Saturday, April 29, 2006

April training in review - a good month

A few months back my trainer got me started logging my daily workouts. I eventually added in a monthly goals section and a month-end review to see if I had achieved the goals I'd set out.

I think he felt that he'd unleashed a bit of a monster... I logged... and logged... and logged... Then I'd ask him to review it all. The poor guy took an extra hour of his own time to read through all my comments for our last session earlier this month. I told him he was a freak for having done so, but that I appreciated it all the same.

Today, I reviewed my log myself, looking back at the month of April, what goals I’d set out… what I’d done or not done. I must admit… I was relatively happy, which is unusual for me, since I am more likely to feel that I have accomplished nothing, not gone far enough, not done well enough, etc. But this month… it’s pretty much all good…

I got the custom-made orthotics and subsequently ditched my hot little bionic leg (that’s a knee brace to everyone except Rob… to him it’ll always be a hot bionic leg, bless his heart). To make things even better, I officially got the green light from Tim, my physiotherapist, to go back to the bike. (Yaaay! Land cardio!)

Despite taking up "land cardio" again, I even made an attempt to go and practice swimming one day, with another woman from my swimming class. We spent more time laughing than we did swimming, but at least we got out there and tried.

I have been practicing on that blasted bosu almost every day and I daresay that my balance with the new orthotics is coming back. It's not there 100%, but it's much better than a few weeks ago.

And I’ve been doing 80 (yes, count ’em… as in 40 per leg) ab- and adductor extensions per day, six days a week. Despite the fact that they are getting hideously boring, I am getting more stable and can do the last set of each exercise “hands-free” now.

Still keeping up with the daily physio exercises (minus the squats, which we figured out contributed to the leg swelling.) Otherwise, I am nauseatingly disciplined... but it is worth it.

Why? Because my leg and knee are less swollen than they were and the pain has subsided considerably... I only feel it occasionally now. I am also better able to manage the inflammation now, too. Same goes for the back pain that was definitely a problem in March. Between modifying my activities and being very pro-active about being kind to my back, I have been able to take my physio appointments from once a week to once every two weeks.

A very personal breakthrough was that I was able to start using the mirrors in the gym this month. I have avoided using them for reasons I won’t go into here (hint: poor body image). In case you are wondering, I have learned all my exercises without the aid of a mirror… perhaps not doing them 100% correctly, but well enough to avoid a trip to the hospital. One day it occurred to me that if I was really going to integrate fitness with my values, I had to be able to “face myself”, in every sense of the word. And so, I have.

On the downside, I must say that I feel a bit isolated working on my own these days, but that is OK. My goal remains the same as it has for the past couple of months... to get the injury healed and be in good enough shape to run. When I am there, I will get "plugged in" to Calgary's running community. I am considering volunteering at a race or two this season, even if I can't participate. I figure that might be a good way to get connected...

But overall this month, there have been huge strides forward… healing and getting stronger.

In May, I have signed up for both Hatha yoga and Pilates, just to add a new challenge… I am looking forward to next month!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Out with the old; in with the new - Spring fever hits my iPod

I remember back when I first started blogging I posted about Coldplay, having been introduced to them by AB (a.k.a. “Young Cousin”, the quick-witted 20-something who visited last year from England). I heard them and instantly took to their music.

The post resulted in a comment from CM, a dear friend of 15+ years to the effect of, “Coldplay?! Women our age don’t listen to Coldplay!”

Oh? No one told me I was too old for Coldplay. By the time I found out, it was too late... I was already into them. I liked their music, but knew little about their typical following. (I mean come on, it’s not like they’re the Backstreet Boys, or something!) So, I just kept right on listening.

Mind you, all that’s a moot point now. I’ve had my fill of Coldplay, at least for now. As the cold of winter gives over to spring fever, I’ve diverted my attentions to… er… a new interest.

Don’t get me wrong… I still like Coldplay, but I’ve discovered something else… something new… something a little … hotter.

Move over Coldplay, because Reggaeton is moving in.

Yup. You read that right.


I’ve absolutely fallen in love with this brand of Latin-HipHop-type stuff, raunchy lyrics and all.

I’ve spent the last few weeks searching out Reggaeton music for my iPod and updating it with some new sounds for spring. (I’ve left some of the classic rock on there, but cut out a lot of songs that I am either bored of or that I am just not that into). Much of the Reggaeton stuff I’ve found has a fantastic beat that just works for me in the gym… with Aguakate being my group of choice, so far.

