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Archive for April, 2011

Three Years of “Walking”

First of all, let me just say, my down and sour mood from my previous post is gone. For the most part. I’m still dealing with random balance hiccups, but I’m back on the fighting warpath.

Now for the good news of the day. Today marks my third “anniversary” of being on the virtual walk website. Three years of walking (well technically walking as I use my elliptical). It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long at all. That also means I’ve had my elliptical for three years. I don’t think I used my treadmill at all for the walking site.

I’ve come a good long way from when I first got my elliptical. I remember when I first got it. I was in shape already, I had met my goal weight by that time, but I could only go for about 5 minutes, maybe 10, the first time I was on it. Now I’m up to doing a full hour from time to time with a few breaks.

I did one mile today to mark my three years of being on the site. I wanted to go for 50 minutes today, but due to my sluggish week last week, I could only muster 35 minutes, with one break. Here are my stats from the site today.

I’ve gone a total of 264.6 miles.

I have 7.56 miles until I get to Lexington, VA.

I’m in the county of Rockbridge.

I am really glad I found this web site. It’s been a real motivation at times to keep going. I like to see the mileage rack up over time. I like to see what picture will pop up after I enter in my mileage for the day.

And I am really glad that SparkPeople created a team for the website. I joined the virtual walk site about 6 or 9 months before SparkPeople created a team for it. I was so happy when they did. The members of that team are awesome. Everyone is very encouraging, and we all take the walk at our own pace. There’s one gentleman (ahem…Monty) who is on his second lap of the walk. He’s walked across the country once in about a year and a half, or two years. Pretty impressive. He passed me by on his second lap a while ago.

It will take me at least a few decades to get across the country, but as long as the site is up, I’ll be walking it. Here are the last few pictures from my walk.

Mile 263.6

263.6

 

Copyright 2006 Lawrence Berkeley Lab

Mile 264.6

264.6

 

Copyright 2006 Lawrence Berkeley Lab

Slowly making my way to Lexington. Keep moving everyone!

Sometimes The Body Just Needs To Rest…Longish Rambling Post

April 22, 2011 5 comments

As I mentioned Monday, I woke up that day feeling very old. Aches and pains, and just plain yuck. The feeling old part went away after one day, and I did exercise Wednesday, but that was the only day I did anything active. Sometimes, this old body just needs a break. When I have one of these “feeling old” weeks, I search the Internet for information or something to let me know I’m not the only who has these bad days.

I found a blog the other day that I’m going to start to follow. There’s not a whole lot of blogs out there about people living with cerebral palsy (well I should say active blogs about adults living with CP), but I found one, called “In my eyes my life life with cerebral palsy” that I’m going to keep an eye on. Laura’s posts are short, but she’s said various things in her posts that have struck a chord with me. I have good days and I have bad days with my balance. I thought my bad days were due to something I was doing wrong, or I wasn’t in the right mindset. I can’t find the exact quote now, but she says something like you don’t know how your body will feel from one day to the next. I totally agree. It’s a complete crap shoot. Will I be able to stand up and feel like I won’t fall right back down again? Will I be able to use my walker easily today if at all, or will I need the chair?

When I have a bad balance day, I tell myself that my confidence is down. That’s true I guess somewhat, but not really. Sometimes there’s no logical reason for me to have a bad balance day. I’ll be doing my thing like normal, and all of a sudden my body will glitch, and I’ll almost fall. It’s hard to explain, but something just doesn’t feel right when I move. Then one day, it will feel “normal” again.

I still don’t know what event or circumstance happened when I was 12 or 13 years old, when one day I could stand in one spot without needing to hold on to anything, to the very next day needing to hold onto something or else I’d be on my butt in 2 seconds flat. No clue.

Laura said in one of her blog posts, “A lot of my friends don’t like to acknowledge their cerebral palsy…” I always feel very strange when I say “I have cerebral palsy.” Those words don’t sound natural. I don’t feel any different than any other person. I don’t think any differently than anyone else. Also, my case of CP isn’t as bad or as severe as most. I have control (for the most part) of my legs, and my arms. I can talk fine (with a stutter that drives me nuts), and I can take care of myself in terms of personal hygiene. I just have bad balance. That’s what I usually say, “I have bad balance.” Those words seem more natural to me for some reason.

