Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Be Still and Know

It's been a long time since I've last blogged. I've had many things to talk about but have never had the time to sit and write. Or, I have had the time but never the urge to.

Today's blog is a little different. I hope you will sit and read until the end.

I've been suffering from moderate to severe chronic back pain over the past few years. A crack here and there (more like everyday) would give a sense of relief, even if just for 5 minutes. I would go for massages that again would send relief for that one hour and maybe a few moments off the table, but nothing, not even pain killers would really rid me of the pain. I've gone for many tests from xrays to MRIs to blood work... nothing would be found except chronic whiplash. Snowboarding is my guess.

After all my whining and crying to my doctors I was booked to see a rheumatologist. It took about 5 months after to see her. She did what all doctors do; asked a lot of questions. After we went through my family history she suggested I have a Spinal Inflammatory Disease that is in the same gene as Crohn's Disease, which my younger sister Emily ( The Upside Downside ) has unfortunately been struggling with for several years now, and Ulcerative Colitis, which my grandmother passed away from.

I am still undergoing some tests and awaiting some results. In the interim I am a guinea pig to myself and trying several medications to help with my symptoms. The rheumatologist started me off on Celebrex for inflammation and Ventolin for my shortness of breath. None, of which seem to be working.

Over the weekend I spent a couple of nights crying unable to sleep because the pain was just so bad, I had to go back to the doctors. He then prescribed with Prednisone (a steroid) which I declined. I declined it because of its side effects, knowing as my sister is on it right now. Until the results confirm my disease, I'd prefer to hold off until then. Instead, I was given Hydromorphone (Morphine), Nortriptyline (yes, that is an anti-depressant, but also used for chronic pain), and Ziplicone (a non-benzodiazepine hypnotic as a sleep aid).

At first I was hesitant in taking any of these and perhaps choosing which to take, but I haven't slept in days and the pain is just exasperating. I haven't been able to go to work for a few days and though at home, I haven't been able to do much more than lay in bed or sit on the couch, though both aggravate it as well.

As much as a nuisance this has become, it all became worse when my doctor told me that I need to stop working out. That working out will only increase the inflammation and make everything so much more painful and harder to treat. I'm not going to lie. I cried.

You see, working out is not just a hobby for me. Its a lifestyle. Its what got me over the hump of depression when my mom died 2 years ago. When I was on the cusp of depression, I decided to run it off. And you know what? It worked! I became a much happier and healthier person. I even started training others and went for my certification. Its what I love doing and talking about. In all my life I struggled to find the one thing I loved to do... and now that I found it, I'm told I cannot do it anymore. Even my job at the hospital is physical. There's only so much modified work you can do in physiotherapy, and too be honest, if I was to sit and make photocopies, I would have gotten a desk job to begin with.

And then it hit me. I'm a Christian. I believe in God. I believe that He sent His son Jesus here to save me. To forgive me of my sins. To be my comforter. My refuge. My strength. When my mom died, I never cursed Him. I was angry and I didn't want to talk to Him as much. But I didn't curse Him. I didn't ever say that I hated Him or didn't want to have anything to do with Him anymore. I never said it. But, I chose it in my actions. I chose exercise as my healer. I chose exercise as my passion. I chose exercise as I made it a priority when I had extra time in my day. I made time for it. I made a heck of a lot of time for it. I spent a heck of a lot on money on it. I chose it.

I feel like God is stopping me in my tracks right now. I know over the past few months, I thought of it; that I gave exercise more time than God. Some days I would make sure I put in some God time. But it was never such devoted time like I would put in at the gym. Had I given God proper devoted time, maybe, just maybe it wouldn't have gotten to the point where He needed to stop me completely to get my attention. He wants to be my source of happiness and health.  He wants to be what I love talking about. I should be doing His will and training others up in Him. I need to get my priorities straight. There's an opportunity for me to do both. But I need to make sure it's in His will and He is put first.

I'm not saying that all sicknesses and illnesses are a form of punishment, but I do know for myself, it is a wake up call. As much I like to say that exercising got me through it all, had it not been for God Himself, I wouldn't have had the strength to carry myself through. It was always Him. I need to never forget that.

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength." Philippians 4:13

Here I am, Lord.

Thanks for reading! :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Quote of the Day

"When you recognize that failing doesn't make you a failure,
you give yourself permission to try all sorts of things."

L. Fleshman
American Track and Field Athlete

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Quote of the Day

"Remember, there's great value in achieving the goal,
but the greater value is in the struggle and hard work it took to achieve it."

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Quote of the Day

"It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which,
more than anything else,
will affect its successful outcome."
~ William James

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Quote of the Day

"Nothing will work unless you do."
~ Maya Angelou

Water, water, water... Detox, detox, detox...

I drink a lot of water. I actually love drinking water. I also like drinking coffee. Most times I feel like I NEED coffee to function. The last little while I've been getting serious heart palpitations and I feel it even more so with coffee now a days, to the point where I haven't drank coffee now in 4 days. That may not seem like a lot, but if you knew me, that's a long time.

Last week I came across a recipe for detoxifying water which stated to have the effects of decreasing bloating thus losing weight. 5lbs (of water weight) in 1 week, at that. Many people claim to have the answer to everything and yet, not all claims work for everyone. But, because of my love for water (I also love to add fruits of veggies to my water) I decided to try this recipe. Whether it works or not, a fresh new flavor in a beverage I already drink, what's the harm?

It's been a week now and I will admit that I definitely have lost water weight from this drink. It 's addictive and tasty and it works! OHH, I forgot to mention, Dandelion Root is also used as a coffee replacement! It curbs the craving of caffeine! And guess what?! I really believe it works! I haven't gotten any caffeine withdrawal symptoms like I usually would not having a coffee.

Here's the recipe:

60oz Distilled Water
2 Tbs Lemon
1 Tbs Cranberry Juice (NO SUGAR)
1 Dandelion Root Tea Bag
~ This one did not have instructions on how long to let sit before drinking however with the Dandelion Root, because this tea is usually a hard and stubborn root to steep, cold water takes even longer so I let it sit over night.

