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SHIRAZSOLLY's Recent Blog Entries

Perimenopause, Nausea and Running

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I assume I am not fighting any bug or major illness other than perimenopause. I am the right age - almost 48 - and have just passed a gargantuan pre-nursing/med school physical, including a 9-vial complete blood test. My kidneys are showing some signs of "use", but they're pretty good considering my particular gene pool. My Mom's were already well below 40% function by my age; at least one of her sisters was at 50%. So I am happy at 60%. I just need to pee too frequently for convenience and I have to curb my sodium and chloride intake.

Everything else had improved tremendously since my last visit! Blood pressure, pulse (I've had tachycardia since a child), lungs (asthma since childhood), blood lipids all better than in quite a few years. My weight had dropped 9 pounds. I passed a stress test.

But here I am, dogged by nausea during many cardio-respiratory activities. And serious overheating. It is 57 degrees outside. I didn't run outside this morning. Maybe I should have. I opened up the home gym windows and door and ran on the treadmill. I became nauseated and overheated within a few minutes and had to racewalk most of the way. Fortunately, I do have racewalking to fall back on. I'm pretty fast for short distances, but I can't maintain it because I always thought it looked too stupid to practice it seriously. I think I'll try harder to develop skill in it, too, because it's a good backup. I can racewalk a 13.13 pace if I concentrate hard (on a treadmill for ten minutes or around a highschool track TWICE). That's a heck of a lot faster than I can walk.

And it's not just that - I want to SLEEP all the time. And every time I open up my math book I feel like crying and sometimes I do. I'm just a C math student trying to get an A. Normally I dig in my heels and just get it done. Lately I can't seem to. And I'm dragging through my job. I even got a pregnancy test to make sure that wasn't the problem (it isn't, thank G-d).

There are two things I want to do right now: walk my dog and have a good run. Believe it or not, the nausea is disappointing me, and the overheating is making it difficult, but neither are deterring me. I've had hot flashes for several years already. I can't say about the nausea because I haven't really exercised hard until lately. I just hope that this won't last too much longer.
More on nausea as a symptom:

My husband, by the way, is concerned, but supportive. He says if I really want to run, I should run. He thinks 47 is a little young to be having such serious hot flashes, but he also knows I'm not taking big risks. I WALK the dog alone. Or I run alone and he and the dogs leave the house thirty minutes later to pick me up. Or I work on the treadmill at the gym or at home. At this point, that is all we think is safe. I've been checking my blood pressure afterwards and it's never been high. I'm just over hot and over-nauseated.

I am hoping for a good end to this soon - I mapped out that run into Oakland in my last blog. A 15 mile run (round trip) is way too long for me now, but it's a pretty one and I'd like to do it all by myself, from the end of my gravel driveway all the way through town and back, without any worries.

** ** ** ** **

Edited to add other info: I DO find drinking coffee - one mug every morning - greatly exaggerates the need to pee. Maybe I should give that up in case I'm somewhat dehydrated, as Owl20 suggests, in the AM when I exercise. I don't drink alcohol except a glass of wine or beer SOME evenings - not most of them. I don't smoke.

Other than that, I can experiment with calories. I was losing weight when I was eating about 1400 calories and not exercising very hard, but then I plateaued. Then I increased my exercise, and was miserable so I increased my calories, also. I was at 1700 for awhile and felt pretty good, but my weight didn't budge. After reducing my calories back to 1400-ish a week ago, I seem to have developed worse symptoms. I think I will bump up to about 1600 and see what happens.

Another thought: I used to hike and garden in Virginia with a cold, wet handkerchief around my neck. It's hard to even imagine that on a rainy Oregon morning that's below 60 degrees, but considering how fast I get hot, I can have it with me, maybe in a ziploc bag.

