Category Archives: Tough Stuff

Back To Focusing On Health (or Back To Back Doctor Appointments)

In some ways, it seems like I took the summer off from my health. The last big doctor appointment I had been not really an appointment at all but my MRI for my liver back in April. I never saw my liver surgeon after the MRI, we just had a phone call that went over most things plus some follow-up emails with some blood work instructions. And I did get my eyes checked this summer, but that was something I had been putting off and wasn’t that big of a deal.

But now, it seems like doctor appointments are coming quickly for me. Some of them have been normal things. I had an appointment with a dermatologist recently and will be going back for a follow-up in a week. That’s something I pretty much do every year. And yesterday was my annual appointment with my OB/GYN, which is another pretty normal appointment. Although it does seem like I’ve seen her a lot lately since I had my IUD appointment and follow-up for that not too long ago. Again, seeing my doctor every year for my annual appointment is very routine for me.

And I’m assuming I’ll be going in for a mammogram again this year, which isn’t the most fun thing but I know I need to do it. It’s funny how a year ago I was so stressed about having a breast MRI because I hate IVs and don’t love MRIs. But since that MRI, I’ve had so many with IVs so now that seems like the easier option. But it’s much more expensive and not necessary for me to do every year. I don’t know how often I’ll be alternating the mammograms with the MRIs, but that’s something that will be worked out for me by my doctor and a geneticist that my doctor consults with.

But even though it seems like all the routine doctor appointments are coming at me quickly, I also have to add in my liver stuff too. I will be doing my next liver MRI in the next month or so and then I’ll have the follow-up that goes along with that. Obviously, my hope is that the tumors have continued to shrink so that I can just keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully I’ll just have to do another follow-up MRI in 6 months. If they keep shrinking or disappear completely, there’s a chance I’ll still have to do semi-annual or annual MRIs, but that’s not that bad. I could deal with MRIs every month if that meant I didn’t need to have surgery.

But of course, there is always the worry that the tumors have grown or stayed the same. If they are the same, I’m in a weird spot because I still could benefit from surgery but I could also wait longer to see if they shrink again. To me, having them stay the same is the worst case because there’s no clear answer on what I should do. And if the tumors have grown, I need to have surgery and that’s that. I don’t want surgery, but I also don’t want tumors in me that are growing because that can turn life threatening.

I’ve been doing my tumor visualization every day and I haven’t really changed much in my routine since I found out my tumors have shrunk. So I’m really hopeful that the tumors have shrunk. But I’m back to feeling a bit disconnected to my body since there is no way for me to know what’s happening until I have the MRI. I’m not going to stress about it because there is nothing I can do beyond what I’m doing. And if my MRI ends up being in October, I don’t want to spend all of September stressed about it.

It’s interesting how the timing of things worked out where it was pretty much a summer off of medical stuff. Considering how much medical craziness I’ve had lately, it was nice to have a break so I could focus more on my life and not on the what ifs with my body. But it’s time to buckle down and get back to making sure that I’m doing everything I can for my health and to make sure that I’m on top of all the things I need to concern myself about.

Mixed Up Workouts (or Not Knowing What To Expect)

This past week of workouts was an interesting one for me. I usually know what to expect with my workouts because I know which classes are 2 group classes and what classes are 3 group ones. I also have a good idea of what the workout will be each day because I have found an online forum where people post it each day. I like knowing what the workout will be so I can prepare mentally and physically for what I’m going to be doing. But this week things didn’t go as I thought they would and maybe that was a good thing for me.

Monday’s workout was an endurance run/row workout. I was expecting it to not be a run/row because it’s supposed to be a 3 group workout, but it ended up being a 2 group class instead. I think even though it’s posted as a 3 group one, it’s not going to be that way that often. I know some people aren’t coming to that class anymore because they don’t like the 3 group classes and because of that we don’t have enough people in class to make it 3 groups. But it was nice to have the run/row and I was happy that I was able to do it.

We started with a 1,000 meter row which I did without stopping but not in that great of a time. Next was supposed to be a .5 mile run on the treadmill. But my body wasn’t up for running. It was a combination of being tired and my hips hurting from sitting at Hamilton the night before. So I did the power walk version of .25 miles at 6% incline. Next was back to the rower for a 750 meter row and then another .25 miles power walking on the treadmill. I was on the rower doing the 500 meter row when time was called to switch to the floor.

Once I got to the floor there were 3 blocks and it was mainly arms and core focused. The worked out well for me because my legs and hips were pretty done after the run/row. The second block was interesting because we had 30 second intervals with plank work and running man and that was pretty tough. 30 seconds isn’t that long, but when it’s back to back it gets hard. And the last block was tough too because we had a core blast but had to do 3 burpees in-between each exercise.

Wednesday’s workout was a strength day, so I went into it thinking it would be a walking day for me. But that ended up being the perfect plan because half of the treadmill workout was designed to be power walking only. The first 2 blocks on the treadmill were normal strength ones. I run the 90 second push paces because they weren’t on an incline but I walked all the incline work. But the second 2 blocks were power walking blocks where everyone was walking. The inclines were supposed to be a bit higher than I normally do, so I was at a lower incline, but it was still everyone walking and I didn’t feel bad about not trying to run on inclines that day.

When I went to the floor, we had 2 blocks. The first block was bicep work on the straps, chest work with weights, and ab work. We also had a 300 meter row which I did in 1:15. Not a great row time for me, but if I’m being honest I wasn’t trying that hard on the rowing. The second block was tricep work, biceps with weights, and shoulder work. And we had a 500 meter row which I did in 2:23. Again, not a great time but I know I wasn’t working as hard as I probably should have.

