Category Archives: Random stuff

Not adventures :)

Yard work and cardio

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Yard work and cardio
Yard work and cardio… that counts as weights, right?
Early… June?  I think?  Maybe late May?  Aww man… I’m bad at dates…
Even if yard work doesn’t count as weights, I can take the claim that I’ve started weight training again: After my physical therapist cleared me on Thursday, I was practicing deadlifts, clean and jerk, and snatch lifts at the gym on Sunday.  Granted, it was just with the bar… but still.  a 45lb bar is a heck of a lot better than not doing the lifts at all.
I started in with the lifting after I got to Evolution – everything I’ve read says that it’s safer to do weights before cardio, so I’ve been sticking with that tactic for now.  They went pretty well… like I mentioned, I didn’t put any plates on the bar, even for the deadlifts, since this was more of a “remind my body how to move, and how to react to weighted movements” exercise.
And my body reacted well!  Really well – I felt some twingy pain through the leg motions, but nothing that I haven’t learned to expect.  It wasn’t damaging pain, instead it was more where my body was remembering how to move, and the joints were being reminded how to carry the load that they’re designed for.
Slowly but surely, right? The theme that stayed true for the rest of the workout, and the rest of the day worth of yard work.
The cardio was at altitude, because working out in an altitude room is cool.  Also, the cheapest place to get access to all the machines I want.  But let’s stick with cool… because how many people can say that they spent 45min alternating between jogging and walking at 14,200ft?
Okay, probably a lot.  But still.  Not many Portlandians.
Then, I started into the real training: Cleaning.
Cleaning the garage – Not something you’d think of as working out, but after having a broken leg I can promise you that this wasn’t an easy task.  Honestly, it was really good training.  Constant motion, bending, kneeling, moving and carrying.  Lots of rearranging and sweeping and clearing and dragging; all things that shouldn’t be particularly difficult… but require strength and balance and dexterity.  Which are exactly what I’m working on right now.

Bill and Greta visit Hood River!

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Bill and Greta visit Hood River!
May 19, 21 & 21st, 2017
Sarah’s parents came to visit this weekend!
I didn’t have surgery on Thursday, either!  So… two pretty awesome things, right?
When Bill and Greta first mentioned that they were coming out, we weren’t quite sure as to the surgery… everything was still in the air, and all we knew was that my ACL was damaged, and that I’d probably be all kinds of drugged up when they got here.  When we pushed the surgery back, and I was able to walk, it opened up a whole new world of possibilities for us.
Which, obviously, start with a good breakfast.
On Friday, we were in Portland.
Wait, that’s not the beginning.  The beginning happens on Thursday evening, when Sarah, Ollie and I arrived to the airport late (technically early, but they’d gotten an earlier flight.  So now late.  But was early.  But still late), and had an adventure trying to find our way through the rental lot.  It honestly went pretty well, and seeing Ollie freak out over seeing Bill and Greta was definitely worth the stress and challenges of tracking them down.
Then home, a quick nightcap, and sleeping.
So that we could wake up… and have a good breakfast!  At our favorite dog-friendly spot called Tin Shed; we ate probably a bit too much, and Ollie was even given like… five pieces of bacon, over all.  Which makes for a pretty good day in Ollie-land.
Then; Cannon beach.  It wasn’t my first visit since the accident, so I knew that I’d be able to safely walk on the sand; but it was still a nice workout for me.  Everyone else seemed to have a pretty solid time as well; we walked close to 5 miles on that sand, back and forth and around through the waves.
The evening took a classy turn with dinner, taking a nice change in pace from having sandy beach food for lunch to getting dressed up and having a fancy dinner at a restaurant overlooking the Columbia River.
Saturday started with a good breakfast too, but this time we made it ourselves, as a way to start the morning off slowly before doing… even more walking!  Specifically, two trails across the river on the Washington side, called Catherine Creek and Coyote Wall.
Catherine Creek turned out to be a bit of an easy stroll… in fact, it was fully paved and barely over a mile long.  It was pretty though, and gave us some amazing views and photo ops, which made up for the less-than-extreme workout that we got.  Coyote wall, on the other hand, kicked us back after just under a mile.  It was noticeably more intense, and a lot more rugged, and had some pretty significant elevation gain… at least for someone just learning how to walk again.  I mean, Ollie could have sprinted it in roughly 20min, if we’d let her, but…
Since it had gotten pretty hot by then, we made a bee-line for the waterfront.  We’d made plans for dinner with Sarah’s cousins, but still had a few hours to kill before we were slated to be at their house… so we relaxed.  Had some pizza, walked along the water, watched a wind surfing competition (Hood River, right?), and even took a quick nap at the house.
Then Enchiladas!  Enchiladas for dinner, with Quesadilla and salsa and beers, hanging out with Jeff & Maggie and family.  Even got a game of Gubs, in… which is clearly the key part to any evening.
Sunday!  A slightly sad day, since it’s the last one that Bill and Greta would be in town, but we made do by having a pretty excellent day of adventure and sightseeing.
And by sightseeing, I obviously mean more walking around, and a trip down to Parkdale to eat pulled pork and get amazing views of the mountains!
Walking around was a hike down Indian Creek trail – I thought I’d been down to the end of it, but Sarah led us down a turn I hadn’t noticed before, which led to a whole new leg of the trail!  Then out to Apple Valley BBQ, another place I hadn’t been to before… do you ever notice that you never really explore your home town, until people come to visit?  It’s kind of crazy, but also makes a bit of sense.  Especially this time: this would be the last time Bill and Greta would visit us in Hood River (probably, since my contract is almost up), so we had to get all the adventure in now, while we could.
The rest of the evenings was relaxation O’clock – Halibut steaks on the grill, watching Moana, and stretching out on the back porch while the sun lasted.

