Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day 46....DYING!!!!

You know what drives me really crazy, is when someone yells "didn't you hear me????", when you clearly did not hear them.

Today was a freakin exercise marathon.  It was my first day back training with Greg and his crew after being gone for about two weeks.  I was stressing because there has been such a big gap in my work out...suddenly August 26 seems around the corner...I will have regressed so far I'll never get caught know the mental drill.  So I decided to jump right in and ride my bike to the gym.  It is 3.7 miles from my house, so says  my iPhone.  How bad could that be?

O.M.G. I took all busy streets because I could not figure out a more civilized way (I did find an alternative route on the way home...I was highly motivated).  There would be sidewalk on one side of the road, then that would end.  I would have to stop, get off my bike, check traffic and cross over to the other sidewalk.  Stop.  Repeat.  Stop.  Repeat.  Realize the This American Life podcast is no longer playing in my ear.  Realize I have dropped my iPhone along the way.  Stop.  Apply kickstand. (of course I have a kickstand.  I realize the serious bikers do not, but there just is not a good reason not to have a kickstand).  Retrace steps until iPhone is found.  Walk back to bike and continue.

I am less than a quarter mile from the gym, on Dundee Road.  Very busy street.  I had gotten off my bike to cross the road in the middle of the street.  There was a side walk on this side going up a very slight incline.  Getting off the bike was a big mistake.  When I jumped off, I realized my legs were shaking and I was pooped!  I tried to get back on and push off going up the VERY slight incline.  Did not work.  Pushing, pushing, pushing off and I cannot get my fat ass back on the seat.  All in front of heavy traffic on  Dundee Rd.  Totally humiliating.  So, I walked my bike, very cavalierly, like nothing was wrong, up the little hill and was able to get on going down hill.  Thank God!

Did manage to get through my usual routine, including 10 minutes on the StairMaster, with a 40 second break after 5 minutes.  Greg added a new balance exercise that I managed to complete without killing myself.  Caught up with the girls...including Stephanie, my triathlon buddy, who is eons ahead of me in training.  All in all a pretty successful day.  Until I saw my bike and realized i had to fucking ride back home.  Shit!

Luckily on the way home I did figure out how to use side streets, although one of those streets was really a private driveway, but by this point I was exhausted and mean.  If someone even thought of yelling at me because I was on their "no outlet" property, one look at me would have changed their mind.  Just a few blocks from home, I was getting back on my bike after having crossed a busy intersection.  I have to get off my bike and walk across the street if there is traffic.  I am always mesmerized by the serious bikers who have those clip on shoes and manage to sort of hover, not really pedaling, not really stopping, while they wait for the light to change.  I'm definitely not there yet. Anyway, I was remounting (as they say in the biz), and apparently cut off a biker who was coming up on my left.  This brings me back to "didn't you hear me????"  No, I didn't hear you.  If I did hear you, do you think I would have run into your skinny ass??  Of course I'm apologizing repeatedly, the whole time thinking, fuck you and your fancy biking pants too.

I will tell you this though, I need to get real biking shorts/pants, with a significant amount of padding.  I am about one good bike ride away from a labial infarct.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 44....Feeling Subdued

Went for a 7 mile bike ride yesterday....which took almost an hour!  I'm blaming it on the wind.  I'm also trying to ride on the hardest gear so I can build up my endurance and strength.  What if August 26 is an insanely windy day...a real possibility in the Windy City.

I learned this trick from Patrick.  Patrick and I have had an ongoing argument for months.  When he is in the stander, he prefers to not wear his neck brace and have his head fall forward.  Then the entire time he is on the stander, he works on lifting up his head.  I maintain that is a ridiculous strain on his muscles. Think of a baby who has to have its head supported until it gradually builds up the strength to hold up its own head.  I've used every analogy possible...think about when you were captain of your swim team, would you throw a kid who didn't know how to swim in the deep end???  Actually, I did not wait to hear the answer to that one.

Needless to say, it is a battle I have not won.  So, if you can't beat 'em.....

Patrick was at my Dad's funeral service on Friday.  It was so wonderful to see his face as he made his way up to the casket with his mom.  I told him I was giving the eulogy and asked if he saw me start to cry, to start coughing to create a distraction.  He agreed.

Its a complex situation having Patrick as a muse.  There really is no give.  My Dad has been my hero my whole life.  As soon as I was old enough to understand the finality of death, I dreaded the day I would lose my Dad.  My Dad, being my Dad, gave me time to work it out.  The day I never thought I would survive, I did.  The grief I thought would kill me, didn't.  That is not to say I wouldn't prefer to go up to a lake house by myself for the next year.  But Patrick makes that impossible.  He wakes up everyday determined to be stronger than the next.  How do you give up in the face of that?  You don't.

