Immersion

If last weeks theme was feeling overwhelmed, this weeks theme is “I think I got this?”

Note the slight lack of certainty.

There is something about being surrounded by the student AT family who are all equally stressed about pretty much all the same things constantly that has brought back my cool, calmness.

So much about what we do as athletic therapy students (and graduates) is about jumping right in and just taking it as it comes. Really. You can’t fight against the current here. When you find yourself on field with no certified to answer your questions in person, and you have one athlete with a dislocated shoulder calmly (surprisingly) laying on the ground saying he can’t move his arm, two others waiting less patiently to be taped, 25 other players grouped around the first kid gawking, a currently injured athlete standing on the field yelling “you’re a wimp, you’re not actually hurt!” at players who come off the field injured (usually significantly) in between flirting with the water girls, coaches yelling things like “you are not brothers today.. you’re enemies! Let’s see what you can do!”, and kids getting absolutely smoked, getting up, coming off the field, and matter-of-factly stating “what happened? I can’t remember..?”…. all within an hour… you have to acknowledge this as a normal wednesday, go with the flow, and deal with it. Don’t worry about the numb hands, you can tape just fine with them. Palpating an acute injury doubles as icing when it’s 10deg and windy on a Manitoba fall evening. Jump in there… awkward injured teenagers are waiting.

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So far this week has been all about immersing myself back into a routine. I’ve found myself in many positions (partly volunteered) of leadership already, between being head therapist with football, c0-president of KSA, and just generally being a final year student. People ask more of you, people expect more of you, and you expect more of you. The first week of this new realisation terrified me, but so far the second week has reminded me that I’m ready to tackle all this (and hopefully fare better then my football players).

As classes got rolling this week, I thanked summer me for pushing myself to almost crazy squeezing all the extra reading, clinic time, and field work that I did manage to. It’s already made 4 super intimidating courses seem a little less mental. The switch back to super-human scheduler has begun. I’ve noticed that (so far) I don’t find myself feeling like prep reading for class is as dreaded. I actually just do it without thinking. And I usually actually find it quite interesting. Which in turn also helps to make these courses seem more manageable. Studying is so much easier when it doesn’t feel like work! Now I just have to figure out a way to get my brain to shut off for bed time. It wants to just keep on rolling 24hrs a day! Luckily, I never really find myself low on energy (again, so far). I still manage to find time to have car naps, a habit a started this summer too. And, as my boss at the gym pointed out one day after coming in stressed as I could be (during week 1)… “you still have time to work out, so things must not be too bad). I’m making a conscious effort this year to take time each day for me, even if that’s just a car nap. This is in an attempt to keep myself from the colossal melt down that usually happens around January.

This past weekend we welcomed home the newest addition to the hobby farm… Lucy (already sometimes “Lucifer”)! She will the the new project, now the Felix is almost all grown up. Of course he isn’t going anywhere fast, and Lucy has a few years yet before we’re riding her as she’s only just 4mos old now. What we’ve learned so far is that she loves people, but not in the mornings.

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The rest of this week brings another football game (on my birthday of course), plans to spend time with friends and family over the weekend bringing in the 22nd year, and hopefully a continued progression of immersing myself into a comfortable stress/study/function level for this semester.

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20 written exams, 8 practicals, and 6 papers later…

Another academic year has come to a close (FINALLY), and I am a proud survivor (sometimes thriver) of third year athletic therapy- a year renowned for being among the toughest. 27 exams total, in 10 courses- with countless hours spent practicing- on top of balancing field work in the clinic and the football fields, and somehow finding time to read stuff. It’s safe to see why year 3 is a little (in)famous.

Within this year I got my first taste of the practical side of things, real patient interaction and real emergency response.  Less then 6 months ago if you had put me in a room and told me to effectively assess an injury, deal with it appropriately, and create a rehab program to properly return the patient to appropriate function- there is no way I would have known where to start. If you had thrown me into an emergency scenario and told me to manage it? Disaster might have ensued!

The amount that I’ve learned in what is relatively a very short period of time continues to stun me.  At the same time the amount that I still need to learn, mainly just through experience, is equally as stunning. I set some goals for myself at the beginning of both semesters, and managed to achieve them for the most part. I definitely did much better in the first part of the year, with second semester burnout (and a broken leg) catching me off guard.

Where first semester brought me the self-discipline to get the tough work done efficiently and the ability to be examined practically- second semester taught me to take a step back and do what my body needed to get things done. By the time I got to finals this term, there wasn’t much discipline left- but thankfully there was enough practical and stored knowledge left over to get me through. Practical exams by the end of this year turned into more fun then nerve wracking.

Third year also provided me with a ever growing network of fellow students and colleagues.  With so many opportunities to jump in and get involved, and so many practicals to practice for- it would have been difficult not to become close with classmates. Taking a chance and submitting one of my posts to the national athletic therapy association (CATA) ended up getting it published, which was pretty sweet! Click here for that post. The opportunity also came about for me to do some teaching, both in a fitness respect as well in formal courses with the University. This is definitely something I hope to do more of in the future!