Cerebral palsy technically does not get worse as a person gets older. To a point that’s true. The brain damage does not get worse, but the effects on the body do. It gets harder to make your legs do what you want them do to when you get older. Some days my legs just don’t want to work at all, but I manage to force them to. I read somewhere just the other day (not sure where now) that those people who have CP and can walk, 75% of those people end up in a wheel chair by age 25 or 30 due to fatigue. I don’t know if that fact is accurate or not, but it does make sense to me. I remember starting high school and my body felt OK, but by my senior year, I was having more aches and pains, and it was harder to walk around school  (had a lot more falls that year including one fall down the stairs). I didn’t voice this to anyone since I just thought it was a “confidence” issue.

I’m not saying I don’t have any confidence issues. I most certainly do. But on those really bad days, it’s more of a physical issue than a mental one. That messes with the mind a lot. You have a bad day, and it makes your confidence drop. It’s hard to climb out of that mind set. Your balance comes back for a few days, your confidence goes up. Once it’s up, wham….you get knocked back down again. It gets tiring to keep battling the confidence roller coaster, but you do. It feels like you’re a punching bag for some twisted person looking for fun.

I’m not explaining this clearly I don’t think, but what it comes down to is, I put too much pressure on myself to “fix” my cerebral palsy. It can’t be fixed. I have to roll with the punches. I’ve said this before, and I’m trying to stop thinking this, but I feel like if I don’t walk like I did when I was a kid, I’ll be letting people down. My parents and my sister especially, but also my husband. He’s a wonderful help, but he tends to say what my sister used to say…”It’s all in your head”. And yes, sometimes it is all in my head. But other times, not so much.

Once you lose the ability to do something physically, is it possible to regain that ability? I don’t know. I’ve been trying to get back to walking like I did when I was kid for a long time now, and I really don’t know if that’s possible. Am I destined to have to struggle with moving my legs on bad days? What is it going to be like 10 years from now. If it’s hard now, how much harder is it going to get? Maybe I’m kidding myself with wanting to walk on my own again.

I’m not giving up though. I’ll keep pushing on, one way or another. I’ve always said I don’t want to go on medication for my CP, but I might get me some hot chocolate and rum tonight. Hehehe. It’s been a while.

Getting Caught Up A Bit

I’m not sure where the last week went, but it went. This week is flying by also. I woke up Monday morning, and it was one of those days where I felt like I was 90 years old. Random aches and pains, and overall felt blah. So I took Monday off and stretched a ton, which helped. Tuesday, my right hamstring was still super tight (have no idea why), so I took that day off also. Woke up this morning, and am back to normal. Just have the usual upper back and neck aches now.

Got my strength training done super early this morning, and didn’t get to my elliptical until around 9:30 or so. But, I got it done. Got in my 1 mile, and felt pretty good. My ear buds kept falling out of my ears though. Took one break to stick them back in, and got back to it. That was annoying.

Last Tuesday, when I did my elliptical, the virtual walk site was down, so I wasn’t able to get the picture that day. The site was back up a few days later, and I got it, along with a few others.

Mile 259.4 This area looks pretty dry and dead. Everything is brown and kind of ugly.

259.4

 

Copyright 2006 Lawrence Berkeley Lab

Mile 261.2 Back to green and pretty!

261.2

 

Copyright 2006 Lawrence Berkeley Lab

Mile 262.2

262.2

 

Copyright 2006 Lawrence Berkeley Lab

Wow, today’s Wednesday. I was thinking it was Tuesday. Where’s the week going?

Monday Mile

Since my 1.7 miles on Thursday, I did no exercise. I wasn’t sore at all from my hour long elliptical workout, which surprised me, but I decided it might be a good idea to take a few days off anyway.

The weekend was fun and productive. I mentioned my confidence issues with writing, and I nipped that in the bud. A few of the complaints I received about my writing was that I write in the passive voice too much. I ended up buying a 22-page ebook about passive and active voice. It’s called How to Swat the Killer Be’s in Your Writing by Nancy Owens Barnes. This book helped a ton and now I’ll be able to write my actively.

