Get Up and Get On

Well, last week I was all set to run two 5Ks back to back.  The first was on Thursday, for the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge, and the second was on Saturday, for the Golisano’s Stroll for Strong Kids 5K.  I used to walk the corporate challenge every year, and this was going to be my first time back in a few years.  I was so excited knowing I was going to run it.  Then my body intervened.
A warning to all men and those of the squeamish variety, you may want to stop here.  For those who are prepared to witness the gory details, read on.  By Thursday, I was having major issues.  On Weight Watchers, we call it TOM, or time of the month.  Mine usually lasts 3-4 days.  More than anyone needed to know about me, right?  Well, it turns out that women go through a lot with this one part of being an xy creature.  For some reason, my tom was on it’s 7th day and it was about 10x heavier than I have ever experienced.  This results in a lot of cramps, (blood clots, which are very painful), and a significant blood loss.  Being that it was still going so strong, I thought to call my gyn.  It turns out that she was on vacation, but the nurse practitioner advised me to take 600 ibuprofen every 6 hours, put my feet above my heart and ice my abdomen.  This would hopefully slow things down.
I informed her that I was on my way home to change for a 5K.  Her reaction was “Umm, you really can’t do that.”  Running will make it worse, as I was so happy to learn. (NOT)  So bummed as I was, I didn’t want to pass out on the course, or worse yet, have my pants mysteriously change colors as I crossed the finish line.  Yes, that would be worse.
By Friday morning. I thought it was done, but by the afternoon, I was back in full swing.  By Saturday morning, I was mainly in the clear, but so drained that I had to sleep in and miss the second 5K.  It sucks to sleep in, an action which seems so lazy, but my body just didn’t have the “juice” to get me going.  Grossed out yet?  Don’t worry.  I’m done with that stuff.
Next Sunday I have the Tour de Cure.  I have committed to riding 40 miles, and I am so excited.  I plan to go to the gym at least 2-3 times this week, so I can be warmed up and ready.  In order to have a good week, that typically involves good planning on my part.  Sunday is my day to do that.  Laundry in the dryer, bed stripped, groceries done, kitchen cleaned and prepped stuff for the week.
Here are some fun pics of the food prep.  I seriously could re-invent myself as a chef with no problem.  I did it once and I could so do it again.
Cut up the cantaloupe I bought last week.  So sweet and perfectly ripe.
Portioned out with raspberries on top.  Yum.
Some peanut butter chobani dip and strawberries.  I think I need some more portion containers.
Next, it’s on to spinach salads for the week.  Gotta build up that iron!  Above is my salad spinner.  I love how it folds up like that.  Isn’t that the coolest?
 Fresh spun spinach.  Now that’s some clean eating.
I baked one Wegman’s mojo marinated chicken breast, and one balsamic rosemary.  The mojo, I decided to shred, so it would be pulled chicken.  nom nom nom.  I split each breast into two containers (4 total), separate from the salad, so I can microwave it at lunch and have hot chicken on my salad.  So fantastic!
 Here are my 4 salads.  Spinach, sliced baby bella mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes, shredded carrots, bean sprouts, broccoli, artichoke hearts, black olives, 2 with parmesan, and 2 with feta.  2 containers of light ranch, and 2 of fat free parmesan italian.
Well, I’m ready for the week, and I have no more room in my fridge!
When I went to go grocery shopping today, I was still feeling tired and I knew how easy it would be to go home and lay on the couch all day.  None of the above would be accomplished and I would be filled with self resentment.  What a way to live!  I had to reject that notion, for the reality of what I wanted for the week.  One of being able to grab what I needed/wanted, having my clothes all put away, my room clean, and everything in nice OCD order.  Much preferred.  Now I still have time to relax, and enjoy my evening.
Dinner for tonight will feature mahi mahi with pineapple mango chutney (Wegs), and steamed broccoli.

