Stretching Aches & Pains

Well, good and bad news tonight.
The good news is, I am finally feeling healthy enough to start stretching again. My cold is finally passing, I feel practically back to normal except for the occasional sneezing and runny nose.
The bad news is, tonight, stretching for the first time in 3 days, I really messed up my knee and re-aggravated my hamstrings.

I know I mentioned a little while ago that I had started to develop some soreness in my upper hamstrings and the break from stretching caused by my cold was probably a good thing. And it was. The soreness in my upper hamstrings had basically gone away by today. But stretching tonight, I guess I pushed them too far and now they feel worse.

I always have this problem. I have a real difficulty telling the difference between good stretching pain and bad stretching pain. I know what it feels like to stretch a muscle, but I have a hard time telling how far is too far.

And things were feeling pretty good tonight until I got to my single leg stretches, and I don’t know. It didn’t feel like I was pushing too hard or too fast, but by the time the stretch was over, my upper hamstrings hurts a lot.

I always seem to be prone to injuries in that area: where your hamstrings connect to your pelvis. I’ve hurt myself there before. Luckily, this is a minor irritation, and rest and gentle stretching should solve the problem.

I think tomorrow I’ll try stretching my hamstrings to see how they feel. I might have to take another break, but they might feel good enough to get a little stretching in. We’ll see.

I’ve basically decided, after irritating my hamstrings like this and doing some reading, that I need to completely revamp my stretching routine. I really think I need to quit focusing on the intense stretches, quit focusing on my ultimate flexibility goals, quit focusing on “making progress,”, and just stretch. Really gentle and slow stretches. And certain stretches for me are a lot easier to perform without over stretching or hurting myself, and I think I need to focus on those stretches more.

I think I need to cut back on the amount of time I’m holding some stretches. With some stretches, like the ones I’m very comfortable with and have a lot of control over, the current time is okay. You know, I can hold my frog stretch for 5 minutes because it doesn’t hurt and I have a lot of control over the intensity of the stretch. But others, like my single leg hamstring stretches, I just find it too easy to push to the point of injury. I don’t know. I’ll work something out.

Anyways, I know I said I screwed up my knee, and I did. I was doing a modified stretch for the splits, which seemed like a good idea in my head, but it was hell on my left knee. The problem was, I knew I was going to hurt my knee, but I was so determined to hold the stretch for the determined amount of time, that I just ignored the pain and wound up really screwing up my knee.

Basically what happened was too much pressure was put on one of the ligaments or tendons surrounding my knee, stretching it when it didn’t want to be stretched. And judging from the way my knee feels right now, I’ve probably got a deep tissue bruise too.

Whether fortunately or unfortunately, I’ve had this injury before (also caused by splits stretching) so I know how to treat it. The bad thing is, it’s going to take a really long time for my knee to get back to normal.

I have horrible knees. I’m pretty sure it’s a combination of genetics and chronic weakness. They get injured very easily and become painful if they stay bent for too long. Like yesterday, after sitting through the Hobbit movie, I practically had to hobble out of the movie theater, my knees hurt so bad from being in the sitting position. Really the only remedy to fix this problem is to strengthen my knees.

So basically, I’m going to avoid, as much as possible, putting pressure on my injuries knee. Hopefully in a couple of weeks the bruise will surface and fade and once I get back to Columbus, I can work on getting stronger and my knees will stop having so many problems.

These injuries are irritating, mostly because they’re my own fault because once again I failed to listen to what my body was telling me. I think this is another reason I’ve had such difficulty with flexibility, I always wind up pushing too far too fast and hurting myself and setting myself back. But no more!! It’s time I started listening to the signals my body is giving me so I can prevent this kind of stuff from happening again.

Life can be frustrating, can it not??
Good night.

The Hobbit

Well I am feeling much better today. My nose is not running near as much and the pressure in my head is slowly fading. I think by tomorrow I should be about back to normal. Which is a relief. I’m tired of being sick, mainly tired of constantly feeling fatigued. And I’d like to be able to get a good night’s sleep again.

