Saturday, April 6, 2013

Investing in time

Spring. New beginnings. New priorities.
New goals.
I sat in the dermatologist’s office this past Wednesday, thinking just how ridiculous these past two months have felt. Everything that could happen—has happened. Everything that needed to start—has started. Yet time hasn’t slowed. 

My training has definitely continued, but a number of different “events” have cropped up that have made life slightly more interesting. The trip to the dermatologist was the result of a “rash” that has invaded my hands over the past few weeks. While friends enjoyed diagnosing it as athlete’s hand, I found relief when the dermatologist diagnosed me with hand eczema, the result of excessive hand washing and hand sanitizer use. Apparently, my change in lifestyle by working as a student of physical therapy (washing my hands before and after seeing each patient) has taken an uncomfortable toll on my hands.

Today, I felt remarkably blessed by the opportunity to ride outside in sunshine on a day forecasted to be shrouded in clouds with a nearly 100% chance of rain. Aren’t days like that great? My ride today more than made up for a missed day last Saturday, when a developing sinus infection forced me to drag myself to urgent care the day before Easter—a sunny, warm, perfect day for riding—to start my 7-day round of antibiotics. While Levaquin took care of the sinuses, it did a number on my stomach.

My saving grace: Running on 80-90% of my
body weight feels great!
Starting my final rotation at B&B Physical Therapy two weeks ago, I finally felt a little more comfortable playing the role of physical therapist in a setting I have—up until now—played as the patient. By the end of my last rotation, I felt incredibly at ease with my patients and my role to make them better. I loved the skilled nursing setting. Only until the end of last week am I beginning to see the fun in practicing in the outpatient setting. Once I can get over the fact I spend 10-12 hours at the clinic, I think I’ll fully enjoy it.

Perhaps the most important aspect of this rotation I have discovered, is just how incredibly blessed I am by the timeliness and situational circumstances of it all. I’m still fighting left knee pain, but thanks to the direct access I have to the AlterG treadmill, I have found a way to run with less pain, for more time, and complete harder interval-type training than I would have been able to if I still had to fight against 9.8m/s2 of gravity. Instead, the AlterG has afforded me the ability to run on a body that only weighs 108 pounds. My knee couldn’t be happier about the weight loss! Patients working through their own injuries enjoy it as well. A few people experiencing some nagging injuries before their Boston Marathon appearance have used it to continue to get in training, but with less impact on the body. For $15/30 minutes, you can do the same.

In the end, while the last couple months have caused a lot of stress, I have learned just how much I can take on—and get through. St. George 70.3 lies just 4 weeks away. It won’t be my fastest, my strongest, or my best performance. I try to remind myself each day that I am doing all that I can to be the best and smartest competitor I can be on race day. When I read this quote by Mary Blake, “We each have all the time there is; our mental and moral status is determined by what we do with it,” I am pleased by the way the events that have had the potential to wear me down have actually made me stronger. With the 4 weeks of time I have left, I will strive to remain calm, train smart, and stay within myself.

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