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Five Fat Turkeys Are We

Monday, October 11, 2010

Five fat turkeys are we
We slept all night in a tree
When the cook came around
We couldn't be found
That's why we're here you see!

Yesterday while golfing in glorious October sunshine, I saw five fat wild turkeys sauntering across the second fairway.

In my part of Canada, wild turkeys were extinct for many years. There was an attempt to re-establish wild turkeys by hatching turkey eggs, then raising and releasing into the wilds: but that initiative was spectacularly unsuccessful. The baby turkeys imprinted on their turkey handlers and were sitting ducks (to mix the metaphor) when released into wilderness areas. Much appreciated by coyotes and wolves but not lasting long enough to reproduce.

Then evolved the brilliant idea of capturing whole flocks of mature wild turkeys from the Carolinas, importing them (no word with respect to the security checks at the border, presumably they were not required to pluck themselves) and releasing the whole flock into forested areas.

Within a few short years, wild turkeys have re-established themselves prolifically, extending north well into Canadian Shield areas where apparently wild turkeys never roamed before. There is now a spring and fall turkey hunt for licensed turkey hunters. But so wily are the wild turkeys that only one in three hunters ever succeeds in bagging a bird. Apparently the wild turkeys know both when turkey season opens and what areas are off-limits to turkey hunters: such as my golf course. Presumably the wild turkeys move in a timely manner from non-protected areas and into the save haven.

So these magnificant birds showed no fear at all. Their bronze feathers gleamed, the male turkey was in full display, and his four hens strode confidently in his wake.

The turkey roasting now in my oven for Canadian Thanksgiving dinner is of course of the domesticated varity: and of the pre-stuffed, frozen solid variant (in keeping with my "pre-fab less-flab" approach to all feast days: as blogged about previously , the less time I spend in the kitchen, the less I'm likely to overeat. Although I did take a little trouble over my butternut squash soup this year!) Domesticated turkeys have had all the brains bred out of them --replaced by bread cubes and seasoning, perhaps -- such that they are by reputation at least too stupid even to come in out of the rain . . . in comparison, those wily wild turkeys are positively Einsteins! Culture can be highly over-rated, don't you know?

Dancing Gardener saw wild turkeys on her bike ride Saturday -- and says she is thankful for all her Canadian friends! (We thank her, and in turn are nominating her an honourary Canadian, eh?)

I am thankful for my American friends including of course Dancing Gardener -- and for all my SparkPeople friends around the world -- and for the glory of wild turkeys under brilliant maples.

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PHEBESS 10/12/2010 8:45PM

    Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!! And it's always a joy to read your blogs!

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TRYINGHARD1948 10/12/2010 1:57AM

    So enjoyed the blog and I'm sure you will enjoy your thanksgiving. emoticon

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TKADEEPBREATH 10/11/2010 5:56PM

    Oh, I love this wild turkey blog!! What an amazing sight that must be. I don't know that I have ever seen one. I don't think they walk around here too much . . hahaha.

But please, I need to have your recipe for butternut squash soup. I've been wanting to try that even if it takes a while. I love butternut squash . . . at your convenience of course.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I like the less time in the kitchen = less food eaten tactic. Works for me too.

Talk to you soon, Jan emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WALKINGANNIE 10/11/2010 1:29PM

    Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

I love the idea of turkeys coming through cross-border security checks!

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    Awwww..... mentioning me in your blog about wild turkeys & Thanksgiving. I am sporting a such a blush that it may not subside for hours.

Our turkey population was re-instated about 15 years ago as well. Once they took hold there is no turning back. They are EVERYWHERE!!!! It is to the point that you are just as likely to total your car hitting a turkey as you are totaling your car hitting a dear. Turkeys are both bigger and more solid than you would actually think.

I do want to be an honorary Canadian... I do, I do, I do. I swear to live up to my honorary status on this day of Canadian Gratitude. Today, I will eat, drink and speak Canadian, eh.

Have a lovely feast and a well-deserved nap right afterwards!

