Last week was the halfway point of the challenge. That Saturday I was in the ER experiencing chest pain, jaw pain and mid-back pain. All evidence indicates no heart attack, but the chest pain continues for me. My H2TC teammates probably recall my complaining of fatigue and weakness the week prior. I have just not been up to par since before Halloween.
This past week's challenge was to get in 300 fitness minutes. Needless to say, for me this was not appropriate, given the chest pain and now a persistent dry cough. The bonus was to brainstorm back-up plans if your primary workout plans didn't work out. I have several ways I try to get cardio in. I walk my neighborhood: alone, with my toddler in her all-terrain jog stroller, and with my husband and toddler. If I feel the weather has made our rough and non-existent sidewalks too unsafe, I can go to the track at our downtown park about 2 miles away. It's also lit pretty much all night long, so sneaking a walk in after dinner is possible even now. I dance around the house (Done girl dancing
) to whatever music moves me at the moment. Sometimes it's the toddler's stuff; sometimes it's my husband's metal or classic rock; sometimes it's my "weird" oldies from the 70s or folk rock. I especially like dancing to get me through the hated chore of washing dishes, so I really crank up the stereo then (ABBA Gold or Mary Chapin Carpenter). I also do yoga at home. Then there is the YMCA. That is my real fall-back. At the Y, I can walk the treadmill looking out over the foothills of the Smokies through large windows to keep me going. Or I can swim and get totally inside my head and body as I glide through the water. My strength training is all without equipment at home. I bear my own weight or portions of it with exercises from SP. As I've gained strength, I've graded them up (moving further down the wall for wall push-ups for example).
The stresses of this past week have me really missing the endorphin release of exercise. My body aches without the additional pain relief the extra endorphins provide. My body aches without all the usual movement it usually gets too. Being more sedentary is taking its toll on my back. I've been working on more deep breathing, but to be honest it hurts the aching chest right now even though the deep even breathing blows out the "junk" built up.
I have also learned that stress eating is not such a thing of the past as I thought it was. Without the exercise, I've found myself turning to carbs to get the serotonin rush. I visited a church on All Saints Day, as one of my non-physical goals is to be attending a church with some regularity by Easter, 2010 since I haven't found a spiritual support system since I moved to Tennessee. (Bear with me, this has a point.) Tuesday, the church sent a visitor to my home with one of those big iced chocolate chip cookies to thank me for stopping by. My first thoughts were, "This is the last thing I need in my house." I wanted it though, and despite wishing I had a workplace or mom's group I could take it to share and give it away, I kept it and ate it. Every time I served myself, I told myself I shouldn't be doing this. It tasted so good though. When I finally threw the bakery box away the next Monday, I had an epiphany. I realized that it had taken me a week to eat the cookie, sharing it with my husband and daughter (granted I ate the majority of it). I told my husband that the cookie reminded me of what I called "Congo Squares" and that in the height of my binge days I would have eaten the whole batch of Congo squares in 2-3 days by myself. So, I've improved greatly. For the most part, I ate the cookie with meals and snacks and the bingeing was pretty limited. The cookie is the worst, but with all my fatigue and weakness we've been going out to eat a lot lately. It's getting harder and harder to make healthy choices as I watch our food budget shrink too fast.
So with stress came a stress test. On Thursday, my little one's 2nd birthday I spent 5 hours at the local hospital for that ordeal. Since I have been so weak and unable to achieve a run, the doc said I needed to do the tabletop version of the test. Lordy, lordy the drug they use to dilate your blood vessels created chest pain and then some! The doc watching the ECG running that portion of the test said at this point, my heart shows no damage. The imaging portions of the test won't be back until next week. So now it's a waiting game and ruling things out with the family doc.
The day ended sweetly with my little girl blowing out her numeral 2 candle on a cupcake, completely baffled as to the reason, but loving her mommy and daddy singing to her.