Monthly Archives: August 2007

8/30/07 You CAN take the Country out of the Girl….

Thursday.  Darn.  Woke up at 3 a.m. feeling like a donkey had back-kicked me in the ribs.  I have a good idea who that donkey is….. me!  Let’s let out a collective owie to the universe.  Okay, so lesson learned, I won’t do any running pick-ups for awhile and here is the big lesson — running to the edge of pain and backing off is not the same as taking it easy.  I took some Tylenol but I can only find comfort sitting straight up or standing.  So I paid my penance today by sitting pencil straight at my desk all day and finishing up the backlog of work on my computer….  Ah well, it was a nice try so they say.  Today no running.   I’m a little annoyed with myself because I ended up doing exactly what the what the doctor warned me not to do which is muck with my ribs and end up with shallow breathing.  If I take any deep breath, I hit my ribs and wince.  And now I’m doing that short breathing.  Darn.  So close….  Sunday is six weeks….

Instead of a run I decided to go for a hike.  Our property borders the property of a place called the Roaring Brook Nature Center so it is always a nice hike to walk up there via road and return through the woods.  One little problem, I usually don’t return through the woods by myself.  Plenty of trails and I know the way, it’s just since they started spotting black bears in our woods (and in our yard!) a couple of years ago, I’ve become a little chicken (okay, okay a BIG chicken.) 

My first challenge for the day was to tackle Gracy Road.  I’ll admit it, Gracy Road intimidates me.  Straight uphill for  3/4 of a mile and it seems to me at points MUCH steeper than Harlem Hill.  I can count the number of times I made it up Gracy Road as a kid on the bike (I cannot count the number of times I walked my bike up it), but if we wanted to get to the Nature Center to see the snakes and raccoons and miscellaneous injured animals in temporary captivity, we had to climb Gracy Road.  You would think that sometime during Ironman season I would have challenged myself to do it as it is steps from my driveway and it is certainly no Mohonk….  But, it is the kind of road every coach I have ever had would love (yeah, go do a hundred repeats of that hill and don’t come back until you are melted.)  I thought of it a couple of times but I never did it all season.  What a wimp.  So today as I WALKED up Gracy Road for the first time in I don’t know how many years I vowed:  This season, I ride Gracy Road AND run Gracy Road at least once. 

When I reached the Roaring Brook Nature Center I had SUCH a flashback.  We lived at this place as kids.  We ran through the woods and trails and climbed trees (of course I read on the Internet that in case I run into a black bear I am to climb a tree higher than 30 feet — I don’t think so….)    Black bears have taken up residence in our woods and last summer they were everywhere.  As I am now completely citified, the thought of running into a black bear more than terrifies me.   There was a big part of me yelling “wimp, wimp, wimp” but I couldn’t help it.  I felt like an even bigger wimp when I went into the gift shop (a glass cabinet about three feet long) and asked if they sold bug repellent.  I guess that is illegal in Nature Conservancy Land but the staff Naturalist (I’m not making it up, that’s a job) took me outside and showed me a plant called “Sweet Fern” that I can rub on myself to fend off bugs.  I was excited about it as it smelled like a soft-powdered soap.  It took about ten minutes into the trails to realize that nobody told the Mosquitoes that they were supposed to be repelled by this stuff.  Nice thought though…

I headed out onto the trails with great confidence.  Walking but watching my footing anyway — lots of rocks, roots and crags.  I was confident though, I knew my way, I had walked these trails 1,000 times if not more.  I owned these woods.  I made it to the pond where we used to ice skate and play hockey every winter (well we took sticks and hit rocks around, kind of hockey).  All was well and I was making good time.  Now time to cross the road into Old Warner’s field (make sure the bull was NOT in the field) and head on home.  Wait a minute,  the path to Old Warner’s field was closed off — flowers and trees…. What the heck?  Someone had bought the house I guess and my old short cut was no longer avail.  No worries, I see up the road the Nature Center has declared a path, I set out on that.

After a little while I realize this path is nowhere near as efficient as my old path.  My old path would have cut through three meadows and then took me downhill towards home.  This path is leading me downhill, downhill, downhill and then it turns me around and I have to hike all the way back up!  I see the sky through the trees and think, whoa not so fun.  But I keep on going, I know I’m heading the right direction and eventually I’ll make it through to our “neck” of the woods.