Other than regaining some of my writing confidence, we went to see the movie Source Code. It was a good action film. I wouldn’t say it’s a “must see” in the theaters, but if you’re in the mood for some action, then I’d say you should see it.

This morning I got back on the workout train. The mile I did flew by, and I sort of wanted to go longer. But I resisted. Tomorrow I’ll go longer.

We got a little reprieve from the heat. We had highs in the 70s and 80s over the weekend. It’s supposed to climb back into the 90s again later this week. It was nice to have a cool day when we went out though. The sun was warm, but the breeze was nice and cool.

I only have about 14 miles to go until I hit Lexington, VA on the virtual walk site. Still looks like it’s nice and sunny along the route. Here’s the picture from where I am now on the route.

Mile 258

258

 

Copyright 2006 Lawrence Berkeley Lab

Have a great week all, and keep moving!

I Did What?

So, in my last post, I mentioned I had a sore muscle in my foot. It felt just fine this morning, so I decided to test it out today. My goal was 35 minutes, but if it felt weird I was going to stop. So I hopped on, and did my 35 minutes with no problem. I didn’t even need a break. After 35 minutes, I still felt fine, so I decided to another 15 minutes, which would take me to 50. I do 50 on my “long” workout days. The fifteen minutes flew by with no problems. So then I decided to go for another 10 minutes. And…I did. I haven’t done 60 minutes on the elliptical for at least a year. And I did it today when I only thought I’d be on for 35.

My foot feels great, no problems. I’ll most likely be stiff later tonight and tomorrow, but stretching will help that. I was tempted to go for longer today too. I went a total of 1.7 miles. I said to myself “I only have .3 mile to go for the two mile mark”. I’ve never done 2 miles on the elliptical. I think the most I’ve ever done is 1.8 in 60 minutes. I told myself no, and forced myself to get off.

My elliptical display screen is behaving at the moment, since I put in new batteries on Monday. If the screen flickered or re-set during my workout, I doubt I would have gone more the 50 minutes. It was working with no problems, so I went for it. I burned 549 calories according to the screen. Whether or not I actually burned that many, I don’t know (this is when I start thinking about getting a heart rate monitor or whatever they are), but it felt good. I definitely burned off breakfast, which was scrambled eggs, 3 slices of bacon, two biscuits, and some sort of milky gravy. It was good, but most likely high in calories.

I doubt I’ll do 60 minutes very often, at least not yet. I’ll stick with alternating between 35 and 50 minutes. But I’ll probably do 60 once a week. We’ll see.

Here’s the picture from the walk.

Mile 257

257

 

Copyright 2006 Lawrence Berkeley Lab

Nice and sunny. Oh, speaking of which. The weather here is nuts. Last Thursday we got to 103 degrees. This weekend (Saturday I think) it’s only supposed to get to 67 or 70. Crazy. Right now the wind is whipping, and it’s supposed to continue through tonight. It also rained a little yesterday. Like I said, crazy.

Babbling About Writing Confidence

Sometimes I like it when days go by fast, but other times I really don’t. Today went by really fast, and I got little to nothing done. I did get my exercise in, both strength training and my elliptical. But that’s about it. I really don’t know where the time went. It’s only 3:00 PM, so I still have a few hours left to get things done, but I’m at the point where I really don’t want to. Tomorrow is a new day, and I will get things accomplished. I’m sure the next time I look at the clock it will say 7:00 PM, and I’ll wonder how it got to be that late.

To help me stay on task and be more productive, I’ve been using Window’s 7 “sticky note” feature. I use that as my daily to do list. For the most part, it’s been working well. The only thing I seem to be procrastinating on is writing. I’ve got plenty of things to write, but I put it off for some reason.

In this instance, I’m talking about Demand Media Studios (DMS). This is a site where you can pick and choose what you want to write. You don’t have a particular client that is relying on you (like TextBroker does). You can pick up to 10 articles, and you have 7 days to write it and turn it in. You can “unclaim” the article and “reclaim” it twice. I find myself doing this a lot.

