Friday, October 05, 2012
Some people are naturally sympathetic, empathetic, caring, social . . . I'm not sure what adjectives I'm looking for here. The kind of person I'm thinking of has lots of friends, and their friends are comfortable sharing important parts of their personal lives.
I'm not that kind of person. I'm an introvert, and it shows to other people. I have to work at being supportive of other people. Folks that I don't know very well just don't walk up to me and tel me their problems. Usually.
Today I chance-met a fellow employee in the hallway. She is someone I've worked with a little. We respect each other professionally, but have no personal social life in common. Probably the deepest non-work conversation we've had was when she noticed I'd lost weight and asked how, and I pointed her at SparkPeople. I forgot to tell her my user name, and I don't know what hers is.
Today she just blurted out that she has diabetes. She doesn't look like the type to get diabetes, but you know there isn't a specific look. She has lost some weight, her doctor wants her to lose more. She has been terribly out of shape, to the point where she couldn't walk up a flight of stairs without breathing heavily; she's better now.
And she's totally scared of the diabetes. Doesn't know what to do. For whatever reason, she saw my loss of weight as an indication that I could tell her something about what to do. So I did my best. Reassured her that diabetes can be managed. That she can learn to do what she needs to do, and it will just become part of her.
I told her about changing your lifestyle to be healthier, and how it can't be done all at once. I told her about eating more fresh produce, and how learning to do that was a gradual process for me. And I told her not to be overwhelmed with all the changes she should make, just pick one that is possible and do that one. Then when that has been accomplished, pick another one. And so on.
And yes, I remembered to warn her that I don't know very much specifically about diabetes. I tried to make my pep talk more about motivation, drawing heavily on things I've learned on SparkPeople.
Out of the blue, she wanted a hug. (People don't look to me for hugs. It. Just. Doesn't. Happen.) Said she'd be back to talk to me more later. She wasn't back today, and might not be; but I won't be surprised if she is.
So this evening, I'm stopping and wondering. What is it that made me someone to turn to? Did I say enough of the right things, and say them in the right way to help her? How would I cope if *I* were the one getting a diagnosis of diabetes?
It's episodes like this that take my mind off my small problems like rehabbing an injured foot. Worse things can happen in life than have happened to me, and today I got a glimpse at one of them.
Tomorrow I'll go out and do more walk/run intervals, working toward being able to run a 10K on Thanksgiving Day. I'll likely spend most of the day concerned with the issues of living my own life. But tonight, I stop and wonder what it would be like to live with someone else's problems instead of my own.
And I wonder, what did she see in me that I don't see in myself, that she would turn to me for support?
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
Took my planned two days off running. The bad foot felt as good as it has since the first injury, but I didn't run anyway. The schedule calls for Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday, and running on Monday would mess up the rest of the week. So I waited to do my intervals at noon on Tuesday.
Tuesday noon saw cloudy skies, 62°F (17°C) temperature, and precipitation at the border between mist and drizzle. I set out to increase my running intervals, planning 10 cycles of walk 1 minute, run 2 minutes. I'd thought about more distance, and added back in the third small hill. This resulted in chopping a small amount off the route near the end, but it worked out well. Got through my 10 cycles of walk/run, then walked home for a total distance of 4.00 miles (couldn't have planned that!) in 32:47, for an average pace of 8:12 per mile.
By the time I got done, the drizzle had transitioned into a light rain. I gave thanks that this was a walk/run day, as I like running in this weather and don't particularly care for walking in it. It turns out that doing intervals was a lot more like running than like walking; it was a pleasant exercise session.
Walking around the house barefoot afterwards, the bad foot reminded me that it still isn't 100%; but it wasn't a particularly loud complaint. Put on some decent stability running shoes, and the foot quieted right down.
Note to self: Don't get ahead of plan. Take two more sessions of walk 1, run 2 for 10 cycles before increasing the load, and pay attention to that foot. Just because it's quiet right now doesn't mean it's ready to go out and run 25 mintues nonstop.
I'm half way to bagging the 5K on October 28. I think I *could* be ready by then, but I'm doing really well with patience right now. Adding an organized race in four weeks would make Mr. Testosterone's voice louder and more urgent, and I think I need to avoid that.
Patience has worked well so far. I need to keep at it.
Edited to add: After I wrote the blog, I went to bell choir practice. Because of various scheduling details, the director wanted to make the next performance Sunday, October 28 instead of October 21. Could I be there, since I'd said I was iffy? That made the decision. No 5K on October 28, because it conflicts with church and the handbells are playing.
Every once in a while, I get a sign telling me which way to go.
Saturday, September 29, 2012
The rehab continues. This week I managed to get in 3 days of walk/run intervals without having to modify my schedule or downgrade my time and distance.
Did my walk/run intervals this morning, sticking to 12 cycles of walk 1, run 1:30. It was cloudy and 46° F, chilly for walking but pretty good running weather. Same route as last time, 3.82 miles in 32 minutes even today for an average pace of 8:24 per mile. I had to slap Mr. Testosterone on the side of the head and remind him that I can't get faster every time, sometimes it's okay to go a bit slower.