 So I’m walking, hiking, climbing, walking and all of a sudden I realize — I’m way out in the middle of the woods and there is nobody to hear me scream and what was that sound?  Was that a screech?  Was that a bird?  Was it a bear killing a bird?  All of a sudden I want out of there.  Where’s Starbucks?   Give me the Westside Highway please!!  I wanted the safe trails that I knew as a kid, I didn’t want these unknown routes into bear territory.  I thought of what my Dad said to us when we were little kids, if you get lost in the woods, head downhill, eventually you will hit our house, or the brook or some semblance of civilization…..   So, that’s what I did, I started to head down the mountain.  I found something I thought was a trail but soon enough became just a trail of poison ivy and bushes with thorns.  I was swatting my way through when all of a sudden I came across something that really scared me…. OMG, are those bear droppings?   All along the trail I see piles of little black pods and I think, that’s it I’m heading right into a bear den or something.   Then I looked closely and I see they are just some kind of nut that has fallen from a nearby tree.  I laugh nervously at myself and keep going.  Bear droppings….. nervous titter….  I’m moving pretty fast now. 

Where the heck is the railroad track?  It has to be coming soon….  What happened to these woods?  They are totally overgrown and I’m picking my way through brush that is taller than me, how can that be?  I guess after 35 years even our sledding trails that we had so meticulously maintained had become overgrown.  (We used to be able to ride our sleds from the top of the mountain, down the trails and dump into our back yard — okay we crashed more often than we made it but we tried all the time.)  I could not believe that I was a stranger in my OWN woods!!!!  This was not right.  I knew these woods like the back of my hand, now where the heck was I?!?!

Then I heard a rooster crow in the distance.  Hmmm…  Weird.  Why is a rooster crowing at 5 o’clock in the afternoon?  A rooster, a rooster, A ROOSTER!!  Our neighbors have a rooster, that must be the way!!!  So I turned back towards the other direction (I totally overshot my house) and headed toward the sound of the rooster.  Good rooster, good rooster, keep crowing…..  Then I saw a patch of green through the trees….  Yeah, my house!! My house!!!  I was so relieved.  The railroad track was totally grown over (it used to be a smooth, clear path you could have ridden a bike down it.)   Everything was so overgrown there was no way to see which way was which.  I pushed my way past a couple of fallen trees and then voila!  There it was — home!!   A little over an hour and a half later I had stumbled into my own back yard from, well, my own back yard.  Leave it to me to get lost in my own woods…..  (There is some HUGE metaphor in there…)

All I could think was “how pathetic.”  I have become soooo citified that I couldn’t navigate my own home turf?!?!   No cell phone, no GPS, just me, my two feet and my wooden noggin.   I certainly got some exercise (my heartrate went up that’s for sure).  I didn’t get to swim, bike or run today but let’s just chalk this one up to a little cross-training activity…. lol


Here are my pix from the “trek”

This is the pond where we would ice skate and play hockey every winter.  (Okay it wasn’t really hockey, we hurled rocks across the pond with tree branches, but close enough.)


This is the nice groomed trail from the Nature Center….hike-to-nature-center-006.jpg

Okay these are NOT bear droppings, they are some kind of nut, but when you see sooo many of them after an hour and half stumbling around the woods…. (Okay, there is no excuse for thinking these are bear droppings…. Take back my Girl Scout Wilderness badge… whatever…)


What happened to my nice groomed trails?  Now the workout begins, climbing over trees, around rocks, down craggy footing…..


Finally home!!!  It took me long enough but finally found my own backyard…


I snuck over to our neighbor’s house and took a zoom pic of my GPS rooster through the bushes.  They had company so I didn’t want to intrude…


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8/29/07 The Learning Trail

Wednesday.  Back in bucolic CT.  A lot of green, that’s all I have to say. 100 shades of green in every scene. 

I drove from NYC (I drove with no problem) with a couple of friends from CT, one of whom is a runner.  She was telling me about different running places in our Northern “hood” where she likes to run.  So I have two new reservoirs to check out this week.  I am going to try to take my camera along and see if I can capture some of the shades of green on green because I certainly don’t have the words to describe it.

My friend was telling me a funny little story about how she and a friend showed up to one of the reservoirs to do their run one night.  When they arrived they saw a mother putting one of her kids in a stroller and a second kid on a mountain bike.  She was struggling to get everyone situated all the while holding onto the leash of the family dog.  My friend and her running partner set out and soon took on a big hill that occurs near the beginning of the trail.  She and her friend were quite pleased with how well they were handling the hill that particular evening — they were really giving it a go.  The next thing they know the befrazzled mother they had just passed went whizzing by them, pushing one kid in the stroller (uphill), dog and leash attached to her arm and yelling at her other kid on the mountain bike to hurry up.  My friend and her running partner were deflated to say the least.  A funny reminder to not get too full of ourselves — just when we think we are all that someone comes along to show us what “and then some” looks like.