Maybe if I do all that, I will just cry over math.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LISAINMS 5/23/2013 11:39AM

    I don't know your health history or your running experience. Do you wear a heart rate monitor when you run? Do you overheat only on the treadmill or also outside? And does the air temperature affect your overheating? I overheat on the treadmill unless I have a big fan. Outside there isn't much I can do about the temperature except wear less clothing and take walk breaks if my heart rate goes too high from the heat. I'm 47 and peri. Hot flashes are no fun!

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IFDEEVARUNS2 5/22/2013 8:43AM

    Don't know what to tell you about perimenopause since I landed full blown into menopause last November (surgically menopausal for 17+ years, but on HRT until November). I'm miserable with hot flashes but no nausea. The one time I got nauseated while running it was the result of heat and increased heart rate. I walked the rest of that run.
I think increasing the calories slightly should help - don't worry about the plateau. Get to a point where you are feeling good and enjoying the activities you choose.

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PHEBESS 5/22/2013 3:13AM

    Ugh, the whole menopause thing sucks. I had such bizarre reactions (like hot flashes from certain antibiotics, or hot flashes about 20 times in a school day) that I finally went on HRT - but a soy-based one, since I'm allergic to horses. Helped a lot. Totally worth going on!

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WILEE323 5/21/2013 2:16PM

    I started having hot flashes and severe mood swings in my early 40's! I was also tired all the time. Dietary tweaks can help tremendously. Exercising does too, so keep it up!

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PASCAL921 5/21/2013 1:59PM

    I think it will pass soon and you'll be back to running. emoticon
On another note, I too cry sometimes when I open my math book. What kind of math are you doing?

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OWL_20 5/21/2013 1:53PM

    From what I've read, peri-menopause can be sneaky. I've never experienced it, having hit menopause via the surgeon's knife, but after I came off the estrogen supplement last October I've had some raging hot flashes (I think they're getting shorter, or less in number, since exercising and cutting out a lot of sweets). The thing that concerns me is the nausea and sleepiness--could it possibly be due to dehydration in addition to your exercise and PM symptoms? I really hope it clears and/or you find out what's wrong. I can tell it's putting a serious crimp in your program. Hang in there, okay?

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Running in Oakland... and upcoming 5k at Umpqua Lighthouse

Monday, May 20, 2013

This morning's run was on the treadmill to save time (hey... I'm already doing 12 minute miles!) but I am itching to take Solly back out to Oakland. The last time we went, he handled all the commotion fairly well, so he may be "toughening up" a little in his personality. He's been a big wussy about cars passing him and dogs barking. He expects me to protect him.

This is neither me, nor my dog, nor my neighborhood, but you get the idea.

We live on a really long, windy road that is cut through a deep valley and has a scary drop to the "creek" (it would be called a river in Virginia, but it is only a couple feet deep in July and August). So I am a little afraid to run on our actual road, even though it is beautiful. Maybe the section with the scary drop will become our "sprint" section of interval training.

If we keep going and turn right, we go through this bridge:

Then we can turn left and head into Oakland. This road is a great one to run on. There are a few bad blind curves, but for Western Oregon, not too bad. Here the valley's wide enough and it's quiet enough so we can hear cars coming. They don't sneak up on us here, unlike on our own road, where the valley and water sounds drown them out. There are no tall hills with big boulders to come crashing out of nowhere. (Did you know Oregon was the state in which you were most likely to be killed by a boulder crashing through your windshield as you were driving? You didn't? Well, now you do.)

There are several sheep and cattle farms. I always critique them as I go by. This one really needs goats to clean up the brush. This one needs to hire a few 20 year olds to haul the metal out before an animal gets hurt. Boy, that one ought to rotate that pasture more often. It is eaten down to the nubs and they'll be lucky if their cattle don't end up wormy. But there are a couple places I am proud of, without knowing their owners. I always give them a mental thumbs up, even if I am just driving by on my way to work. All this farm thinking keeps me busy. I wish I had started running during lambing season! There is NOTHING cuter than frolicking lambs!

I haven't actually made it to town. I'm not that strong yet. If I want to even WALK in the town (I haven't tried running there yet), I have to drive there.