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ZONER25 10/11/2010 9:18AM

    Hunting keeps them wily! Without the predator they would become a different bird.

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Get Out of Jail Free Card

Friday, October 08, 2010

It was an exceptionally beautiful day, sunny, morning glory blue sky, and nothing too too pressing in the calendar at work: so, I gave myself the day off. (I have an occasionally indulgent boss: me.)

Went to the gym first for a thorough cardio workout on the elliptical cross trainer, burned over 400 calories in 31 minutes: and then my upper body weights workout. A non-rushed shower, putting on my comfy blue jeans and a check shirt, visiting with friends I don't usually see at my regular gym time slot: all this was a great start.

Then I took myself for a drive down country roads with great blazing maples arching overhead -- and more woolly bears racing across the road. They were in a hurry: I was not.

Poked around doing a little shopping in a neighbouring small town -- found the replacement camel turtleneck I needed for some of my fall outfits AND on sale. Simple but nice!

And I considered treating myself to a small New York Fries. Until I noticed a lady eating a largest size tub of New York Fries who weighed -- ok, judgmental is not good, I do get that -- so suffice it to say, a fair bit more than I want to weigh.

Treated myself to TWO Paula Red apples instead. And the new Oprah magazine.

Lots of exercise, fresh air, a little retail therapy: and Charlie standing on his hind legs looking out the window to greet me when I got home.

And: a glass of white wine with my chicken barley soup for dinner.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LUNADRAGON 10/18/2010 8:34PM

    Perfect reward!

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KALIGIRL 10/11/2010 12:36PM

    Ben Franklin wanted the turkey as the US national bird - no wonder with their fabulous smarts and golden feathers.
We too have seen the flocks increase.
emoticonfor sharing a wonderful sight.

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TRYINGHARD1948 10/10/2010 7:24PM

    A beautiful Autumnal day, gorgeous! emoticon

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MSSNOWY 10/10/2010 1:20AM

    Nice day. What are the wooly bears saying about the winter this year? Or haven't you asked?

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DBCLARINET 10/9/2010 10:44PM

    My dad found a woolly bear today -- and didn't show it to me! :-( I guess this woolly bear was predicting a mild winter.

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PENNYAN45 10/9/2010 6:17AM

    Sounds like a PERFECT day off! We call them mental health days -- because they're good for the soul.

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WALKINGANNIE 10/9/2010 2:14AM

    Sounds as if you had a fabulous day Ellen. You deserved the 'you time' and I'm sure that you feel better for it.

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DONNACFIT 10/9/2010 12:30AM

    Sounds like a fabulous day!!!

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BRIGHTSPARK7 10/9/2010 12:28AM

    "Lots of exercise, fresh air, a little retail therapy... and Charlie..." A noteworthy day, my friend. Glad your boss (you) gave you the day off. :-)
I love that phrase, 'glory blue sky.' So evocative and joyous.

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Leaf-Peeping Geezerdom: Official Members

Sunday, October 03, 2010

As a teenager and a young adult, I used to laugh at my parents going out to see the brilliant fall leaves, and in particular mocked ungently their ecstatic rhapsodizing on their return. To me this was definite evidence that they were well advanced into old geezer territory.

At least back then this activity had not yet earned the current and most unattractive sobriquet of "leaf-peeping". Which has a bit of a "Peeping "Tom" connotation to me. You just looked at the leaves full on, with nothing furtive about it. Vocalized loudly. Telephoned friends to recommend an especially colourful route so they could go and look too.

But it wasn't just their descriptions of the vistas they'd viewed which I found annoying. They could also remember quite a number of "autumn poems" (they had both been school teachers). And would be unable to resist reciting them in suitably exalted voices:

Oh the scarlet of the maples
Can shake me like the cry
Of bugles going by
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the purple asters
Like smoke upon the hills.

I'd roll my eyes, groan in agony. (But as you can see, I remember them too).