Sleep Numbers Divided By Daybreak Stats

I went to my sleep study appointment last night and we reveled in the results of me going cold turkey off my sleep medicine. It did not go well. By last Friday, I had to go back on because I was a zombie.

Now I am back on and weaning myself off in a slower fashion. I am also going to go look at sleep number beds this weekend. Saw a commercial for them and the queen starts at something like $699. Hmmmm.

This morning I finally went back I the gym, having missed spinning class so much. It was quite the accomplishment to get myself out of bed at 5:00 am again.

Spinning 56 min 488 cal
Abs challenge and stretching 31 min 136 cal
Total 1 hr 27 min 620 cal

The abs challenge consists of the following:
50 classic crunches
50 leg raises
50 bicycles
50 back extensions
50 kayaks with a medicine ball
50 advanced wood chops
50 airplanes
50 side bends with a weight
50 clamshell crunches
3 one minute planks

I made this into a Weight Watchers challenge, so the exercises are in a google doc.
Those google docs are handy!

In other news, I ran a 10K on Sunday and came to the conclusion that a 10K is about as far as I want to run in a race. It was good, hot, and a fun challenge.

Journaling The Art of Psyching Yourself Out

Last week I had lofty plans to transition from going to the gym 4 days a week to training on the road.  I am running a 10K this Sunday, and riding 40 miles in the Tour de Cure in June.  Not to mention some 5Ks in between the two.

As we cannot control the timing of extraneous circumstances, I am in the middle of a sleeping study.  I have insomnia, and I take melatonin and a sleep aid to get “some” sleep at night.  It’s not fantastic, but better than what I call counting tiles on the ceiling all night.  This study is not the kind where I go into a facility, and sleep while people watch me through a glass window.  “She keeps picking a wedgie.  Maybe she should get boxers…”

I have learned that when it comes to sleep centers, the rule is that if you have insomnia, there isn’t much to watch.  Even though I am on meds that help me to fall asleep, they can’t do a sleep study (through insurance) unless they think I have sleep apnea, which they do not think I have.  This study is more psychological.  I keep a journal chronicling my energy levels, stress, pain, activity (minutes), napping (minutes), alcoholic drinks, time I go to bed and time I wake up.  Once I wake up, I log how many times I woke up (best recollection), how long it took to get back to sleep (total for all times woken up), time spent out of bed, etc.

Then we go over how to modify my behavior to try to make the window of sleep I get, better. This week, we went over my first 2 week journal.  My doctor believes (and I agree) that I am drifting in and out of consciousness, and not getting “restful” sleep.  Unfortunately insurance won’t cover an in facility sleep study for us to confirm that.  So we are continuing with this behavioral one.  I may sound a bit of an open book, disclosing all this.

My father was a psychologist.  I grew up with the understanding of the mental and emotional effect on the physical.  I do therefore, abhor the concept of being psychoanalyzed, put into a box and reduced to a series of diagnoses based on your actions.  “Well, when she put down that cup, her head was tilted.  Ahah!  She has blah blah blah disorder.”  Ummm, thanks, but no thanks.  Despite my resistance to that particular aspect of psychology, I do have a great appreciation for ruling out the mental and emotional factors that can effect our physical well-being. If I really want to better my situation, it is on me to be open about anything that could be affecting my sleep and my health. 

Over the years a lot of my physical diagnoses have been auto-immune related.  Anyone who has experience with auto-immune disorders will be familiar with the results that there are not many cures.  Many of the treatments are behavioral.  We can either resent this and be stubborn, not fixing anything, or we can be pro-active and go after everything we can to better our situation.  I am trying to do the latter, despite how addressing mental and emotional issues is annoying and carries a stigma in society.

Back to this last week, and the results of my first journal.  One thing we agreed on is that my sleep medicine is affecting our results.  Because my sleep doctor is not an MD, she needed me to discuss weening off the medicine, with my prescribing doctor. She was concerned that my doctor might just say to stop it completely.  He of course did.  Because I want to get to the bottom of this, so I can actually get some sleep at night, I went with it and stopped the meds.  The sleep doctor said I could keep the melatonin.  To be honest, I was more concerned about stopping that, because it’s the only thing that helps me to fall asleep.  The other stuff just keeps me from constantly waking back up (somewhat).

