Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Exercise log revived and a thank you

At various times I have used my blog as a way to track my physical progress. As a matter of fact my first few blog entries were about my effort to start jogging again because I was making some progress with physical therapy. Those entries were lost when I crashed the first few weeks of my first effort at keeping a blog. Probably just as well that I lost those initial posts because I crashed physically too and realized that jogging was unlikely to be in the cards for me any longer.
I modified my goals and focused on walking as much as possible and tried to increase distance not speed. I also started going on photo walks. I enjoyed taking pictures and stopping to take shots of my surroundings slowed down the speed so that it was more manageable for me than longer non stop walks. I adjusted goals many different times. I finally settled on a moderate goal of walking at least every other day. Somewhere in there I gave up. I realized that physically I feel better when I am not very active. For many months, the only time I walk is on weekends with Bill. Recently it has dawned on me that although I may feel slightly better physically when I am not pushing myself to be as active as possible, the negative part is that mentally it has sent me downhill in a bad way. Not a fast downward spiral but a mild depression which isn't fun for me.
I came up with a new goal recently. Rather than trying to start a new exercise log with the goal of doing more, farther, faster, or any goals which measure progress by more or better, I decided to try and walk around the block every day and that's it (except for my longer weekend walks with Bill). There is a mile walk around the block from my house so that goal involved only walking one mile. On rainy days I came up with an alternate mild form of exercise. The first day it was raining so I did the alternate. The second day I walked the mile block. The third day I walked the mile block. Yesterday was the fourth day and I walked with my friend and her dog Mia (photo of Mia above) for over two miles. After she and Mia drove off, I walked back down the trail to take pictures and ended up adding another slow mile. Today, I walked close to three miles, stopping a few times to take pictures, but walking pretty fast for me most of the time.My personality is probably my biggest hindrance to coming up with a sustainable form of regular exercise. In the past, prior to melanoma and the health problems following my lymph node dissection, I was always able to do well once I set my mind to becoming more fit physically. I love walking and enjoyed jogging and slow runs when I was able to do that. I enjoyed swimming before my rotator cuff issues. The problem now is more is less helpful not more helpful and I'm not good at less. Being something of an all or nothing person has meant recently that I end up with close to nothing since all is too much. I only mean that I end up with nothing in the limited context of being physically active. I have so much in my life that is good (family, friends, wildlife, flowers, etc.). I am also able to enjoy walks and slow hikes on the weekends with Bill so I'm not suggesting that I'm close to being an invalid. My mother had a stroke near the end of her life and was paralyzed so I know the difference between my situation and a terrible situation. I'm comparing myself to myself when I say all or nothing.
I thought I would write an exercise log post today in the hopes that I could think through some of the issues and later look back on it, hopefully as a turning point. This time the turning point is not to rev up some new goals but instead to try to be like the tortoise and find that slowly but surely pace. The reason I'm thinking about it was today when I got home from my walk I felt like I was going to explode. My face was beet red and it was barely above freezing outside so it wasn't the heat. My ribs hurt. My back hurt. I felt defeated and I'm only a week into my latest effort. Then it dawned on me that after two days in a row of the short doable walk, I had two days in a row of walking three miles. Although sometimes Bill and I walk that far on our slow weekend walks, that's the only time I've been walking for months. It was a big increase to walk 4 days in a row with two of the days being a fair distance. Here's where I have to work hard not to think about before. Before being when I walked 5 miles almost every day and gradually started jogging that same distance. Before being, before cancer. I don't have active cancer but my life changed and I have issues which make before irrelevant. It goes beyond not comparing myself to before. The problem is me and my personality. I have a lot of trouble with the slow, consistent steps being progress. I have trouble with progress meaning doing the same things without falling backwards. Who knows, maybe this old dog can learn that less is more if less is sustainable.I thought I would end this post on a much more cheerful note. Napaboaniya passed on the You Cheer Me Up award to me. I enjoy visiting her blog during the photomemes and she cheered me up with this fun badge. Perhaps I will be able to incorporate Lucy into my mental imagery without falling on my face. I spent many happy times as a child laughing my head off while watching I love Lucy reruns on our black and white TV. I was born in 1957 which was the last season of the original show but that show continued with one hour specials for another 3 years. The Lucy Show started when I started elementary school. Somewhere in there Lucy switched to color as did our TV. I graduated from High School during the last season of Lucille Ball's third TV show, Here's Lucy. You could say I grew up with Lucy, of course that's assuming that I've grown up. Perhaps if I can get a handle on my all or nothing personality I will truly join the adult world. Then again, maybe not. Sometimes I think growing up is overrated.