Friday was an endurance day and I wasn’t planning on running because of that. But then when I got to class I realized we were going to do the 3 group format which meant less time on the treadmill. So I decided to try running and see what happened. We had 2 blocks on the treadmill and they all had the same format with a 1 minute push pace, base pace, 90 second push pace, base pace, and a 2 minute push pace to a 30 second all out pace. But the difference between the 2 blocks was that the base paces had different times. But to run all the push and all out paces was pretty awesome for me since I really expected to be walking the entire workout.

Next I was on the rower which was one long block. It was timed rowing with squats in-between each row. We started with 30 seconds and increased things by 10 seconds each round. Normally I love sprint rowing because I can do really well with it, but doing the squats in-between the rowing was tough and I wasn’t rowing as hard as I usually could. But it was a great block of work and was nice and challenging for me.

And I ended on the floor which was also one long block. It was deadlifts and work on the straps and then we had increasing numbers of exercises on the BOSU. Each BOSU thing was core work and while core work sometimes feels like a bit of a break and time for me to catch my breath, this time it was just constant work so I felt like it was just as tough as any other block I had done that day.

And I got my 4th workout in this week again. Saturday was a power day which usually means a running day for me. But that wasn’t going to be the plan for me this time. My legs were pretty dead from Friday’s workout and I ended up not being able to start on the treadmill like I usually do. I started on the rower, then went to the floor, and finally was on the treadmill. So by the time I was at the treadmill my body was not feeling like running would be happening.

There were 2 rounds in the 3 group workout so I spent 2 blocks on each section. With rowing, we had some distance rowing challenges. They were sprint rows but in the first block I wasn’t doing too great with them. They were decreasing distances with decreasing breaks between each round. But with the second block, we had 150 meter distance rows with some squats in-between. I was on my 2nd or 3rd 150 meter row when my coach came by. She normally gives me a challenge on the rower to do and she likes to make them pretty tough. I was averaging 40 seconds for 150 meters so she challenged me to do it in 30 seconds. I asked her to hold the rower because I knew I was going to go hard and I didn’t want it to move. She stayed there and I flew on the rower. I didn’t focus on the timer but watched the distance go down. And when I got to 150 meters, not only did I hit the goal my coach set but I beat it!

28 seconds is way faster than I ever thought I could do the row in! And I think my coach was pretty blown away by it too! It was a pretty high note to end my rowing with.

On the floor, everything was pretty quick. We had a variety of upper body, lower body, and core work. But the craziest thing we had to do on the floor were burpees with palms to elbows. But burpees and palms to elbows are tough enough on their own. But to combine them was almost just evil! I totally struggled with those, but I did my best.

And when I finally got to the treadmill, I started with trying to run the first push pace before realizing that it was just not safe for me to run. When I’m tired I can have sloppy running form and I didn’t want that. So I ended up walking on a day that I really was hoping to run. I felt a bit bad about walking because I knew I wasn’t getting as good of a workout as I would have liked to, but I just kept reminding myself that I was there and not sitting at home. Walking is better than nothing. And it was also my 4th workout of the week which is still something I occasionally struggle with.

No matter how much I try to prepare for my workouts, I guess the unexpected can always happen. Fortunately my fitness level is at the point where I can adjust and adapt as needed and my workouts don’t suffer too much. But I think I’m still going to prefer when I know what I’m in for when I walk into the workout.

My Version Of Back To School (or I Need To Get Out Of My Summer Mindset)

Most of the schools in LA went back this past week. It was cute to see all the first day of school photos from my friends with kids and most of my friends are pretty excited to have some free time back in their lives. It’s crazy to see some of my friends’ kids in school when it seems like it wasn’t that long ago that they were born. Especially since I don’t feel like I’ve aged as much as those kids have!

Back to school time used to mean so much to me. When I was in school it was a great way to reset things in my life and get them back on schedule. Even when I was working as a substitute teacher it had that effect on me. There’s something about knowing that school is back that triggered a sense of seriousness in me and I’ve realized that I don’t have that anymore.

I don’t miss school. I do a lot of learning through various things on my own every day so I don’t need a set class that is fall to summer. But I do miss the feeling of resetting things and getting back on track. And getting back on track is something that I do struggle with at times and yet again I’m going through that.

I have to feel lucky that I have my fitness stuff down and that doesn’t need to much work. I think things would be so much worse for me if I didn’t have that in place. But food is still a struggle and I know that things have gotten a bit out of control again. It’s a combination of my schedule being crazy, having lots of adventures and outings, and just being lazy because of the heat.

I’ve said this so many times before, but I really need to get back to my meal planning. Or at least having better options in my house to choose from. There have been far too many days where it’s 3pm and I’m done with work and I’m going to the grocery store because I’ve got nothing to have for dinner. And unfortunately, when I do that I will sometimes buy things I don’t need because they seem good to me in the moment.

I’m working on getting back to the way I was meal planning earlier this year, but it’s not exactly what I think I need right now. So I’m back to experimenting with what things will work and what will help to make me as successful as possible with not having problems with having the right food in my house. I know that my schedule is still a bit crazy and will continue to be a bit crazy, but that can’t be an excuse for me anymore. Life will always have moments of craziness and that can’t be stopping me.

