Monday, March 31, 2008

Thanks Luna Chix!

So I got a wee bit of a sunburn Sunday watching my rugby team beat the snot out of Santa Monica. It was a fun break from cleaning out the garage and kitchen yesterday. Tom and I are back in house renovation mode after deciding to take the house off the market and plan to stay in it for a couple of more years now. Next on the remodeling agenda, the garage and back yard to involve a new electric garage door opener, an actual workbench area, and a back patio. We'll see how much of this we can do by ourselves, but I am not worried because my hubby a very handy man.

So remember just last post, when I talked about how I will try to be good and repeat phrases of promise to myself about not taking unnecessary chances for the next couple of weeks? Well, Saturday morning a great opportunity came up and I could not resist the lure of a marginally questionable activity. There was a lot of reward for the risk though.

Let me explain. I got an email from a friend, announcing that there was going to be a mountain biking clinic put on by the local Phoenix chapter of the Luna Chix. The person running the clinic was going to be none other than Alison Dunlap, retired pro rider who has won more national and world medals than Marion Jones has lost. The opportunity to learn from a master (for only a small donation) doesn't come up very often and I wasn't going to let a quasi questionable knee stop me. I figured I could man up for the skills and drills portion of the day which was just going to be held on a grass field.

Showed up a 8am, admired all of the pretty bikes and professional looking people with their logo splashed jerseys, strapped on my knee brace and was ready to go. Alison went through a series of drills that may have been easy for some, but were new and challenging for me. We learned how to drop behind our seats, ride in a circle (for cornering), bunny hop (i suck) and balance stationary (i suck again).

Although, I was a little frustrated by my complete lack of strength in my bad quad which made it really hard to do anything requiring a hard crank (like a front tire wheelie), but overall I learned a ton. I was very careful and tried to always bail off my bike to the left on my good knee when I would start to tip over. And the advantage of being one of the worst people there was that I got a lot of special 1:1 time with Alison as she struggled correct my glaring shortcomings. I would love to someday attend her 5 day biking clinic in Moab, but I may need to win the lottery first.

At the end, the group rode to South Mountain for an instructional ride, and it took all my will power to do the right thing and go ride the road instead of joining them. I just can't take the chance of an endo quite yet (even though I haven't wiped out on this trail for months now). I really had to internally debate it though because I will be honest there is nothing I would have rather done than ride my favorite trail with pro bikers at that moment. Sigh. Patience is a virtue they say.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Not THAT Kind of Rehab.

In school, I was/am an achiever, meaning I like to do well within limits. I am the person who would be willing to put in some amount of work, as long as I saw returns on it. Once I realized that a class would require herculean efforts to get an A, I would quickly reset my sights on that B or B+.

That being said, I am really glad I am aceing my physical therapy tests. I had my first session on Thursday and when she pulled out her measuring tool to test my range of motion, she seemed shocked to realized that I was already at full ROM and quickly put it away. I got to ride a special rehab stationary bike which will continue to amp up resistance dependent on how fast you ride it. This seems like a great tool for training, doesn't it? It had to gages, one that said goal and one that said actual, so I kept pumping trying to achieve the goal, but then realized that the goal kept moving up. Fun huh? Like I said, great training bike.

A few of the exercises I found challenging like wall squats mostly because there are certain muscles that are pretty weak right now. But overall, I am starting to feel very normal which could be scary as the next three weeks are the most critical time in rehab. Apparently between 5 and 8 weeks, the ACL is at its weakest and when people start to feel good, they push the boundaries and the most re-tears occur.

I am going to keep repeating the below phrase in my head over and over and over again as I feel the desire to get ahead of myself.

"Do you wish to have a third surgery Miss Thang? No? WELL THEN DON'T DO IT! Go eat a carrot instead."

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Muscle fun fact learned while cramming for a lab practical over all the muscles of the body:

Did you know that the reason that we can make funny facial expressions is because the muscles of our face are not attached to bone like all other muscles, but to our skin?

