2/21/12 Kindness

Tuesday.  Tennis cancelled this morning so I get to do a blog post instead.  Had a lot going through my mind last week (make note of this, make note of that).  Now I’ve forgotten most of it.  I guess the parts I remember are the important ones.

One thing of which to make note.  I have been feeling really good since I have been taking this new liquid Iron — Floradix Iron & Herbs.  I still like Pur Absorb this stuff is even better.  I am on my third bottle.  That’s some kind of record for me.  I hated taking my iron pills because they used to hurt so much.  This stuff?  I  take it every morning and every night.  I have no problem remembering to take it because I feel it working.  I do hold my nose when I drink it because the prune juice flavor is too harsh for me.  But for one second twice a day it so worth it.  I have not felt the low-Iron fatigue in at least two months.  I don’t bonk on my runs.  I don’t feel faint riding up Harlem Hill (though I am veerrrryyy sllllooww).  I did three loops with my friend Amy two weeks ago and I felt like I could have done two more.  I rode with Amy and Jan in the Fall and was falling apart after two and feeling light-headed and wanting to faint.  None of that now.  I feel awake, I feel alert and I feel like I’m getting strong.  I know this Floradix has something to do with it.  I’m drawn to it.  It is doing something.  I think because it is rich in B Vitamins as well that is it better than Pur Absorb.  April is my next blood test.  I can tell already my Iron level is going to be closer to normal than anemic for the first time in forever.

I did almost all of my workouts last week.  Missed two assigned ones but did three unassigned ones (shooting isn’t really a workout for anything but my arms but I’m counting it anyway!).   Got beat in a tennis match that I should have won.  She was very consistent but a very light hitter so I kept over powering the ball.  When I played defensively she made me run (never a good thing for me.)  Set was over before I had time to think my way out of it.  On the good side my serve was good and my volleys are coming back to be a reliable shot once again.  Only down side to that is I have to get to the net to use it…. oh well….

I’m up to 10 miles in my jog/walk thing.  I know this is not optimal but for right now I am employing a kinder/gentler kind of training.  If I get out there and I feel okay (which I do) I consider it a success.  A mere month ago I was telling my coach I could barely get through 6 miles.  Now the first 7 1/2 fly by and I only start to ask myself why am I doing this at mile 8.  That’s an improvement in my book so I’ll take it.

We have been doing mostly indoor bike workouts and I am starting to feel stronger. (Today I head outside because it is going to be near 50 degrees in February!)  I can find the 110 rpms now fairly consistently where two months ago 90’s were my all out effort.  I find it does help to have the coach walking up and down the line yelling out everyone’s rpms.  He seems to like the group embarrassment thing which actually seems to be effective with me.  If someone drops below a certain rpm he makes everyone keep spinning until that person gets up to speed.  It’s funny when everyone starts yelling “C’MON!”  I am just so grateful that I have not held the group up yet.  I did make the mistake of asking him to turn the overhead fans on  — I got a look and a quick comment “you goin to have fans in August?”  No…  I sheepishly kept pedaling and shut up.   Later in the workout he turned on the fans and I was the only one in a spot NOT under a fan.  I was soaked at the end, lol.  Last week we all got a “good job” which put a smile on everyone’s face until we had to go run for 30 minutes.  Man I have forgotten how much bricks hurt.  All kidding aside, my coach has been very kind and understanding while I am trying to fit Ironman training into my crazy schedule.

I’m spending a lot of time with my folks. My Dad is in and out of it.  On Friday I thought he was amazing, I honestly thought he was cured. He was laughing and we were doing crossword puzzles together.  Then he had two bad days in a row.  Up at night wandering and confused.  Yesterday he was tired and couldn’t remember anyone’s name. This is how it is going to be I guess.  We need more help at night.  Dementia patients often don’t know the difference between nighttime vs daytime so they wander at night and sleep during the day with no rhyme or reason.   I find myself jumping out of bed every time I hear a creak in the house thinking he has heading outside for another one of his midnight mystery tennis matches.  Time for the next phase of care.  The Hospice people have been great so far.  They send someone every day to take care of  my dad and let my Mom get out of the house.  The nurses come several times a week to check on him.  But now we need to add nighttime care because it’s killing my mother and driving me to exhaustion.  We start this week with trying out nighttime nurses.  Once I get this all set I think it will be a better quality of life for everyone.  Through all of this my dad remains gentle and kind which kind of breaks my heart that anyone who has lived a life of kindness should have to suffer at all.  But even in dementia there is the blessing of not remembering anything including pain.