I also need to refocus on work and time management. For the next month things are extra crazy for me because I’m doing the temporary job for an old boss of mine. I have to manage when each day I’m doing each job and I really need to focus on it because I need to get it done when I plan on getting it done. It would be so easy to let time fly by and not have the chance to do what I need to do a certain day. I make sure that it doesn’t happen, but I also see where there are cracks in my plan and where I can improve things.

It will be so nice when one day I don’t have to stress about these things as much. Maybe one day food will come as easy to me as the workouts do now. And maybe one day I’ll only have one job (or one job with a few side jobs that are related to that job) so I don’t have to color coordinate my schedule to know when I need to work each job each day. Fortunately with work, I am an organized person so it’s not too horrible to manage things. But I do look forward to when things are simpler in life and that I can focus on one thing at a time instead of multitasking every single hour and day.

Working On Money (or A Prosperous Heart Update)

I wrote before about how the podcast I work for was going to do the 12 week journey in “The Prosperous Heart”. We just got to the end of the 12 weeks and I figured it was time to do an update.

I’ll admit that I did not follow the 12 weeks as strictly as I did with “The Artist’s Way”. The main thing I did do was the morning pages. I struggled with the morning pages when I did “The Artist’s Way” and I really didn’t enjoy them. They became something that annoyed me at the end of that journey and I really was not enjoying having my mornings start off on such a negative note. So I decided that for me, doing the morning pages wasn’t going to benefit me the way that it should so I didn’t do them.

I know that some people will argue that I didn’t really do the 12 week journey this time if I left out doing the morning pages, but that’s ok with me. I have to do what is right for me and I would rather try to do the journey the best that I can instead of not doing it at all. I did do the weekly reading and the questions at the end of the chapters, so I feel like I did a majority of the journey.

The biggest thing about this 12 week journey is to track every single penny that you spend. Since I already do that with YNAB, I figured it would be pretty easy for me to keep doing it. And fortunately it was pretty easy for me. The only annoying this was with credit card spending. I track it in YNAB and it was a bit weird to have to track it in a second location as well (for “The Prosperous Heart”, I tracked everything in a little notebook). I didn’t like having to do everything twice, but it was a minor issue.

But while I track all my credit card spending, tracking cash was a new thing for me. I was looking forward to seeing how being extra aware of my cash spending would help me out. And for the most part, I got much better about being more cautious on what I was buying. There were a few times I forgot to track my cash spending (mainly laundry money or parking meters), but I would say I tracked all but maybe 10 times I used cash. It’s not perfect, but I’m pretty happy with being close to perfect.

I think that many people in our group weren’t as into this 12 week journey as they were with the other one. Some of us felt like the book didn’t speak to us the same way. Some people felt that the chapters were repetitive and a bit disconnected. It was not easy for us to admit that we didn’t enjoy this journey as much as the other one since we all felt so great after finishing “The Artist’s Way”. But it’s important to admit to yourself when you don’t feel like you are getting what you want out of a book/class/lecture.

We tried to encourage each other to stay on top of the weekly chapters and the lessons, but this time the group online wasn’t as active and sometimes it felt like we were each on our own journeys instead of doing it as a group. It’s not bad to do it alone, but it was different. And I don’t know if I preferred the group version or being a bit more on my own. Each journey was so different because of what was in it, so it’s not easy to compare them to each other.

Now that this is done, I’m going to keep some of the lessons and challenges going but I’m not going to keep all of them. I might continue to track cash spending, but I think just having the extra awareness I have now will be helping me so much. And for credit card spending, I already track that and I have noticed that I haven’t been charging as much stuff as I did before. So it’s nice to know that I did learn something and that I’m not spending as much as I did before. I’m not saving as much as I’d like, but it’s baby steps toward that.

Overall, I’m glad that I took this journey. Even if I didn’t do everything that was supposed to be done, I feel like I have made a change and I’ve learned new things about myself. I’m hoping that I can continue to spend less and focus less on things that cost money and look for things that are free that I like to do. I know that I need to get my credit card debt paid off and I really want to get it done soon. I just need to buckle down and work harder toward that. And hopefully the lessons I learned from “The Prosperous Heart” will help me over the next weeks and months to accomplish that.

Back To More Walking (or The Heat Is Messing Up My Running)

Last week I wrote about how I got back into doing more running and how happy that had made me. I was on such a high from those workouts and really thought that I was getting back to what I was doing before and that more of my workouts would be able to be running based ones. But of course, life never goes that smoothly for me and this past week of workouts ended up being a lot of walking ones. I know that progress is not a straight line, but it’s crazy how I’m really having 2 steps forward 1 step back so often.

Monday’s workout was my best one as far as running goes. It ended up being only a 2 group workout (my Monday workouts are normally 3G ones) and it was a special Orangetheory bingo workout. That meant that we had 3 challenges that we could choose from for cardio and 3 challenges we could choose from for the floor. We didn’t have to get through all of them, but we were encouraged to see how much we could do.

The first cardio challenge I did started with .5 miles on the treadmill. That I was able to run in full and I felt pretty amazing. Then I had a 250 meter row before going back on the treadmill. My body was feeling so exhausted already and I wasn’t able to do the second .5 miles on the treadmill as a run (I did .25 miles at 8% as a walk). It was throwing me off so much that I couldn’t run. But I also know that sometimes when I do something after being on the treadmill and try to go back to the treadmill my hips don’t like it. So I just tried to accept it and move on. To finish this cardio challenge, I had a 500 meter row. I was just heading back to the treadmill when time was called to switch, so I only ended up doing one cardio challenge.