So of course, I am trying to get myself to wake up at 5:00 AM, and not go to the gym like I have gotten myself into the discipline of doing. Instead I wanted to go out for a run on the road, so that I can be in the practice of running out on the streets, vs on a treadmill.  I also wanted to practice on my new hybrid, as opposed to my spinning classes.  The differences are extremely significant.

What happened was that I ended up getting really crappy sleep most of the week.  It was to be expected.  The best  I can describe, it is like I am resting in my bed, close to being asleep.  I have loose dreams, but I am aware that I am in my bed the whole time.  I drift in and out of getting to that point of sleep.  It’s almost like the minute I am going to fall asleep, I wake myself up and drift off again.  This leads to my alarm going off, and me feeling like I got a really bad nap, as opposed to a night of restful sleep. As a result, I snooze and snooze and snooze, not getting out of bed to go for a run or a ride.  I reset my alarm and over sleep, having wasted my morning. 

On Wednesday night, I went out to dinner with my brother.  He wanted to go out for my birthday.  Since we haven’t gone out in years, just the two of us, I was pretty excited to get to see him.  He mentioned that I motivated him to start running again and that he has been getting up early and going for runs outside. That was pretty cool.  I love hearing that I motivate people, and my brother is definitely someone who I am glad to have a positive influence on.

I started to realize, after I got home, that I needed my motivation on others to get back to having that effect on me.  I needed to re-motivate myself and despite the bad sleep I was getting, I needed to get out there.  I had to look at my snoozing and not getting up as more than just not getting decent sleep.  What else could it be?  I started to consider what would make me not want to go outside for a run, or a ride.  I am fine with going to the gym.  Then I started to think, I am scared of it.  I don’t know why, but then I do.  The minute I allowed myself to consider that there could be fear over doing it, I was able to see where it might come from.

What if I hurt myself (pot holes, bad knees, anything that might happen out on those dangerous roads)?  What if I can’t run as far as I need to for the 10K?  What if I can’t ride the 40 miles and I can’t keep my commitment?  What if it’s dangerous out there and I get hit by a car or something?

OK, I let myself go through those fears.  That’s enough.  I just wish I had let myself go through those earlier.   Thursday morning I got up, despite the bad sleep.  I went for a run, and ended up completing 6.3 miles.

I don’t see a way to post a run from mapmyrun to my blog, so here is a pic.  
Pretty cool!
Friday I didn’t get up again, which may have been residual fear of riding a bike so early in the morning, on top of the bad sleep.  Saturday I did get out for a ride.  Last year at the Tour de Cure, I had my mountain bike and committed to riding 25 miles.  Since I went to spinning twice a week, I didn’t think it would be that bad.  The course was all hills, I had to walk most, and I was so sore by the end that I was fighting the tears.  I found out that my mountain bike, weighing about 50 lbs and with big thick tires was a huge problem.  So I bought a hybrid this year.
But concern still remained.  What if  the hybrid didn’t help all that much?  What if riding out on the road, as opposed to a blocked off course without traffic, really was dangerous?
OK, that’s enough time on those external factors, which I can’t control or predetermine.  I wanted to ride to my brother and sister-in-law’s place (hereto referred as my sil…). My sil and I had talked about going for a ride together from her place.   I didn’t tell them I was coming in case it was too hard for me to make the complete trip, or if for some reason I just didn’t make it.  This would be a dry run of sorts.  I did end up making it there. Said hi, refilled the water, and went back towards my place.

I was hoping to go to the market, but it would close just about when I got there.  I was close to 20 miles and since that would be 1/2 the tour, I thought it would be great to make it that far in this training ride.  Made the decision to ride there anyway, even if the market would be closed.  It ended up that places were still open.  I got to grab perogies from the perogie guy, red peppers (plan to make stuffed peppers tonight), blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes and green beans.  I so love the market!  

