Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bought me a blender

I'm not much for health fads, but when a former co-worker posted something about "Green for Life" on her blog, I read up and jumped on the "green smoothie" bandwagon. I've been sick FIVE times this school year alone. This week included high fever, body aches and hacking cough. Something needed to change. As much as I like them and try to get them in my diet, fruits and veggies don't always take priority. My husband truly avoids them all.

Today, I bought a blender, fruit and greens and set out to make some change. Notice the slightly maniacal look of the knife wielding smoothie maker below. I'm not sure if it's the fever or sheer determination.

My Smoothie Recipe

2 handfuls of fresh spinach

1 Banana

1 Kiwi

1 Apple

1 handful of grapes

2 cups ice (can use water instead)

In the blender, the concoction looked a whole lot green and very pulpy, so I was a little skeptical. So not to notice the color, I put it all in a Camelbak bottle with straw. There was no need, though, the smoothie was incredibly tasty! I did give up on the straw. With ice, it got too thick for it. Total consumed was about 32 oz.

The true taste test will come tomorrow, when I share some with Steve. Regardless, the "green smoothie" is a hit with me!

Saturday, February 21, 2009


My Friday follow-up appointment with the orthopedic specialist went far better than I had expected. Runners must not be great patients; because both the doc and his assistant seemed surprised (and excited) that I had worn the boot cast 24 hours a day as directed, and that the ligaments were healing so quickly. As we went through the exam, there was really only pain when pointing my toes toward the floor or when he pushed on the area with some force. Part of the discomfort is from the fact that my foot has been immobilized for two straight weeks.

The best part of my day was when the doc said I was ready to be out of the boot. WOW! Much sooner than expected. I hadn't even brought a shoe, because it was an option I had not even considered. Initially, he thought I could be done with the boot entirely, but then we discussed the nature of my job, how much I "run" around the school in sometimes dicey situations, and we decided the boot would be used there for awhile longer. But, the rest of the time, I am free! I've got a snug brace that fits into my shoe to help stabilize the area until the ankle regains some strength and flexibility. As I took my first test steps around the office, I couldn't believe how quickly the muscles had forgotten their job. I laughed, feeling like a toddler. Here's a picture of my legs after the boot came off. My right leg has atrophied quite a bit, although it's not as obvious in the picture.
The new and improved plan is to start light stretching, adding circular motions with the ankle in a week. I'll wear the boot at school for another week, then go to half days. No boot at home or while sleeping. This week, I'll start on the stationary bike, gradually increasing the time. If there's no further pain, I can use the elliptical. I'll also be adding strength training, but will have to avoid some exercises like squats. No swimming because my foot's not ready to be used as a flipper. It's not running, but at least there's been a whole lot of progress. This picture is of my beautiful foot today, much improved from the last photos!

On a strange and somewhat related note, my doctor also hooked me up with a local ballet school/company, calling the director during my appointment. He works with their dancers, and decided that since I had been a dancer in the past, I should help them out now. It seems that I may now be used as an adult dancer in their upcoming productions. I'm not sure how I feel about that yet. It's revisiting the past, but could be a fun addition to my future.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Self-analysis gone bad

I am not a fast runner. I do not win races or even come close. I rarely do speed work or have a "training" schedule. BUT, I do call myself a runner. It is a huge part of who I have become. So, it is with some reluctance that injury has forced me to adjust this perception of myself and look a little deeper. In doing so, I realized just how much time I spend in running related activities. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I decided to put some thought into expanding my interests. This process led me to two major conclusions.

1) I LOVE to be outside.
2) I need to be moving - all of the time.

Which is why I never completed the afghan I started, why I struggle going to a movie theatre if the movie is over two hours long, why long flights leave me restless and irritable, why I eat/drink/doodle my way through long conferences while gazing longingly out the window.

It is also why I never sit down at work, why I am always behind in paperwork, why I pray my students sign up for a fitness class just so I can participate, why a cruise vacation sounds dreadful, and so on. You get the picture.

When injury free, there are endless options for interests and activities. When injured, I am basically screwed. Back to the drawing board...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

This just in...

Exercise is good for you. What a surprise. It's always amazed me how many people in the world avoid it like the plague. Well, I am walking (hobbling?) proof that 100% no exercise is NOT good for you.

1) I am gaining weight. Yep, in three week's time. And, other than drastically reducing the number of calories I take in, there's absolutely nothing I'm allowed to do about it right now. It's a miserable feeling.

2) My skin is a mess. I'm fearing a turn into a pimply teenager again.

3) I'm not sleeping well. Trouble falling asleep has always been a struggle, but the boot does not help with the STAYING asleep. I move in my sleep, the boot tangles in sheets, I wake up.

4) I'm moody and irritable. I've had an unusual experience at work that's not been pleasant, and I have no idea what to do with the extra cortisol flowing through my system.

5) Food cravings. Not exercising seems to encourage the desire for absolute junk food only intake, such as nachos, Big Macs, candy, cookies, etc.

Not really related to health, my house is an absolute mess due to my staggeringly slow movement. I can't bend, squat, sit or stand easily, which makes general chores much more difficult. And, I almost drove my car through the house trying to determine the correct amount of gas vs. brake to get the car in the garage properly. Now, I'm on self-limited driving privileges.

On a positive note, I did get a library card and checked out 3 books with several on reserve. I'm also more up to date on work related paperwork. At least my brain is getting a workout!

