few weeks my fitness efforts have been lackluster and sporadic, and my food intake hasn’t been ideal. But I’m choosing not to guilt myself over it because everything is crazy right now and is going to continue to be crazy for the next few weeks. Thus the blog hiatus — I have nothing in particular to report health or fitness related, plus I need to focus on moving house.

Later gators!

quick update

Hey everybody,

I haven’t died, it’s just been crazy busy around here as the BF finishes up his current job and prepares to go to San Diego for training for his new job, all while trying to squeeze in visits to Clearlake to see houses and packing up to move. We’re going again tomorrow, I think. Does anyone actually like moving? Anyway, I miss catching up on all your blogs and updating mine, hopefully I’ll have more time soon.

Day 148: negative splits!

I ran this morning. It was supposed to be a strength training day but it is raining!!! And we all know how I feel about rain (love), and how sad the California drought is making me. I have not gotten to run in the rain once since starting I started my fitness training back in September. So really, it had to be done. And it was every bit as amazing as I hoped. I felt so good while I was running, I haven’t felt this good on a run in a while. I changed my route just a little bit — instead of running part of the loop twice, I made a “lollipop” – partway through the loop I turned off my usual route and made a “lollipop stick” with the normal loop as the round sugary candy part. I really liked it and I think I will make it my usual route. Anyway, I felt so energized this morning on my run, that this happened:

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That’s negative splits almost the whole run (which I didn’t set out to do). It wasn’t *quite* my fastest average pace, but it’s my fastest average pace since I started running 30 minutes; and it’s the most consistent my pace has been without slowing way down. What with the rain and the results from my run today, I feel amazing.

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Day 128

Pete Seeger died today and I am feeling a little lost. I don’t typically get too caught up in celebrity deaths but Pete Seeger was more than just an iconic figure. Like lots of American kids, we sang This Land is Your Land at every assembly during elementary school; it’s as central to my childhood as riding bikes and multiplication tables. Of course none of us understood that the song was more than a love song, it’s revolutionary. (I wonder if schools still let kids sing this song. Somehow I doubt it.)

Later, Pete Seeger was a bridge to a better understanding of culture and politics and history. His music meant something.

I will blog for real tomorrow but for now I just want to remember an amazing person.