Time Poverty

Hello Blog-o-verse…

Seems I’m operating in a severe “time poverty” mid set.
I am always running a touch late for stuff I want to do…getting up a bit later…not getting enough sleep, and feeling rushed.

I close on the house this coming tuesday so I am sure that is part of it.  As soon as I close I know there are a few things that will need to be purchased (My 12 yr old TV is often losing sound, so it is finally time for a flat screen, I figured when I moved would be the perfect time…).  In addition there is the MOVING STRESS.

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I just find myself feeling like all I do is go to the gym, go to work, go back to the gym, and then rush around like a crazy woman at home.

Over the weekend I did do some preparation work for the week and this week was somewhat easier.  So hopefully it will continue to even itself out. So far I’m finding that having all 5 outfits planned for the week ahead really helps.  Restocking the gym bag on Sunday and making sure to empty it by Wednesday helps.  if I do not empty it, I end up with a huge heavy bag with about 3 pairs of shoes… Pre-planning meals obviously helps.  Also just picking one to two pressing things to handle each day has allowed me to chip away at an ever growing list of bills, mail forwarding, responsibilities etc.

Even with all this, I just feel entirely like I’m missing things, and that things that are out of the ordinary events really throw me off.  I mean little things, this week we had a baby shower and I was supplying the cake.  Just making the time to walk into the store and select a cake and frosting totally made my day feel again rushed and off.  This should be easy!

Hopefully after I get moved and settled some time in June, this will all kind of dissipate a bit.  But if not, I am just not sure how to get my time back.

Anyone else feel this way?  What are your strategies?

Well…today was a surprise.

So… Normally today I would have my session in the “Endless Pool”images-9 images-8 Unknown-3

This is pretty much what my session looks like each week.  Lots of video, some chat from the coach.  I don’t know why but I kind of love the endless pool.  I think because it gives current to swim against…so it’s interesting.  I DO NOT love being videoed so much, but it’s pretty cool that I am able to have that service.

It is working.  I swam in the morning this week and one day while I was endlessly logging laps, the very awesome swim coach said to my kayaker (conveniently also my lifeguard that morning), “Hey I have not seen MG in a while, how is she?”  Kayaker, said, well, she’s over there in that lane, been here for almost an hour…. Apparently, I have improved so much in the last 3 weeks he failed to recognize me.  He said he was amazed at the amount of progress I’d made in such a short time. So Wowsers. It really made my whole week to hear that.

So plus one for the endless pool and my new coaching.

New Coach was out of town today so no sessions this week, so I decided to swim long in the morning and then do a weights workout in the evening.

I was feeling pretty good, the time on the miserable ARC trainer was OK, and the weights were going along well.  Then I got to the pull ups, and since I need assist right now, the machine is located near physical therapy.

So Random. My old coach decided, after LITERALLY 4 MONTHS that he should “see how I was doing”.  I had imagined this a couple of times and always sort of imagined being sarcastic and nasty to him, but of course… I couldn’t. We talked a bit. He asked me if I missed running…. what a question.  No, I don’t miss running, right? Only every few seconds…. It was a little strange as he also asked how my swimming was going. Apparently he has been keeping track of what I’m doing, but you know, totally not talking to me. In addition, He really wanted to share some of his own news with me that I truly DO NOT CARE about.  Life is really too short to hold on to hurt or be angry, but that wasn’t easy.ee2a504c0f943d9a3b70e344382bb6a3

I kind of felt like he was abandoning me all over again.  The situation we were in was difficult, and I think moving on was for the best but boy does it still sting.  So where are we now?  I’m not sure, but I actually think I want to avoid much interaction.  That encounter did not do anything to enhance my day…..New Coach is back tomorrow, though I probably won’t get a chance to talk to him… I will feel more secure with him in the building. All I can say is thank goodness for New Coach and Swim Coach.  I’m seeing a lot of improvement, and I just have to let that past go…

Unfocused.

So….this week started out with a Miserable MG.  It ended pretty well however.

