Completing 30 minutes of the Metabolic Effects hybrid workout DVD with repetitively lifting 5 pound weights, reflected the highest level of fitness I had achieved in my life. The increased upper body strength provided a great foundation for hitting the kayaking season with my River Bear husband just 2 months later. We would go out with the local, recreational kayaking group virtually every Tuesday night from summer through the Fall. I even sampled one member’s cookies after a night of paddling: a sweet treat, in a peanut butter version for health reasons of course!
While everything was not perfect at that time, I mean I still had chronic pain and needed a couple of days to recover afterwards, life was as good as it had gotten. I was working part time, enjoying gardening in a real home (not a condo or townhouse), and blessed beyond measure with a loving husband and church family. My father had died earlier in 2011; that was bittersweet. My dad died 2 months after I got to see him in person for the first time in 30 years! So while I was grateful for the reunion, the healing, and the new relationship with him, I was also very grieved for his passing. And near the end of that year I had begun the Master Gardener classes at our local County Extension Office. To become a Master Gardener was a new goal borne out of my mother’s love for gardening passed onto me. All in all, it was a good and important year in my life.
What I did not count on was contracting viral hepatitis after kayaking in a local reservoir October 11, 2011. I was deathly sick. I never fully recovered. After the holidays, my doctor when looking for other reasons for my illness and backed into a clinical diagnosis of Lyme Disease. Within a year mold illness would also be discovered and a need to completely remediate our home. The year and one-half of stress, illness, extraordinary expense, inability to work, and social isolation would take their toll. My body became severely deconditioned as physical activity generally exacerbated most noxious symptoms. To complete my basic self care, prepare my special diet, and to keep the house clean became my focus in addition to all of the activities related to managing my healthcare: 16 to 18 hours per day! The remaining hours were crochity at best. Dialing a phone and pressing 18,000 times the “1” key is not too far from the truth when you have to call so many health care providers, insurance companies and so on!
Today I am counting on muscle memory. You’ve heard of that before, right? Wikipedia defines it as follows:
Muscle memory has been used synonymously with motor learning, which is a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition. When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort. This process decreases the need for attention and creates maximum efficiency within the motor and memory systems.
I am hoping that when I am able to work out consistently, the memory pathways will still be there to get me stronger a little more quickly than if I was starting from scratch. Certainly I have experienced this, for example, when getting back into my kayak 2 weeks ago, for the first time in a year. I do remember how to hold the carbon fiber winged racing paddle after all! And I didn’t fall out of my 19 foot Kevlar Stellar SR surf ski. Wow. There sure are sweet benefits to being married to a kayak racer, by the way! My equipment is very cool and exceeds my abilities for sure. (With the chronic pain, the lighter, more efficient equipment helped me to participate in a demanding sport.) Thank you Lord for this cool history and the hope I have in You. It’s all good. 🙂