It’s safe to say this year came with some ups and downs. Both time and stress management skills came into action, and one of the most important lessons I learned is probably managing myself under pressure. As an AT student, we deal with a lot of pressure- from our peers, our patients, our profs, the requirements of the degree, and most of all ourselves. Knowing how to micromanage our overwhelmed brains and still extract knowledge to perform is what we do best. It’s a skill we need to do well in our chosen profession, and we need to do it maintaining professionalism and reactivity to our client’s needs.

A concern for me in the past, and especially at the beginning of this year was how I was going to effectively manage to pursue a career in AT as well as continuing my pursuit of my athletic riding goals. Over the last few months I’ve discovered ways in which to optimize my knowledge and practical skills while building a business in the sport I have experience in.

What started as just a training class for riders is ever evolving into new ideas. Since implementing the class I’ve been able to brainstorm with profs over where I might go with this, and recently have begun work on setting up a position assessment program for equestrians- using my knowledge of orthopaedic assessment, biomechanics, and training. I feel very lucky to have endless resources to keep my ideas running, and look forward to developing a directed study on the topic of rider biomechanics and training. As this is an area of the sport not as commonly looked at- I have a chance to create something new to give back to my sport and build a business while maintaining involvement and continuing my own training.

This year I’ve also gotten the chance to step into student politics- and next year will be taking over leadership of the Kinesiology Students Association. I’m excited about the challenge of rebuilding our student involvement schemes in the inaugural year of the brand new athletic and health centre at the University of Winnipeg.

Some key lessons from this year:

  • Day planners are a glorious thing. Thank you moleskin.
  • Athletic tape can be used for many purposes, and should be on hand at all times
  • When people look at you like you’re the one in charge… you should probably do something.
  • It’s okay to not feel guilty about taking a day off.
  • Forgetting your wallet is the only way to ensure you won’t spend money on Starbucks.
  • Smile at the bus driver- because one day you will forget your bus pass and have no change… and it will be -40.
  • Being someone that gets along with everyone is handy.
  • Asking questions is never wrong.
  • Asking for help is never wrong.
  • Saying no is okay.
  • Using crutches to ensure a good spot on the bus is okay.
  • Every prof has a different idea of what APA format is, even if they all recommend the same source for formatting.  You can’t win that battle.
  • Practicals become less scary once you realize that everyone marking you was in the exact same spot as you not too long ago.
  • There is a limit to what you can do.

And so, after writing my last exam on Tuesday- I’ve been enjoying some quiet time. My schedule is dedicated to work, riding, training myself, mental breaks, and doing what I want. I have a week before spring term starts and I’m making the most of the slack schedule (filling it up quicker then I should). Tomorrow I have my first lesson with M&C of the year, and am both excited and nervous. I’ve been back in the saddle for a few weeks now and am feeling pretty good- but not all the way normal yet. However, each time I ride things get better. I’ve been given the okay to begin impact training again by my doctor and ATs- so will hopefully ease my way back into running and conditioning work (now that I’m not hella burnt out and a little motivated again).

 

Among other things I’ve begun writing for MORfit’s blog, and may be publishing pieces on another blog related to rider fitness in the near future. Stay tuned for more on that! Click here for my first post for MORfit, on time management. Hopefully I’ll be a little more motivated to write more for you readers as well, now that my head is out of it’s end of the semester grog.

I also will be working on ideas for the new stream of my functional training for the equestrian business over the next week or so, looking to set up clinics later in May. Funny- biomechanics has become a staple in my goals.. Upon faced with my first ever biomech course and respective project, I was in tears at what seemed to be such an impossible subject for me to grasp. Now it’s something regularly found in my daily vocabulary.

Until next time!

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Focused assessment

Holy crap that semester flew by! As of yesterday I was officially DONE all 9 exams, and the first semester of my 3rd year. Half done the legendary 3rd year (aka the year of 9’s). Now there’s time to do not a lot of anything for a couple weeks…

I’m already bored.

I figured since I have nothing really super exciting to write about, since my last two weeks has been completely encompassed by exams and work (aka studying for exams), that I’d take a look at how I did this term on the goals I set at the beginning (in this post).

My number 1 goal for this term was Keeping my nutrition on track. Why was this important? Evidence has shown that I do so much better when I eat right. What’s right for me? All the veggies/fruits, lean proteins, and minimal starch/processed foods (no gluten, minimal dairy, minimal sugar). So, how did I do?

There was a couple iffy points throughout the term.. The first being when I decided to try adding oats (gluten free oats) and dairy back into my diet. It worked great for like a week, until I started feeling like crap again. It only took me a couple weeks after that to clue in that maybe that was why I was feeling awful and tired all the time. Then there was the “I am lazy and I just want to eat all the things” week where I gave up not eating gluten and ate way too much of it. Again, horrible outcome. But then there came the lead up to exams, where I got real serious about all things healthy again (serious enough to basically cut out Starbucks- going from once a day to once every two weeks…), and switched back to exactly what I know makes me function the best. After making those transitions, I was back in the good books with my body- I concentrated better, slept better, had better energy, was happier, and everything fell back into place. So, all in all, I didn’t do horribly- even if it was just proving to myself that nutrition is still important- and this remains a huge goal for me for next term.

