Feeling humbled

I like to see myself as a healthy person.   During my injury, I have been on my windtrainer for about 100 miles/week and I make it to yoga 3 or 4 times a week.  When I am not injured, I am running – a lot and well.  I feel strong.  I feel fit.  But when I get into the water,  I am quickly humbled.

I am not a good swimmer and I am finding that frustrating.   Years ago, before kids, I was in the water five times a week – slow but able to swim 1600 metres without stopping and strong enough to swim over 5 miles a week.  During that time, I taught myself how to breathe bilaterally; during the 20-odd years away from the water, I managed to forget everything that I learned.

Leaving the pool – and sporting the wet look.

So here I am, 55 years old,  trying to relearn old tricks.    For the most part, I think my strokes are good, but I am slow.  With practice, I have figured out bilateral breathing again by slowing down my stroke and focusing on the count: 1, 2, 3 (breathe), 1, 2, 3 (breathe) and so on.   Now the crawl is a little easier, and I might even be a smidge faster, but I still feel completely out of shape when I swim from one end of the pool to the next.

I’m trying to stay positive, though.  I’m swimming again, and I have swum more in the past 6 months than in the past 20 years.  That’s progress.  Also, I am intentionally keeping my distance at the low-end for now (500 to 750 metres) while I focus on breathing and skill, and I am getting it – more progress.  I still have goals in sight;  by the end of the month, I hope to be able to swim 1000 metres and, if things go better, swim more than 100 metres without feeling like my lungs are going to explode.

Commitment: a new lock for the pool.

For me, swimming is hard.  But other things have been tough too: running after an break (like pregnancy or an injury), cycling in cleats for the first time, getting into a crow position in yoga.  Swimming is just one more challenge to add to my list of things to accomplish; I have done it before and I will do it again.  It may take me a while to get to where I want to be, but I will get there.

 

Life in the Slow Lane

Tuesday was the first night that I went to run in  the pool this summer.  I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of crowds.  Now that we’re into the first week of summer holiday, a lot of kids have no real bedtime so it was quite likely that there would be a lot more of them at the Y than during a school night.  Also, it’s been really hot in southern Ontario so I figured that the pool would be insanely busy.   I played it safe and aimed to get into the water at 8:30, after swim classes were over and around the time when most kids should have been heading home.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I walked onto the deck and saw about 20 women in 3 or 4 lanes (I tried not to count – or stare) as they waved their arms around during what I thought was the end of their aquafit class.  As the music seemed to be too “pumped up” to be the end of any fitness class, I asked one of the lifeguards when it was over.  8:45; 20 minutes away. “Great,” I thought.  “It’s a good thing I have my swim cap and goggles.  Now I get to do some lengths while I wait.”  My thoughts were full of sarcasm since doing lengths was really the last thing I wanted to do.  But I did – maybe 500 metres worth – until the music softened, signalling the end of Aquafit.

As I walked on the deck to my bag to trade my cap and googles for my running belt, a group of boys catapulted into the pool running area.    I figured they were about 13 years old and as I counted them (yes, I did count this time), I recognized 2 from school.  The group was trying to hide in the top corner of the pool, laughing away.  “Really, guys?” I thought as I took out my buoyancy belt.   The names of my two students were being yelled loudly by their friends, without a doubt to draw attention to them and embarrass them, but the boys’ giggles had already done that for them.  I shook my head and laughed.  “Just what I need – the boys I taught to see me in a swimsuit.”  I had a flashback to my Grade 8 year when some of my friends talked about seeing our geography teacher water skiing – in a bikini [gasp!].  I figured I was safe in my one-piece speedo.  The buoyancy belt, though: that was sure to be a conversation piece.  I had never been more grateful that cameras were not allowed on deck.

I climbed into the pool and started to run.  Within a minute,  all six of them swished past me and headed back to the security of the wading pool at the other end of the deck.  I was safe to run on my own.

I’m pretty sure that I’ll see kids from school at the pool again this summer.  That’s one of the joys of teaching in the community you live: you run into kids and their parents a lot.  And now it has given me a new superpower; I can clear a section of a pool just by standing in it, leaving the whole area to me.

 

July: Summer Goals

As a parent and a teacher, I am constantly telling the kids around me that, if they want to improve in anything, they need to set goals, real goals, tangible goals, something that is achievable.  In essence, we need to have SMART goals.

