Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Macy*s Fireworks…Elderly and Disabled Need Not Attend (unless you don’t mind watching from 52nd St, apparently)

Since I was in NYC this 4th, I went down to see the Macys fireworks, hoping for a nice, festive occasion, and as usual got there really early so I could get a good position. I had my toys to play with (tatting, paperfolding) and a cloth to sit on…as usual. I had missed last two years’ shows, so I wasn’t really prepared for the horrible sight lines you get on the Hudson. The show was moved from the East River to the Hudson two or three years ago. But OK, we’ll deal with that. Then, at about 6:30, the police started telling people they couldn’t sit on blankets. Mind you, this was about three hours before the show was scheduled to begin. So everyone put away their blankets and sat on the pavement, or folded them into tiny cushions…bang go the picnics. If that wasn’t bad enough, about 40 minutes later, the police started announcing (even yelling through bullhorns) that no sitting was allowed, although they didn’t seem to bother the few who brought lawn chairs. ( Mind you, I called the Macy*s “Hotline” when I got home and found that the instructions included a line that asked the public not to bring blankets or lawn chairs, but nowhere did I find this repeated in printed information!) So for over two hours people were expected to stand…including small children, women with babies, elderly people. People were shifting from foot to foot, taking off shoes, complaining about their backs, and at least one person who told a cop she couldn’t stand for two hours was threatened!

I was going to have to go home…My foot gets uncomfortable if I stand too long, and I am having an operation next week to repair a torn meniscus, I went to ask to speak to a supervisor…there wasn’t one there, but the cop I spoke to told me “you can sit.” So I did, and eventually, the most of the crowd rebelled and sat down. By then, the lady with the baby on her hip and another clutching her skirt had given up and gone home. Gotta say, it felt like some sort of weird detention pen, not like a 4th of July celebration. Some people from Boston were telling me how much fun the Boston show is, compared to NYC’s.

So this is my last NYC Macy*s fireworks, at least until they move it to the East River again…next year, back to Washington DC!

Macys Fireworks viewing area

This is where I was, not long before the police decided it was too crowded for people to relax on blankets. You can see how how for some people the view would be blocked.

macys fireworks

People resting their feet.

Macys Fireworks 2012

The hoi poloi vs the privileged: Looking through the shoulders of two guys in our holding pen, out towards the riverside views enjoyed by the privileged.

Sorry this is such a gripe, but it seems so unfair that people who can’t stand for long periods can’t enjoy this event, and Macy’s doesn’t even give us fair warning! Why not say…”Only for people who can stand for 2 1/2 hours.”

Oh, and yes, I did see later that they had reserved DeWitt Clinton Park for the elderly and disabled, but many people who are not certified as disabled still can’t stand for 2 hours or more!


Barefoot Running?

No, I’m not racing out to the park without shoes, although I run around barefoot in the apartment all the time. But recently, the New York Times ran an article on barefoot running, “The Once and Future Way to Run, ” which included a video of two exercises to help you run barefoot. (For the video, you click on the picture at the top of the article.) They immediately clicked for me. For one thing, they were a lot like the exercises I thought up for myself after I finished PT. Then, later in the article, the author references a barefoot running system called the Pose Method. So I looked up that on YouTube.  I really liked the exercises, and I have started doing some of them to help strengthen my mid-foot.

Mind you, I am already running barefoot on the mat, and I don’t intend to start barefoot running in Central Park. And I’m not suggesting everyone with a Lisfranc injury start doing them! My physical therapist had lots of tortuous exercises for me to do. But I am interested in getting my foot stronger than it was before the injury, so for me, they seemed just perfect.

I’ll see if I keep doing them, and if they seem to have a good effect.

A Lovely Day in the Park

Actually, it’s been a few nice days. First, I made my latest goal…jogging 9 minutes, walking 1 for an hour. I was painfully slow, but I had some extra at the end for a little sprint, so that was good. I have to keep reminding myself that the reason I started running was so that I could run for a bus, not so I could run a marathon (or a 5K). But now, running for the bus isn’t something I even think about. It’s just normal.

Then, yesterday I went to do my bike ride around the park. It was a beautiful day…there are actually some fall colors, and the elms were a lovely golden yellow. How often do you get to see a whole stand of elms these days? Sadly, there were a lot of crews out taking down trees that were damaged in the snowstorm. Not the elms, though.

Taking Down a Tree

A few more pictures to come. It was interesting to watch how the men were so comfortable walking around on tree limbs.

