Sunday, October 21, 2012
Writing my last 10 things blog had an uplifting effect on me, so I decided to try another one. I still have persistent problems, but it made me realize that there are a lot of things that are right with my life, so here goes:
1. This Tuesday, if all goes well, I will be finishing up a Certificate in Change Leadership from Cornell University. It's a program that is offered online through the eCornell.com web site, and it's on-the-job training for me. Or would be, if I actually had time to complete it during work hours. I've been doing a lot of the assignments at home. It's a series of 6 two-week courses that I've been taking since July. I think it's a good program, and I've learned a lot. I won't miss the homework though.
2. After a near melt-down this afternoon, my computer is back on. I didn't lose the course project I was working on (see #1), and I'm running a full backup that should be completed by 9:30 pm, EDST (cross fingers!)
3. My daughter was home for her fall break this weekend. It was wonderful to see her, and we had some good times baking apple cider donut holes, watching movies (Pride and Prejudice), and crocheting. She's making a hat for one of her friends, and I'm making a baby blanket for one of mine. Good times!
4. My boss is back, part-time this week after hip surgery. Maybe things will be a little less crazy at work.
5. I continue to make very satisfying progress on my Italian genealogy. I've added more third great-grandparents, and several more microfilms are on their way to my local Family History Center from Salt Lake City. Italian records are remarkably good, and I expect to be able to find a few more.
6. I'm thinking of making a family history book for my Italian aunts for Christmas. Suggestions welcome. I've even found photographs of the area where my family lived on Flickr.com to complement the existing family portraits. The photo above is one of my grandmother as a young woman. I retouched it in Photoshop to remove crease lines and smudges. I'm pleased with how it turned out.
7. I start running again this week. I haven't done much since the Sea Gull Century, because of work, studies, my daughter's visit, and other demands on my time. But that's okay, because my objective is to train for the Pittsburgh Rock n Roll HM in such a gradual way that I don't hurt myself. My goal is to finish another 5 weeks of the Jeff Galloway program by the end of the year, while continuing to bike to work.
8. I mentioned in a previous blog that I was making sleep a higher priority, but I didn't really explain why. Now I can finally say. My husband suggested a few weeks ago that I make an appointment with a doctor because my snoring was starting to bother him. I have chronic allergies, so initially I just thought it was just congestion, but I was wrong. I've now had 3 visits with a sleep specialist, spent 2 nights in a lab, and had 2 other visits with my primary doc. I have sleep apnea. It's mild (whatever that means), but it's there. The reason I'm so excited about this is that I finally UNDERSTAND why I can sleep and sleep and never feel like I've had enough, why I always feel tired and sleepy during the day, have a lousy memory, poor ability to concentrate, why I constantly crave carbohydrates, and can't lose any weight no matter what I eat and how hard I exercise. Sleep apnea can cause all of this, and more. I've probably had it for quite a while now. I was really tired of being tired all the time. Now I can get better!
9. So now I have finally started treatment (after 4 weeks of waiting for the process to work it's way through) and it's starting to work. It will probably be a few more weeks before I feel the full effect of it, but I've already noticed that I don't have the same food cravings, and I haven't felt excessively sleepy during the day. Progress!!
10. In spite of sleep apnea, I have managed to log over 100,000 exercise minutes on Sparkpeople over the last 4.5 years. I had been gaining about 10 pounds a year for about 6 years when I joined, and while I haven't lost nearly as much as I would have liked, thanks to Sparkpeople, I effectively put a stop to the endless weight gain, and I don't have other complications that are associated with sleep apnea (such as high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, and mood problems).
They say many people have it without knowing it. If you experience excessive daytime sleepiness and weight gain, get checked out. It's very treatable.
Cheers and hugs!
Sunday, October 07, 2012
This was the out from the balcony of the house where I was staying yesterday just before I started my bike ride. It was a perfect day. Bottom line up front: I finished! This is not something I could have done a year ago, but a year and a half of riding 20 miles a day, 5 days a week, has made a difference.
It was all flat, but it wasn't easy. The first 50 miles couldn't have been more perfect. It was sunny but not too warm. My legs felt great, and I averaged over 13 miles an hour, sometimes going 16-17 mph, which is amazing for me. It was somewhere between 50 and 64 miles that I started to feel it. By the time I got to Assateague Island (about mile 64), I was going pretty slowly (maybe 11 mph or so, less on the bridge), but I thought it was just because I needed a rest stop. Somewhere between 64 and 85, I started wondering if I was going to make it. My shoulders started feeling tight, I was getting saddle sore, and I had to slow down. There was also a headwind. I couldn't wait to get to the rest stop at mile 85. The last 4 miles seemed interminable. I took a little extra time at that stop to just sit, enjoy my snack (apple pie and ice cream!), and stretch. Then I got up to face the last 15 miles.
I'm used to riding in my highest gear, but I found myself downshifting to my middle gear. I started to get tired of the taste of Gatorade. Even without hills, every mile took more effort. About 5 miles from the finish line, it started to rain. I stopped long enough to put on my jacket, and a few minutes later it stopped. It was an awesome feeling coming into the finish line with a crowd cheering. It wasn't a race, but I think it took me about 8.5 hours. Although I was one of the slower riders, I was far from last.