At the beginning of June, I made a wish and I set a few goals for the summer.  My wish is to be running again and I have every confidence that I will be able to soon.  Ironically, my almost year off running has left me feeling stronger and fitter than ever (an insane amount of cross-training will do that).  I am hopeful that my PRP injection will give my hamstring the extra strength that it needs so that I can confidently start to run and race again. So my first goal is based on this wish: pool-running 4 to 5 times a week.  This should build and strengthen those same muscles and  will allow me, I hope, to resume to running with a bit of a base.

I also have 3 other fitness goals:

Test run on my mountain bike. I’m ready!

1) Cycling.  If you are following me on Instagram, you already know that I have spent many hours on my wind trainer this winter, leaving me with an average of 375 miles a month since the beginning of November.  Cycling is one sport that hasn’t bothered me because the ischial tuberosity doesn’t touch my bike seat.  But, since I have been healing, I haven’t been able to push myself with intervals either.  I am feeling ready.  My summer goal is to get back to cycling outdoors.  Dave and I are planning my first “test ride” later this week and I am pretty excited about it.

2) Swimming.  I have had an on-again/off-again relationship with the pool all winter.  I was quite proud of myself when I finally got back in the water after being away from swimming for the past 20ish years.  But family schedules and work hours have made it difficult for me to stick with it.  And, let’s face it, swimming scares me.  It’s hard and I have to work at it.  If swimming were my only form of fitness, I would be more committed to it but it’s an add-on.  I am also on my own almost every single time.   So my summer goal is to be consistent, to work at it at least 3 times a week.  I am really looking forward to seeing my distance in the water increase as the summer progresses.

3) Yoga – keep it up.  Yoga has been my saving grace through the winter.  It’s made me stronger and helped me to come out of my comfort zone and challenge myself.  It’s also let me sweat when I wasn’t able to any other way.  As strange as it may sound, psychologically, more than anything else, I just needed to be able to sweat.  Getting stronger has been an extra benefit.  As I spend more time in the pool, my time in the studio will likely decrease and I’ll adapt as I need to.  Right now, my goal is to hit the studio at least 3 times a week and that is doable.

Along with these is my goal to write more.  When I started blogging a few years ago, it seemed that everyone was doing it.  But as Instagram became more popular, blogging became “less of a thing.”  I have loved keeping this blog as it gives me the chance to be creative, to express myself and verbalize my thoughts.  Most of my writing is fitness-related, but I really enjoy writing the occasional, more opinionated piece too.   I like being able to share my story or information that can motivate, educate or impact others.

So how am I doing with these goals so far?  Since July 1st, I have ridden 37 miles (2 rides) on my wind-trainer, swam, ran in the pool and written this post.  In an hour, I am heading to yoga as I have just been cleared to go back.  All in all, I’m off to a good start.

Chasing my dreams……

Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy

Warning: If you can not handle the sight of blood, you probably won’t want to read this because, yes, you will see some blood.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I went to the clinic for my PRP injection.   How long will it take?  Will it hurt?   How long will my recovery be?  Will this be my only injection?  And, most importantly: will it work?

The “blood-sucker” introduced herself, took me into a room and proceeded to withdraw 30 cc of blood from my arm.  “Whoa!  That’s a big syringe!” I said when I saw it, and I didn’t look at it again until after she had finished taking my blood. “Wow! That’s really purple!”  I had forgotten that blood can look purple too,

One Platelet-Rich Plasma Cocktail in the making.
My layered blood.

Dr. Bentley, then, put my blood into the centrifuge to spin it around.  It only took seconds to see the blood start to separate into its layers: red blood cells on the bottom, then white bloods cells, and the platelets on top.  After a minute, the 30 cc that I had given him had been reduced to much less. After that, I really didn’t see much more as I was getting ready for the injection.  I caught of glimpse of what I think was a very long needle (the length of a pencil) as Dr. Bentley filled a syringe with my platelets to inject into my hamstring tendon.   I lay on the table, face-down and in a quasi-prone position, trying to relax.

Dr. Bentley poked with his finger at my upper hamstring to find the location of the tear before he started using the ultrasound.  I wasn’t able to feel any discomfort at first and that made me nervous.  “What if there really isn’t a problem?” I thought, only to be followed by my verbalizing, “That’s where it is.”  Dr. Bentley started to use the ultrasound and I heard him say to his student “That’s the tear, right there.”  I suddenly felt a bit of assurance.

