Monday, August 30, 2010

Reentry. A return to training after a two-week break

As a child, I watched as man took his first walk on the moon. Like many in my generation, I was mesmerized by the Apollo 11 odyssey. As the module reentered earth’s atmosphere, bright fiery colors streamed from the craft due to heat and friction.  It took some time for the spaceship to complete reentry and regain communication with NASA. The splash down occurred on my 5th birthday.

In last week’s blog, I described the many changes occurring in my orbit in a short amount of time.This week was my first week back to training, my re-entry. 40+ years later, the Apollo 11 patten of reentry comes to mind. Like Apollo 11, after a period of time away from my normal routine, reentering my “atmosphere”, getting back into orbit can be an uncomfortable, friction-filled, heated interchange that often requires some time before normal communications and patterns resume. Thankfully, I made it through and learned a few things in the process. Below is my reentry week in review. My learnings, “Lizzard Lessons” are highlighted.

When reentering the atmosphere of home, the spacecraft heats up due to speed and friction. Communication may be lost for a period of time.
Day one. I hit the office but felt as if I had been hit by something. All the traveling over the past two weeks had worn on me more than I wanted to admit. First item to greet me on my return was a federal court subpoena duces tecum (subpoena for records). We are not being sued (thank you very much - though as business owners have been there, done that) but some former clients were in litigation with their insurance company and the insurer had served a subpoena. I really did not have the energy or mind to deal with the subpoena. We have relationship with a reputable local law firm and I convinced Ace Sherpa to give them a call and to let them review the request. LIZZARD LESSON: When available, consider using the “experts” in your life for scary, unpleasant, or even regular items for which you don’t have the time or expertise. Don’t work a problem hard when you can work it smart.

I returned to my desk and began the process of going through the stacks of snail mail and electronic mail that accumulated in my absence. Lunch rolled around and I considered powering through. Instead, I called my non-tri buddy Meggles and we had lunch. That lunch was more than food, it was therapy. We caught up on the past few weeks, shared stories, and laughed. Lunch with Meggles ran long, so I stayed late to get all the paper assessed. By the end of my day, the stack was reduced, even if the “to do” list was long. LIZZARD LESSON: Reconnecting with positive friends, particularly after a time away, can make you feel more grounded, put life in perspective and lift your spirits.

Day two. After about two weeks away from exercise, I went for an early morning swim. I didn’t really “want” to go. The chatter in my brain said such lovely things to me like “you were slow and ridiculous before, now you’ll just be an embarrassment to yourself” and “I don’t know why you even do this, it doesn’t make a difference.” I powered through the chatter and showed up at the pool anyway. For tips on negative self talk see my post on "10 mental techniques for when the going gets tough."

Here’s joke for you: How many Fitbirds does it take to return a Lizzard to the water?

Apparently six. One Fitbird, Dr. L, loaned me goggles. I unpacked the mom mobile used to lug all the college stuff and my goggles did not surface. A second Fitbird, Firefly, empathized with my predicament and encouraged me. Firefly had a bike injury that took her out of training for a long time. Seeing her in the pool inspired me to get back in. She faced real injury and put my two weeks off into perspective. Her words buoyed my spirits. Fitbird number three, the wise Grasshopper, turned sergeant in the pool. She provided the right dose of tough love. My training bud hadn’t arrived and Grasshopper commanded my entry into the pool. Fitbird four, Freebird, greeted me kindly but as if she expected me to be there and all was normal. Fitbird five, my Coug, my training bud, came to swim her own program. This reunion should have been filmed for a Lifetime movie. I admit it, I wept. Finally, Fitbird six, Coach Canada, gave me a modified workout that felt more doable. It also keep Coug and me from lolly gagging through a workout together. LIZZARD LESSON: The power of peer pressure can work for good and not evil. Use structure to your advantage and to replace intellectual willpower and emotional motivation. Cultivate a variety of friends. When you are feeling vulnerable reach out to those who make you feel strong. Remember procrastinating on exercising makes it harder, not easier. Start off slow and with a program modified to your current fitness level. Sometime you just have to put on your big panties and deal with it. And when you do – make those panties cute and celebrate the accomplishments!

Sometimes you just have to put on your big girl panties and deal with it.

Day two also involved a trip to the surgeon for my Ace Sherpa for a little GI maintenance something. It took us about three times the amount of travel time to get to the appointment due to an accident on the Interstate. It was a good thing that we left early. We were able to get there in plenty of time and it was to not have the added stress of being late to an appointment to which neither of us looks forward. LIZZARD LESSON: Build in extra float time to your schedule when returning home after a trip. The extra time will provide grace to your day. There's grace if you need the extra time to travel or complete a project. And grace if you didn’t need the extra time where it becomes a gift to use in a manner of your own choosing. Oh, and remember to get more fiber in your diet. Apparently, few of us get enough.

