Saturday, January 16, 2010
This week I traveled for work, and experienced the usual unsettled feelings I get with changing up my work and sleep schedules, sleeping in a hotel bed, eating out all day, working with different people in different places, and just generally shaking things up (albeit short term). This business trip took me to Cincinnati, where I worked twelve-hour night shifts at a local hospital, sampled the local chili (which I thought would be totally weird, but ended up rocking my world), and squeezed a couple of short running workouts into the chaos. After an exhausting few days, I slumped at the airport this morning half-watching stories about the recent earthquakes in Haiti. Some of the images and anecdotes nearly had me in tears, and combined with the stress of my upcoming biopsy, fatigue, and my off-kilter week, I was feeling a bit downtrodden and defeated.
After a flight to Detroit, where I had a two hour layover, I was walking down the long long LONG concourse and spotted a flash of charming bright orange in a shop window. Curious about the vivid splash of color in my otherwise dreary surroundings, I naturally turned my head to take a peek. The flash of orange, wouldn't you believe, was a copy of The Spark sitting on a display in Borders bookstore. I smiled with a bit of relief, slightly amused and encouraged that a touch of the familiar was right there in my face, literally brightening my day!
The Spark was released recently, and I honestly wasn't sure if I would purchase it or not. What could it teach me that I couldn't learn for free on the website? Did I really need a 28-day jumpstart plan when I was already at my weight loss goal? Would it be worth my time to read it? But, as it turned out, I was looking for an airplane read and a small part of me believed that seeing that familiar shade of orange in the midst of all my stresses and strains was some kind of sign. It screamed out "REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAD MEEEEEE!" So I laid down my money and carried the book to the departure gate.
Started reading, couldn't put it down until I had to, getting off the plane in Madison. I smiled, I laughed, I teared up a little, I couldn't believe that I had pretty much written off The Spark...until now. Even though I'm only about halfway in, I can just relate to so many of the feelings and stories in The Spark. I read so much wisdom that my brain almost doesn't know how to categorize it. I feel renewed and encouraged. I've been in a bit of a slump lately. Having reached my goal, I think I've gotten a bit complacent and have kind of let my healthy habits slide a bit. And with my doctor's suggestion that I gain a bit BACK, the temptation to gain it back using fast food and junk food is most definitely with me. While "weight loss" is not one of my goals anymore, I'm understanding that The Spark's wisdom can help me accomplish so many of the things I'm dreaming about. I'm already bursting with enthusiasm for everything I read, and 100% ready to give some of the ideas a try.
I can't wait to get started!
Saturday, January 09, 2010
Rough, rough week! Honestly, one of the scariest weeks of my life, but here I am finally looking back on the last few days and breathing a sigh of relief. I was a little hesitant to post too much about this week, just because it involved some fairly personal struggles (and you may want to stop reading if you're not into TMI "women's business") Some of you in the SparkTeams already know exactly what I'm talking about...and I appreciate your thoughts and prayers! They helped me so much through a very frightening experience.
It all started out with a routine doctor's appointment on Wednesday afternoon. I was going in for an annual check-up. I had a few loose ends to tie up, such as getting myself back onto anti-anxiety medication since I had been struggling more than I'd like to with anxiety recently. I figured everything would go smoothly...NOT. The doctor found a lump in my breast. It wasn't one that I had caught with my last self-exam, which was only a couple of weeks back. I guess I shouldn't have been shocked, but she ordered a mammogram. It was sobering watching her type it into the computer. I didn't expect that I'd even have to think about a mammogram until age 40, or at least 35! I just started crying on the spot. I didn't know what to think. Breast cancer? One of my grandmothers had died from it. And there was the childish part of me that was scared of the mammogram itself. Would it hurt? I had heard people say that they squish you flat as a panckae, that you should take Tylenol before you go, etc. I was overwhelmed. The nurse made me the appointment, and thankfully, rather than having to wait the typical three to four weeks, there was an opening for this Thursday. I was a little (um, LOT) overwhelmed, but grateful that it would be over with quickly. I prayed that they wouldn't find anything.
The evening was rough. I got home and my husband asked me what I wanted for dinner. "A big greasy unhealthy pizza." was my answer. I just wanted to comfort eat BADLY. So off to Picasso's pizza we went, where we ordered two small pies - one cheese for me, one bacon for him. And garlic bread. I didn't sleep much that night because I couldn't stop tossing and turning. We woke up to snow covered roads on Thursday morning. I went into work rather reluctantly, and tried to focus my mind on the day's tasks until ten o' clock, when I would leave for the hospital. As I got in my car to head to the hospital, I realized I forgot some paperwork I needed, so drove by the apartment to fetch it. And then when I went back out to the car...it wouldn't start! It just sort of hiccupped and died every time I turned the key in the ignition. GREAT. Forty-five minutes until my appointment, and my car was D-E-A-D! Thankfully I was thinking clearly enough to whip out my cell phone and call a cab. The friendly cabbie got me to the hospital with ten minutes to spare, and I was actually somewhat relieved that I didn't have to concern myself with navigating the snowy streets or parking downtown. I'd deal with the car later. (It turned out to be a dead battery, an easy fix.)
