Surgery Anniversary (or I Guess It’s Good I Almost Forgot)

Last week was the 11th anniversary of my hip surgery. In some ways, it feels like this was a lifetime ago. In other ways, it feels like it was only maybe a year or two ago. I still think all the time about my surgery and what else I might need to have coming up, but it’s not as huge of a focus of my life as it’s been before. That could be because I have other medical issues that are a bit more important right now. But whatever the reason, I was thinking so little about my hip surgery that I almost completely forgot the anniversary of the surgery.

I actually ended up remembering on the day of. Usually, I think about it leading up to the day and then acknowledge it the day of. This time, I was working and all of a sudden looked at the calendar with a shock thinking I had totally forgotten about my surgery anniversary. It was almost a sense of relief that I didn’t totally forget and could still say something about it being 11 years later. But it’s crazy to think that I easily could have had the entire day go by without remembering it.

I’m no longer thinking of milestones the same way with my hips. Before, it was just trying to do better than my surgeon’s predictions. There are still potentially 3 more surgeries I could need, and he felt like I would not be able to make it this long without having another surgery. I’ve completely surpassed that prediction so I’m not thinking too much about it. Now, it’s the goal that he got in my head that it would be ideal if I could avoid getting a hip replacement until I’m 40.

The problem with hip replacements are that they don’t last forever. You do need to replace the replacement, and sometimes that can be every 10 years. Each time you replace them, that’s another pretty major surgery. So to wait until I’m 40 would limit how many times they would have to replace them. Ideally, I’d like to avoid hip replacements completely but I’m aware that it’s not necessarily the most realistic goal. So I just want to stay on the plan to not need a replacement for at least another 6 years.

I’m still doing most of the things my surgeon told me to do to keep my hips as healthy as possible for as long as possible. I’m not doing things that are risky for me falling and potentially breaking my hip like skiing or skating. But I am running now and I know that it’s not the best thing for me to do. But I’ve come to a place where I’ve realized that maybe I need to be a bit riskier with my hip health to keep me happy and healthy. I can go without skiing forever if I have to, although I have been wishing I could do it again. But now that I’ve started to run, I’ve realized that I can’t drop it like I dropped other stuff. I haven’t been feeling any extra pain with running and until I know that it’s causing harm I don’t feel like I need to stop.

I’ve also realized that if I want to live in a protected little bubble to prevent future surgeries, I could do that. But I’ve lived in fear of needing my next hip surgery soon for too long and I don’t want to have it hold me back anymore. I think that I’ve grown so much as a person over the past year or two and I don’t want to stop making that progress. So if I have to take a few extra chances in my life with my hip, so be it. Also, worst case scenario is that I need to get a hip replacement before I’m 40. That’s not the end of the world and I’m still doing much better than my surgeon expected me to do.

Even though I almost forgot my surgery anniversary this year, I think that I’m going to think of it every year and remember how far I’ve come in that time. 11 years is a long time (1/3 of my lifetime!) and I know that there was no way for me to know that I would be in the place that I am now back then. I was in so much pain before surgery and I’m so grateful that I haven’t had to experience that again since waking up after the surgery was done. I was looking back at the photos my parents took of me right after I got out of the hospital (which was only about an hour or so after surgery) and the smile on my face is just so huge. I know the smile then represented getting through surgery and not being in pain anymore. But now, it represents a new beginning to my life and being able to do things that I never dreamed I’d be able to do.

A Weird Workout Schedule (or Out With The Old And In With The New)

I’ve had a few weeks of 3 workout weeks, so it was nice to be able to get back to a 4 workout week this past week. 4 workouts a week is starting to feel so normal to me which still surprises me. But even though this was a 4 workout week, it was a bit of a weird week. It was weird because of a few things including the holiday and my Orangetheory location was getting an equipment upgrade and was going to be closed down for 2 days. But none of the weird stuff was going to stop me from getting my workouts in.

Monday’s class was an endurance day where we didn’t switch between the blocks. We technically had 2 different 10.5 minute challenges, but I forgot to reset my treadmill before the first one and wasn’t able to do the challenge properly. So since the first challenge wasn’t going to be for distance for me, I did it with the plan the coach gave (instead of just running the entire thing). So I ran the push paces and walked the base paces without worrying too much about distance.