I actually got up the hill at the north end without stopping, and up the next one, too. So I didn’t stop to take pictures because I wanted to see how far I could go. Then I got to the marathon finish area and had to stop, because they were taking down the finish line. We had to detour. So then I took pictures.

What I hadn’t realized was how many people return to the scene of the crime the next day. The west drive was crowded with people walking back to the finish line, wearing their medals, to take the picture they couldn’t take the day before. Everyone was in a great mood, congratulating each other, so it was really fun to weave through them.

Then, as I approached the home stretch, who should I see but Zoe Koplowitz entering the park with her escort of Guardian Angels. Mind you, this is the day after the marathon! Zoe has multiple sclerosis but does the marathon every year, on crutches. This year, it took her 30 plus hours. I decided that I wanted to see her finish, so I rode around the north end (cutting off the big hill this time) to get the point where she would enter the park again, hung out with some Guardian Angels for a while, till she appeared, and we all walked up to the finish line, picking up people and photographers on the way. What guts, walking all night to do this. And I worry that I’m slow!

Zoe and Her Attendants

I got home late, but it was worth it!

Van Cortlandt Park Running Trail

Yesterday I went to check out the Van Cortlandt Park Cross Country track that will be used for the 5K race I was hoping to run. Whoa, not so fast!! It’s a beautiful trail, but the hills are just too much for me. I actually managed to slow jog a lot of it, but ended up walking a lot, too. Some of the hills made me breathless just walking up them at a good clip. Maybe next year…

Beautiful, but hilly

Van Cortlandt Park Running Track

Fortunately, there’s another race the same weekend that I might be able to do. I’m not sure yet if it will work out. I think I found out another reason why I am having such a hard time getting back in condition. The night before my pre-op, so long ago, I went into atrial fibrillation, and kept it up all during the next day. They had to admit me into the hospital to get my heart back to normal so they could operate, and after the operation, I did it again a few times, though never for more than an hour…so I got put on medication to keep it from recurring, and never got taken off. I just realized how much it slows down  the heart, which means your muscles don’t get blood! So I have an appointment next month to discuss training and heart medication, and to see if I can be weaned off at least some of it.

Stiff toes…I have found that my toes on the foot-previously-known-as-broken are getting stiff, so it’s back to foot exercises. I’m also using a toe stretcher (in moderation) and interlacing my fingers between my toes when I do a foot massage. I’ll see how it goes…

I Made My Goal!

Yesterday I made my goal of run/walk at 5 minutes jog/1 minute walk 10 times. Or maybe 11, because, of course, I lost count, and my method of keeping track didn’t work. I know it was at least 1 hour, though, so it counts. Yes, I could have walked it faster, but that’s not the point! I learned more about pacing…at the end, I actually had something left, so I could run a little bit. I was especially happy because I had to get up at 5 that morning to go to the airport, and when I got home, I took a “nap” and slept all morning! At least I got something done!

I did have a setback. I had planned to do a 5K in mid-October, in Van Cortland Park, but when I looked up the course, it’s a real cross-country, with lots of hills, so I don’t think I will be ready by then. Flat, I can do, but hills wipe me out. Even penguins have pride, and the idea is to run (jog) it, not crawl! Bummer. I was really looking forward to it. But there’s another one in November…

Wish me luck!

Hurray! I’m a Penguin!!!

I discovered there’s a name for us slow runners..It’s Penguins!!! Yay, I have a name!

Here’s a link to a youtube of a penguin running…OK, I don’t waddle, but I still think it’s pretty funny.

There’s also a website for us penguins, a penguin support group, and even a thread for people who claim to be the slowest penguin on the block!.Hey, penguins, I win! This penguin is so slow that she finishes her run earlier than she started, because she can’t keep up with the earth’s rotation.

The sites don’t seem that active, but they are fun to read.

I don’t know why, but I think it’s hysterical! Somehow it helps make everything better…OK, I have lost a good bit of flexibility, my legs don’t have the strength they used to, I can’t get up gracefully from a front roll, and I’m losing my mind, but HEY! I’m a PENGUIN! (Funny, I always thought of myself as a duck!)

So when people start learning to run again once the foot has healed, you have a nice image to have in your head! At least as long as you don’t intend to be in the Olympics next time, in which case a faster animal might be better…Are runners who knock over slower ones to get to the front known as Skuas?

And remember, what is making it hard is the Anastrozole, not the Lisfranc Injury! The foot is doing just fine…just a little sore in the morning after I push it the day before.