I can just imagine that CM is fainting over her cup of tea right now and Young Cousin is thinking, “Oh-my-God! We’ve got to put a stop to this. Now!”

That should make for some good conversation over drinks during his visit next month! I am sure I will hear about this after a few vodkas...

Anyway, back to the new music… It’s delicious… vibrant… different… a wonderful mix of the Latin music I’ve loved for years, but with an edgy, “streety” twist that gives it a kind of raw energy that just can’t be beat.

Oh yeah.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Sarah's sexy secrets to weight loss (?!)

I figured that this post needed a sexy title.

Now, before we go any further, think about your reaction to that title. What did you think? How did it make you feel?

One of my favorite quotes from my qualitative research course in the fall semester was, “Research shows that 100% of people who engage in the practice of eating eventually die.” (I forget who wrote it.)

The point of the quote was to make us think critically about what we read, not to believe everything, and not to be satisfied with an answer (however logical it may seem) until we have the whole picture.

Lately, I’ve noticed myself getting angry when I read certain articles about food. I just got a newsletter that said to “eat more grains rich in water-soluble fibre”. It’ll help lower cholesterol and aid digestion. Good idea!

Another article in a magazine that made its way into our kitchen touted the benefits of eating more protein. That one went on to give suggestions in the number of grams of protein a person should eat a day, giving an example of three eggs at one meal as a suitable portion of protein.

“Three eggs at one meal?” I thought. “Maybe if you’re an Olympian… and even then!”

I forget exactly how much protein it recommended per day… I remember thinking that it seemed like an enormous amount. There was no mention of caloric intake relative to body weight, nor any reference to daily activity levels with respect to nutritional needs.

I ultimately tossed the article aside, disgusted.

Really, how do things like this get published? People take this stuff at face value and then go on rampages, stuffing their faces with whatever fad seems to be the flavour of the day.

What gets me about these “Eat more X!” articles is that they rarely talk about what to cut out… Sure, eating more whole grains is a good idea… but not if it is in addition to half a loaf of Wonder bread for breakfast. Instead of “eat more”, how about “choosing differently”?… I personally like the articles that talk about “choose such and such more often, and this other thing less often.” I mean, no one can be good all the time, right?

If you’ve been reading the blog regularly, you know that not only has my weight dropped somewhat since the last school year, but that it is a result of being on a quest for a healthy lifestyle, rather than a mission to lose weight. In fact, I’ve become somewhat of an advocate of healthy living (though I do try to refrain from preaching, so I appreciate you indulging me a bit here...)

The other day at work I ran into a woman I hadn’t seen in a good long time. We exchanged pleasantries and she said, “You really must tell me your secret!! What eating plan are you on? LA weight loss? Jenny Craig? There’s got to be something…!”

I said, “Um... not really... Just more active and trying to eat better in general..."

"Oh come on, now!" She said, "I know you've done something! What is it?"

Fearing questions about liposuction and stomach stapling (which yes, I have been asked and no, I have not had... anyone who has seen me struggle through the process knows that) I quickly came up with, "Well, I did hire a personal trainer and that helped… I go to the gym regularly now… But as far as eating… I’m afraid it’s not very sexy… Just the
Canada Food Guide.”

She looked at me and said, “Oh… Go figure.” And she walked away, a bit dejected.

And the truth is that I have found there is no “sexy secret”… Eating healthy is not rocket science… Vegetables, fruit, grains, protein… every day… Treats in moderation…

And believe me, I am far from having a perfect diet... And just for the record, I am still classified as overweight, so it's not like I am some runway model or something... But I like to think I lead a fairly healthy lifestyle, most of the time. And trust me, I have my vices, like anyone... and I'm the last one to criticize others for what or how they eat. Not to mention that I firmly believe in a daily dose of coffee laced with cream... screw the skim milk! I like dairy fat with my caffeine, thank you very much.

What gets me is the stuff we are being fed by the media. Why do we gobble up myths like, “You will be healthier if you eat a million grams of protein a day!” or “Eat more whole grains!” And who cares if you increase your caloric intake by 300% as you down a loaf -- or five -- of whole wheat bread?

For some reason, we seem to think that empty promises, like empty calories, are sexy. And sex sells, as they say... In this case, magazines and newsletters that are supposed to educate us. (See the quote at the beginning about thinking critically...) But deep down... we know those empty promises are going to leave us feeling unfulfilled... still hungry.

