Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ice, Lots of It

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Apparently even Mother Nature wants to send us off in style because she set about with a spectacular display a couple of nights ago. Unfortunately, we live in an area that seldom gets cold weather precipitation unless it's in the form of ice. Not snow. Ice. All I could think as it got colder and colder and the trees became more and more laden with ice was, "Two more weeks to warm weather." :) Though the move is tugging at my heartstrings in many other ways, the change in weather is certainly something I'm looking forward to.

In light of our hopefully never having to brave another icestorm, I at least got out and earned some frozen toes getting some pics. I hope you enjoy them.
Abbie thought the cold stuff was great! She was actually more playful than I think I've ever seen her.
Here's the courthouse where we're living now. Unfortunately, this picture just doesn't do justice to the sparkle.

One of the docs with whom I work is the son of the "son." This place is an icon of Southern small town life. Kind of like Wynn Dixie in Because of Wynn Dixie (which, btw, is where I'll be shopping in Florida).
Another Southern cold Coca-Cola. HA! I couldn't resist. Get it?

The neighbor's back yard was pretty awesome, too.

Double 16kg C&P/Bent Row 5 ladders of 3 with 30 sec b/w rungs and 2 min b/w ladders.
Double 16kg squat 5 ladders of 2 with same rest scheme.
5 rounds of 30sec snatch R, 30 sec snatch L, 30 sec rest.
The swing/squat thrust ladder for time which actually wasn't very good.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

So Simple

Saturday, January 24, 2009
Work 6p-8a--158.5#
It is simple, really. A hunk of iron molded into an elementary shape. It has neither a mind nor a will of its own, neither heart nor flesh. It is not magical or mystical. Having no pride, its finish, marred by chips and rust, causes it no strife. It is the very definition of insentient.

I stand over it, my mind an endless stream of worries, my heart full of fear and doubt. Where I cannot focus my thoughts or efforts, it begins to pull them together for a purpose. With a cleansing breath, I reach for it and by necessity all other thoughts begin to fade away. With each swing or snatch, clean or press or squat, it becomes my counselor. I cannot lock in the shoulder, ground my feet, snap my hips without focusing on that little piece of iron and the way my body interacts with it. Where there is focus, there is no worry, doubt or fear. It pulls at my grip, and I let go of the worries. It fails to settle smoothly and gently at the top of a snatch, and I give up my nagging doubts. Rock bottom pushes any fears from the crevices of my mind as it forces me to think only to pressurize and go up. It demands to be the center of my attention and in return gives me clarity of mind.

For this gift alone I would be eternally grateful, but as the worries fade away, I open myself up to lessons, and it becomes a cold and heartless teacher. My lungs begin to burn. My muscles quiver. My hands hurt and I am spent, but the plan was for more, so it somehow beckons me to do more. It taunts me in its simplicity. It is a small ball with a handle. Surely thirty more seconds cannot be that long. And it teaches me to persevere. It teaches me to push past what I think might be pain. It teaches me pain is an attitude. It teaches me that I can, that my barriers are self-imposed, that things are not always as they appear, that an hour can pass in the blink of an eye and ten minutes can be a lifetime, that simple acts do not always yield simple results. With every swing or snatch, with every move, it teaches.

Then, when I stand sweat-laden and spent, having let it drop heavily to the ground, it remains quiet, inanimate, uncaring. Hands on my hips, mind focused, I take a cleansing breath and think about my lesson and a simple, molded hunk of iron.

Double 16kg C&P/Bent Row 5 3-rung ladders.
Double 16kg Squat 5 2-rung ladders.
4 minutes of continuous 16 kg swings.

YESTERDAY'S WORKOUT: VO2 Max workout 12kg for 50 sets (25 minutes). Consistently got 7 reps, occasionally got 8.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Damage Control

Thursday, January 22, 2009
Work 6p-8a--160.5#

All things considered, I really shouldn't be disappointed that my weight this morning was 4 pounds higher than it was when we left for Florida 10 days ago. Though I kept my workouts going, I ate everything that didn't threaten to eat me first, and that "everything" was a bunch of junk. I would not have been surprised to see 165 on the scale, honestly. I would really like to understand why I gain weight so unbelievably easily and have such a difficult time losing it. Regardless, I do, so I might as well just deal with it. As we approach the time to make the move, I am having increasingly frequent spaz-out spells, and my biggest concern is "dealing" with it in such a way as not to gain any further weight. Ideally, I'd like to at least get back to 157# before we leave, but not gaining any more weight will do.

