Saturday, February 22, 2014
Sometimes a workout is just that: a WORK out! It just doesn't come easy and it just doesn't crank up those endorphins the way one would like.
This morning was one of those mornings. The old upper body ST moves just weren't happening without a lotta OOF and there were no new increments of weight added...just the same-old, same-old. So after almost an hour of that I move on to Spinning Class for an hour. But again it just wasn't happening. I was going through the motions but none of the tunes grabbed me the way they sometimes do. You know: when the rhythm of the music is right in sync with your pedaling or even better, inspires you to pedal harder?
So after a "meh" morning at the fitness center, feeling like my tank was running lower than it should and thinking about my heart, I head out to the car and WOW:
The great outdoors were beckoning! Clear blue skies, sunshine and mid-40's! Within a couple of days we are in for more frigid single digits and below weather: This was clearly a day to savor and treasure!
Although I wondered about tossing another workout on top of two that were already so-so I simply could not let this day pass without taking advantage of it!
Off to Otsiningo Park I go and pull out my Nordic Poles which had been gathering FAR too much dust, put on my mp3 player and I'm OFF to the trails! It was utterly the smartest thing I have done for myself in a while! I was just enthralled with my music, the weather, the trails busy with families, couples, joggers, kids on bikes and moving my body felt just WONDERFUL! I was non-stop smiles and at times even chuckling and chortling with inner dialogue such as:
My inner critic: "You're gonna PAY for this with all sorts of aches and pains!"
Me: "PAY?!? If what I'm doing is COSTING me I'll gladly hand over my wallet! There isn't any pill, potion or magic that can do any more for me than what I am doing right now!"
The shuffle on my mp3 player was in rare form, first serving up a couple of Sergio Mendes tunes, the first from my very favorite album of his:
Brasileiro - Magalenha
Sergio Mendes, Encanto - Odo-Ya (be forewarned...these two albums of Sergio's will get you up and MOVIN' to the GROOVIN'!)
Marcus Roberts - Cherokee: Virtuosic boogie woogie! You've never heard two hands have more fun than this!
The Who Live At Leeds Shakin All Over (and later Baba O'Riley!) Love the bombast and drive of The Who!
Basia - Someone For Everyone (nice jazzy piece from an under-appreciated Polish singer)...couldn't find the studio version, but this live one is fun!
Had a nice teaser blast from the past: Sly Stone's Hot Fun in the (ahem) WINTERTIME! :-)
And I was delighted to get this recommended tune courtesy of RECREATING_ME! Pharrell Williams - Happy! Such a fun video with this one!
When I use the Nordic poles I try to really get *into* the stride and to remember to swivel my hips with my walk. With all the great music being served up it felt more like Nordic Swing Dance than Nordic Walking...lol! I tossed some jogging in now & then when it got a little sloppy for the poles and fjorded a few parts of the trail which were flooded over.
And yes, when it was all said & done and I finished the 5.25 mile loop I was one whupped and hurting pile of joy! Totally put thoughts of my heart on the way back burner!
Before signing off I just had to share such an inspiring talk I heard on TED TV, courtesy of our local public radio station:
Less Stuff, More Happiness:
"Writer and designer Graham Hill asks: Can having less stuff, in less room, lead to more happiness? He makes the case for taking up less space, and lays out three rules for editing your life."
This is really great wisdom, HUGELY resonated with me, and is WELL worth checking out!
Find and celebrate your SPARK everyone!
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Beginning in January I've been on a zero-sugar, zero-grain approach and for the heckuvit I've been trying what some refer to as an intermittent fasting where I only eat from noon until 8-9 pm and leave myself food-free for around 16 hours. Keeping calories around 1400-1600 a day.
During the first few weeks BAM! I dropped 20 pounds. I was thrilled, but I knew it wouldn't last...but but but...I've been almost totally flat for Feb. following the same approach that dropped all those initial pounds. Definitely WAY frustrating! But heck...what are my options? I figure I've gotta stay the course on the zero-sugar, zero-grains...this is how I eliminate nearly ALL my trigger foods. Plus eliminating the food option from 9 pm to noon simplifies my life even more not having to contend with food during those hours...always so hectic getting out of the house first thing in the morning, I appreciate not having food get in the way, lol!