So, I am off to wrestle with my sports bra, which should cover a few hundred calories right there.  Its a gorgeous day.  I will exercise.  I will call Greg and set up appointments for this week.  I will continue and complete the Sprint Triathlon on August.

What I have learned in the past week since my Dad died is death is not final.  Energy and matter cannot die.  I've become very Shirley McClainish the past several weeks (woo-woo for those of you too young to know Shirley McClain) and imagine my Dad all around me.  Yesterday on the bike path there was a deer that seemed to appear out of no where.  Looked right at me and didn't run.  I thought of my Dad.  If my Dad had lived, he never would have been able to see my finish in August.  All his energy would have been taken up with breathing.  Now he will be with me the whole event.  I will cross the finish line with him cheering in my ear and waiting with open arms.  Even better.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Day 35 (!)...Alive and Kickin'

I'm still here!  Have not given up!!!

It has been a crazy couple of weeks.  I was in San Diego with Renee and came home a few days early because my Dad is not doing well.  Just a little bit more tired every day.  He also had a mini stroke (TIA for those of you in the biz).  No residual effects from that...just fatigues very quickly.  So I have neglected my blog!

Some statistics:  First month wt loss:  8 pounds

Struggling with desire for sugar when things get emotionally tough.  I realized the other day that the last thing I am is draconian about anything so perhaps I could ease up on myself just a bit.  One doughnut (that damn magnet at dunkin doughnuts) did not lead to a dozen.  And because I am not nearly evolved as I would like to be, the doughnut helped.  Not for long.  But for a few moments I felt calmer and happier.  I know the goal is to get that feeling from exercising, meditating and breathing.  I will not stop working towards that goal.  Baby steps.

My eye is on the prize of finishing the sprint (Patrick insists I clarify it is the sprint distance, lest anyone get the idea I was competing in the full distance) triathlon, introducing everyone to Patrick, his journey and mine and raising a ton of money for him.

Day 21...Adventures with the sports bra

Today marks 3 weeks on this journey (well actually tomorrow by the time you read this because I am working the night shift at my hospice job).  I can't believe how fast it has gone and I'm actually going to say, out loud, how quickly I feel my body has changed!  I was at physical therapy with Patrick on Saturday and Greg, his therapist and my trainer, told me in his classically direct/blunt way, there was no need for me to be standing around and why didn't I get on the StairMaster and try for 5 minutes. FIVE minutes???  What happened to our deal of increasing by 15 sec increments daily?  I had done 4 min 15 seconds the day before and was still feeling pretty damn proud of myself.  I looked at Patrick, giving him the eye indicating this was an opportune time for a coughing fit...absolutely no cooperation from him.

So without any excuse not to, I got on the damn thing and I swear to god, 5 minutes came and went in no time.  I jumped off the second (literally) the timer hit five minutes.  I could not believe it.  3 weeks ago I could not complete 3 minutes without stopping to breathe and drink.  Each of those minutes feels like a mountain peak...seriously!  I was leaning against the evil machine, basking in my new found glory, when Greg said, "do 5 more".  "Minutes"????  "yes. you can do it. do it".  Much laughter from the ever supportive, empathetic Patrick.  And so I did.  I DID IT!! Five more minutes on the devil spawned machine!  A total of 10 minutes with just the teeniest break in between!

A few statistics:  *Total weight loss for 3 weeks....5 pounds
                      * Grade on the "I Love My Gay Nurse" English paper....A!! Patrick wanted to be sure I  mentioned that.  Apparently the teacher and English class enjoyed the paper and Patrick's gay jokes!

I would like to deviate for just a minute and discuss my sports bra.  I have seen every Oprah show on how to be fitted for a bra, including her game changing episode on sports bras.  She wholeheartedly endorsed the Enell Sports Bra, specifically designed for large breasted women.  I spent half a paycheck and ordered it.  The web page I ordered it on, as well as the packaging, has all kinds of advice and instructions on how to put the bra on, it will feel too tight initially, don't worry it will feel better after a few tries.

I get just a little bit concerned when a bra comes with instructions.  I've been doing this now for about 43 years or so and I think I've got it down.  However, they aren't kidding.  The bra not only needs instructions, but pictures and a VIDEO!!  I watched a video on how to put on a bra and I'm still confused.  This bra is basically a pink straight jacket.  It hooks in the front, which you would think would make things easier.  The instructions, pictures and VIDEO all explain that you start hooking from the bottom up.  Well that's great except for the fact that the bra is designed so god damn tight that my boobs are over flowing and I can't even SEE THE FREAKIN BOTTOM HOOK!  I cannot see over the top of my breasts to locate the bottom hook!  I have tried every position in front of a mirror and finally realized the most helpful position would be to lay on my bed, looking into a mirror suspended from my ceiling...which I do not have.  That was Day 1 of trying on the bra.

Day 2, one week later, I did manage to hook the first hook.  That's as far as I got.  Stay tuned.