Personally, the thought of a reasonably portioned piece of top quality beef, grilled to perfection (rare) and a crisp salad with lots of crunchy veggies is pretty damned sexy. Three eggs and a loaf of bread in one sitting… uh… not so much.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Prodigal blogger and other labels

I know there have been studies done about online communities, but I’ve never delved into them. I do remember my reaction a few months ago when a blogger whose page I frequented suddenly and without warning simply removed his page and disappeared from Blogland.

I was shocked… felt a bit betrayed… angry… and sad. “How could he just leave like that? Without a word to anyone? Where the hell did he go?” I wondered.

Then I found out that he had sent an e-mail to yet another blogger who then told me about it… He had to take a break for a while, but said he’d be reading our blogs… “lurking”… and may be back one day.

I shrugged and thought, “Well, it’s the Internet. People can do whatever the hell they please.”

I actually had the fellow’s e-mail address somewhere and I knew his name. I could have Googled him or something, I suppose… tried to stay in contact. But really… what’s the point? I figure that if someone decides the time is right to walk away, you let them go.

Much to my surprise, he’s back… in a different guise and if it wasn’t for a particular woman (who shall remain nameless, for fear she might cause quivering in said blogger’s heart), I would never have figured out it was him. But I did... and I was pleased to see he was back.

The whole thing got me thinking about the people we meet via blogs. I mean, there are those with great big hearts who send Christmas fruitcake to you from halfway around the globe because you half-jokingly asked if she would. And she did.

There are those who share a common passion -- even if that passion is something I myself cannot partake in at the moment… But as we all know, passion runs in the veins… (pun intended.)

There are those whose values and spirituality speak to your soul and you wish you could just chat with them over coffee… or listen to one of their sermons (which is saying something, considering that I do not attend church!)

The other day, I was chatting with someone about the supposed compartment syndrome in my leg. I wanted to tell the person about
Olga and her experiences with it, but I got all fumbled up in my words...

What to call her? I almost said, “My friend, Olga…” but I thought, “Friend? You’ve never even met the woman!” Then I thought about “blogger buddy”… but if you don’t blog, then you wouldn’t get it. I finally said, “A woman I know…”

This led me to think of a dinner party I attended around Christmas with a few friends – the ones who got me into blogging, actually. And yes, they’re real people, whom I’ve known offline for years!

Part of the conversation got around to blogging… and what was happening in the lives of fellow bloggers, most of whom were people we’d never met. We marveled at ourselves, talking about these people as if they themselves could have been at the dinner party.

(Gosh... that sounds kinda bad! We really are normal people.... With lots to talk about. Honest!)

I was talking (yes, again, actually talking) to another friend, who is dead set against blogging. He thinks it is just plain weird. Not to mention the fact that he’s not a huge fan of technology. “Why don’t people actually sit down face to face and have a conversation?” He asked.

I responded, “They do. We’re doing that right now. Blogging is just another way of having a conversation.”

I tried to explain. He tried to understand… but still seemed to think that we are losing our “human touch” in this technology-driven world. I countered that technology can pull people apart or bring them together… it all depends on how you choose to use it.

I thought of my Dad, whose been a ham radio aficionado since before I was born. He knows everything there is to know about radios… How to build them, how to repair them, how to use them, how to teach other people to use them…. He and his wife both have their radio handles and have chatted with people from all over. My guess is that he has his community of “radio buddies” in much the same way as I have “blogger buddies”. I have no idea how many of them he’s ever met… but I doubt it’s more than a handful at best… though I could be wrong.

Could it be that blogging is to our generation what ham radio was to my Dad’s? Only now, it’s way cooler. (Sorry, Dad!)

To my prodigal blogger buddy, welcome back, man. And if you ever take off like that again, I will find you… just so I can smack you upside the head. (Kidding!)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

How to impress a girl

It's one thing when a man looks into your eyes and says, "I never understood why a guy would go to the ends of the earth for a woman... until I met you."

It's another thing when he shows up the next day with a bucket of paint and a sprayer, ready to transform your shabby basement into a working office space. That is, after having installed all the appropriate wiring for a phone and Internet line in said office-to-be.

Words... and actions that speak louder than them.

I am grateful, if not slightly overwhelmed.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Bye bye, knee brace! (At least for now...)

Well, I just have to tell you that I am thrilled!

After another physio appointment today, I was officially told that I could get back on the bike (which I’ve been on anyway…) and (drum roll, please!) without the knee brace.