Doesn't this make complete sense? God, I love how the body just makes sense. Unlike computers, which are supposed to be logical but due to the illogicalities of our current operating systems (yeah I am glaring at you Microsoft), just don't work as expected.

Also, I would just like to add that I wish my gluteous maximus would become a little more minimus.

Back to the book.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Biking the Belt

I got in a nice two hour ride on the Scottsdale Green Belt with my ladies last night. We rode on the paved path through parks and golf courses enjoying the balmy evening, chatting and spitting out the bugs that seemed to become more prevalent the farther north we went. It felt so great to be back on my bike, riding with my friends and even though it was on lame-o concrete, it was a great workout for the knee and psyche.

Tomorrow I officially start physical therapy where I hope to be given the go ahead to start riding the stationary bike. Ha ha ha haaaaaaaa. Please disregard the previous paragraph about the two hour ride on a moving bicycle.

I am so bad that I am going to give myself a timeout to think about what I have done.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I want a time replicating device.

Why is it that when you get seriously busy, blogging becomes a guilty pleasure. Like if I have nothing going on, I have less of a desire to blog than if I am busy as a beaver. Lack of resources makes blogging feels so necessary and mandatory because it draws a priority line that I am unhappy with.

Work is killing me. I am tired. Of trying to juggle work & school during the hours of 5pm to 12am. And taxes. And how my house is messy. And how I need to get my hair cut very badly. And how I have a test on Friday over all the muscles of the body. And how I start PT this week.

But tonight, after work in the office but before work/study in the house, I am going to go for a bike ride on the green belt in Scottsdale and I am going to enjoy it, because life is all about taking at least one hour of your day to make it worth living.

I may make it two hours, just to be sure I am overachieving on my goals.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Flowers Flowers Flowers

Went hiking in Superstition Mountains this weekend. The flowers are banging right now, and there were still lots of closed buds so there is more natural beauty to come. Three miles of uneven hiking + no brace (forgot it) + great care -> one happy girl.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Dreaming of Adventure

It's Friday. Some people (not mentioning any names but it starts with a T and ends with an M) don't have to work today and are currently lazing it up in bed while others (yours truly), are slaving for the man ...aka blogging. I am not bitter though. I am enjoying my free coffee from the vending machine and cranking some pandora Linkin Park. Yup the machine is still working and yours truly is still stealing from it.

So I am in full out dreaming mode right now. I am planning my re-entrance into the world of adventures and although the time line is not concrete yet, here's what I am thinking.
  • March - April: Bike. Bike. Bike. Long Indian Rez rides on dirt and easy easy trail riding that involves little climbing and NO change of endos.
  • April - June: Mucho backpacking. Watch northern Arizona spring come by backpacking along freezing glacial rivers. Definitely want to go back to the natural hot springs while the weather/water is still cold. Want to try canyoneering so first stop is Salome Jug.
  • June - July: Easy jogging, lots more actual mountain biking and attempting so slow, non competitive adventure races. Maybe try to orienteering courses. Persuade teammates to turn off desire to sprint on uneven grown and stay at Hannah pace. I also really want to do a rim2rim Grand Canyon. How about a Moab trip for biking heaven? Anyone with me?
  • August: Commence Team ODP's destruction of the field.
Backpacking into Havasu Falls, June 2007
Megan Resch Photography

Dreaming about this stuff makes me itch to just jump in the car and head out. I have to be patient and wait for my body to catch up to my mind, but ladies and gentlemen, its coming!

Happy Friday folks. Enjoy your spring 85 degree weekend. Oh wait, that is just me.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bring on the bike path.

I got reacquainted with Whitey Wrecker last night, and not just by lovingly caressing her white sleek body. I rode her down the street and around the corner and through the neighborhood, all the while chatting like old buddies.

I know that I probably shouldn't be riding my bike on the road yet (or at all), but waahhh i wanna . In fact, I find it much easier to ride than to walk, as walking still puts an uncomfortable amount of weight on my knee. And although he doesn't realize it, my doctor and I are having a personal disagreement on the philosophy of life, love, and rehab and he is close to being broken up with, so I really don't care what he thinks.