For the floor, I was much more successful. With the 3 challenges, each followed a similar pattern with the first move being 30 reps, the second move was 20 reps, and the third move was 10 reps. These moves includes squats, strap tricep work, burpees, situps, bicep curls, rows on the straps, and plank work. I actually made it through all 3 challenges and was getting ready to start on the bonus round when class finished. I wasn’t expecting to make it through all 3 challenges and I felt pretty great for doing that.

Wednesday’s workout was an endurance day. And going to the workout I was feeling pretty bad. There has been a heat and humidity wave in LA and it’s really been affecting me. But the worst of it is that I’m not sleeping as well as I normally do. And when I toss and turn at night, I can sometimes hurt my hip or make it painful in the morning. And that’s exactly how I felt when I walked into class.

The idea of this workout was to work on increasing our base pace. And I guess that worked out pretty perfectly for me because my base pace is pretty much always a walk (unless it’s a super short block and I’m trying to challenge myself a lot). My normal base pace now is 3.5mph and it can still feel a bit challenging at times for me. But this was a good opportunity to test myself and see what I could do. The treadmill time was 3 blocks and I decided to try to do the entire thing at 3.6mph. All of my push paces were at 6% incline and all my all out paces were at 8%, but I kept my speed at 3.6 the entire time. It wasn’t easy, but it was much easier than I expected it would be considering how I was feeling that day.

On the floor, the first block was squats, hamstring work, and rowing. For the rowing, we had 90 second timed rows and 30 pulls for distance. I didn’t do anything spectacular with either rowing thing, but if I’m being honest I wasn’t really trying either. And the floor ended with squats to hammer curls, hip bridges, and plank work. I was pretty exhausted after class and knew I needed to work on getting more sleep, but the weather wasn’t really letting me do that.

When I got to Friday’s workout, I was having the same hip pain I had on Wednesday and was still dealing with the effects of not sleeping well. But I was in a much better mood because that morning I found out that I won a prize during OTF Bingo! I honestly wasn’t expecting to win because I only had 3 raffle tickets, but I did put them all in the container to win a new blender (because my current blender can’t even blend frozen fruit). So to find out I won the blender totally put me in an amazing mood!

Even though I was in a good mood from finding out I was a winner, that didn’t change the fact that I was going to have to walk during this workout again. And not only was I walking, I wasn’t able to use my faster base pace that I had worked on the other day. It was a mix of endurance, strength, and power and most things were 45 seconds. For endurance it was 45 second intervals, for strength it was 90 second hills, and for power it was 45 second intervals again. I really thought about trying to run during the power block, but I knew that it was for the best for me not to do that. It’s tough to have the heat making things so painful for me, but at least it’s a temporary situation and not that I injured myself.

But because my cardio work wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be, I was pretty tough on myself on the floor. The first block was 45 second timed intervals to go along with the treadmill. We had chest presses, shoulder presses, and double crunches. I used the 20 pound weights for the first two moves, and while that was fine on the chest press it was a bit too tough for the shoulder press. I probably should have gone down to a lighter weight, but I wanted to be tough. The second block was all strap work with Ys, triceps, and lunges to Ys. And the last block was on the rower following the treadmill 45 second intervals.

Saturday’s workout was a 3G one and I’m glad it was that way because I was hurting and pretty tired. I knew I couldn’t take 30 minutes on the treadmill. I started on the treadmill where it was all incline work. Because of the inclines and because I didn’t sleep well again (I’m so ready for this heat wave to be done), I knew I’d be walking the entire time. But I tried to do as much of the work as I could at 3.6mph this time. I wasn’t able to do it the entire time, but it was much more than I thought I’d be able to and I’m really thinking I need to start using that speed as my base pace. Even if I can’t keep that up the entire time I’m on the treadmill, I should start that way and see how it goes.

Next I moved to the floor where we had 2 blocks. The first block had lunges, arm swings, and abs. And the second block had a new move that intrigued me. They are called swing lunges and you basically start with a reverse lunge and when you stand up you swing your back leg forward for a forward lunge. I knew there was no way I could do this unassisted, so I decided to see if I could use the straps for stability. I know my lunges weren’t pretty and I had to pause a lot to get balanced, but I was able to do them! I was so sure that I couldn’t and that the attempt was going to prove that. I’m glad to know that I was wrong and I figured out how to do a new workout move! Also in the second block we had tricep and plank work.

And my workout ended with rowing where I know I was extremely slow. This might have been my slowest rowing all year so far but I finished each row that I could. And in-between each row segment, we had squats to do. Unfortunately the squats made it a bit tough for me to get back on the rower, but again I just took my time and did what I was able to do.

Even though this past week was not as amazing as the week before, I still had some victories. I didn’t let not being able to run get me down as much as it has in the past. I did what I could to make my walking better by working on increasing my speed and I didn’t go easy on myself on the floor. And I didn’t feel like I was upset with myself as much as I had before because I knew that this issue wasn’t something I caused but was a result of the circumstances of the weather. I’m working on figuring out how to sleep better at night so the heat doesn’t affect my workouts this week, but I know that no matter what the heat wave will eventually end and I will get back to normal soon enough.

It’s Like I’m Back At The Beginning (or Muscle Memory Is Weird)

I started my new temporary gig for my old job this week. It’s kind of weird doing this job but I’m so grateful for it. It is commission only so there’s no guarantee that I will make money, but I’m hopeful that I’ll make some sales and it will be extra money that can be used for paying down my debt.