I think one of the hardest parts of fitness and sports in general is letting go of self.  Who we think we ought to be or indulging in the delusion of who we think we are is all just wasted thoughts and energy — because no matter who or what you think you are, that is not who you really are.  We cannot be summed up by one or two adjectives.  I tried to remember this today as I ran along my favorite running trail in my town.  Am I the same person who tackled the Coney Island to Manhattan challenge?  (Okay, I’m not saying I did that great, but I DID do it.)  Am I the same person who was prepared (or deluded herself into thinking she was prepared) to do an Ironman less than six weeks ago?  You wouldn’t know it by the exhausted attempt to go past 25 minutes on my run today.  I am wearing a tshirt that says “70.3 Ironman Finisher”  I can’t say that is who I am — all I can say is that is an event in my life….

I went down to the river early knowing I had to spend the day with my Mom at the hospital (she did well — we are fast healers, lol).  A few people were out but otherwise I had the trail to myself with plenty of beautiful scenery to distract me.  I started with the 3/2 run/walk and then tried to up it to 4/2 and then I tried to jump right to an 8/2.  At about 20+ minutes I decided to take a little pause at one of my favorite spots on the river.  This is a little waterfall that I love.


I walked out onto a little landing to get a better look and there was a very nice lady there who took this picture of me. 


After my little break I continued on.  I tried to pick up the pace a little bit (I’ve been dying to practice my new high knees that I will be incorporating into my run this year).  Little problem.  When I pick up my knees I get out of breath.  When I get out of breath I have to breathe deeper and my ribs hurt….  Darn.  Oh well, I just incorporated an occasional pick up until it hurt and then backed it down again.  I didn’t do anything too intense.  I made it to the bridge, snapped a few pix of the view and decided that was a good turn around point




At the top of the bridge I turned around and realizing that I had wasted too much time (it was now past 1/2 hour mark) I had to book it back.  So I really tried to pick up the cadence, keep my breathing under control and not hit my ribs.  At the same time I tried to be observant of what was going on around me (NOT my normal run mode where I zone out.)   I tried to stay in the present, leave all judgments aside and just enjoy the beautiful day, the nice people on the trail and my health.  Yeah, I was definitely starting back at square one but that was okay.  I got to where I wanted to go once before and this time I think I will enjoy the trip a little more.

When I got back to the car park, I noticed for the first time a sign right in front of where I parked my car.  I had not noticed it on the way out but now it hit me like a branch in the face.   I laughed when I saw it.  I looked up to the sky, thanked the Universe for my beautiful morning and said Touché!  The sign (the SIGN!):



Tomorrow I attack the reservoir #4

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8/29/07 Beginner’s Mind

Tuesday.  Well I am declaring myself officially undizzy — or should I say pre-accident level of dizzy?  I experienced the tiniest of dizzy on Friday.  Zero dizzy on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and so far today.  Zero.  I know I’m okay.  I think before I was trying to convince myself that I was okay but now that my mind is clear and functioning I realize how off I was.  To say I am extremely grateful, relieved and blessed is an understatement.  Your body can go, but losing your mental acuity is not only frustrating but it’s frightening.  I’m giving all credit to Mark and his amazing acupuncture needles.   I had another session yesterday and in addition to my remarkable mental improvement, he was able to get rid of the sharp pain in the top of my shoulder.  My shoulder is 85%.  I am gaining much more mobility.  Yesterday I could even mock a swim stroke but knew any resistance from the water would have been a problem.  I say 3 weeks and I’ll be able to swim.

I also went to PT yesterday and did so much better than on Friday.  On the way home I decided to try a little jog and see how it went.  I decided to do 2 minutes running/2 minutes walking.  I made it from 23rd to 59th on the westside path and then my shoulders started to feel a little sore so I stopped.  The interesting thing is that the most discomfort actually came from my right hip which still has a nice little bruise on it. My ribs remain a minor annoyance.  Stamina is all gone.  But that’s okay, I know it will come back and I’m in no rush.

