How’m I Doin’?

Oh, what a month it’s been.

It’s been almost four weeks since the accident. I’ve put a lot on hold since getting that phone call. I can’t begin to describe how grateful I am that I have a boss & a work life that enabled me to literally drop everything & come to my parents’ aid. (I got the call from my dad. I told him I’d drive over the next morning. I called my boss & told him what was going on. I had the court files I needed with me; I told my boss I’d drop them off at the office on my way out of town. He told me that wasn’t necessary: he came to my house, picked up the files, and delivered them to the attorney who was now going to have to cover for me in my absence. Yeah.)

Dad’s living with Jim & I now. Mom’s in inpatient rehab in Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. I’m currently on Whidbey Island, in their house. The hardest part for me has been adjusting to my new role as a caregiver. Dad doesn’t need assistance. But I’m accustomed to getting off work, going for a run, getting home, and scavenging whatever food may be available for dinner, plopping down on the futon for a few hours, then going to bed. With Dad living with us, I want to ‘check in’ with him as soon as possible after work. (Dad’s capable of feeding himself. The issue is that our house is not his house. He doesn’t know where everything is. Our refrigerator is like a badly-curated museum. We stash shelf-stable things in random places around the kitchen. He may not feel entirely comfortable rummaging around looking for what he needs.)

Last week, I let The Hubs know ahead of time that I’d be running the next night. I came home, checked on Dad, then went for my run. That worked well, and I plan to keep that schedule going forward. I’ve been here on the island for several days. Saturday morning, I went for another run at South Whidbey State Park. The loop is short, but what a fun trail!

I recently purchased a pair of Vibram Five Fingers trail runners. I really loved running in VFFs, but like a lot of people I didn’t transition properly. I’ve been wanting to try again, and given that I’m not training for anything specific right now I decided now’s a great time to do it. “Properly” transitioning means running 1/4 mile in the shoes several times a week for the first few weeks, and slowly increasing from there. For my last two runs at SWSP, I’ve done just that: I’ve brought along my VFF trail runners, run for a bit, switched shoes, run for about a quarter-mile, then switched back. Both times, I felt “twinges” in my feet after going back to my regular running shoes. (I run in zero-drop shoes, so the only real difference is the cushioning.) It hasn’t been a bad twinge, but it’s served as a reminder: the cushioning protects my feet. Running without it uses more muscles in my feet. That’s why one needs to build up slowly. And so I shall.

I re-started my 24-week training plan this morning. The goal was a 4-mile run at ‘base pace.’ My base pace is 15:00/mile. I’m unable to maintain that pace in when running up hills, even short ones, so I decided to focus on running for about an hour instead of worrying about pace. It was a really good run, complete with a 1/4 mile run in the VFFs.

I visited Mom today, and tomorrow Dad & I head back to Pasco. I’m planning to come back over again on Thursday. I’ll visit Mom, stay on the island, and head home on Saturday. It’s a lot of driving & a lot of sitting, but I’m hopeful I can maintain some semblance of a workout calendar. My priority right now is to keep my parents on an even keel. If I can do that & still manage a run every other day, I’d say I’m doing really well. I’m the linchpin, and the entire machine is only as strong as the linchpin.

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