I’m so lucky that this is yet another job that I can do from home. I think originally this was supposed to be something I did from the office, but because I’m working so few hours each day and I’m doing split shifts it wouldn’t make sense if I had to commute back and forth twice a day. But to know that they are letting me work from home is a sign that they remember me from when I worked before and that they trust me.

Even though I’m not going into the office, it’s so crazy how much this reminds me of my old job. I worked for this company when I started this blog. It’s almost creepy how much this job is like my old one. There are plenty of differences and it’s nice being able to work from home, but it still feels so much the same. And it’s crazy to think that it’s been quite a few years since I had worked there and that’s where I was when I started this. I’m not the same person I was back then, but it still has a weird deja vu quality to it and I’m trying to remind myself I’m not the same.

When I started the job, it took a few calls to get back into the groove of making telesales calls. This is different from what I was trying to sell before (back then it was memberships and tickets and now it’s tickets to a one night only gala) and I’m not as familiar with the theater as I was when I worked there before. I don’t need to know about the season since I’m only working for this gala, but I probably should be doing some research so I’m not totally uninformed. And it is still a bit nerve-racking because I haven’t made a sale yet. But I’m sure I will and once I make a sale I’ll feel so much better about this all.

But the weirdest thing for me is how quickly everything came back to me. I haven’t worked in telesales in several years yet I seem to remember everything. We used to code our leads based on if we got a hold of them or what they said. We had different abbreviations and ways of sorting things so we could stay on top of everything. That was necessarily since there were 5 of us making calls and we didn’t want to call someone back who already said they weren’t interested.

But I’m working on my own and can code and organize things however I want. But even from the very first call, it was an automatic response to code my lead the way I used to. I didn’t even think about it before doing it. It was like my body was on autopilot and I didn’t have to do anything to remember. And I even remembered all the various codes we used (I had to use 5 of them on my first day back).

I know that I remember so much from past jobs, but it’s never been like this. I remember so much from when I was a tour guide at WB, but I couldn’t give a tour again. I just remember lots of random facts and stories. I’ve even gotten a bit lost and turned around on the lot when I’ve been there more recently even though that never would have happened when I worked there. And I still remember lots of weird stuff from when I worked in credit card disputes, but I couldn’t probably win a dispute if I tried from the corporate side now (I can still win probably from the customer side).

But to have everything come back to me immediately was just mind-boggling to me. I even texted my old boss to tell him how I was doing this work again and how everything came back to me without me needing to think about anything. He said that muscle memory is a weird thing and I agree. But then I also joked that this information has been taking up space in my brain that could probably be used for more important stuff.

Since this job is only about 6 weeks, I’m probably not going to try to change anything. It’s nice that I don’t have to worry too much about remembering how to do anything and there’s no reason for me to try to do things differently. When I was doing this before, I made lots of sales. All I can hope for is to do the same with this so that I can make enough money to balance out that I will not be getting hourly pay (which was an option for half of the commission rate). It’s only the first week and I can’t be too worried since I know that sometimes it takes time to get the ball rolling on sales.

Even though it feels like it was years ago, I probably need to still remember that I won’t be able to be back to where I was at the end of my time with that job at the beginning of this job. I need to build up my momentum and soon enough it will feel even more like old times.

So Many Birthdays and Anniversaries! (or A Month Of Celebrating And Remembering)

August is a pretty amazing month for me. Obviously it’s amazing since it’s my birthday month and I usually have lots of birthday celebrations. I think the birthday month thing started because growing up I wasn’t always able to celebrate my birthday on my birthday. When I was in school I would be out-of-town a lot on my birthday. I spent multiple years at summer camp on my birthday so I’d celebrate at camp and then have my birthday party when I got back home toward the end of the month. So I think it’s just a continuation of that when I have a birthday month now.

It also is such a full month of other celebrations so it naturally feels like I can continue my celebrations as well. I don’t want to steal the thunder at someone else’s birthday, but if I’m at a birthday party in August and it comes up that I just had a birthday usually people will say happy birthday to me as well. That doesn’t always happen, but it has happened a lot. And because I have so many different friend groups and we are all so busy, having multiple birthday celebrations seems required.

And it’s not just me that we celebrate toward the beginning of this month. In my birthday week we have my parents’ anniversary, my cousin’s birthday, a friend’s birthday, my birthday twin’s birthday, and my acting coach’s birthday. All of those things take place within 5 days. It’s a lot and it can be a bit overwhelming. It’s especially overwhelming when I have to get cards for everyone. I write down each person and what they are celebrating so I don’t forget anyone. And I usually mail all the cards off at the same time to make things as easy for me as possible.

I love getting to celebrate the people in my life. It’s so fun getting to do that and I love picking out the perfect present for people. And I know I’ve talked about this before, but this is also a bit of a tough time for me. My friend and my acting coach have both passed away in the past few years. I don’t get to celebrate them anymore the same way I used to and it can put a bit of a damper on everything. I miss all the birthday jokes we had together because of the back to back birthdays. And it’s not the same without those stupid jokes.

I try to not be sad about not getting to celebrate them anymore. I’m trying to focus on the happy memories I had with them and to celebrate their lives on their birthday. It’s still weird and I’m still getting used to it. I don’t know if it will ever feel normal that they are gone. And there are still times I forgot that either of them passed away. I will have something happen to me and my first thought is to call one of them. I can’t seem to erase their contact information from my phone so it’s still in there. And just as I’m about to look up their number I remember and stop. Fortunately it’s not that way on their birthdays, but it’s still a bit heartbreaking when it happens.

