Gotta have that hip surgery

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Timehop reminded me today that one year ago I found out that I had to have labral tear surgery. I remember sitting at Children’s Hospital waiting to be called back to meet with the surgeon. He was running late and I was growing agitated because the whole process of getting to this moment of truth was so long and annoying. I was listening to music and writing on my phone (of course), and all of a sudden I hear singing. GREAT, just what I want to be bothered by at that moment. I drew a long breath in and a huge sigh of annoyance until I turned and looked at where that singing was coming from.

If you need an eye opener to help you realize your problems aren’t that bad, for me that my impending news of hip surgery wasn’t that bad, go sit at Children’s and observe. Simply being in the lobby is hard. To look at all the sick kids who still have smiles on their faces. And here I was pissed about surgery on my hip in an otherwise extremely healthy body. It really brings perspective. As I sat somewhere far away from that lobby, I got an even better idea of what goes on and how important that singing is that I heard. The singing was coming from two people dressed as clowns. Their job is to walk around the hospital and make kids (and adults, including myself) not only smile but laugh and laugh loud. After they left, I suddenly felt a lot happier and as I looked around the room, I realized that everyone else also had a bit more joy in their faces.

Next thing I know a sweet little voice says, “Kara Crow”. Dun dun dun. Moment of truth.

“So looking at your MRI you do have a labral tear in the anterior portion of your hip and you have cam and pincer impingements (bone spurs) which we will have to shave down. Most times we recommend PT for a period of time depending on how long someone has been in pain and how severe the tear is but considering you’ve been in a pretty significant amount of pain for a long time, you’re going to need surgery. (without so much as a pause) So it will be about an hour and a half surgery, three weeks on crutches, non-weight bearing then a slow progression off crutches…” That’s where I stopped listening as I realized how real this was. I had never had surgery and I had to fight back tears as I thought about how I was going to be able to work, to get up a 4th floor walk up, to do laundry, to grocery shop, to clean my house!

“Do you have any questions?”

It took me a minute but I managed a little peep of a no. I could barely breathe. He gave me the number to the receptionist that would schedule my surgery and told me to call the next day. Next step, call my parents and let them know the plan. I was shaking as I told my mom. Now let me tell you that when I say I have the best parents in the world, I truly have the best parents in the world. Any time I’ve needed something, any time I’ve needed help, they were on the front line ready to go. My mom calmed me down as she said everything would be fine and that they would help me financially which would consist of twice weekly PT visits for 5 weeks and once a week for another 6 weeks and taking cabs at least twice a day, sometimes 4, for what I thought would only be 3 weeks but turned into about 8 weeks.

When I got off the phone with her I thought back to what I had seen at the hospital and I realized that my problem wasn’t all that bad and by the time I got back to work I was actually excited about having to have hip surgery because it meant that the pain I was feeling in my hip all the time would be fixed and I could get on with my life and get back to my workouts that kept me sane.

Workouts. Yeah. The minute I found out I had to have surgery, it was as if my hip started to deteriorate at a rapid rate. Maybe it was the Crossfit or maybe it was the fact I was still trying to workout the way I was working out my entire life. Within 2 weeks I had to quit Crossfit, which almost made me cry, and tone down my workouts in the gym. When I had called to schedule my surgery I expected to get in within the month. Sorry Kara. What’s an extra month matter anyway? Well, a lot when you can’t do the one thing that kept you sane for years. Two months of waiting. (Not that bad looking back on it because boy did I live it up! Malbec anyone?)

All I can say at this point is I had no idea for the ride I was in for, the journey, the learning, the humbling that would take place over the next year from not only the surgery but from life in general. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I am so thankful I had that surgery because it not only brought me back down to earth, but it gave me perspective that I never would have gained without that surgery. And, as I’ve said in prior posts, it forced me to relearn what is important in life.

A year later my little old right hip is doing wonderfully, she’s not quite back at 100% but she’s a lot better off than she was a year ago.

Oh and I will say I never did commit to the arm crank machine which is weird considering how excited I seemed to be doing it one year ago today.

Dating 101

There needs to be a class where they inform you on how HARD dating can be; awful or fun, either way, there really should be something. Yeah, there are articles online that I will admit I read a lot to try to figure out how this whole thing works but at the end of the day I am left baffled.

One thing that stands out the most is the rules!!!! I never realized there were so many rules to dating.

– Don’t give up too much too soon.
– Don’t have sex on the first date or the second or the third but don’t make them wait too long.
– Don’t EVER text first unless you’re in an established relationship.
– Make them chase you – which coincidentally is my favorite because you really can’t MAKE someone do anything. If they don’t want to chase you, they aren’t going to chase you no matter HOW much you attempt to make them want you by being “hard to get”.
– Be hard to get.
– Don’t show that you care.
– Don’t put a period at the end of a text message…..what?!
– Don’t type too much in your texts.
– Be elusive and mysterious.
– Never be the one to send the last text.
– There should be more grey bubbles than blue bubbles in that text conversation that you didn’t start and aren’t going to be the one to end, especially not with a period
– Never be the one to initiate hanging out because if a guy wants to hang out with you, he will make it happen.

And my favorite…

– Don’t be an open book.

Shit. Failed that one.