Oakland is a sleepy town with a kindergarten through high school all on one property, although they did finally separate the high school into its own building. But they still share the same buses, which used to steam my daughter, who was accustomed to Virginia's totally separate school system. The town roads are mixed, so I can run on flats if I choose or on hills. Some of the hills are monsters - about the equivalent of a treadmill 10 incline or higher. They're hard to walk up and down so I can't imagine running up and down them. One, a short but extraordinarily steep hill, is on my list for training towards the end of this month. I am writing it down so I don't chicken out.

The 5k I just signed up for is one I don't know a whole lot about. It may be mostly on pavement and partially on sand. If the latter's the case, I have some specialty training for that, because it is in the Dunes! This is the lighthouse that is at the end. Or maybe the start? It is somewhere, I suppose, because the race is named after it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OWL_20 5/20/2013 4:23PM

    Truly beautiful country you have there, but the hill: emoticon, yikes! Sound slike you're doing really great on training, keep up the good work!

Love the pic with the dog on the man--how does that work? hehe

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FELINEBETTER 5/20/2013 4:14PM

    Look at you! Never mind, Solly! You're certainly growing in the bravery department! Wow! Enjoy it to the hilt, but DO be careful. It sounds like some of the Sparksters have met that path before!

Keep going though. You're amazing! emoticon

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MIRAGE727 5/20/2013 2:45PM

    Thanks for sharing! It's always good to run a course with scenery! Enjoy!

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LINDAKAY228 5/20/2013 12:28PM

    Looks so beautiful there! Looks like a place I'd enjoy. Thanks for sharing it with us. Good luck on the hill run you have planned later this month!

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    I love the travelogue. Keep running safely.

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SHIRAZSOLLY 5/20/2013 12:01PM

    Ah... saw the don't run down it advice. I was taught by an old American Indian to turn my shoes sideways and walk down. The sideways is to not fall. I wouldn't dare run down it. I can trip on a robin feather. I can turn my heel sideways on a piddly crack in the sidewalk no one else can see. I haven't hurt anything else yet, but I am very willing to take this advice!

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 5/20/2013 11:52AM

    I will be in Newport, Oregon for a marathon on 1 June. I ran this race last year and we liked the town/area so much we are going a day earlier this year to have more time to sightsee (without killing my legs).

About that very, very steep hill. Please, please, please don't run up it any time soon (except maybe for 2 or 3 eight second hill sprints, yes, 8 seconds) and absolutely don't run down it, unless you really do want to have a short running career.

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BROOKLYN_BORN 5/20/2013 11:49AM

    You have beautiful country to run through and you certainly know a lot about farming. So you used to live in VA? We spent 25 yrs in Fairfax County and now are retired in the southern part of the state (Smith Mt Lake).

Good luck in your 5K.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 5/20/2013 11:31AM

    Great photos! And what a pretty place to run. I love the inner dialogue, too.
The few times I ran at my mother's house in Western NY, I spent time talking to the horses and cows that I saw along the way. I also recall a hill so steep I couldn't drive up it - I did manage to walk up.

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Middle-aged women and epiphanies about running

Saturday, May 18, 2013

My husband is still somewhat in shock, I think. He just came home from his conference and found out that I signed up for a second 5k race. He is a lifelong athlete but has never seen me do much exercise that wasn't USEFUL, like digging and weeding by hand. Me, running just to run? He can't wrap his mind around it, I think.

I told him that I read in a New York Times article that older women actually ran faster times than younger women, which is the opposite of what happens with men. Middle aged women gave a few reasons, one of which is EXACTLY the reason I am on fire myself: they suddenly find out they are capable of doing something they never thought they could.

When I went to school, even the healthy girls had to be on girl's teams, playing girl's sports - like field hockey in those stupid plaid skirts. There were huge differences in the amount of time and effort put into coaching and promoting the different sex teams, of course.