This morning I met Mo and Donna for a run on the westside path (I am certainly blessed with great friends).  I figured I would try the same system, just up the time a little.  I did 3 minutes on 2 minutes off for 25 minutes and then did a speed walk home for 25 minutes.  So 25 minutes seems to be the point where my shoulder and back start to feel it.  I certainly would not call it pain — it’s discomfort (particularly if I remember to take Aleve).  For right now I’m going to treat discomfort like pain and just stop running at the hint of it.  Plenty of time to build myself up.  Having a clear mind makes everything else bearable.   I can’t even begin to explain the relief I feel just not being dizzy.   Donna says my posture is much better with a broken scapula!!! LOL, I don’t have any choice but to hold myself up pin straight!!  So who knows?  I may come out with better form in the end of all of this!!

Pretty much everything is going to be starting from scratch.  Swimming — can’t even think of that yet (yet I have considered the modified backstroke where you just keep your arms at your side).   Biking will be on the trainer for probably two more weeks — that’s going okay just can’t really press into the handlebars.  I don’t want to go outside on the bike until I have no pain whatsoever in my ribs, shoulder or back.  I think in two weeks I can start doing some loops in the park.  Running I think will be the first to come back, ironically enough.  Right now I am just committing to walking everywhere I can and walking as fast as I can.

I have signed up for two races already!!  I signed up for a 5k on Labor Day in New Haven (Dr. Donna will run with me).  I’m thinking running 3.1 miles non stop would be a huge achievement and I will practice all week in CT.  I have no worries about covering the distance (I can always walk) but it would be a nice little milestone to actually run it.  I’m doing this as a fundraiser for the Cindy Sherwin Memorial Fund and it would be great to see my Connecticut friends out there either supporting or hey, here’s an idea, RUNNING it with me!!!  (Huge irony for me in that I have not raced a 5k since February 2005!!  And this will be my big comeback race, well, maybe not exactly a comeback….. and maybe the word “race” is a little stretch of the imagination.)

Then seven days later I will run on Saturday, June 8th.  4 miler in the park.  This is going to be harder.  Cat Hill, man, what is THAT going to feel like?  But I’m looking forward to it, friends, brunch, the way Saturdays used to be spent before 80 mile bike rides…..

I’m trying hard to adopt what the Zen practice called “Beginner’s mind.”  To me it means every day starts anew.  Clean score board.  Tabula Rasa.  You look at everything as if it is for the first time.  This breath, this step, this leap, this run.  Every day will reveal something new.  The trick is to leave behind preconceptions, expectations and most important for me judgments.  This is where I am today.  Whether it is about food, fitness or mental attitude everything  is observed anew.  So I’m looking forward to Monday’s run.   I’m thrilled to be running in honor of Cindy who holds a special place in my heart and history. I’m thrilled to be able to run with Dr. Donna and my Trilife friends.  I’m thrilled to be able to run at all.  Yes, I’ll admit the old me might have even pooh-poohed driving to New Haven for a 3 mile run “not worth the drive” I might have thought.  But now I have fresh eyes.  A new way of looking at everything.  I’ve been given a huge blessing and I intend on receiving that blessing with open heart.


My Weight Watcher’s buddies shared this quote with me this week and I love it.  I think it is so spot on…..


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8/28/08 My Hallucination

Monday.  Great morning.  I feel good — great even.  Sky is clear, mind is clear.  I was stuck inside all weekend with a stomach flu and possible hallucinations (that is for a jury to decide).  I started on Saturday morning with a stomach bug.  Then I progressed to fever and chills on Saturday night which left me in bed, in flannel, under two comforters shaking from the cold.  (Mind you it was still 90 degrees and humid outside).  But I didn’t worry about it, in fact I had a little laugh.  I had a vision of my guardian angels (yes I have an entire troupe that I imagine ride alongside me) trying to figure out how to make me stop moving. 

“The orders state clearly that she is to stop and not do anything.”  Says accounting angel number one who bears a striking resemblence to  Celia’s husband on the tv program “Weeds” — I just dream this stuff, don’t ask me why….

“But we already did everything we could, short of, well, you know….  I mean that was a pretty mean trick to trip her during the race.  That was a real desperate measure” says compasionate angel number two.  Is that Patty Duke?

“Not good enough, people, she’s still moving — even in the hospital she was rigging up equipment.  She was stumbling down 5th avenue just two days ago. We have to bring this gal DOWN.  Read the orders.”  says boss angel number three who sounds just like Tony Soprano. 

“I have an idea, how about we send her a flu virus — that’ll knock her out and she’ll have to rest.” says demolition angel number four (he definitely looks like Don Cheadle from Ocean’s Eleven). 

