Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lovin' the silver!

I have a picture of May 27, 1986. Unfortunately it resides in my head. It is of a boy, leaning on a Toyota Celica in the twilight of a late spring evening. The meeting was by chance, but the effect was life long. It was the night I met Sean for the first time. I was supposed to be somewhere else that night, with someone else, but fate stepped in and the rest is how they say "history."

We spent several of those early years celebrating May 27th as our anniversary. Which is kind of funny because it was the anniversary of the day we met, not of when we officially became a couple. Or, maybe it actually was because now as I think back to it, there wasn't a day after that where we weren't together. After we got married we had a new anniversary and the May 27th date went by the wayside.

Until last Friday when I wrote it on the board of my classroom, just like I write the date every day of the school year. May 27, 2011. Something jogged my memory. May 27, 2011. What is it about that day? MAY 27, Oh yes, that's the day I met my Sean. May 27, 1986, wait a minute, May 27, 2011....25 years apart. Whoa Nellie. 25 years???

I have no idea how 25 years could have possibly passed since that day. I can remember it in my minds eye like it was yesterday. Sure we both have less hair and more body. We have more money but less free time. We both have less family than we did back then. We've been through marriage, college, death, births, dogs, cats, rentals and homes. The cars have changed, the music has changed, the tastes and hobbies have changed. Family has moved away and returned. But what has stayed strong? We have.

Sure there have been ups and downs and in between. But through it all, it has always been us. For 25 years. I've been with this man for more of my life than I haven't. We have grown up together. Who else can say that? Especially when the initial meeting took place between two teenagers, who just happen to be in the wrong place at the very right time.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I kissed a girl!

Ok, not really. But I wanted to. Really, I wanted to. I'm in love with Shawn. Not "Sean", but Shawn. My new PT. She is amazing. First off, she listens to me. She actually seems excited to see me. I'm sure she isn't actually any more excited than for any of her other patients, but she acts as if she is. That makes me feel good and makes me want to work hard for her. It's like that guy at Dutch Bros.-Brandon. Sure I hate Dutch Bros. coffee but he knows my name and flirts with me which makes me feel fantastic so of course I occasionally buy his shit coffee when I need a self esteem pick me up.

But this is about Shawn, not coffee. Today I went in for my second appt. First off, she noticed right away that I had been practicing my exercises. She said that she can see that. She rewarded me by doing my massage first because my little stability muscles were in knots. When she was done she began the real reward. Or punishment actually because she put me up on one of those steps that is about 18 inches off the ground that the Biggest Loser contestants have to jump up onto. I got the pleasure of doing one legged squats off them. Right side, good. Left side, wobbly knee and crunching like movie theater popcorn. A "hum" out of Shawn followed by a "let's try lunges on the ground." Ok, I have been trying lunges to no avail since before the knee injury last summer but, ok. This time my knee sounded a bit more like a car that has blown a transmission. You know that sound when all the metal bits just sort of grind together. Nice.... "ICK" she says. "Let me try something". She cupped her hands around me knee and it was like.... nirvana. Pain and sound free. "I thought so" she says.

At that time she moves me to the massage table again. This time it is to tape my knee. She used the same taping I've been doing every time I run. (Almost every time). We try again, still crunch sounding but better. She gets that perplexed look she gets when I can tell she is trying to figure out why my body is so ridiculous. "I want to try a different taping." I'm game of course so this time she basically makes a sideways "V" across my knee cap. Actually the "V" is like the greater than sign, eating the knee cap. Yes, I think I like that analogy. Anyway, it was amazing. There was still some sound, but not like it was before. And I could lunge. LUNGE! Crazy I tell you.

I left the office with a fresh photocopy of instructions on how to tape it myself and two rolls of the tape I need. I headed out the office door and down the stairs in bliss. Wait...reverse that. I headed down the stairs in bliss. Like a normal person, not one step at a time, or sideways. No, for the first time in about 4 months, I took the stairs in the same style as a normal person. So I'm going to have a goofy tan line this summer from my tape, but damn, I can move like a normal person!

Yes, today I wanted to kiss a girl. Funny what pure happiness will do to you.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Confessions of a Convert

I had the second half of my Chi Running workshop today. I was a bit hung over from one too many martini's at Sarah's last night so I was in no mood to go. Boy am I glad that I decided to go anyway.