Day three. It's hump day and I’m up at the butt crack of dawn for spin class (a favorite!) with Coach Canada. I’m at the office relatively on time and begin tackling the to do list from Monday. I take a conference call, shuffle some more paper but am out of there mid afternoon for my final keel boat sailing lesson in New Orleans. Like that first swim class back, I am nervous about this sailing lesson as I missed two of these as well. Determined to make Ace Sherpa proud, I dig deep, approach the boat, extend my hand and introduce myself to the crew for this evening’s boat race. LIZZARD LESSON: Always pull in a rope with your thumbs to your heart. That way if a puff of wind catches the sail you don't dislocate or lose your thumbs. This will also give you a better grip on the rope.

Day four, Thursday, my favorite day of the week. With one day left in the week, I hope to hit my stride. My ankles have bothered me off and on since Louisiana Tri in May. I decide finally to end the self diagnosis, be a big girl and get an appointment with a real doctor. I call my daughter’s orthopaedic surgeon’s nurse to get a recommendation. The nurse checks with the doctor and they suggest an orthopaedist with an expertise in feet and ankles. I call and make an appointment. LIZZARD LESSON: There comes a time in everyone’s life when it’s time to stop self-diagnosing. For me it was Ace Sherpa’s impression of my gimp that proved I was in denial. Doctors go to school to learn how to treat conditions. Give them a chance to treat yours.

At Louisiana Tri in May, the troubles with my Achilles tendons began. Months later, it was past time to stop the self-diagnosing and see a professional.

Day five, Friday! It’s the day I have lunch with my super positive non-exercise buddies and one of the Archipet’s (Oscar P’s) birthday! Yay! A day of office work, nice lunch and celebration! And I spoke too soon. My dad, LMNOP, had a dizzy spell in Wally World and was transported by EMS to the ER. As a proud member of the “sandwich generation” living between aging parents and growing kids under the same roof, I’ve got plenty of real life experience for calls about heading to the ER. Instinctively, I pack my bag and cell phone charger. Hours later, we get the good news, test indicate LMNOP will be fine, but he must spend some time in the hospital for observation! LIZZARD LESSONS:  Aging parents often end up in the ER from something as preventable as dehydration. Buy them a specially measured bottle (I got a 24 ounce one) so they can monitor their own fluid intake and insure that they are getting the minimum fluids during the day.

Wanda B and Oscar celebrate Oscar's 4th birthday at the architecture office where the two oversee staff as lead archipets.

Day six. LMNOP is still in the hospital in the morning. My eldest, Bonannie, offered to hang out at the hospital with him beginning at 7 am. This did a few things: it allowed the best brother-in-law in the world to take a break after spending the night. It gave him the option of a round of golf or a good nap. It allowed her mumsicle to meet the Fitbirds for a 6 am bike ride. Finally, it gave Bonannie the chance to participate as an adult and make additional memories with her grandfather. LIZZARD LESSON: When it comes to care giving, share the joy and spread the load. Not only does it keep you from feeling like a martyr, it empowers everyone to be involved and to be a loving caregiver to the people you love most. If you have questions, write them down and get them answered. If you have out of town family members take notes about what the health providers say so you can accurately relay vital information.

Day seven. Up early again, but not as early as yesterday. Check in on LMNOP and off with the Fitbirds for a group ride in Feliciana Parish. The group departs from a Fire Station. Back home the cupboard is bare and there are errands to run and family to love on. I return from the grocery run around 7 p.m. Ace Sherpa agrees that cereal will be fine for supper. Thank goodness we finally have milk. It’s been a long week and I still haven’t had that nap. It’s 9:42 p.m. and I’m not done with this entry. I still need to write, edit, locate photos, format, etc. What to do? Ace Sherpa reminds me that I’m reentering and maybe I should lighten up. LIZZARD LESSON: While it is good to keep to a schedule as general rule, sometime it’s best to let the rule be broken. This is especially true when it’s a self-imposed rule (like your blog post MUST be up by Sunday). It's important to be flexible, in life as in ankles, and no plan is absolute. Be nice to yourself, and cut yourself some slack. I mean, you just went through reentry.

It's good to be back.
Fitbird Fitness friends after this weekend's bike ride. Scheduled exercise with buddies helped get me back into exercise after my weeks away.


  1. I am SO glad your re-entry was successful. You were missed terribly by all and I hope you realize we are all serious when we have told you that. You truly were toasted at Santa Rosa and your "ghost" was included in team activities. Having you back on the back riding next to me was awesome, as was our "Change Theory" discussion on the way up and back. Knowing you were near during my ows brought me much comfort. Love you much. Your Coug.

  2. Lizzard, as my surgery has me down and out for an undetermined time, I appreciate your lessons. I pray that I don't need two weeks off, but your successful re-entry makes me hopeful. I'm so glad you are back with your positive spirit and empowering soul! Love you! Here