The One With Whining AND Confessions

If my life, and this blog, were an episode of Friends that post title up there would be what this particular ‘episode’ is both called and about.
You have been warned.

I am still in “rehab” mode for my knee.
Until yesterday I had been pain/twinge free for five days.
I feel like I need one of those tote boards you see in factories and on military bases that proclaim ” ‘X’ Many Days Incident Free!” hanging around my neck. (Which, by the way, I now have a whole new respect for.)
After two of those pain/twinge free days I decided that the brace I’d picked up was actually starting to do more harm than good in that it was causing irritation and inflamation on the back of my knee. I sought the counsel of my super-chiropractor before committing to not wearing the brace and he said I should be okay without it.
Back to “Until yesterday”.
I stood up and out of nowhere there it was, the twinge of pain behind my knee. Which continued into the night and was still there this morning.
Today I’m back to wearing the brace.

And now, it’s time for The Rest of The Story.

Since I’ve been unable to run I haven’t really been handling it with all the Zen embracement of “It is what it is” and “This is the Universe’s way of getting me to add balance to my workouts” blah blah crap I’ve been spouting.
The truth is that while I can totally see and embrace the benefits of adding strength training and yoga to my running routing, doing them instead of running feels too much like conceding defeat. It’s like I’m somehow admitting “I’m never going to run again “. And that’s a thought I’m not particularly fond of.
So I’ve “rested” my knee.  A lot.  Like totally and completely with zero actually doing anything – even the strength training, core work, and yoga I know are an integral part of the healing.

And then there’s my diet.
Oh my mindfully selected, balanced, for-a-purpose diet. How I miss thee.
Don’t get me wrong now, I haven’t exactly re-embraced my Inner Hamburgler. I’m not defaulting to drive-thrus and full-on crap at every meal.
Actually it isn’t the meals I am eating that are the problem. It’s the ones I’m not. Chiefly breakfast.
And the ice cream.
Oh the ice cream.
It has become my friend.
My very dear, sweet, cold, creamy, endorphin-inducing friend. And I’m really not much of a sweets eater.

The diet/eating thing is a twofold problem really.
Without running my metabolism has slowed down and frankly I’m just not hungry early in the mornings.
Without running I know my body isn’t burning as many calories so a long-dormant part of my brain has gone back to “Don’t eat what you’re not going to burn off” mode. And yes, I know (as we Southerners are wont to say) that dog don’t hunt.

And the scale?
Shall we not even discuss its generosity on Tuesday in finding and returning three-and-a-half pounds I had accidentally left somewhere on my last few runs. Thanks.

So.
What’s a girl to do?
Well. So far she’s wallowed. And I am not a wallower.  Really.
Since about the 3.5 mile mark on Saturday, February 18th. I just looked on a calendar and that’s nearly three weeks of wallowing. And I’m generally not one to wallow.
Yowch!
No wonder we’re paining/twinging again.
When you don’t do what needs to be done to fix something, chances are better than average it’s going to stay broken.

Again, I ask you: What’s. A. Girl. To. Do?!
It’s really pretty simple.
She stops wallowing.
She stops feeling sorry for her inability to run at this time.
She realizes, embraces, and puts into action the inimitable words of Edward Everett Hale:

I am only one; but still I am one.
I cannot do everything; but still I can do something;
and because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

and she will get her (slightly ampler) behind in gear doing the strength training, yoga work, and walking that she can do.
She can get her diet/eating habits back in line/under control. She can mindfully plan her meals and follow that plan.
She can begin – tonight – doing the strengthening exercises she knows to do. She can actually do that “half hour of yoga before bedtime” she’s been promising to do every night for a week now.

And so.
She shall.
Look forward to our next episode: The One With the Kept Intentions

Is there a Yoga Zone?

I put up last night’s post and went to bed confident that My Plan was going to work flawlessly.  I’d ace six today, maybe even eight, and three weeks from tomorrow I would complete my first half-marathon.
Yeah.
Well.
What’s that they say about intentions and paver stones?
That.

Regardless how solid my plan was or how strong my resolve in that plan, my left knee just wasn’t up to it.  While I didn’t get all the way to six miles, I did arrive at the inescapable conclusion that I will not in fact be participating in the March 18th half-marathon we are registered for.  Rich will be running it alone.  I did get further today than I have since this whole mess started three or four weeks ago, the ping/twinge didn’t hit until 4.38 miles today as opposed to sidelining me at 3.25 or 3.5 so that was progress of a sort.

After doing a lot of online research and talking to other runners, I believe that what I am dealing with is a simple case of Runner’s Knee.  I have believed that all along.  I continue to believe that.
I have friends – wonderful, loving, concerned friends – who are calling for me to see an Orthopedic doctor.  And I will.  As soon as I have exhausted every other avenue.
I have an appointment with my chiropractor on Wednesday and at that time he’s going to take a look at the knee, give me an adjustment, recommend some exercises, and we will give my body time to heal itself.  I do have a very good chiropractor who will refer me to an ortho doc if he sees any reason to believe I’ve done damage that needs more than time and rest to resolve itself.
I won’t be running.
At most I’ll do a couple miles on an elliptical machine but only when I am able to do normal daily activities, like oh, say, walking without pain.  And yoga.  There will be yoga.  But neither of those things until after I see Dr. Jeff on Wednesday.

Between now and then it’s Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
Until I can get a good knee brace the compression is taking the form of an Ace Bandage.  Which gets the job done.