WORKOUT: 5 4-rung ladders of pullups assisted with the green band and pushups.
4 2-rung ladders of assisted pull-ups
20kg tgu's 1/1 x 4
20kg tabata swings

Until today, I was feeling pretty good about those pullups. On that first rung of the first ladder I decided to see how far I could get without a band. I just knew I'd get about half-way--yeah, bout half way of an inch. GD! I'm such a puss! And as strong as my pushups felt last week, they suck now. I feel like I'm just beating my head against a wall.

YESTERDAY'S WORKOUT: We had stopped in Birmingham on the way home because we were both just too worn out to keep going. Instead of digging the ice-cold bells out of the back of the truck, I decided to get on the treadmill and see what my time for a mile would be. Turns out it's 11.5 minutes (yeah, I'm built for distance, not for speed). I'd like to see this get down to 9 minutes by July. I spent the rest of 30 minutes on the elliptical machine set to random.

TUESDAY'S WORKOUT: None, headed out from FL for TN.

MONDAY'S WORKOUT: 5 3-rung ladders of 16kg C&P/alternated with double bent rows.
5 2-rung ladders of double 16kg squats.
5 rounds of 30 sec 16kg snatches R, 30 sec snatches L, 30 sec rest.
This workout SUCKED. I had to work like hell to get it done.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Random Thoughts

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I saw a homeless gentleman digging through the trash a couple days ago. When he finished, he turned and, noticing a stray piece of paper--not one he had let get away--picked it up, and put it in its proper place. Then he slowly walked away. Somehow, this gesture touched me deeply.

Friends come from some of the most unexpected places.

In many ways, rest builds as much strength as work--each in the proper proportions.

Everything is about perspective. Change the way you look at it.

Sprinting benefits from total body tension much the way kettlebell exercises do. Finally, today, playing with Abbie, that clicked, and sprints felt good instead of awkward.

WORKOUT: None today. Scheduled off day.

5 4-rung ladders of pushups alternated with double 16kg bent rows since I was away from home and I don't have my pullup bar.

4 2-rung ladders of assisted pistols

20kg TGU's 1/1 x 3

20kg Tabata swings

FRIDAY'S WORKOUT: 5 sets of Double 16kg swing x 10, sprint 40 yards, burpees x 5, jog 40 yards, rest.
Then did a 10 min run. I've decided that part of the Jennifer Physical Fitness Test is going to be a 9 minute mile.

For whatever reason, my workouts are feeling much stronger down here. I'm not sure if it's the added carbohydrates from my eating like crap or if it's the lack of work. Regardless, it feels good.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Trying to Avoid Self-Sabotage

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Over the last 6 weeks or so, I find myself fighting more to stay on track. The Christmas treats at work and I went rounds on several occasions with the fight ending in a split decision in my favor. My last night at work just turned into a flat binge-fest, though. At one point in the shift, I was just eating everything I could find that didn't offer to eat me first. It's been a long time since I've lost it like that.

I've continued my workouts and I am proud of that, but somehow they seem lack-luster. I don't feel that jolt afterward of which I am so fond--endorphin rush maybe?--though I know I am pushing things as well as I need to. I am making slow progress in strength and conditioning, and doing so without injury is all I can really ask for.

I think these problems stem mostly from stress though I honestly feel like a big puss for saying it. Lots of smaller things and a couple of larger ones are piling up, and I feel the weight of them more often than not. I have a patient who has become a friend about whom I worry pretty much all the time. Though I am working to help this person change the situation that causes the majority of the problems, progress is slow and difficult, and in the meantime, people suffer. There are baby showers to be planned and projects to be started. My uncle is back in the hospital with infection after his kidney surgery for cancer. Daddy goes for his heart cath to unstop the blockages that were found in the last one on the 29th. If they can't stent them, he will go for bypass that same day. And there's the ever-present stress of whether his kidneys will tolerate the contrast. The younger of my two brothers is going through some family strife that breaks my heart and for which there is little fix. And then there's the move...

We are officially less than a month away from picking up and starting anew. In many ways, this is exciting, but I can't help but be a little afraid. Above and beyond living 700 miles from my genetic family. I'll leave behind the people I work with now who have become family in their own rite, people on whom I depend to vent my frustrations and temper my moods. When I go to work, I get hugs as we get there and hugs as we leave. I trust my nurses' judgement, and they trust mine. The community trusts me, and I enjoy knowing the people that I care for. I worry that somehow I won't measure up for these people in my new workplace. Medicine is, after all, practiced just a little bit differently in different areas of the country. What if the people I work with aren't very nice? Or worse, if they're stupid? Or even worse, if they think I'm stupid?! I suppose I need not belabor the point, but I worry. I really do.