So the pounds have been zig-zagging around the 230's during February, but finally hitting 230 today felt like: all RIGHT! Being more stubborn than the pounds is gonna pay off after ALL! I'm still feeling pretty good about my unusual approach to food. I think this is going to work for the long haul with minor tweaks for maintenance. After seeing how flat my weight can be even with this low caloric range I can tell that shifting into maintenance is really going be such a minor change. There is no magic gold ring of bonus calories awaiting when I reach goal weight. Hunger and Patience will continue to be my Best Friends Forever! :-)
My experiments are truly my OWN and I don't mean to suggest this as "the solution" for ALL! We are all SO UNIQUE! We all are our own best experiments and have to tweak and learn from what works and what doesn't.
Monday I meet with my "electrician" and hope to find out more about the "re-wiring" projects he proposes to get my heart back on track. In the meantime I have resumed my nearly daily cardio regimen, albeit a smidgen of a notch down and with Spinning classes still knocking my socks off even after scaling back. This has left me with an "empty tank" and unable to pull off Swing Dance on top of my workouts over the past several weeks, which I miss.
I've updated my SparkPage to reflect current goals as I am now approaching my seventh year with our wonderful SparkFamily!
Keep the SPARK everyone!
Friday, February 14, 2014
Here I was ready to march off and either zap ye olde heart or slap a pacemaker in and be good to go!
Sadly no such simple solutions await...
My EKG confirmed a return of the atrial flutter, however with some worsening features that make a solution tricky and outside the range of my current cardiologist's area of expertise. She is more of a "plumbing" sorta gal. Me? I need an electrician. My right atrium is not filling completely, nor is it emptying completely. The other three quadrants of the heart attempt to compensate for this which counter-intuitively (to me, at least) causes my heart rate to slow down.
So I'm being passed along to a cardiologist who is an "electrical physiologist".
The way I understand it is he will "map" my heart's electrical impulses to determine what intervention he feels will be most helpful. It may involve a "re-mapping" with possible pacemaker as part of the solution, but not likely the total solution.
There may be ablasions in my future where some of the nerves are cauterized for the re-mapping efforts. Pacemaker may or may not be needed. My condition sounds like it will wax & wane and require ongoing tweaking and monitoring...even if a pacemaker is used, which may or may not happen.
I need to take a blood thinner, but am going to try the new drug Eliquis which doesn't require the blood work and tweaking that Coumadin requires. But like Coumadin it will make me at risk for bleeding and bruising and UNLIKE Coumadin there is no counter-acting agent so if I start bleeding I won't stop. Need to be way WAY cautious about this...! This is necessary to avoid throwing clots and also to allow the doc to follow through with whatever procedure he feels needs to be done, ablasion, whathaveyou.
So: no road cycling until I'm off the blood thinner. Just not going to risk it. Even nervous in thinking about cx skiing...all the "what-ifs"? Such as what if I fall, twist an ankle, bruise a knee, etc...?
It's still pretty confusing to me and I really don't have a clear conceptualization of the cardiac electrical system and more precisely how mine is so wonky. I am having a really tough time feeling like I have even a basic understanding or grasp of what the heck is happening...which is frustrating as all get-out!
Here is a link which I believe SHOULD explain things for me, however I have a hard time "grokking" it:
The good thing is that of all the ways the cardiac electrical system can go wrong, mine is pretty innocuous. I have no limitations on my physical activity other than to be prepared to feel more fatigued than I oughta feel when I pump it up. The worst case scenario is that my fatigue may lead me to pass out but without any ill effect.
But even without any limitations by my cardiologist I'm having a mixed sorta reaction of being blase (hey I'm tracking my food, don't have to worry about weight gain) but also fearful...with my heart hobbling along do I really wanna pump it up to an HR of 120 or above?
The weight loss has leveled off despite holding the calories down around 1400-1600...so this may nudge me into action. Workouts have been my "North Star"...don't want to lose this mojo, even if I AM building a NEW North Star: Food tracking.
I'll be seeing the new cardiologist, my electrician on 2/24 so stay tuned...
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