For the second challenge, I did remember to reset my treadmill and very determined to PR on my 10.5 minute challenge. I ran the entire thing which is still a big accomplishment for me. I started at 4.5mph like normal and occasionally did a bit at 4.7mph as a little sprint. I knew I’d be close to my old PR (which was .812 miles) so for a minute toward the end I went to 5mph and for the very last 30 seconds went to 7mph just to get every bit of distance I could get. I’m glad that I did that because I did PR, even if it wasn’t as much of a PR change as I was hoping it would be.

Once I got to the floor, I was pretty tired but I wanted to do the best I could. The first block was arms, lunges, and abs so that wasn’t too bad after all the running. The second block was arms with squats and ended with a 500 meter row. I was excited to try the row because I wanted to PR on it too. I didn’t know what my 500 meter PR was going into class so I was really excited when I finished it thinking I got a new best time. It was a bit frustrating to realize that I tied with my PR. I know I should still be happy to tie with my PR when I’m tired at the end of class, but as you all know I’m super stubborn with myself.

I also went to Tuesday’s workout since I do try to work out on holidays. This workout was a 3G 3 partner workout and it was set up as 3 blocks that were each 14 minutes long. A lot of partner workouts are for the entire class, so it was cool that this one was broken up into smaller bits. Each workout had a similar goal which was to see how far the group could get on the rower in 14 minutes even though each block had a different station controlling the switching.

For the round where the rower controlled the switching, it was 400 meter rows. For the other rounds, it was just rowing for distance but I think we all pretty much averaged 400 meters each time we were on there. When the treadmill controlled the switching, it was .2 miles (I did it as a power walk for .1 miles) and the other rounds were running or walking for distance. For the floor, we had a decent amount of variety. When the floor controlled the switching, it was lunges and ab work. For the other rounds there were biceps, pop jacks, dead lifts, and squats.

As a group, we did best on the rowing distance in our first round which was almost 3100 meters. The other rounds weren’t too bad with about 2900 meters each time but I know that we wanted to top our first round row. It was a pretty tough workout, but it was a good workout and a nice change from what we do normally. And knowing that we’d be switching between stations every 3 minutes or so was pretty helpful in getting through the tougher moments.

Wednesday’s workout was a power day and we switched after 2 blocks. Normally I would run that workout, but it was my 3rd workout in a row and I was feeling a bit sore and tired so I ended up walking. All of the treadmill blocks started with a 2 minute push pace and 1 minute base pace. After that, it was push to all out paces with different times. But on the very last block on the treadmill, I knew I’d do a little running. After Wednesday’s workout, all the treadmills and rowers were going to be replaced. It was my last time on the original treadmill 11 (my favorite treadmill) and we were encouraged to go for our fastest speed ever because we were ending on a 30 second all out. Since I wanted to give my treadmill a proper goodbye, I ended with 30 seconds at 8mph. It’s probably too fast for me (I think that speed is for someone with longer legs), but I was able to do it for 30 seconds and felt like I gave the treadmill good farewell.

And yes, I’m aware that I probably sound crazy for having a favorite treadmill like this, but I think most people at Orangetheory have their favorites and knew that the new treadmills probably wouldn’t feel the same as the ones we were used to.

On the floor, each block had a 200 meter row in it. I was averaging 37-38 seconds per row which isn’t bad but not my best either. We also had a lot of plank/core/abs work in the blocks. I was tired because I did a tough workout but also because it was my 3rd workout in a row. I knew that I couldn’t be too tough on myself that day for not always doing my best. And I’m happy to say that I was able to go easy on myself and felt glad that I was able to do what I could do.

Orangetheory was closed on Thursday and Friday to spruce things up and get the new equipment in, so my next workout was on Saturday. As usual for Saturday workouts for me, it was a 3G workout. I got there a bit late and was worried that I wouldn’t be able to start on a treadmill, but somehow not only did I get to start on a treadmill but I got to start on the new treadmill 11! The treadmills looked similar to the old ones, but I could feel a difference. They do still need to be a bit balanced out (very common issue with new treadmills), but it was good to be on my normal treadmill. I was dealing with some hip pain, so I planned on doing a lot of walking. And that worked out well because it was a strength day.