The cranberry juice and dandelion root tea are not cheap but I personally think its well worth it. I bought them from S&H Health Food Store. It was a bit cheaper there than Nature's Source.

A week later my cousin Kayla  told me about another detoxifying water drink. I love how it tastes and I've heard good things about it. I've just started it recently and I'm still drinking the other drink so I can't say for sure if its working or not. But here's the recipe for that one:

2L Distilled Water
10 Fresh Mint Leaves
1 Lemon Sliced
1 Tsp of shredded Ginger
Half a Medium Sized Cucumber
~ let sit for at least 8hrs

It may be a lot of water if you are not used to drinking water. But water is very important for you! Don't be intimidated. Pick one and try half the recipe to start. You keep your body hydrated and you cleanse your body! Your body will thank you!


Saturday, July 14, 2012

WOD 140712 + Quote of the Day

I've been so busy lately that I've also gotten a tad lazy. It took me 5 hours to convince myself to workout today, but then I went a little mental :s I know I'll pay for this tomorrow but I enjoyed it! Here's todays WOD:

Bike 5 mins
Jump Rope 5 mins

Clean and Jerk 10
Air Squats 15
Jumping Squats 15

- x 3 sets
Deadlifts 10
Sumo Dealifts 10
Burpees 10

- x 3 sets
Resistance Band Exercises 10 x 3 
Shoulder Abduction
Shoulder Flexion
Elbow Flexion (Bicep Curls)

Triceps Dips 10
Dumbell Triceps Extensions 10

- x 3 sets
Russian Twists 50 x 2
Back Extensions 25 x 2

Cool down:
Yoga 30 mins including:
w/ Eggs
Foam Roller especially for IT Band, Erector Spinae, and Rhomboids

"Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work." 
~ Booker T. Washington

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Spartan Race 2012

I have completed my first challenge of the year: The Spartan Race 2012 located at Hardwood Ski and Bike in Oro, Ontario.

What was supposed to be a 5km race was actually 7km plus 15 obstacles. I was ready for this race. I trained for months for this. I was pumped! We were so excited we even made shirts for it, well, the girls of our team did.

We decided to make a mini vacation out of this weekend. Rented out a few rooms at Carriage Hills and Ridge Resort. Really nice place where we watched videos of past Spartan Races, did group yoga stretches, and taped up. I tried to sleep but I was too excited about the race that I woke up around 5:30am! Apparently, I wasn't the only one. Almost the whole team woke up early excited for the race.

Though we woke up early we somehow made it to our 12:30pm heat with just minutes to spare as the parking lot was an obstacle in its own. I swear it was a 5km walk from our cars to the buses, then another 5km drive to the racing grounds. With our bib numbers tattooed onto our skin with permanent marker, we made our way to the start line with hundreds of others surrounding. Some covered in mud from head to toe, while others like us, clean and ready to rumble! Loud music reverberated in the air. Splashes of freezing cold water sprayed our faces. Then the count down. 10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. Fog horn blasts. And all of a sudden I'm running.

The first km I was already huffing and puffing and slowing down. What the?!?! I can run 10km non stop, why was I getting tired already??? Right... because I'm a snobby city, flat street or treadmill runner who failed to practice running uphills, though I was constantly reminded by the daily emails of the Spartan WODs, how important it was to find a hill, and run up and down it. I deserved this, I suppose. But, I kept trudging along. Where were the obstacles though??? I was starting to worry that I was going to lose all my energy from running and by the time I got to any of the obstacles, I wasn't going to be able to do them. Other than going up a hill under a heavy net where I tired my arms out by flailing the net over my head, there wasn't another obstacle for at least 3km. Then finally came the rope wall. Up, up, up, and over. Done. Then there was the rope climb. Only, they had the girls do a rope ladder climb! I felt cheated. But I got on the rope ladder and started to climb only to find myself all of a suddened flipped right over. Had I not had a good grip on the bars I would have been flat on my back or rolling down that hill. I had to have the girls flip me back over. Then I learned how to handle the ladder properly. Hands on the side ropes, not on the bars. I still wanted to try the rope climb... But, I decided to move along with the rest of the girls... Next time, I won't be such a pansy.

The mud crawl under barbwire came up soon after. I'm not gonna lie, it was kinda refreshing being in the cool mud. The little sharp surprises that were hiding in the mud, were not so refreshing. Then we were hip deep in mud. My foot got stuck for a bit. I kept trying to get it loose with someone yelling for me to keep moving. I really thought I was going to have to finish the race barefoot. I eventually got it loose, and carried on. Once we were out of the mud I realized why we were adviced to wear shorts and a tee and not to wear cotton. I was in shorts, but they were cotton. And they were HEAVY! Oh boy... I wore gloves because I have very sensitive skin that would have for sure blistered. Those gloves were also, very heavy after the mud crawl.

There were a few wall climbs. Small spaced tunnels to crawl through, where I got more cuts and bruises. Jumping over a firepit. Spear throwing. Wheeling a wheel-barrel that held a few heavy sandbags. Carrying a sandbag on your shoulder running up and around a hill with dude yelling calling everyone morons....... and a few other obstacles. Then there were the last jaunt of obstacles where they make a spectacle of you while the crowd watches and cheers. A small ramp (apparently earlier there were two ramps and an ice pit where you crawl through, under barbwire, but they got rid of that just moments before were got there) and a few roped haystacks to climb over...

...and then there were the Gladiators... that once again, favored the females... This has got to change! I'm not big on feminism... to each their own, but seriously!? We joined this knowing and fully accepting the challenges that come with it. Hit me! Bleh... he psyched me out once then tapped my back with his pugil stick. Lame.