“Get ready for a poke,” he said and that was all I really felt.   At one point, I felt like I was in a dentist’s chair as he asked how I was doing a few times.  I was fine.  “I’m just telling myself that this isn’t going to hurt that much because my legs are so muscular – ha!”  There was no real sensation of pain; it was more of a tightening.  I later described it to Dr. Bentley as an elastic tightening around your arm until you have a constant throbbing.  He replied that the blood being injected into a tendon has no where else to go so it would create that same kind of feeling.  As we finished up, he told me that it would feel like I was sitting on a golf ball for a few days.

On the way home, I was glad that Dave drove me to my appointment.   Moving my foot from the pedal to the brake and back to the pedal would have been difficult.  We hadn’t even left Hamilton when I said to him “I feel like my leg is having a baby.”  Painful, but not terrible, and knowing that it would end with something good.

A few hours later, I was able to drive.  I took my 13 year old to referee a soccer game and I happily stood for an hour to watch.  Walking was difficult and sitting was impossible, so standing had become the position of choice.   I could tell that it was going to be for the few days but I had a feeling that it would be worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stress Test

Last week, after 15 months of heart tests,  I was finally given a thumbs-up.  Everything is fine.

The fact that doctors thought there was something wrong with my heart was an enigma. In November 2017, days before I was running Nationals cross-country, an 8k distance, I was scheduled for a routine asthma test at the hospital.  During one of the baseline tests, the respirologist stopped the test.  “We can’t do it,” she said.  “Your heart rate isn’t normal.”

I was completely dumbfounded.  How was that even possible?  At that point in 2017, I had logged almost 2000 miles for the year and I was racing fast enough to call myself a competitive runner.

Cross Country Nationals 2017

How could I possibly have something wrong with my heart?  But during the baseline test, my heart rate dropped (spiked down, as she said) so that it was dangerous to proceed with the test.  After answering what felt like a gazillion questions (Do you smoke?  Do you drink?  Do you workout?  What do you do for exercise? and so on) and meeting with a cardiologist, they decided that it was safe for me to continue the asthma test.  “It’s okay.  There is a cardiologist next door if something goes wrong.”

Over the next 6 months, I had bloodwork, an echocardiogram, and an ultrasound of my heart.  In simplest words, results showed that my outtake valve is thinner than my intake valve; the valves, by the way, are only 1mm thick, which I find absolutely remarkable.  So running is good for me, but it meant that I needed to be monitored.

This past fall, at another asthma appointment with my respirologist, she asked whether I had been showing any symptoms?  “Of what?” I asked.  “I really don’t know what I am looking for.”  My waking up and gasping for air in the middle of the night could be asthma-related, or it could be a symptom of a heart problem.  So could the dizziness that I sometimes have during the day (which is likely attributed to a low heart rate).   My doctor wanted to “cross the t’s and dot the i’s) so she referred me to a cardiologist. Continue reading “Stress Test”

Let Them Be Kids

In the past six months, Ontario universities have lost students who took their lives.  We can’t begin to wonder why or guess the circumstances.  But what we can do is find ways to improve.  We, the adults, we need to do better.

The stress that our youth face is no joke.  Ten years ago, as a teacher, I saw Grade 8 girls put so much pressure on themselves to get marks as close to 100% as possible that I worried that they might have a breakdown before they even got to high school; that was before the pressures of social media.  A few years later, I watched a parent criticize a Grade 8 son for his 80% average because “it isn’t good enough for the top universities.”  Yes, he was only in Grade 8.  And, as a parent, I have watched my son and his friends devour their books so that they can have the 90% averages needed for university entrance while accumulating hundreds of volunteer hours and working part-time.  I have read resumes of university students who make my own – a resume of someone who has been in workforce for over 30 years – look dull.

Today, without meaning to, we have put pressure on kids as young as 12 and 13 to start thinking about their career choices.  We expect our kids to be well-behaved, have high marks, play a sport or instrument (and often more than one), volunteer at school or in the community, and, if they are able, work at a part-time job.  Every parent wants his/her child to be the best, but is the best right for every single kid?  And when exactly do our kids get to be kids?

She believed she could, so she did.

