Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Getting back to it.

Toe surgery in April, finally able to do some walking without immediate discomfort in May, and by the end of June I was able to successfully put on my toe socks. However, along the way I was in the dumps that I couldn't workout or do much.  I tried doing some yoga, but that pulled on the stitches and the sore toe.  It took a while for me to even be able to put a running shoe on and then even longer before it felt comfortable to wear.  I could go to the gym and workout the rest of the body without being able to wear shoes. I had someone ask me why I wasn't swimming---um, stitches, and such couldn't swim like that and after stitches were out the doc said to still be careful about things for a week or two.

I was lamenting this to my yoga instructor last week, who broke her arm earlier this year. I was like, "you were such a stud about it, coming back to teach a week after you broke your arm and I was just hanging out on the couch after a simple toe surgery for melanoma".   

She said an incredibly insightful thing.  People were really concerned about her getting back to doing things with a broken arm and they think something broken is so horrible, and that I was having people think that having a surgery wasn't necessarily a big deal, but every surgery, every blockage in our path is something we have to work with and no two injuries are the same!  Also, that I also needed to wrap my head around the part that I had surgery on the part of my body that holds up my weight, Quirky! Oh, TA DA! Light bulb moment!  Right. Even after surgery, even in July and August, I am still flexing my foot as I sit on the couch or chair or wherever, so that I can keep stretching the skin that was pulled tight to make up for the inch of skin I lost. Every moment I'm still trying to find something to get me back to where I was and I can never go back to where I was, I can only go forward from where I am
I was SO excited the end of June was I *finally* able to put on my toe sock. It was still tight on that toe, but I was able to get it on and that's what counted. 

Then I went for a run and my lungs just were not happy with me. I felt like I had lost so much fitness level in the three months since surgery and that I was never going to get it back. BUT it turned out that I was coming down with some kind of ickies and that the lung capacity may have been reduced by that. 

In July I really just focused more on stretching, and getting to the gym to do weights. The gym we go to is a company one where The Mike works.  It's usually empty of people, or maybe one or two people there, unless you're there at 4:30pm.  It's nice to have a place to yourself and not worry about other people watching you, but it also means that we don't have a lot of machines.  Treadmills, ellipticals, one bike, one row machine, free weights, and a few weight machines, stability balls and weight balls. That's it.

My routine will focus on: 
Leg press/sled; 
leg extension/curls;
bench press weight bar; 
lateral pull downs; and 
row machine.

I was only doing two sets of fifteen reps on each machine, and-except for the leg press- was really letting the body choose what weight to do.
Let's examine what to do incorrectly when going back to the gym: 

1. Think you can lift a good deal of what you use to be able to lift: 

Get to the gym to find some ding dong didn't take the 200# weight off the Leg Press.
(two 100# plates with no hand hold holes). 
What to do. What do do.  Okay, let's just drop one of the 100# weights and leg press 100# because hey, you use to be able to Leg Press 150# and it's been a while since you've been to the gym, but "come on, it'll be like old times". UGH. ---lifted too much and my inner thighs hurt for the next three days, which meant:  no gym for the next three days. 

I also wrote a note on paper towels to remind people to remove weights from the machines so someone else can use the machines. And, if it wasn't done, it wasn't going to be my fault if one of the weight plates broke if I moved it off the Leg Press machine!  

Does there *really* need to be a (2) on this list? 

After getting the soreness out of the legs, I went back to the gym. 

1. Leg Press I started at 70# and that was quite well for me. Three reps of 15 each and after a few sessions, I included the calf workout on there too. 
2. Leg ext/curl 50#  3x15
3. Butterfly 40# 2x15
4. Lateral Pulldown 50# 2x15
5. Weight bar for chest press 3x10 
6. Crunches 2x10 straight, then to the sides. 
7. Row machine. 3 minutes (gasp, I recall when I did 10 minutes, but NO. I'm not going there. I am going forward from where I AM, not where I was). 

The first day back after that sore time, somebody put the big weights on the leg press *again*.  So I made another note.  I don't know who it is that's pressing 200# on the legs, but you'd think that person would be able to lift them off afterwards too!  

This first day back there was an older, retired couple in there on the treadmills. The woman told the man that I was on the leg press and he came over to ask me questions.  I told him how to release the sled, how to stop it, put weights on it, etc. Then I asked him if he wanted to try it while I was there (so I could supervise him if anything went wrong).  "No," he said, he didn't "want to embarrass" himself.  So cute, but so sad too.  I realize it's an age thing, a male thing, and a pride thing.    He did tell me the following week that he was on it and was doing good, at 50# and asked how much I was doing, seemed sad that I was doing 70#. I reminded him that I have been a runner, and he reminded himself that he is about 60 and has not done a lot in the way of fitness in too many years.  I said, 'you're here now and that's what counts!'.  

After several sessions of going to the gym doing these, I get to the gym one day and there's another guy using the weights. Great, I'm thinking, I'm going to have to share!  Turns out it also threw me off. I was trying to do my game, and then on the leg extension I was really struggling with the last set.  It wasn't until I went over to write down what I had done that I realized I had done 3 sets of 15 reps instead of 2 sets!  Progress! and no wonder I was struggling on those last ones!

Progress, wherever it is, embrace it with where you just were and know that it will take you to where you want to be!   


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