Oh yeah, happy new year’s everyone.
I don’t know. I’m not much one for celebrating. Tonight was probably the most exciting New Year’s Eve I’ve ever had, and it just consisted of going to see the Hobbit. Usually I stay at home with my parents and do nothing.

Anyways…the Hobbit was good. I don’t know if I’d say it was as good as The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but it’s only the first movie so I’ll give it a chance. I mean, I’m not a huge fan of the first lord of the rings movie either. I do look forward to the second one coming out. I would like to find out everything that happens.

The books are on my “to read” list, but who knows when I’ll get to them. I have so many books on there, the list is practically infinite. And as any lover of books will tell you, it just keeps growing and growing.

I managed to convince my parents to go out late so we could see the HFR 3D version of the Hobbit. It was really strange. My sister, who saw the movie before us, said it felt like watching a video game. At first I didn’t understand how that could be possible, but now I know what she meant. It was a little surreal and I’m not sure how much I like the effect yet.

It does make the movie look really real and there was great depth perception with the 3D, and my eyes did adjust to the HFR eventually, I’m just not sure how much I like the juxtaposition of “real” and “digital”. I don’t know. Maybe if they had done the HFR at a lower rate, it would’ve looked more normal. Like, instead of doubling the normal 24 frames per second to 48, maybe they should have only done 36 or something?? I don’t know if that’s possible. Just a thought of mine.

I’m sure if more movies continue to use the technology, I’ll get used to it, and perhaps we’ll reach a point where all movies use HFR, and we won’t be able to remember what old movies were like. I don’t know. I’m just glad I got a chance to see this new technology in action. I feel like it might be a little historical and I got to take part in it. ^_^

Hm. But that’s about it for the excitement today.
I did read an interesting tidbit today that said tea, and black tea specifically, can help prevent lung damage associated with smoking. I guess I should start drinking more tea?? But y’all don’t want to listen to me talk about my addiction again. That’s no fun for all parties involved.

So I guess that’s it. My post feels like it’s a little short, but y’all’ll live. Y’all don’t really care about my life anyways, do you??

Haha. Nighty night.

Still sick.

Welp. Still sick today, but slowly starting to feel better. I’ve decided what happened was on Friday, I started coming down with a cold. Saturday I was so miserable because of allergies, being in a different place around people I only see once a year. And today I’m starting to feel better because the allergies are gone and only the cold is left to get over.

I mean, my throat still hurts and I still have occasionally nausea, but my nose has been significantly less runny today – which is a good sign. I’m hoping by tomorrow, some of this pressure in my head will have resigned and I’ll be feeling mostly normal again. Or at least normal enough that I can get off the couch.

I’ve skipped stretching twice now because I’ve felt so crappy from this sickness. Just the thought of sitting on the floor moving around sounds absolutely miserable and nauseating to me right now. I mean, it’s not all bad. It probably hasn’t hurt to give my muscles a rest, I was starting to develop some soreness in my upper hamstrings and taking a break will probably help that. I just hate sitting around doing even less than I normally do. I need to get back stretching. I need to be doing something.

Especially because, I’ve noticed tonight, my breathing feels a little labored, like I have crap in my lungs – and sitting around doing nothing won’t help that.

Today is the first day since coming home I have not had a cigarette. I figured I might as well quit for the remaining 6 days I’m home because my cigarettes I have are too old and gross tasting to risk getting caught smoking. I’m basically weened off the nicotine already so it’s really no big deal.

But yeah, I go back to Columbus on January 5. I’m so happy because I’m tired of being home. I’m ready to be around my friends and get back to school and work and all of that. I’m just so epically bored here. Only one more week at home and then I’m gone. I’m so very relieved.

But yeah. That’s all I really have to say tonight. All I did today was sleep and watch tv so I don’t really have anything interesting to report. And I feel exhausted from being sick so I’m gonna call it a night.

Good night.

An Inside Look into a Smoker’s Brain

Well I feel like absolute crap tonight. Last night I started coming down with what I thought was a smoker’s cold. Sometimes when you quit smoking (or in my case, reduce smoking so much you might as well quit) you develop these cold-like symptoms that are a by-product of your body clearing out all the crap in your respiratory system. Well, I thought I was coming down with that last night, but today, I just feel yucky. I’ve got a runny nose and a stopped up head/headache along with a sore throat and nausea from all the drainage I’ve been having.