The last one was a rope climb over a wall where a line up started to develop. I stood and waited and watched. I began to think this wall was well oiled or something because people were having a very difficult time getting over it. In fact, I saw a girl make it half way then somehow flipped over and off the side landing on her back into a bush. DANG!!! That must of hurt! Ah well, it had to be done. And done it was. Poor technique was the poor girls problem. That wall was cake. The finish line was the behind that wall. We were rewarded with  medals and t-shirts, and handed in our timing chip. Which, mine and the whoever else came in around that time up to an hour later didn't get accounted for as a small electrical fire occured when it rained. Convenient.

The race was fun but the obstacles were not very challenging, and I know many others agree with me on that. The running and hills were more of a challenge for me. For this particular race, I would recommend endurance training, hitting trails and hills, and then upper body strength training. Not limited to that, but I would have faired better had I increased my aerobic capacity, and practiced on trails and hills.

Our team (from left to right): Jeff, Matt, Brian, Me, Jacob, Angela, Jon, Kayla, Sam, Lem.

I had a great time at the Spartan Race! I would do it again and I definitely do recommend it! Even though my time didn't get recorded, I know my time was crap and I would like to do much better next time. I challenge myself to run better, faster, and more efficiently. I would however, like to see more challenging obstacles and less favoritism. None-the-less, we did it! Great job team! :)

 Next year will be a more challenging year as I will be doing Tough Mudder in May, The 200km Ride to Conquer Cancer in June, perhaps the Spartan Race again, also in June, and the Scotiabank Marathon in October. I am hoping to do the Women's Triathalon in September (well, the try-a-tri because I am a poor swimmer) but we'll see how I do with my swim practices. I have a year to learn :P

If you are looking for something to do checkout: http://www.mynextrace.com/

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Quote of the Day

"The grass is always brown."

You hear of the quote "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence", but the truth is, the grass is always going to be brown, to you. It's human nature to keep wanting so when you get that green grass you envied, sooner or later it will turn brown to you. We see the things we don't have as better, but what we should be doing is accepting what we do have and doing the best with it. When you can do that and move forward with it, perhaps then, the grass will be greener on the side you're on.

#Never give up.
#Fall forward.
#Good things come to those who work.
#Live everyday loving life.

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13
"In all these things we are more than conquerors."Romans 8:37

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The 200km Ride To Conquer Cancer

In June of 2010 I participated in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer benefiting the Campbell Family Institute at The Princess Margaret Hospital. The journey was a 2 day 200km bike ride from Toronto to Niagara Falls.

Before this ride I had never in my 30 something years owned a bike. I never cared much for cycling. When I heard of this ride I decided to buy a bike and challenge myself to the 200km. Along with the challenge of raising the $2500 minimum. I did a lot of research on bikes but it was difficult considering I had no idea what to look for.

I ended up buying the Specialized Vita Sport bike from Gears Bike Shop located on Lakeshore Rd W. in Mississauga. They helped me out a lot in regards to what I was looking for, as they are a big supporter of the ride. They helped me choose a bike, fit the bike to my needs, gave great discounts for  the riders, and offered classes such as fixing a flat tire (thats the only one I went to). I really wanted to buy this really pretty pink road bike, but I was told that if I have never ridden before a road bike would be too difficult for me and it was way over my budget. Though my Vita, named Athena, was still over my expectancy. Athena is a hybrid bike, combination of features from both a mountain and road bike. Hybrid bikes are typically equipped with wheels versatile enough for road and trail.

Athena - Wisdom, strength and skills. 
(That's what I think of when I think Hybrid)

I'm not going to lie, I didn't complete the entire 200km as I was injured within the first 50km. A lady called out "to your left" then cut me off on my right. I hit her back wheel which threw me off of my bike, with her somehow landing on my head and her bike on my legs, then Kev who was following close behind me hit my leg with his bike, falling on top of me along with his bike. If you are having a hard time picturing this, picture me on the ground, with two people and two bikes on top of me. I rode in the emergency vehicle to the next pit stop with my leg wrapped up and iced. 

The stubbornness in me, however, did not allow for me to stop. Nearing Hamilton (of course I choose the most difficult part of the ride going uphill) I decided to mount my bike again and go. I was very very slow, in pain, and tired. I will admit to walking a lot of it. It rained that day. It was quite refreshing. When we reached the camp we found our tents, and unwound. We went for massages, there were yoga classes, food and drinks and my favourite, medication! I went for some anti-inflammatories and A535!

Early the next morning we grabbed some food and headed for our bikes. BLOODY HECK WHERE DID THIS PAIN RADIATING IN MY BUTT COME FROM???  Lol, I wanted to cry!!! But, off we went. I forgot to mention that the previous day, out of the 5000 people participating, I was number 5000, with the emergency vehicle following me close behind, every so often asking me if I was ready for a ride. Ummmm, no thanks! You don't know Sarah Edralin very well now do you? I don't give up that easily, even if I am last. I didn't finish last the next day :) I have no idea what place I came in but i wasn't last. That didn't matter anyways. What mattered was that I got the courage to do something I've never done before and I finished it. And I finished it because of my motivation:

My mom, Delma Edralin, age 58
Lung Cancer - Adenocarcinoma
1952- 2010 RIP

A few weeks later I did the Healing Cycle Ride for the Credit Valley Hospital's Palliative Care Unit. I lost my mom that summer. I never wanted to look at my bike ever again and so left it on my balcony to let the elements do as it pleased with it. $1000 + down the drain. I regret it now and actually crave to bike again. Today is the 2012 Ride to Conquer Cancer and today I feel the motivation to participate in it once again.

Cancer was not as evident to me until it hit home and I lost the most important woman in my life at such a young age. Now, I see it everywhere I go. I work with patients dying from it everyday. And though I lost someone from it, I can't stand the thought of many others losing their loved ones from it as well.

There are 2 things I remember vividly when I did the ride a couple of years ago: The voices of people on the sidelines throughout the ride yelling out "Thank you for saving our lives" and seeing my mom's face at the finish line.

If that's not motivation to do it again, I don't know what is.