“No, no, we can’t do that, remember her ribs and her lungs, if she coughs we could cause her real damage and that is NOT on the requisition order.”  You tell them Patty!

“I got it! I got it!  A stomach flu with violent intestinal cramping and a fever! That’ll stop her and not touch her lungs or her ribs!  She never has stomach problems, this will throw her for a loop.”  Don Cheadle is jumping up and down in excitement.

“Do it.”  says Tony.

So I laid in bed all weekend with chills, fevers and frequent trips to the bathroom but totally aware I was being played by the universe.  I was fighting back every inch of the way.  “Go away, I’m not listening,  I’m not LIIIIIISTENING…” I sung out as I shivered and buried myself further under the covers.  I do think my Weight Watcher’s angel was there though because I ate basically nothing all weekend and woke up 4 pounds lighter this morning which is pretty scary but cool…. (I know, I know, I don’t want 100 emails about how that is NOT how to lose weight…)

I made it out to a short, light dinner with friends on Sunday night only to return to more stomach issues.  Finally last night around 10 p.m. I couldn’t take it any more.  “WHAT?!?!  I screamed out to the universe.  WHAT is the problemo?  What is it you want me to hear?  I’m listening, okay?  I’m listening…..  Look, here I am, I am screaming UNCLE.  What is so important that you need me to stop doing everything and anything?”

And then I heard it loud and clear.  Nothing.  The sound of silence.  My stomach stopped flipping over and I felt my head clear.     “You’re one bunch of sick angels….”  I yelled out.  But I think they got what they came for and I felt them leave for a Dunkin Donuts run and I was left with a calm feeling of knowing that I was going to be okay.  Don’t forget to keep on being quiet otherwise your stomach is going to haunt you forever…..

Okay, I’ll admit this sounds like a combination of fever and maybe watching Peaceful Warrior all weekend….  But in the end the results are what count.  I woke up this morning feeling healed, calm and ready to take on my tasks.   I was not dizzy all weekend and this morning I feel like my brain is back — no dizzy, no brain lapse (I was having problems pulling information together before).  I feel better than before.   I’m laughing at my angels because I know I was a tough cookie to crumble and they tried every trick in the book.  I’m actually laughing at pretty much everything.

Today I’m excited to get out and go for a long brisk walk.  I think I might even be able to try to jog a step or two (pending how shoulder feels).  So when I go to PT this afternoon I will wear my running shoes and see how I do.  But before I lace up I will make sure to take a minute and have a moment of silence.  I am not running to get away from anything, I’m just running to enjoy the moment.  I will stay in the moment and enjoy running for health and for the enjoyment of life — no ultimate goals, no time trials, expectations or delusions. There, there, are you happy?

I get it, I get it.  Now how about letting me swim?  🙂


“Every blade of grass has an Angel leaning over it whispering grow, grow…”

The Talmud

Hey I would just like to point out that it says “whisper” people, “whisper!”  I don’t think it says “break her bones and bring her down!”   “I’m not saying, I’m just saying…”  lol


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8/26/07 Peaceful Warrior

Sunday.  Happy Birthday to my Dad.  89 and still kicking…. Not bad.  Let’s have a toast to longevity.  My Dad has been a great supporter in my athletic life.  From letting me sub in his tennis games with the men when I was just a kid (that’s where I learned to serve HARD and to play the net), to teaching me to throw a baseball (okay, that wasn’t so successful), from leaving work early to come watch me play my basketball games (even though I totally stunk up the basketball court he made me feel like I was first string instead of third),  buying and endlessly fixing every one of my bikes for me (and I remember each one from my first Schwin 3 speed to my my 1975 10 speed Roold).   My Dad was a great sportsman in his day — semi-pro football player, scratch golfer, a little league coach for some ridiculous number of years, A+ tennis player — he loved all his sports and passed on the love to play and to coach to his kids.  So I guess you can say my love of sports is in my genes — too bad I didn’t inherit his drop shot or putting ability (he can always two-putt, never three) ….

My Dad has always had a lot of patience in sports — a lot!!  I never saw him lose his temper.  He is very analytical and very technical.  I remember one time working on a golf shot I said “I keep shanking the ball and I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.”  He followed me to the backyard.  I lined up my tee, took a swing and whoosh, the ball goes sailing far to the right into the trees.  Argghhh, it is SOOOO frustrating when that happens.  I hit three more balls getting more frustrated with each failure and exclaimed in my usual dramatic fashion “See? See?  I can’t stop it!!!”  My Dad says nothing.  He walks over and nudges my back heel about an inch.  “Now hit it.” He says. Sure enough off it went straight across the field.  He walked back into the house, bored with my minor dilemma.  Line yourself up properly before you start complaining.  Give him something harder to figure out.  LOL, one inch.  Buddha Dad.  Never gets mad, never loses his temper — where did I get my impatience from?

