Back in the saddle…

I’ve had a nice, relaxing summer, but it’s time to get back to work.   No classes and no teaching load makes for a very spoiled me.

This fall, I’ve been asked to teach an assessment course for K-12 teachers in the graduate program for ODU’s teacher preparation folks.  Ha!

What do I know about K-12 assessment?  Nothing.  What do I know about assessment?  Enough to figure out K-12 assessment.  It’s actually pretty interesting because the text focuses on making the student a partner in the assessment process.  Too bad we don’t see that in higher education.

Did I mention the class is completely online?  After my hybrid course in the spring with 130 students, I vigorously agreed to teach 25 grad students online.  Piece of cake.   All I have to do is create the IDEAL online course.   Not so much cake.  Or a piece of it.

What I’m doing is basically taking one online class that is too “correspondence” and one online class that is trying to be a live class and make the perfect online class from the two.  Thank goodness I have 5 weeks to get this straight.  12 modules.  5 weeks.  I can put a pretty big dent in that.

Or so I thought.  It took me almost 3 hours this morning to make heads and tails of these two instructor’s syllabi.  I had to create my own calendar and move things around.  Fall break.  Thanksgiving.  Both must be considered when developing the content.

Thankfully, I have some content I can pull from each course so I’m not completely reinventing the wheel.  It’s more like I’m resanding the wheel to make it roll a little easier.  Easier said than done.  I’m averaging about 5-6 hours for each module.

Kevin took a picture of me working today.  I’m in full effect here- scrunchie in the hair, pop on my desk to keep me hyped up, and my trusty headset to record audio for my lectures.  I know.  It’s pretty smooth.


As a side note, my roma tomatoes are really starting to come out in the garden.  I’ve enjoyed several caprese salads this week and weekend. I like mine with goat cheese as an alternative to mozzarella.   The basil is from my garden as well.  The plants are coming back in full force since my murderous pruning rampage a month ago when I made the pesto.  I love basil.  It just keeps producing, no matter how much I cut it back!  Doesn’t this look amazing?

Wednesday Weigh-In: Choices show on the scale

After last week’s weigh-in, I have to admit that I was feeling a little liberated from my eating choices this past week. 

My mistake.  It’s never a good thing to reward yourself with food and it showed on the scale this week with a 1.5 pound weight gain. 

It’s okay.  I’m okay with it.  I’ve come to a sense of peace with my journey and this week is just a reminder that I HAVE TO STAY ON PROGRAM if I expect to get consistent weight loss.

I didn’t overdo it.  I probably had one or two extra beverages last weekend and I ate some more salty or carby food than I’m used to.  I just need to get back to what I know works and regroup this week. I also need to be better about drinking water on the weekends. I drank a lot of iced tea (my weakness in the summer), so I am sure that I was way below my needed water intake.

Choices show on the scale.  Not failures.

Surviving PT: Day 9

This week’s PT was a bit of a surprise.  I had done a really good job for the past week on my at-home exercises and workouts.  I’m not overdoing it- in fact, I’ve actually cut back on my cardio to a walking DVD.  Imagine my dissapointment when my knee started hurting on Sunday afternoon.  Not AGAIN!

I was pretty paranoid about going in for PT.  The last thing I need is to reinjure myself a week before I’m supposed to be released.  So I told Heather and she looked at me and said, “we can’t keep chasing pain- if this continues, I’m sending you back to your doctor”.  Nooooooo

Thankfully, she did an examination after my 10 minute elliptical and decided that it looked to be more of a combination of tendonitis on the front of my knee (as opposed to the side hurting before) and a very tight fascia in my upper leg. If you don’t know what fascia is, it’s sort of like a tissue that connects around your muscles and bones.  I don’t know alot about anatomy, but that’s how I understand it.

Gone are the days when I longingly wished for a massage.  No, not after the calf muscle massage, I’m over that.  I was so distracted by Heather’s growing bump that I didn’t realize I’d agreed to a massage and she was hovering over me with her jar of cream.