I am having a few challenges at work. I do not like to use the words “challenges and opportunities”  as code words for enormous problems that must be fixed, but I do have some challenges.  My supervisor is currently very overworked, and I took over her units.  She is one of those people (as am I) that has a hard time letting go.  Thus… it has been a challenge to wrestle these things away from her, even though technically she let them go. This can be very tiring and because she has not shared certain things with me it can lead to a lot of mis information.  I’m finally getting through it and getting to build my own relationships with people.

So whatever, on Monday I just felt like the whole world was against me.

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There were a lot of irritable surgeons and nurse managers, but oddly as the week unfolded, most of the things came out “in my favor” if you will.  I like my job, and it is infinitely better than my old job, but there are still rough moments. Still, the week ended so much better than it started, I do have hope. I still do feel unfocused, as I have a lot of rules to operate within that I didn’t have at my past job, and that level of red tape requires some getting used to, but I feel I will manage.

Training is also a bit unfocused.  I’m working with my new coach and it’s working out, but I’m unsure about his open water experience. As he rightly points out, I’m so fresh out of surgery none of that really matters.  I’m essentially doing Rehab…with a lot of swim meters and yards. Since the intern has departed we have been working pretty well together.  I’m a bit frustrated with the strength exercises, but in fact, we aren’t really allowed to load anything axially. Axial loading exercises put compressive forces on the spine. It is unfortunate, because I love many of those exercises, so we are stuck with a paltry few things, pull ups, dips, stir the pots, some glute activators and a lot of balance type exercises.  In a few more weeks I think we are going to add in the some loads, but they will be light.

I think a lot about wether my cobbled together swim plan is going to allow me to get to the finish. But I also have a lot of swim time, which is pretty silent and allows me that time to debate.  I’ve asked the coach a few times for extra training, but he has pretty much told me that I’m still rehabbing so he doesn’t want to dictate anything I do that isn’t supervised and that what I’ve been doing seems to be pretty adequate.

We shall see, it’s a tough one that swim.

As far as my back… well.  I had some low back pain today on the swim.  I do still get some tingling and odd sensations in my toes.  My left first two toes are entirely changed, but I’m used to them now.  So, all’s as well as it can be!

let’s continue the saga a bit

So yeah, I am sure the 3 readers are wondering whatever became of intern girl and MG.

It did not end well.

I had a bit of a plan to speak to my coach on Monday and just kind of let him deal with it from there.  Unfortunately when i arrived at the gym on Monday, I got a text from him telling me he had to cancel my session and if I wanted I could have a session tonight.  I agreed and told him I wanted to talk to him about something that was really bothering me.  I should have said, I  need you to ditch the intern.

Because after 20 minutes on the ARC trainer, a device of torture I am sure, she came smiling up at me.  Bless her heart.  I couldn’t really take it, so I got off the machine, told her I needed the coach and walked away.  She looked confused.

Coach and I had a bit of a heated discussion.  Him trying at first to tell me that “this was out of character for her” and he was finding it hard to believe.  That lasted for a minute or two until I pointed out that he had witnessed some of the behavior himself.  I knew it was unintentional, but it didn’t make it any less difficult for me to deal with.  He looked at it then as a learning moment for her, and apologized.  He tends to think that because he was casual with me, she felt she could be as well, and that she essentially believed that I was as much a friend to her as to the coach.  I’ve known the coach for about 3 years, her…like 3 days, but..it is easy to take the lead with someone.  He also tried to find about 20 other reasons for my severe reaction to her.  I don’t know but I know I’m not a fan of her.

So I have no idea what he did with her, but we had our session. It went fine.  Today was another session, which also went OK without intern.  I feel very hesitant though because I hate to make problems.  I hate to be difficult and I hate that I reacted so strongly to someone who essentially means nothing to me. I also hate that it may have undermined her confidence in herself, but I just wasn’t really able to tolerate it.  I also feel that it affected the way my coach works with me, though I frankly think he knows some of it was actually his fault also.  The whole thing was a mess, as he said, “Some people just aren;t good for interns and I should have known that you would have not been the best match up for where you are.

