Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I assume I am not fighting any bug or major illness other than perimenopause. I am the right age - almost 48 - and have just passed a gargantuan pre-nursing/med school physical, including a 9-vial complete blood test. My kidneys are showing some signs of "use", but they're pretty good considering my particular gene pool. My Mom's were already well below 40% function by my age; at least one of her sisters was at 50%. So I am happy at 60%. I just need to pee too frequently for convenience and I have to curb my sodium and chloride intake.
Everything else had improved tremendously since my last visit! Blood pressure, pulse (I've had tachycardia since a child), lungs (asthma since childhood), blood lipids all better than in quite a few years. My weight had dropped 9 pounds. I passed a stress test.
But here I am, dogged by nausea during many cardio-respiratory activities. And serious overheating. It is 57 degrees outside. I didn't run outside this morning. Maybe I should have. I opened up the home gym windows and door and ran on the treadmill. I became nauseated and overheated within a few minutes and had to racewalk most of the way. Fortunately, I do have racewalking to fall back on. I'm pretty fast for short distances, but I can't maintain it because I always thought it looked too stupid to practice it seriously. I think I'll try harder to develop skill in it, too, because it's a good backup. I can racewalk a 13.13 pace if I concentrate hard (on a treadmill for ten minutes or around a highschool track TWICE). That's a heck of a lot faster than I can walk.
And it's not just that - I want to SLEEP all the time. And every time I open up my math book I feel like crying and sometimes I do. I'm just a C math student trying to get an A. Normally I dig in my heels and just get it done. Lately I can't seem to. And I'm dragging through my job. I even got a pregnancy test to make sure that wasn't the problem (it isn't, thank G-d).
There are two things I want to do right now: walk my dog and have a good run. Believe it or not, the nausea is disappointing me, and the overheating is making it difficult, but neither are deterring me. I've had hot flashes for several years already. I can't say about the nausea because I haven't really exercised hard until lately. I just hope that this won't last too much longer.
More on nausea as a symptom:
My husband, by the way, is concerned, but supportive. He says if I really want to run, I should run. He thinks 47 is a little young to be having such serious hot flashes, but he also knows I'm not taking big risks. I WALK the dog alone. Or I run alone and he and the dogs leave the house thirty minutes later to pick me up. Or I work on the treadmill at the gym or at home. At this point, that is all we think is safe. I've been checking my blood pressure afterwards and it's never been high. I'm just over hot and over-nauseated.
I am hoping for a good end to this soon - I mapped out that run into Oakland in my last blog. A 15 mile run (round trip) is way too long for me now, but it's a pretty one and I'd like to do it all by myself, from the end of my gravel driveway all the way through town and back, without any worries.
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Edited to add other info: I DO find drinking coffee - one mug every morning - greatly exaggerates the need to pee. Maybe I should give that up in case I'm somewhat dehydrated, as Owl20 suggests, in the AM when I exercise. I don't drink alcohol except a glass of wine or beer SOME evenings - not most of them. I don't smoke.
Other than that, I can experiment with calories. I was losing weight when I was eating about 1400 calories and not exercising very hard, but then I plateaued. Then I increased my exercise, and was miserable so I increased my calories, also. I was at 1700 for awhile and felt pretty good, but my weight didn't budge. After reducing my calories back to 1400-ish a week ago, I seem to have developed worse symptoms. I think I will bump up to about 1600 and see what happens.
Another thought: I used to hike and garden in Virginia with a cold, wet handkerchief around my neck. It's hard to even imagine that on a rainy Oregon morning that's below 60 degrees, but considering how fast I get hot, I can have it with me, maybe in a ziploc bag.
Maybe if I do all that, I will just cry over math.
Monday, May 20, 2013
This morning's run was on the treadmill to save time (hey... I'm already doing 12 minute miles!) but I am itching to take Solly back out to Oakland. The last time we went, he handled all the commotion fairly well, so he may be "toughening up" a little in his personality. He's been a big wussy about cars passing him and dogs barking. He expects me to protect him.
This is neither me, nor my dog, nor my neighborhood, but you get the idea.
We live on a really long, windy road that is cut through a deep valley and has a scary drop to the "creek" (it would be called a river in Virginia, but it is only a couple feet deep in July and August). So I am a little afraid to run on our actual road, even though it is beautiful. Maybe the section with the scary drop will become our "sprint" section of interval training.
If we keep going and turn right, we go through this bridge:
Then we can turn left and head into Oakland. This road is a great one to run on. There are a few bad blind curves, but for Western Oregon, not too bad. Here the valley's wide enough and it's quiet enough so we can hear cars coming. They don't sneak up on us here, unlike on our own road, where the valley and water sounds drown them out. There are no tall hills with big boulders to come crashing out of nowhere. (Did you know Oregon was the state in which you were most likely to be killed by a boulder crashing through your windshield as you were driving? You didn't? Well, now you do.)
There are several sheep and cattle farms. I always critique them as I go by. This one really needs goats to clean up the brush. This one needs to hire a few 20 year olds to haul the metal out before an animal gets hurt. Boy, that one ought to rotate that pasture more often. It is eaten down to the nubs and they'll be lucky if their cattle don't end up wormy. But there are a couple places I am proud of, without knowing their owners. I always give them a mental thumbs up, even if I am just driving by on my way to work. All this farm thinking keeps me busy. I wish I had started running during lambing season! There is NOTHING cuter than frolicking lambs!