Goal number 2… Not over scheduling my already over scheduled schedule. Who wants to wager a guess on how well I did with this?

Yeah, I sucked at this one. HOWEVER. The positions I was outlining in the original post (aka the Older Adults Class) turned out to be one of the highlights of my semester. The other opportunity I said yes to way back then (Horse Connection) also turned into a great experience (and a nice source of extra income when it turned into a paid position). Actually both those turned into paying position, as I accepted a research student position with the Older Adults program and a trainer position with HC. Did I stop at saying yes there? HA. I did learn to say no, too, though. Or at least balance my opportunities better. I learned (the hard way) what burn-out feels like  few times, how to predict it, and how to prevent it. Or at least be proactive about it. So while I did kind of fail at not over scheduling, I did get better at choosing the most proactive way of over-scheduling… Does that make sense?

My third goal was following the work out program I designed. This was a success. Mostly because the initial phase of my program (offseason) was basically not pushing it in the gym. This was easy, as I hardly had time to make it to the gym most of the semester (see above goal comments). I did quite a bit more riding then usual for me during the school year with HC and at M&C’s, consistently went to yoga, and did my best to get to the gym at least once or twice in a week. This is basically exactly what I had designed for an off season program. Chilled out work-outs to recoup from the competition season and stay in shape.

This goal is getting amped up a little for the next couple months, as I’m finalizing the programming for the newest MORfit Training Centre class: Function Conditioning for the Equestrian Athlete. That’s right, I made it into a class and am getting paid for it. Because I have the best boss ever and I love my job. I was amazed by the interest within the riding community I got through my preliminary feelers, and really hope that interest sticks around once it actually gets rolling.

Next was.. Actually using textbooks. Another goal I did not half bad on! And saw some results because of. Of the 4 textbooks I bought, 75% of those I read front to back, and the other one I did read the important parts of. First responder text saved my life, and Assessment (all one billion pages of it) was a huge help as well- same with taping.

I still can’t believe how fast this semester went. And how much I’ve learned in what feels like a very short time. Was it really only a few months ago that football practices were a huge source of anxiety for me? Lets not even talk about how I felt thinking about practical exams earlier in the semester. I started the semester absolutely freezing when asked a question, or asked to do something in front of someone. Now it’s become something I do everyday without a second thought. I’ve managed to become fully comfortable within the things that used to terrify me.

The day before my practical assessment exam, Claude at MORfit had me do a full assessment on a real patient… alone (well, he was in the next room listening and watching my every move). Even a couple weeks ago I probably would have freaked out at him even asking me to do that (he used to joke around about having me run an assessment alone). That night, I somehow flowed right on through a half decent assessment without any problems- and my exam the next day went quite similar. If you had told me three months ago I’d be designing a class to teach this winter, a class that I’ve been dreaming of designing for years, I would have laughed at you. If you had told me that I would feel confident dealing with injuries of all kinds both alone and in front of peers (this used to terrify me most)- again- I would have probably just thought you were hilarious. Yet, here we are. Almost every day at school, or at work I’ve found another reason why I love my job and future career (#nerd).

I managed to face all the challenges I predicted (and some I didn’t) head on, with some freaking out, but always with confidence (often acted). I put into action the theory of “acting confident to become confident” quite a bit this year, and thankfully the acting did become real confidence (insert sigh of relief).

And now to wait impatiently for marks to be posted…..

First Response

A year ago I was writing a post around this time about how I had finally finished all 5 of my final exams. And how insane it had been. Well, happy to report I’ve finished 4 out of 9 of my finals this year, and somehow none of it seems insane anymore. I’ve stopped fighting it, and have succumbed to just rolling with whatever crazy comes next.

My life this week has literally consisted of eat, write or perform exam, eat, ride, study, work, sleep, repeat. It’s been a pretty good system, but this weekend I’ve been all about the turning my brain off. I’m making feeble attempts today to restart it to prep for the 3 exams I have coming up this week, but like anything in the -40 temperatures, it’s a slow process. Luckily none of my exams this week are too rough, and the most stressful one isn’t until Friday.

This week my only focus was reviewing some notes, and doing some practice- but above all else staying stress-free. The week started off kind of sketchy with a lot of head-aches and dizziness, which I know are a result of some neck issues (linked back to concussion fun times). Another reason I’ve been careful not to miss out on sleep, or stress too much. Thankfully I have an amazing AT who helped resolve some of that before my first written. She is on standby the next two weeks! While I did do some studying (there is no escaping..), I did more sleeping (dreaming of first responder scenarios every night.. seriously…). Wednesday was probably the day I spent the longest actually studying (11hrs), but besides that I tried to avoid hitting the books too much other then quick refreshers here and there at work, or in whatever free time I had. I honestly didn’t feel the need to cram too much, and valued the extra barn time, and sleep I got as a result. While written exams in the past sometimes caused me some issue, I’ve so far been a bit more relaxed about them- trusting that I know the right answers and going with my first response to the question. Heres hoping that pays off!

