I am Jen, Jen I am

my journey towards happy and healthy healing…inside and out!

Archive for the category “embracing the turtle”

I’m in no hurry

It has been a long time since I have written an “embracing the turtle” post.  There may be times when my head is a bit thick and it takes me entirely too long to get it.

I went out for a walk yesterday morning. I was meeting my friend out on the bikepath and we met at 6am. On my first official day of summer, I was up and out the door by 6am.   I took my silly Lucy walking with me this morning.

We both needed this walk. I have been totally absent from the gym for like the last month and for at least the last two weeks I have been plagued with allergies and upper respiratory infections and not getting any relief due to the mold at school.


This walk was just what I needed.

We walked for about 40 minutes. At an averagely slow pace. Lucy has not had a ton of practice in her harness and on the leash.  Lucy had a great walk.

We did it again today. Today was much more humid and a tad warmer which was harder on my healing lungs. I think I am doing better but then I go out and walk and my lungs remind me. I am not sure why I am still suffering….I am taking a 24 hour allegra twice a day. What gives!??!?

But ya know what?!?

I still enjoyed my walk. I will do it again. Hopefully, most mornings this summer. Because Lucy is all black she doesn’t like to be in the sun for too long so this mama needs to get her furbaby out early. If you know me, you know I don’t like early! 😉

I am realizing something from these walks. And from my new way of eating.

I have not been listening to my body.

I have not been properly taking care of my body.

I have not honored my mind or my body recently.

I had a funk, then I got sick. I have been eating better but these walks showed me I need to take care of my body….especially my knee and ankle. Because, seriously, what was the point of surgery and pain and recovery and physical therapy if I am just gonna let it all go to shit.

I was doing good when I was getting to the gym and I was using my muscles. I was doing well.  I was on my way to succeeding when my head totally got it the way. I started to doubt and not feel right and then my funk forced me to stay away from the gym. I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t make myself so I didn’t.

Then I got sick.

And I stayed away from the gym some more.

Now, I am starting to feel better but I still don’t want to go to the gym. I don’t know what I want but I know its not a “be a badass” in the gym sort of thing. I want to feel better, really better. I am still congested and my lungs feel heavy. I want to be gentler.

I want to be gentler.

I want to take care of me gently.

I want to find the things I really enjoy doing for physical (and mental) fitness and not the things I should be doing.

So, I guess you could say I had a sort of a-ha moment out there on my bike path walk.

I am in no hurry.

I want to find what make my body and spirit happy. I want to heal my lungs and my ankle/knee truly.

I am in no hurry, I don’t have to to rush.

Baby steps.

Slow and steady will win this race!

I will be happy just being Jen.

Heck, I am happy just being Jen…I just have to remember that!!

I have not been exercising. at. all. I have valid reasons…I mean it is hard to work out when you can’t breathe. And there were days when just making it through the day at school was all I could manage. There were days where I thought I had ear infections in both ears and my head might literally explode.  The stairs to my classroom…don’t even ask!! I had to suffer through school – last few weeks are always the busiest. I had a grant to write on top of my normal teaching duties. Oh, and all those weeks I needed off after surgery left me depleted on sick days.

ahhh such is life.

I did a really good ob on my eating. Eliminating wheat has been a very good thing for me. It has forced me to pay attention to what I am eating and what I have in the house. I am making much more conscious choices. I am eating good food. I am enjoying food, all about the food – the prep and the planning and the preparing. I am learning to


one______at a time

I realize, I am not one of those people who can go all balls-to-the-wall extreme in any area of life, let alone fitness and food changes.  I truly love food, I am learning more and more all the time to love really good quality food, but I love all food. Yes, even some of those gross, should be totally off-limits sort of gross foods. I don’t eat “clean” and I don’t care if I shouldn’t use Splenda, damnit, that is how I like my coffee.  I used to use so much sugar or french vanilla creamer it was ridiculous, now I like Splenda…who know what I will want in my coffee in a year or two.

I am definitely more of a turtle and I am also truly embracing the turtle mode. I have not rushed myself and I have had my ups and downs(and I don’t just mean on the scale), but I am learning so much about myself. I am learning I am capable of really hard work. I was almost going to write that exercise was a priority, but that would be lying. Exercise isn’t the priority, taking care of me is the priority. Exercise is just one of the ways I take care of me! I feel better when I exercise, I sleep better, I eat better and I take care of my family better. I may be slow to figure this all out but I think I am finally figuring it out.