On top of this, our whole basis for moving down here may be in jeopardy. I've recently found out that I have a patent foramen ovale. For the most part, this is no big deal (although it might very well be part of the reason I have such frequent migraines), but for a technical diver it can be a very big deal. When a person dives, she builds up nitrogen, or helium if she's using trimix, in her body. As she comes to the surface, this nitrogen or helium absorbs into the blood and is slowly "off-gassed." Come to the surface slowly, do some decompression stops if she needs to, no big deal. However, as this happens, there are tiny bubbles that form in the blood. Research is even showing that there are more bubbles than they had originally thought. But the body absorbs them or they go to the lungs and are dissipated. When a person has a patent foramen ovale, though, some of those bubbles can sneak over into the blood that is in the left side of the heart. Sometimes this is no big deal. Sometimes this can cause a stroke. Big, fat, hairy deal. So we are in the process of figuring out numbers and risk percentages for decompression sickness in divers with patent foramena. Then we have to decide if those are acceptable risks. Then there's the possibility of closure by heart cath--which might also fix my migraines (which is a WONDERFUL thing to think about) but take me out of workouts for about 6 weeks. While knowing this now is definitely better than finding it out after I took a major hit, the decision making process surrounding it is no fun at all. Nor is the fact that my technical and cave diving career might have just ended before it began.

Though not as bad as I once was, I am still an emotional eater, so the stress leads to my having less resolve as I make meal decisions and to my having some wicked cravings. This doesn't even begin to address what I think is an already significant cortisol issue. I am working very hard at trying not to let the stress eat at me which results in my giving in to the weaknesses. I really do NOT want to undo all the good I have done in the last 2 years.

YESTERDAY'S WORKOUT: 40 rounds (20 minutes) of 12kg vo2 max protocol/15 sec on-15 sec off.

TUESDAY'S WORKOUT: None...on the road to Fl.

MONDAY'S WORKOUT: 5 4-rung ladders of pull-ups assisted with the green band and push ups. 30 sec b/w rungs and 2 min b/w ladders.
During the 2 min b/w ladders, I did 4 2-rung ladders of assisted pistols. My left knee sounds HORRIBLE when I do this, but I'm not having any pain with it.
Then...20kg TGU's 1/side for 3 rounds. this is the second time I've been able to do three rounds. Just 3 or 4 weeks ago, I was struggling just to get 1,so I'm feeling good about this.

20 squat thrusts, 5 swings
18 squat thrusts, 10 swings...down to 2 squat thrusts and 50 swings.
Took a little longer than the last time at a little over 19 minutes.
Yesterday I did my workout in the 30 degree morning air, and the hubby and I took off for the park to catch the fog. We had a nice walk and got the pictures below.

Because the water in the north central Florida springs is a warm 72 degrees year-round, when temperatures drop at night, a dramatic fog forms over the water. One of my major objectives for this trip was to catch some pics of that fog. These 2 pics are of Ichetucknee Springs, the headwaters to the Ichetucknee River.
The path to the canoe and tube put-in.
We got to the canoe put-in just as a gentleman was lining up canoes for a group to take down the river. It was rather fortunate, really.

We came across these little jewels covered in frost on the boardwalk. I've never seen pink maple seeds like this, but they were fantastic--obviously. The frost covering was just a bonus.
On the way back, the frost was gone.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Pondering Goals

Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Work 6p-8a

As is all too common this time of year, I have been pondering my goals. They come in many shapes and forms and span the breadth of my life from work to home and all parts in between and around. I have lived my life in the ever-present shadow of some goal or another and after residency found myself a little lost as this flat, expansive future lay before me with no major obstacles to overcome. With my career goals accomplished, I began to focus on the fitness goals that had had to come second for so long. Many, though not all, of those goals have been reached, and to some degree, I find myself feeling complacent.

I've decided that inertia is a bitch and stagnation its companion. While neither 155# nor the physique and level of physical fitness I now sport is my goal, I no longer disgust myself and even occasionally look in the mirror or at pictures and think, "Thirty-five isn't all that bad after all." I can go and do as I please and outwork everybody I know. My blood pressure at the doctor yesterday was 92/46 the first time and 96/48 the second. And while I might not look like a goddess of health, I don't look like Buddha either. While this is a good thing, it seems to have taken away some of the urgency I felt this time last year, so my workouts don't seem to have that same umph, and my diet needs some tweaking. I am the victim of inertia, and as a result I have stagnated.