But let me ask you, at what point in time did everything become about the guy? Why do we have to WAIT for them to text us, to step up to the plate, to chase us? I can guarantee that I am not alone when I say I have found myself more than a few times checking my phone hoping for a text or even going so far as to stare at the text conversation waiting for those 3 little dots inside that little bubble to show me that the guy is texting me. Don’t lie girls, you’ve all been there…and some of you guys too. But really, why has it come to the guy initiating things? Why is it about the guy? Is it society? Am I listening to bad advice? I am not exactly a sit back and wait person so these rules are mind blowing to me.

You are supposed to be mysterious and pretend you don’t care when in reality, you care. I care…a lot. God forbid someone knows you were upset because a boy half broke your heart. God forbid you have emotions. Have I found myself shedding some tears because a guy didn’t turn out to be who I thought he would be? Yup. Have I shed some tears because a guy didn’t text me when he said he would and I was really looking forward to hearing from him? Yup. Have I let it affect my life and bring down my happiness? I’d lie if I said it didn’t at times. But that’s what you learn to do less of the more you get let down.

I spent some time with a guy who was absolutely amazing and he knows it. We had a crazy connection from day 1 but chalk it up to bad timing that he can’t make time for me…or whatever. It’s a bummer, but it’s life. Over the last 6 months I have rekindled my friendships, especially my girlfriends and as I am learning, they are the most important friends you will have. So today I was discussing what happened with this boy with my girl Susan and we were chatting about not only him but just dating in general and neither of us can figure it out.

There are so many “rules” and I just can’t wrap my head around it. I’m not good with following all those rules. If you have a connection with someone and you both know it, why do you need to be so hard to get? And at what point can you let your guard down? Is there a timeline here or is it just what you feel? Because quite frankly the vibe I got from the last guy indicated that we were both ridiculously into each other but timing is everything, right? Which leads me to the things Susan and I came up with that we absolutely HATE hearing…

– Don’t try so hard
– Don’t go looking for love
– He will come when you least expect it. WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN??!! Am I supposed to expect that he will come when I least expect it? Because then I am expecting it and that advice is thrown out the window.
– Don’t shut yourself off
– Put yourself out there
– Don’t give up too much at first
– He’ll come along eventually (ummm?)
– You deserve the world. Don’t settle….clearly.

And my personal favorite…

You could get any guy you want. Really???? And I’m still single. Weird.

So I think I’ll listen to this advice that a friend gave me….Rules and games aside, just do you. Be who you are and if someone can’t appreciate that from the beginning, they won’t appreciate it at the end.

I like that better than a whole lotta rules. And I like this song a whole lot better than rules….

Dating 101: Just be who you are.

 

Back to that thing we call love

Today I realized that the person I re-opened my heart to, that I love with my whole heart, simply isn’t right for me and it hurts, especially because the last time I walked away from this man was only in November and that was brutal. It took all I had and it’s still so fresh. And so painful. I was and still am one that believes you break up for a reason and it’s best to stick with that reason. I went against that belief because this person came back and told me he understood everything I had been begging him to understand. He said that he missed me, he loves me, that other girls bore him, that he was unhappy without me, that he missed my laugh and most importantly that he wanted us to work. He felt he could be the man for me, that he wanted to be that man.

One thing you must know is that I have anxiety. No, not the kind that pops up here and there that everyone experiences from time to time but clinically diagnosed and medically treated for 6 years now. The kind of anxiety that can ruin relationships if not addressed and nurtured appropriately. This makes relationships more difficult. So when he came back, after all my episodes of anxiety and told me he wanted to be with me, that he realized my anxieties were simply a part of me that he loved, I was shocked. I didn’t believe he could do it. He said my anxiety is tough to deal with but that the good outweighs the bad and he wanted to give it another shot. He said he wanted to take the good with the bad. The bad, yeah.

To hear this from the person I love with my whole heart…fuck…there are no words. Never in my life did I think we would get back together and I tried to say no and ignore him but with his relentlessness, I let him back in. I was and still am in shock. I let him in because although I was blissfully happy without him, deep down I wanted (and still want) to be blissfully happy with him. He said there were a lot of things he regretted with how he treated me and he genuinely wanted to do better. We both agreed we had some things to work on but we could do it together because, well, we love each other.

If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t have anxiety. I am the first to admit that my anxiety is overwhelming for me and those around me. I exhaust myself.  I try to surround myself with caring and nurturing people that do and say the right things to help keep that anxiety at bay. I work with a therapist once a week and I work with myself every waking minute of my life to gain control. When people work with me, us together as a team, I am happy as a clam.

Am I at fault for needing that team unity? No. Is that too much to ask? Depends on who you ask. But it’s what I need and what I have begged him for and he can’t quite grasp what that means. He tells me it’s exhausting to keep up with my level of communication and that is true, but it is who I am. I am exhausting but there’s a lot of good that comes out of this person sitting here writing this extremely open post that may or may not be appropriate to broadcast but it’s that human connection I spoke about in previous posts that I so desperately need right now. To feel deprived of that from my own boyfriend is excruciatingly painful so I am reaching out to someone, anyone.