Woo hoo!

In case you didn’t hear that: WOO HOO!

The knee and leg are both still swollen, though less so. My lower leg doesn’t hurt any more and my knee generally hurts less. My back is less sore than it was and I manage to relax it with the help of a heating pad. So… Things are definitely improving… though slowly. (Could the custom-made orthotics be part of the reason? I think so, maybe...)

I am still barred from running, or even walking, as part of my exercise routine (sigh…) but trying the bike again without the knee brace is a huge step forward.

Zippity do dah!

Tim, my physio guy said, “I don’t know about running, Sarah…” Implying that he didn’t know if I’d ever be back to running.

I looked him straight in the eye and said, “I will run again.”

“You really like it, eh?” He asked, looking at me to gauge my reaction.

“Uhh… yeah!”

I was thinking to myself, “Do you think I’d be so damned dedicated and determined with these daily exercises and rehab if I didn’t have a goal??” Clearly, he doesn’t know me. Though he did say that he thought I was patient… in some ways.

I told him, “I have no intention of spending every day in that gym like I did last summer. This year, I plan to be outside running.”

Tim said “I hope so…”, as if he was trying to convince himself as much as me.

So I quickly fired back, “Good. If we both hope, it is more likely to happen, isn’t it?”

He nodded… and pulled over the little cart on wheels that holds all his acupuncture needles, in preparation to work on me.

So, we ended the session agreeing that I would go back on the bike, without the knee brace and wait two more weeks before another appointment. For now, I will stay off the elliptical machine, and add in one thing at a time, so we can see what, if anything, triggers pain.

To celebrate, I went to the gym after physio… and got on the bike for 17 minutes, before doing my physio exercises and weights.

Baby steps… or bike revolutions… whatever! It’s progress. And I’m happy.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Knee, leg and fitness update

I know I’ve been kind of quiet lately on the updates about my knee and leg. Partly it is due to the fact that it is the end of the school year and I need to wrap my head around that more than anything at the moment, but since a few of you have asked in e-mails, I thought I’d do a quick post. Here goes:

Knee/leg update

Between my massage therapist showing me a technique to drain the swelling from my leg, which I do a few times a week now (though not as well as she does it of course…); making friends with a heating pad; following
Bast’s advice on Epsom salt baths and generally trying to listen to my body, things are feeling better.

The swelling and pain in my lower leg is down, though not gone completely. Eliminating exercises (and yes… even squats – woo hoo!) that seemed to increase the swelling and put more pressure on the lower leg helped a great deal.

About a week ago, I got the custom-made orthotics. I didn’t want to post about them right away, because to be honest, the experience wasn’t exactly pleasant. I felt like my hips were being ripped out of their sockets on the first day. After that, it got easier. Now, I hardly notice that they are there at all… except when I do exercises on the bosu. Then, I wobble and lurch, falling in all different directions in a heap. But hell, what do I care? I’d rather have less pain than be a bosu expert.

And besides, I’m determined, so I’ve been on that darned thing almost every day, flying around with arms extended… I will get my balance back, dammit!

I also wear my knee brace almost every time I work out now. I tried taping the knee one day, but the brace is much better, so I went back to it. I hope that I will not need it forever, but I guess you never know, right? For now, it helps... a lot.

So… things are getting better… In my last physio appointment, Tim said to try and wait two weeks until the next appointment, so I won’t be going back until next week. In the meantime, I have been working hard to manage things on my own and for the most part, it seems to be OK.

Fitness update

Because my knee and leg were feeling better, I thought I’d try the cardio machines again and see how my leg responded. I started with 5 minutes on the bike and the next day, I tried the elliptical. Both were OK.

Me being me, I had myself up to 45 minutes of cardio in a week and that proved to be a bit too much for my knee and now, I am feeling it. Nothing like jumping in with both feet, eh?

Anyway, I will have to ease off again for a few days, but it feels good just to be back on the machines. It is slow going, but I can see and feel some improvement. If nothing else, this is good for my sanity.

I am still doing all my physio exercises diligently… every day… Except the squats. Have I mentioned how happy it makes me not to have to do squats??

Having said that, I have these exercises for the ab- and adductors, as well as hip rotators that I also do every single day. These exercises, combined with all the physio stuff, take about 45 minutes... Yes... six times a week. Ugh! I have noticed a difference though, I must say… I now officially have “thunder thighs”, but they are feeling stronger and more stable, so I do not care!!