I often feel that, as parents, we have lost touch with what really matters in our children’s lives.  We need to let kids play – not an organized soccer practice or robotics club kind of play, but completely unstructured “run around and be silly with your friends” kind of play.  Let them complain about being bored because kids can always find something to do; it may not be what we want them to do, but they’re making their own decisions and, if they get in trouble, so be it.  Let them face the consequences and help them to understand and accept those consequences.  It’s part of growing up.  So is failure.  By all means, we need to support our children at school so help them with their homework – if they ask for it – but don’t do it for them.  And if they don’t get the mark that everyone wanted on a test or assignment, let it go.  We need to stop helicoptering around our kids and rescuing them every time things don’t go they way we want.  We need to let them fail if we want them to succeed.  With our support and encouragement from their teachers and other adults in their lives, our kids will figure it out.

This is what builds resilience in our kids:  being independent, making their own mistakes, failing, and using each day to try something new.  Resilience is most definitely not gained from larger class sizes.  If that happens, we will have taken away time from the second-most important group of people who interact with our children: their teachers.   (And let’s be real about this: there are many kids who see their teachers more than their parents.)  Increasing class sizes increases the demands and the pressures that we are placing on our youth.  The failure that is bound to happen comes from our government’s decision to increase class  sizes and, since that decision is not our youth’s control, it is only going to lead to greater stress for our kids through high school and more urgent feelings from their parents who will feel an even greater need to hover around them, protect them and help them get through high school.

As mental health is becoming, if it is not already, a crisis among young adults, whether in the work force or at school, we – the parents, the teachers, the coaches  – must prepare our students for this step in their lives.  But we do that through the connections that we have for our youth, through our care and understanding of who they are and what they need to succeed.  We do not build resilience by creating larger class sizes where kids – yes, kids – become one of too many to teach and get to know.  But we can build resilience by letting kids be kids and enjoy their high school years.   We build resilience by spending time with them, guiding them and allowing them to see that they have our support, the support that they will carry into the  next stage of their lives.

Cautiously Optimistic

This week, I have taken advantage of March Break and booked a few midday appointments at Dr. Elliott’s clinic.  It is amazing how good eliminating the stress of getting to appointment before work or rushing to one at the end of the day feels.  So I have been there every day this week: for physio, for a massage and to see Dr. Elliott himself.  I think that I now deserve my own parking spot.

Better than my own parking spot, though, is the feedback that I have had this week.  On Monday, I realized that my hamstring is a lot stronger, so much stronger that we have eliminated the hamstring curl with my toe inwards, the exercise that makes me feel dorky.  Now my focus is on the glutes and building more endurance in them.

On Tuesday, on the advice of my physiotherapist and doctor, I had a massage.  It probably goes without saying that this was the last thing that I wanted to do.  But after thinking about it for weeks and realizing that a gentle rehab type massage could reduce some of the tightness and pain that I have been feeling in my lower back and legs, I decided to give it a go.
I booked one with Cliff, who also works at the clinic, as he has access to all medical files related to my injury.  I walked in nervous but left feeling a lot better, physically and mentally.  He didn’t touch the area near my Ischial Tuberosity but worked around it, as well as my legs, back, shoulders and neck.  It’s now two days later and nothing is bothering me, which is a relief. I will go back in a few weeks to try to help relax the muscles associated with my hips.

Yesterday, I met with Dr. Elliott to get some answers to my questions and squash some of the “what if’s.”  Dr. Elliott said that individuals are turned away from a PRP injection if it won’t help them, because they have already healed.   “So it doesn’t mean that my tendon won’t heal?” I asked.  It just means that it won’t make a difference in their healing.  By the time I have my injection, I should be almost healed and the injection will only strengthen the tendon.    I felt so much better after speaking with him.  All I can do now is wait.

Some days, I have found that it easy to get overwhelmed and start to panic. Staying focussed, being positive: that takes work.  But it is work that I am willing to do as I have to believe that I am almost there.   Psychologically, it is a lot easier to think about running again than about what will happen if I can’t.

 

 

Do I Laugh or Cry?

“There is value in learning to accept gracefully those things that cannot be changed.”

This were the first words that I read in my son’s psychology text on the weekend.  He had rushed off to work and left his book on the kitchen table, open to a section on anger and frustration.  Being a psych major, I couldn’t help but look at what he was studying and, somewhat appropriately, these words jumped out at me.