She is done with her internship tomorrow. I wish I had known that, I might have just sucked it up.  It will be an enormous relief to have her gone, because sadly the few times I’ve seen her since I’ve had the same reaction…  If they hire her, we will have to reconcile a bit, but I think that isn’t going to occur…. of course it could to just make my life even more interesting.  Still I just do not see that happening.  I’m sure she will get a great review from the Coach, and I think it will be fantastic for her to move on…move along….

Just think positive…. a pitfall for coaches and others as well.

I had a really interesting experience this week while working with my coach and his intern. It concerns the oft used phrase “Be Positive” or “Just think Positve”

There is a tendency these days to emphasize the positive.  Nobody likes a negative Nancy.  It’s also true that someone always has it worse than you. Coaches indeed often repeat a worn out “Think positive” phrase multiple times.   In appropriate context it can really really work.  In the wrong context it can ultimately sink what might otherwise be a winning combination of coach and coached. I’m going to write a bit here about use of this phrase and others and also reflect a bit on why it is so overused currently by coaches.

Lets look at the example of my current experience with our training center’s intern.

Thursday, we walked over to the infinity pool, and she said, “I can see that I’m going to have to get you to be more positive” after I said I wasn’t really “ready” for this pool workout and that I knew it was going to be difficult and new. (It was all of those things, and I still loved it.) I wasn’t sure exactly why I was expected to be jolly about something entirely unfamiliar and uncertain, especially considering I am in recovery currently, not just trying something new for fun. We weren’t going for an ice cream after all.

I decided she probably just failed to understand that I’m in a very early recovery phase from surgery. All activities that I am doing are pretty difficult, when they used to be quite easy.  It is frustrating and doesn’t really engender thoughts of ponies and rainbows.   So I tried to explain it to her. She reflected back a statement about herself. Stating, “Well I will never not be active for 6 months if this is what happens” She also commented that she wished she had seen me prior to the injury, kind of like she did not believe me. Not a whole lot of positivity there.  She mentioned that I should just smile and be happy that I was “working to adopt a healthy lifestyle”.

I got over it again, and then the final straw occurred.  I came in on Friday with a lot on my mind and was trying to focus in to start some small sets, and she looked at me and did this:

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I really lost it.  Firstly, I’m working out.  Why on earth does anyone need to smile while doing wall balls.  I LOVE wall balls… but I don’t tend to smile a lot while doing them.  I admit, I was tired and frustrated and being told by someone that I needed to “smile” put me over the top.  I was never really able to refocus on the workout.  I did some stuff, kicked around, was very angry and also kind of mystified as to why was I so mad.

Lucky me, I had breakfast on the agenda this weekend with my friend who is a kid’s psychiatrist. He busted out laughing at how irritated I was, and explained to me why exactly I was so annoyed, then he pointed me to google “Why Just be positive is so annoying!”  And here I present to you reasons for coaches and others to avoid the “Just think positive” pit fall phrase

1. It invalidates the person’s experience. Look here if you are curious about exactly what that means.  The less positive person is told that their feelings aren’t accurate/acceptable and that what you are experiencing is actually something else.  This can be a bit overwhelming, and if that person, like most people, identifies pretty closely their feelings, they can feel a little bit like “if my feelings aren’t legitimate, then neither am I” When someone is going through something…best to let them suffer on through it, rather than to tell them that their suffering doesn’t really exist.  Because telling someone to be positive does not seem to make their experience of emotional distress disappear.  If one is trying to reframe experience it is best to validate their experience and then also mention some positives.

Sample Interaction:

Intern: are you ready for this?

MG: No! I don’t know what we are going got do and I think it’s going to be really difficult to do.

Good Response: It might be hard but I think you are up to it. (inspires confidence), it might even be fun.

Good Response: It’s great that you are able to do somethings now that will move you forward to more things that you used to do. (refocuses athlete on WHY they are doing this)

Good Response: Hopefully you’ll get something positive out of the session that will move you forward. (emphasizes positivity without invalidating concern that this might be difficult etc.)