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I’m 100% positive that the reason I’ve been making it through the jungle of exams, work, and life in general lately is because of all the prep I did coming up to exam season. After midterms I realized I had to step-up my game, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt as prepared as I did going into the exams this week. Especially my First Responder practical. This exam is somewhat legendary among the AT student population. It’s probably one of the more stressful ones an AT student faces during this degree, until they take the national exams. In the weeks leading up to this week, I spent a lot of time practicing with some classmates, took the advice of some graduated students and read the text book front to back a couple times, wrote out A LOT of thought processes, and did a lot of rehearsal in my head. While I was nervous waiting to go into the exam (I don’t think anyone couldn’t be), as soon as I walked in all those nerves disappeared and everything I did just kind of flowed along. Hopefully it flowed along well enough to get me a pass! The fact that my “casualty’s” vitals went from high and somewhat shock-y at the beginning of my scenario to completely normal by the end tells me I couldn’t have done too bad.

Between all that, and working extra hours, I still found time to get out to the barn and ride my new friend Shakka a few times. Such a great study break, and he is such a fun horse to ride. Besides the fact that he makes me feel like a peanut on top of him (he is well over 17hh), he is just a big sweetheart to be around.

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Even though temperatures dropped below the -30 Friday we had a great ride with Megg and Justinian, and then again Saturday when temperatures were even more frigid, we champed it out for a whole 15 minutes in the arena (lol), but it was a much needed break for me from the week. It wasn’t until Friday and yesterday after my First Responder did I realize how much exams took out of my energy. My whole body hurt, and I was completely wiped (likely a result of the adrenaline rush I got after my Responder scenario). Even today I’m still recovering, although I don’t hurt as much- and I did feed, blanket, turn-out and muck-out 6 horses today to help out a friend. The cold temperatures probably don’t help either. You’d think I’d have adapted by now after living in MB my entire life, and having used to train full time over the winter months!

The coming week brings a measly 3 exams, another somewhat stressful practical on Friday. My strategy will remain the same: good food, sleep, and studying without stressing. Don’t mess with what works!

Stay warm out there!

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Water into wine, and vice versa

I had to put vice versa up there, because some people will argue to the grave that a glass of red wine a day keeps the doctor away. Right, mom?

I’ve found myself the past few days in a very motivated state- which I am taking full advantage of. Midterms are over, and although I am very satisfied with some of the results- others I was a little disappointed in. However, after a few days (a week) of being kind of down about it, I’ve found myself now using it as a little extra push to focus some time (haha, whatta concept) on prepping for finals. Already? They’re a month away! No, but seriously… they’re ONLY a month away.. Yeah, I know. When you have approximately 8 final exams, practical and writtens combined to total approx 50% of your courses- I’m feeling like getting a jump start on that is a good idea.

This week my schedule has been running pretty tight, as usual, but also much more focused- as per the above paragraph. The past three days have been running quite smoothly- but I know the latter part of the week is going to get a little bit more hectic (as it usually does). I’m actually quite glad, as much as I love my evening shifts at the gym, that I booked both nights off this week. This morning I got to campus bright and early (7:45AM, haven’t been there that early since first year…) to practice with my football supervisor, Nikki, as she preps for her national certification. Again, so glad I have the opportunity to study with a grad of the program! I ended up just staying on campus all day and doing more studying, because, hey- gotta take it as it comes right?Tonight, instead of working, I attended an awesome presentation by Dr. Peter Jensen, a sport psychologist, which was super interesting on both the athlete, coach, AT, and student point of view. On Thursday, which I had already booked off in advance on the chance that I had football, I so far have no plans as our semi-final game is now on Friday night. I haven’t quite decided what I’ll do yet with that extra time. Perhaps start the next 10 page paper I have due. Perhaps see some friends I haven’t seen in a while. Who knows!

What I do know, is that Friday is the day I have ended up being triple booked all over the map. Before I found out our game was on Friday, I was planning on attending another guest lecturer at school, this time the topic being “too much sitting”, then heading to the a AT student association function, and then seeing some friends. While I still think I”ll be able to attend the lecture, everything else got kiboshed by football- another late game (8:30 PM), which means by the time I get out of the cold around 11:30 PM, I’ll be way to wiped to do much else except warm up and try to sleep. While I was really looking forward to the other things I had originally planned for Friday, I’m equally as happy to spend the time at football with the team. The experience I’ve gained there so far has been so worth it, I wouldn’t want to cut my season short! Even if it means freezing for a few hours.

Right now I’m very glad that my schedule is full of so many wonderful things. If you remember my post a couple weeks ago, the one where I was a little bit over the whole school thing (written during midterms), and really just wanted to be riding. And as much as I do really miss riding, the things that have filled my schedule lately (running KSA, research, classes, so much studying, work, football) are have begun to seem like less of a chore (ask me again during finals), and more like something that’s getting me to a higher place.