My package of personal training sessions has finished now, so I am working on my own. Of course, I am still dedicated… keeping my progress log and working out six days a week… I have mixed feelings about working out on my own, but I know I can do it.

I have signed up for some yoga and pilates classes, starting in May, just to change things up a bit. I think I have figured out that strength training and running (whenever I get back to it!) will be my base activities and I think I’d also like to keep challenging myself to try new things and learn different activities. I was never very athletic as a kid, so there are a lot of things out there to go and try… and with any luck, I have a few decades to fit them all in!

So, in short, there has been progress… It is very, very slow and I still get quite frustrated, but never mind… It’s all about the journey, right?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

"I will survive!"

“At first I was afraid, I was petrified…”

OK, so the rest of the song doesn’t really apply, but those first few words could effectively describe this school year… I was scared senseless about starting my Ph.D… I kept thinking, “They’ve made a mistake admitting me into this program. They don’t know that I’m not really all that smart… They’re going to find out… and boot my sorry ass outta here!”

Those fears were chased by more thoughts… “I’m scared about how the stress of school will affect my health… In my last degree I packed on 70 lbs. I want to do it differently this time… I want to be healthy… God, I hate that fucking gym!”

Today is the last day of the academic year. As I sit here writing this, I can hear the raucous sounds of Bermuda Shorts Day outside the student centre. BSD, as it is called for short, is a huge year-end party (drunk fest, mostly). Typically the students wear shorts or other summer wear, regardless of whether it is sunny and warmish, as it is today, with an expected high of 14C, or slamming it down with snow, as has happened in previous years. The students don’t care. It’s their last day and they want to par-tay!

I have donned a pair of Capri pants and sandals… somewhere between “BSD” garb and dress that is appropriate for staff (seeing as how I wear both hats around here!) I just couldn’t help it… I felt this twinge of “Oh my God! I’ve officially survived the first year! How cool is that?”

Granted, it was not perfect. I struggled through much of it… full of self-doubt, fear, never enough time to do anything, always thinking I should have done more and done it better… Had a few meltdowns along the way, but somehow managed to suck it up and keep going… And at the end of the day, I have survived my first year.

If I reflect on how things have changed since starting this school year, a few things that stand out are:

  • I may not really be all that smart, but I don’t think they made a mistake admitting me into the program… I’m on about the same level as most of my classmates (or so I like to think!) And besides, to think that an entire selection committee messed up would be implying that they aren’t too smart… Not a good thing, given that they’re my professors! So, I’ve accepted it… I’m doing what I am supposed to be doing.
  • I am healthier and stronger now than I’ve ever been in my entire adult life. I still worry about whether I’ll be able to maintain it, but I figure a little worry is a good thing… It’ll keep me dedicated.
  • I have gone from hating the gym to enjoying it… In fact… I like it now… really, really like it. (Sssshhh!…. Don’t let my trainer hear that! I wouldn’t want him to think he’s won or anything…)
  • When I started my Ph.D. program I went in kicking and screaming against theory, saying, “I’m a practitioner, not a theorist, dammit!” Now, I realize that I am both… In fact, I like theory a whole lot more than I was willing to admit. And I have accepted that being a theorist doesn’t have to be at the expense of being a good teacher. You can be both… and should strive to be if you want a career in academia (IMHO).

Anyway, there you have it. And in the words of my Ph.D. supervisor, “Classes end… but the work continues.” I will survive.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Z. and baby -- and general update

Introducing Samuel... a week old as of yesterday. Went to see Mom and babe yesterday, after a hectic week at school. He's beautiful and Mom is healing nicely, too...

As for life in my world, all is well, though I am hellishly behind in my school work. Feeling better about the gym stuff, now that I am back on the bike and eliptical machine for 15 minutes at a time... It's not much, but it's better than I have been doing... baby steps.

Also, I'm not feeling overtrained any more. I started being relentless about getting enough sleep and that helps immensely.

Anyway, off to have dinner with my friend, Wei and her husband, Ming. Ming arrived from China last September and has been taking English classes over the past several months. Tonight will be the first chance for the three of us to socialize together... Yaay!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Sarahspace Cloud

Thanks to Anvilcloud, I tried making a word cloud from Snapshirts, too. Very cool. Thanks for the inspiration...

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I am a fish...

...Well, not quite, but tonight was the last lesson of Level One swimming. And I survived!