It felt great to transport my body in a non motorized manner. It felt good to get out and exercise. And overall, my knee just feels good. So I will continue my careful but dedicated self rehab and rejoice about the fact that I am at 98% full range of motion, very little swelling, and can now pop my quad.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


So I admit it. I like cheese product. Sue me.

Don't even tell me you wouldn't eat the crap out of this.

Photo from the Pioneer Woman Cooks!

My parents from Ohio always bring me real Ohio Amish churned cheese when they come to visit. It is 1/4 of the price and tastes very nice. But that doesn't stop me from scarfing down tortilla chips and cheese from a jar. Nope, not at all.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy SPD Irish Folk

I wore no green today. To be honest, I didn't even remember it was St. Patty's Day until I got to work and saw the green cookies by the printer. Am I really this old or am I just realizing that stealing another ethnicity's holidays as my own is no longer a must do?

It is not like I need an excuse to go hang out at a bar on a Monday, I can do that anyway. And I really don't need an reason to paint a shamrock on my cheek, don my shortest plaid skirt, stand in line in cooler than average temperatures to pay 20 bucks to enter the local Irish pub's parking lot party. Although seeing grown men in kilts is always amusing, especially obvious non Irish ones. Wait, aren't kilts Scottish anyway? I am confused now.

I will however celebrate by eating a green cookie because everyone knows that calories don't count on random holidays, especially ones with green sprinkles.

But if you are Irish, and this day symbolizes the gold pot at the end of the rainbow you have been traipsing down since a year ago, I do wish you a very Happy St. Patrick's Day of Awesomeness. You deserve it. This guy agrees.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Spring flowers make me smile.

Spring flowers on South Mountain, Phoenix

Winter showers bring March flowers. It's flower time here in the desert, and this year is going to be a great one. We have had a excessive amount of rain here in the desert this winter, already surpassing our yearly average in the first two months.

I went for a hike this weekend to see the flowers. That's right, you heard me... I TOOK A HIKE! YEAH! It was only about a mile on a fairly flat trail, and I did bring my crappy crutch for a little stabilization, but it still felt so good to get out and smell the dirt. Walking is coming along much better although I still am doing the old woman shuffle and gimping like I'm wearing a diaper. Sweet.

My lil baby sis was here this weekend and turned 20 years old so I want to wish the darling a very happy birthday. She is an amazing young lady who is growing into her own while studying to be a nurse. She may age, but to my other sisters and I, she will always be our little baby sister. What a cutie. She was very excited about escaping the winter storms and 2 feet of snow in Ohio and squealed before laying down in my front yard. Yep, the pink rocks are my front yard. Don't be jealous.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Case of the missing juice.

I was rudely awaken at 6 am to a loud noise followed by my husband cursing followed by the vacuum cleaner and then more stomping. When Tom came in the room, I rolled over and asked "what did you break?" He huffed "don't worry about it" and stormed out of the room.

I started to wonder, had he knocked over my large glass of cranberry juice that I had not finished the night before, that I had left sitting on the coffee table? Because that was a lot of red liquid, like a LOT.

Later, I get up and assess the damage... no large glass of cranberry juice sitting on the coffee table but there is a reddish towel on the floor. I am sure he just drank it though, and then washed and put away the glass. Right.

I should stop with the medical field nonsense and become the Nancy Drew that I was born to be.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tired of Green? Try Brown!

I decided to redesign the blog because I get bored of layouts quicker than a twelve-year-old in church. I may be tweaking it over the next couple of days as I decide I don't like certain aspects of it. Since I am an idiot, I accidentally deleted my custom template from before and had to reinvent the wheel. Now I can't remember how to put a little box around pics. Sigh. Time to put the google skills back to work.

Procrastination is a bitch. I still have real work to do tonight.

What do doctors know?

So I may have ridden the stationary bike last night, against the wishes of my doctor. Since I got a perfect score on my last anatomy test, I am pretty sure I am smarter than he is anyway.