One thing that has been helping me motivate myself a little more (besides midterms roughing me up a little) is exactly what I was missing a few weeks ago. Riding. I haven’t forgotten about the goals I have there, and while before I was getting frustrated about having to put them on hold each time I head back into a school year- I’ve started getting a bit more proactive about it. I’m really working at finding a balance between all my different goals and pursuits in both aspects of my life, and I’ve started working on some very rough drafts of a functional training class for riders. I hope to keep putting some work into that in between reading my massive text books. Coaching on the weekends has really been a great excursion too for me. This past week my student and her horse started showing some awesome progression in many of the things we’ve been working on, and I love getting the feedback from her as she rediscovers herself as a rider and bonds with her horse. I’m glad I have little opportunities between extra projects at school, coaching, and Horse Connection to give me a break from everything else.

Those goals I wrote about at the beginning of the school year are being achieved, day by day. I’m 100% sure this attitude will flip on me again soon, and I’ll being dragging my ass around campus not wanting to do anything. Which is why I’m taking full advantage of it now. Turning that water into wine.. or the “whine” into water? Because water is the healthier option there.

Speaking of healthy, that’s another goal I’ve been working hard on. After gaining 6lbs in one meal (I was serious when I said I loved Thanksgiving the most), I’ve been putting some serious effort into eating right. Gluten and most grains are out, dairy is occasional, and consistent eating throughout the day is for sure in. I know the reason I’ve been able to keep up with myself on not a tonne of sleep is because I’ve been eating right.

Speaking of sleep, I should really get at that for tonight. Tomorrow is another early morning and a long day. Until next time!

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Holla at me, I could totes make the team…

But I’ve never… never mind. The story of a AT student.

“Kathlyn is going to do your hip-flexor work today, and then she’ll stretch you”

What I hear as I walk in the door to work on Tuesday.

“Are you good with that?” directed at me, with a smirk.

“Yeah uh, sure– but.. I’ve never done a hip massage before…” –Me, sounding super intelligent.

“Oh.. I know.” Walks away chuckling and leaves me in a room with a client.

And that is basically how SO many of my hours as an AT student are spent lately. Just yesterday at football a similar thing happened. Except with less details given and a little bit higher intensity.

In pre-game, pretty much as soon as we started taping we were over run by players wanting the perfect taping for their first play-off game- which meant Nikki was tied up with the QB and her form of dealing with the “swarm” is to shoot people off my direction. I normally cover ankles and thumbs, with the occasional wrist thrown in there. However today there was an elbow hyperextension that needed taping (a tape job I haven’t done since the very preliminary version they taught us a year ago in P&C- funny enough something they were reviewing in the part of class I left early from to make football), and NIkki asked if I knew how to do it. I kinda mumbled a sorta, I guess- and then promptly got thrown a roll of tape and was told to “go!”. The fun part about taping is that you can make a lot of stuff up on the fly, as long as it prevents what it’s supposed to prevent. What I came up with even got a compliment from Nikki when she saw it run by her on field later on.

Later on, a player had come off the field complaining of pain to the quad and iliotibial band just above the knee, and Nikki was running him through a quick assessment while I observed. His strength was good, and his movement was also fine- so we came the conclusion he just had a contusion (bruise) to the muscles in the area. She was just about to start compression wrapping and return to play functional testing when we hear “TRAINER, TRAINER!!!” from the field and see one our players rolling on the ground. All I got that time was Nikki throwing the elastic tape at me and yelling “compression!” as she ran onto the field. So, with an athlete anxious to get going standing infront of me I did my first on field quad contusion compression wrap (really not a big deal..) and ran my first athlete through functional return to play testing (bigger deal) and made the decision he was good to go back into play (and confirmed it of course). 20131025-144454.jpg The boys ended up winning their quarter final game, and so we head off to semis next week! At least one more week of shivering for us!

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Needless to say we didn’t have too many players lingering on the table last night… Little bit chilly..

Luckily, for me, I love learning this way. For one, it really prevents procrastination. When someone is throwing you into a situation, you can’t really put it off. Your brain is forced to recall information and put it to use, ASAP. Also, so far anyway, it has a way of giving  a little boost of confidence- which is often needed. A lot of what we cover in class is often hard to grasp when all you have to practice on is your pretty healthy and functional lab partners. The amount of times I’ve walked into work and had the AT there say “have you ever done this before” or “when’s the last time you did this?” and my response is “um.. never..” (highly educated response, I know) is off the charts- but equal with the amount of times he throws me in there anyway. Of course giving a super quick demo that looks effortless and easy- only to be the opposite for my rookie hands. It only took a few weeks of doing some deep-tissue work on clients to get a feel for what was actually happening underneath my touch. It took me months to get my angles right in some tape jobs. But that’s what this kind of learning does to a person like me- it fuels that dedication to get it right- and I took it as a great compliment when Nikki referred to me as a perfectionist when helping me prep for my Taping practical.

Those “getting thrown into the deep end” lessons, although terrifying, are also really good for helping to teach how to put things into context. I shouldn’t say they are terrifying, they used to be.. but now they are pretty much expected. It’s kind of like, oh- I haven’t done that before- you’re going to make me do it, aren’t you… well, why not. Each client/athlete is so different, and you can’t throw a textbook assessment, tape job, or symptom at them and expect them to fit the mould (but you still have to have a more than solid appreciation for what those textbooks have inside them). I’m really seeing the value of getting a variety of different experiences under my belt- working with different therapists and athletes as much as possible. The AT at work always stresses how each therapist has their own style, and how it takes learning from a few different people to really get a feel for how you want to work.