And then they would follow up with fresh torments: cranking up their LPs (vinyl, of course, back in the day) of bird song, replete with sonorous voiceovers. Like this: "Chirp. Chirpchirpchirp. SKARRRREEEEEE". And now the human voice, solemnly, and with excruciatingly precise enunciation : " RU---FUSS TOE - HEE". Or whatever.

Even then they would not be done: there was a test at the end of each LP, just the birdsongs in rapid succession without the voiceovers. Giving my parents their own opportunity to call out the bird identifiers. With enthusiasm. Each trying to be first, so of necessity speaking rapidly. ("No no no no no , that's NOT the olive-backed warbler, that's the yellow-rumped warbler. Just listen").

Really. They did. Triumphantly. So as not to forget, I expect, before the birds returned north again from their fall migrations. And of course I would leave the room. But you could hear those piercing birdcalls all over the house: there was no escape. (And yes: I still remember most of them as well.)

Alrighty then! Guess DH and I have officially entered advanced geezerdom ourselves since the two of us set out quite deliberately to "view the leaves" this afternoon in gorgeous October sunshine. Munched on fall-juicy apples too. And listened for the blue jays and cardinals and the fall warblers. And checked for woolly bear caterpillars. (Found quite a number, thanks: brought a particularly attractive one home and have made him a cozy residence for now in an old jam jar, with lots of clover.)

Not at all covert. There was no side-long peeping: I really looked. Listened. While trying to keep all self-conscious emoting to the barest possible minimum. But: it was a dazzling dazzling experience.

And I know. The apple did NOT fall far from the tree.

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSSNOWY 10/10/2010 1:18AM

    Ah, yes, geezerdom. Last autumn I took my mother on weekly jaunts in the car to see the leaves. It was the one thing I could get her out of the house to do. Now that I'm seeing them again, I think of her and remember. I was, however, spared the childhood bird call LPs and drives in the country. But then we didn't have fall color where I grew up and traffic was bad, so maybe that was the reason. Still your blog definitely resonated. I'm reminded of Pogo and his: We have met the enemy [or in this case, the parents] and he is us!"

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FROSTIERACES 10/6/2010 5:22PM

    ahha!! The woolybear!! :)

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WALKINGANNIE 10/6/2010 2:55PM

    Great descriptions - and I love the idea of geezerdom! I like 'viewing the leaves' and kicking through crispy dried leaves on autumn walks, although there's not much chance of crispy leaves in rainy England just now. Everything here is soggy and the caterpillar would need oilskins and a sou'wester instead of a woolly jumper!

The photo is great.


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PHEBESS 10/4/2010 7:49PM

    LOL!!!!!! You are so funny in a poetic way! And yes, I think we're in geezerdom - DH and I sit on the porch and rate sunsets each night.

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DBCLARINET 10/4/2010 6:12PM

    Awww, it's CUTE! I haven't had the luxury of seeing a woolly bear yet, but I've been afraid to venture out into the cold fall air. Texas really did make me pathetic...

Now if only it would stop raining, I would do something amazing like pick apples or go to a maple syrup farm or something. Your afternoon sounded way better than many of mine!

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PENNYAN45 10/4/2010 4:09PM

    The autumn leaves seen in New England have been the reason for many of our family car trips throughout the years. It is nature in one of its most beautiful stages.
I'm glad you've joined us in enjoying the beauty!

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IMAGINE_IT 10/3/2010 11:37PM

    Welcome to "Geezerland". ..... emoticonI love nature ...and often get amazed at all the Beauty our Earth has to offer...it's sad that so many people don't ever stop and really "look" at what is all around them...seems as if everyone is always in a rush...going nowhere!!! I like the way you always describe Nature Ellen...makes me feel as if I'm right there too!! emoticonAnd I'm glad that you and your husband had a great "geezer"day emoticon emoticon

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KALIGIRL 10/3/2010 6:37PM

    Sounds like a grand way to spend a Sunday.
I guess I too am a geezer emoticon

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Squirrels driving me squirrelly . . .