Who ever heard of not letting someone bike for weeks after knee surgery anyway? The guy is on crack with his "because it is a redo, lets take it ultra-slow" garbage. I never trust a man that shaves his arms and tans anyway. I trust my body and it was screaming "Weeeeaaaaawhooooooo". It liked and I had no pain. So suck it Mr. Eight Years of Medical School.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Up in Alaska: One Great Blog

Jill bikes across the Alaskan tundra. I read about Jill biking across the Alaskan tundra. That is called living vicariously though others and I am pretty good at it right now. Jill is a great writer & photographer and also is crazy dedicated to her daily adventures through training which makes her blog Up In Alaska a daily read of mine.

Her story is a well written adventure of snow, immense cold, and the ultimate quest for finding oneself through pushing the limits. It starts here and chronicles a recent six day race she completed called the Iditarod Trail Invitational which went for 350 miles from Knik to McGrath. Because Jill falls directly into my own age demographic , it makes me wonder how I would handle the adventures she faces. This race defines the wilderness that encompasses our largest state. There is definitely something about the concept of complete wilderness that draws me. I am pretty sure this is why I sometimes feel compelled to bike alone deep into the Indian Reservation, beyond the limits of smart or safe, and into the world of adventure.

Monday, March 10, 2008

It must just be me.

I ruined the curve for my Anatomy & Physiology class for the second straight test. They say there are no stupid people, just stupid decisions. Community college must be full of stupid decisions, like not studying exactly what the prof told us would be on the test.

If you need an ego boost after feeling like an idiot, go to community college. It's free therapy.

Also SPRING BREAK is here. Woohoo!%$!#! I am celebrating by going to work. I wish I was back in undergrad heading down to Panama City, Florida to lay on the cold beach and pretend it was warm and sunny even though spring break always falls way to early for actual warmth. Those were the days.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I am Yellow.

As winter storms drop 12 inches on the greater Ohio area, I just want to let you all know not to worry about us here in Phoenix. We are surviving the 82 degree sunny weather. It was rough on Saturday when we went to the Tempe Beach park and played a little one legged frisbee, but I dug deep and overcame.

Teehee, I love Phoenix in the springtime... I feel superior to you all. I know snow is pretty, and I agree that snow sports can be really fun, but stop lying and saying ridiculous things like shoveling is a good workout and you enjoy it. You know what else is a good workout? Crutching along the beach in 80 degree weather.

This weekend was fun. I am down to one crutch now so I was able to do a lot more. I went to a rubik's cube party on Saturday, aptly named for the objective of the evening. You had to wear 6 articles of clothing, each one a separate solid color found on a rubik's cube. The goal was to trade your clothes until you became one solid color. It was actually a lot of fun. I became yellow, and I think I took home the prize of the evening, a yellow oven mitt strung on a wire that you hang around your neck. It worked perfect as a item carrier for those on a crutch. I even showed off my dancing skills. Sadly, I don't think they are much worse with only one leg.

Today was a lazy day of nothing. Tom cooked waffles and pork chops (not at the same time) and we watched "God Grew Tired of Us". It is a really touching documentary about the Lost Boys of Sudan that will open your eyes to some recent history that seems unreal so recent. The pain that these kids survived at such a young age was heartbreaking, yet they seemed so strong. Most of these 23,000 kids were between 3 and 13 when they had to trek 1000 miles across Sudan to escape military genocide. The photos from the starving boys as they reached the Kenya border are haunting. It also makes you realize just how hard it is to emigrate to the US as they experience electricity and packaged food for the first time.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I am stuck in a bubble.

This is what I want to be doing...

I would give anything to be here...

I dream of this...

My reality...

It's starting to get to me a little bit. Two weeks out now and although I have regained mobility to some extent, I still can't do anything remotely active. I think this is the hardest time in post-surgery rehab. I am past the pain part where you don't really want to move off the couch, but not even close to being able to do anything remotely stress relieving. I can feel it building with every 10 hour workday followed by 4 hours of studying. I am happy to be able to get out and socialize, but really, I just want to hike up a mountain. Or anything. I am starting to feel claustrophobic, stuck in a giant house, in a giant city, in a giant country, on a giant planet.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I am sorry.