The past few months have been a test of my mental strength.  How much frustration and disappointment of being injured (July), re-injured (October) and learning that it was way worse than anyone originally thought (January) can I handle?  I like to think of myself as a positive person, one who looks for an upside, thinks happy thoughts and believes that “things happen for a reason.” The upside of my hamstring tear is it has given me more time at home with my 13 year old and let me watch him grow as a student, an athlete, and a person.  But I am now in my sixth month of healing, almost 3 seasons later, and while I have accepted my injury, my frustration is still there.

Good news! Or so I thought.

I had a glimmer of hope that my weeks of being side-lined are coming to an end when I finally got an appointment date for a PRP injection: April 16th @ 12:00PM DURING HIS LUNCH.  I had no idea what was meant by “during his lunch.”  Am I suppose to feel extra grateful that he is seeing me at 12:00 rather than make me wait another week or two?  Is this a underlying message that I better not be late?  Or he is so busy that he is likely to be behind and I better not dare complain because he is seeing me “during his lunch.”  Or maybe, just maybe, it is a subtle hint to bring him a coffee, a snack or even a lunch.  Well, I am grateful that he is seeing me at this time rather than have me wait for another appointment at a later date so I happily confirmed it, I won’t complain if he is behind and maybe, just maybe, I’ll stop at Tim’s to bring him a snack.  I could only laugh.

However, when I called to confirm, I learned that this is not my appointment for the injection; it is a consultation.  Since 1 in 10 people are turned away, I have to meet with the doctor first and go in later for the actual injection.  I wanted to cry.   If my injection is at the end of April, I can assume that I will be off for another 6 to 8 weeks, which means that I still won’t be running until the end of June.  And that is only if I need one PRP shot.  If I need another, it will obviously be even longer.

This whole process has been frustrating beyond belief and it is now being overshadowed but the occasional fear.  What if I am that one in ten?  What if I can’t run again.  What if?  What if?   I hate the “what if?” game.  “Stay positive.  Look for the upside,” I tell myself.

Last night after yoga, I spoke my about thoughts with Kelly-Lynne and I found the positive again.  I realized how much fitter I have become in the past 6 months.   My leg strength is coming back; I can feel it when I cycle, and I can sit for longer periods of time without being in pain.  My core is firm, I can do a lowboat again and my upper body is stronger than it has been in years.  I threw myself back into the deep end when I came out of my comfort zone and started swimming.   When all things are said and done, I feel like I am in better shape than I have been in years.  So even though I still am not running and am quite unhappy about it, I can accept the delay.  If it means that my hamstrings are going to be that much stronger and I am going to be that much healthier, then I can absolutely wait a few more weeks.

Many years ago, when making a group decision at work, we voted for acceptance.  “Can you live with it?” was the question asked.  At school, I teach my students that you don’t have to always like something, but you have to be able to accept it; my Grade 7’s understand that.  Well, I do not like this time to heal and this waiting game one little bit, but I can live with it.  I have accepted it and, one day, I hope, that will make me a better athlete.

 

When a Runner is Not a Runner

Throwback to warm weather running

The past 8 months have been a test of my commitment to running.  I have been off since that mid-July massage, intended to help my muscles, resulted in a hamstring tear that sidelined me for the rest of the summer.  Now there was probably something brewing anyway but the massage tweaked something and I could not run for the rest of the summer.  In September, I made what now seems to be a superhuman rebuild to run Chicago,  only to tear my hamstring days before the marathon.  In mid-December, I was cleared to run again by 3 medical professionals: my sport medicine doctor, my chiropractor and my physiotherapist.  Strength was good and my cardio was fine, but running just didn’t feel right; I had no power.  Sure enough, an MRI at the beginning of January showed that I had less than 50% of the hamstring, a tear that meets the Ischial Tuberosity.  I pulled myself off the road again on January 15th.

It has been another two months since that diagnosis has been made and it is going to be another 6 weeks (April 16th) until I have a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection.  Who knows how long my recovery after that will be?  I am guessing that it will be another two months, which will bring me to sometime in June – if I am lucky.   And if that is the case, that means that it will be almost a year since that first injury, the catalyst that sent me into this dark hole that I just can’t find my way out of, a year since I have really, truly run.