On Sunday I was supposed to do a bike but frankly I was just too tired to haul out all my stuff and I had a long week.  I didn’t feel like going shooting either (man that shotgun is heavy!)  Just lugging that case around is a workout.  Then I have a bag full of ammo and that’s heavy too.  But I cajoled myself into going with my little mental trick.  I ask myself “what will make you feel better at the end of the day?”  I decided if I just got to the club and at least loaded my gun and shot one box of ammo, I would be okay with that.  This would be my first time going to the gun club by myself.  I was very nervous.  I don’t really know the protocol yet of shooting with others even though my instructor has told me everything.  I never actually just showed up to shoot all by myself.

I got there and everyone at the Hartford Gun Club is really nice to me.  They make no bones about telling me it is because I’m the only woman there!  I’m sure there must be some female members but I haven’t seen one yet.   It’s still off-season and it’s not crowded.  It’s just the die-hard guys out there shooting. I hear in the summer the place is packed.  But they are very nice to me, helping me fix my gun, telling me how everything works.  Always a cheery hello.  Very nice people.

I bought my tokens (you buy a token and put it in the machine and you get 28 clay discs shot out of the trap).  I learned you have to bang on the side of the box until the number shows up.  Very high-tech.  Then you have to turn the microphone on with a switch so when you yell “Pull” the disc will fly out by your voice command.  Note: I have to stop calling my gun my racquet and asking which court I’m assigned to.  Go to trap house 4, he says.

I went out to the trap houses and there were already people on 4.   You mean I was just supposed to go shoot with strangers?  I couldn’t imagine doing that at a tennis club.  They were very nice and welcoming.  Two guys shooting and their girlfriends watching.  They said they were not very good and I said this was my first time shooting solo.  We finished one round of 25 and they packed up to go.  (The girlfriends were nice and said they were cheering for me!)   They had been shooting already and were done.  Now another guy walked out and he looked like he knew what he was doing.  I felt nervous and not sure what I was supposed to do.  The guys told me I could keep shooting.  You would just wait until they are done with the round and join in.  Up to 5 people at a time.   I kind of stood there like a stump until the new guy waved me over.   C’mon.  I told him I didn’t know very much but I would try not to hold him up.  Well this guy Dave turned to be one of the best shooters in the club and one of the nicest people ever.  He gave me so many tips and spent time with me going over everything it was like getting a free lesson.

We shot a round of 25.  The pace was better with Dave than with the other two guys because they were really rushing and Dave didn’t rush but wasn’t slow, it just the right pace. I quickly noticed that Dave did not miss.  EVER.  I have a pattern where I hit the first five out of the box.  I get all excited and nervous that I’m hitting them and don’t really know why I’m hitting them.  Then I miss five in a row because I get all excited.  Then I start hit, miss, hit, miss.  I seem to get the ones that fly out to the extremes and miss the easy ones right in front of me!  I learned so much from Dave and I was just struck by his kindness.  He didn’t have to spend two minutes telling me anything but he did.  After we shot two boxes each.  He stopped shooting and just stood behind me and told me what I was doing wrong on each one I missed.  But at least now I am starting to understand WHY I miss the ones I do.   Then I hit the last five in the box without a miss.  I was happy.  (Although my coach Bruce keeps begging me to stop counting how many I am hitting or missing right now — that will come later, for right now it is just this one.)

We sat and talked about shooting and glasses and one eye versus two eye while we watched a guy getting rated.  He was shooting and a guy with a clipboard and paper was marking his score.  He was so smooth.   I want to shoot like that.  Not swinging my gun trying to get momentum to lift it up to my shoulder.  Not fidgeting.  Not hesitating.  Just lift the gun, see the target, shoot the target.  The guy never missed while we were standing there watching him.  Dave says “you’ll get there, I promise.”  I said “how can I get there when I have a hard time lifting my gun?”  You know what he said?  “Pushups — if you don’t have your gun with you in NY do pushups.” I almost died laughing.  Pushups!!  It’s a conspiracy! I can’t get away from them!!!!

So I left the gun club feeling happier than I had been when I woke up that morning.  On reflecting it seemed that my mood had improved by some random acts of kindness by strangers — the two guys who let me shoot with them, Dave who spent so much time with me out of just being a nice person and loving shooting.  (I think it helped that I had a Browning and he had a Browning too.)  And then I was thinking of my Dad how throughout my life there has not been a kinder more giving person.  My Dad never asked for anything and he helped everyone.  My Dad would have done what Dave did.  Saw someone just starting out and just help them.  Be kind, do something nice for someone for no other reason that that’s the right way to be.


I love this picture of my Dad playing football.  It shows how tough he was but at the same time always a smile.  He played 4 years of college and then played semi-pro until he started his family.

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