It’s very true, just having seen the way a few therapists work so far. They all have different ways of being in whatever they are doing- and no way is more effective than another. When the basics are there, everything else falls into place. It’s the trial of an AT student to try and keep the basics floating around long enough that they actually become basic, instead of this huge mass of information that seems incomprehensible and overwhelming at first glance. “Use it or lose it” might be a good phrase. “Practice makes perfect” and “Try, try again” are also applicable.

Carrot at the end of the stick

“You’ve got that ‘march glaze’ about your eyes.. its that time of year for you students”

Yep.

Talk to any student right now and they’ll either give you a zombie-like reply and/or mumble something about “only 3 weeks left.. so close”. I know pretty much all my peers, as well as myself, are pretty much over the whole classes, assignment, school idea.

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Totally burned more calories on my run then are in this dish…. Totally.

It carries over to other things as well- like running. Tonight, for instance, the only reason I convinced myself that doing my run was a good idea was by bribing myself with cake and ice cream. Productive? No, not really. But, hey, it worked. And it was better than sitting on the couch and eating cake anyway. Right?

But in all seriousness- I’ve been working really hard at keeping my motivation levels up. 2 weeks ago now I started a self-designed “pre-show season bootcamp”, which I have been sticking to as best I can. I’ve been putting all the fitness programming knowledge I’ve learnt this year into action (anybody want a trainer?), and feeling the results. In a good way! Since I’ve made so much progress with my back and hip issues- much thanks to the great AT/Chiro that helped me get on this track, Dr. Notley – I want to go into this season as best prepared as I can to not back track. There is definitely some fear there that it will all kick up again as soon as I start riding full time- but I’m trying to keep my thoughts trained on the fact that I’m in great shape and stronger then I’ve ever been. And if it does, then I know how to work through it. Anybody who has had a lingering injury will know how tough that can be sometimes. If you’re interested in seeing some of my workout plans, I post them all on my Fitness Log, so feel free to take a look!

It’s been a pretty quiet few weeks for me, school wise. Well. Relatively speaking of course. It’s kind of the quiet before the storm. The storm being finals. The quiet being me still running around 6 days a week not knowing what I’m doing half the time. But hey, I’ll take it. The last big project I worked on and finished (B), was a group presentation on “Norms in Athletic Therapy” for psych skills in sport and life. Past being frustrated with my fellow group members for most of it (apparently none of them had really done a presentation or public speaking before…(thank you 4H)), it was a pretty fun project. Instead of sticking to boring classic research for our references- we decided to interview two practicing ATs from the community and use their answers to support our points. Norms was a pretty tough concept for us to present- and there were definitely aspects we lost marks on because of that. Norms are the things you do in life, but don’t think about really.. ever. For an AT it would be something like showing up before a practice, having a certain set of personality characteristics (naturally or taught), or being the type of person people are comfortable talking to. Its things that aren’t in the code of conduct, but things that are often past down through peers or teachers you have along the way. What norms do you have in your career, or daily life? In groups/organizations you are a part of?

The next big paper I’m writing is on (hopefully anyway, proposing the idea to my prof tomorrow) the Canadian Eq. Team and the Tiffany Foster situation at the olympics- mainly on how Eric Lamaze and the other members of the team reacted relating to the topic of “leadership” in sport. Should be a pretty interesting topic, I think!

In health news I’ve finally got a date with a specialist… unfortunately not for another month or so- which I guess isn’t bad for wait time. I’ve also started looking into seeing a naturopathic doctor- so here’s where I ask you lovely readers- does anyone know of good names in Winnipeg?

As I alluded to in the opening paragraphs- I’m in the homestretch for the semester. What’s my “carrot at the end of the stick”? Besides cake.. it’s getting on my horse and starting spring training! Everyday I get through is one day close to riding season. Assuming I can get my saddle on the white buffalo…

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Do what you love. Find it. Do it well. If you don’t know how to do it, learn. Know that it will rough you up a few times, and occasionally bring you to tears. Do it anyway, to the best of your ability. You’ll have no other choice. There is no end- only the journey. It will be a long one- but know this: You will be forever changed.

Tuesday night rambles

To continue my trend, check out where I was a year ago!

Usually, on a Tuesday night, I’d be in bed by now. But since I somehow ended up consuming WAY too much caffeine today.. I need to do some typing to burn some energy.

This nice weather we’ve been having is making me want to kick into gear on the riding front- unfortunately school is getting in the way! I’ve been really upping my work-outs to compensate. And watching a lot of youtube videos, like this one. And studying.. of course. But seriously.. counting down the days, minutes, seconds, until I can get riding!