I was shaking as I stood at the radiology registration desk to dictate my insurance information and address to the clerk, and cried a little as I sat in the large waiting room, anxiously wondering when they'd call my name. A few minutes later, I was escorted into the back, where I was asked to change and wait for the radiology tech. When I was changed and seated in the back waiting room, I just sobbed and sobbed, feeling overwhelmed by the whole experience. I wished someone was there with me. I felt like a scared little girl who just needed her Mommy. I wasn't supposed to be here at the tender age of 31! I knew my doctor was just being proactive, and dealing with this sooner rather than later was the right thing to do. But I was scared out of my MIND. It was slightly comforting that my friends and family were thinking of me and praying for me. I didn't have to wait long, and the tech was very patient and gentle with me. The mammo didn't hurt at all, and wasn't even the least bit uncomfortable, and I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when it came back clean. They still had to do an ultrasound, though, just to figure out what the doctor had found. It turned out to be a fluid-filled cyst. However, the doctor at the hospital did notice a small lump next to the cyst, more beneath the surface. He was 99% certain that it was just a harmless fibroadenoma (NOT cancer). He showed me on the ultrasound how it wasn't shaped like a cancerous growth, and how it had clean margins, unlike most cancer. His recommendation was to return for a follow-up ultrasound in six months just to make sure it hadn't changed. However, he also offered me the option of a needle biopsy for "peace of mind," so I could know for sure sooner (rather than later) what this lump was. It didn't take me long to decide on the biopsy, just because I want to put this scare behind me once and for all! One of the nurses took me into a back office to explain the procedure and schedule my appointment for January 18th. I'll have the results within two days, and I can put this scare to bed. As I left, the doctor, ultrasound tech, and nurse all reassured me that I DON'T need to lose sleep over this, and that the chance that it could be anything worrying is slim to NONE. It felt good to leave the hospital more or less knowing that I had nothing to worry about.
It's been a rocky couple of weeks for me, and I am feeling somewhat off the wagon. There is time to work on that, though. And there's also a need to rethink my program a little bit. I spoke with my doctor about how maintenance (of my weight) was going, and how I was struggling to keep my weight stable. I've been following Weight Watcher's maintenance guidelines to the letter, but my weight still been dropping, although VERY slowly. I'm now teetering on the low end of the "ideal" weight range for my height. Honestly, I would like to gain a few pounds back, but I want to do it in a HEALTHY way, not just by filling up on junk food and forgoing exercise. The doctor asked me how my appetite had been, if I had been eating enough, etc. She made some suggestions on tweaking my diet to add "good" calories and cutting back a bit on exercise. And she also ordered blood work to check my thyroid and some other things. For now, my plan is to focus on eating a few more Weight Watchers points per day, like healthy oils and whole grains, and scale back my physical activity. I'm going to drop the Spark boot camp - it's just not the right thing for me at this time - and cut some of the cross-training, especially the harder stuff like 30 Day Shred and Biggest Loser workouts. I will maintain my 3 day/week running schedule and 1-2 strength training sessions each week. And we'll just wait and see how all this goes. This plan was created with my doctor's blessing. This maintenance business has been a huge challenge, but NOT in the way that I expected. I figured that my weight would slowly go UP, like it did when I dieted a few years ago, but now it's the opposite problem. The doctor, Weight Watchers, and I are going to work together on pulling my weight back up to my goal and then keeping it stable. One day at a time. I have my doctor's guidance in everything I'm doing, and we'll both make sure that I stay safe and healthy.
I'm just glad this week is behind me...
Monday, January 04, 2010
On March 6, 2010!
As you know, I've been dreaming of running a race at Walt Disney World for some time. My ultimate goal is to (hopefully) make it to the Walt Disney World Marathon, although I don't anticipate running that one until 2012, at the absolute earliest. (And a full marathon is still firmly in the IF, not WHEN category...) In the meantime, I've been hoping that one of the Fall 2010 races would fit neatly into my schedule.
Well, looks like my Disney racing debut is going to come even sooner than expected! My mother and I have been working to coordinate a spring visit to Florida for me and Timmy, and we finally agreed on February 26-March 7 and got our bosses to approve vacation time AND got a sweet deal on airline tickets. We're set! I was thinking about what I wanted to do during my visit and thought, "Hey, I am going to be in Florida during the Princess Half Marathon weekend!" But then, "Oh, well there is no way on earth I can be ready to safely run 13.1 miles in TWO months. No way." And the wheels kept turning, and I kind of remembered that there was a 5K race during the same weekend. Hmmmm...I wonder if the 5K still had space left? I trotted over to the Disney endurance website, and sure enough, registration was still open!