We had fun and with five of us, plus the teacher, the class was small enough that we all knew each other’s names and had a few laughs.

In tonight’s class we actually put arms and legs together and swam. Woo hoo! We practiced everything we had learned… floating, gliding, sculling, flutter kicking and the piece de resistance – front crawl.

I discovered that I can scull backwards (feet first) pretty darn well. In fact, it was one of my favorite things!

Anyway, I managed to do the front crawl MUCH better than I did a few months ago when I was going to the pool for cardio. Getting actual instruction in how and when to breathe turned out to be rather crucial. (Go figure!)

It is still far from pretty. But it is still a heck of lot better than when I did it on my own.

I was asking around for as well for some tips – or possibly a private class – in water running. Turns out that there are none… just water aerobics. From what I gather, although everyone talks about how great water running is for injured “land runners”, not so many of them actually get in the pool and do it! (I can understand this… I’ve been injured since November and I’m just seriously starting to ask questions now…)

I will definitely go practice my front crawl again soon, but I’m quite keen on this water running thing, so all tips and tricks are appreciated!

Monday, April 03, 2006

And I used to think needles were bad... Well, I'd rather have needles than knives...

I haven’t posted for a few days because I have been busy digesting information…

Haven’t been to see Z. and baby yet, as there were only two people at a time allowed in the hospital unit she was in… and understandably, that was usually family members. Hope to get to see them soon though! I have seen photos and he is one cute little guy!

As for the information I’ve been trying to digest…

I went to see the sports med specialist on Friday. He doesn’t know what’s wrong with my leg. He says it sort of presents like compartment syndrome, but the fact that I don’t lose feeling in my foot or leg means that it is not that. He took a tape measure and actually measured my calves. There was half a centimetre difference between the legs, which he said, even given bodily asymmetry is still an appreciable difference.

It was first thing in the morning… prior to the gym and the usual daily activity. In other words, the swelling was at its lowest point in the day.

I told him that when I go for physio, Tim puts needles in my back and the swelling in my leg goes down. The doctor, who works in the same clinic as my physiotherapist and so, knows him personally, just looked at me and shrugged his shoulders and said, “Yeah… um… I can’t explain that.”

The next thing he said threw me for a loop, “I’m going to talk to the surgeon about this. It’s not compartment, but it seems like it… Maybe we should go in there and release that pressure with surgery….”

I just about fell off my chair.

There is one test that he thinks the surgeon will recommend first. It has something to do with measuring the amount of pressure build up in my leg. He didn’t give me too many details (other than to tell me that it would be $200 out of my own pocket, as it is not covered under Medicare). I didn’t ask for details. I was in too much shock after hearing the word “surgery”.

I asked about custom orthotics. He said, “Yeah, OK, I can give you a prescription for those…”

And he did. Since they are fully covered under my student health plan, I figured now was the time. But it was kinda weird… The doctor didn’t seem to really be in favour or disfavour of them… Just kind of ambivalent... But he was really into the surgery idea, it seemed.

I am baffled… and to be honest, quite upset… deeply upset… about this idea of surgery… especially when there is no clear diagnosis. I guess I am a bit chicken… I have never had surgery in my life.

Anyway, I went today and had my feet cast for the orthotics. Went to the same place as I got the knee brace, which by the way, I am wearing every time I work out now, on Tim’s recommendation. It totally eases the pain, though I am worried about becoming dependent on it…

The guy at the orthotics place seemed convinced that what is going on in my lower leg is connected to my knee... and feet. He said that the tibialis anterior is one of the muscles that holds up the arch in the foot, and so, the orthotics should relieve some of the stress on it. Here's hoping...!

Oh, and in case you’re wondering… still not allowed to run. I have, however, been experimenting again with the stationary bike and elliptical… I can take about 15 minutes before my knee or leg starts grumbling, so that’s what I do.

Meanwhile, I can’t stop thinking about the surgery idea… How could this happen? I make a commitment to explore what it means to have an active lifestyle, with a view to leading a healthy, balanced life and next thing I know, I’m injured to the point that there’s an expert wanting to chop me up with knives?

Life was much easier as a 5' couch potato pushing 200 lbs., that’s all I can say…

On a happy note, I went through my closet tonight and tried on almost all my clothes, to see what fits and what doesn't. Even the size 12's are big now, so it's looking that I'm definitely down into the size 8/10 range. Have a big bag of clothes to donate to the Sally Ann now, which makes me feel good...