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Our old house is surrounded by big old chestnut and walnut trees, and backs onto a small forest of red pines. So, not suprisingly, we also have a large population of grey, black and red squirrels who apparently consider our attic to be the optimal place to store their harvest of nuts and cones.

We have a "squirrel guy" who might just as well be on permanent retainer. He's pretty brave: heights don't bother him at all. But everything he does is strictly by the book.

Squirrels are not classified as "pests" (like mice, cockroaches and the like) so by wildlife protection law they can't be poisoned or trapped. Not that I would want to do that. But the regulations stipuate that they can only be excluded from places you don't want them to be. It's okay to install "one way" exits so that squirrels presently inhabiting attic crannies can go out, and can't come back again. However, it doesn't take the collective squirrel genius very long to find (or create) a whole bunch of new entry points.

They are so cute: especially the tiny red ones, carrying walnuts bigger than their heads.

And they are SOOOOOOO indignant at any ejection. Once squirrel guy goes, it's quite clear that they consider me to be responsible: they will sit and holler at me for minutes on end, glaring fiercely while they rhythmically jerk their tails. Really, they practically choke with rage as they shake their tiny fists!

But: we need to batten down our hatches for the winter, or we'll have a huge crop of baby squirrels joining their parents by spring. I'm thinking I hear some of them entering by one of the chimneys, so we probably need to have those meshed off as well. Meaning: extra long ladders, and probably some additional helpers will be required.

Squirrel guy, expect my call!! Yes, yet again!! And I'm so glad I don't have to do this myself: up so high, swaying in the breeze, Canada geese honking derisively overhead.

If those squirrels could figure out a way so knock over the ladders, do you suppose that they wouldn't do it??

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IMAGINE_IT 10/3/2010 5:39PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon Thanks for the Laugh Ellen...i am a little late to your funny blog..so sorry..but you know i am busy getting ready for Germany emoticon plus i am in the middle of a challenge..but i know that is not an excuse!!
I loved this story about your squirrels..i could picture it all..and especially the ones that are shaking their little fists..hahaha..too cute..good luck on trying to chase them all away...i have oa couple that are runnign fiercely back and forth in my backyard..makes me wonder what they is up to...i better go check if my attic..they may have moved in...lol.. emoticon emoticon

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    Stwerls! Goofy, opportunistic, industrial, insidious, maniacal, and cute as a bug... they'd tip your ladder just for the heck of it!

Stwupid Sterls!

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PHEBESS 9/29/2010 8:12PM

    LOL - squirrels are such sneaky little animals! In the SE part of the US, squirrels often chew through electric cables and have been known to cause blackouts!!!!!

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TRAVELGRRL 9/29/2010 7:41PM

    Loved your blog! ;-)

You have to love the ingeniuity of squirrels!

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PENNYAN45 9/29/2010 5:12AM

    About once every fall, while lying in bed, we can hear the swishing sound of feet scurrying across the attic floor. The invasion usually lasts for a week or so, then they are gone as suddenly as they arrived. Our chimneys are both meshed, but they do find their ways in -- and out, thank goodness.

I know squirrels can be pests, but I do love watching them poking their heads in and out of their home in the tree just outside our window. They chase each other up and down the trees, noisily scolding one another. This is their busy season - as they bury their treasures for leaner days. Acorns are everywhere!

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BRIGHTSPARK7 9/27/2010 11:25PM

    I love the description of your house nestled in the trees, Ellen.

I'm so glad you have a squirrel guy to help you out in a humane way. Squirrels are really intelligent and the tiny red ones sound very cute, too. Got to keep them in their place, though.

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TRYINGHARD1948 9/27/2010 6:06PM

    Ah, Ellen, I can remember my Uncle having to put some one way doors in when we were visiting Canada.

We don't have squirrels here but possums must be the equivalent with their high wire acts and a decided liking for attics. Like squirrels they are not allowed to be killed so we have a possum guy who comes and puts traps in so that the little critters can be taken to wilder climes. However, it doesn't take outsiders long to discover there is a vacancy so the possum guy is assured of a job for life.