Having goals is not the difficult part. I can list goals ad nauseum, but I've discovered that they have little meaning and provide little motivation without a thorough examination of their reason for being--which can become a quagmire of thought. Saying that I want to be fit leads into the question of "why?" and, somewhat more importantly, "what is fit?" The answer to these questions is unique to each person who asks them, and I have been formulating my answers over the last several days.

Fitness for this somewhat paranoid farm girl translates to survivability. Not only is life more fun when body habitus, strength and endurance are not an issue, but physical stressors such as trauma and illness are more likely to be survived--and survived without lifelong disabililty--when the victim starts out in good physical condition. Fat people can't fly in medivac helicopters, and intubating someone who's neck is so damn big as to be nonexistent is a scary prospect. But survival goes beyond that for me to something much darker and probably a little pathologic. For me, the level of fitness I would like to acquire is the type of fitness that would make surviving the proverbial shit hitting the fan much more likely. If one day I am puttering along, Obama is assassinated and the world goes into instant udder pandemonium with riots, fires and all manner of violent chaos, I want to be able to do what I need to do to get the hell of dodge. Or if some sketchy character starts chasing me through the boatdocks of Jacksonville, I would like to feel confident that I can scale the fences and obstacles between me and safety... Yes, I know this is ludicrous and insane, but I continue to acknowledge and embrace my insanity by having these goals.

After defining these goals of fitness, they are best accomplished in small steps, so I've been thinking about what those steps need to be and how to measure progress toward them. A vague idea of a fitness assessment test is forming in my mind, and I will continue to hone this over the next few days. Right now it feels a lot like everyone else's basic fitness assessment with a timed run, pushups, pullups, maybe box jumps, burpees and snatches. I think I mostly I want to stick to bodyweight exercises and would really like to have an O-course to run. I'm struggling, though, with exactly what and how I want to do. Suggestions welcomed.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Do

Friday, January 2, 2008
Work 6p-8a--155#

I finally got my hair did, so I thought I'd post a pic. The first one I had my buddy take at his going away dinner this afternoon before work. I wasn't going to post it since it's just me and a little boring, but after seeing the one below it that Taylor snapped at the end of the night, I decided to go ahead in hopes of redeeming myself a little. :) I really have no idea what the deal is with my eyes in that last pic. That's Sandra and Corey there with me in the ER. That empty rack behind me to the right means finally things aren't going apeshit bananas. This pic is the first of the collection I'll be making of the folks I work with since I'm moving in February. I've not done that the last couple of places I worked, and in retrospect, I wish that I had.


Friday, January 2, 2009

A Little Reflection

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Strangely enough, the beginning of a new year not only leads me to look forward, but also back to what the passing year has brought. This time last year, I was looking forward to my trip to a photography class in Orange County, California, and as far as I knew, my life was about as rock steady as it could be. Little did I know, I would travel more in 2008 than I ever have, move not just once, but begin the process of moving again, and to a totally different state. I would accept a new job, add a few initials to the end of my name :), go through the most physically demanding thing I've ever encountered, jump out of a perfectly good plane, re-examine my role as a doctor, wife, daughter and friend, and generally just grow more as a person than I ever would have imagined. Overall, not a bad year.

Here is where I was roughly this time last year in a picture from that trip to California:
My weight in this picture was roughly 173 pounds. The earliest measurements I can find are from February 13th. Which was a measurement at the waist of 32.5," at the belly button of 37.75," and at the hips of 40." Before leaving on this trip, I bought my first pair of size 10 jeans in over 10 years. I was getting about 12 16kg TGU's per side in 10 minutes. I didn't have my pull-up bar, and push-ups were definitely still an arch-nemesis.

Here's my latest pic from December 29, 2008:
My weight today was 154.5 pounds. My measurements were 30.75" at the waist, 35.5" at the waist, 37.75" at the hips, 11.75" at the left biceps, 11.5" at the right biceps, and 21.5" on each thigh. I'm in size 8 jeans for the first time since college (graduated in '95). The last time I did high volume 16kg TGU's I did 10/side for time and did them in 13'13." I've gone from regularly using the green and purple bands to do pull-ups to just the green, and my push-ups have progressed to much better form if not to much higher numbers. Unfortunately, looking back, my measurements and weight have gone completely unchanged since August. To try to focus on the positive, this lack of change also means I have not gained weight or girth during that time.

All-in-all not a bad year. I would have liked to be able to say that I finally reached my ultimate goal of beautiful muscle definition and being able to pump out push-ups with comfort and do at least one bodyweight pull-up. But, honestly, I am pleased with where I am, and I am very hopeful about where I will be next year for this same process.

TODAY'S WORKOUT: (Tabata rope-jumping followed by 2 min of jogging) x 4