A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Weekly Wrap-Up: Back to School!

It’s back to school time – and back to long workouts again! First up school: I have a first grader now! This transition is easier for all of us so far than kindergarten was. Thank goodness experience counts for something!
First grade!

Thank goodness elementary school teachers are so patient, too. 🙂 We still haven’t gotten around to printing the lunch menu, so Oliver is not going to school with his lunch option picked (which is what they request) other than us saying “Shoot, no menu – Just go with #2. You normally like that!” I’m sure I’m not the only parent in that position.

This week, I got in all of my workouts (even if they’re still not on the right day!), some nice stretching AND implemented my no caffeine after 3 pm goal. Wow am I am sleeping better since that started! Apparently that was disrupting sleep more than I realized.

Workouts

Monday No workout on the schedule, although it ended up being a really high step day thanks to a morning a spent doing presentations at Girls Inc in Omaha. I do lots of walking around when I do small group discussions!

Tuesday 35 minutes of easy walking, plus walking from our house to school for back-to-school night. Oliver was so excited to see his classroom!

Wednesday I took the day off and had a delayed “birthday” day with Oliver. We went to the movies (Despicable Me 3 – not great) and to paint pottery with Oliver. We also got some crafts to work on at home and in general, had a great time with each other all day. It definitely made up for the fact that I had to work all day on his actual birthday. No workout, other than hugs! It was raining so no zoo which was our initial plan. Despite a no-exercise day, I still managed to get an injury! I slipped in the rain and pulled a muscle in my left leg a bit. Boo 😦

Thursday Speed work day, with 8 rounds of 60 seconds speed – 3 minute recovery (confession: only 2 minutes recovery, but I added on the extra minutes walking to take O to school!). Today’s speed work was all about effort more than pace because I’d tweaked a muscle in my leg when I slipped in the rain Wednesday. Walking definitely help stretch that out, even if it did keep me from walking as fast as I’d have liked.

Friday 20 minutes of easy walking

Saturday 5 minutes warm up, 25 minutes power walking (where I was finding fall colored leaves on the road already!) and 5 minutes cool down. I keep ending up in the position where I’m working out on Saturday and Sunday thanks to getting distracted from the schedule. I need to be sure that I’m doing the easy walk for the week on Saturday rather than the tempo walk, to avoid two “hard” workouts back-to-back.

Crispy spring rolls

Saturday we also made some absolutely divine crispy spring rolls that Darrell & I learned at our Thai cooking class earlier in the summer. They were easier than I expected and came out great in our air fryer (rather than deep frying them). Even Oliver loved them and had a great time making them with us. If Paula (who runs the Creme de la Creme cooking class where we learned this) ever posts the recipe, I’ll link it. Do you love my notes I’ve got scribbled all over my copy of the recipe? LOL!

Sunday This felt like a REAL workout and reminded me that I’m training for a half marathon. I had 6 miles on the schedule, so I headed out with my water and a mini Lara bar (still not sure how much fuel I need for walking as opposed to running). I walked from my house, toward our neighborhood taco bar. Darrell and Oliver came to pick me up when I got 6 miles along the way, to take us all the rest of the way. I really like walking TO something as opposed to in a loop around the neighborhood and especially liked walking to TACOS. I was definitely hungry after 6 miles of walking, which made me think fondly of my running days.

I confess that I got down about the no-running thing on Sunday. This weekend is my “run-i-versary” and for the first time in the five years since I started running, I won’t be out running to celebrate that milestone. (Even reading the blog just now to find the name of that post to link, I found myself thinking how much happier I seemed when I was running as I skimmed posts!) This weekend, I’m also doing another writing workshop for our faculty, which is the same thing I was doing six months ago when my stupid neck herniated in the first place. And of course, this weekend while I walking, I had to jog across an intersection for a few seconds. That afternoon, I had horrible pain in the same spot it hurt when my disc herniated. It only lasted a few hours and I think it was a muscle strain thing, but it was still a VERY unwelcome reminder. I really want to go back to being a runner. It’s a small, selfish thing but that’s my truth. Sigh. Here’s hoping I get the chance!

All right, enough moping. Here’s some happy: A first grader’s view of the eclipse.
1st grade view of eclipse

That would be O, in  his glasses, in front of his red brick school watching the eclipse. I’m glad he went out to see it because for a while, he was afraid of hurting his eyes. I definitely enjoyed seeing everyone outside and excited about something for all of this on Monday. 🙂

This week, I’m up to 7 miles on Sunday. I’m swamped Saturday, so I definitely won’t have to worry about avoiding back to back hard workouts (writing workshop and birthday party Saturday). My plan is to do my speed workout today, an easy walk tomorrow and my tempo walk on Friday. Know what I did yesterday? Strength training! I know – it’s been ages! Maybe if I give myself two stickers for strength training I’ll be more motivated to keep it going? I’ll also keep up my no-caffeine rule, which is definitely helping my sleep, and stay on track with eating through this weekends events (more on that coming later this week!).

