Body knows best. I started my day with a 4.5 mile training run, a 1 mile walk with my pups, and then a full day on my feet, running around at work. I played mamma taxi to my teens, picking them up from their leadership meetings, and then crawled my way upstairs to nap. Body knows best. I need rest. My arm aches and my fatigue levels are high. I can’t heal when I run myself ragged. I can’t be helpful to others if I can’t help myself. I have to practice what I preach to others and let my day slip sideways.
Well, it’s back to the sling for me…I need another MRI, and according to my orthopedic doctor a really good kick in the pants, because he’s pretty sure it’s my left rotator cuff.
When I asked if I could still run since I’m training for a half marathon he rolled his eyes audibly growled and said
“ONLY if it doesn’t hurt. And not “hurt” by your standards, But “hurt” by a normal person with common sense standards! Only THEN!”
I said to my doctor, “I feel like I’m buying you a boat” (he repaired my right knee in 2003, and my right shoulder in 2007) and he replied “I feel like you’re driving me to an early grave.” And he stormed out of the office.
Sooooo, I guess I’m good to go for tomorrow’s easy 3 miler!
Today is my long run day: 7 miles
I’m in training for the Smuttynose Half Marathon which is only 8 weeks away in October. 13.1 long, windy miles along the coast. It’s not gonna be the prettiest race I’ve ever run, but I’m determined. To survive, I’ve committed myself to a dedicated training plan. I am doubtful about my skill set at best, but on I press.
Here was the succession of thoughts inside my runner brain:
Mile 1- “this rain is awesome!”
Mile 2- “sooo glad I got up early to warm up and stretch. This is a breeze.”
Mile 3- “Yeah, I got this! *music kicks into power stride song* I am so in the zone today and LOVIN’ this rain!”
Mile 4- “this hill isn’t as bad as I remembered it to be. My training is really starting to pay off! Oh look! A bunny!!! I love running so much!”
Mile 5- “I hate hills. I hate them like the devil hates good deeds. Oh. Good. ANOTHER hill. Awesome. I hate hills.”
Mile 6- “I hate everything. My thighs are burning and look, fanfuckingtastick, another bloody fucking hill. I’m going to die in the fucking rain on the side of the fucking road. This was a stupid idea. When/if I get home I’m going to throw every dish in the damn house against a wall.”
Mile 7- “There is no end in sight. I swear the voice prompt lies. Lies like a lying liar. There’s no way I’m not done yet. This app is a fucking LIAR. I feel violent. And look, another fucking hill. What a surprise. I hate running.”
*home, stretched, cooled down and showered”
“GOD that run was awesome. I so needed that. Maybe I’ll sign up for a nice 10K the week after Smuttynose….”
This is a little awkward to share with all of you, but since I’m incapable of keeping such things to myself, I see no point in censoring my story now.
To quote my oldest son over dinner the other night, “Mom, we all know you’re gonna miss heaven anyway, so why do it by only three inches?”
Obviously he’s my favorite.
After work today I was feeling sort of sluggish so rather than give in to the feeling and crash on the couch, I decided to take the dogs out for a nice, ladylike stroll. We sauntered through the neighborhoods in our finery, waving benevolently at the many cars driving past.
Everything was going swimmingly. We were on our way back, a few tenths of a mile from home when an extremely enthusiastic, mammoth dog with a deep, booming bark began racing towards the four of us with a laser like focus.
Molly, Noel, and Blackie (my pups) were not big fans of this approach. Chaos ensued. I found myself abruptly at a standstill on the side of the road with all three girls’ leashes wrapped tightly around my legs like we were in some sort of bondage movie, while the enormous, roughly 175 pound chocolate lab circled us like an electron to our nucleus, sniffing all of our asses. Very thoroughly.
The owner, an older man, came right outside and pulled our suitor gently off, and attempted to help untangle my legs. They looked like a maypole with the pups bright, pink leashes wrapped in every direction. However, judging by the delightedly wagging tail of the giant lab, all four of us girls passed muster. And really, I guess that’s all that counts.
I am trying to lay low these days. Honestly I am. It’s just not hard wired into my DNA to take it easy, go slow, think things through, or allow myself to give my body a moment to lose ground.
I fight hard for the ground this body stands on everyday. Mobility and an absence of pain are not always options for me. I wholeheartedly embrace the philosophy “use it or lose it”. In fact I am so accustomed to pushing chronic pain and limited ability into the background of my days, attributing it’s rising or falling levels to my fibromyalgia, that I managed to let this thing with my arm go almost three full months.