And if you were unhealthy like me, you didn't even go to a real gym class. MY gym class was held inside a gym, but we stuffed envelopes for the school or were just told to do whatever we felt like because it was a free hour. I was told to puff on my inhalant, watch my heart... oh no, don't get too hot!

Boys, on the other hand, are expected to be athletic. If their parents carefully raise their children, so both sexes have access to both "genders" of toys, their daycare teachers and friends will undo this soon enough. My son was sure he would be an athlete before he was three years old. He is still physically active and has never been heavy. Why should he ever have any kind of epiphany that he could run? No one ever insinuated he couldn't. My daughter, on the other hand, was sure she was a brainiac bookworm by the age of three (yes, she was reading). She is still heavy today, 18 years later.

So here I am, 47 years old, trying new things because I am chubby and curious and because I am tired of thinking I can't do this and that. When I finally found something I could do, it really was an epiphany. I can do this. And I am going to be good, whatever that "good" happens to be for someone with my health. I fully intend to test myself a bit at a time, so I stretch my boundaries. Considering I ran zero minute miles before (because I never started!), every race I complete will be a good race. But I want to know what I can do.

The article I referenced:

And this blog is just a lot of fun:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PASCAL921 5/21/2013 2:05PM

    I know just how you feel. emoticon

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ELORACGO 5/20/2013 4:14PM

    Your blog ran a bell in my head.

Back in the days, to get in the police academy, I had to be able to run a certain distance in a specified time and I was totally incapable of running. After a block, I would swear I was going to die, so I just gave up.

Six years ago, my daughter then 15, wanted to do the couch to 5k programm and asked me to run with her. I was reluctant, remembering my running past...

She never finished the programm and I never stopped running since. I'm slow though, but I run. I started with 5ks, saying they are long enough for me and I'm now running 10ks and the half marathon is nagging me now...

All this to say that I too, had an epiphany about how I now can run and I'm not stopping ever.

Thanks for the blog!

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KONRAD695 5/20/2013 2:46PM

    Congrats on the new running career!! I'll try and keep up if I see you. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LINDAKAY228 5/20/2013 12:34PM

    I'm 58, and didn't start attempting to run until age 55. I'm still not fast and not always consistent with it but still like to do some 5k's for fun. My real passion is hiking. I'd always loved the forest around where we live, but was not in shape for hiking. Now I'm out every chance I get, climbing up and down hills and feeling the serenity out there. I was a fat kid in school. I did have real gym class, although no sports and there wasn't even much if anything offered at the time if I had wanted it. I do remember wanting to take auto mechanics in high school and being told that girls couldn't because there wasn't a lock on the bathroom door in that building! That would have been an easy fix but that was the early 70's when I was in high school. But getting back to gym class, I was the slowest, worst at everything I hated it. For anything we did in teams in gym class I was the team someone got stuck with after everyone else was chosen. But anyway, we are finding that there are so many things we can do if we just start believing and trying them! You rock!

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 5/20/2013 11:44AM

    At 63, I was in school long before Title IX. There were no, zip, nada sports open to girls. Period. We were cheerleaders, in the Pep Squad or in the Band.

On the plus side, when I did start running at 59, it was on legs absolutely undamaged by foolishness in my youth.

Comment edited on: 5/20/2013 11:45:09 AM

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CELIAMINER 5/20/2013 9:17AM

    Brooklyn_Born pointed me to your blog. Good for you!

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PMRUNNER 5/20/2013 7:49AM

    Good for you! Keep it up!

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MJREIMERS 5/20/2013 7:24AM

    emoticon I am right there with you! I started running "seriously" this year at the age of 45. I've run a 5K in the past, but I can't wait to run one now that I'm actually "in shape."

I agree wholeheartedly with your blog! I just wish my husband would do any kind of exercise. Luckily all my kids are active!