What commenced for the next 5 minutes was even worse than my calf massage that lasted 30 minutes.  Tight fascia is no joke people.  She warned me that it would hurt like hell and I would be bruised.  I started sweating immediately and my leg is a mess.  I took pictures so you could all see and then changed my mind about posting them for fear that people would think Kevin beats me.  It’s that bad.  Come see me at work if you are with me here at ODU and I’ll show you.

The good news is that I really don’t have a hurt knee.  I have tight fascia that is pulling on my knee cap.  The bad news is that I have to manually massage this area and it’s really bruised and tight.  I can wait a couple of days, according to Heather, but I have to get back to it because you can’t stretch fascia like you can with muscles.  It has to be manually manipulated.

So I’m interested to see what she does with my next week.  It’s supposed to be my last visit.  Will she keep me on for an every other week cycle or let me go?

Surviving PT, Day 8 and Wednesday Weigh-In

PT this week was no joke!  Heather is really pushing me hard and I’m kicking butt on my balance exercises.  I was doing so well that I asked if I could try the trampoline and the slide board again.  I’m determined to get back into the jumping.  She had me try 10 jumps on each leg, two times on each side.  I got really good air on my right leg and my left leg, which previously didn’t get any clearance, was a major improvement.  I still had to hold onto the bar in front of me to keep steady, but I was able to jump with no knee pain and my ankle only wobbled a little bit!  Onto the slide board- I was able to push off much easier and I was more confident with the booties on.  These are two major victories for me and I plan to do them again next week to see how it goes.  I still have major muscle weakness issues, so I’m taking it really easy and allowing my body to take the time it needs to be healthy.

PT has been a major mental shift for me.  I’ve been forced to slow down.  I’ve been forced to be patient with myself.  I’ve been forced to accept that I can’t punish my body when it doesn’t want to do what I ask it to.

In addition, this exercise break has forced me to reevaluate my eating habits.  I’ve become very mindful of what I put in my body and I’m working at losing the guilt over indulging every once in awhile.  The Metformin has definitely helped me, but I’ve been consistent 95% of the time with Weight Watchers.  I’ve learned to be patient during the stretches of time where I don’t lose anything for weeks in a row.  Before, I would get all crazy and try to exercise it off, without success.  I read all of the time in magazines how slow weight loss is better in the long run and I’m living proof of that.

Today, when I weighed in, I lost 2.8 pounds!  This is just like a couple of months ago when I had that week where I lost 3 pounds.  I don’t know what caused this to happen.  I guess my body was ready to let it go.  I was not expecting to see 147.2 on my scale, so I re-weighed myself three times to be sure.  Whoop!

This makes my weight loss a total of 16.2 pounds since February when I started.  When I think about the fact that it took me 5 months to do it, I’m shocked.  I really thought it would only take me 3 months.  But you know what?  I’m okay with it.  I’m plugging along, doing what I should be doing, and taking care of my body.  I’m proud of myself and it just motivates me even more to keep with the program and be patient.



Wednesday Weigh-In: Not too bad!

The last time I weighed in was on June 29th, so I have to admit that the weigh in this morning really was freaking me out.  I had been on vacation for a week prior, eating all sorts of naughty things and consuming tasty frozen beverages every night.  While I made the conscious decision to go off the grid for a week, I still have these lingering fears that my body is going to revolt against me.  In the past, a week like that would have resulted in at least a five pound gain.

On June 29th, I weighed 149.2 and today I weigh 150.  That’s less than a pound gained, people.  This is major.   I’m back on track with the Weight Watchers program as of this morning and totally motivated.  I enjoyed my week and a half of gluttony, but I didn’t at the same time. I like the structure of my meals when I’m on program and I tend to crave bad things when I eat them over and over again.  By the time Monday rolled around, I was desperately ready for vegetables and my body was pretty done with alcohol.