I had my first shift at the new job yesterday. I am working on a casual basis, so any shifts I have right now are as covers for other employees- I don’t have a permanent shift yet. Which is actually perfect because it basically means I can pick and choose which shifts I want. What student with my schedule would complain about that? It became very apparent yesterday that I am going to learn a BUNCH from this job. Whether it be in interacting with clients, managing a business, or, of course, everything else related to the fitness field. Only had one embarrassing moment yesterday (surprising for me), where my boss was going through a mock start up program (new members are guided through a basic fitness program by the staff on duty) with me (where I was guiding him through the program) and I couldn’t figure out how to work the treadmill. Awkward. Thankfully he switched roles with me and helped me out. He seems very committed to thoroughly training his staff, and helping them gain knowledge in every way he can in this career path. Looking forward to my next shift on Thursday, where I’ll be flying solo for the first time! Eek!

Today I got some more news on my health (or lack of) diagnosis. I had a voicemail from my GP letting me know that my CT was clear, and my appendix was/is healthy and there is no need for it to be removed. Great to know I was literally minutes away from having an unnecessary surgery. I owe the anaesthesiologist who put a halt to the procedure a big thank you! Only downside to this is that we still don’t know whats causing my symptoms. At least now that is ruled out. I am meeting with my GP tomorrow to move onto the next step- a referral to a gastroenterologist (spelled that right the first time, heck ya!). Can’t say I’m too excited about meeting with MORE doctors. This has sure been a year full of them. But, I don’t control life; I control how I react to it. So, we are going to keep thinking positive and take it as it comes.

In my last post I think I mentioned I had a pretty off week of exams, two marks around a C+ in courses where I should have been getting much higher. Crediting that to bad symptoms of the mystery ailment, and bad head space because of it. The week after that I wrote three more exams. The marks for two of which I got back, and both were A- (prevention and care of athletic injuries, and intro kin)! That definitely is a boost! I feel pretty good about the last one I’m waiting for too.

In other news, I really just want it to be riding time. 5 more weeks! Let the count down begin!

Here are some fun pictures, just for fun!

Sunrise on Ness Ave

Sunrise on Ness Ave

Zoo day anyone?

Zoo day anyone?

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I'm sure the staff at Value Village love us..

I’m sure the staff at Value Village love us..

 

Etc.

There’s a classic Manitoba blizzard blowing around outside, this was yesterday, a few hours before it started raining/snowing/blizzarding… luckily I got back to the city before that occured.

Ice road trekking (aka highway 2)

Ice road trekking (aka highway 2)

AND it’s the first day of reading week…I think it’s time for an update, don’t you?

First off, a year ago I was doing much crazier things then I am now. Well maybe not crazier, but very different. Click here for a blast from the not so past. Or check out my archives really from anything before April of last year.

It seems like more than just a year ago I was planning all those exciting things! At the same time it doesn’t feel like it’s already almost been a year since I landed back on Canadian soil! Most of the past year has been spent with the plan of returning to the other side in the back of my mind. It’s happening. Don’t worry. This blog will get interesting one day again.

Okay, so what has happened in the past few weeks? Well, I’ve experienced what many students experience during February leading up to reading week. Complete burn out. Along with some unpleasant symptoms of whatever is going on with my health (hopefully answers soon on that). There was a week in there where I was unable to really eat much because of lack of appetite and over the top nausea- which did have a great effect on the two exams I wrote that week. Thankfully, I guess, those symptoms mysteriously disappeared for my remaining 3 exams the next week- and I’m hoping for better marks on those ones. I debated going to the hospital a couple times when I was home in Ctown, but didn’t feel up to facing the surgeon I had before- so waited it out. What would they do anyway? I had a CT scan this week, and go in for results next week. If there are any. Not sure how I’ll feel if I find out it was actually Appendicitis all along. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there I suppose.

In other random news, I’m inching closer to dead-lifting my bodyweight (165lb)– got up to 150lb last week!  There is a video of that here. My gym time has been slightly less this semester. Well, I shouldn’t say that. It’s just been different. I’m staying active in other ways, besides strictly just the gym. I’m pretty sure I’ve only been to the gym at school maybe 5 times this term? But I’ve been at the “Homewood gym” pretty much every weekend- so those turn into my weight days. During the week I’ve found myself doing yoga, who my friend Michelle teaches, which is usually a solid work out. Also been taking a intro dance class twice a week- finding muscles that haven’t been used in a while. Yay for fitness groupons! This isn’t close to what I was doing in the first term, where I was in the gym around 5-6 days a week. However, the rule of quality vs quantity is coming into play right now. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

 The closer we get to spring, the more I’m starting to itch to get on my horses. One of which resembles a white, furry, house at the moment. The other one has near doubled his size since fall (height wise). Come the end of March, boot camp begins. For both Willard and I. The first few rides will, I’m sure, be America’s Funniest worthy. They always are.

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OH! I have other news! I almost forgot!