All the years my Dad coached Little League, I want to say it was like 12 years or something like that (from when my oldest brother started to when my youngest brother finished) my Dad coached the Braves.  They were not the number one team by far.  My Dad always took the kids the other coaches never picked.  Didn’t matter to him one bit.  He coached each one like he was an allstar.  Years later guys would come up to me and tell me how great my Dad was to them when they were in Little League.  Unfortunately, this was long before Title IX and girls were not allowed to play little league back then so I was relegated to running the concession stand.  Which is probably why I turned to tennis…

My Dad was a great example of what true sportsmanship is about.  Always giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, never arguing or getting into a fight over a  call.  Never miss a practice, never show up late, work hard and never, ever give up.  Just give it your best and that is what counts.  At the end of the game you shake hands and congratulate the other player even if you are the loser.   Old fashioned manners.  You don’t really see it too often any more.   I know I forget them a lot.  Sigh….

I watched a GREAT movie yesterday called “Peaceful Warrior.”  My former coach Lisa Smith-Batchen had recommended I watch it in light of my current recuperation and I was blown away by the movie.  It’s the story of Dan Millman who was an Olympic hopeful (based loosely on a true story) and he gets into an accident.  The story is about the spiritual journey he enters.  It was such an excellent story (okay I am probably a little sensitive to accident stories right now) but for any sports/spiritually minded person this is a must-see movie (I understand the book is very good too.)  I can’t say enough about this movie and I hope everyone will watch it (available on demand or on unbox).

So as I am sitting here thinking about the movie I saw yesterday and my Dad and the years of his influence when it occurs to me that my Dad is the original Peaceful Warrior.  He is one of the only people I know who truly lives in the moment,  he has never looked back with remorse.  He has never been interested in material possessions (although a can of tennis balls was always a welcomed gift.)  He has always been kind to family and strangers alike.  He gave selflessly to his community for years as a volunteer firefighter (that incessant alarm going off at all hours in our house) he would get up and go without complaint.   And he did this while working a full-time job and I never remember him missing a day of work.  Whether you win or lose as long as you tried your best he is always there to say “good job” and you know he means it.  I’m lucky to have such a tremendous role model in my life.   I have much work to do….

Happy Birthday Dad


A warrior does not give up what he loves, he finds the love in what he does.”  — from my favorite scene from Peaceful Warrior

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8/25/07 Opportunity

Saturday.  When I was just out of college I had a boss who used to love to say “we don’t have a problem, we have an opportunity.”  Of course we would all reply “well, we have one BIG opportunity.”  At the time it seemed trite and a little too easy of a line (if you are out of toilet paper is that a problem or an opportunity?)  But now, many years later I guess I have come to kind of agree with him.  If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times that I believe that without struggle there is no growth (they can write that on my tombstone).  It’s just that sometimes when you are in the struggle (find a new job, find a new romance, get out of debt, get your husband to put the dish somewhere NEAR the sink) it is hard to see the opportunity.  Sometimes it is not until you are through the struggle that you find you are better for it.

Yesterday I had a happy day.  I went to the doctor and got a great report.  He basically said I was doing great and healing very well.  He put me through a bunch of little tests.  Of course I also had to sit through the lecture yet again about how much worse it could have been.  What’s the point of talking about how bad my accident COULD have been? Who cares?  It didn’t happen.  But then he got back on track and answered all my questions.  No you do not appear to have ripped your rotator cuff, if there is a tear it is very minor and will heal itself.  (Yesss…. Tennis will be played again….)  He said my dizziness was normal and will slowly go away on its own (ha, first time anyone has ever called me normal!)  Yes my front ribs are bruised and not to worry since the pain is in the actual ribs and not underneath they’ll be healed soon.  Fractured rib and scapula are doing just what they are supposed to do.  “You are healing very well.”  He said.  I think I smiled the biggest smile of my life.  Mark said I was a fast healer and the doctor says I’m healing very well, happy, happy, happy…..