My goal is to try and get down to 145 before the fall semester starts.  That’s five pounds in six weeks.  I’m not sure if it can happen that quickly, but it would be nice.  I’d like to be down to 140 by Christmas.  I know that the closer I get to 140, the slower my body releases the weight.

Surviving PT, Days 6 and 7…updates!

Recall Day 5 of PT if you will….

Three days later, I was completely unable to move my legs.  Yes, my calf muscles decided to cramp up in a permanent charlie-horse fashion.  I limped around at work, practically fell out of bed at home, and begged Heather for a massage.  Oh, I got a massage.  It was not the massage I was hoping for through.  For 45 minutes, she worked on my poor legs to get the muscle to release.

The verdict?  I have an unusally delayed pain response.  While most people feel some sort of pain or exertion discomfort within 24-48 hours of exercise, my body waits until after 48 hours to pop up with a warning sign.  This could explain why I keep hurting myself.  I don’t realize I’m hurt until too late and I’ve already been continuing the exercise whilst injured.

That makes a lot of sense.

What doesn’t make sense is how incapacitated I became after Day 5.  Heather says my calf muscles must be really weak.  She advises that I take a rolling pin when I get home and have Kevin roll my legs to loosen up the muscle.  He refuses after I start bawling and pounding the floor.  For those of you who know my pain level tolerance, this was probably worse than when I had my ankle surgeries.  I was all shades of messed up.

Of course, I was concerned about sitting in a car for 9 hours to go on vacation.  Thankfully, we took several breaks so I could hobble around and work on getting my heels to hit the ground. 

Speaking of vacation, we had a wonderful time with my bestie, Gretchen, and her family.  A week at the beach was just what the doctor ordered!  I was able to get into the ocean and that really, really helped.  I even started feeling back to normal by Monday and was able to move around much easier, even with the set of stairs between the first and second level of the cottage.  I was a good girl and remembered to do my at-home exercises at night, so Heather was pleased. 

When I went into PT yesterday, I was a little scared. Scared because I didn’t know what she would do with me since Day 5 resulted in such a disaster.  Plus, technically, Day 7 was my last day on the books and I knew that I wasn’t ready to be released.

We decided to go back to the first week of activities and repeat those.  My balance is improving and I know that my ankles are getting stronger.  The rest of me, well, that is still unsure.

At the end of the appointment, Heather suggested we TRY once a week for the next three weeks to see how it goes.  She wants me to transition into more at home cardio and less PT.  I told her she was crazy.  But, as I’ve said before, I trust in all things Heather, so I agreed to her plan and we charted out my at-home workouts.  I am to “return to prior activity” immediately.  That means she wants me to go back to what I was doing when I hurt myself, with modifications.

In addition, she would like me to do my at-home strength training homework and try to do the mini-trampoline every day.  Then, she wants me to move into doing my cardio every other day.  While most people would do cardio every day and strength training every other day, I need to do the reverse because my lack of strength is what is hurting me during cardio.

As much as I wanted to grab her and tell her that I’d never be out of PT if she suggested this crazy plan, I was secretly pleased.  I’m terrified that I’ll hurt myself, but I know I need to try this out otherwise I’ll never get back to exercising on my own.

So here is my plan:

  1. Walk around the lake every day
  2. Do my at-home exercises every day
  3. Attempt to jump for 30 seconds on the trampoline every other day.  This will be 30 seconds on each leg and then 30 seconds both legs
  4. Go back to my muscular structure strength training 6 days a week, using the DVD that I used before
  5. Now here’s the decision.  Do I go back to the dance cardio DVD and do that without jumping or do I find another DVD to do?  Heather suggested I try doing half of the DVD, which would only be 15 minutes.  So far, I’ve been doing the elliptical at PT for 10 minutes every time with no problems.  That was non-impact too, so I have to be careful.  Perhaps I’ll try the cardio dance and just do it without the jumping for half of the DVD and see how that goes.  Since I’ll be doing it every other day, that should give me a good opportunity to see if I hurt afterwards