First of all, I apologize. Apparently, lack of exercise if making me write really freaking long blog posts and everyone knows that that is boring. I will stop.

Tom is out of town for work so I am having to cook myself food. By cook I mean make a nice mixture of Cheerios and Total, add milk and enjoy. I belive the sweet honey flavor of the Cheerios enhances the crunchy goodness of the plain Total. Eating is a chore when you are crutching around and dishes are a pain. If I can't put the food in my pocket then I have to really consider if I want it.

In other news, I am getting a new laptop tomorrow. This is a work machine, not personal so it is not that exciting, all it really means is that my life will be disrupted for awhile while I reinstall the 1,237 programs that I have currently running on my machine. I will have a smoking fast Core2Duo with 2Gb of DDR2 and a built in video camera, for creating the home videos of course (wink wink). Kidding, it's a work computer remember?

Okay this is where I stop typing and wrap up the post at a reasonable length. But I still have 87 minutes of copying to do in backing up my shit to my other work computer (I have four) because I don't trust their crappy transfer process and I don't want to lose all my work. So I am bored and stuck at work and I wanna go home, wah. Scrinches nose, sips Diet Coke, refreshes google reader, nothing, damn.

Real quick, news update, I also got my stitches out and got the "your knee looks really good" spiel. The doc told me that he removed 30% of my medial meniscus and 30-40% of my lateral one which is a LOT. They told me to start taking glucosamine and invest money in the Osteoarthritis Research Foundation. Instead of starting a kid's college fund, I will start a knee replacement by 40 fund. Excellent.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Final stories of gore.

Boo-boo stories commence once again. I started the story of my early affinity to self injury here and continued it here and got up to my teenage years. I would like to say that I got magically less awkward or unlucky as I grew into my teenage years in high school, but honestly that would be a lie.

So I was a jock in my younger life. Oh wait, I still am. Was. Whatever, maybe I will be again some day if I can stop tearing my freaking ACL. I played basketball and ran track in school which are not sports that immediately bring blood and violence to mind. But let me assure you, that running the hurdles can be downright dangerous. I still have some cinders in my knee from crashing over a hurdle on a crappy cinder track. Plus it is pretty easy to knock yourself out on hurdles also. Hit hurdle in glorious fashion while sprinting at full speed and very tired. Wipe out. Trip and fall but stay on feet trying to not loose balance, stumbling towards the next set of hurdle. Loose the battle and fall directly into the next hurdle. I am not saying it happened, just that it CAN happen and MAY have.

So my freshman year of basketball was a nightmare. We had a brand new psycho coach who didn't understand that my team sucked at basketball. Coach Psycho made us do sprints for every free throw missed and turnover in games we lost. Unfortunately we went 4-17 that season so lets just say that we were really quite fit (but still couldn't make a foul shot).

One day I was running a sprinting drill and got tripped up with another player at full speed and bam, down I went, right on my face. I got back up and sure enough, was bleeding nicely from the corner of my chin. I had split open a large enough gap to need stitches, but I stuck around practice long enough for team picture day. I remember making sure I was on my good side so that the picture wouldn't see the blood dripping from my chin. I ended up with five more stitches on my face. If anyone is counting, that is 69 + 5 + 5 = 79 stitches on my head alone. Excellent.

If basketball was good for practicing losing gracefully, luckily track was the opposite. My school was a track powerhouse known for their dominant hurdlers created by crazy coach Kenny. Kenny was crazy and weird, not pyscho really, most definitely falling on the loony side. He had tons of weird techniques, like setting up hurdles down a paved hill which forces you to run faster and therefore learn how to hurdle faster. That was always fun when you hit the hurdle. But really, his results were so astounding, and nearly every year, he took little skinny farm girls and made them dominant hurdlers at the state-wide level.

