Getting my planks back

2 Mar

So, how exactly does one get one’s groove planks back?

I can barely hold a plank position for 10 seconds, people.  Honestly, probably not even 10 seconds.  5 seconds.  Or less, maybe.  I used to eat planks for breakfast.  High plank, low plank, side plank, plank on my elbows and mountain climbers like nobody’s business.  It was my favorite form of abdominal exercise because I HATE crunches.  I’ve never been a super star athlete or anything, but I always exercised.  I mean, right before my diagnosis I was scheduled and trained up to ride 100 miles on my bike.  An hour and a half of yoga was satisfying.  I looked forward to spin classes.  Now my knees hurt after walking on the treadmill.  Chemo drugs didn’t just obliterate my cancer and red blood cells, they also lay to waste a lot of my muscle mass.

I know there are some athletes out there reading this.  So, athletes, how do I do this?  I’ve never had to come back from being this unfit.  Do I walk on the treadmill and work my way up from there bit by bit?  Do I jump back into spin classes and just do what I can until I can do it all?  Do I get right back on my bike or are there intermediate measures that need to be taken to achieve some kind of base level of fitness?  How do I not hurt myself?

I’m most looking forward to riding my bike again.  I’ve seen the hardcore gear-head cyclists out there already, being all badass in their arm warmers and I’m super jealous.  I’m going to buy myself this jersey to keep me extra motivated on the hills of East Haddam.

This one too!  How currently appropriate. is a great blog

Bottom line is I’ve probably just got to be patient and forgiving of myself.  I’m making progress.  My hair is slowly coming back in highly attractive and alluring rangy patches.  My eyebrows are filling back in, and the little baby eyebrow hairs have the effect of making my brow area look speckled with dirt.  My eyelashes are also filling back in but apparently baby eyelashes don’t know which way to grow and tend to jab my eyeballs at random times.

Really though, I’m feeling a lot better.  A lot better.  For example, I’m currently going through some old music I haven’t listened to in forever and really enjoying it.  It didn’t even occur to me to do this two months ago.  I was too tired and feeling too yucky and overstimulated and drained.  But woah!  Now this music sounds really good!  I’m really enjoying it!  I know you all know this already because you didn’t have chemo but music!  It’s really great!  I’m feeling up for being entertained and I’ve got energy to enjoy things.  This is great.  I’ll get my planks back eventually.

Here’s me playing my accordion*





*Lies.  That’s not me playing.


4 Responses to “Getting my planks back”

  1. Liza Kerrigan March 2, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    Et trois babyducks! I just learned what a plank was, let alone do one, 6 months ago!….Concentrate on stretching your calves as you plank. It makes the endurance part pass quickly.You’ll be back in the planking business and into one of the tight fitting shirts in no time !!



  2. Michelle March 2, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    Hey lady! Start with whatever you can on the treadmill and eat lots of protein (you are a healthy eater so it shouldn’t be a problem). Your cardio health will come back bit by bit and even walking on the treadmill with the right posture is good for your abs! Look up the book “Chi Running”, it might be an interesting read. I’m glad to hear you are on the road (pun intended) to recovery!

  3. Ben March 2, 2011 at 10:11 pm #

    Take it slow Colleen, and you’ll do fine – don’t push too hard while doing anything (especially if it hurts!) but do push yourself to make sure you do things, but take a rest at least once a week.

    Maybe we can bike next fall here in VT!

  4. julia marko March 2, 2011 at 10:31 pm #

    i really thought that was you playing accordion.

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