Bigger and better Velda! Today you can see more of the details of the main flower. It looks like it has veins and makes me think of the new blood that I’m getting going as I start my new round of workouts.

Week 1: Why haven’t I been doing this all along?

When the going gets tough — the tough get going

Terri E. Givens - terrigivens.com
3Streams
Published in
4 min readNov 20, 2023

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If you have been following my blog posts, you would know that I just started working with a new trainer to help with my rehab after over two months of serious back pain. His name is Ken Easter of FitTRAC Coaching. He was recommended by my college friend Jill, who has gotten great results after knee surgery. I’m usually pretty diligent with my workouts, but this latest back flare-up made me realize that I needed to step it up a knotch. I have worked with many coaches and trainers over the years, and I’m very coachable. I will do everything my coach tells me to do (sometimes more), and there’s a reason I have been such a good athlete over the years — my body is strong and responds well to being pushed. 💪🏾

So last Tuesday (our schedule for workouts is Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday) we started out with a pretty challenging routine. The question was, how would I feel the next day. I was almost afraid to say that I wasn’t sore at all. Because I knew that would mean he could push me even harder — and he had the full support of my physiotherapist. Seriously, my team is working together and it’s kinda scary. On the off days, I try to do my PT exercises (some are being incorporated into my trainer workouts), pilates and yoga.

A friend has an indoor swimming pool in her complex, so I had started going there once a week before these workouts started, so I went today and set a goal of 500 yards — I had been doing 250 previously. I met my goal and was pleasantly surprised that my Apple Watch not only tracked my laps but also could tell which stroke I was using. I was very pleased with the workout, but I’m already feeling sore in my upper body as I sit on the couch watching football this evening.

So yay for me — I had a great week of workouts, my team is happy (I’ll check in with the chiropractor tomorrow), so what’s to write about. Well, the question in my mind is why haven’t I been doing this all along? The answer is complex, but the biggest reason is time. From the time it took to get to the pool, swim, etc…(yeah, I sat in the hot tub, too), it was a full 3 hours. My workouts generally take anywhere from 1–2 hours. I haven’t been able to find that time until now, which is why I need my team, and I might need them for the rest of my life. I will have to make sure those around me (particularly at my job) understand that my workouts aren’t an option, they are required.

I definitely want to avoid surgery for as long as possible, and as I noted in my last post, it may not be fair, but I have to work a lot harder than most people to stay at a level of fitness that will keep me from being in pain. The injections I got in my SI joints and some other place that got at my sciatic pain (yeah, I don’t know all the medical jargon) are just a band-aid. But I also know I’m incredibly lucky and privileged. I have good health insurance. I have friends who helped me to make sure I saw the right specialist. I have the resources to pay for a personal trainer (it’s a bargain compared to the pain or cost of surgery). And I have the motivation to stick with it.

So if you are reading this, you are now a part of my team. Stick with me — I’ll keep you posted on developments with my training and back, and I’ll even share news from my life in higher ed. It has been tough going through all this personal stress while my university (McGill) is dealing with all kinds of upheaval, from a shift in tuition rates to on campus tensions related to the responses to the war between Israel and Hamas. People are dying and it is impacting everyone. A little radical empathy wouldn’t hurt right now — as is noted in a recent article:

“Radical empathy is the key,” Sally Abed, 32, said just before she and Alon-Lee Green, 35, her lecture circuit partner, talked with Harvard faculty members Wednesday at the Center for Government and International Studies. “We need to stop talking about ‘pro-Israel’ and ‘pro-Palestine’ — we need to be pro-people. We need a new story. We deserve a new story.”

I will hope for peace and in the meantime, I will do what I can to get myself ready for the next round of challenges. As I have said and will continue to say every day if necessary, I’m no good to anyone if I don’t take care of myself first.

Peace

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Terri E. Givens - terrigivens.com
3Streams

Professor of Political Science, McGill University. Higher Ed Leadership, Immigration & European politics. Author of Radical Empathy & The Roots of Racism