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Casual Sets at the Combo Tourney… BOOM!

You read that right. Casual Sets. Clever team name, huh? What a fun tourney! Heck any tourney would have been a fun tourney after over a year of no tourneys, but this one is especially fun. Put on by our local Capital Area Tennis Association, most all of us approach it as a “just for fun” tourney even though you can advance to a statewide tourney if you take it all. Of course, we’re tennis players, we like to win, DUH, but we Continue reading “Casual Sets at the Combo Tourney… BOOM!”

Spring Has Sprung! (Me Too Then!)

Spring is absolutely my favorite time of year. Here in Texas, we get about 2 weeks of spring and then we hit the 100s for a long, long time. Okay, maybe I exaggerate about the 100s right away, but Spring is really short and we’re in the 100s well into September. But, now is the time that my Facebook feeds are exploding withIMG_9233 bluebonnet pictures. We Texans love, love love our wildflowers, especially the highly revered state flower, the lovely bluebonnet. Ladybird Johnson was instrumental in the beautification of cities and towns across the country. She introduced the highway beautification act and man, there’s nothing more Texan or more classic than taking your photos (kids, dogs, rattlesnakes) in the wildflowers along our highways! In Austin, we love our Ladybird Johnson so much that we’ve re-named Town Lake for her, and the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center also bears her name. I digress, my point is that spring has absolutely sprung. I love sitting outside in the mornings and watching the morning come alive.

But wait, there’s more! I’ve officially been sprung from my un-active (for almost an entire year!!!) prison! My knee has been tested and please forgive me for shouting and jumping up and down as I type this, “I PLAYED AN OFFICIAL USTA TENNIS MATCH THIS WEEK!!!!!!” Sorry, I know. It’s been nearly a year, just a couple weeks shy of a year since I last played a real match. I’m over the moon. I’m skipping through the bluebonnets! Did I care that I had never met my partner? Did I care that we got pounded? No, not one bit!! I’m just so happy to be out there. I knocked some of the rust off, and I’m (I need to sit down for this one) going to play singles (my first love) next week in the line up. So, just in case the dubs didn’t test it properly, this surely will. C’mon knee!! Fingers crossing everywhere, please!!

AND, if that wasn’t enough good news for one day, I’ve also been hitting the bike. Hubs and I did 20 miles over the weekend. His mountain bike is outta commission so he had his roadie, but I rode my mountain bike, and dang, it’s been a long time. It was paved with just a few hills and NO traffic. There’s this new bike path going from Austin to Manor and beyond. Thank you Austin! Tonight we rode a group ride that was a “beginner” level ride. Hubs always goes and helps the organizers, but this was my first time. Holy shittakes! Why was this 15 miles so much harder than the 20 over the weekend? That and well, my bohunkus hurts. I’m a tender-assed, bad ass. Yes. I’m going with that. So here’s some of the fun! Have a great week and ENJOY being active!!

Free At Last! Sprung!
Free At Last! Sprung!

Battered, Bruised and Befuddled

The joy of hitting tennis balls has worn off (kinda) and the angst has returned. My knee is angry again. I hit for about 30 minutes on Sunday and not even an hour on Monday. As a result, my PT (befuddled as she is at my continued pain) battered the hell out of my quad and my scar tissue on my knee when I showed her where the pain was… and I mean battered, raked and pretty much tore it up. That was, by far and away, the most painful PT session I’ve had. That skinny (adorable, though) girl has strong fingers and I’ve got a leg full of bruises to prove it. She didn’t stop there either, I had quite a mess where the hamstrings and the adductors and other things I’m either mispronouncing or making up all come together at the inside area of my knee. And the fire went up the back of the leg and hamstrings too! And then there’s the scar, the little innocent looking half inch line. It was a mess and a colossal ball of fire. Think about someone taking an ice pick, a long rusty one, and jabbing it into your knee. No, not just jabbing straight in, consider the fact that they’re starting just above your knee, on the inside and stabbing longways to poke out the bottom of the same side. Yes, that picture just about does it. Now do that over and over again for a good 40 minutes, making a new stab hole with each stroke. Yes, I was brutalized! (Glad you could join me on that little fantastical foray of pain; the joys of a vivid imagination never cease.) Brutal!

Today, though the tissue is bruised and sore, it all seems to be moving better. I was told to do nothing on the knee for 24 hours, then start working on strengthening the quad (think wall sits, and static strength) which will help my hammies take a break. They’re pulling more than their weight right now to compensate.