I also got copies of my records from the hospital in Saranac.  I had been really curious to read the report.  Everything was what I thought but it was somehow reassuring to read it for myself.  My ribs and scapula were fractures.  It made it palpable.  Seeing it in black and white made it easier somehow to accept the facts. (Of course under Social History they wrote “negative for smoking or drinking.”  That made me laugh a little.  Might be the only time in my life when that could have been written about me. LOL)

The doctor also agreed with my physical therapy and acupuncture approach and gave me a few extra exercises to do.  He wants me to continue to practice my breathing because until my ribs heal I’ll have a tendency to take short breaths and since I will have a tendency to not really expand my lungs I will also be prone to respiratory problems like pneumonia.  But he agreed that my lungs were just fine. I told him I blew the top off my breath machine and retired it to the closet.  He wants me to take it back out and keep doing it for a little while longer.  Okay, I love acing tests that require no studying, I can do that.

The only procedure that was a little uncomfortable to read about was the pneumothorax (when they put a small hole in my lung to fix the small hole that was already there).  That still kind of stings in my memory and on paper it sounds just as gross.  But the procedre worked and that’s the important part.

I left the doctor’s office feeling high.  Happy, happy, happy.  Good news, good prognosis, no doom or gloom.  No worries that I will be out of commission well into the fall.  Now it is just a matter of buckling down and doing the restorative work that I need to do to get better.  He asked if I was EVER going to try “it” again.  I shot back “I’m signed up for next year!”  He said “okay, okay, I was just asking…”  I’m no wimp.  Like I’m going to hang up my helmet for that….  (Okay maybe I overreacted juuust a tad…. Lol)  Buddha, Dharma, breathe…..  LOL  Picture your favorite Boddisatva shaking his fist saying “I will not be denied” — okay maybe that is just funny to me.

Then I had another PT session that didn’t go quite as well as the last one.  I don’t know maybe I’m trying to do too much to my poor shoulder.  I couldn’t do half of the exercises I could do on Wednesday.   I couldn’t even lift my arm halfway.  Bummer.  Finally we had to stop and he just put those little electropulse thingies on my shoulder and ice.  If I hadn’t had such a good meeting with the doctor I would have not taken that so well.  Now I know it is just where I am right now and a great OPPORTUNITY to work harder.

So yesterday I got 41 minutes of spinning on my trainer, walked to and from Docs office (about 1 mile round trip).  To and from PT (just shy of 3 miles round trip).  That’s not too bad for almost 5 weeks out.  (This Sunday is 5 weeks so only 1 more week to go to shortest healing prediction.)  It’s been a long 5 weeks but at the same time short.  I will continue next three days with my trainer until I go to CT.

The September calendar is filling up like crazy.  September 8th, a bunch of us are signing up for the 4 mile run in central park.  I’m signing up too.  I doubt I’ll actually be able to run the whole thing, but I bet I can do something like 3 minute run 2 minute walk through the whole thing.  Then we’ll go out for one of our traditional after run breakfasts at Georgio’s.  Back to normal.  Back to how things should be.  I can’t wait.

Sept 9th is SOS (Charlee, Donald doing that).  And it is also FIRMMAN in Rhode Island where I am planning to do my best to get out there to cheer for the Boas Sisters and Nicole.

Sept. 16th is the Danskin Sprint where the Angels will be out in full force.

Sept. 23rd is the Westchester Tri.  Marisol and Michelle amongst others to cheer for.

Sept. 29th weekend since I can’t do Tour de Pink, we came up with the idea of making that my first official ride to Nyack (Tour de Piermont Mo is calling it).  Mark your calendars because it will be an everyone invited deal and maybe we can rasie a little money to support Michelle, Robin and Sue as they take on the hills of Valley Forge.


My friend Mo gave me this magnet and I LOVE it — my new favorite quote.  I keep repeating over and over again “the great opportunity is where you are.”  It’s not remembering where you were once, dreaming about where you’ll be one day — it is where you are.  That’s it, in a nutshell.  “Start where you are” as Pema Chodron would say….


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8/24/07 Awareness In Training

Friday.  My euphoria from yesterday morning was short lived.  I woke up feeling pretty darn good and was psyched to get my little workout in.  By noon I hit the wall (or does the wall hit you?)  I started to get dizzy and the most productive thing I got done after that was a load of laundry. There is definitely some correlation between shoulder/back/neck strain and dizziness.

I had my first accupuncture appointment since the accident yesterday.  I walked in, sat down and as soon as Mark walked in the room tears filled my eyes.  I couldn’t help it.  He had fixed me two years ago and we had been so happy with how well I had been doing.  I saw him this last winter for my breathing and that had been doing better too.  I was the model patient.  Now I return so banged up I can barely get on the table (lots of pillows everywhere).  I told him I didn’t know where these wild emotions were coming from.  He said it was quite normal to have erradict emotions after a concussion — your brain gets knocked around and all kinds of weird chemicals get released.  (I tried to explain to my friends that moodiness and strange behavior was a known side-effect of a concussion and they quipped “yeah, well, you must have had a concussion your whole life!”  Where’s the love?!?!  lol)

So Mark put a ton of needles everywhere and worked on my shoulder and my dizziness and my liver and three other things that now I can’t even remember (maybe he should work on my memory?)  I asked him to tell me the truth, would I be able to resume training by October?  He was funny, he counted on his fingers, thought for a second and said “yes.”  “You are a fast healer.”    He was probably just trying to make me feel better but I decided to believe him anyway.  On my walk home I kept  saying “I am a fast healer, I am a fast healer.”  As I stumbled down 5th avenue in a total dizzy state.

I’m not going to walk while dizzy anymore.  Last night was pretty scary during rush hour, 5 th avenue, Madison Ave, Park Ave were all crowded and everything was moving (which is very different from ambling down an empty westside highway path).  I kept looking at the ground afraid I was going to trip on the sidewalk.  I knew this was not smart but there was no finding a cab so every so often I stopped at a cafe and sat.  Each time I sat I felt a little better.  But by the time I got the restaurant where I was meeting my friend I said “we are taking a cab home.”  I feel a little stupid this morning that I took such a risk while walking dizzy.  Not worth it.  Too many things to crash into and one fall and it is all over.

The good thing that came out of the walk was I had a chance to think and to sit in the cafes and read my BuddhaDharma magazine (great magazine).    Yesterday I realized that I had totally let my meditation practice fall apart.  I can’t remember seriously meditating since well before Tupper Lake.  When did that happen?  How did that happpen?  No wonder I’m a mental mess.  I guess I just stopped one day and forgot to pick it up again.  It had become such an important tool in my life and I just dropped it without thinking.

So this morning I started anew.  Back to basics.  A really short meditation.  I thought about a quote from Zenkei Blanche Hartman when she said “Just as delusion is endless, so must practice be endless.”  Then I thought about what my WW group said to me last summer when I said “Ironman Training is starting soon” and they said “you are already in Ironman Training.”  ( I can still find the Dharma in Weight Watchers ….)  I see that this not actually downtime.  This is just part of training.  In all of life, there is no waiting for something to start, the process has already begun we just become more aware of our relationship to it.

Professional ball players are never without a relationship to a season.  They have pre-season, in-season, post-season and off-season.  (Wouldn’t pre-season and post-season technically be the same thing?)  The season never goes away, just their relationship to it changes. 

“Monday I’m going to start a diet” how many times have you heard that?  Well on Friday when you say that, you already have a diet.  You are already eating, maybe not how you think you’ll be eating but you already have a diet.  The diet is already there.  It’s just your awareness of it that changes.

Same thing goes for looking for a new job, building a new relationship.  I’ll work on  my relationships after this big project and I have a lag.  Guess what?  The relationship is already there, you are already effecting it — it is just your awareness of it that changes.  There is no putting off the relationship  — it is already there.  It is our awareness that has wandered. 

So this morning I decided to take action, to become aware again.  If I’m in training, I’m in training.  There is no waiting for an official date to start training.  This is lifestyle, this is a constant process of working on who I want to be.  I logged into my WW journal and entered the points for my breakfast and then went over and hauled out my road bike Sylvia.  I set her up on my trainer all by myself.  (Yeah me!)  I dug out my bike shoes and put on my bike shorts and pedalled for 41 minutes (that’s when my back told me it had enough).  I am very proud of myself for doing that.  I can’t really hold onto the handlebars for more than 3 minutes before my shoulder starts hurting, so I just alternated, 3 minutes holding on, 3 minutes sitting up right.  Of course I was quickly reminded that the more I hold in my core the less pressure I have to put on the handle bars.  Argghhh, awareness does not promise easy tasks.

I’m trying to cram as much in before the dizzy hits.  Maybe I’ll be lucky today and it won’t hit, but why risk it?  I have regular doctor’s appt today to talk about the dizzy then I go straight to PT in the afternoon.  I’m going to try to walk as much as I can, but if I feel dizzy, taking a cab.  Busy day, lot’s to do, now that I am back in training…..


“Because of an illness, crumbling,

                           this life —–

if I could give it for the dharma

      how glad I would be”

Miyazawa Kenji  (The Blue Mountain Poet)

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