Saturday, February 21, 2015

turning another year wiser

i shared with my counselor this week that my birthday was approaching (it was thursday) and that i'd be getting another year older. i rambled on, sharing my feelings of inadequacy over what i hadn't accomplished or hadn't done or who i hadn't yet become. after all, this was to be the last year of my 20's - shouldn't i have at least gotten something done at this point in my life?

my counselor looked at me and said something along the lines of, "instead of saying older, why don't you start saying wiser? after all, every new year brings another level of wisdom to our life."

(we're working on positive associations and messaging in our sessions, if you couldn't tell)

but she's right. i have accumulated wisdom with each passing year (some more than others) and it's a pretty empowering thought to imagine all that wisdom stored in my brain and all the wisdom that is yet to come. for reference, i'm picturing my wisdom being kept safe in the cave of wonders from aladdin

i had been a little consumed with the idea of having a "before i turn 30 bucket list" - all these things i just had to get done in the upcoming year otherwise my 20's would surely be a waste. but as my 29th birthday got closer and closer, i found myself forcing ideas and forcing things i wanted to do just to put them on a "now or never" bucket list. forcing things on a list prompted lots of questions from my wisdom bank: why would running my first marathon before 30 be any better than running it when i'm actually 30 or even older? would perfecting the bloody mary recipe be more meaningful now compared to four years from now?

turns out, i didn't have any legitimate reasons to do any of these things before i turn 30 other than it's what i thought i should do or was supposed to do. 

and just like that, as i sipped my free birthday latte from starbucks on thursday, my first new wisdom to add to my cave of wonders was revealed to me on my 29th birthday. i'm letting go of this "before 30 bucket list" and i'm looking forward to a lifetime of being able to cross things off my list of to do's when it's their rightful time. savoring (and saving) the joy that each one of these things will bring will be much more satisfying than the stress and pressure to force them all into one year. 

so here's to turning 29; another year wiser, another year with blank pages to write in the story of my life and the things i will do as they come to me in their rightful time.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

i've graduated to the elliptical!

count one for team alicia! today, my physical therapist gave me the ok-go to graduate from walking on the treadmill to working out on the elliptical! she said that since i've been able to walk for 45 minutes on the treadmill with no issue, it was okay to try the elliptical!

this is huge success in the healing of my bulging disc! the progression of exercise for disc issues like mine, according to my doctor, is as follows:

swimming --> treadmill walking --> elliptical --> treadmill running --> outdoor running --> all other activity

graduating to the elliptical means that i am one step closer to being able to run again! how amazing is that? i'm really excited and happy about how physical therapy has helped my injury this time around. it seems more effective than pt i've done for any other injury and i think the swim class i'm taking has also helped accelerate my recovery.

aside from what the elliptical means for the progression of my back healing, i also feel i can get a better workout in on an elliptical, versus the treadmill walking. i'm excited to start sweating again and hopeful this will help kickstart my journey back into a more active lifestyle again. as much as i love laying on the couch with an icepack on my back, it would be a lot nicer to feel like an athlete again :)

hooray for progress!

anyone have fun elliptical workouts they recommend? would love suggestions!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

i signed up for a swim class. now what?

i'm always upfront with folks when i say i don't like being unnecessarily wet or dirty. this is one of the main reasons why i'm not interested in taking up swimming as a sport or hobby. just not my thing. but after meeting with the spine doctor/specialist a couple weeks ago, he mentioned swimming as the first (and only) exercise for people with disc issues like me (while in recovery, anyway). i've progressed enough in physical therapy where i am "allowed" to walk on the treadmill now, but let's be honest: if running on a treadmill makes me want to poke my eyeballs out, walking on a treadmill has me gouging them out with a rusty spoon (just kidding, that was pretty graphic).

i happened to find a therapeutic water exercise class (yes, that is what it is called) being offered during the winter. it promised to relieve pain and stiffness in an enjoyable pool environment of 84-92 degrees. isn't that bathtub water? the class is designed for adults recovering from an injury or in need of a gentle form of exercise. i happen to fall into both of those categories. after discussing with my physical therapist (who enthusiastically told me i should sign up right away), i registered for the 8 week long class. 

i don't even have a real swim suit! but heaven knows i am in need of some sort of exercise to help me feel like i'm doing something. while i'm sure there will be plenty of physical benefits to this swim class, i think the mental health benefits might be what i need more.

the first class was last week and it went a lot better than expected. yes, it felt like swimming in bath water. yes, i was the youngest person in the class. and yes, i didn't like being wet. BUT my body felt so light and free in the water; it was the best feeling i've had physically since the injury. i started off the class using a weighted water belt, but it pulled on my back and hurt quite a bit. after taking that off though, i went into full on fish mode. the majority of the class takes place in the deep end where we do some sort of water movement for a song's length and then there's a minute high intensity push in between each song of some repetitious movement designed to have more resistance against the water.

needless to say, it was more of a workout than i had bargained for, but i mean that in the best way possible. when it was time to get out of the water, i didn't want to leave (mostly because it was cold outside of the water) but also because the second i stepped out, i immediately felt the pull of gravity on my back again and remembered how much pain and discomfort i have been in. can't believe i've been living with this strain since may!

all in all, i'm glad i signed up for the class and i'm looking forward to continuing my water therapy. bonus perk? the instructor is a marathoner so we have lots in common to talk about :)

anyone else out there take swim classes or pool classes to heal an injury? would love to hear about others' experiences!