Maturity, Pickleball and Perspective

Maturity is knowing when you are too sick to work out- said the person with wheezing bronchitis and an ear infection. Straight from my 10k runner’s high, I had a solid workout week and a beautiful Mother’s Day run. Then I awoke the next day feeling the early signs of a sinus infection. In the past, I usually ignore the warning signs of an impeding illness and carry on as usual. I am usually too busy with work, with working out, with life…….fill in the blanks.  However, with the new job and the ridiculous amount of packing to conquer, I went to the doctor on Monday night, after work.  Diagnosed with bronchitis with a heavy wheeze and an ear infection, I was given a breathing treatment and sent home with an antibiotic and an inhaler. Although I knew I made the right decision to nip this right away, I felt certain that I would still be able to swim and bike at the end of the week.

However, after three days on the meds, my symptoms worsened and I went back to the doctor on Thursday night. Thankfully, my ear infection cleared up and I did not have pneumonia. Armed with stronger medication, I left the doctor’s office with the realization that I would not be swimming this week or joining the two hour bike ride.  Maturity is overrated.

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The break from the gym, has given me more time to pack. I am writing this post on a much needed break from packing. According to my drill sergeant husband, Jay, its all packing, all the time.  After hearing my pleas that the sick person needs a break,he granted me this respite. While watching the Ranger game on the couch, Jay started to warm to the idea of drinking pineapple margaritas later- if we get enough packing done.

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We also took a break from packing during the week to see our visiting relatives. Seeing our aunt and cousins reminded me about a new sport that our uncle recently started playing, Pickleball. What is this strange new sport? Is it played with pickles? Does it involve eating pickles? I had no idea.

It turns out that Pickleball is a combination of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. It is played with a racquet  (smaller than a tennis racquet and larger than a ping-pong paddle), a plastic ball with holes (like a wiffleball-but don”t ever call it a “wiffleball”), indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court and a modified tennis net. Pickleball is a fast-paced game which involves hitting a plastic ball over a 3-foot net with an over-sized ping-pong paddle. The sport is rapidly gaining in popularity.

Pickleball is played either as doubles or singles. Points are scored only by the team serving. Games are normally played to 11 points, and you must win by 2 points. Besides talking to my uncle about Pickleball, I read a great deal about the sport on the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) website. It turns out  that there are two places to play Pickle ball within 30 minutes of my house. I went by one of the Pickleball courts but no one was playing at the time.

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My uncle who, at 66 years old, is ultra-competive and does everything with gusto, got carried away when diving for a ball. He managed to scrape his chin against the court surface and wound up with a trip to the emergency room and 10 stitches. He plays to win. Go Uncle Mark, you rock!

 

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“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”- C.S. Lewis

Back to packing. Typically, in my life, when it rains, it pours. So of course, the few days that we are closing on both places and moving, are the days that my son has an important hockey tryout halfway across the country. In the past, my husband has always accompanied our son to these tryouts.  However, with the house stuff and the move, my husband is hesitant to leave New York. Whether its confidence, cockiness or stupidity, I like to think that I can handle anything. I’m trying to convince my husband to go to the tryout.

The move, the new job, the cross-country try-out and all the other crazy, busy things that are going in my life are all good. I have no complaints. It’s all about perspective.

 

 

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My New Job, 10K Run , Commitment and Passion

If someone told me that within a span of two months, my husband and I would sell the house our family has lived in for 17 years, I would change careers (after 23 years) and leave the job I have had for over eight years- I would have said- YOU ARE CRAZY!

But yes, that is all happening right now. I am pleased and excited to report that I am now working at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale. I am working with the Development team on Annual Giving and Events.  For those of you who do not know about the Hebrew Home, it is a remarkable place filled with passionate, bright, dedicated people. It is a non-profit geriatric care organization dedicated to providing a full range of senior care services- from independent living to the most intense level of nursing care.

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My job is in fundraising, with marketing, public relations, and writing mixed in. If you are fortunate enough to work for an organization that you are passionate about, you are a lucky person. I am working with a group of hard working, intelligent, compassionate people and I can’t say enough wonderful things about my immediate boss. I feel pretty lucky these days.

In the hopes of bonding with my co-workers and to get a rigorous workout, I entered a 10k run with people from my new work place.  What better way to get to know my fellow co-workers and bosses than to run alongside each other? Unfortunately, before I committed to the 10k run, I failed to review the race map which indicated “challenging, steep hills” peppered along the race course. I could have backed out and ran the 5k instead but I already told my new co-worker triathlete friend that I would run the 10k with her. How would that look if I backed out of the 10k? Like a lack of commitment on my part. Not good at all.

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The morning of the race, I left my house at 6:30 a.m., armed with mapquest directions as to how to get from point A (the parking area at the nearby high school) to point B (the race start). Even with GPS and mapquest, I am woefully navigationally challenged. So I did what I usually do when I am alone and concerned about finding the right place to be- I glommed onto the first non-threatening race participant that I saw and chatted it up as I followed her to the registration table. Thank you Hillary from Riverdale.

