March 17, 2012

Cobblestones, Canals and Mountains

 Cobblestones, Canals and Mountains

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction

~ Sir Isaac Newton, The Third Law of Motion

I have had quite a week, but it has not involved running or blogging and I am waking this morning trying to figure out how to write about that. What it feels like is this:

I had months of things really going very well. I had no real pain, other than my asthma my body was really improving with running, I was running farther and faster and…I was even starting to enjoy the ride.

But I have written here more than once about the general chaos of my life with kids and career and travel and I guess it was going to happen eventually. I think maybe the universe like balance. Things can only go well for so long and then maybe you just have to have a spectacular failure to remind you that that’s not how things always go. Now don’t think that I am wallowing in self pity and pain over here – this failure did involve Venice, Salzburg and an excursion in the Austrian Alps (for work naturally…).

Let’s start in Venice

Venice is beautiful. If you have not been there, go – and please take me back with you. But the “streets” in most of the city are narrow, cobbblestoned, dotted with bridges and packed with throngs of people. And when they are not that they are made of water. I pretty well decided upon arrival that running in the streets of Venice, no matter how amazing and romantic in might sound was probably a recipe for disaster for me. No problem, says the experienced business traveler – treadmill. Nope. For the first time in 8 months I have neatly selected a hotel with no exercise facilities at all. I will also tell you this – even though you always see pictures of people in gondolas in Venice, you actually get around by foot. In lieu of running I covered almost 20 miles in the streets of Venice in two days on foot (in heels). That’s got to count for something…


I was actually in Austria to attend the 10th International Anniversary Expert Meeting for the Surgery Obesity and Metabolic Disorders. My company was exhibiting there and I was giving three lectures and acting as a section chair. I arrived on an overnight train from Venice into the lovely mountain town of Saalfelden. Since I arrived on the same day the conference was starting I got off the train and went straight to work.

The conference was great. I met amazing people, my lectures went well and garnered a lot of praise, my speakers in my section came together seamlessly and I was told repeatedly that it was the best section of the meeting. But between meetings, and lectures and lunches and dinners – oh and did I mention jet lag – a couple of naps called my name much louder than the gym and seems much cozier than a run outside on a cold ice road. So I worked and I slept and I drank good Austrian wine and consoled myself by saying at least on Wednseday I will get in some exercise because I am going to ski.

Skiing and Falling

The short story is that 4 hours of skiing in the exceptionally beautiful Austria Alps at Leogang ended up with me taking one very uncoordinated fall, not having my boot release from a binding, tearing a muscle in my left leg, taking the gondola down the mountain and more of less hobbling all the way back to America.

But again, don’t cry for me. I did all of this here:






And most of the day I looked like this:





Back Home

So now comes the real challenge. I have not run in a week and – thanks to my nicely injured soleus muscle, I will not likely be running this week either. I am feeling some mix of sad and frustrated and I worry about the set back. I also know my schedule is packed with a lot more upcoming travel and I am going to need to plan better (a lot better) if I want to keep to my commitment.

If nothing else, this past week was also a good reminder of why I started running. My life is definitely too busy to do anything else. Sometimes, I guess it is even too busy to run. As I write that, I don’t really believe it though. I am not prepared to get back to a place where my life is so unbalanced that it can’t allow for me to have that small bit of time to take care of myself. That time now defined by running.

Now time to hobble off to watch my son play water polo in the rain.

Happy Saturday!



Leave a comment
  1. Dawn
    March 19, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    Aw,sorry to hear about your injury, it is SOOOO frustrating isn’t it. 🙁
    I had a grade 3 sprain about 18 months ago and was out of running for 4 months, it was really difficult to not be able to move….saying that I DID get to read a lot of books so….(silver lining in everything. 🙂 )
    Just take your time and you will get back to it, but listen to your body and don’t rush things…

    ‘Use the Forrrrrce Luuuuke!’ (absolutely useless saying if you haven’t seen Starwars….?)

    • Jacqueline Jacques
      March 19, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

      It never hurts to use the Force!
      It’s just frustrating – and frankly painful – and I am neither known for my patience nor my pain tolerance. It would be tempting to try to push through it a bit, but I almost fell on my face standing up out of bed this AM…so I am thinking i have a little more recovery ahead.
      Thank you for the support and the empathy,