It does take me by surprise when it hits me this hard each year that they have passed away. I keep thinking that I won’t remember or that it won’t affect me. But it’s still a hole in my heart and I can’t forget about it. But that’s probably just a sign of how much I loved them and how important they were to my life. I know that both my friend and my acting coach changed my life for the better and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without one or both of them in my life. And I’d like to think that if they were still around that they would be proud of me.

There is so much I feel like I’m celebrating this year on my birthday. I wish that I had everyone I love who usually celebrates around the same time as me still alive and able to celebrate too. But this is the reality of life and I know that while things might keep getting easier it will never completely go away. I will always remember that I’m not able to celebrate them the same way, but hopefully I’ll be able to focus on celebrating all the fun that I did have with them while they were still alive and can make their birthdays a positive and happy day for me.

My August Challenge (or Being Selfish To Be Happy)

Another month is here! I can’t believe July is over and it’s already my birthday month! And as always, a new month brings the recap of my last month’s challenge and announcing what my challenge will be this month.

Last month, I wanted to work on practicing more mindful breathing. More specifically, I set a reminder to work on breathing and staying calm at 2 of the times that I commonly feel like I want to binge eat. This was a challenge idea I got from therapy and I was curious to see how it would go for me. Doing things like this have been tough for me in the past because I get super focused and forget to do it. Or I get distracted by something else and forget. But having a reminder on my phone does help since I have to dismiss it to make it go away.

While I didn’t always do the 10 slow breaths that I planned on doing, this still was a successful challenge to me. If I was feeling like I wanted to binge, this alarm stopped me and made me think. It didn’t always stop it, but at least I was not in the trance that I’m used to being in when having an episode. I was more aware and even if I didn’t always make the right choice I knew it was my choice. Because this gave me so much more awareness, I will be doing this beyond just last month’s challenge. I think that the benefits will continue each month that I do it and it is a helpful thing for me to have.

But doing challenges beyond the month that they are for brings me to this month’s challenge. I really struggled to figure out what I wanted to do. I’ve added so much to my days between my happiness checklist and all the monthly challenges that I’ve continued to do. I’ve continued almost all the monthly challenges beyond the month that I did them for and that’s a lot of stuff for me to remember to do.

So this month’s challenge isn’t necessarily something I will be doing every day but instead something that I want to have as a focus for the month in general. I want to focus on figuring out what makes me happy and what I want to continue to do. I have to do so much out of obligation or responsibility and I want to make sure all the stuff I add to my life are for fun and not because I feel like I have to because I’ve been doing that for a while.

On my happiness checklist, most things are things that I want to keep on there. They do make me happy and when I haven’t done something for a while I’m reminded to do so. But the ones I’m thinking about taking off are the ones that I do every day and I don’t have to focus on doing. This mainly is about reading and eating disorder recovery research every day. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t read at least a little bit. I read every single night before bed and I read a lot in my down time too. And I do recovery research every day because I read 10 pages of a recovery book every day. While these things make me happy, I think maybe I should add 2 other things to my list that I don’t do every day so I can challenge myself to keep focusing on my happiness.

And with my monthly challenges, most of the time I want to continue doing them when the month is over. But I’ve been noticing that some things are either stressing me out or I’m not doing them. I need to start removing those reminders from my phone so they don’t remind me that I’m not doing something. It can make me mad when I get a reminder to do something that I know I won’t do. But my idea of wanting to try to be perfect has prevented me from just deleting those reminders. I’m going to go through them this month and figure out what I want to keep, what I want to delete, and what I might want to add.

And when I’m figuring out what I want to edit and add, I have to work on being very honest with myself and not worrying about not being perfect or caring what other people think. That’s not easy for me, but that’s why this is a good challenge for me. It’s my birthday month and I want to make this an amazing month! And I think focusing on exactly what makes me happy is the perfect way to make the month the best it can be!

Rethinking Being A Warrior (or Refocusing On My Word For The Year)

I’ve talked about how my word for the year this year is “Warrior“. It’s a strong and powerful word and I’m very glad that I chose it this year. It meant a lot to me to have it as my word at the beginning of the year when I was preparing to have a major surgery. When the surgery was cancelled, I didn’t immediately think about how the word warrior was going to change in my mindset. But recently someone asked me about my warrior bracelet and why I had it.

I explained how it was my word for the year and how I was planning on being a warrior through my surgery, but that was cancelled. They asked me if it was still my word for the year and I told them yes. But later I was thinking about how I want to be a warrior for the rest of this year since I’m not focused on recovering from surgery.

I guess I never really thought about how I should readjust my thoughts for being a warrior. It wasn’t all about my liver, but honestly a majority was about it. And that’s not really something I’m focused on anymore.

I’m still being a warrior for my liver. I’ve got my next scan in the fall and I want my tumors to be even smaller! That’s the best thing I could ask for and I’m doing everything I can (which really isn’t much) to try to make that happen. I’m working on my visualization every day, I’m not drinking since that puts stress on your liver, and I’m now taking some supplements that help with liver health. I know I can’t really fight for my liver to get better, but I think that I’m doing the best that I can to be as close to fighting for my liver now.

And I’m still a warrior in my workouts. I’m trying to run more, but I’ve been having some setbacks lately. I’m lifting heavier weights when I can and I’m trying to not let my mind tell me that my body can’t do something. It’s tough not to be frustrated when I don’t make the progress I think I should be making, but maybe being kind to myself is also being a warrior for myself in a way. But I’m still hoping that this year will be a good year for me making progress in my workouts.