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WALKINGANNIE 9/27/2010 3:00PM

    Nice blog Ellen. Your old house sounds lovely.

I know that squirrels are pests but they are so cute and clever. We have a lot of grey squirrels here and they are very ingenious at stealing food that's intended for birds.

That said, they ate through electrical cables in a friend's attic and cut their power off so they can be a nuisance.

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LUNADRAGON 9/27/2010 1:05PM

    This brought back memories. Close to 30 yrs ago when we were newlyweds, we had a squirrel family in the attic over our apartment. One real grisly looking one had one eye, seemed to be the leader of the troupe, we nick named grump grump. When I first heard them, I thought the house was haunted! We set up a box trap with nuts, caught them one at a time, and let them go at a rest area a few miles away. Then the owners of the house cut down the tree that was their leaping point, and fixed the roof. We caught about 5 this way before they solved the problem.

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TEENY_BIKINI 9/27/2010 1:00PM

    Holy smokes. I never heard of such squirrel-y problems. I love the description of them getting indignant after the squirrel guy leaves. They sounds smart ... yeesh.

The little red ones sound so cute though - but I know from experience in the garden, just because its cute doesn't mean it's not destructive as heck.

Fight the good fight, gorgeous. Good luck this winter and fall [for that matter...]


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KALIGIRL 9/26/2010 7:07PM

    I'm sure they would knock over the ladder if they could.

We don't have the red or black squirrels in our yard, but the greys love to heckle the pointer sisters - our two German shorthairs. (Although the sisters have captured a few of their relatives, so I guess a little heckling is in order...)

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DBCLARINET 9/26/2010 6:57PM

    I completely believe they would knock over the ladder! Just be careful not to give them any ideas!

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ALLERGICONE 9/26/2010 6:44PM

    Let's just hope they don't resort to doing the the car invasion on you. Some friends had their work pickup parked out by one of the pastures, and went to use it to pull the horse trailer. They noticed an odd, high pitched noise, and the dash lights were nuts. So, they pulled over at a gas station, popped the hood, and found the problem - squirrels. They'd been making "I hate you people" noises while chewing bits of truck wiring. So, imagine two middle aged women whacking their engine block with branches, trying to get the squirrels to vacate the engine compartment... Everyone in the place must have thought they'd lost their minds.

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Have to acknowledge: apparently can't run . . .

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I've come to the reluctant conclusion that at this point I apparently cannot run.

It was so much fun experimenting with the podrunner interval programme plus the POSE technique: and I took huge pleasure in resuming running at the gym last winter, completing the 5k programme and then getting well into the "gateway to 8 k" follow up.

There was a little detour created by the surgically-removed toenail, but although that was ooey-gooey for awhile, no way was it going to stop me permanently: and I did get right back at it as soon as I could.

But: truth is, the right knee and right hip twinges were getting more and more frequent, persistent and finally blew up into really really serious pain . . . both knees, both hips, radiating and shooting . . . even when I wasn't running. All my carefully acquired new technique which had given me so much hope -- short stride, vertical posture, mid foot landing, running as if barefoot, fast cadence hovering like a hummingbird, never running two consecutive days, focusing on stabilizing the joints with strength training -- in the end, I couldn't delude myself any longer. It was not working. Years of 10 k a day every day, extended stride, heel pounding: I'm guessing that the damage was probably done.

Loved "identifying myself" (to myself) as a runner when I ran all the time: and was loving thinking of myself as a runner again. I't not just the running I love (and I do): it's thinking of myself as a runner.

When I found a few weeks agao that I couldn't run -- I stopped going to the gym much at all, without even realizing for a while what was happening. Working hard, short on sleep, just not rolling out of bed to get to the gym. Playing golf instead. Rather than admitting to myself that I wan't going to the gym at least in part because I couldn't run. And although I haven't put on weight, no gym is just not a good decision from a health/fitness/stress management perspective. I'm just one of those people who needs to work out: cardio, weights, abs, stretching: it's key for me.

