Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Winter has come and madness is upon us... (gulp)

Hello there and how goes it?

We had a wild, windy, and very wintery weekend here in Chicagoland. All week the weather reports were preparing us for a huge snowstorm, so on Thursday, after picking Nigel up from the vet, I made the executive life decision to spend most of the weekend at Cam's.

Sidenote: Nigel is doing great. He got six stitches which are healing well, though he won't let me take a picture for you all because he hates pictures and doesn't understand my commitments as a blogger. The vet called today to tell us that the lump was a benign trichoblastoma tumor. It's a type of tumor that develops in the deep dermal tissue around the hair follicle. Dr Sharon said she was able to successfully removed all of it during the procedure last week. Phew! And Happy Thanksgiving news!

He's gotten lots of cuddles this week to help cope with the annoying stitches he had to get.
Now back to our regularly scheduled program!

This decision to stay at Cam's paid off hugely when I was offered Saturday OT and got to drive Cam's Jeep (with its 4-wheel drive and spankin' new tires) to work in a blizzard.

Here are some pictures from the weekend!
The world when I woke up at 6:00...It kiiiinda looksl ike Narnia :) Snow wasn't too bad at this point.
Around 8, headed to the 'Bux to get my coffee fix before braving the office on a Saturday.
And of course, when I got to work I sent this to Cam so he'd know his car I got to work safely and was parked in the nice, sheltered parking garage:

When I left work it was way more windy, as you can see here (I took this from the stairwell in the parking garage):

Fortunately, by Sunday there was no more snowing happening, and it's gotten slightly warmer all week so what we got over the weekend has been (very) slowly melting. And it can stay that way. It was a bit of a shock to be plunged from gorgeous weather last week right-straight into winter this week. I can wait a little longer for more!

We've been keeping busy 'round these parts all week. I've still been working a matter of fact today is the first day in a long while that I won't be working OT. We got out early today because of the holiday tomorrow which, because of how hourly wages work, pretty much meant no OT. But don't think I'm upset about it! Oh no! I could use a day with no OT. Our missing department member finally came back, but somehow she lost access to our coding systems while she was gone, and hasn't been able to work so we're still picking up extra work. Ahh lovely. Corporate America and it's security systems! Yayyy.

I'm also still fitting in PT every Monday and Wednesday - as a matter of fact, I had my progress note done on Monday, which went well, but it was still a bit disheartening when Amy said she wanted me to book another 4 weeks of appointments. Truthfully, I knew that would probably be the case, but I was really hoping to be done by December 1st.

Alas, I won't be. The progress note was positive - I've improved to about 85-90% full functionality, but I still have pain when I walk too much and after certain activities (ahemm, lunges...and I love lunges!! D:). Since my overall goal from therapy is to get back to running and to be able to train for Hustle Up the Hancock, Amy suggested the additional appointments. I also see Dr Gent on Monday, and will talk to him about what else I can do to help.

All of that aside, I want to bring up this post from last month about swimming. In it, I set a goal that by the time I finished PT I wanted to have reached an endurance for 20-25 laps in one go in the pool...and I have great news to report on this!

Yesterday...I did it! It was my last swim before my "last" PT appointment, and it was our high lap day. So I jumped in, and went to it. Here's the breakdown:

  • I started with 10 laps (500 yards) front crawl
  • The next 15 laps were a mix of front crawl, breast stroke, and back stroke
  • Short break
  • 5 final laps front crawl
  • Total of 1500 yards (or .85 miles)

I am really proud of this. It was sorely needed this week because last week's swims were abysmal and left me feeling pretty defeated. But this was awesome. When I started swimming a few months ago I only had about 5 laps in me at a time. But now...well .85 miles is almost the entire Olympic triathlon swim distance! Since I have a new end date for PT (I believe my last appointment is December 30th), my goal for the end of PT is to complete at least 1000 yards front crawl without stopping.

So far, my main reason for doing so much breast and back stroke has been to mix it up and keep things balanced throughout my shoulders and back. I want to avoid any overuse injuries from rotating my shoulders in the same direction all the time...but honestly, I need to work on endurance for my front crawl. I think the solution to this might be increasing weight training for my posterior shoulder and back at some point I need to work that into the equation as well!

Along with this awesome news is that I finally broke my bench press plateau. (Seriously, it was a great week in Gym-land.)

Last week I finally benched a 3-set at 75lbs (something I've failed multiple times before!) and even hit a 1RM (one rep max) at 80lbs after that. I would love to hit a 90-lb max by Christmas, because I will have officially doubled my weight since I started lifting in the spring, and that's a pretty awesome Christmas present to myself.

I think I owe this, in large part, to all the good stuff I'm learning through Swim Bike Fuel. I keep saying I'm going to do a post about it, and I am. Our program ends tomorrow, and they're having a Black Friday sale, so I plan on posting about it very soon. Like, maybe even tomorrow soon. My whole perspective on eating and fueling my body has changed, and if active-life nutrition is something you feel you don't quite have a grasp on, I can't recommend this program enough. I've been able to work everything into my life day by day, and I am so much more conscious about every lesson we've learned. It's definitely a process, but Meredith V makes it very, very easy.

So...yeah, look for that in the coming days. And if you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out and ask. I will answer what I can!

To recap, here are the goals I have before Christmas and New Years (and a peek at what's coming):

December Goals

  • Bench Press 90-lbs (Christmas)
  • 1000 yards of front crawl without stopping (New Years)
  • Get through the holiday madness, which seems much maddeninger this year!
    • CPCU 520 test (Dec 10th)
    • PrideZ holiday mixer with Sears (Dec 10th)
    • Sarah's Wedding (Dec 12th)
    • Gingerbread house contest at work (Dec 16th)
    • Birthday awesomeness (Star Wars...Dec 17th)
    • and all the PT, doctor, and other appointments I have scheduled
    • oh yeah, and Christmas
    • and New Years

I will say this about blogging...I like the goal-setting mentality a lot of bloggers have. Setting these goals gives me something to keep working towards, and I'm able to prove to myself again and again just how much I can do if I just try. December will take a lot of trying though, haha.

Anyways...time for me to get going. Because speaking of healthy eating and all that, I have two pies to make for Thanksgiving dinner! (And I should probably clean some hamster cages and study or something too).

Off I go...see you later!


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