There was some push pace times at a flat treadmill incline, and I did run those. But for all the incline work, I walked and I’m glad that I did. It wasn’t a really difficult hill workout, but I know I couldn’t have done it as a run. I did try to run briefly at 4% and it was feeling pretty bad. So pretty much all my treadmill time with the few moments of push paces on a flat incline were walking.

On the floor, we had 2 blocks. The first block was lunges and shoulder work followed by abs. And the second block was lunges, abs, and pushups. Each block was only about 7 minutes long so it went by pretty quickly. And on the rower, we had rowing with work with medicine balls in-between each row. My rowing was pretty slow, but that might have been because of the new rowers. The seats are different with these rowers compared to the others so it might take me a bit of time to get used to it. But I’m sure they will feel normal to me soon.

After completing Saturday’s workout, I went to the app on my phone that I use to track my workouts. Having an app like that is so much easier to figure out if I’m on pace to hit my workout goal for the year than if I tracked it on paper or something. And Saturday’s workout was a bit of a milestone one for the year.

I’m ahead of pace to hit my workout goal for the year and that makes me pretty happy. Hopefully this momentum continues!

Have A Low-Key 4th (or Friends, Fries, and Fireworks)

Since the 4th of July party I usually go to was on the 1st, I had the 4th of July free. I wasn’t totally sure what I wanted to do that day, but I knew I was going to enjoy having an extra day off. So many holidays are on Mondays (or have fallen on a Sunday) so I don’t get an extra day off that often. It’s a real treat when there is an extra day that I can relax and have fun.

I figured I’d try to go and see fireworks somewhere, but I really didn’t have a plan. For the last several years, I’ve pretty much gone to Chris and Marie’s party. But I used to go to other events before. About 4 years ago I went to the fireworks show in Studio City. And for a few years before that I went to the show in Culver City. But with my friends living all over LA, I wasn’t quite sure where I would end up this year.

I texted some friends to see who was interested in going to a show and most people either had plans or didn’t feel like driving in holiday traffic. I don’t blame them because I didn’t want to drive that far and usually I have plans. But fortunately my friend Grace (she works for the podcast with me and also goes to OTF) had no plans and was up for coming to my side of town! So after she had some acting work to do, she headed over and we went to the Culver City fireworks show.

The Culver City show used to be at Culver City High School, where I used to be a substitute teacher. I was pretty familiar with the school and we watched the fireworks from the football field which was pretty fun. But since the last time I went to the show, they moved from doing the show at the high school to West LA College (a community college in Culver City). It’s still pretty close to my house, so it didn’t take us too long to get there.

The seating is on the grass of some of the sports fields there (I think it was the soccer and softball fields) and most people bring blankets and chairs to sit on. I had a big beach blanket that stays in my car, so I grabbed that for us to sit on. The gates opened at 4pm and we got there around 7 so a lot of the field was already claimed by other people. But we didn’t need too much room for 2 of us and found a spot that seemed pretty good. Since fireworks go up high, I wasn’t too worried about being very close. And I wasn’t expecting to see the show that was on the stage before the fireworks (I think it was just different musical acts).

It was pretty awesome getting to hang out with Grace. We’ve gotten to hang out a bunch lately and she is so awesome! She’s pretty new to LA still so I’m always sharing random LA advice with her. But she’s been kicking butt considering she’s still new to town! I wasn’t doing that much for my career when I moved here, but then again I was focused on college then. But it’s awesome to be friends with someone who is super motivated because that motivates me to do more.

There were a bunch of food trucks there to buy food and Grace went on a food run while I held down our blanket. It took her a while because of the crowds, but I didn’t mind because there was some really great people watching. It’s such an interesting crowd that goes to this fireworks show. It’s not the typically LA event and it really has a small-town feel to it for being in the middle of a major city. I loved seeing all the families having fun and the kids acting like kids and not being jaded by the world.

Grace ended up getting us some french fries and they were so good! They were so good that I forgot to get a photo of them before we ate them! It was the perfect treat to have while we waited for it to get dark for the fireworks to start. I had looked at what time sunset would be, but the show had to start much later (closer to 9pm).