…And speaking of weight. (squirrel!)Squirrel Close with Corn  I’ve not lost my Holiday 10 (none of it to be precise), and my monkey is now about 33 pounds. What’s even more discouraging is that when I recalculate my goal weight based on body fat percentage (here’s how to calculate) I’ve got an extra 10 to lose now. The reason is simply muscle atrophy. I had more muscle back when I started this journey. What I’m hoping is that I can rebuild what I’ve lost and maybe my goal will remain the same. No doubt I’ve lost a bunch of core muscles, as well as upper body because I’ve not done a ding-dang-thang for six months. Man, I just want to go back to bed now.

My team matches start in a couple of weeks. I’m going to have to play doubles! That’s fine! I’m good with that, because it’s fun and it’s tennis! Pain, schmain, this sh*t is getting old.

And Then There Were Balls!

Glorious, fuzzy yellow balls! Oh, and the sound… it’s just one of those things like, like… horse smells.horse smell You know, if you’re a horse person, you love the way they smell. Back me up here horse peeps. It’s just a thing. I get it! But the sound of a racket striking a ball solid and hard, I love that sound! And so there were balls, and friends, and miss-hits, and crap serving (a weird disconnect has happened… it feels so foreign), but I got to hit, and feel and hear. And move! I couldn’t last all that long, though, disappointingly, the knee started to get annoyed. So, I did what I was supposed to do. I stopped!

Okay, I stopped playing tennis like a good girl, but not having fun. Of course, there was celebratory eating and drinking with the besties and the hubs. I love these people, and not just because of tennis! I just do.

And, tonight I actually get to hit my regular session at my club. I think that I will skip the drills class after, just because that’s probably more than I should do. What did the PT say? “Be smart. (bawhahha) Don’t go from 0-100 in one day, or even week.” Fine. I will try to breathe despite the cedar pollen that will attempt to kill me. I will try to get my timing back. I will try to get some stamina in my quad and get all those wimpy little atrophied muscles up and firing! One thing is quite clear,  it will (obviously) ROCK my world to hit balls two days in a row.

Giddy up!

Me and my first horse, Ruby.  Just because I referenced the horse thing.
Me and my first horse, Ruby. Just because I referenced the horse thing. I loved her so. 

It’s Okay To Look Up, But…

Keep your mouth closed! Last night, I felt overwhelmed, and posted on Facebook, “When it rains, it pours. I need an umbrella!” A friend replied with my headline. She gets me. For the past week or so, I’ve juggled my first world problems to a point where I finally thought, “I’ve got too much responsibility! Being a grown up is not for me. If I had nothing, no one would need things from me.” This morning I’m still overwhelmed, but the Advil PM let me get some rest when my brain wouldn’t shut up. I sat down to my computer with last night’s brain dump right in front of me. There are nine items to do before I start my day job. This blog was not one of them.

Ball Smack Therapy
Ball Smack Therapy

So, how do you calm yourself and just get things done? Stress makes you fat! Aaaack. I need to go hit tennis balls. In fact, I might just do that. (The sun is out today and it should get to 60, that also makes me happy!) I can still only ‘hit’ without the running and sweaty stuff, but it’s something to take my aggression out on. Arghhh, it will have to wait until the weekend between 3 soccer games on Saturday.Meanwhile, this fuzzy <—-yellow puppy is sitting on my desk. Smackin’ balls! Yes! I feel better already!

The Countdown Has Commenced… Finally!

No, really! Check out my side bar! There’s a countdown timer thingy! Woohoo!

The doctor has released me with my solemn oath to wait a MONTH before I play match type doubles. I’ll need to arrowsplay dubs for awhile before I can get back into the singles matches. I’m really eager to play singles now that I’ve lost nearly 40 pounds! I’m curious to see what happens. Will I be super fast? Will I be uncoordinated until I learn to deal with less bulk? Inertia will be less of a problem, maybe? You know, the whole, once I get all this shiz moving, it’s hard to stop! I am not eager, however, to mess the knee up by hitting the courts too soon. Today, we pushed it at PT. More weight, faster movement and this glorious jumping drill on the sled. However, he said I had to monitor my next 24 hours and if I had pain and swelling, we needed to back off. Well, guess what? I have pain and swelling. Not major swelling, but enough pain to want me to resort to the ice pack. Blast!

