Monday, November 27, 2006

Voodoo medicine

I believe what works. A friend is a naturopathic doctor and one time while visiting I contracted a bad case of the flu. I didn't care what she did to me so I was an excellent patient. She gave me vitamin and peroxide intravenous drips and performed accupuncture on me. I went from wanting to be put out of my misery to functionally fit for a restaurant meal in a few days. From thereon out, I was a believer in naturopathic medicine.

Very recently, a similar faith began. I've suffered all year with hip pain due to iliotibial band syndrome and hip flexor sprain. My partner suggested seeing her chiropractor. I had never been nor had I ever wanted to go, however, I was determined to find healing in the off-season. When a reduction in my workout and continued masages did not lead to recovery, I felt I had nothing to lose.

The first time you go to a chiropractor you have no idea what to expect. I was expecting pain and a great deal of noise. You have to really trust your doctor, completely. It is difficult to be anxious and yet relax enough for the chiropractic process to work. My hips were out of balance and with an adjustment that felt like my femur realigned itself in my hip socket I was pain free for almost a week. You never realize how much pain you are in until that pain is gone. After one more adjustment a week later I can honestly say that the deep, chronic pain I was feeling has vanished.

My advice: I spent a lot of money at the Ortho's office before trying the Chiropractor, that won't happen again. Alternative medicine is sometimes the best alternative.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A short season

I'm reminded as Thanksgiving approaches of our youthful gatherings. On my mother's side, we would get together with all of her siblings and their families. Imagine 14 energetic kids and 7 adults traveling between houses in chilly upstate NY each Thanksgiving.

I really enjoyed our Thanksgiving gatherings and it had little to do with the food. I had a great deal of fun with my cousins. There were board games, usually a football game, occasionally when weather permitted a snowball fight, and a great deal of laughter. Always there was yatzee. My grandmother would late in the day drink a shot of Irish whiskey usually while playing cards or yatzee and from then on she would just laugh and laugh.

My cousin Leo recently passed away after a long, valiant battle with cancer. He was entirely too young to go, just a few days over 45 years old. I really didn't know Leo as an adult but I remember him fondly from our youth. He was skinny and tall, and always witty. He was fairly quiet but when he had something to say it was typically funny. I enjoyed his company. I regret that I didn't get to know him as an adult. As I learned at his services we had a lot in common. He loved the outdoors, hiking and biking, and was renowned for his comfort food, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

I know Leo's family will miss him dearly. It is difficult to see your son and brother pass at the prime of his life and this difficulty is complicated by the relief felt because his suffering has ended. I know I will find motivation in Leo's fight and I will think of Leo at Thanksgiving, and when I'm hiking and biking or eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. His season was short but one to fondly remember.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

No wonder

I'm in the process of digitizing hundreds of slides. These are photos of my family primarily from the 60's. The process is slow and tedious but just when I start to get grumpy about it up pops an image that makes me laugh out loud.

These photos tell a story which I have long forgotten. Many of them involve some type of athletic event. There are lots of photos of us swimming in what looks like superfund sites, lots of baseball games where I'm wearing a dress, volleyball, football, golf--it's quite amazing. We were active as kids but I don't really remember sport being a focal point until I was in high school. So looking back has made me realize where that passion for triathlon came from. While I'm fairly certain that my parents motive for putting a ball in our hand was more to get us out of their hair then to teach us good physical fitness habits, I'm really grateful it was a ball and not the tv remote (of course, we didn't have a remote back then but you catch my drift).

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Eyes Wide Shut

I came across this circa 1960's photo of myself and my siblings swimming in some upstate NY lake. I'm the one pretending to swim by touching the bottom, eyes closed, hair completely dry, left foot pointing to the sky.

As I look at this photo, I think of two things: one, my swimming, or at least my aversion to swimming, has not changed much and two, maybe our lakes were as polluted in the 60's as they are today.

Often when we reflect back in time we think of how much has changed. Looking at this photo, I think how much has stayed the same. While my form is much improved in the water there are still evident flaws that can be captured by film. I cannot touch bottom in the bodies of water I swim in today (nor would I necessarily want to) but I still close my eyes and cringe when I get in and I generally spend my entire swim waiting for it to be over. The water can be refreshing for sure but it is no secret I swim to get to the bike and run.

My access to swimmable water is not as readily available as it was in my youth and I desperately miss the upstate NY lakes. Admittedly part of this longing is based on a revision of history--those lakes were not necessarily as clean and pure as I remember them and the proof has apparently been documented.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I've seen winter and she isn't pretty

This weekend I traveled within a spit's distance of the Canadian border. This is where my peeps are from, the cold north country.

Saturday morning I woke at 5:45 am to head out for my long run....dread was in the air. I was not ready for the cold air and lacked confidence that I remembered how to dress for it. It worked out wonderfully. While I had agnst over potential snow predicted the evening before, none fell and the temperature was a very mild 30 degrees. Yes, 30 is mild in the north country. I was comfortable in my layers and pleased to know that I have room to add another layer or two when even crisper temperatures are upon us.

On the drive north, the foliage quickly went from peak in Washington, DC to the barren, cold, lifeless trees of PA and NY. Still further north, the lake effect snow was having it's way from Parish, NY through Pulaski where 6 inches of new snow had fallen. Beautiful, yes but can we fast forward to spring?

I've seen winter and she isn't pretty.