Dee said...

Hi Carver,
How about a different form of exercise? I used to run and my knee makes that hard to do, so I walk now. But maybe if you switched up your routine so that you do yoga or tai chi or something? I think I read somewhere once that yoga does get you a decent level of cardiovascular fitness, too. And, it gets you pretty flexible - so that you might be able to measure improvement in terms of whether or not you touch or toes. Or something.

Christy Woolum said...

I am impressed with your goals. I also love I Love Lucy and the scene on your blog post is one of my favorite. I have watched reruns for many, many years.

jmb said...

Sounds like you are pushing it a bit Carver. Take it easy and increase the distance slowly. That's a big block.

Don't give up your photo walks for the photos are lovely to look at for your readers.
Take care of yourself.

MaR said...

I wonder if you felt like you were to explode all of a sudden when you got home or if you felt already tired during your walk... Take it easy, Carver, your walks sound great and your shots are always wonderful!!

Jen said...

You deserve that award!! Good for you for at least getting up and trying to exercise. Small goals, that's what I say. BEAUTIFUL photos! My favorite was of course the first one as yellow is my favorite color! Relax and don't push yourself too hard. Small steps, small steps! Have a great week!

Anonymous said...

Great photos, Carver!
I must, of course, remark that Mia is a beauty. How lucy you were to have her along for your walk. I bet she really enjoyed it, too.
I like Dee's suggestion for yoga...really. It is quite challenging, which was a big surprise for me. There are a bunch of beginner classes out there. I understand the 'all or nothing' thing all too well, so how come I can give you advice about beginner anything?
Because you are my friend, that's how come. : )
Seriously though, if you join something and pay the moolah, maybe you will be likely to stick with it for a month and then it will become a habit. Or...don't you have a membership at the YMCA that you are paying for already? Do they have yoga classes? Ooops, ignore advice about paying for classes as you are already paying for the 'Y'.
(I give terrible advice.)
(But you should take some gentle yoga classes.)
I just hate that you have so much pain in your life.
Love, K.

Vitameatavegamin contains vitamins, meat, megetables and vinerals. So why don't you join the thousands of happy peppy people and get a great big bottle of Vitaveatyvemeanyminimoe. I'll tell you what you have to do. You have to take a whole tablespoonful after every meal. It's so tasty too. It's just like candy.
-Lucy Ricardo

Carver said...

Hi Dee, I think trying something different to mix it up is a good idea.

Hi Inland Empire Girl, I remember that I love Lucy scene on the badge too. She was a riot.

Hi JMB, That's a good idea to increase distance slowly. I feel a little better today about not giving up but trying something sensible.

Hi Mar, I think it probably was that I was already tired before I even turned around yesterday. I need to remember that the last half of my walk, however far I go, is always uphill (literally) if I start from my house.

Hi Jen, You are right about small steps. That's the new trick I need to learn.

Hey Kim, Great Lucy quote. It was fun having Mia along and she was sweet enough to pose for me. She actually seemed to enjoy having her picture taken. I finally dropped my Y membership after all these years. The community/arts center near me has classes I could take which probably would be more motivating, if I paid for an individual class.

SabineM said...

Go Carver!! I am proud of you! Just take it slower a bit, and build up! I know we tend to go crazy with excitement and then we tapper off or stop after we get hurt or over do it!
Just build up instead of the other way around! WISH I could go with you! I LOVE WALKS!!!!
Take Care! sending {{hugs}}

Carver said...

Thanks Sabine. I wish we could walk together too. I know you are right about building up slowly. I'm going to try hard to do that and not let myself get discouraged.

Barbara said...

You are doing really well to walk several miles, don't push yourself too hard though, keep going on the walks so I can see the lovely photos you take! I remember watching I Love Lucy many years ago, it always made me laugh. Good therapy!

Anonymous said...

WoW..some very beautifully captured shots & lovely reading your description!

Carver said...

Thanks Starnitesky, I appreciate that and I think laugh therapy is great. Probably why shows like Lucy's keep coming back in re-runs.

Thanks Flyingstars, I appreciate your comment.