I eventually met up with my new friend Jessica and with seasoned runners David and George.  Together we stood at the starting line, waiting with bated breath for the fog horn to signal the start of the race. We all hoped to pace ourselves for the challenging run and were unsure if we would wind up running the course together. However, after only a few minutes of running with David and Jessica, my adrenalin kicked in and I started running too fast. I ran a bit ahead of the others until my labored breathing on the steep hills forced me to slow down. The rolling inclines came at such a steady pace that I wondered if the race course was up hill in both directions.

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As I struggled to catch my breath, I willed myself not to walk up the hills. During one particularly steep incline, I almost did not make it up without stopping. I felt like I was going to be sick. Foolishly, I did not eat breakfast or drink anything before the race. SInce I usually run or work out on an empty stomach, I figured that I would be fine. Rookie mistake. It won’t happen again.

Another mistake I made was that I did not program my running app to calculate mileage as I ran. I was constantly asking the water volunteers, other runners and strangers along the race route, “How many miles are left? or “What mile is this?” Obviously this was annoying for everyone involved. Another mistake I made was that I wore brand new running sneakers. I know, I know. Big mistake. But my old running sneakers were literally ripped down the sides. I ran in these new sneakers the day before the race for a flat two and a half mile run. Needless to say, I really felt the sting of the bulbous blister on my instep by mile five. It felt absolutely ripe and ready to burst. If only. Instead, I felt the pain and tenderness for two more days. I actually went to work, to a formal meeting, in stretchy wedges- it was that or Birkenstocks with my business suit.

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Shout out to Sharon, the 35 year-old mother of three, former Riverdale resident, now New York City transplant, who ran with me the last three and a half miles.  Sharon put up with my incessant questions; “how many more hills until the finish line?”; “are they very steep hills or just a little steep?”; “slow rising steep or holy crap, my neck hurts to look up steep?” Yes, I was THAT runner. By the end of the race, Sharon actually thanked me for talking to her and helping to take her mind off the incredibly difficult hills. I’m just sorry I didn’t get to run more with Jessica since her promise to sing while she ran would probably have helped me to forget my bulging blister and the lack of oxygen in my lungs.

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But what really weighed on my mind was the realization that in a few short months, as I run six miles towards the finish line, I will have already swam one mile in the Hudson River and biked 40 miles through Central Park. At least it will be six flat miles.

I am a fast learner. The morning of the New York City Triathlon in August, I will have eaten a healthy breakfast and drank the appropriate amount of fluids, I will be wearing my shiny, new triathlon watch to track my mileage- a birthday present from my husband, which by August I will definitely know how to use- and I will remember to NOT wear new running sneakers.

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In the next few months, I look forward to training with Jessica and her triathlete friends as I prepare to ride with The Bicycle Planet cycling group. Shout out to David- see you in August. And if we are running alongside each other- I will shamelessly attempt to engage you in nervous banter. Please humor me.

Live And Let Live

Seriously- why do people have such a hard time keeping their negative thoughts to themselves?  Has anyone ever heard of the saying, “If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

It seems that lately, my co-workers, my gym friends and even my relatives, are compelled to give their unsolicited negative opinions about everything. A few months ago, I received negative feedback regarding my blog post about legumes. I know, I know, shame on me. To hell with all the vegetarians and health conscious people out there who eat beans as part of their diet. Apparently, whether or not beans are inherently poisonous is a debatable topic.

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Similarly, with certain oils- there are negative and positive articles about the virtues of all types of oils.  However, it is my belief that experts in the field are entitled to hold differing opinions as to just about anything if it is backed up by research. Lately, whenever I mention a topic that is remotely debatable, I am faced with an unprovoked chastising.  I have encountered this superior attitude more and more recently.

I never proclaimed to be a nutritionist or a medical professional. In writing my blog posts, I do a significant amount of research and it is my perogative as the writer, to choose to present the data as I wish. I do not take issue with the fact that someone has a differing opinion or theory based upon their “scientific evidence.” However, I do take umbrage when the person fails to see both sides of the issue. Agree to disagree. Live and let live.

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I understand in today’s society that consumers are more educated and more aware about everything than they were even 5 years ago. If you want to make it your life’s mission to only eat grass-fed beef and never eat in a restaurant for fear that they will serve grain-fed poultry in -gasp!- vegetable oil, I say, “more power to you!” If you want to grow your own fruits and vegetables, raise and slaughter your own chickens, I say, “Hallelujah.” But don’t disparage the rest of us who work long hours and don’t have the time or inclination to care about whether our salmon is wild or not. Don’t ram your Paleo philosophy down our throats when we don’t want to follow you. And finally, don’t look at me like I’ve just committed a heinous crime if you see me eating yogurt- yes- I still eat some dairy and I don’t deserve to be criminalized for doing so.

Tolerance and an appreciation for another’s beliefs and lifestyle is what makes a harmonious world.

“Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.”- Albert Einstein

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“The highest result of education is tolerance.”- Helen Keller