It all comes down to confidence in writing. With DMS, when you submit an article, it goes to an editor. They check your work and make notes on errors or inconsistencies. If you get an article sent back, you have one shot at making the corrections. You have no contact with the editor so you can’t get clarifications. So, you send back the article, and hope it doesn’t get rejected. I’ve had several articles sent back (that’s not a very good feeling by the way), and for the most part, the editor’s instructions are clear.

A few weeks ago, I sent in four articles. Three got sent back. I was not pleased. I don’t know what the deal was, but I got some crappy editors this time around. I had very vague notations for one, one seemed to be very snooty and condescending (I’ve heard of these at this site, but never have encountered them), and the third was just fine. I made the changes for the article with the clearest notations. I made the changes for the vague notations, and hoped for the best (it got accepted), and the last, I let go entirely. You are allowed to let articles lapse after you get them sent back for edits, it’s just a good thing to not let it become habit. So far, I have never had an article get rejected (knock on wood). I was pretty concerned with the vague instructions for the one, but it turned out OK.

When your confidence takes a hit like that, whether it be from a physical aspect or otherwise, it’s hard to bounce back from. I think that’s why I’ve been procrastinating lately with writing articles. I’ve got plenty to write, I just need to suck it up and go for it. If I get articles sent back, I need to learn it’s not the end of the world. It happens. I don’t proofread my blog posts much, and I’m sure there are a ton of grammatical errors, but I do re-check my DMS articles before sending them in. Some editors just like to nit pick you to death.

Get back on the horse and ride. That’s what I need to do. I sit and stew too much sometimes. I end up worrying and not getting anything done. I need to stop that, and just do it. I can say the same thing about my walker usage. I’ve not done that for a long time. Fear of the unknown can play some nasty mind games if you let it, and I have been letting it. No more. It needs to stop.

Obviously, I needed to get some things out there. It helps to do that sometimes, even if it is just writing it down for myself (and those few people who read this).

So, yes, I did my mile, and it went well today. My foot is still achy, so I’m not sure what I’ll do tomorrow. I’ll probably take tomorrow off and used my bean bag heating pads. And yes, I will write tomorrow. I will write like the wind. I’m still looking for that “off” switch for my mind.

Here’s the picture of the day from the Virtual Walk site. Mile 255.4

255.4

 

Copyright 2006 Lawrence Berkeley Lab

Didn’t mean to babble, but it happens sometimes.

Broke 100

Yep, it happened. We broke 100 degrees today. I just checked (at 2:15 PM), and it says it’s 103. So, yes, the 100 degree mark has been broken for the year. It may have broken yesterday, but the highest I saw was 99. And I said the other day they were predicting a high of 75 or something like that for the weekend. It’s now up to 80. Not bad, but I’ll believe it when it doesn’t get over 80.

I took the last couple of days off. There’s a muscle in my left foot that’s annoying me. It runs along the inner side on the foot and wraps around to the top of the foot by the big toe. Feels like a muscle knot. How does a muscle in the foot have enough room to form a knot? Feels a bit better today, so I did 1 mile on the elliptical.

Muscle knots are a big pain, literally and figuratively. I get muscle knots in my lower legs. Some days they’re OK to exercise through, others they hurt way too much. Runners often deal with this issue, and there’s a product out on the market, that flabbergasts me to help deal with knots. It’s called “The Stick”. And that’s just what it is, a stick. Are you kidding me? The price of the Stick? Anywhere from $25 to 50$. Seriously? Just use a rolling pin or part of an old curtain rod. It will do the same thing. That’s what a lot of people in the runner’s forum (a place I found when I was looking to relieve the knot) have said. I have part of an old curtain rod, and I used it. It works pretty well on the leg knots. I won’t be paying $30 or more for a stick.

That’s my opinion for the day. On to the picture of the day. I’m passing through Vesvius, VA, and am now on my way toward Lexington. I think I’ve got about 17 miles until I hit Lexington.

Mile 254.4

254.4

 

Copyright 2006 Lawrence Berkeley Lab

Looks like there’s not much to see in Vesvius. Pretty mountain. I was hoping to see more cars or some people.

Stay cool everyone. I’ll be chugging water like crazy.