Friday, February 6, 2009

The dreaded boot

On Thursday, I finally saw the orthopaedic surgeon. Although I didn't necessarily want to hear bad news, I was a little relieved to finally know what was wrong. It seems I really made a mess out of my ankle. I've got a "high ankle sprain" (torn ligaments) and "bone contusion". Really, I have no idea what that actually means, I was more interested in the prognosis and treatment plan. What I did hear is that the injury is serious and I'd better be a good patient or this is going to take a very, very long time to heal, if at all. Here's the deal.

I get to wear a huge, ugly, heavy boot from toe to knee for a period of 8-12 weeks. The first two weeks I have to wear it 24 hours a day. If there's improvement, I MIGHT get to be in the pool to start rehab. After 3-4 weeks, I MIGHT get to add some time on the bike. If I'm an exceptional patient, I MIGHT get to add some running at 12 weeks. My thoughts?

I'm tired. Try sleeping with a boot that seems to weigh as much as me. I'm disappointed. Races were planned, running gear was bought in preparation for spring training. I'm sad because I miss the social aspect of running with friends. I'm afraid of starting completely over when I've lost fitness after three months off. I'm irrationally afraid that it won't heal right and I won't run again. I'm stressed, and my regular coping mechanism is on hold for three months. I'm irritable because there's no way to explain to a non-runner why this is such a big deal. I'm worried about not fitting into my clothes because I'll be in a depressive Milk Dud coma. I'm ashamed; I should be happy to be alive and healthy otherwise. I'm optimistic because I can use the time to build some upper body and core strength. Those are just some of the things I'm working through. Isn't blogging therapeutic?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

25 Random Things

I was tagged on Facebook to make a list of 25 random things about myself. I found the activity interesting, although much harder than expected. Since I don't have anything to post on the running front, here goes...

1) Cartoons do not appeal to me. My mom says I wouldn’t watch them as a child either.
2) I dated a guy in college who was a marathon runner. I tried running with him once, but made it one block. One reason we broke up was because he ran too much. Ironic that I completed my first 50k this year.
3) It’s rare that I make it through a movie without doing something else at the same time such as reading, searching the internet, etc. Steve adapted, but I don’t think Melissa and Frank ever did.
4) I moved 11 times in the past 11 years.
5) I attended Gallaudet University for graduate school and to learn ASL. Signing is still at the top of my “to be feared” list.
6) I’m addicted to reading trail running blogs.
7) I know I look better with long hair, but I can’t stand the feel of it against my face.
8) My very best girlfriends have always been my mom and my grandma.
9) I like rules.
10) During my move from DC to Montana, I cried from North Dakota all the way to Great Falls, and continued on and off for the next year. Reverse culture shock.
11) I can be mean.
12) A long time ago, I danced. When I hear beautiful music, I still choreograph in my head.
13) I could eat a box of Milk Duds every day.
14) I struggle with the concept of God.
15) Before my internship in Atlanta, where I lived with Faith and her two dogs, I didn’t really like dogs. I fell in love with Gus, and have been obsessed with owning my own since then.
16) I do not trust charming or schmoozy people and avoid having to deal with them as much as possible.
17) I liked being a CPS social worker much better than being a therapist, but know I’m a better therapist than I was a CPS worker.
18) Most fears of mine have been overcome by being brave in front of children. Spiders in the cabin, camping in winter, picking off ticks, the zip-line, fair rides, storms, sign language, and the list goes on.
19) I dream of big adventures, like running a 100 mile race, but I’m not always brave.
20) I worry that my niece won’t know me because I live too far away.
21) My greatest strength is hopefulness.
22) I absolutely cannot go to the gym. My husband bought me a 10 session punch card one brutal, icy winter. I used it twice and later just bought YakTrax.
23) I have probably shopped for clothing for other people more than I’ve shopped for myself which is probably why my clothes don’t always fit right.
24) I believe the concepts of fate, destiny, and providence are often used as excuses. Why not take credit for your good or bad decisions?
25) I sleep until the very last possible moment and then do what my husband calls the “Mad Scramble” to get to work on time.

The ankle still hurts. I walked without the brace for 15 minutes two days ago. It swelled up again. So, I'm back to as much yoga I can do and free weights. Blah.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Road Trip

Steve surprised me with a weekend trip to Bozeman as a cheer me up gesture and a break from our busy jobs. We stayed at the Best Western GranTree, a quiet place with a huge rooms, in room movies, indoor pool, and free drinks! Saturday included trips to the local fly fishing shops where Steve found treasure, and then we wandered around town just observing. Steve noticed an outdoor gear shop for women, Girls Outdoors, which I had to explore. Lots of SmartWool, Royal Robbins, Mountain Hardwear stuff. I didn't really need any winter gear, but bought a pair of funky SmartWool socks to support such a fun store. I'm definitely going back as soon as the summer stock arrives. It was a relaxing trip, and I'm glad we had the time together.

The ankle is improving. Funny how I can panic one day that an injury is never going to heal, then the next 24 hours brings dramatic change. The crutches found a hopefully permanent home in the closet on Friday. I was able to walk around Bozeman using just the stabilizing brace. The exercise was good. My Achilles had tightened up from lack of use and my left leg was sore from constantly supporting my body weight. I get to start some strengthening exercises today, with a short walk brace free. I'm optimistic about running soon, but know the risks of re spraining a sprain, so I'm doing recovery right this time.

Thanks for all the recovery support through emails, blog posts and calls. I appreciate the kindness and hopeful thoughts!