Today we worked on opening up the hips and having them work around the core. It felt so good and all the information we got last week started to come together this week. It still doesn't feel natural, but I really like it. I'm working hard on remembering the action in my legs happens behind me in almost a circular motion and that I need to keep my feet on the ground for a quick turn over only. It is so much different than I had been running so it will take time. However, I really think this could work for me and I"m excited to keep working on it.

In fact, I think I'll text my Chi buddy and see if we can get started after work tomorrow!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Get on Board!

Well we are officially registered for the Barrel to Keg relay which takes place on July 23rd. All 12 legs, and 69 miles. Hood to Coast is isn't, but it is a challenge none the less.

We have a team name "The What?? Train." The name was provided by a Madeleine story and I love it!

We joke that we are Chug, Chug, Chugging along on the "What" train. I can't wait to make t-shirts and a logo! Those of you artists I know and love, feel free to help with that.

My sister and I now start every conversation with "What? What?" and then share our training plans for the day. It sounds like a train cruising through the hood. I love it! It's like a secret code, or knock.

It's good to be part of a pack! This is going to be fun....

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pass the Chi

Today I took the first half of a 4 hour workshop in Chi Running. If you are thinking, I though that was Tai Chi, you are pretty close. It is all about using the energy of the world to help you with your running rather than trying to work against it. If you are now thinking to yourself "What a bunch of crap," that is what I was thinking too. Especially as I stopped the progress I had made on my soon to be condemned by the health department house to go to this workshop.

We spent the first hour and a half mastering our "column". Yeah, I know, "that's what she said." Anyway, the idea is that you have to have your shoulders, hips and ankles all aligned in order to have proper running form. Since as my history of chronic injuries would demonstrate, I have no idea about proper form so I may as well give it a shot. I practiced and finally got a sort of sense of it.

From there we were partnered up to master the "lean". The idea is that gravity becomes our friend and we use it to propel us forward from the lean position. Basically, being in a slight lean forward we are working with gravity instead of constantly having to work against it. I actually got it. Next came the foot strike. I am a heavy heel striker which is why I have injuries I think. We learned how to land soft and on the midfoot. From there we roll the foot and then replace with the other foot. Heel and peel he called it. Actually "heel and peel, it's the real deal" which makes him sound like the real dork he was! However, I found myself searching for the proper landing.

By this time we had gone back and forth on the track a few times. It felt stiff and awkward, but I feel like it has potential. As long as I don't look like I'm trying to take flight with my forward lean I think I'll be ok.

My friend Melinda and I already made plans to meet up tomorrow after work and practice it some more while it is fresh in my head. I'm not sure if this is a technique I'll really go for in the long run, but for now, I'll take a walk or run as it may be with the chi master.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Hips Don't Lie!

So today I went back to the physical therapist. I thought I was going for my IT band. It has continued to haunt me since the Corvallis half. What I learned today though was that it is a symptom and not actually the problem. The problem originates in my right hip. Which is so funny because I have complained about feeling crooked for about 3 years. Turns out, I move incorrectly using the majority of my muscles in my lower right back and hip to stabilize myself. This causes my right hip to be way tight and raised and my pelvis to tilt forward. Nice. That causes my left leg to have to compensate in such a way that puts a ton of pressure on my knee and IT. Nice. Now I know. I thought that my left leg wasn't working correctly but actually my left leg is more engaged than my right. Freaky!

Of course I knew there was a bigger problem a long time ago. I just wish someone would have listened to me when I have gone through several courses of PT for everything else. If they just would have looked a little higher up the leg they could have saved me months.

Now I must decide if I want to rehab it once and for all (hopefully) and take a break from running yet again so that I can concentrate on the process. My new PT says I can still run if I want, but it will take longer to get where we want to. If ultimately the goal is to get to run pain free, with proper form, then I guess I should just hang up the shoes for a bit.

I'm scheduled to take a Chi Running seminar over the next two weekends. Maybe between that and the back to basics PT I'll have a chance for some pain free summer runs. Who knows. At this stage I'm just thankful to find out I"m not crazy.

It's the little things you know.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Angst, it's not just for teenagers anymore

Today I almost kept driving. I had places to go and people to meet but I'd had enough. I'm on overload. I've lost my sense of direction and I entertained the possibility that I might just find it on the open road.

But just as quickly as the desire came, it was replaced by reason. Obligation. Life. Lately I've been unsure of my role and expectation. Wandering lost, I've found odd comfort in the songs of my teenage years. I belt out Pearl Jam, get worked up right along with the angry chicks and wonder what happened to get me back here. Sure the hour long phone calls to my high school best friend have been replaced with chocolate wrappers and a new found love of martinis or an open bottle of red wine on a school night. Yelling at Sean as we drive to dinner, and being shocked at the way we treat each other. Behavior that used to be forbidden has become my norm. I'm drifting aimlessly through my life these days.

Apparently I'm not alone. There are a few of us feeling similarly these days. Some of us are just better at faking it than others. Maybe it is about time we learn to lean on each other again rather than backing away. Maybe the casual "hey, how are you" with the obligatory "fine" should be replaced by a "hi, how ARE you". The delivery makes the difference.

As I found today, when I decided not to hit the road and rather keep the obligation. Where I found a friend who took one look at my face and said "are you ok?" It's the shared experiences that keeps us close and holds us together when the other parts of our lives are on shaky ground. When regardless of whose fault it is, it feels like you are constantly on a fault line, walking gingerly so as to not fall into unstable territory. I hope to find my footing again soon. In the meantime, I give thanks to those who use their light to help me find my way back home again.

Friday, May 6, 2011


Where has the year gone? It's "She project" day again!

Tick tock tick tock. I can't wait for 3:00.
I wonder what it will be this year?

Hmmm, I wonder if I can use that!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I am Tracie Thompson Ross, daughter of Dick Thompson and I am an addict. I come from a long line of pop-in-ers. You know the type. They don't call ahead. They just show up. On your porch, unannounced. Not only is there no call, but at times, there are no knocks. Granted, the no-knocks are usually reserved for actual family. An open garage is an open invitation in our family.

Sean is a planner. He calls ahead, schedules the visit and then still freaks out if you aren't there at the exact time you said. I'm more of a "I might stop by sometime" kind of girl. There are merits to both for sure. The unannounced pop-ins can be extremely annoying, especially if you have something else going on, or planned.

I have pretty much moved away from my former pop-in freely status. I have spent the past several years calling ahead, making plans, avoiding the drop in. The idea of dropping by to see Mateo (Erin's new baby) at least requires a phone call. I don't just show up anywhere. That would be rude.

Until today. When I had the incredible urge to see my sister and the kids on the way home. Ok, I guess I could see Stafford too. Whatever. It had been 2 days, and 2 days is too damn long. Anyway, I didn't call ahead. I didn't even text. I just drove over after my acupuncture appt. The kids were playing outside. It brought a smile to my face just to see them. I still can't believe they are really here, just around the corner from me.

I chatted the kids up for a couple of minutes before I asked "where's your mom?" And then there she was, walking down the driveway. God,the actual sight of her still takes my breath away. And here I was, unannounced, the dreaded "pop-in". Shit, isn't this one of the things that caused the move across the country in the first place? No boundaries, no personal space, oh no! Maybe I can just fake it, like I took a wrong turn but didn't want to be rude to the kids. But what was that? A smile, a hug, an "I've missed you" and an invitation in. Where we shared a glass of wine, laughs and ideas about bare walls and moving boxes gone missing.

So I say, good bye to you planning ahead. I'm a Thompson and Thompson's are pop-in people. Sure, that pesky Ross name is tagged on at the end, but Thompson came first and that's always the hardest one to break. So I'm not going to. For the record, I don't think I'd really want to be any other way.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Solar Power!

Today was the first sunny day in weeks. I had the pleasure of starting it out with a run with my good friend Laura. After some work on the IT this week and the good weather outside, I was excited to try out a short trail/bike path route to see how the leg is feeling. I don't know if it was the sun, the needles or if it is actually starting to improve but I had the best run I've had in months today. I actually ran three pain free miles. And, I forgot to wear my IT strap I've been wearing for weeks. Craziness I tell you, just craziness. It was hands down the best 3 miles I've had since February.

Lucky too, because that was pretty much the highlight of my day. Oh well, I'll take it. Hopefully the next time I get back out there this week it will feel even stronger. I found a new race I want to do for my birthday next year. I plan on spending the time between now and then building it up.

Here's to the power of the sun.