Adventures without a leg

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Adventures without a leg

March & April, 2017

 

 

As the other posts may have mentioned, I broke my leg.

 

I didn’t tear my ACL… but I did break the bone around it, and stretched the ACL enough that it can’t support me anymore. We think, at least. The surgeons and physical therapists, all four of them, still aren’t sure. So I may need surgery, or I may not. We’re not sure.

What I am sure of, is that this is another learning experience.

I broke my arm and tore my tendon back at the very end of 2009. I wasn’t able to climb again until May of 2010, and I wasn’t back at reasonable strength until July or so. This time, it looks to be an even longer recovery; 7 months post-surgery is an optimistic outlook… and I still don’t even have a scheduled date for a surgery.

 

So I’m taking it slow; slowing myself and my expectations down to match my new reality.

Sarah’s doing the same; she’s slowing down her expectations for our coming year, and tempering her own goals now that her partner can’t support her through those goals (belaying through Smith and Vantage, climbing Hood and Reiner, learning to AT ski).

 

It’s been really hard, but I’m making progress and slowly bringing myself back up to my natural mental state. Finding the ways to do that has been a challenge, but it’s also reconnecting me with some of my old self.

I’ve picked up some old video games that I’ve been meaning to play, and I finally got the time to read that new Neil Gaiman novel that came out a while back. I’ve got a backlog for both too; a few games that I want to play or replay, and two other books that I’ve been meaning to read. It’s good to remember the other things that make me happy, aside from adventures and outdoor exploits.

 

But it’s still hard. Carrying things wasn’t really an option for a long time. I had to either ask for help, or use a wheelchair if I wanted to bring anything not in a container from one spot to another. It took cooking away from me, and it complicated even having coffee or tea at work, by requiring a special thermos that could seal well. If I forgot it at home… well, time to ask a coworker to carry my coffee the 15ft to my desk.

So. This isn’t supposed to be a doom and gloom post. Instead, it’s positive! Or… at least neutral. So how do we get back to positive? That’s been the challenge.

 

First; I’ve thrown myself into Physical Therapy. I do as much of it as I can, within bounds of what the PT recommends. I honestly could do more… and half the time I feel like I’m slacking off, but I’ve noticed a huge improvement. Sticking to the simple motions that I’m prescribed helps – I’m slowly building confidence, while making sure I don’t hurt myself more. I’m also focusing on working the muscles that I can work safely; upper body machines, arm bikes, really anything that doesn’t engage the legs.

Second; Sedentary activities. It sucks, and it’s kind of the antithesis to who I’ve been in the last year or two, but I’m enjoying video games and books. I used to love them; in Cambridge, I’d generally carve two days a week out to just relax, eat something fun, and game. Probably why I’m not in the excellent shape that my activity level would normally give… but it’s definitely why I’m sane. So, it’s a good trade.

Lastly; Forcing myself to keep doing things. I can’t do a lot, but what I can do… well, I do that as much as I can. Now that I can hobble with one crutch, I’m cooking a lot more – I’ve even started grilling again. I’m also doing dishes, and taking back some of the chore load that Sarah’s been shouldering. Normally, chores are just that – a chore. But when I haven’t been able to do them in two months… you know, they’re not the worst thing.

 

And as an extra, I’m focusing more on meditation. I’ve been reading happy poems, tying back to the meditation practices that I had before, and finding quiet places where I can. Having both of us tied to a single car has cut down on my alone time significantly (work does not even remotely count), so being able to unplug every once in a while has been a major source of relaxation for me.

 

Staying positive and staying active is the name of the game. We’ll see how it goes from here.