During the past two weeks, I have thought a lot about my status as a runner.  Am I?  By definition, a runner is “a person who runs” and that is something that I am not doing.  I think about running all the time; I dream about running again and chasing my dreams; I read about running, talk about running and support people who are running.  But I am not running.

When I finally got my appointment date for the PRP injection, I was thrilled.  But the waiting, the recovery time and the uncertainty of knowing whether I will actually help strengthen the tendon have turned to frustration and fear.  What if it doesn’t work?  What if I won’t be able to run again?  What if????

The what if’s are always going to be there.  But until I have answers, I have to squash them.  I need to focus on the things that I am able to do: keep up my cardio and conditioning: bike, yoga, swim, weights; be a mom, a wife, a dog-mom; coach; love my job.  It should be no surprise that every single one of these things connects me to running.

Today, I am not running.  I am an injured runner.  I am a runner not running.  But until  I am told otherwise, I will continue to dream about running and racing again and focus my fitness towards the goal of pulling on a running skirt and lacing up my shoes again.  I am defined by running and always will be.

Just Keep Swimming

I did it!  Thanks to a Family Day holiday with open pools and an early morning text from Monica, I finally made it back into the water.  Was I nervous?  No.  I was absolutely terrified.  But that fear disappeared as soon as we had changed; we both had the same style and colour of swimsuit and the same googles, and that made me laugh.  This was the obvious sign that my swim was meant to happen.

Being Family Day, though, the Y was busy.  Three lanes were set aside for adult lengths, and they were crowded.  Being a “newbie,” I headed straight to the slow lane and, yes, I was the slowest.   Before I started, a speedy 10 year oldish boy turned at the wall and while I had doubts about my own ability, I swallowed them and pushed off.  Ten strokes in, I stopped.  “Man, this is hard!” I thought.  “How am I ever going to make to the end of the pool?”  But I started again, imagining that every set of lifeguard’s eyes were on me, worried that I might start flailing my arms in distress.  When I finished the 25 metres, my heart was pumping.   I needed to rest.

When I was ready, I headed back to the other side, this time without stopping.  That was progress.  I took another long break; I needed it.  I felt discouraged and out of shape.  But I also remembered having these feelings years before.  I swam in high school and stopped, only to start again when I was in my late twenties. I clearly recalled what a struggle that was as I pushed off again and swam my third length.  Then, half way down the pool, I had a flashback to a recent conversation with my husband after he had peeled potatoes for dinner that night.

“That was the hardest thing that I’ve done in my life!” he said.  “It’s absolutely impossible.  You have to hold onto those itty bitty potatoes and peel them?   How do you do that.  I can’t do that again.  It’s too hard.”

“Nope, this is the hardest thing that I’ve ever done in my life,” I thought as I worked my way down the pool.  “Peeling potatoes is nothing compared to this.”

I met Monica after 200 metres of back and forth.  “I’m at 8.  Anything from here on it great.  I’ve met my target; I’m swimming.”  I did have another target, suggested by my son earlier in the morning.

“How your cardio?”  he asked.
“Um, I think it’s fine.  I’m on the bike for an hour.”
“Then you should be fine with 1000 metres.”
I gulped.  “A thousand metres?!!” I hesitated.  “Challenge accepted.”

I had kept this to myself and, as I stood proud of my 8 lengths, I wondered how I would make it to 40.  “This is like doing a track workout,” I told Monica a few lengths later.  “I push myself, then rest, push myself then rest.  It’s hard.”  It wasn’t long, though, until I had shortened the breaks between each length and was swimming 50 metres at a time.  I lost track of my distance after 500 metres and lost count again after another 400 metres.  At that point, I just stopped counting.  I didn’t care.  I was swimming, I was hitting 1000 metres, and I was proud of myself.   By the end of the swim, I was swimming 100 metres at a time and think I covered a total of 1200 to 1400 metres.

Thrilled that I met my goal!

Judging by today’s sore triceps (which could, in fact be a result of breaking up a driveway covered in ice over the weekend)  I may have done more than I was ready for.  But I did something that I didn’t think I would be able to do. I set a new bar and I know that I am going to be able to keep raising the bar.

On Monday, I challenged myself and did much better than I expected.  I’m still smiling.  I’m proud of myself.  This is the challenge that I need right now and, lucky or not, there is lots of room for growth.