My team 'More Than Conquerors': 
Matt Resnik, Kevin Varias, Myself, Joe Jimenez, Jon Edralin
(I have better pictures but my laptop is broken and they are all hidden away in it).

I hope to do so much more to help fight cancer. This is one way. Let me know if you want to join me next year.    The Ride to Conquer Cancer

I love you mom!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Quotes of the Day

Physical fitness can neither be achieved
by wishful thinking nor outright purchase.
-Joseph Pilates

Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.
-Vince Lombardi 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Slowly. Shutting. Down.

Hitting the Wall or Bonking occurs during endurance sports such as running or cycling. It’s when your glycogen (stored energy) within your liver and muscles become depleted causing fatigue and loss of energy. Your body begins to slow down and you can’t force yourself to go any faster, further, or even at all. Brief periods of rest will not be enough to get you back up again. 
To avoid “Hitting the Wall” make sure your glycogen levels are high before you run (this is not right before you run but starting days or even weeks before a run/depending on the distance) by consuming carbohydrate-rich foods and drinks. You can consume carb calories during a run with gels to replenish but don’t rely on these only. A typical individual is able to store about 380g of glycogen or 1500kcal.  Intense running can easily consume ~600 or more kcal per hour and unless glycogen stores are replenished during exercise, glycogen stores can become depleted after less than 2 hours. To make sure you have an uninterrupted session, training and carb loading can help elevate these reserves.
How do you know you’re body has enough carbs to last you a run? 
VO2max, also known as aerobic capacity, is a measure of how much oxygen the body can transport to the muscles and consume during aerobic exercises. Those who have higher VO2max values can last longer and exercise harder. To find an estimate of your VO2max divide your maximum heart rate by your resting heart rate then multiply it by 15. To find your maximum heart rate simply subtract your age from 220 beats per minute.  The result  will state how many excess carb calories you would need to intake before a race. ~ Reuters
You can also avoid “Hitting the Wall” by progressing your weekly long run each week, allowing your body’s capacity to store more glycogen. By increasing your glycogen stores you are able to push more and learn to fight fatigue as well as teaching your body to utilize energy reserves from fat storage sites after the glycogen stores have been used up. Try training with your desired marathon finish time in mind. Have a goal when you run and focus on that goal during training. You don’t want to run your entire training run at marathon pace but do try to push it near the end of your run. Your body will become more efficient at running your goal pace even when already fatigued. Don’t start off too fast or you will burn through your glycogen stores too early. 
Even though I am sharing this all with you I'll admit that I personally have a hard time with this as I am not a big carb consumer at all, so I supplement, but supplementing can be very expensive. I am making more of an effort to consume more carbohydrate-rich substances. Too many times I've bonked way too early and it's dang frustrating. Days I've carbed up, I've noted to go harder longer. The next time you all of a sudden feel like your legs are like led, as though your body has shut down and leaves you feeling like a quitter, carb up! 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Runners Breath

I have a love/hate relationship with running. I absolutely love it but it have a hard time with it. I've learned to run around my knee pain and working out/running takes my mind off of my back pain. What I need to work on is my breathing.

Diaphragmatic breathing can help improve your endurance and help you become less fatigued as chest breathing can become very exhausting. Breathing from your diaphragm gives you deeper breaths allowing more oxygen to be fed to your muscles, thus allowing you to run longer.

Most runners are chest breathers. I am. I catch my self 10 minutes into my run huffing and puffing struggling for air. I have to slow myself down and start taking controlled deep breaths in and out from my diaphragm. To ensure you are breathing from your diaphragm, place one hand on your belly and feel it rise and fall.

Many runners practice yoga and/or pilates as it helps to strengthen your intercostal muscles and lengthen your spine, which in turns helps with better breathing. Better posture equals less effort while running.

Do exercises that help open up your chest allowing you to deepen your lung capacity, correcting shallow breathing. Too many people focus on training their legs and hearts to be better runners, and too often forget to train their lungs. Try deep breathing exercises, focusing on diaphragmatic breathing, and exercises that open up your chest and stretches/strengthens your intercostal muscles (muscles that lie between the ribs). Feed your leg muscles more oxygen and see yourself lasting longer and running better, with less effort.
 Here are some exercises to start:

1. You can do this one is either, standing, sitting or laying down. Place one hand on your diaphragm. Take a deep breath in for a count of 6 seconds and slowly breath out for a count of 6 seconds. I like to practice breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. But when you are actually running, sometimes breathing in through your mouth helps to keep you more relaxed and allows you to take even deeper breaths. This is good for everyone, not just runners.

2. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides. Inhale and sweep your arms out to your side and up with your palms facing each other. Exhale and lower your arms back down to your sides. Concentrate on your breath. Do you ever get a side stitch when running? That may be caused by a lack of oxygen to those muscles.This exercise helps to open up your chest allowing for deeper lung capacity, thus allowing more oxygen to your muscles. If I get a stitch while running, I'll lift my arms up for a bit while taking deep breaths in, until the stitch is gone.

3. Lie prone with your palms flat under your shoulders. Face down so your neck is in line with your spine. Inhale and slowly lift your head, neck, shoulders, and chest as you press your hands into the ground. Keep a slight bend in your elbows. Some people call this The Swan or The Cobra. As you exhale, slowly lower yourself back down, chest first, then shoulders, neck, chin, and head. Repeat 10 times.

4. Lie supine, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Keep your arms at your sides, palms facing down. Inhale and lift your head, neck, shoulders, and arms off the ground. Lift your knees and extend your feet so your legs are straight, at a 45-degree angle. Take five short breaths in and five short breaths out. While doing so, pump your arms, moving them in a controlled up and down manner. Do a cycle of 10 full breaths-each breath includes 5 inhales and 5 exhales. This exercise is called The Hundred.