I haven't actually made it to town. I'm not that strong yet. If I want to even WALK in the town (I haven't tried running there yet), I have to drive there.
Oakland is a sleepy town with a kindergarten through high school all on one property, although they did finally separate the high school into its own building. But they still share the same buses, which used to steam my daughter, who was accustomed to Virginia's totally separate school system. The town roads are mixed, so I can run on flats if I choose or on hills. Some of the hills are monsters - about the equivalent of a treadmill 10 incline or higher. They're hard to walk up and down so I can't imagine running up and down them. One, a short but extraordinarily steep hill, is on my list for training towards the end of this month. I am writing it down so I don't chicken out.
The 5k I just signed up for is one I don't know a whole lot about. It may be mostly on pavement and partially on sand. If the latter's the case, I have some specialty training for that, because it is in the Dunes! This is the lighthouse that is at the end. Or maybe the start? It is somewhere, I suppose, because the race is named after it.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
My husband is still somewhat in shock, I think. He just came home from his conference and found out that I signed up for a second 5k race. He is a lifelong athlete but has never seen me do much exercise that wasn't USEFUL, like digging and weeding by hand. Me, running just to run? He can't wrap his mind around it, I think.
I told him that I read in a New York Times article that older women actually ran faster times than younger women, which is the opposite of what happens with men. Middle aged women gave a few reasons, one of which is EXACTLY the reason I am on fire myself: they suddenly find out they are capable of doing something they never thought they could.
When I went to school, even the healthy girls had to be on girl's teams, playing girl's sports - like field hockey in those stupid plaid skirts. There were huge differences in the amount of time and effort put into coaching and promoting the different sex teams, of course.
And if you were unhealthy like me, you didn't even go to a real gym class. MY gym class was held inside a gym, but we stuffed envelopes for the school or were just told to do whatever we felt like because it was a free hour. I was told to puff on my inhalant, watch my heart... oh no, don't get too hot!
Boys, on the other hand, are expected to be athletic. If their parents carefully raise their children, so both sexes have access to both "genders" of toys, their daycare teachers and friends will undo this soon enough. My son was sure he would be an athlete before he was three years old. He is still physically active and has never been heavy. Why should he ever have any kind of epiphany that he could run? No one ever insinuated he couldn't. My daughter, on the other hand, was sure she was a brainiac bookworm by the age of three (yes, she was reading). She is still heavy today, 18 years later.
So here I am, 47 years old, trying new things because I am chubby and curious and because I am tired of thinking I can't do this and that. When I finally found something I could do, it really was an epiphany. I can do this. And I am going to be good, whatever that "good" happens to be for someone with my health. I fully intend to test myself a bit at a time, so I stretch my boundaries. Considering I ran zero minute miles before (because I never started!), every race I complete will be a good race. But I want to know what I can do.
The article I referenced:
And this blog is just a lot of fun:
Friday, May 17, 2013
I'm an apple, I suppose, but with lumps. What we call a juice apple since we can't sell it for eating fresh. Or a mesomorph with lumps. Big shoulders, narrow hips, all my weight in my waist/belly. Naturally have blocky thighs, which are resistant to change, but I am definitely not a pear. My body is bigger front to back from waist down than side to side.
I have been measuring my "hips" at my saddlebags. My actual thighs started at 25" and are still 24-25" depending on how hard I pull the measuring tape three months after I started.
( If I pull hard enough to get 23.5", I might break the tape!! )
But my saddlebags have made STUNNING improvement. They started off as blobs attached to the sides of my upper thighs - making it clear how they got their name. I was horribly embarrassed of them. Measuring across both legs closed at saddlebag level, I was 44" in mid-February. Measuring today, I am 39". Yaaay!
My waist is down 1.25". My belly is less lumpy. It still has the baggy look of someone who gained and lost weight twice in the last few years, but the lumps are reduced. I'll use the excuse that I don't want my next boss to find me here as the reason I won't take pictures of me in a string bikini, though. Even after all my hard work I become a luscious fresh morsel.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
I just said I was going to get ready for work, so I'll make this quick.
I got my husband to agree before he left town to take pictures when he returned for the BLC if I get selected for a team. One of them will be a picture of me trying to flex my left arm! It's not horrific... don't picture a tiny little shriveled thing. But I hadn't even realized until I signed up for the BLC that I couldn't flex it anymore. I did realize it was soft and weak in comparison to my right arm.
I have cervical disc degeneration, so I have significant pain on the left side of my neck down to my fingers. I've been babying that arm for years. I guess I didn't realize how much. So for the last several weeks, since I joined the BLC mailing list, I've also been doing 160 wall push ups every single day. Wide arms, deep lean, straight back, with a clap in between every single one. The clap isn't too look impressive - it's to get the weight off my wrists and to give me something to count off of.
I feel kind of proud of myself for this. My friend Pascal said the other day that working out gives you bragging rights. Yes. It does. So I have a weak arm. Yes, I look lopsided in exercise classes - and quit every class I ever started because of this arm, because I can't move in a coordinated manner. I can't dance. I can't lift two dumbbells at the same time. But I can do 160 wall pushups. And I am proud of it. Hell yes, I am.
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