So...you're looking at the latest participant in Disney's 2010 Royal Family 5K! My Disney racing debut! My entry fee buys me a commemorative T-shirt, finisher's medal (assuming I finish of course...), and Disney trading pin for my collection. I'll also get to attend the Friday night Fit for a Princess expo, where I'll pick up all my loot. I'm THRILLED! A vacation to Florida is a sweet, sweet thing, and a Disney race is even sweeter!
Monday, January 04, 2010
Today marked my second day of boot camp, and I started the day with the following goals:
* Complete Coach Nicole's 8 minute lower body workout video
* Do 30 minutes of cardio, any kid
* Eat three servings of fresh fruit
I'm proud to say that I completed all three tasks! The fruit included one apple and two servings of blueberries, assuming 1/2 cup is a serving. And the exercise went smoothly.
I tried the lower body video before dinner since it was such a small time commitment. It involved doing several lower leg exercises, like squats and calf raises, while stabilizing myself against the wall with a balance ball. I liked it, and the exercises felt good. The only major challenge was keeping my balance when the exercises required me to stand on one leg, like the single-leg squats. That's something I'll look out for next time! I can see adding this video to my repertoire because it is so quick, and the exercises are relaxing and effective.
For cardio, I chose to stay in tonight, which meant doing a video. I had a Biggest Loser Cardio Max video, which I bought months ago and have never even done! I decided to give it a whirl. It has different segments you can mix and match, and I picked the warm-up, two cardio segments, and cool-down for a total of 40 minutes. It was a LOT of jumping and high-impact stuff...the Coach Nicole jumping video x 10. A couple of times during the video, I modified the harder high impact exercises to lower impact because, with my clumsy coordination, I feared falling and injuring myself...which would really bum me out! It was a relief to wrap up with five minutes of yoga-inspired stretching.
And that's day 2, in the books!
Sunday, January 03, 2010
As part of my resolution to incorporate a wider variety of exercises into my fitness routine, I took the courageous step of signing up for SparkPeople's January Spark Your Body bootcamp. As if the possibility of winning an iPod touch weren't enough of a benefit, I felt hopeful that working out along with the prescribed videos would offer me some new quick and easy ideas for strength and cross training. With the enthusiasm of a toddler jumping into a ball pit at Chuck E Cheese, I joined the growing Spark Team late last month and eagerly awaited the instructions on how to get started.
My first official boot camp experience was yesterday evening, with a sneak preview of Coach Nicole's ten minute "jump start" cardio workout. I laced up my best jumping shoes, set up my laptop in the living room, and clicked the link to the video.
I didn't realize that jump start quite literally meant, JUMP start. As in jumping. Well, this could get interesting. Coach Nicole led me through a series of intervals of jumping back and forth and side to side across a "line," which in my case was a resistance band lined up flat on the floor. I didn't have too much trouble with the impact level, and I probably have my running experience to thank for that, although I did occasionally feel a few pins and needles in my feet during the transitions from one jumping movement to another.
My main problem was, you see, I am probably one of the most uncoordinated people on the planet. In grade school kickball games, I was the poor kid whose feet always seemed to MISS the ball, and sometimes I'd even end up tripping over the thing and landing flat on my rear end in the dirt (usually on a day I was wearing light-colored shorts). At the college gym, I shied away from aerobics classes because I just didn't want to make a fool of myself. I NEVER dance at parties without serious coersion. And when a good friend invited me to a Zumba class last fall, I was quite hesitant to accept her invitation. So, with Coach Nicole's workout, it took about 105% of my concentration JUST to get the footwork correct and avoid tripping over my resistance band.
Then she told me I should be moving my arms?! WHAT?! And how? I tried to mirror her movements but somehow never got it right. My legs would be moving at something like 1.43 times the pace of my legs, or my legs at 2.15 times the pace of my arms. Or I would be trying to scissor my arms, and they'd both move in the same direction at the same time! ACK! I eventually compromised on just pumping my arms jogging-style, but even that took more concentration that I would have liked.
Needless to say, I survived the workout, feeling very clumsy. Today I repeated the workout, being that today is the "official" day 1 of boot camp, and my arms and I muddled through, and I had no resistance band tripping incidents.
I was hard-pressed to settle on my boot camp goals, other than the aforementioned wish to add variety to my workouts, but now I think I have one. Get my poor, uncoordinated arms moving in time with my legs throughout this jump start video!
Onward to day two!
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