Sunday, January 31, 2010

It's Still Winter


It's been a great weekend. Nothing huge or earthshaking, just little homey fun things. We worked out and soaked in the jacuzzi after, then went to see 'Avatar'. It's a fun movie. Pretty to look at and a good story, even if a bit hackneyed. Then we did some grocery shopping. And by the time we got out of the store it was snowing!! We went home, got a fire going in the fireplace, opened a bottle of wine with our pesto pasta for dinner, and watched a really *bad* movie, 'My New Gun'. I do not recommend it (sorry sis).

One of the best things was a discovery I made when we went to the Rec Center yesterday morning. I've been having trouble with my right knee for about a year now. It really got painful when I was as TAC Summer School last summer. Something was going on in the small muscles around my knee that made it impossible for me to spring up from a bent knee position - which made it pretty hard to dance all week. Plus, if I drove for more than 10 minutes at a time I started getting all sorts of spasm pain around my knee and up and down my lower leg. Really annoying for the work I do, 'cause I *have* to drive!

So when I got back from summer school I went to a physical therapist. I felt it was mostly muscular, but couldn't figure out why it was happening, as there had been no injury to set it off. They were not very helpful with the cause of the problem (I have my own theories), but the various trigger point and other massage therapies, combined with lots of stretching on my own, helped resolve it for the most part. Not gone, but bearable. And I could dance again!

After that, I started going to the Rec Center with my husband about three days a week, jogging around their indoor track. I made sure to stretch a lot beforehand and after, and worked my way up to running over 3/5ths of a mile without a lot of pain. That may not sound like much to regular runners, but I was working my way up to a full mile, and planning to continue building the distance.

Well, in December work got waaaay busier, which kept me out of the gym more often than not. We went on vacation, and then I was sick for over a week when we got home. So when I finally got back to the gym and tried to run my usual distance, the knee seized up very painfully after two laps. I had to walk the rest of the mile just to get it moving normally without (much) pain. Well hmmm!!!

I figured I'd just have to work up to my previous distance again and stretch a lot more. Then this past week I heard a thing on NPR about running barefoot and how it seemed to be less stressful on the legs and feet. On Thursday two of the new guys at my dojo were wearing "barefoot" shoes and were very happy with them.

Anyway, upshot was, on Saturday I tried jogging toe first, as if running barefoot. I ran two laps pain-free, walked half, ran half, walked a quarter, ran half, and walked another quarter. NO PAIN! Whew! I could tell my lower calves were getting more of a work out (I can really feel them this morning!), but my knee was fine! No different after my run than before. And of course I made sure to stretch-stretch-stretch after.

I don't know how it's going to go, but that one experience has convinced me to at least try it again, and continue doing so unless I notice any negative effects. I really have to be in decent shape for this summer's dance exam. I cannot afford to have that much pain if I expect to do my best for two weeks of hard dancing. With people evaluating me constantly! This has given me some hope that it may not be total misery.

The snow has been great fun - even though so far all I've done is admire it from indoors and take pictures. I've been wishing for snow for weeks. I don't want winter to be quite over yet. So this is a good compromise. Kinda wet snow that doesn't seem to be sticking to the roads, but looks pretty on the landscape.

Lots of home chores to do today - laundry, cleaning, etc. But that's ok. It's been a good decompression weekend.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A New Decade

Happy New Year, all. Watch the film 'Food, Inc.'. Then do something about it. Grow your own food. Read food labels. Change how you eat. Support your local small farm food producers. Shop at the Farmer's Market, and eat seasonally.