What are your plans this week? Anybody get awesome views of the eclipse? We were 98% or so in Omaha. It was still fun!

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Weekly Wrap Up: A return of neck pain . . . And running hiatus

Good news, bad news.

Good news:

    • First half of last week was great in terms of my fitness goals! Lots of walks and a 9-interval running workout.
    • I stayed on track with my food choices all week despite lots of travel. I made good choices and tracked everything, including some indulgences.

Healthy choices on the roadA healthy room service breakfast left room for yummy lemon cake!

  • I didn’t let the stress of travel throw me off plan!

Bad news:

  • During that run Wednesday, my neck pain came back with a vengeance – and has stayed. It hurt worse than it has since February and still hurts. Even worse, I also had an increase in my thumb pain, which means this wasn’t just muscular. The nerve was irritated again too.
  • The neck pain freaked me out so much that I was pretty much a slug for the last half of the week. Food choices were good, but my step counts and workouts were minimal.

I’ll admit, the neck pain got me down and there were some cookies that weren’t tracked on Memorial Day. However, Tuesday I was right back on the horse, weighing in and tracking again. I’m beyond frustrated with this neck pain, but I knew this was a possibility. The physical therapist seemed wary of me trying to run at all because of the impact and inflammation. Turns out she was right – at least for now.

I’m re-evaluating my summer plans. No more running for a couple of months – I’ll try again in the fall if the summer goes well. However, without running, I’m going to need to find something that keeps me moving. I need something that gives me the “training for a race” level motivation to keep moving, even if what I’m doing is stationary bike, elliptical and walking. It is amazing the number of things that involve stress to your neck! Biking on the road is out for a while, as is swimming. I’ll have to find fun in low impact things for a while. On the plus side, I have time to finally get good about strength training. Maybe I can work on coming up with a plan and a sticker chart. I’m super motivated by a sticker chart.

I need to view this as an opportunity to try something new and to avoid running in the heat of summer. Always a bright side. 🙂

Also a bright side for me? A date with myself Thursday night for Wonder Woman!!

Wonder Woman!!I am ridiculously excited about this movie!!

Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia for hosting our weekly wrap up! Next week’s weekly wrap up will hopefully include reports of two strength workouts, walks every day and good food choices.

How do you stay motivated to keep moving through an injury?

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Easing back into running

Now that spring is here I’m itching to get back to running, but my last visit with my PT has me rethinking my original plan of diving into a Couch to 5K program.
Do you really have to run?
 Big question, right? Technically, no, but really – I’d like to. Her concern is with the impact on my probably still fragile cervical disc. The neurosurgeon said it would be a year before it had fully healed. Does that mean I can’t run at all? She didn’t say that, but did say that I should take it slow and keep it minimal during this year. She also suggested other exercises, at which point I got to demonstrate how UNcoordinated I am on the elliptical. She didn’t believe me when I said I couldn’t really do it until I showed her. She couldn’t put her finger on exactly where I was going wrong, but agreed I was definitely going wrong!
I promised no big or long running this year and to take it easy, watching for any sign of my symptoms returning. As much as I want to run for my sanity and my weight management, I never want to go through this herniated disc nonsense again.
In the sense of finding a balance, I’ve decided on this approach:
No more than 2 run workouts a week, to give me plenty of time between to notice if there’s any inflammation or any problem.
– No plans for anything longer than 5K distance or anything with speed work, hills, etc. Short easy running!
– No plans for continuous running. My goal is to keep to run walk intervals for the next year, until I’m further out from this injury.
What is that actually going to look like?
1-2 workouts a week, starting with 30 second run/2 minute walk and increasing the number of rounds of that from 5 to 15.
– If I can handle 15 rounds (about 40 minutes) of those intervals, then I’ll start increasing the run intervals up to 60 seconds (gradually) but still keep a significant walk break (no less than 90 seconds).
– Keeping up my long walks on the weekend (4 miles) and my strength training for my arm.

PT supplies

 I’ll be thrilled if I can get back to even a little running and tolerate it without injuring myself! If I notice any problems at all, I’ll stop. There are other ways to keep my sanity and my fitness. I’m not going to injure myself, I promise, even though there is a part of me that fears I’ll never really get back to running “seriously” (as seriously as this middling-slow girl was) again.
Anybody else absolutely incapable of using exercise equipment? I’ve had treadmill fails too! I’m just not the most coordinated in any aspect of life I’m afraid.