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ONEKIDSMOM 5/20/2013 7:17AM

    Absolutely! I "discovered" I could run in my late 30's, but then regained and have had to "rediscover" my inner athlete as I was moving through my 50's. Now at 60... I'm establishing PR's for the races I do more than once, time after time...

I always wanted to be a little old lady, because as I child I perceived them as powerful. Now I know why! We ALLOW ourselves to have that power at some point!

Spark on! emoticon

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JLITT62 5/20/2013 6:55AM

    I see we have a lot in common!

Well, I'm not a fast runner. Or a natural runner. I like to say I'm slow but I finish!

I didn't run my first race til I was 48, btw.

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SEABREEZE65 5/20/2013 5:18AM

    Good for you signing up for another 5K.
Good blog!
I am going to check out the links that you posted.
Have a fantastic day!

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DARLY55 5/19/2013 7:23PM

    Awesome blog. Inspiring!

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BOILHAM 5/19/2013 7:13PM

    Glad to see you are enjoying your new sport. Human beings were built to run, so everyone in normal health can do this. That so few choose to take advantage of and enjoy this natural ability is sad. Good luck to you!

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PHEBESS 5/19/2013 1:26AM

    Way to go! Let us know how the run goes!

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FELINEBETTER 5/18/2013 2:09PM

    I bet your husband, in his surprise is very proud of you! You are truly an inspiration and that really is the greatest beauty of Sparkville! There are so many people doing so many things that they or anyone else may have felt impossible before. Although running is not my thing, it's beautiful to see that you've got the bug now! Way to go, Girl! emoticon

By the way -- you made a very good point about societal/educational perspectives on women athletes. There were some women who were encouraged when I was growing up, but ONLY those who showed a great aptitude for it. Anyone else was pretty much a write-off. And the viewpoint for the boys/men was very different.

So hold your head high Girl -- as you run your races and cross the finish line! emoticon

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OWL_20 5/18/2013 6:59AM

    I'm a few years older than you but was lucky enough to have been involved in sports when I was a kid, mostly because I idolized Olympians like Frank Shorter and Pre, Billy Miller and had parents who supported practice times, etc. But I hear what you're saying, I take a look around SP and marvel at the women who are out there running for the very first time and loving it. It's an awesome thing! Maybe what is awesome-r to me is the fact that these folks are believing in their potential and making it happen despite whatever gets in their way (weight, life, stress, etc)--like you! It motivates me to get out there more to see what I can do.

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BROOKLYN_BORN 5/18/2013 6:27AM

    Right on, sister! My daughters who are a few years younger than you, are much faster now than they were 20 years ago. Both have Boston qualifying times. DD#2 who was told in HS to stick to swimming because of knee pain when running distance, now has a 3:08 marathon after 2 kids. The problem back in HS? The wrong shoes for her high arches. Once she got fitted properly, no more pain.

Good luck to you and keep on runnin'

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Measurements (of a Juice Apple)

Friday, May 17, 2013

I'm an apple, I suppose, but with lumps. What we call a juice apple since we can't sell it for eating fresh. Or a mesomorph with lumps. Big shoulders, narrow hips, all my weight in my waist/belly. Naturally have blocky thighs, which are resistant to change, but I am definitely not a pear. My body is bigger front to back from waist down than side to side.

I have been measuring my "hips" at my saddlebags. My actual thighs started at 25" and are still 24-25" depending on how hard I pull the measuring tape three months after I started.
( If I pull hard enough to get 23.5", I might break the tape!! emoticon )

But my saddlebags have made STUNNING improvement. They started off as blobs attached to the sides of my upper thighs - making it clear how they got their name. I was horribly embarrassed of them. Measuring across both legs closed at saddlebag level, I was 44" in mid-February. Measuring today, I am 39". Yaaay!

My waist is down 1.25". My belly is less lumpy. It still has the baggy look of someone who gained and lost weight twice in the last few years, but the lumps are reduced. I'll use the excuse that I don't want my next boss to find me here as the reason I won't take pictures of me in a string bikini, though. Even after all my hard work I become a luscious fresh morsel.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PHEBESS 5/18/2013 1:06AM

    Isn't it great when you see these changes?