In the past, I’ve always been impressed by this fireworks show. For being a smaller show, it’s one of the longer shows. And this year was no different. It was about 20 minutes of fireworks to lots of different songs. We couldn’t really hear the songs because all the speakers were placed close to the stage, but it didn’t matter. Seeing the fireworks is still awesome and exactly what I wanted to do for the 4th of July.

After the show was done, Grace headed out to get an Uber home while I headed back to my car. Taking an Uber would probably have been the better option because the parking garage was a total mess trying to leave. I didn’t even move my car from the parking spot for about an hour. It took me almost so long to get out of there, but once I was out of the garage it was only a few minutes to get back home.

It was a low-key 4th of July, but it had all the elements of what I wanted to do that day. I’m glad that I got to do exactly what I wanted to do that day and it was a nice way to have a day off before getting back to all the craziness of my life.

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4th Of July On The 1st (or Another Awesome Party With Friends)

With 4th of July being on a Tuesday this year, I was pretty sure that the party I usually go to for the 4th wasn’t going to be on Tuesday. I wasn’t sure what day it would be, but when I found out it was on Saturday I wasn’t surprised. So Marie and Chris decided to make their party Celebrate the 4th on the 1st and it was perfect!

The party started in the last afternoon which worked out really well for me. I had the goal setting workshop until about 2pm and went to the party pretty soon after everyone left the workshop. I had every intention of making Drunk Fruit like I have in the past, but that didn’t end up happening this year. I don’t know what happened, but before I knew it it was Friday night and I hadn’t gotten any of the stuff I would need to make it. I felt bad that I didn’t bring it, but I did bring some sparkling lemonade so I wasn’t totally empty handed when I arrived (although not bringing anything is ok too).

It was the usual crowd at the party and that was exactly what I was hoping for. I had missed the Memorial Day party so I hadn’t seen a lot of people since the Oscars party. Even though I had told many people about my tumors shrinking, most of them hadn’t seen me since I got the news. So a lot of people wanted to hear the entire story and know more about what the plan is now. I wish I had more to say about the plan besides we are waiting for another MRI in the fall, but I think everyone was just happy that I didn’t have to have surgery back in April and that things are looking positive for me.

Most of the time I was at the party, I was just socializing and hanging out with everyone. I did get some food since it was a BBQ and there is always amazing food there. I tried not to think too much about how much I was eating because I didn’t want to stress out about it. But I know I did overeat a bit (I felt it the next day) but since it was a rare occasion I tried to be ok with that.

A lot of the socializing was about online dating since I’m not the only person having random adventures because of it. Everyone seems to think I have the craziest stories, but I think everyone else has some epic ones too. And we were showing off the random people we’ve been matching with on various apps and doing some swiping together as a group on each other’s profiles. It’s nice to know that my friends are having the same experiences as me on online dating since sometimes it makes me wonder if I’m doing something wrong. But clearly it’s not just me.

But the one thing I had to make sure to do while I was at the party was the traditional photo that I take with some of my friends. It all started a few years ago when we ran through the sprinklers and we’ve recreated the photo each year since. We haven’t had the sprinklers on for the other years, but I think having to pretend is what makes the photo so funny. This year, one member of our group was out-of-town so we couldn’t have the exact same photo. But we left a space for her and I think our photo looks pretty amazing!

And I think that the photo looks pretty great in the series that we’ve got going so far.

I love that we’ve been able to keep this tradition up and I know we are all looking forward to adding more and more photos each year.

Since it was a few days before the 4th, we didn’t really expect too much as far as fireworks go. There were some random fireworks from time to time, but nothing like we’ve seen in the past. Some people did go up on the roof to watch, but I was wearing shoes that would not have been safe to go up a ladder in. So I stuck with staying on the ground and I didn’t really see any of the few fireworks that went off. But that was ok since I was planning on going to see fireworks another time.

I stayed at the party pretty late (at least pretty late for me) and was starting to feel tired so I knew I needed to head home. It’s not a horrible drive home, but it’s not the closest place and I know that sometimes there are sobriety checkpoints on the way home. So I wanted to leave at a decent hour. But I was at the party for  long enough to get to see all my friends and have a great time. There’s nothing more that I could ask for at a party.