The first thing I did after I met up with my friends and had pictures taken was check into a drugstore for several things I hadn't thought to bring with me from home: some Benadryl and cortisone cream for the bug bites I didn't realize I had gotten (so big and so itchy!), and some heat patches and Advil for my shoulders. I took my foam roller with me, and that was great for stretching out my achy shoulders. As I drifted into sleep, I kept seeing myself on a road, on my bike, with other cyclists all around me. Eventually my mind quieted down. I slept very well, and today I feel great. It really doesn't feel like the day after a hundred mile bike ride, although I might feel differently if I actually had to try sitting on a bike today.
I would definitely do it again. I'm starting a list. Things to definitely take along again next year: arm warmers, sunglasses, camelbak, camera, foam roller, rain jacket, wipes. Things to add or change for next year: bike seat, cycling shorts, insect repellent.
To be continued...
Sunday, September 30, 2012
I was inspired by a couple of friends who wrote "10 things" blogs, so here goes.
1. This was completely unexpected. I had a routine follow up visit with my oncologist this week. It has been 10 years now since my surgery, and she says I don't have to be followed anymore, so she's referring back to my regular gynecologist.
2. I'm down a couple of pounds this week. I had almost given up, since nothing seemed to budge the scale (except on the up side). It probably has to do with getting more sleep. I'm making that a priority right now.
3. I've been riding my bike to work for almost a year and a half. I'm really proud of what I've done, and what I continue to do, with or without weight loss.
4. I've been following Jeff Galloway's Conditioning Program and Half Marathon training program since May, with a few breaks. I'm poised to complete Week 4 of the HM program today, as soon as I finish writing this blog.
5. Next weekend, I'll be riding in my first Century.
6. My 19th anniversary is coming up the following week.
7. My daughter is settling in well at college and making good decisions. My son's school year is also going well.
8. My body is handling all the exercise very well. I have no aches or pains to speak of in my feet, my sacroiliac joints, or anywhere else. Even my shoulders seem to be less achy/tight than usual.
9. I made some amazing progress on the Italian side of my genealogy this week. I started out with just the names of my grandparents and a couple of my great grandparents. Now I have the names of all my second great grandparents, and even a couple of my third great grandparents. I'm thrilled, and it makes one of my aunts very happy too.
10. My dog Babe is fully recovered from her surgery. My cat has recovered from the fight he got in a couple of months ago. He just needs to grow a little bit more fur back.
11. I have great Sparkfriends who support me, encourage me, and inspire me, both on this site, and on Facebook. I love you all!
Sunday, May 27, 2012
A few weeks ago, I wrote about signing up for the Pittsburgh Rock n Roll Half Marathon in 2013.
Since then, I've completed 3 weeks of Jeff Galloway's conditioning program. I'm feeling good. It has been remarkably easy, and the main thing I have to do is not get ahead of myself and avoid injury. My physical therapist has been extremely supportive. In fact, she suggested that I invite my daughter to train and run with me as well.
I wasn't sure how the suggestion would be received given that my daughter has not been a runner. She was very athletic growing up, playing soccer and softball, but she hasn't been active in either for the last year or so, and I think she enjoys the structure of a team. Also, she's about to go off to college, and it's hard to know what she'll be interested in in a year's time.
All that notwithstanding, my daughter seemed very interested, and she asked me to sign her up and give her some training advice. I just signed her up, and the training advice I gave her is the same advice I gave myself: read Jeff Galloway, and follow a regular training program. Maybe this will motivate her to find a group at college to run with.
So now there are two of us. I hope that having a fitness goal to work toward as she sets off for college will help set her up for a healthy lifestyle in college and beyond, and help her avoid the "freshman 15" as well.
Sunday, May 06, 2012
I had a great time with Sparkfriends in Pittsburgh last month, participating in "Just a Short Run," so when members of the group invited everyone to sign up for the Rock N Roll Half Marathon (also in Pittsburgh) in August 2013, I was initially skeptical. I can walk and I can bike, but I've never been a great runner.
I did some running in college, but most of my attempts at running as an adult have ended in injury. I think this happens mostly because I get ahead of myself and I want to do more, and do it faster than is strictly advisable.
Anyway, I was leaning toward doing it, and I got swept up in the excitement. I signed up this morning. The opportunity to be with Sparkfriends is a big draw.
I have a year and 3 months to get ready for this, so here's the plan. I know that I have more than enough time to train for this, and that I need to do everything in a slow and measured way. I'm starting out today with Jeff Galloway's 8 week conditioning program (http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/cond
ition.html), to help get my body ready for longer distance running. Then, if all goes well, I'll start following the half marathon training program (http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/half
_marathon.html), repeating weeks as needed to make sure I'm ready for the next distance increase. I also want to talk to my physical therapist and look into strength training programs, because I know that one of my problems as a runner is weak hips. (I've been doing some exercises for my hips, but I don't know how far I've gotten relative to where I need to be for what I want to do.)
I know that one of the biggest challenges for me in doing this will be to keep myself from trying to go too far too fast and then get hurt. It's 13.1 miles, and I have up to 4 hours to do it, so I don't have to be fast, but I do want to finish.
Are you with me?
Will you encourage me, hold me accountable, and remind me to slow down over the next 15 months if I start to get ahead of myself?
All I want to do is run, spend time with friends, and finish without injuries. Losing some more weight would be great too, but not at the expense of losing muscle.
Oh, and I'm still going to be riding my bike to work!
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