I guess you can also say that I’m being a warrior in online dating. Part of me being a warrior with dating is catching cheaters and calling them out on it (and telling their wives/girlfriends so at least they can find out). That’s not something I would have done before this year. I’ve been the other woman before and I didn’t tell his girlfriend that he was dating me too. I didn’t feel like it was my place to do that and I kind of regret it. But I’m also being a warrior by putting myself out there and trying online dating again when I’ve been burned in the past. It’s not easy doing it, but I do want to find someone and this is one of the few ways I know I can do that.

But all this reflection has made me think about where I’m lacking in trying to be a warrior. As much progress as I’ve made with my eating disorder, I haven’t been fighting as hard as I should have toward recovery. I’ve made some great steps and I know that they are helping me build good habits that I need to make recovery a possibility for me. But I also know where I’ve been slacking and ignoring some warning signs that I need to work harder. I don’t need to get into specifics, but just know that I know I’ve been doing things that aren’t helping me and I haven’t cared enough to try to change those. It isn’t something that I can just turn on or off, but hopefully awareness and admitting that I haven’t been doing great will help get me a bit more on track.

And the other thing that has been less than warrior like is related to something that is a warrior thing. Because I’ve been going full force into online dating, I’ve been prioritizing others over myself. If I’m chatting with a guy and he wants to meet up for a drink or coffee, I’ll rearrange my schedule to make myself available because I’m scared that if I can’t meet him then that he will move on and I will miss my chance. That has happened to me before, but I shouldn’t be in fear of that. If a guy can’t wait a little longer to meet me because I have a busy schedule, then I shouldn’t want to meet him. But I’m still in fear that whoever I meet will be the last person who will like me and I need to get over that.

Every time that I’ve been scared that I will never find someone who wants to go out with me, I meet another guy and that cycle happens again. I don’t get dates as often as I probably would like, but going out with someone every other week or so isn’t that bad. It’s significantly better than what I was doing before I put myself out there. And I need to be more focused on fitting someone into my life instead of rearranging my life to fit someone else.

I don’t know how to phrase it properly, but in essence I need to be a warrior for myself first and foremost. That’s the most important thing. I can be a warrior for myself in fitness and health but I also need to be a warrior for my emotional wellbeing and my life. I don’t have to let someone else’s schedule dictate mine or wait for a text or phone call to find out what the plans will be that night. I don’t want to be the girl sitting at home waiting for the guy to let her know what’s going on. I need to put my life and what I want to do first and hope that I can find someone who will either join me or will fit in. Or at least someone who makes plans with me in advance so I can schedule around it.

It’s going to be tough for me not to prioritize others, but I know that doing that will make me happier. And if I’m happier and doing more of what I want to do instead of waiting for others to make plans with me, that will make me a better person and hopefully someone more fun for a guy to date.

I usually don’t focus this much on if I want to alter how I think of my word of the year in the middle of the year, but I think it was necessary this year. It’s not that the word of the year took a backseat after my surgery cancelled, but I didn’t take the energy I was focusing on getting through the surgery and put it toward other things once that wasn’t needed anymore. Hopefully now I can make the second half of this year even more powerful and more warrior like.

SaveSave

Another Peak Performance Week (or Some PRs and Some Not-So-PRs)

Another Peak Performance Week is done and to be honest it didn’t quite go the way I thought it would. It seems like most of the time during that week I will PR or come really close to getting a PR on all the challenges. But this week didn’t have that in the cards for me and it’s not easy to accept that. I know so many of my posts about my workouts lately have been how I need to go easier on myself, and this week was another example of that.

Monday’s challenge was the 500 meter row. It was a 3G class and I started on the treadmill. But because I knew the rowing would be after my first treadmill block I took the treadmill pretty easy. Once I got to the rower, I knew that my PR going in to that workout was 1:53.7. My goal in my head was to get it under 1:50 flat. I went pretty hard and fast as soon as I started and fortunately I didn’t seem to gas out until the very end of the row. I tried to not look at the timer on the rower and just focus on the countdown for the meters. And when I got to the last 100 meters I went as hard as I could since I knew it would be done soon. When I got my 500 meters done, I took a look at the timer and was pretty surprised with myself.

I had a feeling I had gotten under 1:50, but I had no idea I had done it that quickly! That’s about 7.5 seconds faster than my old PR which was only done earlier this month! I was not expecting to have such a huge improvement in such a short time frame.

After the rower challenge was done, we were into a more normal 3G workout that had a strength focus. I pretty much overdid it with the rower and was still dealing with a bit of nausea so I walked everything on the treadmill. On the rower, besides having the challenge we had 200 meter sprints with 20 seconds of rest in-between and also a 3 minute row for distance (I didn’t do so great with that since it was at the end of class). And on the floor, we mainly did upper body work but there was a bit of ab work and some squats thrown in there too.

Wednesday’s challenge was the floor rep challenge. I have done this before but I hadn’t looked at what my previous rep counts were before this class. This class had 4 blocks on the treadmill and 4 blocks on the floor and I started on the treadmill. The first treadmill block I was able to do my normal running for the push paces and walking for my base paces. Next on the floor was some lunges, abs, and a 200 meter row. Then I headed back to the treadmill.

I knew that right after this treadmill block I’d be doing the floor challenge so I walked the 4 minutes I was on the treadmill. I didn’t want to get too tired before the floor work and I think most people were taking it easy for that same reason. Then I went to the floor where it was 4 minutes of continuous work. The challenge is that you count how many reps in those 4 minutes you do. It’s 1 minute of squats, 1 minute of push ups, 1 minute of pull ups on the straps, and 1 minute of sit ups.