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 5/17/2013 5:33PM

    I am a big apple with the stunning John Tenniel TweedleDum and TweedleDee carriage. I've got their belly and rounded face and then I have the butt and thighs and lower legs of a ten year old boy. Quite the worse permutation, I fear. My only recourse is to avoid wearing beanies.

That's great that you lost inches. emoticon

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FELINEBETTER 5/17/2013 5:25PM

    Good for you, Girl! It's important not to leave out those NSV's! You're not getting older -- you're getting better! lol And don't you forget it! emoticon

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BARCLE 5/17/2013 3:36PM

    emoticon emoticon

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IFDEEVARUNS2 5/17/2013 2:28PM

    Smaller measurements? Totally awesome! A great NSV - (non scale victory.)

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OWL_20 5/17/2013 1:35PM

    Yay for the smaller measurements! I think they're called NSVs? (not sure of the term) I jus measured the other day, hesitantly, too, lol. You have had a lot of change in your body composition, though--congrats!

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A quickie - nerve damage

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I just said I was going to get ready for work, so I'll make this quick.

I got my husband to agree before he left town to take pictures when he returned for the BLC if I get selected for a team. One of them will be a picture of me trying to flex my left arm! It's not horrific... don't picture a tiny little shriveled thing. But I hadn't even realized until I signed up for the BLC that I couldn't flex it anymore. I did realize it was soft and weak in comparison to my right arm.

I have cervical disc degeneration, so I have significant pain on the left side of my neck down to my fingers. I've been babying that arm for years. I guess I didn't realize how much. So for the last several weeks, since I joined the BLC mailing list, I've also been doing 160 wall push ups every single day. Wide arms, deep lean, straight back, with a clap in between every single one. The clap isn't too look impressive - it's to get the weight off my wrists and to give me something to count off of.

I feel kind of proud of myself for this. My friend Pascal said the other day that working out gives you bragging rights. Yes. It does. So I have a weak arm. Yes, I look lopsided in exercise classes - and quit every class I ever started because of this arm, because I can't move in a coordinated manner. I can't dance. I can't lift two dumbbells at the same time. But I can do 160 wall pushups. And I am proud of it. Hell yes, I am.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    You are magnificent. Strut and crow over your new discovery and choice to keep going. You make me wonder whether I can do something about my icky calf muscle, also due to nerve damage on one side.

emoticon emoticon
Alas, no crowing roosters at SP, but it's somewhere at the intersection of these two.

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MIRAGE727 5/17/2013 8:27PM

    I can relate to the nerve damage. Stay strong and work through it like you have. We can do this with lots of positive waves!

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OWL_20 5/17/2013 8:25AM

    Aw yeeeeahhh! 160 wall push-ups is totally worthy of bragging rights! Is the arm something that can be rehabbed back into shape? Kudos to you for doing the workout!

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GAYLLYNNE 5/17/2013 7:05AM

    Awesome!! You are doing so great. I love how strong you can get with just a little work! Keep going!

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PHEBESS 5/17/2013 2:32AM

    Keep working at it, you'll build muscle and be more balanced soon!

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FELINEBETTER 5/16/2013 3:40PM

    You Go Girl! You said it yourself - you've been babying that arm. If you're able to do 160 wall push-ups - it will gather strength in no time! emoticon

And frankly, if I were able to do 160 wall push-ups, I'd be flexing in that picture naked! Lol lol

emoticon emoticon

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 5/16/2013 2:54PM

    That is something you can be very proud of! And I am very sorry to learn about your chronic pain. Your tenacity in spite of the pain is inspiring and admirable.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 5/16/2013 2:30PM

    Love those wall pushups! The only kind I can do because of shoulder impingement. Be proud!

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ROSCOEKR 5/16/2013 1:18PM

    As well you should be.

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