Authorship · Self Care

Foam-rolling and wordsmithing

It’s not often that I get a random Thursday in October off from regular teaching. Through force of circumstance, I got to enjoy a quiet, non-computer teaching day. We call it an asynchronous learning day – this week, our school was making up for the lost PSAT/SAT administration the week we went back to remote. Tuesday was my turn to proctor off site at a local sports complex that was probably the only space big enough and available enough to accommodate all of our kids. Today, our seniors are taking the SATs today off site, which meant I did not have to proctor and the rest of the students were scheduled to learn asynchronously – basically, we leave our lessons online, which they access and complete for credit.

My day started much the same as usual. I still had to get up early to take care of the animals and to make sure my 16-year-old actually woke up to go to school. So much for sleeping in. No matter. This gave me the opportunity to think about how I might want to spend my day.

When the sun came up, I decided to go out for a long walk/run. I had signed up for the Thanksgiving Day 5-mile Turkey Trot, and since school started, I haven’t spent much time on the roads. What a contrast to the summertime. Then, I couldn’t wait to get out early, before the sun was too high, or I’d bake in the sauna of the afternoon. I remember how, in the pandemic of 2020, I had run all of these virtual road races, accumulating blingy medals for my efforts, which encouraged me to get out and run more. I never really fancied myself a “runner,” like my friend Maria who ran two NYC marathons (20 years apart) and really loves running. I do not love running. I wish I did, but to be honest, I hate how it makes my joints feel. I can’t just let go and appreciate going fast. That’s what wheels are for.

Despite my “less than love” attitude towards running, I decided that today was a good time to get back into some training. So, I waited until the sun came up, dressed in my warm layers (it was in the 40s this morning), found a pair of gloves, and headed out. I wasn’t totally sure how far I’d go, since it had been a couple of weeks since I did any sort of mileage and my hip was already hurting from all the dancing in my basement; the cement floor is very unforgiving on your joints, even with industrial carpeting in between that and your feet. Once I started, I figured I could do a five miler, since that’s what I’d be doing on Turkey Day.

The crisp, autumn air felt good. I could breathe, I was bundled, I had a podcast to distract me. It was as good an environment as I could make it. My first 2.5 miles were actually pretty quick (for me) – I averaged about 12:30 for each. Not too shabby for these old bones. The first half of my route is mostly level or slightly downhill, so of course I took advantage of that. Then, I had to come back. Those 2.5 miles were not so fast. I was tired, I felt the swelling in my fingers, and my brain didn’t really want to run any more. Fortunately, I’m a pretty fast walker, so my slowest mile was still under 16 minutes.

I love hitting the roads in the fall. The colors are just starting to change over near me. Makes for a nice backdrop when my joints are talking to me.

When I returned, out came the foam roller. Suddenly, I felt the crippling seize of my joints and muscles, punishing me for daring to put them through such paces. Literally, moving from my feet to the floor, I felt like I was suddenly 80 years old, like I was moving through wet cement. It’s so strange, given the fact that I can jump on a trampoline and do so many flips and tricks, but the simple act of getting down to the ground becomes the greatest challenge of my life. To boot, my running recovery had some caveats: First, my foam roller is somewhat old and squished in the middle, so I don’t get quite the painful relief that I should; Second, when I finally got to the ground, my dog decided that was the time he needed a belly rub. So, I did the best I could with what I had, ordered a new foam roller, and enjoyed the time snuggling with my big galoot of a mutt, all while sitting in straddle or pigeon pose or sitting lopsided on the squished cylinder.

My disrupted recovery was followed by lunchtime. At 10:30 a.m. Since my work day starts so early, my morning shake gets consumed at 7. Since I don’t usually go more than four hours without some sort of food, and since my lunchtime usually gets eaten in the middle of the morning anyway, I was ready for some nutrition. One of my favorite treat meals has been toasted Dave’s Killer 21-grain bread, a small mashed avocado, and two eggs, over easy. I even learned how to flip the eggs without breaking the yolks, something that still entertains me. I don’t know why it’s such a treat for me, but it was a regular go-to when we were in full remote learning mode, so I guess it has become a nostalgic favorite. It’s also easy to make, and the flavors meld together nicely. Add a cup of coffee in my new favorite mug and I’m a happy girl.

This is how this blog post started. Do you need to see my lunch and my new favorite mug? Yes. Yes you do. You’re welcome.

Of course, the writer in me decided this would be a good topic to expound upon, not that I expected people to be thoroughly entertained by the mundane reporting of my morning, but because I wanted a little more practice in wordsmithing. Yes, I said wordsmithing. That’s just how I’m feeling at the moment. That writer in me has been very alive and robust of late; she wants to be worked out as well. Just as I am trying to maintain my aging body through flipping, walking, running, and subsequent foam-rolling, I am also trying to cultivate this other part of me by creating new opportunities to form thoughts, phrases, and thematic through-lines. Learning what I don’t know yet is a fun part of this second-act preparation and I’m glad I have this little blog to record the process.

For now, it’s time to hit the showers. My body and brain have been sufficiently worked for the day.

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