I wouldn’t be surprised if part of my symptoms are related to a smoker’s cold, but I feel like it’s something else as well. Either I’ve got a touch of a real cold or I’ve just been suddenly hit with a bout of winter allergies. I think it might be allergies because I’ve been sneezing a ton, and I don’t ever recall having a cold that makes me sneeze this much.

Well, because of this lovely whatever I’ve come done with, I’ve been thinking a lot about my smoking and whether I should put quitting down as one of my new year’s resolutions. I don’t know. I feel really conflicted about it.

On the one hand, I’ve been getting really pumped about going back to Columbus so I can start going to the gym and getting in shape. I really want to be healthy this upcoming year. And I know getting healthy would be a whole lot easier if I quit smoking. But the addict in me is throwing up a major protest. It’s not so much the physical withdrawal symptoms I’m worried about, those are easy to beat. I’ve done it before. It’s the psychological addiction that’s so hard for me to beat.

If you’re not a smoker, it’s probably a little difficult for you to comprehend the strength of this addiction. Why can’t you just quit?? Why is it so hard psychologically to quit?? Those are silly nonsmoker questions. To a nonsmoker, the problem seems easy, just quit. It’s the best decision with the best outcome. But it just doesn’t work like that.

I don’t know. Part of it is because I haven’t hit “rock bottom” yet. That may sound a little confusing in regards to smoking. Smoking generally won’t destroy your life the way a “serious” drug addiction will. But I’ve found, in my own experience and watching others, whenever someone is abusing a substance or is addicted to something, they will never have the proper motivation to quit until they hit “rock bottom,” that is when the hate of the addiction finally overcomes the love.

I’m pretty sure any addict will tell you their addiction is a love/hate relationship. And it really is; it is for me as well. I mean, I love smoking. I love the taste of tobacco, I love the way it makes me feel, I even love the smell. But I also hate it too. I hate the way I can’t sit through a movie without needing a cigarette, I hate having to go out in the cold and rain to smoke, I hate how it makes me out of breath. But right now, I haven’t hit my rock bottom. I still love smoking more than I hate it. The things that I hate about smoking are still seen in my brain as more minor inconveniences than reasons to quit. It’s definitely a battle.

So I don’t know what I’ll do. I’ll tell you right now, the smoking will probably win. Even if I just try to ignore the problem and the ultimate decision, I’ve still made a decision. And that’s probably what will happen. I want to be healthy but I want to smoke more. I’m an addict with an addictive personality. If I give up smoking, I’ll probably just fill the void with something else.

I did consider the option of trying to cut back, since I know I don’t really want to quit completely. But the problem is, I already feel like I don’t smoke that much. This past semester, I think I smoked 5-6 cigarettes a day, maybe 7 if I was super stressed. I look at that compared to the “stereotypical smoker” who smokes a half a pack or more a day, and I think I’m doing okay. I realize this is probably just a way to rationalize my addiction with myself, but I still think the thought has merit.

And you know, I did read some studies that said exercise can mitigate some of the risks smoking creates, even if it doesn’t completely negate smoking’s harmful effects.

Can I go off on a tangent here for a second and risk sounding really stupid??
I wonder about the supposed risks of smoking. I’m not an idiot, I know smoking’s bad for you. But I oftentimes wonder if the dangers are hyped up a lot?? I mean, tobacco has been used for thousands of years. That doesn’t mean it’s good for you, but still. I’ve read some opinion pieces that show smoking may not be quite as bad as “they” say it is.

I looked at one study that supposedly showed how smoking negatively effected a person’s ability to exercise. They had the people in the study smoke 3 cigarettes an hour for 5 hours before making them do some cardio!! And then said that smoking negatively affected exercises ability. Well, duh. You nonsmokers out there realize that they made these participants smoke 15 cigarettes, 3/4 of a pack, in less than a normal work’s day. That’s not really “stereotypical” smoking nor is it a good indication of how light to moderate smoking impacts exercise. In a period of 5 hours, I smoke 1-2 cigarettes, and that’s a big difference from 15.

