Tomorrow, a new challenge begins --- the Healthy Holiday Challenge, sponsored by a FaceBook group I'm part of, Larry Brownlee's Fit Club. This is a group of singers and friends who encourage and challenge each other, and exchange information. It's a great idea to help us all get through the holidays enjoying ourselves without guilt!
The challenge is this: set a daily calorie intake for the entire 61 days from November 1 - January 31. During this time, you get five "free days" during which you can exceed your daily limit, essentially taking a "day off". You also select five days to come in lower than your daily limit. And you plan to increase your activity level during entire 61 day period.
That last part is going to be a bit of a challenge for me, thanks to an adventure I had on opening night of Falstaff. Falstaff is a very physically active comedy, with a great deal of running around (especially for my character, Dame Quickly, who is a sort of go-between). In my very first scene, going up a flight of stairs, I felt a wrench that went from below my knee all the way up to my hip. The next step was excruciating. It's a very good thing I wasn't singing when it happened, because it would have come out as a yelp! As it was, I was able to take a deep breath and make my next vocal entrance as if nothing had happened, and limped through the rest of the scene (literally), but the moment I got offstage I had to call for a chair, ice, Advil, and a bandage. Within minutes my knee was so swollen I could no longer bend it. And naturally, this happened on a Friday night.
I got through the rest of the performance, limping and modifying my staging somewhat, but I did not sleep well that night. It hurt to lift or move the leg laterally, and it was badly swollen. On Saturday, I went to Urgent Care, which proved fairly useless. The doctor said I either had a bad sprain or a torn ligament, and offered X-rays "to rule out anything else", an Ace bandage which was not wrapped sufficiently to give any support whatsoever, and a type of pain medication I'd never heard of and wasn't willing to try, given that I had another performance on Sunday. Other than that, she had no advice other than to continue what I was doing --- RICE, aka Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation --- and to get an MRI.
Luckily, one of my colleagues and her husband are locals who own a chain of physical therapy centers called Rehab Authority. She arranged for one of their best therapists, Heather Henderson, to meet with me on Saturday evening. And Heather was a miracle worker. She worked on me for two hours and got the inflammation down, the knee to bend, and me to be able to walk, carefully, without pain. On Sunday, with care and a good brace, I was able to do the show much more comfortably.
On Monday it was a long and frustrating day of travel, beginning with our flight being canceled due to fog. We were rebooked on a later flight which was delayed three or four times, and when we finally got out, the "premium" seats I paid for ended up being bulkhead window seats without enough leg room to full extend my leg. This was a problem. Luckily, I was seated next to an extremely kind (and tall) young man who offered to switch places with me. I'd already experienced another very painful wrench earlier in the day, when I moved too quickly to catch something that was falling, a good reminder that even with improved mobility and less pain I need to be careful.
So, I have set my calorie intake goal and dedicated myself to this challenge, but I am not sure how much cardio I'm going to be able to do! Elliptical would work but I'm not currently a member of a gym. I may be stuck with the stationary bike, which I don't really care for. However, I am determined to heal my leg and get back into fighting form so I CAN really step it up. In the meantime, the Healthy Holiday Challenge is the perfect way to really enjoy the holidays and rev up for a happy, healthy new year.
But please --- don't anybody suggest I break a leg!