After 3 months of trying to make it work again and a year and a half of extreme turmoil with brief moments of beauty, beauty that I am struggling to let go of, I have realized that we are like oil and water. There’s nothing wrong with either but oil and water don’t mix well and I have once again learned that the hard way. It was rough at first but then it started to get better, until this week. It was inevitable that the volcano that exists in our relationship was going to erupt. We tried. And I truly believed this time was for real, that we would make it. That I would control my anxiety and know 100% that he loved me. But it’s not that easy. I am angry with myself for letting him back in, for giving him so much of myself. I was happy without him. Why didn’t I let it stay that way? Did I miss him? Yes. Insanely at first but it dissipated as I came into my own and rediscovered all the beautiful things I have in my life that enable me to feel blissfully happy and I realized he wasn’t one of them no matter how badly I wanted him to be.

My heart hurts. My heart is broken. But I will be ok. It’s hard to walk away because there was great things about us together. I love him. I don’t know why. I had a connection with him unlike any I’ve ever experienced. I am scared I will never find that again. I am scared I will never find someone that will “put up with my level of communication that is just extremely exhausting.” He did come back after we broke up, after he knew about everything I struggle with. I know he loves me, I know he wants to be the man for me but he does not have the capacity to fill that role. And that, for some reason, kills me.

So here’s to starting over…again. I’ll be fine just like I was last time around, it just hurts a lot more this time. And to move on from the idea that this is my fault. To move on from the idea that if I just changed the way I react to things, then we would be fine. I was faulted for my anxiety. It was always my fault in his eyes. But we can only change so much of who were are before we lose ourselves entirely and I don’t want to lose myself because anxieties and all, I love myself a hell of a lot more than I love someone who faults me for something that is such a big part of me, faults me for something that over the last 6 years I have worked on and overcome in ways he will never understand.

I love deeply. I care deeply. I am open with my emotions, some might say to a fault in that I share my life with the world. I can be a bitch. I can be difficult. I overreact all the time. I obsess. I ruminate on stupid shit. I can be stubborn. I can be exhausting. I can be inappropriate in my expression of self. I am the queen of TMI (too much information for those of you not current with this generation). I am by no means perfect. But at the end of the day, I love all that about me and I hope that someday I find a man that when I need him the most, no matter how out of line he thinks I am being, if he knows it’s driven by my anxiety that I cannot control at that moment, he looks me right in the eye and says, “Kara. You’re fucking crazy and out of line right now and I don’t understand where this is coming from at all but I want to understand. I love you. It’s all going to be okay.”

Is that too much to ask? I hope not.

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At the end of the day, I realized that I lost my love of self. I hate who I have become in loving him, in trying to please him, in trying to control my emotions. I hate the needy, neurotic, insecure, dependent person I have become because that is not me. I have blamed myself for everything and I am sick of doing that because it always takes 2 to tango. So with a heavy heart, I move on again in my life without him, having learned more about myself than I ever thought possible.

Let me remind you: At the end of the day if we do not love who we are, then there is no point in loving someone else.
If you’ve made it this far. Thank you. I hope you can understand why I wrote this.

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JUMP!

I am on Cloud 9 right now. Not only did I get my certificate for Precision Nutrition in the mail…

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Yippeee!!!!!!

But more amazing and totally awesome….

I got to do lateral jumping at PT today!!!! Holy moly did it feel good!!!! I haven’t done any real jumping since before surgery…like 6 months!! To say I’m excited is an understatement!! My PT wrapped a bungie around my waist and set up 3 cones. One slightly in front of me and to the side, one directly to my side and one slightly behind and to the side. I was facing in the direction so that my right leg was the dominant leg starting off. My PT explained what I was going to do and as I stood there listening to him, I scrambled to visualize what exactly this was going to be like. Was it going to hurt? Would my muscles fire properly so that I didn’t fall flat on my face? Would my hip be able to stabilize on one leg while I pushed off it to fly high in the air and not to mention landing back on it as I jumped back towards the bungee?????? Ready???

“Jump! But don’t put the non weight bearing foot down.” Holy crap people.  The beauty of the bungee is it made it hard to jump away from it as I put all my weight on my right leg to do so, but even harder to resist it pulling me back in as I leaped off my left leg heading back towards the attachment of the bungee to the wall and hoping to all hell and back that when I landed on my right leg (please hip don’t fail me now) I would be able to stabilize without pain. And guess what????

I DID IT! It didn’t hurt one bit! And I kept at it for one whole minute!!! Oh man the smile on my face. 🙂 Next up was the left leg which was a breeze since it’s the strong side (left side, strong side right??). All in all 2 whole minutes of jumping!!! I got out of that bungee real quick as I bent over trying to catch my breath. I stood up, patted my belly and said, “Welcome back.” Holy core workout. I then patted my quads and said the same thing. Welcome back body. It’s nice to see you, and feel you again; to feel that burn in the muscles.

After I completed my two minutes, I was embarrassingly out of breath but boy was I proud of myself as I high fived my PT. I think he is proud of me too. He’s watched me since the first day I crutched in with Dora after filling out the evaluation form, answering every question with the “extremely difficult” option and feeling pretty discouraged. He watched me start to make progress towards getting off my crutches and building back my strength. He watched me as I began to get off two crutches and move around with more ease. He then witnessed my set back when I smashed my hip into my door and how frustrated I had become as the hip went into spasms for days. I almost cried at PT that day. As the hip calmed down, he watched me progress back towards two crutches weight bearing, then one crutch, then no crutches, then lunging, squatting with a ball, sliding around on the slide board, jumping on the leg press machine, balancing like a pro on the wobbly disc and finally lateral jumps with my new best friend, the bungee. 