Well I started hurdling young, tagging along with my older sisters for special hurdle practice all summer long before I was even old enough to run track. My the time I finally got to my junior year of high school, my sister and I were the dominant family name among my county's hurdlers. Kenny always trained for the gold, a state gold medal, and so I felt an enormous amount of pressure to make it happen. Caring is the first mistake ladies and gentlemen.

So I qualified my junior year for the state competition in two hurdle events, the 100 and 300 meter hurdles runs. The state meet was held in the Ohio State University football stadium, the Horseshoe. Since my family are die hard Buckeyes fans/grads, this was the biggest honor in itself. I ran on Friday in the semis and qualified for both races for the finals. Family was excited, crazy Kenny was happy, and we decided to go to Damons to celebrate and carbo load for the next day. We walk in and are waiting in the lobby for a table when all of the sudden I feel something in my eye. It hurts really bad. I go to the bathroom but can't see anything. I could feel something stuck to the back of my eyelid, but I couldn't get it out. And it was killing me.

Suddenly, my coach is freaking out that I am going to scratch my cornea and not be able to see or run the next day. I ended up having to sit in the Ohio State Hospital ER waiting room for two hours (holding my eyelid away from my eyeball), before a doc could flip my eyelid inside out and remove the large piece of metal that was stuck in it. It was so incredibly random and I still have no idea how this happened from the Damons' lobby. The good news is that I somehow avoided scratching my eye and was able to recover and run the next day, earning my first state podium by finishing second in the 300 meter hurdles. Want to hear the crazy part? Almost one year later, I was go-carting with friends and the exact same thing happened again, although this time, I scratched my cornea and had to wear an eye patch and miss a track meet two days later. Seriously, this is just really bad luck people.

One year later in my senior year of track, I managed to tear (oops) my quad muscle in the middle of track season, effectively rendering me unable to run for about 5 weeks. It was devastating to me, after seven years of training year round to get to this moment. I started ultrasound therapy but was unable to run until the county championship meet when it was do or die. I prayed for a miracle and definitely had it answered as I was able to run every qualifying race I needed to (8) without pain all the way to the state finals where I once again took the silver medal. Never before have I ran with less training and more heart than that year. I am pretty sure I puked after every 300 meter hurdle run. Course, 300 meters of dead sprint with 8 barriers in between is a sadistic torture no matter how fit you are.

I am sure you are tired of the stories now. And I am pretty much done so just take a deep breath and hang on for one more if you can. I do have one last exciting surgery to tell you about. I somehow magically developed a tear in my stomach lining between the years of 0 and puberty (not really sure when but I had it for as long as I remember) and had to have a hernia operation when I was 19 years old. That's a fun surgery cause you get to walk around like an old man for a week or so. And that is sarcasm.

Right after the hernia operation, I got serious about the health of my body and so therefore joined rugby. The rest is history kids.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

My ode to chicken.

So I had a fun weekend. Not the mountain biking in the snow at 3am type of fun, but the good old fashioned going out with friends and having a cold one type of fun.

Now I don't want to brag, but with all my practice over the past two years, my crutching skills are pretty impressive. Friday, I did use the chair towards the end of the night, but mostly because I don't trust late night wedding goers not to knock me over. Saturday, I went out to two crowded bars with just my two trusty metal sticks and did just fine. It helps that I can put some weight on the knee.

Otherwise, I just want to add that surgery is just like grilled chicken smothered in garlic marinade. You make it once, with an assortment of delicious ingredients but you forget to pre-thaw the meat so when you just throw it on the grill anyway, it just tastes a little stringy. The next time, you go in prepared with soft pink thawed meat, use the same combo of ingredients, and voila it is delicious and tender. My knee is the chicken here and my doc is the cook. Things are just easier/better/faster/less pain/more ROM/ this time around. Same injuries, same fixes, better healing. And I truly believe it is because I went into this surgery with strong legs, no pain, and a full range of motion. Sometimes it pays to wait till you can pre-thaw the meat people.

I am back to work tomorrow (in person) so I may not be blogging like its my job anymore, cause it's not.