I rode back home, and as I got there I was into 18 miles.  I rode around the block (enjoying the silliness of passing my house, with my market goods on my back) and ended up getting myself to 20 miles.

I also love mapmyrun for giving me those markers, so I would knew where I was, distance wise.
I felt great when I got back.  I still had energy, so I mowed my lawn.  Afterwards, I realized that one concern had been overlooked.
Forgot the suntan lotion.  Got an iphone strap, anyone???
I used it as a warning to my nieces and nephews, not to fight mommy and daddy when they go to put sun tan lotion on.  They were feeling the heat off my arms all weekend.
Hey, after all this talk of the Tour de Cure, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask for donations.  Please consider sponsoring me, and passing along my page to friends and family.  I really appreciate it.  It’s a total motivator! 😉
Click that link right there to go to my sponsor page!  If you would rather send me a check, that is fine too! 

Sleeping Dogs Don’t Lie

I read the first chapter of The Art of Racing in the Rain, last night.  It was a short chapter, and it is in the narrative of a dog.  This perspective has helped me to realize a truth that has been one of the hardest for me to fully realize and accept in my life.  People spend so much time assuming what other people want, that they make their decisions based on what they think another person wants or needs.

I see it all the time when people complain that their life is spent doing things for other people.  Or that because they spent so much time doing for others, they suffered.  Now it’s too late for them.  There is no time for me.  Well the perspective of this dog will teach those who are willing to learn.  You need a very specific, and not so easy to come by, mix of presentation and interpretation for your actions and behaviors, your intentions to come through to in the manner you believe they will or want them to.

What would happen if we just focused on what we wanted for ourselves?  How selfish that would be!  To not consider others.  To only think of ourselves.  But what if we were honest and up front about what we want for ourselves, and let those around us react and tell us if that works for them.  We might find that being independent in our actions, and choosing for ourselves will allow others to be independent and choose for themselves.

Even if we think we know what others want or need, why are we so sure that we are right?  Do we think that others know better what we need or want, better than ourselves?  I doubt it.  I hate when people think they know what I need or should want.  Especially when it is different from what I know I need or want.

My dad and I have discussed this on some different levels.  The idea being that way you address someone, or convey something isn’t necessarily going to be how they will receive it.  So what is more important?  How you intended your message to come across or how it was received?  My dad has argued that the intention of the sender is what matters, while I disagree.  I understand his point.  If I intend to help you, that should mean the world.  If you intended to help someone, that means huge difference to to if you intended to hurt that person.  The flip side is the actual effect you ended up having.  Regardless of anyone’s good or bad intent, if the result is that the recipient did not receive the message well, the intentions are lost anyway.  And a more important effect might be that the receipt of the message could have been interpreted in a damaging hurtful way.

This all makes me firmly believe that we cannot afford to make our presentations, our messages to others, based on what we think they want or need.  I theorize that if we instead focus on what we want and need, make that our message, we would then free the recipients of our messages to respond with their own independently formed wants and needs about themselves.  We might both be free to express and gain what we need for ourselves and from each other without inhibiting the other person.  It’s ironic that the inhibition we might cause can come out of an intention to care for another.

So that is just the first chapter of the book.  We shall see how the rest of this goes…

Studying the Sleeping Habits of Domino Napping

I got to go to this amazing party on Saturday, and even through the 8 course meal and all the wine and champagne, I still lost 1 lbs at my weigh in on Sunday.  I was pretty excited.  Of course the effect of that late night bash left me exhausted on Sunday.  I got home, put laundry in and made a grocery list for the store.  I wouldn’t let myself sit down, because I knew I wouldn’t get back up.  Sunday is my day to clean the house, get laundry done, make a casserole of some sort for the week’s lunches, cut up fruit and veggies for the week, and basically get all my ducks in a row (La Quinta).