Ah life feels good!! It’s amazing what makes me proud now and what gets me excited and happy regarding my fitness. Since I’ve started “working out” again (some weeks its only 1 day and some weeks it 4 days depending on the hip), I have dropped about 3% body fat. Normally that would get me giddier than anything in the world but not today people. Not today. Today I am proud I jumped around with no pain. I look back on where I was mentally before surgery, to after surgery and how gross and incapable I felt and I am extremely proud of how far I have come. The mental and the physical. Life kind of fell apart last November but I super glued it back together with a little help from my friends, my family, my PT and my surgeon.

It’s the journey that matters. It’s the small accomplishments like jumping around with a bungee chord on your waist that I never would have dreamed would make me this happy. It was literally the highlight of my week and if that’s all it takes, I’d have hip surgery any day. Just kidding. But I wouldn’t go back and change this process for all the Malbec in the world. Again, I am totally kidding. I’ve slowed my life down. I’ve learned to appreciate the little things. We all go through our ups and downs, I recently was on the down swing but if there’s one thing I have learned, “that shit don’t last.” There’s always a way to be happy. It just depends on what you choose to focus on. It’s not easy, trust me. But once you find what makes you happy, oh boy is it the best thing in the world!

Here’s a throw back to when I could actually jump. Look at that right leg go! I can’t wait to do that again!

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And with that I get ready for girls night! Dinner, Malbec and dancing baby!! Let’s see how the old hip holds up on that dance floor tonight. I have a feeling after all that jumping around, it will be juuuuuuust fine. 🙂

I’m back in action!

Needless to say it has been quite some time since I have written pretty much anything for this very reason…

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The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition Certification written by John Berardi and Ryan Andrews

For the last 3 months but more so in the last 3 weeks, I have been feverishly studying for my Precision Nutrition exam in order to be promoted to Tier 3+ at Equinox. All my free time went into this certification. From reading the book, to answering the questions in the workbook, to tabbing information that was important and to talking about it with others. I wanted to retain as much of it as I could. As you can see I decided to go all tab and note happy on my book and workbook because this was an open book online exam. After taking some online classes in college I came to learn something very important: open book online exams absolutely SUCK. I can just picture them saying, “Let’s ask these poor suckers questions on the smallest, most seemingly insignificant facts in the book. I mean there is just waaaaayyyyyy too much extremely important and applicable facts and information to not try to get in their heads a bit.”

Prime example: Depending on the size of the meal, your stomach can expand to a volume of nearly 4L. True or false?

Do you REALLY think I paid attention to that tiny little fact in this 460 page book chock full of nutrition information?? Absolutely not. BUT my tab happy self directed me right to the answer through another question that was asked. Thankfully the answer just happened to be on the same page. 🙂

Using my free time in between clients and on the weekends to study, I barely had a brain cell left to sit down and write a post. Not to mention I was at the gym from 5:30 am to between 7:30 pm and 9 pm depending on the day for the last 2-3 months. Getting home late, the last thing I wanted to do was think. So I didn’t. And boy did it mess up my rhythm.

When I don’t want to write, it tears me apart. I have been getting anxiety from not writing. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it the last 3 weeks and that made it even worse. It made me feel awful. I was obsessed with it for months and then all of a sudden one day, I lost my motivation. WHO AM I WITHOUT MY WRITING???? I kept thinking how “off” I have felt the last few weeks and I couldn’t really place my finger on it. I actually managed to write about my frustrations on Wednesday night and if by magic I woke up Thursday morning feeling as though a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. All of a sudden the clouds cleared out and the sun came back out (unlike what is currently coming from the sky in Boston right now).

Maybe it was the fact that I had worked out 3 days in a row (!!! progress people, progress !!!) for the first time since surgery without any nagging pain, or maybe it was because I knew that Friday I would be taking my exam which would free up my schedule for more Kara time which was desperately needed. Whatever it was, I came back to life. I finally felt HAPPY again, the giddy kind of happy that makes you smile just thinking about it. Then Friday rolls around and  I have a great PT session doing some single leg jumping on the leg press slider AND I pass my exam!!! YAY!!!! Tier 3+ here I come! My brain is jam packed with nutrition knowledge now! Did you know that if you don’t have the enzymes to break down coffee, it is in fact unhealthy for you? I really do wonder if I have those enzymes or not…hmmm.

To top off the great day yesterday, I decided to work out for the 4th day this week (I took Thursday off) and since I was feeling pretty bad ass, I decided to challenge myself and the hip. I was a little hesitant at first but I did it! I did a single leg squat with the TRX!!!

I’ll be heavy squatting in no time! AND I am even getting my muscles back!

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Kind of…..someday.

To celebrate my passing the exam, my workouts this week AND those TRX squats and with the newly minted wealth of nutrition knowledge in my brain AND because I know dark chocolate is good for me, I decided to get just a teeny, tiny bag of chocolate.

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Just a tiny bag. 🙂 Life is good yet again.

 

Oh and the answer to that question: True. Your stomach can indeed expand up to 4L after a meal. Eat up people, eat up.