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Weekly Wrap Up: If it’s not one thing, it’s another . . .

Remember last week? When I said I’d accept the fact the lupus flaring a bit had set me back and that I’d focus on taking a few healthy steps? I did well with those goals. I was on call all week, but I did my meditation and I met my step goal every day. I also made healthy food choices and generally stayed on course despite a busy, stressful week. I even threw out this brownie thing that was less than satisfying on Valentine’s Day!  (Yes, I photograph my NSVs to share with you guys – keeps me motivated to see them in my phone later in the week!)
Treats

The weekend arrived and I was feeling ready for my weekend goals of a little run on Saturday followed by four miles on Sunday. Then . . .

I woke with a weird shoulder pain Saturday, enough to wake me from sleep at 4 am and keep me from going back to sleep. It was radiating a bit down my right arm, but otherwise I felt well. I considered whether or not I was having a heart attack (It’s Heart Month! Be sure to study up on heart disease in women!) but decided that I felt too normal otherwise and it was on the wrong side of my body. I worked from 7 until noon, but decided to skip the little afternoon run because I was too tired and was getting annoyed by the arm thing.

Darrell and I had our date night with painting and wine:
Date night

I came home but felt a little sick to my stomach and my arm was feeling worse, so I told Darrell I’d sleep on the chaise lounge. I was sure my tossing and turning would keep him up and thought being a little upright would help the weird shoulder/arm pain. Then I threw up and my arm kept hurting worse and worse (side note: retelling this, my brain is screaming “heart attack”!). I got almost zero sleep that night and after dozing a bit in the early morning hours, woke to a hand that was numb.

I had moved down to the basement to try to sleep, so I didn’t keep any else up. After I fetched Darrell downstairs with much needed coffee, I told him I had to go to the ER. Sigh.
Againhttps://littlemoreeachday.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=7190&action=edit

I do NOT like being a patient. Thankfully, they quickly moved me into a room but that was the only quick part of the visit. After an 8 hour day and a miserable MRI (an hour and a half – or an eternity if you’re as claustrophobic as I am) we confirmed my suspicion: a herniated disc in my neck. (Note: This is not the best pic but we didn’t get the photo of the MRI image that showed it best)
Pretty sure it shouldn't look like this . . .

That irregular edge around C5-6 shouldn’t look like that. Because of the lupus, they don’t want to to do surgery unless we have to so I’m starting with pain medication, steroids and physical therapy. My neurosurgeon (boy are those words I never wanted to say) called today to check on me and sympathize with how I’m feeling about this. I look totally normal and yet I’m in pain and frustrated because my dominant hand doesn’t work. We’re balancing our desire to avoid surgery I may not heal from due to the lupus with the need to preserve the function in my hand if this goes on too long.

For now, I have a bunch of new meds, weird pain that gets better only when I hold my arm up behind my head (awkward in meetings today!) plus lots of numbness and weakness in my arm and hand. I can’t write or do anything that requires a grip on my right side (like hold utensils and brush my teeth – Grrr).  Annoying to say the least and I’m looking at weeks of this apparently. Joy. At least I’ll finally be doing regular strength training once I start physical therapy. Win?

I won’t lie – it is frustrating to have lost weight and “gotten healthy” only to be felled by things like this and like the lupus. There’s nothing we can think of that triggered this and the neurosurgeons said that was typical – that it can happen out of the blue. I know that lupus and this herniated disc may have happened even without the weight loss and would be much worse at 275+ pounds. However, I’m frustrated. And tired of hurting.

I am so grateful for Darrell. He is amazing. He was off today (planned day off to handle school drop off and pick up on a day our normal before/aftercare were closed). He spent hours reading about my screwy spine, lupus (which probably doesn’t have anything to do with WHY this happened, even if it is affecting how we treat it) and planning meals he could cook while I am gimpy. He’s AMAZING.

Fitness may look like walks and the stationary bike for a while, until the pain is better and my strength recovers enough that I would be able to protect myself from a fall. I’m not sure what this means for the Flying Pig marathon weekend in May. I may be there just to cheer Meg on in her marathon rather than run myself and that will be just fine. I’m not letting myself angst about that too much now. What will be, will be.

I’ve gathered lots of tips for things to ask my physical therapist about, ordered a more supportive pillow and looked at my work bag to a) carry less stuff and b) carry it in a backpack, rather than just on one shoulder. Anyone else ever have this problem and have any advice?

weekly wrap up

As my mom says, at least I still have an arm. Always look on the bright side. 🙂 Tell me some bright side news!

 

Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia for hosting our link-up!

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