So, I’m struggling with being super duper excited about my new countdown happening over on my sidebar, and disappointed that the little bit extra we did today caused pain (and swelling). Shittakes! Well, I can only keep working hard at the rehab and do what they tell me. I may just have arthritis issues from here out. Who knows, I’ll just plug along and take it as it comes.

I did also get permission to do a 15 mile mountain bike race up in the Texas Panhandle. The hubs is doing the really long, bad ass race, but they have a wee beginner one. Doc made me promise to get off and hike the bike back if there was pain. No ego, I pledged, I promise to swallow my competitive spirit and let my knee dictate the extent of my ride. Well, that was until I heard that the weather was going to be quite chilly. Okay that was a euphamism for Mother (*&^%$%ing FREEZING. I just looked at the forecast online because I couldn’t remember what the hubs said. Hmmm, he neglected to mention the part about “possible snow“. We’ll be camping. I really hate being cold. So, would I be a bad wife if I ditched him and left his stuff at the race transition area and high tailed it to the nearest town and/or heater and got some writing done for NaNoWriMo? Why are we such nut balls?

Freezing at Lost Maples State Park circa 2004, mummified
Freezing at Lost Maples State Park circa 2004, mummified

I just yelled to the other room, “I don’t think I can camp in snow, we’ve done the below freezing thing before. Do we even have a warm sleeping bag that I can sleep in? You know, square bottom (not mummy) for leg room?”

* This is because I’m a stomach sleeper and I have to have my leg cocked up, you know half on my side… mummy bags don’t accommodate and therefore I am claustrophobic because I can’t move! And because of that, I can’t sleep which turns me into a raving bitch… just sayin’

“Och,” says he with that damned charming Irish accent, “We’ve double bagged you before. Wouldn’t it be an adventure?” What woman could resist those last 5 words?

Not I.

Tennis Legs, Where Are You?

Hit some tennis balls yesterday, and though I got to hit a few a week or two ago, yesterday (happy sigh) I really hit some balls! There was, sadly, (doc’s orders), no running involved, but I was able to really hit out on the ball, just like old times. Sorta. I’ve said it before, I love nothing more than hitting the snot out of a ball on a flat out run, wide outside forehand for a winner. There’s not much that is more exhilarating or satisfying. Obviously, there was none of that going on. This was no 4.5 tennis match, but the joy of being out there with a patient (damned fine tennis player) friend, was delirious. My happy meter went way up. It didn’t hurt that the sun was out and the temps were in the 80s.

My knee did great! I moved fairly well in my confined (half) of the court and even when she was sending volleys to my groundies, I was able to move and keep up with the faster pace. I only had a tweak or two, but fully expected to be sore today. Nothing! I’m happy to report that there’s not a twinge, AND my tendency to limp has not happened today… yet.

lumpy legs
Knee and calf. If you look closely, you can see at least one of my scope scars. I couldn’t bring myself to show the smush. You’re welcome!

Now, I’m happy with my performance, and I’m happy that my recently scoped knee is not carrying that extra 38 pounds, too, but what kinda makes my heart drop into my stomach is how those legs have morphed into “not tennis legs.” Six months of hanging on the sidelines has made my once toned quads look (gasp, gulp) LuMpY. LUMPY, I tell you. I’m really not that vain, for the most part, but my legs have always been my favorite body part. I still love them for all they do for me, but I feel so sorry for them. Out of shape, and fairly pasty white, they’re just a smushy, fluffy mess! Looking forward to rehabbing these quads, and banishing the mush. I’m ready to hit the weights (c’mon doc, I’ll be careful) and really getting those legs back. There’s a lot of work ahead! The microfracturing done in the knee should all be set at 3-6 months which puts me at the end of November on the short end. I’ve set my follow up for right before Thanksgiving, because I push it like that. 🙂

Tennis legs, I know where you are, and I’m coming for you!

Day 127: Moving More: Hungry More

My activity levels are up! Biking, tennis (ha! if you can call it that) and Physical Therapy. Damn, I’m hungry now! In fact, my hunger level has increased mightily, but an active week sent my happy levels up too!