The bad foot had only a couple of twinges during the run, and didn't complain about being barefoot afterward. There were some signs of fatigue in that foot later this evening, but not terribly serious. I'm on track to nudge it up a small notch next Tuesday. I'm thinking 10 cycles of walk 1, run 2 at that point. If things go well, hold it at that level for three sessions next week.
I'm beginning to believe I might be able to run a 5K all the way by the end of October. But I'm not confident enough of that to actually pay an entry fee for October 28.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
For a day off, it's been pretty busy.
The major event was moving my daughter from one apartment to another. Got that done pretty easily, thanks to daughter organizing her third move well and recruiting sufficient labor to make it quick and easy.
That resulted in my having time in the afternoon for walk/run intervals. As planned, I held the workout steady: 12 cycles of walk 1, run 1:30 followed by walking the rest of the way home. Took the same route as Tuesday, covering 3.82 miles in 31:42 for an average pace of 8:18 per mile.
Got home, and the next door neighbor was mowing the lawn. That made it obvious that my lawn needed to be mowed. Started mowing at 5PM, and had enough daylight to get it done but not much to spare. This will be the last mowing of the month. I'd be happy to have this be the last mowing of the season, but that's probably too much to expect.
Betweem moving, walk/run intervals, and mowing, my pedometer is over 14K steps for the day. That's high for me currently, and the bad foot is mentioning that fact periodically. But the foot wasn't complaining before I mowed, so I hope it will be fine after a good night's sleep.
Assuming the foot feels as good on Saturday as it did today, that will be the third day of the same 12 cycles of walk 1, run 1:30. Yes, I want to add more running. But I'm sticking to a full week of holding this steady. If everything still feels good after doing the same workout on Saturday, I'll try doing 10 cycles of walk 1, run 2 next week. That would be 20 minutes running time, as opposed to the 18 minutes I'm doing this week. I *think* that's probably pushing things along slowly enough.
But I shouldn't get ahead of myself. First, deal with tomorrow as a non-running day. Then, evaluate whether I can do intervals on Saturday. If I need to rest an extra day on Saturday, the interval routine will need to stay constant next week.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Lately my fitness thoughts have been focused on rehabbing the bad foot so I can get back to running. I've blogged several reminders to myself to be patient about this. Today I'm thinking forward to when I can run consistently. What will maintenance of fitness look like?
Most of the easily located material on fitness talks about *improving* your fitness level. Get stronger, become more flexible, run faster, improve your endurance, lower your blood pressure and resting heart rate. For the average American, these are worthy objectives.
But it occurs to me that improving fitness is a bit like losing weight. If I'm successful, there will come a time when I'm as fit as I need to be. At that point, the challenge will be to maintain my fitness level. Aside from the fact that I can't run regularly right now, I'm pretty close to that point.
The classic response to a statement that I want to maintain fitness would be to point out that there's always something that can be worked on. To a certain extent, that's true. But there are limits to what is practical. At some point, the risk of injury outweighs the gain of shaving a few seconds off my running pace or deadlifting or benching 10 more pounds. When I get to that point, I'd like to maintain my strength, flexibility, speed, endurance, blood pressure, and resting heart rate without necessarily becoming stronger, more flexible, etc.
I want that magical exercise regimen that keeps what I have without injuring myself striving for more. Unfortunately, I don't know what that regimen is, or even if it really exists. I suspect that this is something like a maintenance diet; what works for one person probably won't be the same thing that works for another person.
One of my personal challenges for maintaining fitness is the voice of Mr. Testosterone telling me I'm not doing well enough. I caught him at it today. I was feeling like I wasn't doing much, as this is a non-running day. But when I look back at what I have done, I see three sets of 12 neutral grip pullups this morning that went very smoothly. The pushups were easier than a couple weeks ago, too. And I got in my TGUs and snatches while the steel cut oats cooked this morning, which hasn't been a given for me lately.
Maybe this is what fitness maintenance looks like. Do something every day, even if I'm not terribly motivated. Let the amount be steady for a while, and then switch to other exercises (e.g., DB renegade rows trading off with KB TGU/windmill combos) instead of straining for more and more weight. And live with the doubts about whether I'm working hard enough.
I don't know. I can push the hard thinking about maintenance to the back of my mind as long as I'm trying to improve. And right now I'm certainly trying to improve my running by gently rehabbing that bad foot. But eventually, when I can run regularly, I may face this same issue: Where do I stop pushing for more, and what does maintenance look and feel like when I get there?
Some people live with fitness cycles. They train for an event, be it a marathon or a triathlon or a 100 mile bike ride or a weight lifting competition. This produces a cycle of trying to get the fitness to peak for the event. Intellectually, I understand this. Done accurately, fitness reaches an attainable but not sustainable level for the event. Then there is post-event rest and recovery, before training for the next event.
I'm not opposed to participating in events, but I don't think that training for the next big event is going to be an ongoing way of life for me. I might end up putting a half marathon or even full marathon on my bucket list and training up to it, but I can't see myself in an ongoing event training cycle as a way of life.
So I think about what maintenance of fitness will look like if I'm not training for a big event, I can do everything physical I want to do, and I need to keep what I've got without risking injury trying to become higher/stronger/faster. It's a puzzle, and I hope I can stumble my way into a solution when I need one.
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