Breathe deeply! Happy trails!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Quote of the Day

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."
~ Mohandas Gandhi

Friday, May 11, 2012

Quote of the Day

"If everything is smooth sailing right from the beginning, we cannot become people of substance and character. By surmounting paining setbacks and obstacles, we can create a brilliant history of triumph that will shine forever. That is what makes life so exciting and enjoyable. In any field of endeavour, those who overcome hardships and grow as human beings are advancing towards success and victory in life."
~ Daisaku Ikeda

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Spartans WOD

I've been sick the past couple of days and all I can think about is when I can do my next WOD :s I get daily emails from The Spartan Race and I've been dying to do them. I will post a couple of WODs for you guys if you want to try them.

WOD #1

5-10K run near race pace
50-150 lunges
10-150 body weight squats
30 burpees
5 minute plank

WOD #2

Mile repeats.

3-5 one mile intervals with negative splits. This means you run a one mile split at 5K pace and then recover, planning on running your next mile split faster. Each interval you run try to push it a little bit faster. Recovery intervals should be no longer than half the time it took you to run one mile. Jog or walk your recovery interval.

An example workout would look like this:

Warmup: 10 minute jog with 4-6 30 second accelerations to race pace.
Main set:
1 mile in 7:30
3:45 recover
1 mile in 7:00
3:30 recover
1 mile in 6:45
3:22 recover
1 mile in 6:30

10 minute cool down walk/stretch

Hopefully I can try these workouts over the weekend. Let me know how you did if you tried :)


Saturday, May 5, 2012

My Kind of Therapy is Exercise

Yesterday I went to the doctors for my back pain, hoping I would get booked for an MRI. Instead I got a long winded session from a Nurse Practitioner on where pain can be derived from and how chronic pain can actually not be healed and that I may need to come to acceptance of the pain and start living a different kind of life...

I was told to go on modified work and not lift, push, or pull more than 10lbs, and not to twist or bend. I was prescribed massage therapy and hyrdotherapy even though he said there hasn't been much evidence to support that this will help. He asked me if I tried physiotherapy and when I said yes, he said physiotherapy doesn't really work... hahahaha!!! When I told what I did and where I worked was tried to cover up and say, "Well, sometimes it works".  He asked me what else I have tried that has helped or seemed to relieve it, even if just a little bit. I said yoga and he was astonished as though I was joking. What a funny practitioner. He just seemed a little negative. I know that chronic pain is hard to get rid of if at all possible but how discouraging. He tried to get me on a very mild anti-depressant that is used to aid sleeping and essentially relieve pain. I declined but said I would research it and think about it.

I walked away after an hour with a requisition for an x-ray, mention of possible booking for an MRI, script for Naproxen and "Message Therapy" (I'm sure he meant massage ;P) and a doctors note to go on modified for work.

Today I went to the gym anyways. I ran 1.5mi and did 3 sets of 10 reps of 10lbs Wallball, Situps, Pushups, and Planking. Throughout the whole time at the gym, I didn't feel any back pain. It's the only time I don't feel pain. It's hard not to workout when it's my only form of relief. I will go for massage therapy and I will do hydrotherapy as I know they helps as well.

Huron Park Recreation Centre and Mississauga Valley Community Centre are the closest to me and have heated (92 degrees) therapeutic pools. I will have to pay them a visit. And maybe even see if they are hiring for a part time pool therapist ;)

I will be more careful and not overdo it, but I won't stop. One of the things I teach my patients daily is to work through the pain. Rest can cause more harm than good. But I will listen to my body. If it says that's enough, then it'll be enough, for then.

My kind of therapy is exercise. What's yours?

"We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey."  ~Kenji Miyazawa

"If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem.  Everything else is inconvenience."  ~ Robert Fulghum

"Pain is inevitable.  Suffering is optional."  ~ M. Kathleen Casey

"The greatest evil is physical pain."  ~ St. Augustine

"10 minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic and would give me t least 2 hours of pain-free sleep."  ~ Norman Cousins

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Science of 8 Limbs

Muay Thai translates to the science of 8 limbs. This essentially means that one possesses 8 weapons: 2 fists, 2 elbows, 2 kness, 2 shins. Muay Thai is a stand-up striking Martial Art derived from Thailand, initially developed and used by the Thai people in order to defend themselves in battles. Today Muay Thai is being used as a form of combat sport worldwide.

I don't know much else about Muay Thai except that I really do enjoy it. I waited 3 weeks to return after injuring my wrist from the first time. I was splinted and was supposed to stay off of it for 6 weeks, but 3 seemed long enough ;) I tapped it and I wrapped it and I didn't punch too hard this time. Yesterday I learned proper stance, techniques, and combinations. Strangely enough learning to block was more difficult than learning the techniques and combinations, but I was partnered up with a very helpful and experienced person. I think I'll be keeping Muay Thai a regular part of my workout regime.  I'll talk more about it when I gain more experience.

I may look cool but I actually don't 
know what I'm doing :p

Til next time...

Friday, April 27, 2012

Quote of the Day

"I used to have the false notion that gymnastics had nothing to do with education. Today I know that physical training should have as much place in the curriculum as mental training."
~ Gandhi

Change the Channel Please

Today was a Friday the 13th kind of day. Strange things were happening, and if these were to happen to me a year ago, I know I would have handled them differently. Today, I laughed them off. Over the last year I've learned to control my stress levels. Channel my energy if you must. Proper eating habits and daily exercise really help bring forth a healthy kind of energy. I used to waste a lot of time and energy worrying, thinking, wondering, wishing, that I was exhausted by the end of the day. I had no more zing in me to exercise or even pursue any interests. Finally one day, I decided to hang up my hat and move on. I wanted something more than what I was letting myself have.

For those who don't know me, I lost my mother 2 years come August. My world ended that day. I went through a rough patch of depression where I didn't get out of bed or leave the house. Or if I did, I wasn't pleasant to be around. After a long while I had to make a choice. Was I going to let it consume me and take over the rest of my life? Or was I going to accept it for what it is and make the most of the life I've been blessed with? I depended so much on medications to make me feel better, but the after affects of it did more harm than good. And it didn't give me the kind of adrenaline I was looking for.