Active Week

Finally, I got to stand on a tennis court and (sort of) play. Okay, not even play so much as hit a few balls. Doc’s orders = NO RUNNING, so not much went on. I invaded my old lesson, by accident… my hitting buddy fell asleep on the couch (big night out the night before, eh WRW? Just kidding, I was there too) and my regularly scheduled lesson was happening. I was enjoying watching, and was invited to stand at the net and volley with pro Tosh while she fed balls to the girls across the net. Let’s just say, it felt great, but awkward… but still great! My playing wasn’t near par, but glory be it was so awesome to be there! I did not run, but I did some Zombie quick walking to get in position. When they were in my wheelhouse though, it felt so good to hit full out! It wasn’t pretty, and I’m laughing as I type, but it will get better.

At PT today, I told Michael (my uber awesome PT dude) that I’d been on the court, he looked at me sideways “No running, right? How’d it go?” So I told him that I had to ice when I got home, but I was very careful on the “running” thing. Frankly, I can feel it’s not ready, so that’s really not difficult to hold back on. But, oh Jeeze, I wanted to. I was watching the gals hustle and sprint and stretch and cut and my desire to be back to that, and my desire to not take it for granted ever again is full on. There’s no better feeling than ripping a forehand from a flat out sprint. I thought maybe he’d tell me to back off, and I was actually prepared to agree with him. He asked if there was pain, “no? Then go do it again. There’s something really healing about being out there again, I’m excited for you. You’re doing so well!” He then proceeded to push me harder today than ever. LOVED IT!

And, I’ve been doing well this week. Except for Sunday night at the Salty Sow. Even then, I did really well. I think maybe I cheated by eating 2 deviled eggs and 3 bites of fried avocado with brisket. (holy shittakes that was amazing) but really, not much of a cheat. And then, well, maybe the three or was it four ruby red vodka sodas, pretend you couldn’t read that,  might have been against my law.

Otherwise, I’m slowly plodding downward. I’m even writing my food log, and I try to be clear. Very clear, because sometimes things just don’t sound right.

pork nutsEnjoy your week. Be active, and avoid the Pork Nuts, unless of course, you enjoy them. Cheers!

It’s a 24.4 pound monkey, baby.

Fitbit + WW = Heading In the Right Direction

Here we go!
Here we go!

Three fairly easy weeks. Fairly is the key word, obviously. The Fitbit has shown me how a “very active person” (how I usually describe myself) can be “very wrong” about how active they are. Granted, my Fitbit probably is not that accurate when I play tennis. As a tennis player I take LOTS of steps, but sometimes do so without swinging my arms. Like when I set up for a shot or hop around at the net in ready position with both hands on my racket out in front, there’s not much arm swinging.  I can play 2 full sets of singles at a 4.5 NTRP level and only get about 5000 steps. That being true, the other hard truth is that I don’t play tennis as much as I used to. I sit at my computer and drive my car a whole lot. I’m lucky to get one set of dubs in a week. Sigh.

I’ve been doing Weight Watchers now for 3 weeks. I finally just decided that the busy-ness of my life requires something easy. Back in my truly active days, WW wasn’t the right plan for me. I was too active and couldn’t get enough calories. My body would refuse to shed pounds. Now, in my newly discovered not-so-very-active-life, it works like a charm. 3 weeks and I’m 4.8 pounds down. I don’t feel deprived. I revel in the fact that I have “weekly points” still in the bank at the end of the week and mourn their passing when I get reset for the next week. I’m kinda freaked out by how easy this is. Contrary to my habit of making things more difficult, I’m just gonna roll with the WW thing. However…

In my habit of making things more difficult, I’ve done that too. I found this site called “Give It 100.” Have you heard of it? It’s been making the rounds in the social media. It’s a cool site started by a young lady who wanted to learn to dance, really dance. So she decided to practice it for 100 days and track her progress through video. When she’d finished with her 100 days, she could see how amazing the difference was. And idea was born.

Now, hundreds of people, including myself, are pledging to do something for 100 days. I, harking back to my new Fitbit, pledged to walk 10,000 steps a day. After 100 days, I should have walked 1 million steps. A MILLION! We post 10 second videos of our progress. Its’ kinda fun. Every time you miss a day, the idea is that you should make a donation to a charity. I’ve made three donations so far. There are folks learning to play guitar, paint something, sing something, lose weight and one guy just wants to touch his toes! 100 days!

That part, 10,000 steps a day, is hard. It’s really hard. I’ve walked more in the last 20 days than I have in a long time. I average over 4 miles to get my steps in. My 50 turned 60 pound monkey hates it. Oh wait, I mean my 55 pound monkey! Damned monkey.

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