 

Some perspective from this little bird

It’s not easy to recover from surgery but I sure am gaining a lot of perspective from it and I have a lot of appreciation for how “fit” I was before surgery. I have a new respect for those who have never worked out before but have decided for whatever reason to start on their fitness journey. I also have a new respect for those who have worked out before but stopped for whatever reason, gained some LBS and lost all their cardiovascular ability but are now working towards getting back in shape because shit man, it’s rough to know what you used to be able to do that you cannot even come close to doing. I am feeling very humbled these days and very appreciative of the whole process of getting my fitness back. I knew taking a forced 2 months off from really any working out would cause some decreases in fitness and as I work towards getting it back, I realize just how gosh darn hard it is to motivate myself to do what needs to be done in order to get to where I need to be but more importantly where I WANT to be. One word: FRUSTRATING.

Looking back, I realize that it’s easy to be in shape. It’s easy to show up to the gym with a solid cardiovascular and strength base and absolutely crush yourself to the point where you are on your back gasping for air and you can’t fathom how you are possibly going to get up and do another set but you do it because you can and because you absolutely love the pain. I miss and long for those days. These days it’s easy for me to show up to the gym (because I work in one) with my not so solid cardiovascular and strength base and absolutely crush my foam rolling, my mobility and my PT exercises and lie on the floor and say, “Fuck I hate this all”, hardly being able to see a light at the end of the tunnel, wondering when I will feel like ME again. I will admit, it’s been a nice break for my body and my mind but it’s time to start putting in the even harder work now that I am 3 months out and the reality of these 10 LBS that have made it so I don’t fit into any of my non athletic wearing clothes and the fact that walking up the stairs puts me out of breath has hit me. But I find myself NOT WANTING to put in the work. It’s too daunting to me and spending most of my time foam rolling and doing mobility drills just so I can spend a little time doing my “strength” exercises just seems like such a waste. Some days I just want to throw in the towel.

BUT, I know it’s not a waste and I know I don’t really want to throw in the towel. I want to come back stronger than I was before I went in for surgery which requires me to start from square 1: corrective exercise. It’s a progression I have had  very few clients go through and I therefore don’t have much experience, but to go through it first hand allows me to appreciate the grit, the mental energy, the patience and the perseverance it takes to get it all back. I’m not discounting what it takes to stay in shape because it’s really hard especially as you get fitter and fitter because you have to kick your ass that much more and eat that much healthier to see results but to GET BACK IN SHAPE..shit. You don’t know what it’s like until you go through it (and I’m not even THAT out of shape comparatively speaking). It’s not just a physical thing either, it’s more mental than anything because you know what you used to be able to do and how easy it was but now it’s just all so gosh darn hard.

As I am doing my clam shells, side lying leg abduction, stability ball hamstring curls, body weight step ups, lateral leg slides and best yet, wall ball squats, I can’t help but wish I still had my crutches near me or a sign that says, “I’m not this pathetic I promise! I had hip surgery 3 months ago! You should see what I used to be able to do!” Needless to say, I don’t feel as badass as I used to when I was throwing around heavier weight than half the boys in the gym. For the sake of my own sanity and macho ego that I admittedly possess, I decided to bench press some dumbbells the other day and to my surprise I was able to bench the 40 lb dumbbells for 12 for the first time in 2 months. YES!!! I still got it!!!! Ego intact.

The next day my ego went right to hell. I was in pain and it was not the kind of pain you are supposed to feel from a solid workout but the kind of pain that makes you realize that even though you CAN bench the 40s, you really SHOULDN’T bench the 40s because your body simply isn’t ready for it. So, I’ve decided to listen to my body and put my ego aside for a little while. Thankfully my co-worker Pat has agreed to help me out with my corrective exercise in exchange for weekly cookies because let me tell you, corrective exercise is not only boring as all hell but it is harder than you can imagine because it forces you to focus on the weak links that prevent you from reaching your actual potential. And plus, I really don’t know that much about corrective exercise as I have never really had to apply it to a client in the amount of depth that it is being applied to me so not only do I get help fixing my body but I get to learn a hell of a lot of information I never knew.

Yesterday was my first day as Pat’s trainee and he had me doing hip mobility drills lying, hip bridges, hip marchers, hip lifts with external rotation, band resisted quadrupeds, planks with a slight leg lift, and because my shoulders are nice and messed up from my crutches I did some serratus wall slides, some decline plank push ups, some thoracic rotation drills and thankfully some bent over rows. Dear Lord. I lifted ONE weight. ONE. It was a 14 kg kettle bell for my bent over row. Not only were my arms and back on fire after the rows but my biceps felt like they were going to explode when I was doing the planks and the wall slides. And then there were my hips and legs that felt like they had just squatted a million pounds solely from the mobility drills and all that bridging! It’s humbling, demoralizing and frustrating but I know it needs to be done. Needless to say I was exhausted after our session. Normally what we did would have been a warm up for me but it was ROUGH.

