Friday, May 23, 2008

Keep a-goin'

It's been a strange week of highs and lows. I started out still glowing from finishing the 5K, even as my left leg became weaker and more painful. When a bruise started to form on the back of my calf, it became clear that this was more than just a charley horse.

I consulted "Dr. Google" and checked off my symptoms.
  1. Sudden, painful onset
  2. Loss of strength
  3. Painful to the touch
  4. Visible bruising
Yup, I strained my calf. Not badly - but you know- badly enough. I had planned to take Monday and Tuesday off from the gym anyway. As it turned out, I couldn't have gotten from the car to the locker room without help. By Wednesday I was feeling some improvement, so I decided to take one more day of rest. I stayed home from work, walked around with Molly a little, and kept the leg wrapped and elevated.

By Thursday I was jonesing so bad for exercise that my skin was crawling. I was irritable at work, losing my temper at one point and slamming both fists on my desk - very melodramatic. I had had enough of frustration. At quitting time I drove right to Promatx. I did a little time on the bike and a little on the elliptical, but cardio was not what I was aching for. (and to be honest, they both hurt my leg a little.) I hit the weights and worked my legs and lower back as hard as I could stand. I was cautious of the injury, but rather than compensating with other muscles, I concentrated on maintaining good form and taking my time.

When I had finished my workout, I was a little lost. I had done all I intended to do, but I really wasn't ready to leave. I stood by the water fountain and looked out over the machines and the faces and the mirrors. I was so damn glad to be back. After a quick sauna, I checked the scale to see how much damage I had done on that front. As I suspected, I had gained two pounds which the meter confirmed was mostly fat. I don't think missing a couple of workouts did that, but filling the idle time with food did. To be honest, I was glad it wasn't worse.

I've been stuck at this weight and body fat % for weeks now. I keep fiddling around, changing this meal, increasing the intensity of that exercise. I'm going to dig out the blender and start making smoothies this weekend. Maybe that will help me to balance my diet a little better. Now it looks like it's going to be at least another week before I can run again. My plan is to spend that time building lean muscle mass in the weight room and learning about food without eating so much of it. I still want to do the July 4 10K here in Lexington, but it's looking more and more like a walk/run than a run/walk right now.

Tonight I had another great workout. I used the resistance bands to warm up for about fifteen minutes, then hit the weight room. Chest and upper back. I love when I finish an exercise and I can feel the muscles across my chest or between my shoulder blades. It's like something coming to life in there.

Slow and Steady. I've decided to take Aesop's Tortoise as my totem. He'll be up there in the corner of the page for a while. I know I'm not a hare. No amount of work will make me one. But patience, determination, and a tough hide will get me where I'm going just the same.

Author: by Frank L. Stanton (1857-1927)
If you strike a thorn or rose,
Keep a-goin'!
If it hails or if it snows,
Keep a-goin'!
'Taint no use to sit an' whine
When the fish ain't on your line;
Bait your hook an' keep a-tryin'--
Keep a-goin'!

When the weather kills your crop,
Keep a-goin'!
Though 'tis work to reach the top,
Keep a-goin'!
S'pose you're out o' ev'ry dime,
Gittin' broke ain't any crime;
Tell the world you're feelin' prime--
Keep a-goin'!

When it looks like all is up,
Keep a-goin'!
Drain the sweetness from the cup,
Keep a-goin'!
See the wild birds on the wing,
Hear the bells that sweetly ring,
When you feel like singin', sing--
Keep a-goin'!
I have no idea why I remembered this poem just now. Reading it again, I am struck by that last stanza. "Drain the sweetness from the cup," That's good stuff. That's American stuff.

Kind of makes a Fat Man feel like singing.


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