I picked up my runners one day and headed for the gym. Wow! Did that ever feel good! I returned the next day and then the next day. One day I realized that I haven't been taking my anti-anxiety pills or my sleeping pills. And most excitingly, I was happier!

 These weren't the shoes I picked up. It's just the only pic
of a pair of my shoes I have on me right now ;)

Let my tell you my friends, if you're ever feeling the blues, change the channel to a more up beat kind of show and you'll be singing a new tune!

Short and sweet but you get the point ;)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sweeter Dreams ;)

I have a very difficult time falling asleep and even staying asleep. In the morning's I feel like I hate my job and I want to quit, when it's not my job that's the problem but my fatigue. I've done many researches on insomnia and sleep therapy, etc and decided I need to find out what the problem is and what solutions would work for me. I'm going to talk about what has helped me or what I'm trying out and hopefully it can help one of you!

Do you drink coffee or tea? Caffeine gets me going. I need my morning coffee or I won't function AT ALL at work. But, if I have a coffee after 2pm, I'm up the rest of the night. So I know caffeine is not my problem because I won't have coffee later than noon. Try cutting down or even out your caffeine intake.

Overactive thoughts? I think a lot. I've gotten 75% better though. I used to think myself to sleep but because my mind is so active, I would spend a couple of hours in bed just thinking. If you have a lot of things to do, work on, worry about, write it down in a notebook before you go to bed and tell yourself, "I deserve a good nights sleep, I will deal with this in the morning" then set the notebook aside. Once you start identifying what is keeping you up at night, you can start making changes to sleep more soundly. I've learned to control my thoughts a lot the past few months. If there's nothing you can do about it at the moment, let it go. If there is something you can do about it, do it. But don't let unnecessary thoughts linger on as they can cause more harm to your overall health.

What's your sleep environment like? Make your room a sacred place. Don't allow things in there that can cause any kind of anxiety, such as your computer or even your phone. I tend to have my phone near me when I sleep. My excuse is it's my alarm (though I have an actual alarm clock on my dresser). In the middle of the night I would hear my phone go off, and I had JUST fallen asleep. Or if I see someone has a good conversation going on on Twitter or Facebook, or I have a great thought I want to share with someone, I feel the need to interject or start something. All of a sudden an hour or two has passed. These things can wait wait til the morning. If you are afraid of forgetting that thought, you now have the notebook by your bed to write in this thought and say once again, "This can wait until morning, I deserve to sleep". If you're a reader, read on the couch in the living room. Your room is your sanctuary of rest.

I love heat and hate the cold (unless I'm snowboarding). Your body temperature varies as much as 2 degrees within your 24hr day, mid-afternoon being at its warmest. In the evening your body begins a cool-down process that researchers believe may help you fall asleep faster. If your environment is too warm, you may find yourself having a harder time falling asleep. If you are active your body temperature heats up even more so and stays warm for a good few hours after. I know this is one of my problems as I always workout anytime between 5pm-7pm. My body temperature stays up for a few hours into the late evening. If this is you, try turning your thermostat down to cool your environment. Essentially it is ideal to workout earlier in the day, which will bring me into the next topic.

Do you workout? If not, working out can help your body rest more soundly at night. Try getting up in the morning to run or run during your lunch break. If the evening is the only time you can workout, try to make it as early as possible and end your workout with a cool down meditation to slow and cool your body down, and again, lower the temperature in your bedroom. None-the-less, add a workout or running program into your daily routine. This will help the body tire and long for a good night sleep.

White noise can help you block out all the other annoying sounds that can keep you up all night long. Waterfalls are my favorite white noise as the sound is calming yet consistent. Because your brain gets use to its repetition you actually stop hearing it at all. Stay away from daytime noises like birds chirping as your brain will associate it with morning. Researchers say that music with 60-80 beats per minute can also help you fall asleep, as it is close to a resting heart rate. Some of the recommended songs are:
- Drift Away by Dobie Gray
- Come Away With Me - Norah Jones
- The Scientist by Coldplay
- Landslide by Dixie Chicks
- Bubbly by Colbie Caillat
- Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley

How old are your pillows and matresses? Are you a side sleeper like me? A plumper/medium filled pillow would be best as the pillow fills up the space between your neck and shoulder keeping your spine aligned. Do you sleep on your back? A pillow with a good support for the neck yet softer for your head would be ideal. Firmer pillows will push your head too far up and will cause you to have a stiff neck in the morning. If you sleep on your stomach a thinner and flatter pillow will suit you best. As for mattresses, find a mattress best suitable for your needs, and replace them every 5-10 years (I now thats quite a range but everyone cares for them differently. You'll know best).

I could go on forever about sleep as it has been my nemesis for years. But, I'll stop here for now. I hope that was helpful for some :)

Sweet dreams!

Quote of the Day

"You will never find what you are capable of doing if you never try anything. Don't be so afraid of failing that you never take a chance."
~ Joyce Meyers

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quote of the Day

"Every day you've got running shoes on, it's a good day!"
~ Sean Astin


RICE: Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation.
PRICE: Protection. Rest. Compression. Elevation.
POLICE: Protection. Optimal Loading. Ice. Compression. Elevation.

Rest immediately after trauma but prolonged rest may cause atrophy or slower healing. Active mobilization is more likely to restore strength. Optimal loading means including a balanced and incremental rehabilitation program where early activity encourages early recovery. Implementing safe and effective (gradual) mechanical loading in acute soft tissue injuries can actually speed the recovery, but too much too soon can also aggravate the injury and essentially cause a setback. Remember that no two injuries are the same, so find out what your injury would best benefit from. Rest is not always the solution!

No Pain, No Gain!

My wrist and knees have been bothering me for quite some time now. Then this week I developed a wicked headache. I'm tired, easily irritated, and feeling very bloated (a nice way of saying I feel fat). What happened? Stressors are the same but I haven't ran or had a proper workout in a couple of weeks now. And, I'm not gonna lie, I haven't had the best diet either.

