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Strong!

So, in 2012 I had two surgeries.  The only two surgeries I've ever had in my life, other than having my wisdom teeth cut out.  It was scary.  The first, done at the end of March, put me out of commission for 7 1/2 weeks.  I went from not being able to sit up, get up from a chair, or get up and down from the toilet by myself, to being pretty comfortable and ready to get back to running.  At 7 1/2 weeks post-surgery, I started running again.  Very slowly at first, but I worked my way back up to running my very first half marathon at the beginning of September.

Just one week before my second surgery.

The second surgery, while less painful, has been much harder.  After the surgery, I was left with a gaping hole that gushed blood and took two weeks to close.  It did close, though.  I'll never forget  how that felt.  A month after the surgery, I began feeling swelling in my right hand.  I was told it was lymphedema.  It got worse when I ran.  I started getting scared that I wouldn't be able to run anymore.

After being initially sent to a physical therapist that did not know how to treat my condition  (she left me with more swelling than I initially had, due to her lack of knowledge), I found a therapist that did know what she was doing, and demanded that I get a referral to see HER.

Now, at the middle of January, 2013, I'm happy to say that I am no longer considered as having lymphedema, and if all goes well, I should be out of the compression garments used to keep my swelling down in three months or so.  This makes me happy.

In the meantime, I am still able to exercise.  I'm still running, taking swimming lessons, and beginning to lift weights.  I want to take all the crappy feelings I had last year, and turn them into strength this year.

My number one goal is strength.  I'm starting slow, learning proper form, while at the same time not babying my swollen arm too much.

I would, by the end of the year, like to be able to do a pull up.  I am starting by not overlooking strength training for my back, biceps, and shoulders.

I would also like to continue running.  My speed has been improving greatly with increased strength, but my endurance is not what it was when I ran the half marathon.  I do not plan on doing another half marathon this year, but have signed up for a series of early spring 3 - 4 mile races that I would like to complete.  Completing this means I get to attend a big party with lots of free beer, and I like free beer.

As much as I like free beer, I would also like to reduce my body fat percentage.  I am currently at 28% body fat, and would like to get down to 23 - 24%.  I am currently doing intermittent fasting, with a calorie deficit, eating lower calories with higher fat and lower carbs on rest days, and higher calories with lower fat and higher carb on training days.

Additionally, as part of my strength training, I would like to have stronger triceps, and be able to do tricep dips on the parallel bars.  Mondays I work on strengthening my chest and triceps.  They've got a long way to go!

Mostly, I just want to stay happy and healthy this year.  No more surgeries, no more lymphedema, no more compression garments (unless I'm exercising or on an airplane).  Just happy.  I used to weigh 260 pounds, and attained my goal weight over eight years ago.  I went from feeling like I couldn't exercise to feeling that exercise is part of who I am.  It's a great feeling!

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