If you are feeling super duper annoyed by Negative Nancy athlete try this for a response:

“I know it’s hard to feel as if you’re back at square one. You seem to be feeling negatively about it.  I’d like to help you have a more positive feeling about what we are doing now, so we’ll work on that today during your session.”

2. Telling someone to be positive, when they aren’t being that way can shut down communication. If you are a coach or a teacher or counselor…you want your athletes/students/clients to come to you with problems.  If that person believes the only appropriate response is some sort of “happy positive response” they are more likely to simply shut down communication and attempt to solve the problem on their own because it’s only ok to talk if you can say something positive.  If you do not know the person is having a problem it’s very hard to help them with it.  Over time in a coaching relationship…the coach gets frustrated because the athlete appears to be doing their own thing, and the athlete gets frustrated because they are often unable to fix certain performance problems without help but also are unable to ask for the help they need for fear of being told to “just be positive”…. The athlete is considered “uncoachable”  and is at the same time completely unsure of how to become coachable.

As an example

Intern tells MG to Smile and Be positive! MG starts to do some of the more difficult specific exercises on her plan and becomes frustrated saying, “I can’t do this”  Intern tells MG: remove that T! you can! You need to be more positive!

MG at this point walks away or slugs the intern.

BETTER: I think you can do that exercise, you are strong enough. Let’s try again.  This does not open communication, but it does express confidence and reinforces that the athlete can do “it”.

BEST: Is there a specific problem that is going on with the exercise?  Is it the breathing, the placement of your hands, or the initial movement? How can I help you succeed?

Also OK in certain circumstances:  “Suck it up, you can do it, do not be lazy” TOTALLY APPROPRIATE, for MG on occasion.

So… we all agree that thinking positively can affect an outcome for the good.  When is it appropriate to use this phrase?  Is it ever?

I think it is.

When discussing long term goals or prognosis, it is very acceptable to say something like this:

“I’m not sure Jimmy will make the national team this year, but if he continues to work with the team and attend all the practices, and have a positive outlook he will have a shot at it.”

When you are about to introduce something new and difficult – totally acceptable to say.

“Jimmy we are starting something new today and it might seem awkward or difficult.  I need you to maintain an open and positive outlook about this new thing as you learn it.

When things are very uncertain.  It is appropriate to acknowledge the uncertainty and mention the power of positivity.

“It looks as if you might be out for the season, but nothing is certain yet, please do your rehab exercises and think positively and perhaps you will return sooner.”

One last thought…Why has it become such a thing to tell others to be positive, think positive, have a positive mindset?  I submit it is for the tellers own comfort.    The emotions of an injured athlete are pretty raw and usually messy and sticky.  There is a whole soup of regret, fear, doubt, worry, mixed in with everything else.  It can be very difficult to be confronted by these emotions. They may even stir up similar emotions in the coach. We have been taught as a society to avoid pain at all costs  so when a person appears to be going through something painful, we often just want to ignore the person or somehow minimize or mitigate the situation.  It would be easier to go to work and encounter only people who smile and say things are great, but really how great can that person really be feeling after say a season ending bike wreck that left them with a fractured pelvis?  So what is a coach to do?  My actual coach, not the intern has been doing a pretty good job of maintaining a positive feeling for me.  He points out what I’m doing well at fairly regular intervals.  He asks for feedback, and he actually listens.  When I express my frustration or fears, he provides some good reassurance, and we move on.  I suspect he has experienced similar emotions, and I suspect he isn’t afraid of my emotions bringing him down.

What to do about the intern I do not know.  I don’t want to be the difficult client. I want her to learn a bit about interacting with people with different life experiences.  Mostly though I want her to finish her internship and go somewhere far away with her positivity.  What would you do?

Coaching updates…

So, it was bound to happen, I do adore the new coach. I have to admit, I was starting to wonder.

After the first 2 weeks of “meh” work, and the two of us kind of not being on the same page, I was starting to get a little worried.  This week, however, everything seemed to click.

