Saturday, May 08, 2010

Getting the Black Belt Express Back on Track (knock on wood)

In September I wrote a post about my so called wake up call.  I had great intentions of getting back into some kind of cycling shape, and trying to even start running again, albeit very slowly.  I had just taken my first Bodan test for 3 Keup on September 22nd.  This was the first step on the journey to black belt which was supposed to culminate in next weekend's retreat and testing.  Part of my preparation for becoming a black belt would be to lose weight and get my endurance back.

In that post I wrote about Tae Kwon Do and how far I had come from my very rocky beginnings.  I ended the paragraph with the following; "Now I am just below black belt, and barring horrendous injury, I will attain that rank next June."  I hadn't given much thought to that sentence.  In fact I had forgotten that I had even written it until looking at the post yesterday.  How prophetic that line ended out being.  I didn't really think anything would happen.   I do get concerned at times about my cranky knees, but I try to listen to my body and not overdo things.  I've made adjustments in certain things I do at Tae Kwon Do to accommodate the knees.

Unfortunately I had a moment of not being able to talk and walk down stairs at the same time.  December 19th I took a fall that would change my entire winter.   Goodbye mandatory Friday night Bodan review classes.  Hello crutches, wheelchair rides, and temporary handicap parking permits.  This was not exactly what I had in mind for Christmas. I didn't expect to be spending the day before Christmas having John pushing me in a wheelchair around a museum in Albany.

So much for our post Christmas trip to Chicago.  There was no way I was getting on an airplane unable to put any weight on my left leg.  The one bright spot in having to cancel our flights was not having to deal with airport security the day after the underwear bomber try to blow up a plane on Christmas day.

One would think having chess to fall back on would help keep me occupied in my temporary disabled state. However I quickly learned that one can't take the simple things for granted.  No longer could I simply get on a train to go play chess in New York City.  I needed someone to take me there.

I was hoping I'd be out of the cast by the time I went to Bermuda.  That did not happen.  February ocean swimming in Bermuda got replaced by wrapping my cast in a garbage bag and wading in up to my ankles. At least I got to make the trip.  If you're wondering; being on an airplane in a cast sucks. The usual swelling that occurs on a flight is more noticeable when one has a leg wrapped in a fiberglass cast that doesn't give.

I did go do an occasional Tae Kwon Do class, cast and all.  The masters helped me modify the workout in such a way that I could participate in class.  Kicking drills I would do sitting or kneeling on the mat.  I practiced my poomses without the kicks.  At least this way I was able to retain the steps.

Fast forward to March when my physical therapy began.  I like to work with physical therapists who understand what I'm trying to do and where I want to go.  So who better to help a martial artist then a physical therapist who is third degree degree black belt?  She gave me a rehab program that focused on balance, coordination and building strength in my calves.   These were all things that would help get me back to my old routine.

The interesting thing that has occurred is my balance is better then it was before the accident.  I figured it would take a few months before I would be ready to test for my Bodan 2 Keup test.  I was very surprised when Master Kim told me I would test this month.  I'm debating as to whether I want to test at the retreat or on the regular test day.  They are having color belt and tape tests at the retreat along with the black belt test.  I have mixed feelings about doing it at the retreat.  It would be rather bittersweet considering that I was supposed to be testing for black belt next weekend.  On the other hand it would be nice to show everyone that I'm back. 
Come the fall hopefully there will be a black belt with my name on it. However it's going to be a leaner and stronger woman standing before Grandmaster Kim to receive her belt.  I've returned to Weight Watchers.  I went to my first meeting on Friday.  It's the first time I've been back since 2008.  I've had a lot of success with the program when I've been faithful about tracking what I'm eating and going to meetings.  When I try to wing it, it just doesn't work.  I need the structure of paying close attention to what and how much I'm eating. I signed up for the monthly pass which includes e-tools.  This way I can track everything online.  The computer geek in me likes the bells and whistles of electronic tracking.

The other step to becoming more fit is getting back on my bicycle.  In this past week I've gotten out and met some of guys to catch the last part of the unemployment ride.  I will gradually increase the length of my ride with them until I reach the point that I can do the ride from start to finish.  In this picture I'm standing with three of the most remarkable guys I know, John, Otto and Denis.  Otto is in his 70s. John and Denis in their 60s. 

All three of them have had their share of cycling accidents, broken bones, and other assorted mishaps, but they just keep coming back for more. Unlike me who wimps out when the weather gets cold, they're out riding through the winter.  I'm not ever sure I'll stop being a weather wimp, but I want to be riding in my 60s, 70s and beyond.

This is the start.  Will I become a triathlete again?  I don't know the answer to that one yet.  I'm starting with the bike.  I'll see if I can actually start to run again.  I have many things going on, and I need to ease back into this carefully so that I don't hurt myself.