My good friend Jen has a reminder-saying (she even has this on a bracelet), and I have been thinking about her and a picture she posted on her blog (the pic is Jen walking to a race with a cheer sign and Iggy).

“One bite at a time, One decision at a time, One breath at a time”

I am starting to embrace this mentality! It is not an easy concept for me to embrace as I tend to be an all or nothing sorta person.  I am working on it and some days are better than others but I am striving to find my perfect balance…you know that food, fitness, mind, body, soul balance. I am learning to live in the moment and take one moment at a time! One decision at a time.

Let me tell you an example of this…and it happened this week.

The other night I had Chicken Bruschetta Bake planned for dinner. I had the chicken defrosted in the fridge, I had green beans for my side dis, but I didn’t have enough stuffing for the recipe.  I only had half of what I needed – not even enough to fake it. So, my husband in his oh-so-helpful ways, said we should just order dinner.  I didn’t want chinese or pizza. I just wasn’t feeling it.  I went into the kitchen and looked around and decided a late dinner of a big old salad or pasta salad and grilled chicken over a bed of greens.

It was a delicious, filling, slightly later-than-usual, dinner!! The picture I have is not very good – I used my very low-tech cell phone.

But it is not about the picture. It’s a bout that one decision to make a salad, to make something work, and not order out!!


Do you believe in the power of one??

the calf is calling the shots

Before my surgeries I had ankle pain, arch (plantar fascia) and knee pain. My calf muscle never bothered me. My cal muscle also never really developed. There was this weird disconnect happening between knee and ankle.

Surgery has fixed  this disconnect.

Now, I have NO pain in my knee or ankle. The muscles around my knee and ankle….now that is a different story. I have suffered with sore muscles almost every day since I started walking after the cast was removed. My quads have continually reminded me that knee is now working properly and so are they. Since the quads are not used to working properly, they are sore just from daily moving. My ankle is so much more stable. This means the muscles in the bottom of my foot are much more stable. I still have pain on the inside and bottom of my foot. It is not arch pain like I had prior to surgery…this pain all stems from the muscle that runs down behind my knee down my calf and under my heel.

Somewhere deep in my calf I get a muscle spasm. When I was going to PT twice a week, Doug would work that knotted muscle out. Seriously, the man would “dig” his fingers in there and we knew he had the right spot because I instantly would sit straight up and make one wicked face!

That shit effing hurt!!

But now, I am on my own.

Sorta…I did email Doug. He suggested I try deep massage using the rolling pin version of a foam roller. I asked him about compression sock or calf sleeves but he seems to think they won’t help me. He would know.

Then later on, I was g-chatting with Deb.  Deb and I have been talking rehab since before I had my surgery…because she had hip replacement in October (?)…we chatted about my calf.  Deb wondered if I was going to ditch my weight workout. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the weights I thought about scaling back on but rather the cardio.

I think this calf issue is my body’s way of telling me I have been doing too much. I logged a lot of time on the recumbent bike and the elliptical (cross ramp) last week. I may have completely and totally overdone it! We all know how I tend to jump in headfirst. I was so excited about my gym groove. I did too much. The cardio was really too much. The constant contraction and release of calf muscles while ellipticalling and biking at the gym were just too much.

Deb suggested I cut back on the cardio, at least until my calf pain is under control.  I did not want to have to stop the cardio but I knew something had to give.  It makes sense, I know it but I don’t have to like it! Today I went to the gym and it was weights day anyway (because I took yesterday off because my calf hurt so damn bad) so I thought I would experiment with not using cardio.

Normally on weights day, I would warm-up on the bike or cross-ramp elliptical for 15-20 minutes and the do weights and maybe hop back on one of the machines for 15-20 and then stretch.  On off days, I just do the cardio machines and stretching while Kerry does her weights. Today, I listened to Deb and I cut out the cardio completely. I warmed up with a set of squats then took some time doing PT exercises and calf stretches. Then I completed my weights workout (#NROLFW, S1, WO A). I ended with a good stretch.

I won’t lie and tell you my calf is pain free but I can honestly say, it is nowhere near where it was last night. If last night;s pain was a 7 (on a scale of 1-10) today post workout was a 2-3.

This is enough to convince me to give cardio a break. This will truly give me a chance to see if I like or love or hate weights. I think I don’t hate weights. Easing calf pain (or at least not worsening it) puts weights one step above cardio…at least at this moment in time.