We did one strength type session, where he found a way to isolate my Gluteus medius.  This muscle apparently was just totally not used after my disk injury, it is completely wasted on both sides.  It’s hard to activate it because the larger muscles around it tend to take up the slack.  I do need it, so several exercises were invented or modified and wow… once he found that, the workout became extremely difficult…and “worth while”  I could firstly see that what I was doing was different and working to help rehabilitate me.  Secondly, it was hard.  Hard is what makes things great.

I really felt good about this because it meant he was thinking about how to get me back into shape….rather than just running me through some regular exercises.

Secondly I got to swim in the “Infinity pool”

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This is not ours.  ours is a bit more clinical in appearance and has a TON of video equipment set up as well as a mirror, so I can watch my stroke.  I thought I would hate it but I actually really enjoyed it. It was more like open water as there was a “current” of sorts.

He then got me out of the pool and we did some dry land drilling to refine my stroke. He literally had me making just one tiny little move against a sports band, the beginning of the initial catch.  dryland-2Bfor-2Bswimmers

To my deep deep surprise, it actually worked.  Once I hopped back in to the pool, my stroke was dead on for a few minutes.  As I tired, it sort of fell apart, but I feel much more confident in my ability to learn this new way to swim.  It was also nice not to be out in the huge pool, trying to learn, and having everyone distract the coach.  (Side note: I think it is hysterical that out of water exercise is congenitally known as “dry land workouts”  rather than land workouts.  What other kind of land are they thinking about is there a possibility for “swamp lands”?)

The other thing that has been pretty nice is that he listens a bit more carefully than I thought.  I was super hurt by old coach just *poof* disappearing, so I’d been kind of holding on to that… I started to let go a bit just by sharing some of the great stuff I enjoyed from the old coaching with the new coaching.  New coach, instead of saying “you are with me now”  has been listening intently, and interjecting here and there very quietly… “We can do that too, once you get stronger”.  Very reassuring.  Some of my workouts were really odd and unusual, and I thought he’d try to change everything.

For the last 2 weeks, I’ve managed around 9 miles of swimming, which is good.  I am hoping to step it up a bit more this week. (thought after the drills, my arms may feel quite sick tomorrow!)

My back and leg remain in a bit of flux.  I have small symptoms…but I am learning also how to minimize and manage. I do wonder about running…I’m sure I can’t right now, but… Mr. Coach seems determined to return me.

So yeah.  Currently… Everything is Alright/OK…

Coping with frustration

So of course… I finally write the blog post and I mention to one of my co-workers who asked that the back seems to be ok….within about an hour of that discussion…the leg starts to tingle AGAIN.

I didn’t do anything that different, but it seems determined to only allow a small bit of physical activity.

I know that it may not be like this forever…and I remind myself that I’m not even 90 days out of surgery yet, so things are still pretty “new” still.  My hip surgeon told me that after my hip was reshaped that it would take over a year to fully “remodel”  itself. The back procedure was much less invasive, but, I imagine it will take a lot of time to be completely “better”

On top of that, I missed a second swim opportunity tonight.  Since I am training for the Swim For Alligator Lighthouse I am on the “Swim your Ass off Plan” which requires me to do a morning swim and an evening swim. I actually had envisioned doing a short morning swim and a longer evening swim, but I forgot that it is rapidly approaching summer in Florida.

Summer in Florida means it rains.  Nearly every day.  Now, it’s not so bad, as it usually only rains for an hour or less.  BUT, it thunders and lightnings.  Our Pool closes for such events.

So I did a nice short swim this morning…then when I returned this evening it started to rain and look ugly, so they closed the pool. I waited around a bit, but decided to just go home.  By the time I got home and walked the dog and finished dinner, the “storm” was over, but my leg was tingling and tingling.  SO no second swim.

Normally when a person wants to get into training shape, it’s a fairly easy thing to do. They GO to the gym and work out.  This crazy dance of attempting to get into shape without triggering a bizarre neuro-muscular flare is really trying for me.

I have a coaching session tomorrow.  Perhaps the coach can help, I’m still not sure where I stand with him. I feel I’m not working hard enough for him.  This really isn’t fun.  When does the fun start?