Today I was craving a run, but my headache sent me home early from work already so I didn't think I could do it. But I needed to burn off some steam.

So, I started off with a brisk walk on the treadmill then upped it to a jog. My knees could not handle it at all! But I didn't want to stop. I decided to change my foot strike. My landing depends on my shoes. The runners I had on today were very cushioned so I tend to land on my heels first. Heel strike more often causes injuries such as patellofemoral syndrome, much like what I have. I consciously landed on my forefoot today, taking the pressure off my knees, and much to my suspect, the pain subsided. Unfortunately, after 1 mile I started developing symptoms of plantar fasciitis and achilles tendonitis. Who would have thought a couple of weeks would set an avid runner back so much. After the 1 mile, I did 1 mile on the elliptical, then 3 miles on the bike. After my cardio workout, I cooled down with some yoga and meditation.

As hard as it was to start and as disappointing as it was to switch up machines because of pain, I continued on and worked through the pain. And because I did, my headache is finally gone and my stresses of the day have melted away into my mat. No matter how much you don't feel like working out, always remember that exercise may just be one of the answers to your problem ;) I won't be missing my workouts anymore. It's just not worth it.

No pain, no gain!

Quote of the Day

"Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments."

~ Jim Rohn

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

3 Minute Egg-xercise

For some strange reason I have been having shortness of breath, along with a persistent headache since Monday. It's now Wednesday. I wanted to run today but this headache and SOB is really making it hard for me to do anything at all. Yoga is usually the best answer for this sort of thing. So, I broke out the 3 Minute Eggs (and blocks because I only own two of these very expensive props).

I used the Eggs to facilitate relaxation as it expanded my lungs for greater oxygen intake. As I concentrated on my breath and the rising and falling of my abdomen, I became more and more relaxed, making my breathing deeper. I breathed into the areas of my tension, and slowly exhaled the tension out. After each breath, I could breathe much better. The tension was causing tightness in my chest, and tension in my head. Slowly oxygen was circulating, releasing any tightness and tension. When I brought awareness back to my surroundings, my SOB was gone.

How I used the blocks this practice:

I placed one Egg with the curvature up along my upper thoracic spine, and the other Egg under my head. I positioned my legs in butterfly with soles of feet to touch, allowing my knees to fall, placing a block under each knee. I laid in this position for, 3 Minutes :) Breathing in deeply and out slowly.

Go to: The Three Minute Egg for more information.

Practice safe breath :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Quote of the Day

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
~ Aristotle

Thursday, April 12, 2012

2012 Challenges

People have been asking me what my challenges are that I am training for.  Although I do this for my own personal interest, the challenges are the Spartan Race in June and my first marathon (half = 23km) in October. I've actually thrown in one more challenge for myself. It's to complete the Crossfit G.I Jane WOD which is 100 burpee pull-ups. http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFit_AmundsonGIJane.mov
Once I have accomplished this I will change my name to G.I Jane or maybe G.I. SarahJane ;)

Adventures of the WOD Addict

It's been awhile since I've been on here, though I've had quite the adventure with my workout life. I'll try to sum up what I've been up to the last couple of months.

End of February I joined Crossfit Mississauga located on Lakeshore. A couple of cousins and I did a 5 week intro program. Though I followed Crossfit for months I've never gone to an actual gym. Glad I did! The 5 weeks consisted of learning proper body mechanics and positioning while performing each exercise. Kipping Pullups, Burpees, Squats - air squat, overhead squat, back squat, front squat, Shoulder Press, Push Press, (Push) Jerk, Deadlifts, Sumo Deadlifts, Thrusters, Power Cleans, Wall Ball, Box Jumps, Double Unders... It was a pretty intense 5 weeks and I definitely will be keeping Crossfit part of my workout life.

During this I was still going to Hot Power Yoga classes once a week. I swear doing Crossfit made Yoga a lot harder... although Yoga made Crossfit easier. And I ran 4 days a week. My run would range from 2mi - 8mi, depending on the (WOD) day. Sundays are my rest days.

End of March I attended the Yoga Conference. Got a lot of great products and items. I also attended 2 educational seminars. The first one I did was 'Yoga for Runners'; the second course I attended was 'Thai Yoga Massage'. Both were great courses! It was a fantastic weekend! I'm ready to try out my new skills ;)

Last week we started Muay Thai Kickboxing. Different kind of love! Different kind of pain. Different kind of adrenaline! Unfortunately, I hurt my wrist and I haven't been able to go back again. I didn't wrap my hands and I tore a ligament in my wrist. That won't stop me from going back though ;) As soon as this feels a bit better, I'll be going back. With wraps.

In two weeks we start Crossfit Femme Fatale Bootcamp. I'll be back to talk about that later.

There's a lot of exciting things coming up and I will try to update here more often.

Thanks for reading and Happy Training!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Snowboarding Love

There was quite the snow fall yesterday on our way up to Blue Mountain. Beautiful white fluffy snow. The road conditions weren't the best for driving but it was definitely worth the drive!

My knees were hurting pretty badly so I didn't expect to get much boarding in this time but I was willing to take the risk for even just a couple of runs. I'm stubborn that way. I couldn't decide between taping or bandaging my knee but alas I chose to tensor bandage it so I could take it off in between to give it a break. I lasted longer than expected; 4 hours. But by 9:30pm I could hardly make it down the slopes. Strangely, though penduluming puts a lot of stress on your knees and shins, on my last run all I could do was pendulum down most of the way. I couldn't balance or put much weight on especially my right knee anymore. Luckily I made it down without falling. Hopefully next year my knees can tolerate more so I can ride "real" mountains somewhere outside of Ontario.

I know its blurry but this is all I have ;)
All the snow on my mask is from the ski lift. 
It was so windy and snowing a lot.

I love snowboarding! The feel of the wind and snow on my face. The thrill of flying down the trails. Even the ride up the lifts are breathtaking. When snowboarding I feel as though I'm in another world; timeless, exhilarated, free. Snowboarding is that one sport that gets my adrenaline going the most.