I had picked up stuff to make quiches.  I haven’t done that before, so I thought it might make good lunches for the week.  Of course, when I got back from the store, I had a clear plan of action in my head.  I put the groceries away, switched the laundry to the dryer and then decided to take a break on the couch.  Oops.  That was the domino that has put in place an unprepared week.  I was watching my dvr and my eyes kept closing.  Decided to take a nap around 6:30, setting an alarm to 7:30.  Of course it was set for am, instead of pm.  Woke up around 8.  Not making the quiches tonight.  I’ll just make them Monday night.  I also was planning on changing up my workout routine.  I have signed up for one 10K, two 5K’s and a 40 mile bike ride in the Tour de Cure.  This is all happening over the next month.  Instead of going to spinning classes at the gym, it will be good for me to run outside and ride my bike as much as possible.

That was the plan last night.  Get up at 5:00-5:30 and go for a run from my house.  I ended up mindlessly snoozing until 6:30, deciding it was too late to go for a run, reset my alarm to 7:30 and actually got out of bed by 8:30.  Amazing how 1 nap just put everything out of whack.  This means I have to make up one of my workout days this week, and I needed to get my week’s lunches made tonight, as well as finish my weekly chores.

This is the schedule for the events that I am registered for:

  • May 20, 2012 – Lilac Festival 10 K – There is no fundraiser for this, but if you can help support me in the Tour de Cure, I am trying to raise $1, 000!!! 
  • May 31, 2012 – JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge – There is no fundraiser for this, but if you can help support me in the Tour de Cure, I am trying to raise $1, 000!!!
  • June 2, 2012 – Strong Stroll for Kids 5K and Stroll for Strong Kids Sponsor me Here!
  • June 10, 2012 – Tour de Cure – If you haven’t noticed, this is the big kahuna.   Hoping to raise lots of funds.  Please consider sponsoring me, and spreading the word.  Post to your FB page, on your blog, etc.  Anything you can do to help me raise funds, would greatly be appreciated!!!  Click here to sponsor me!! 

Time to get my butt in gear and get ready for these events.  I am going to go to total body tomorrow. My thought is I will run Wednesday, from home, go on a bike ride Thursday, total body on Friday, and run on Saturday.

Hopefully that will get me on track for this week, and help me to be ready for the 10K on the 20th.  I’m pretty excited for these challenges, so this should be a good month full of pushing myself to a new level.

The interesting thing about this one small nap, which has killed my preparation for the week, is that I am currently in a sleep study.  I go in tomorrow night to give my results of the sleep journal I have kept for the past two weeks.  I never take naps, and it is so obvious that this one really had a big impact on my life.  You wouldn’t think that it would be that big deal, but for someone with insomnia, it is a problem.  I got to try out a tempurpedic yesterday.  Boy do I want one of those!

For now, I made my quiches.  I planned on 2, but had enough for 3.  Ended up with one swiss, one feta and one cheddar.  Pretty yummy!

The best thing is that making them totally got me out of the bad mood I was in all day.  The headache I had is gone and I’m over the funk and frustration from losing time due to yesterday’s exhaustion.  Back at it!

Sweet Chaos Does Not Reign Supreme

I do. Late getting up, as I’m grabbing my stuff to walk out the door, I knock my coffee mug on the floor. 1/2 my (sweet, hot, yummy) coffee is now tempting Rainey to walk through it. I admit the defeat that I am not making it in time for total body hell this morning. I clean up the mess and get on my way.

Total Body by hot sweaty mess Courtney 1 hr 45 min 953 cal
10 min on treadmill
Arm weights
10 min on stair master
Leg reps
10 min on stepper
3 min on row machine on way out

A lady actually stopped me, and with a heavy accent said ” I see your shirt and I say that is a good workout! You did good.”

I love when random strangers take the time to say something nice like that. Here’s to a sweet, but not chaotic, Friday.