I have to change up some of my plans, for now:

  • I will switch my weights days to Tuesday and Thursday (I usually meet Kerry so this is perfect) and Saturday.
  • NO CARDIO at all for next week (at least, maybe 2 – calf is calling the shots so I can only guestimate).
  • I will do an at-home yoga workout Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

It is not always easy listening to my body and doing what is right for my current needs. Currently, my calf is screaming for me to pay attention. I need to slow down and take good care of my calf.  I am going to put the time and energy I DESERVE!


seriously, this is effing hard! I really thought it was going to be so much easier once I joined a gym and PT was over. NO, it is the complete opposite. It is harder now. I have more work to do…mental and physical.

whoever said this or life for that matter was gonna be easy?!?

no one!

So, I say adios to my beloved cardio and hope with all I have that my calf pain goes away and I learn to LOVE weights!

realizing I like the turtles

I was going to blog a Christmasy recap!

I had the BEST Christmas but I am going to save that for another post.

I had such a great day and somewhere, somehow, I had a sorta revelation. To be fair, it has been on my brain and I have been thinking such thoughts but during a conversation with my mom’s boyfriend it really became clear.

I usually am the kind of chick who spins in circles. I do so much yet so little. My husband is always telling me I do too much, that I do too much at the same time, and that I suck at finishing things. I want to be mad at him, but he is totally right. He has been telling me this stuff since forever. I like to say I am scatterbrained but truth is, I am easily distracted. I think part of it is I need to be needed so I volunteer to do everything.

I hate this about myself. I do not like half-assing, procrastinating, or not finishing what I start. I know I do this but I haven’t fixed it!

As you know, I have been sorta stuck on the couch since surgery. When I do leave the couch it is a pain! I have to think about what I need to accomplish while I am up. I have to plot it out every time I get off the couch. Crutches suck!! Getting anything accomplished is an effort but over the last almost-6 weeks I have learned a few things.

I am on crutches and not allowed to put any weight on my right ankle. This makes doing almost anything so much harder.  I NEED to focus on this ankle – the knee is healing nicely and if it weren’t for having ankle surgery at the same time I would be walking normally by now! Crutches use way more energy that normal walking. An hour out of the house requires a nap!

Crutches and ankle healing-pain has forced me to focus!

Circling back to my revelation. Apparently, my tendency to spin/talk in circles is a family trait. My mom is the same way but way more intense. She is a way more, in general, intense person than I am so that makes sense. I also see the same tendency in my daughter.


Being all hobbled up has given me what I call….Forced Focus!

What is Forced Focus?

Injured ankle/hobbling one legged/crutches all mean one thing…I cannot spin in circles.

I have been forced to focus on one task at a time!!

Do you have any idea how amazing it feels to be productive and organized?!?

I actually finish tasks! And when I am working on a task, I clean up after myself as I go! (My husband is liking this aspect of Forced Focus the best!!) I am making more to-do lists and then tackling the tasks in an order that makes sense. I still do too much, but that is just me.

Forced Focus = forced slow down = one thing at a time

This is all very not like me!

So, I was tweeting last night. I was struck with inspiration.

I was thinking about maybe starting another new blog. A blog focused on this new realization. This new “Forced Focus” focus could be its own blog! I thought about it though and realized something else….I mean it is EXACTLY what LLLM (listen.learn.love.mend) is all about!



This is exactly what I wanted from my mending! I want to listen to my heart and my body, learn from what they “say” and love myself enough to Mend!!!

I have been forced to slow down.

I am embracing my inner turtle.

So, I am not starting a new blog. But I will be adding a new feature. I will blog regularly about embracing my inner turtle. I will continue to FOCUS and work on slowing down and enjoying the ride. I don’t blog for money or fame (though, I wouldn’t mind if threw money at me – not literally, mmkay?!) but I blog to have a place to work out the crazy stuff in my head. I blog so that I can figure out me.

Yesterday and today, I did some ME work.

When it comes to the turtle and the rabbit…I want to be the turtle. Running in circles and speeding around hasn’t gotten me to a happy place.

I will continue to work on focus and doing one thing – finishing it, cleaning up from it, and enjoying it before I move onto something new.

I will find my happy place.

I like turtles.

I will embrace my inner turtle.

Will you?!?





Tomorrow’s agenda:

8:15 doc appt for cast removal

9:00 Physical Therapy


Blog Christmasy recap


Blog “what’s up with ankle”


Not too sure…

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