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(Quite fitting. Post first day of training with Pat. Rocking my side pony of course)

This whole process has made me appreciate how fit I was, how much fitness I lost and how difficult it is to get back to being fit. When I am doing an exercise that has never been difficult for me but is now because of the surgery, I refuse to say to myself, “This shouldn’t be that hard” because quite frankly, IT SHOULD BE! And I am OK with it being hard.  The hardest part is sticking with it, sticking with the boring, mundane, corrective exercises that just don’t seem to be doing a thing until one day you are able to do a deep squat with no pain for the first time in two years. I can’t wait for that day. As I go through this process I am taking notes of how my body feels and what exercises hit the nail on the head and what exercises don’t seem to be quite as beneficial. That way I can apply the knowledge and experience I am gaining through my own recovery to my clients. I’ve never been able to relate to my clients in terms of working out because I have never not worked out and have never been so out of shape that it’s a downer to try to get back in shape but with all of this, I can easily say that I now understand and now have first hand experience of what it takes. It allows me to empathize with everyone around me a little bit more and to tone down my sergeant like attitude in my training.

I’ve gotten to the point where I laugh at the fact that a front plank makes my arms BURN and that stability ball squats on the wall fatigue my legs like a 90s race course used to. Sure I say I am frustrated because I am but I don’t let it stop me. I don’t let it get me down and I don’t let it tempt me (too much) to quit because I am not a quitter. Never have been and never will be. I find laughter makes everything better. Laughter and a 3 word phrase that has become my mantra…

Just.Keep.Going.

I keep saying I cannot wait for the day where I work out so hard that I am lying on the floor gasping for air with my entire body feeling like jello. That day will be the day that I have never worked so hard for a bacon, cheddar and avocado burger with sweet potato fries and a Allagash White. And yes, I will eat the bun and yes I will eat every single last fry. That is my motivation right there. Oh and to be able to get these max lifts back:

1RM back squat at 235 lbs

1RM front squat at 205 lbs

1RM trap bar dead lift at 255 lbs (I sucked at straight bar because of my hip mobility but that’s all gonna change baby!)

Those are my little meat head Kara goals. Oh and to run another half marathon and beat my time of 1:42:45. They say write down your goals because they have a better chance of becoming a reality. So there ya go world, those are just a few of my goals. Until then I will stick to my wall ball squats…

…and my battle ropes (decked out head to toe in my new Reebok gear of course) when frustration gets the best of me.

At the end of the day, as frustrated as I do get, I realize this is all just a fun learning experience. It’s pushing me outside of my comfort zone and challenges my patience. I’ve never had to work so hard for something that used to be so easy. Progress comes slowly at first but it’s the ability to stick with the plan that makes all the difference in the world.

Just.Keep.Going.

And don’t forget to laugh and smile along the way. 🙂

 

 

Holy Smokes What A Week!!!

I can’t believe what happened this week. Talk about completely unexpected, out of the blue, crazy, cool, exciting experiences! I wasn’t expecting to do ANY modeling whatsoever until I was back to being super lean, as I currently think I look like a beached whale but beached whale or not, I got booked 3 jobs with Reebok this week! Fit modeling on Wednesday, CrossFit photo shoot on Thursday (that was a long 10 hour day!) and a video shoot today. Talk about mind blowing! Never in my life did I think anyone would want to hire me when I look like I do. I find myself repeating positive affirmations all day long in order to keep my confidence. But apparently Reebok likes my look right now which I am so incredibly thankful for as I love the products and love the vibe of the company.

This whole week was a whirlwind between canceling and rescheduling clients at the drop of a hat, frantically booking a Zipcar last minute, driving to Canton for a casting on Tuesday, driving to Canton for the Fit modeling on Wednesday, driving to Canton (again) Thursday for the Crossfit photo shoot and driving to Quincy today. Oh, and trying to find time to breathe but I did it and I am so happy I did. I was hesitant because of the old body but encouragement from clients and friends got my ass in gear.

So let me take you on a little flash back…

Day 1: Fit modeling

What is it? When a company is designing a clothing line they need to fit the clothes to a living, breathing person instead of a mannequin in order to see how the clothing falls and what not. They have their sample size that is based on market research of what the measurements are of the average consumer that would buy the product. They need a model that fits the measurements they are looking for that fit the sample size they are designing. I have gone for Fit model castings a bunch of times at Reebok but never actually got a job doing it. Typically they like to stick with the same model as they design the line (at least that’s my understanding) so I think Wednesday was kind of like a tryout for me in a way and it was totally awesome. Imagine putting on an outfit (for me it was LOTS of bras, shorts, crop tops..basically minimal and tight) and having like 8 people looking at how the clothes fall and then discussing at length any alterations needed.

Pull this drop shoulder up. No that doesn’t look good. How about making it tighter? How about making the bra more revealing? We need to do something about those “cookies” (as in padding in the bra).What do you think if we made it shorter? We have to think about function over image here. No that doesn’t look good. Does that look too plasticky? Etc…. Lots of poking, prodding and pinning but it was kind of fun! I got to try on some kick ass clothes and I cannot wait until the line comes out! Best part about it…I won’t have to worry about trying them on again!

Day 2: 10 hour Crossfit photo shoot

Am I going to have to do Crossfit movements? Are you sure they want me? I haven’t really exercised in 10 weeks. Hush, Kara. I walk into the set and am immediately greeted with friendly faces. I ask very quickly what type of movements we will be performing that day…think box jumps, KB swings, squats, etc. but that wasn’t the case. The shoot was mostly stills. We held weights and what not but it was nothing too strenuous. Although I will proudly tell you that I did do a few dealifts with 95 lbs!!!! It was an extremely weird feeling since it has been so long but it felt so good! And to make it even more awesome, it didn’t hurt!!! Yippee!!!