And so: I'm back on the elliptical cross trainer again. Don't like it nearly as much as running, it doesn't give me that endorphin rush. And giving up running makes me feel about 107 -- But settling for the elliptical or the cross trainer or the rowing machine has to be much much better than getting myself into a state where I won't be able to do any significant cardio fitness at all. Now THAT really really is not happening!!

There it is. Not gonna pout about it, still may trot carefully around the track now and again when I'm not having knee/hip pain: but I can't legitimately be thinking of myself as a "runner" any more (much as I'd like to). Fact is, I have major osteoarthritis in both hands, have had thumb joint repair (not a successful operation, would not recommend it) and there's every reason to believe that I have a tendency towards osteoarthritis in other joints too. No point in hastening that process by wearing them out.

Had great cardio workout today on the elliptical machine, worked up a huge sweat, burned 475 calories in 35 minutes: and then a thorough upper body weights routine plus abs plus stretching. Then a shower, a whirlpool, a steam room, another shower: what's not to like?? Not a twinge from hip or knee for the rest of the day while I zoomed around and got all my chores done. Which makes me feel about 37: and that's as good as it's gonna get!!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LUNADRAGON 9/27/2010 1:09PM

    Hugs. I can't run either - mostly due to heart murmur, but then again, the back is not so hot either these days. I hated giving up the idea of getting back on my street bike, but faced that little devil, and enjoy my recumbent bike when I can, and the back allows it.

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KALIGIRL 9/19/2010 7:59PM

    Sorry about your discovery, but BRAVO for attempting to run. I do not like the elliptical and walk outside any time I can, but have found biking wonderfully liberating - maybe you could try?

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PHEBESS 9/19/2010 7:22PM

    So sorry, I know you enjoyed running. Maybe some swimming, biking, and walking? There are all kinds of low impact cardio - doesn't burn as many cals, but easier on our aging joints.

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TRYINGHARD1948 9/19/2010 6:06PM

    Ellen, there is life after running. This is my husband's experience. He does walk and has learned to love other exercises but it is never the same. Some things we just have to accept and you are doing it in an excellent way. All the best. emoticon

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WHOLY_FIT_48 9/19/2010 5:05AM

    Having become a runner myself in the last couple of years, I can relate so well to the endorphin rush. There is no cardio exercise I like better than running. But your thoughtful and honest post about your struggle to run again and accepting that it is not to be reminds me that I must build into my cardio routine cross training whether it be swimming, biking, elliptical, row machine, etc. I've been resistant to doing that because I enjoy running so very much and mentally it's a challenge to do anything else. I read your disappointment and yet you have not allowed that to stop your determination to stay healthy and fit. You are and will continue to find what works in the reality of what your body and mind can or cannot handle. Great example and inspiration to the rest of us. Blessings.

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WALKINGANNIE 9/19/2010 3:41AM

    After all that you have been through and all your determination, I'm very sorry to hear that you have been in pain and are having to make adjustments to your programme as well as to your own self-image. It's obvious that this is a big deal for you Ellen.

Now that you have acknowledged the issue, it's good that you are making plans to adjust and to deal with it. Getting stuck into some cardio and gym sessions seems like a good idea - finding a balance between pushing yourself enough to get some endorphins going but not going too far. You know your own body and will be able to assess what suits.

Accepting the change mentally sounds at least as much of a challenge to you as deciding on the physical options. I know that you will work through this and come to acceptance because you have dealt with so much. I don't know if it would help to think of the spectrum between you running and you at your most ill? You might not be as fleet of foot now but look at what you CAN do. There must have been a stage when your current fitness level seemed unreachable?

I wish that there was something more helpful to suggest. Accepting disappointment is a big test of character - and character is something that you have a lot of.

Thanks, as ever, for your support. You are a very special person.

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GEODAWG 9/18/2010 10:39PM

    I can't run either and never could for long periods. Even in high school I never ran a whole mile. No stamina I guess! Anyway, I can walk fast!

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FIDGIEGIRL 9/18/2010 9:11PM

    Sounds very disappointing. Swimming?

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