Yesterday we  met a guy who also loves snowboarding. He told us that just last week he broke his leg, bruised 3 ribs, and ruptured his kidney but loves snowboarding so much he had to come back again this week..................... I had to giggle. Good thing I was sitting on the opposite side of him on the ski lift. I would have come up with a more realistic story but that's okay, he seemed to like his. I just had to share that. The things we say and do for the love of the sport :)

Happy trails and safe riding!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Quote of the Day

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you are right."
~ Henry Ford

Shin Splints - Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome

I'm a forefoot runner and am prone to getting shine splints. Sometimes it feels like a stress-fracture. Here are some things to do to prevent and treat shin splints:

Running on your toes keep your calf muscles contracted. They stay short and tight and never get a chance to stretch, which contribute to shin splints.

Make sure to effectively stretch your calf muscles.

1. Gastrocnemius: Sit with booth legs straight, toes pointing straight up, then flex feet towards you. I like to use a band to pull toes forward. Loop band around the ball of foot (one at a time). Hold for 3-5 seconds. Repeat 10x.

2. Soleus: Sit with one leg straight and the other one bent. Take hold of the bottom of your foot on the bent leg and pull towards your body as far as you can tolerate, keeping heel on the ground. Hold 3-5 seconds. Repeat 10x.

3. Achilles Tendon: Sit with one leg straight and the other leg bent. Bring your heel to your buttocks, keeping your heel on the ground. Hold for 3-5 seconds. Repeat 10x.

Strengthen the muscles that attach to your shinbone.

1. Try walking barefoot on your heels keeping your toes off the ground for one minute. Repeat 3x.

2. Lift your big toe off the ground, hold, and lower. Repeat 10x

Taping shinsplints yourself.

1. Cut a piece of therapy tape about 12 - 18 inches long, depending on how high your pain goes.  Round edges.

2. Flex your foot. Place one end of the tape on the outside of your foot. Bring it under your arch then up the front of your shin, making sure it is sticking on well.

3. Then you are going to use a stronger tape (ie. I use Leukotape, others have used duct tape) to help support your arch. Apply this tape on the outside of your foot on top the first tape, and under the arch. Pull the tape to give it good support.

4. Now you're ready to run!

 If you are still feeling pain after a few days go to the doctor's to get an xray to make sure you don't have a stress fracture.

Happy running!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Yoga, Running, Zumba

I was going to wait until the end of the week to do a recap of my workout week but after today's activity, I just couldn't wait. I tried out a couple of new places and/or activities in the past 5 days and just wanted to share some with you.

1. Hot Yoga at Rebirth Yoga located in Streetsville. Neat place. Friendly staff. Was supposedly a FLOW class but to most in the class it seemed more like a POWER class. I haven't been to yoga in quite some time now, perhaps almost a year. It was great to go back. I think over the last year I got so addicted to running and working out that I neglected proper stretching. It was quite painful! Even my shavasana hurt! Stretching is VERY important! But I don't want people to assume that yoga is only stretching! My goodness its so much more!

Some of the health benefits of yoga:
Strength training
Increase endurance
Increase energy levels
Posture improves
Increases range of motion
Balance and coordination improves
Flexibility increases
Pain therapy
Cardiovascular efficiency increases
Improves sleep
Improves mood and anxiety
Respiratory efficiency improves
Memory, concentrationm, attention, and awareness improve

Just name a very few!

Coming up: The Yoga Conference at the Toronto Metro Convention Centre - March 29 - April 1
Check it out!
Also, if you love yoga or are new to yoga and don't know where to start and want to check out what studios are out there check out http://www.passporttoprana.com/ $30 - 70 studios across the GTA - 1 year expiry date. Best deal yet! There are so many awesome studios out there! Don't miss out!

2. I desperately need new runners! And proper ones at that! I ran 5km in 29mins, not too shabby but not my best. Let  me tell you, my toes were tingling and in pain halfway through that run and my low back was killing me! Proper runners may cost a bit but it beats having pain. Good investment! Visit a good shoe store for an assessment. I like http://www.runningroom.com/  and http://www.newbalance.ca/. If you have a good pair of shoes and still find you are having pain, check your running posture. Make sure your posture is straight and erect but not tight and rigid. Keep your head straight in a natural neutral position, don't look down at your feet or up at the sky. Keep your shoulders at ease to maintain range of motion. Slightly bend at your elbows adn don't hold a tight grip of your hands. Keep your chest up and your buttocks tightened. make sure your feet pointed forward and let your feet hit the ground naturally.  Breathe! These are just a few pointers to a good run.

3. Zumba! Tons of great fun even for those who can't dance. Latin inspired dance fitness! A fun way to keep fit and have fun! Zumba involves dance moves such as salsa, merengue, soca, hip hop, belly dance, even martial arts moves. It also involves aerobics, squats, and lunges. This was my first time trying Zumba and I sweated up a storm! A definite must do again! Follow @zumbawithjeanna on Twitter now! Great teacher!

Well, thats my recap for now! Thanks for reading! See you all soon!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Intro to my Fitness, Health, and Wellness Blog

I've tried blogging about several different things but I could never stay committed. Then I realized that the thing I talk about, tweet about, research about the most is anything fitness, health, and wellness related. So why have I never blogged about it? Well, here it is :) I'm not promising to know everything, or very much for that matter, but I will post my thoughts and whatever tips I have.

This is me: I am a fitness and health enthusiast! I love trying new things and from that found new loves over the years. From snowboarding to hot yoga to crossfit. I love to cook! Probably because I love to eat! I love to help people back to health, hence the hospital job. I'm a therapist who needs therapy, and because I need the therapy I became addicted to finding and learning different therapeutic techniques and alternative methods. I work closely with other therapist, trainers, and dieticians who will also aid in some of the daily advice I post.

So stay tuned to find out more! Right now, I'm on my way to Hot Yoga! See you soon!