The only thing I was really not happy about was they ordered Bertucci’s for lunch…pizza? Really? Of course I was starving and of course I couldn’t eat any of it because I still had lots and lots of shots in a bra and shorts. As I sat there enviously watching everyone eat pizza loaded with meat and veggies, I dreamt of having a piece after the shoot. I was literally banking on that and it was kind of what got me through eating my dry salad and veggies. Sadly by the time I finished, the pizza had been taken away. 😦 Huge let down.

One thing I love about photo shoots is getting my hair and make up done…

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Day 3:

Today was the coolest shoot I’ve been to because it was a video shoot which is something I’ve never done. I had no idea what this video shoot would entail but I was pleasantly surprised at how fun it was. Now I must admit, I struggle with posing. When a photographer says, “Alright, now we are just going to do poses for the outfit so change your pose every shot and make sure to mix it up”, I respond, in my mind of course, with an ummmmm, help! And I instantly start shaking in my boots…or Crossfit kicks in this case. But I’m learning.

So of course my outfit was shorts and a bra but I felt really pretty with my really pretty fish tail braid…

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So we walk on set and there is a short cat walk that is all black with a black back drop and bright lights everywhere. There is a sliding camera and about 15 people in the room. They have me rip out some push ups to get warm and boy was I proud of my 15 perfect push ups! I mean, I had to impress them. We are then asked to pose with some swagger, natural swagger that is. Finally, something I can do! Now I am not saying I have mad awesome swagger but I know how to throw it out there. I mean hell, I was wearing a bra and I was freaking out about my abs being not so ab-ish so I had to show confidence in my swagger. My wingman Tao was right by my side boosting my confidence about my abs (he was fully clothed of course). We gave our swagger in our poses and then were asked to walk the walk…with swagger of course. Show time Kara. I felt so badass!

We finished the shoot by simply standing in a few poses for a couple minutes each while the camera ran the length of our bodies to catch the details of the clothing. Of course my tattoos were somewhat of a hit too. 🙂 They wanted to “show the ink.” I watched as they scaled Tao and was amazed at how awesome it looked with the right lighting and speed. It’s amazing what they can do. Now I have no idea what the video is going to be used for but I would KILL to see what mine looked like. In those moments I felt like an athlete, like a model, like a hard core bad ass bitch and it was awesome!

After the shoot wrapped, I hopped in my trusty Zipcar and booked it back to my apartment, changed into casual preppy attire, hopped back in my Zipcar and headed to yet another casting call for Reebok. Show up, take one picture and leave. Then wait. Check email non stop. Hope and pray I get the job.

All in all the last 3 days were pretty awesome and I couldn’t feel more hopeful for my future. Not only for modeling but for the fact that every day my hip gets stronger and every day I get closer to being able to “return to full activity”. Until then I plan on enjoying every minute of this crazy and unexpected adventure we call life.

🙂

 

Bruins on Bruins on Bruins. My lucky Saturday night.

Let me just start by saying life is grand. Before I get into my Saturday night let me just recap on some other exciting things…

Excitement #1:

I pre-emptively cleared myself to be off my crutches and it proved to be in my favor. Crutch free for exactly 1 week! My left armpit, hand and leg are thanking me for the reprieve. See ya Dora!!!

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Excitement #2:

On Thursday my PT got all wild and crazy on me when she had me do STEP UPS on a bosu ball! It still amazes me that every time I go to do something that is new to me since surgery, I get a serious moment of hesitation as if I don’t trust my hip. I mean it makes sense but it’s there’s a very odd dynamic going through my head. I’ve heavy lifted since I was 14 but the thought of doing step ups on an unstable surface scared the bejeebes out of me. Talk about positive mental encouragement. “Come hip! You can do it! You got this!” goes through my mind more often than not.

Excitement #3:

Another PT advancement. Lateral slides on the Bruins slideboard!!! Talk about AWESOME. My PT motioned for me to go to the back room with her so I knew she meant business. I am starting to drink water at PT which means I am working harder and therefore sweating so it only makes sense that I have to stay extremely well hydrated so that I can perform flawlessly in all these new exercises. I haven’t quite graduated to electrolyte beverages…I’ll save those for squat day.

Excitement #4:

My old fart of a dad turned 63 and was blessed with a 2′ snow storm up in Vermont. I can easily say this is the first time in 4 years I have been antsy to ski. But I am thankful my dad got to enjoy it. He took over the role of my ski technician, became my pseudo ski coach, my cheerleader, my supporter, my rock, my nurse after hip surgery, my verbal punching bag and my friend. I couldn’t ask for a more awesome dad.

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Excitement #4:

Now this is where life gets REAL exciting. So I do PT at the same office that the Bruins players go to for PT and I have been joking/secretly hoping to meet one of them ever since I started going there even though I know next to nothing about hockey and couldn’t have named a single Bruins player by their full name up until Saturday night.

