On My Way at Last

Image  It’s been a few months since I’ve written anything about my ongoing fitness regimen.  It’s well known that I had shoulder surgery back in May 2012, and the recovery process took a lot longer than I thought it would.  The surgeon told me a year, and I didn’t believe him.  Well, turns out he was right.  It’s probably going to take a year before I am 100% back to normal.  Having said that, though, I’m feeling stronger every day (apologies to the band Chicago), and I’m on my way at last (more apologies to the group Rush.  This little quote comes from their latest album “Clockwork Angels”, of which they give an awesome performance in concert).

My rehab was excruciatingly slow after my surgery.  Stretching with bands and trying to lift a five pound dumbbell was pure agony.  I kept at it, gradually increasing the weights as the weeks and months progressed.   Since my weight lifting routine was extremely curtailed by my healing shoulder, I started doing more cardio.  Less than two weeks after my surgery I ran a 5K.  I almost died (figuratively).  I knew I had to do something more.

I started running.  I had started running many times in the past, but the routine never lasted more than a couple weeks.  I was more determined this time.  Walk/runs for a mile to start, working on running only for a mile at a time.  In September I signed up for a YMCA challenge to do a whole triathlon over the course of the month.  I didn’t quite make it, but I did manage to crank out 20 miles with the running shoes.

I bought new, expensive running shoes about a month ago.  This is one time I’m glad I spent a lot of money.  These new shoes are awesome, and I ended up running two 5Ks in November – one at the PASS conference in Seattle through #sqlrun, and the annual Berbee Derby on Thanksgiving day.  I’ve kept track, and since June 1st I have run almost 60 miles.  It pales in comparison to some of you more seasoned runners, but for me this is a major accomplishment.

My strength is probably 90% back to normal.  Ever since my surgery I haven’t been able to perform bench press on the flat bench (I was bench pressing 245 for reps before my surgery) , but because of a different angle I was able to do an incline bench press.  I was never good at this exercise because it’s a totally different balance and feel.  Through persistence and because it was the only type of bench press I could do, I was slowly able to increase the weight I use on this exercise.  Last night I put up 190 pounds for a couple reps – far more than I’ve ever been able to before.  I then tried the flat bench.  Prior to last night anytime I tried the flat bench with just the barbell (45 pounds) I would get a very tight pinch in my insicion scar.  Last night I put up 135 pounds for 10 reps before the twinge kicked in.  The weight felt so light.  It felt good,  So, I’ll slowly keep working that back into my workout in hopes of becoming stronger than ever.

In addition to all this, I continue to improve on my swimming.  I finally got the stroke and the breathing down, but it’s a whole different exercise than running, so the cardio for swimming still needs a lot of work.

I’m feeling better than I ever have in my life, and there is still a long way to go.  But, as Geddy Lee sings in the song Caravan (Clockwork Angels), “I’m on my way at last.”


About Gill Rowley

I live in a Madison, WI suburb, working as Owner/President of White Knight Data Solutions. I like hunting, fishing, working out, my boat, my motorcycle, playing with my rescued bull terrier Lola, and gourmet cooking. Oh, yeah, and I play men's fastpitch softball, and chess. Let that sink in. :-)
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