Since I a most likely looking at a good month off of running I’m going to have to be extra diligent with my diet to keep from putting weight back on.  And hey, I’d been asked to write more about that aspect of things anyway.  So to keep this blog on everybody’s radar I’ll be doing that.

And I’ll be sure to let you know if/when I find The Zone in Yoga.

Happy Side Effects and Learning Curves

When I started running last July I weighed somewhere around 176 pounds.
I weighed myself yesterday morning and I am at 161.5.
That’s roughly 15 pounds in 29 weeks.
1/2 pound per week.
The ‘slow and steady’ kind that guarantees permanent results.
Which is a good thing.
But weight loss wasn’t why I started running.
Pretty ironic for a woman who’s been “on a diet” since 1979 (funny, that’s about a year after I last ran voluntarily).
For the record: I am 5′ 4″. 

No, I started running, as stated on my About page here, for a couple different reasons.
Yes, there was that “my husband was a runner and I think he misses it ” thing.
But more than that was the whole
faux Nike ad from What Women Want.  I wanted to feel that way when and from running. I wanted that love affair with “The Road”.  And slowly but surely, that has become more than just a tear-jerking scene in a Helen Hunt movie for me. I have come to love “The Road” and love that unconditional acceptance from “The Road” no matter how long it’s been since the last time I met with it/her.

And along with that has come what I call the Happy Side Effect of weight loss!

Ahhh weight loss. Let’s talk about that for a moment, shall we?

This time last year I was edging dangerously close to hitting the 200 pound mark for the second time in my life, and neither of those resulted in a bouncing baby anybody.
My blood pressure had been ‘borderline high’ (130/80) for a good four years, my cholesterol numbers have stayed below 300, but the ‘good’ cholesterol was a little on the low side and the ‘bad’ cholesterol was a little on the high side. (My personal jury is still out on that good/bad cholesterol thing, but I err on the side of caution and take the doctor’s word for it.)
I got winded walking up a flight of more than five stairs; my ankles, knees, hips, and lower back hurt far more often than there was ever any reason for them to. I wasn’t in “bad” health, nothing life-limiting, but still not as good as it could have been.
I was, in short, The Average, Low-End-of-Obesity, Out-of-Shape, American.

Fast-forward to today.
Yes, I’m losing weight.
And for the first time in thirty-four years I don’t have a Goal Weight.
That amazing, amorphously specific, all-consuming, unattainabe Number.
Oh don’t get me wrong, I thought I had one.
Wanna know what it was?
One Hundred Thirty-Five Pounds.
I am, as previously stated, 5’4″ tall and depending on which “Ideal Weight Chart” you choose to believe in my “Healthy Weight” is anywhere between 105 and 150 pounds. And I have made the trip from one end to the other of that spectrum – including a lot of swings way off that higher end – numerous times.

The truth is that I have no clue what a healthy weight is for me.
Not a truly healthy one.
And certainly not a healthy, slender one.

I know how to get skinny.
I have “attained” that particular “goal” by: starving myself; abusing diet pills (the old-school, early 80s, over-the-counter kind); abusing laxatives (that’s a hard one to put in writing); by fad-dieting (name one since 1979 and I’ve probably at least played at it); and by calorie restriction combined with over-exercise.

I know how to work-my-butt-off-out then go home and sabotage my own efforts with not just what I shoved in my face but how much of it I shoved in there.

I know how to over eat healthy.
It doesn’t matter how whole the grains are, how lean the meat is, how fresh the vegetables are, or how high the fiber is if you eat two or three times as much of something as is necessary or healthy.

What I don’t know is this: I have absolutely no idea what a healthy weight is on my body with the combination of eating a reasonable, healthy diet and consistently exercising.
None.
I don’t know if “That Number” is 135 pounds, 145 pounds, or 125 pounds.

I have never known my body in a truly balanced, healthy state.
Okay, that’s not true.
When I was eight, nine, ten years old I knew my body in that state.
Because when I was about eight years old my mother went through what my family called her “Health Food Kick”. She started reading Adelle Davis’ books and eliminated all processed food from our diet. And at that age I was playing outside – physically active – more hours of the day than I was sitting in front of a television. In school we had actual Physical Education Class, and Recess. You remember Recess don’t you? (And not the adorably quirky Disney Cartoon.)

The only other time in my life that I was intentionally, all-around healthy was when I was pregnant with my son.
I was diligent about what I ate. I was conscious of sodium consumption because I was determined that I was not going to develop edema which my Ob/Gyn was nearly obsessive about. Having suffered two previous miscarriages I was (as we Southerners are wont to say) dead-set and by-god determined to bring a healthy child into the world so I ate healthy like it was my job.
I wasn’t “working out” per se, but I was in college which had me moving from class to class in different buildings, and my workstudy job entailed giving campus tours which was a lot of walking!

But past that I honestly have no clue what my body being nourished and moved and functioning as a truly healthy, living entity looks or feels like. This is the Learning Curve from this post’s title. Learning what exactly a truly healthy body feels – and yes looks – like for me.
What is its size?
What is its shape?
What does it feel like?
And yeah, a little bit of me wants to learn what That Healthy – Truly Healthy – Number is.

What I do know is this: My body – given a healthy diet and consistent exercise – will let me know what its healthy weight is.

I am that incredible combination of excited and terrified to find out what THAT number is!