Since I didn’t know what my old count was, I didn’t worry too much this time on what I wanted to get done. I did 95 reps total in those 4 minutes and felt pretty happy with myself. Then back to the treadmill where I did another 4 minutes of walking before going back to the floor to do the floor challenge again. This time, the exercises were reversed (so sit ups, pull ups, push ups, and squats). During the squats I knew I’d be close to 95 again so at the very end I did 2 really speedy squats and got my count up to 96. All I ever want to do is at least 1 better than what I did before and that’s exactly what I did. But after class I realized that I had done well over 100 reps the last time I had this challenge and I was a bit disappointed that I wasn’t able to do better.

And Friday was the last day of Peak Performance Week and it was the mile challenge day. This is always what I look forward to and fear that I will struggle with. I don’t know how I got it in my head that the mile challenge is such a big deal, but that’s what I think of it. Since I knew I wanted to get it done first, I made sure that I started on the treadmill. I had been trying to plan out how fast I need to go for how long to get a PR. I already knew that I wasn’t going to try to run the entire thing but instead do intervals with really fast sprints.

As soon as we got started, I did my first sprint. I did 1 minute at 6mph followed by 1 minute at 5.5mph. I then walked for a minute to recover at 3.8mph (this is the same pattern I had when I PRed). This worked really well for 2 rounds and then things started to fall apart. I was already having a bad hip day and had only gotten about 3 hours of sleep the night before so my body wasn’t feeling so great. And after my second round I knew that I was overdoing it. I had to jump the rails to take a quick break. Since I didn’t stop my treadmill, this is totally cheating and I’m not happy about it.

For my third round, I reduced the run time and increased my walking because I knew the last round was coming up for me to finish my mile. And I knew that I’d be pretty close to what my old PR time was so I wanted to make sure I went as fast as I possibly could go. I don’t remember the exact speeds I went, but I think I was between 6-6.8mph for the last 90 seconds or so. And once I got my mile done, I stopped my treadmill.

This is exactly what my PR was from before. But since I jumped the rails to catch my breath, it doesn’t really count. But to know that I was able to tie myself isn’t too shabby. I haven’t been doing as much running lately as I had before the last Peak Performance Week and I was dealing with some physical issues this time. So I think to have expected to PR was almost unreasonable even though that’s exactly what I had hoped for.

After the mile challenge, we moved to the floor where we had some arm work and rowing. I was still working on catching my breath and wasn’t feeling so great so I was going pretty slow. But at that point, I didn’t really care what I was doing as long as I kept going in class. After the other group finished their mile challenge, my group was back on the treadmill. I knew I’d be walking because I was in pain and I was actually walking slower than I have in a long time. But I got it done and that’s what counts. We ended class with a block on the floor that included burpees, running man, back extensions, and ab work. I was exhausted after that class but I was glad I survived the 3 days of Peak Performance Week that I set out to do.

Saturday’s workout was back to a normal workout (Peak Performance Week is just Monday-Friday). It was 3G like it normally is on Saturdays for me and it was a mix of strength and power. Since I was still hurting a bit from Friday’s workout, I knew going into the workout that I’d be walking. But I was a bit disappointed when I saw the workout because it would have been a great one to work on my running.

We had 3 blocks at each station and we switched after the first 2 back to back. Every block was 4 minutes long and it was pretty much a 4 minute run for distance on the treadmill. The first block was increasing inclines, the second block was decreasing inclines, and the last block was at a flat incline. I would have loved to work on running for 4 minutes at a time, but my body wasn’t in any shape to run. I knew if I even tried that I would probably end up hurting myself. But I couldn’t just walk and not try for anything extra so I did increase my walking speed each time I was at the treadmill. I felt like this made up for having to walk extra slow the day before after the mile challenge.

On the floor, it was more leg and plank work than anything else and I decided to work on trying to be better with what weights I used. We started with lunges that had shoulder/arm work (front and lateral raises). Normally for lunges I use 15 or 20 pound weights and for those arm moves I use 12 pounds weights. But I decided to split the difference and use 15 pounds weights. It was tough to do the shoulder/arm moves, but since it was only 6 reps I was able to keep it up. It was nice to have something feel like it’s improving since I haven’t really felt that way on the treadmill. We also had decline mountain climbers, Spiderman planks, lateral lunges, and squats.

And on the rower we started with seeing how far we could go in a certain number of pulls on the rower. It started with 25 pulls and went down by 5 each round. Normally I can average 10 meters on each pull, but with the pain in my hips I wasn’t able to get as much power behind my rows as I normally can. I decided to not pay too much attention to the distance since I knew I wouldn’t be happy with what I saw. Another block was 200 meter sprints with froggers in-between each set. Again, I lacked the power I normally have so I didn’t look too much at my time for the row. And the last block was 150 meter sprints with squats in-between the sets. We were supposed to try to squat so low that we touched the rails of the rower, but I couldn’t get that low down. But I’m pretty certain my squats were lower than they probably ever have been.

This was not how I thought Peak Performance Week would go for me, but it wasn’t all bad news. I was able to work on being more patient with myself which is slowly happening for me. I did get some PRs and I learned how to push myself better. And that’s all I can ask for a Peak Performance Week. Now I just want to focus on seeing what gains and improvements I can have before the next challenge week!

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave