Monthly Archives: March 2018

ten years ago today

We were in the garden, E and me. These photos look so similar to my mornings there with F. They blend together, which feels strange. I can so easily recall conversations and adventures and scraped knees and weird sightings there with F – even the ones that happened a few seasons ago. But I can’t remember that same level of detail with my older girl, the first time around. Is one layer overlapping another one, or is it simply an issue of time? Ten years isn’t nothing. She’s a gangly teenager now, rarely skipping, or even wearing a hat for that matter. She used to live in hats, indoors and outdoors, for years.

F and I call those stepping stones in the English Woodland Garden the “secret paths”. She convinced me that they were undiscovered until the day she stumbled upon them, weaving in and out of the trees, over a gurgling little stream and back again. I let her convince me because I didn’t recall walking on them or spending much time on them. But there’s photographic proof that I was there before she even entered my life. I’m pretty sure E was also a dozen stones ahead of me, always. I’m sure she dragged sticks across the ground behind her, and dropped leaves in at the top of the stream, and followed them as they moved alongside her. Her voice probably carried through the trees on the quiet of the morning. She slipped in the mud and stepped out onto perches in the water, waiting for me to remind her to come back to the path. I’d like to see a map of the garden, dotted with each spot where she sat down in the middle of the walk and declared that she could not, would not, walk another step. Those dots would cover half the trails, and F would fill the gaps.

Where do they overlap, these dots, if I carry this thought forward? What if I could trace them in transparent lines within the confines of this one space? Then I could see where they overlap, where we spent the most time, where one was most like the other, even when skipping. What if I could place a little flag in areas where something significant happened, the moment we realized that the jumping fountains had been fixed, or the time we stretched out across the lawn covered in yellow ginko leaves because they were just too beautiful to walk past?

Would I drop a flag in that spot where I lifted a tantrum-ing E and carried her, kicking and screaming, all the way back to the entrance, through the building, and across the parking lot to our car? I could certainly drop flags at all the locations along that march of shame where people commented on my child or my parenting. I remember where we received a band-aid from a gardener for a bleeding foot, and a brief reprieve from the shoes on requirement. Remember that wooden trellis and bridge that used to be near the Linnean House? The girls never fell in, although I was convinced that eventually it would happen. It’s gone now too, but F still points out its absence every visit.

Maybe the overlapping just continues, and the definition slowly fades. It will be quiet there again, and I’ll feel a little silly walking across those stones by myself. I’ll look for a good leaf, and drop it in. There’s a perfect spot for it, I know it by heart. I’ll watch it tumble through the gentle rapids and remember it all again.

running updates

Updates on my physical therapy process, as promised.

I’m on my third week, and things seem to be going really well. Last week I had my running analysis, which was way more involved than I thought it might be. I needed a shower when I was done! I started with walking on a treadmill barefoot, then added shoes. Then I ran at an 8:30 pace at a 2% incline for 2 minute intervals, and then we reviewed all the footage – from the side and from the rear. (Nothing like watching your butt move in slow motion while someone draws lines and angles all over it!)

Observations: I’m a loud walker. (I know this.) I have to work on leaning forward at about 10 degrees and using my glutes to lift legs, while also keeping my headlights (two sides of my pelvis) pointing forward, level, and slightly down. I’ve been doing this religiously everywhere I walk, especially in the park Sunday when I walked for about 40 minutes, plus just walking between meetings and around the office.

I also need this forward angle when running, and that’s a hard adjustment. The way I was told to remember this was to think of the Road Runner – angling forward, and knees, legs, and feet creating a circle when sped up to high speed. My profile view was more of an oval near the ground – not enough knee lift and not enough kick back. My legs angle in from my hips, so I look like I’m running on a tightrope. Increasing my “knee window” is critical, but that will come with changing my running profile from an oval to a circle.

My assignment last week was to run / walk in 2:00 intervals for 40 minutes, focusing on my form in both. Running with that slight lean forward, and kicking back at a rate of 174 beats a minute on a metronome, and raising my knees more. This is really exhausting work, so the intervals were welcome. It also takes a whole lot of concentration and adjustments as I go…. BUT NO PAIN. I was ecstatic. My PT was also ecstatic at the progress and changes this week, which was really exciting, and makes the hassle worth it.

Other things: I’m continuing exercises for strengthening, and have a few modifications to make in my current power yoga, Piyo and Body Pump classes to fire glutes over quads. My PT added bands in to make my home exercises more challenging, for quicker progress.

My ankle angles are already improving, just with two weeks of work. My heels graze the ground in down dog, which is really amazing to me.

I have some new stair work which is great for my house, because I do stairs all the time, so why not make them beneficial?

My PT doesn’t want me to switch shoes. The Hokas have a pretty low heel drop, and lots of cushion, so I do have to be careful that the force of my feet hitting the ground isn’t transferred up my body because of the cushion at my feet. But I also was filmed today in my last pair of Brooks, and my running form wasn’t nearly as good. The next shoes I get will need to be somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, but she wants me to continue in the Hokas for now.

Working on a new standing posture as well, knees forward, not inward. Worked on form for lunges – I do a lot of those weekly in classes, and want to maximize my efforts there.

Last interesting note: I’ve wrongly assumed that the faster I run, the worse my form is. But my PT said that’s not true. Run fast, walk slow – not the opposite. The messy form happens in the middle somewhere, so commit to one or the other. This is really interesting, and also makes sense. When I was experiencing pain in November – January, I kept trying to ease up and knock my pace down, but the pain just continued or increased – it felt like I was just shuffling along because I was. She said running at an 8:00 pace is excellent, and not to speed walk (which I tend to do, and which makes my pelvis sway more side to side, versus staying level and forward), but take it easier and focus on form. I can up the run/walk intervals to 3:00/2:00 this week, 4:00/2:00 next week, 4:00/1:00 the following week, then running as normal, as long as I continue to progress. Run up hills, walk down hills, when running outdoors in March to further promote this new form.

I’ve got a couple more visits, and then I might be turned loose. I’ll give you another update at that point. Thanks for the interest, and for the encouraging words on IG.