I let it grow from a nagging discomfort into a monsterous rage before driving in blinding agony, (and a fair amount of nausea) from my shift at the book store (which I insisted on finishing of course) straight to the hospital.
After several hours, and tests, and exams (and a welcome shot of something very strong and laced with antihistamine to mitigate its effects on my system), the Doctor explained that I was an imbecile for ignoring a potentially serious injury for three months, and that I had tears in the bicep and tricep of my left arm. He didn’t really call me an imbecile but it was definitely implied.
I was sent marching with strict orders to get rest, take my medication regardless of how much I hate to, follow my care plan, and see my orthopedic guy ASAP. Yeah, at this point I have an “orthopedic guy”. He’s done my right knee, my right shoulder, and now my left arm, and in return I’m buying him a boat. Or partially financing his retirement. I have an orthopedic guy, a rheumatologist guy, a pretty much everything guy. If my body were a car, I’d say the warranties were all expiring roughy around the same time. Life’s a laugh that way.
So now I find myself in a partial straightjacket of a sling, designed to immobilize my left arm and allow my torn muscles time to repair themselves unimpeded by my usually hard driven escapades. It’s both a boon and a pain in the ass. It’s forcing me to slow my roll but it’s seriously cramping my style.
This evening I grabbed the pups leashes and schlepped 3.8 miles with my them. Thankfully they don’t mind the wandering pace of my loopy body as I try to detox it from the course of meds keeping me from having enough stamina and coordination to do anything sincerely stupid, and worsen the muscle tears.
This is not to suggest that I intend to do anything stupid, but I really have an embarrassing track record for poorly considered, wildly impulsive, “push myself past sensible limits” activities that leave me breathless, grinning, and oddly confused as to why I am flat on my ass again. My fledgling self control grows stronger each day, but my “bad idea” game is strong. MAD strong. Yet still I persist.
I am the girl with the injured wing. Since I was a very small child, I dreamed of flying. Not on airplanes or in gliders, but in the living of my life. I would lay still on a large flat rock that jutted out into a small pond near my house, and stare up at the blue, the sounds of insects and birds and water filtering through my fantasies. I imagined all the things I would do as I grew, every adventure and each novel task. I couldn’t wait for my life to start. Being so young, it never occurred to me that it already had begun and my youth would find it’s way into the telling of my stories in much later years.
In truth, I am always in flight. From place to place, and time to time, both to and from myself. I am happiest in a flurry of wings and sky, endless horizons and the thrill of it all. I thrill in small things and interactions, I delight in massive undertakings and the ways in which each thing in turn pushes me, enriches me and challenges me to be more.
For so long I have lived around the edges of my limited body. I leap into the abyss without thinking, I run and fly at life until I drop. I gave up waiting for a cure and I learned to block out the pain that accompanies me so I can fully encounter my world, instead of waiting on the sidelines and wishing.
I hate that. I don’t like the feeling of being vulnerable and limited, but that is a part of life. Some days we can fly to the moon and leave footprints behind us. Other days we must content ourselves with nursing broken wings and leaving soft traces in our wake. Sometimes even my fiercest face can not keep me in the game and I am forced for a while to be still and heal. Yes, I am the girl with the injured wing. For now I’ll try to be peaceful and take the lesson in this moment. I’ll lean back into the softness of my swing, let the air around me fill my senses and stare up into the blue. I am the girl with the injured wing and one day I’ll fly again.
I have curly hair. Actually, my curly hair has me. It’s definitely the one calling the shots. It’s summer, it’s humid, there is a rainforest developing somewhere south of my ears. Every time the weather shifts into high gear like this, I have two options: shave my head, or find a way to deal. It’s come razor close many times. Figuratively and literally. The thing that has held me in check from giving in to the attacks of the crazies is that I’m 98% certain I do not have what it takes to rock the cue ball look.
Right here is the part where I lay a little science on you, so get your pencils out because you’ll need to hold your questions and comments until the end.
Humidity measures the amount of moisture present in the air. Usually, you can measure this with a hygrometer, a simple meter that tells you what percentage of water vapor the air contains. Isn’t that word fun to say? I like to roll the r’s and feel fancy. Go on and try it. Roll those r’s and fancy it up. You’ll be a total hit at parties. This is all super fascinating stuff isn’t it? See? It’s true, learning CAN be fun.
Take a deep breath because here comes a little more knowledge. If you don’t have a hygrometer or you want to figure out the humidity without one, there are other ways but the simplest way is to look at my head. You will notice that my hair appears several inches shorter than it actually is on days when it rains, or when it feels like it damn well SHOULD hurry up and rain and let the dry air, well behaved hair, and a tiny bit of sanity return.