Run with a friend!

I did my last run with my sister…now that the travesty of the World Police and Fire Games was over, we had time. I had no idea how helpful it would be! She has been running for some years now, so she could make some suggestions. I hadn’t realized how much using my arms a bit more would help! I got my heartbeat up substantially higher than I had been able to before. And just having the company helped keep me going.

Now I just have to learn to use my heartbeat monitor more efficiently!

Today when I went running, I found that the benefits continued. I actually hit a stride for a few seconds at a time! So if you find you are kicked off PT before you have learned to run again (and it’s very likely), try to get a friend to run with you. It certainly helped me! By the way, if my only problem was the Lisfranc injury, I think I would be running easily now. It’s the anastrozole that’s holding me back.

WPFG and Me

I took off from my “training” for a few days to watch my nephew ride, and to volunteer, I thought, in the World Police and Fire Games, which turned out to be the most pathetically disorganized event I have ever had the misfortune to be associated with! (I can’t imagine how these people can keep their not-for-profit status for one day! They overcharged, misrepresented, on occasion endangered athletes and the public, and barely scored the events after advertising world-class venues and officiating!) Eventually, my sister and I bailed from the volunteer corps! But watching and cheering on my nephew in the cycling events was fun. I was constantly on my feet, though.

At the end of two or three days the foot was hurting…the left more than the right, so all isn’t perfect there. Fortunately, a friend gave my foot a massage which cleared up all the problems. He told me to stay off it for a day, but I didn’t listen. I went out today and did my little run. The good news? The rest did me good. I did a longer walking warmup, and felt great when I started jogging. Probably started a little too fast, ’cause my sprint at the end lasted less than a minute.

So when your foot hurts after it’s supposed to be healed…get a good foot massage!

Yes! I can run…really run!

Progress has been really slow, but today I added an extra 5/1 (run/walk) to my workout, and just to see, I decided to sprint for the last minute. Well, I lasted 30 seconds, walked for 15, and ran for the final 30 or so. The great thing was that there was absolutely no feeling that the left foot was different from the right! (A while back, when I posted a video of my feet running, I was aware of the difference.)

So I think I will add a final sprint to the workout, just because it feels so good to be really running!


That little sprint has become the best part! It’s a bit longer..still kinda pathetic, but it keeps getting better, and it just feels so good! It’s my little reward for keeping going.

Even Later:

Realized today that I am not pushing off quite as much with the left foot…the injured one. It seems to have a bit less strength and bend in the toes. So back to working on it..I think I have to do more standing on tiptoes, trying to balance there, and pushing against resistance. I hope it will work!

Even More Later:

Sept. 7th, actually. I just got back from my run/walk in the rain in the park. I can’t say I enjoyed it, but I did 5 minutes, jogging, 1 minute walk eight times! Today some other runners were very encouraging, telling me, “you’re doing a great job” probably because there were so few of us out there! Two more weeks on this schedule, and then I get to amuse myself with another game!

Running and Anastrozole

A while back, I mentioned that I was starting a running program, partly because I was having difficulty getting my aerobic capacity back, partly because I was kicked off PT before I could run, so what would I do in an emergency?

I started with a running program for beginners on, which got you up to running 5 minutes, walking 1, repeated 5 times. I finished that one, and now I am using another program that keeps the 5/1 but aims at getting you up to one hour of run/walking.

The adjustment I am making for the Lisfranc injury is that usually I put the foot down quite flat. Then, if I feel good, part of the time I try to use the forefoot, so I slowly build it up. Other than that, the old injury doesn’t seem to be a problem. My goal is to be able to run/walk a 5K race by October.

Who would believe these little pills can wreak such havoc!

Then the Anastrozole comes in! I have to blame my difficulties on it, because it’s easier than blaming them on me! I can’t find anything on the net about conditioning or running while you are using the stuff, because “running Anastrozole” apparently refers to taking the stuff by choice if you are taking anabolic steroids! So if you google those terms, you get lots of sites about steroids. (How can anyone take this stuff if they don’t have to?????)

One of the side effects is muscle weakness, and it seems to have affected my legs; they get tired very quickly. I adapted the running schedule to have 30-second increments instead on one-minute ones. I have also had to accept that my “running” is a slow jog. However, it still works different muscles that walking does, and over time, I figure, I will be able to go faster.

So those of you who are still in the recovery phase of a Lisfranc injury…maybe you will be reporting on your first 5K in a year or so…After all, Chien-Ming Wang is pitching again…