So my girl Susan texts me and tells me that she is going to a fundraising event with some of her friends at West End Johnnie’s that night because Johnnie is running the marathon and was fundraising for the Bruins Foundation. She hinted, or rather blatantly threw in my face that there would be Bruins players there. ON IT. SIGN ME UP. Again, I wouldn’t have been able to pick out any of them out from a crowd so when I was asked which Bruins player I had a crush on once I got there, I was semi, if not completely dumbfounded. But boy was my little mind going to be blown!

Now I have this little habit of becoming completely oblivious to people around me once the alcohol hits my lips and that habit did not fail me Saturday night. So here we are all hanging out and Susan’s friend tells me all the Bruins players are in the corner of the bar and before I can say a thing, we start walking over. “Where? I don’t see them.” Of course they were literally right in front of me. Go Kara. So I start to check all these kids out and I notice one of them simply because his leather jacket was PHENOMENAL! I have a thing for leather jackets so I decided in my little brain that all I would do would be to ask him who made his jacket because clearly I didn’t want him to think I was hitting on him…too cliche. And he already had a few ladies throwing out the vibe and I didn’t want to interject.

So I casually, if not blatantly make eye contact with him and quickly look away. Then I find my eyes slowly circling back to look at his jacket and our eyes meet again. OK, Kara. Get your shit together and go ask him where he got the damn jacket.

“John Varvatos. Do you know that designer?”

“Of course! (mentally shaking my head no but pretending I do) Sorry to interrupt. I just really love your jacket. It’s legit amazing.”

“What’s your name?”

“Oh, I’m Kara. What’s yours?”

Obliviousness sets back in or I didn’t care enough to remember his name. I told him it was nice to meet him and just walked away thinking I wouldn’t ever talk to him again. Raffle ticket time and the fact that I won two pretty awesome prizes proved me wrong. Now I have never in my life won a raffle, ever, so after buying $40 worth of tickets I didn’t really expect much. When I drink, my eyes get really tiny and I can’t see much so I had to have my friend hold my tickets and listen to the numbers to tell me if I won. I suddenly get super in to knowing my raffle ticket numbers so I peer anxiously over her shoulder until she turns to me with excitement and tells me I won! So I bee-bop my way up to the table to claim my prize. It’s a hockey stick signed by #38. What is it with pro athletes and making their signatures totally illegible? Cool. So I walk back and the Bruins player with the really cool jacket asks me what I won. I proudly hold up my stick and ask who signed it…Jordan Caron. And who is the boy with the really cool jacket might you ask? Jordan Caron.

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Great. I think I walked back to my friends only to be told that I won again! So I bee-bop back up to that table to receive prize #2. I am just baffled that I won twice! I am handed yet another stick and as I start to walk away they catch me and give me this piece of paper as they mumble “letter of authenticity” which I can’t currently find. But cool. It’s a stick. I have two sticks now. What am I going to do with two sticks? Come to find out, this stick is signed by the Bruins team. WOWZER!!! Both of my sticks side by side look so good together.

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I am not sure how many people I almost knocked out with my sticks that night. So here I am walking around Johnnie’s with two hockey sticks that I guess are pretty valuable and with vodka soda running through my little body. Talk about recipe for disaster but somehow I made it out alive. Next thing I know we are standing at the end of the bar by the bathrooms and my friend turns to me and tells me two Bruins players just went into the bathroom and that I should catch them on their way out. I think he really wanted to set me up with one. Again, I am oblivious so when they come out my friend motions to me and what do I do?

“Where’d you guys sign my stick?” They kind of look at me awkwardly and I motion towards my white stick. I think they pointed out where they signed it but it’s a little fuzzy in my mind. So I end up chatting with both of them for a brief moment when all of a sudden one of them disappears. I come to find out it was Joe Murrow. Again. No clue. The one I end up chatting with for a while was absolutely adorable. Normally I would say hot but in this case I’d rather use the description of cute. Maybe it’s because he is 23 and I am almost 28 so it makes me feel old.

Now I am not sure how our topic of conversation switched to this but all of a sudden we start arguing about nutrition. I am currently studying for a nutrition certification and it just so happens when I drink, I get really smart (I think) and so I felt the need to educate him as he was telling me things that I just didn’t agree with. Next thing I know he tells me to give him my phone. Excuse me? “Give me your phone. I am going to give you my number and we are going to go to Whole Foods and I will blow your mind with nutrition.” Direct quote and yes he put his number in my phone and yes I texted him the next day and yes he remembered talking to me but didn’t remember my name which he said he felt bad about. Doubtful. Even if he actually did feel bad, it’s a bar, people are drunk and the only reason I remembered his name was because he put it in my phone. Unfortunately at that point we were both beckoned by our friends and we parted ways.

Even though my night didn’t end until 4 am that night, my highlight was by far the West End Johnnie’s event. Clearly the hockey Gods are telling me that I should try out for next years Bruins team. I mean I am doing PT where the Bruins go, I am using their slide board, I now have two sticks, one of which was actually used on the ice AND I met 3 players that night. Bruins on Bruins on Bruins. Maybe I will start paying attention a little more now.

Saturday night was my first real night out since surgery and it couldn’t have gone any better. Huge smiles from this kid! Things are looking up! Watch out Bruins. I’m comin for ya!

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Oh and the sticks…well those are going to my big brother Miles for his birthday which isn’t until June but I think it’s acceptable. Love ya kid. 🙂

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