About two weeks ago, I think, I went to a job interview. A interview I really only went to because I was surprised to actually get a reply back to my original application. An application I sent after seeing an ad on kijiji which I almost didn’t even apply to, because, really.. do I have time for a job? No. No is the answer. But anyway, went for this interview for the experience of going for an interview. But the interview, which was for a gym assistant at a small gym in St. Boniface, went very well. It even involved a testing of my knowledge of kinesiology (which I rocked, thank you first term). And after discussing what kind of hours I was looking for, etc, it was revealed that not only would the hours work well with my monster schedule- there would also be a chance for me to gain working experience with the Athletic Therapist they have situated in the gym. Uhm, no way! Yes way! So I left the interview, not knowing whether or not I had gotten the job- but now with a new excitement about the possibility of getting it. Completely different from the “meh-whatever-don’t want a job right now anyway” attitude I went into the interview with. Skip ahead a couple weeks, and I GOT IT. So, I’m hoping that it turns out to be as great a experience as I think it will be! It’s definitely a foot in the door of the AT/Kinesiology industry, anyway.

Other things that have happened the past few weeks:

  • Learned some basic massage techniques, which I’m sure my family and friends will take advantage of. I know Leah already has. 
  • Began some taping techniques, and learned that it is NOT as easy as skilled people make it look. I never was good at arts and crafts, turns out that skill hasn’t developed over time either. Definitely going to be a lot of practicing for that going on.
  • My hair can ALMOST completely go into a pony tail. The day is near, my friends.

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  • I have almost made it the entire winter without putting on a parka. Stupid right? Don’t worry, I still wear a jacket. Just one that doesn’t have a tag saying good up to -50 or whatever. And I still have my parka with me, in case of emergency. However, this also means I’ve made it through the coldest days (-45 degrees Celsius, approx), which now means that all the other days feel like t-shirt weather. No point giving in now.

Well that’s my 1000 words. I’m now on reading week, 3 days of which I’m at the school anyway learning first aid and other school related things, hoorrah for being a good student. The other days I’ll probably be doing one or more of the following: eating cake, reading non-school assigned books, re-watching Grey’s Anatomy, working out, sleeping, napping. If only I could get paid for doing any of that.

To any students out there, make the most of zombie time.. To everyone else, hug a student!

Before you know it

It’s over. No more lazy days of nothing with no specific plans…After a crazy two weeks of holidays- it’s time to get back at it. Crazy of course being the understatement of the year!

I mentioned briefly in an earlier post that my previously organized surgery had been cancelled- and more testing ordered. This is because the original diagnosis of appendicitis is being questioned, and I have since gotten opinions of a couple other doctors who seem to think it could be any number of things. So, that being said, I agreed to have more testing done. Blood tests today, CT scan being scheduled, and then more decisions to be made after those results. Its very much unknown at this point. As much as I would have liked it to be as simple as the first doctor being right, and the surgery going as planned. I’ve come to realize that I would much rather go through all the diagnostics, spend a little more time in the limbo of not knowing, and have a correct diagnosis- than go through all the stress of surgery only to have the same symptoms later on. It’s honestly been some of the most frustrating few weeks for me- as anyone who has had health problems could relate, I’m sure. Had a few emotional roller coaster like days. I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by amazing friends and family who have kept me sane through it all.

After having blood taken this morning, I moved myself back to Ainslie Street- and settled back in for semester numero 2. I’m still waiting on most of my marks back from semester 1, but I know I got an 81% on my Scientific Principles of Fitness and Conditioning final exam, and a final B grade in that course. So yay! Still anxiously awaiting my Biomechanics project and final mark- as well as to know whether I passed my stats course. Nevertheless, onwards and upwards! This term looks as though it will be a little easier- even if it is spread over 6 days of the week. Intro Kinesiology was the only class on the docket today- and looks as though it will be a pretty straight forward course. As to be expected. I am also enrolled in Psych Skills in Sport and Life, the same old Anatomy and Physiology, Intro to Research Methods (a continuation of the stats course (yay)), and Prevention and Care of Injuries. I’m quite excited for the psychology and the prevention and care courses! It will for sure be another busy term, but after all that how I function best.

What else have I been up to lately? Well, I’ve spent a good amount of time in the gym-as well as riding. Reached a personal best in both deadliest (lifted 145lbs) and bench press (75lbs), which was awesome! Also went for my first run over 2 miles since June, yesterday, got in about 4 miles around Carman. I have to say, winter running is pretty awesome! Foot felt great (until the blister started forming), and back felt great! And thanks to the snow covered pathways, offering great cushioning, no shin splints occurred!  Still ever so grateful to be able to hack around once in a while on Samson, my good friend Lauren’s jumper. Barn time is sane time. The gym, and the barn are probably the two places I am most at peace. I don’t have to put thought into what I’m doing there, especially in the barn. It’s second nature. Everything little thing I do there, from putting a halter on, taking a blanket off, grooming, tacking up, etc etc, all the way to riding and then untacking, seems to centre me. Perfect atmosphere. Plus the people that are around always cheer me up too! I am holding the optimistic thought of the 2013 show season in my mind’s eye. I can’t wait to get back on my own horse and start training this spring. As much as I love school, and understand that right now it would be next to impossible both financially and scheduling wise to be training like I’d love to be, it’s a huge part of my life and as any athlete will relate- offseason kind of sucks sometimes. I’ve chosen to pursue a career along side being a competitive athlete. I’m so lucky to have found a path that I am equally as passionate about as I am my chosen sport. I just need to find a way to combine them so I can have the best of both worlds!

For now, I’ll just have to keep taking it one day at a time.

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