I don’t know if you’re seeing my argument here. Just that maybe everything we’ve been reading is hyped up or based on experiments like the one I mentioned above that only account for extremely heavy smoking. I’ve found when I’ve looked into the subject, not many studies have been done on light to moderate smokers like me.

Don’t get me wrong. I know smoking is still bad for you. But it makes you wonder you know?? You can’t always believe everything you read.

Call me crazy. Call me stupid. Call me an addict. Call me whatever. That’s just what I think. Maybe it’s just rationalization or maybe there’s a kernel of truth there. If you’re curious and want to read a slightly more informed essay on the topic, this guy’s website has a really good essay. I don’t know, google it sometime.

But that’s my rant/thinking out loud for tonight. I’ll probably have a cup of hot tea before I go to bed to try and soothe my throat a little bit. Ugh and I have to get up early tomorrow to go to church and play my oboe in the orchestra. Ugh.

Sorry if you we’re expecting a synopsis of my family gathering today. There wasn’t much to report and I found this subject to be more interesting.

Good night my lovely readers.

Musings about Bohemian Style

Alright. I did nothing today except go to the grocery store. And spent a couple of hours looking at clothes on amazon.

I have such a conflicting fashion sense you know??
I dress in business attire and/or church appropriate clothing for class, because I feel self conscious if I don’t look professional. Yet, there’s like an inner hippy inside of me that longs to wear oversized ponchos and baggy clothing.

I don’t know. I spent most of my time on amazon today looking at variations of harem pants (I’m slightly obsessed) and things labeled “bohemian”. It’s not that I have a problem with that style, that I think it looks bad or anything, it’s just radically different from what I normally wear and I don’t know if I would be comfortable in it.

I mean, my current wardrobe makes a few subtle references to that which is “bohemian”. My tunic shirt and my current pair of harem pants are covered in paisleys. I’m also slowly adding long dresses to my wardrobe as well.

Literally, ever since about 9th grade, I have had a fascination and love for bohemian style. I’ve just never felt comfortable pulling it off. I’ve never felt I had the personality or the right body type to pull it off. I always imagine “bohemian” being wore by a waif thin girl with no curves, a girl who is a giant “eco-freak”, maybe someone who smokes too much weed. I don’t really fit that stereotype. My entire life has consisted of tight, fitted clothes. Baggy or loose clothing has never been acceptable.

I did go through a period where I wore a lot of loose fitting shirts, but in the last couple of years I have moved away from that towards very tight clothes. I don’t know. Perhaps it is time for my style to go through another evolution??

I guess the biggest problem with dressing bohemian, I hate the color brown. And that’s the main color I think of when I think of “bohemian”. I have slowed started to incorporate a few brown pieces into my wardrobe; you know, a pair of brown sandals and brown heels, a brown belt, all dictated by necessity. I really hate the color brown though. I could never have an all brown wardrobe. Can bohemian be done in black I wonder??

I don’t know. This is a very random topic. I’m just thinking out loud I suppose. As much as my self-confidence has improved over the years and I have learned to wear what I want regardless of what other people think, there are still things that cause me to hesitate. And it’s the cheapskate in me too. I’d rather spend money on a tested and true clothing item I know I will wear, rather than something “risky” that may just hang in my closet.

Of course, no one says your wardrobe has to be cohesive. I could dress fancy one day and bohemian the next, but I just like to try and look similar throughout each day. I don’t like extreme fluctuations in outfits. I feel like it makes me look flaky or something. I don’t know. I’m sure most people don’t pay that much attention to this sort of stuff, especially in college where the only people you’re likely to see everyday are your closest friends.

Ah well. These are just musings. I’ll probably waste the rest of my phone battery looking at clothes on amazon, dreaming about being hippy chic. Haha.

Tomorrow is our annual get together with my dad’s side of the family. That should be interesting at least. It’ll give me something to write about tomorrow I suppose. Hopefully all goes well and the cake I helped my mom make tonight tastes good.

Good night.

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