A Goal Setting Experience (or Mindfulness Seems To Be A Theme)

I’ve been pretty good about setting goals for myself. I set goals each year that I want to be able to accomplish in a year. I also set weekly and monthly goals in my Volt Planner. While goal setting is relatively new to me, I feel like I’ve gone in head first and really have embraced it. I like to have things to try to achieve and while it is frustrating when I don’t make a goal I’m learning how to be ok with that.

So when the podcast I work for was going to do a goal setting workshop, I was so excited to be able to participate! I ended up hosting the event at my house because it is a pretty central location and my living room is a good space to hold events like this. It ended up being a pretty small group, but I think that allowed everyone to get more out of this workshop than they would have if we had more people.

The workshop was based around the idea of the 4 Tendencies that Gretchen Rubin created. There was a quiz to take to help us figure out what type of person we are. Of the 4 Tendencies, I was a pretty even mix of 3 of them (Upholder, Questioner, and Obliger). I don’t know what I was expecting, but I knew that I wasn’t going to be the other type (Rebel). But to be a mix of the other ones was interesting.

I know that some of the reasons I’m a mix is because of my OCD and panic/anxiety disorder along with me wanting to be a perfectionist. But I totally want to look more into these things so I can learn more about each type and see if there is a way I can maximize knowing this to help me do better with my habits and goals for the future. I haven’t really thought about how I could adjust my goal setting process to benefit me so this was really educational for me.

After learning about what type of person we were, the next step was to work on our goals. I’ve already got so many goals for the year and I really didn’t want to cover something that I already am working on. We were advised to try to only set goals for parts of our lives that we need to work on. If we have a goal but are making good progress, we shouldn’t be writing it down since that goal is working.

So for me, the first thing I wanted to do was to write what is working in my life so I can remove my focus from that. The main things that are working for me right now are my day jobs and my exercise. I do have goals for both of those things right now, but I’m doing really great with them so I didn’t need to brainstorm more about it. And once I had that written down I worked on focusing on what I wanted to do.

I got it narrowed down to 3 aspects of my life that I know I want to set goals in. I want to have new goals in my personal relationships, financial life, and my recovery effort. I wrote down several things within each aspect that I know I want to accomplish in the long-term. Most of them are pretty basic, but again it’s always good to write stuff down. I don’t have a lot of variety in what I want to set goals to do, but those few things that I’m focused on aren’t necessarily the easiest.

For personal relationships, that’s about dating and friendships. I want to be more active on both sides. I need to set more plans and not have my relationships just be virtual (FB with my friends and online dating with dating). I want to be ok with being bossy or forceful with trying to make plans. I’ve been ok with being wishy-washy and not trying to get something scheduled. But I don’t want to be ok with that anymore. That’s how I can go months without seeing a friend or spend weeks messaging back and forth with a guy online. I want to be more aware of the relationships that I’m focusing on and not getting as distracted.

For finances, I want to stay aware as well. I’m doing pretty great with that so far but I want to make sure that it continues for a long time. Mindless spending is easy to do (especially with online shopping) and I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to use shopping as a distraction for something else. And hopefully by doing that I will reduce my spending, get my debt more in control, and be in a better place financially.

And for my recovery, it’s a very similar thing. I want to work on being more aware. I want to use what I’ve learned recently in therapy and really work hard and seriously on taking those steps. I don’t want to make excuses for myself and to take responsibility for whatever I chose to do. I don’t want to let my eating disorder rule me. I want to be making choices, even if those choices are bad ones.

After writing down these ideas and 90 day and 6 month goals for each one, I totally noticed a theme. Everything is about being mindful and aware. I don’t know why this has become such an important thing to me now, but clearly it’s something I need to focus on. I don’t feel like I’ve been on auto-pilot, but maybe I have and I just didn’t realize it. Maybe I needed to combination of my appointment with my therapist and this goal setting workshop in the same week to come to this realization.

Whatever brought this realization to me, I’m glad that it’s more obvious than ever on what I want to focus on and what I think I really need to do. Saying that I’ll be more mindful is easy to say but hard to do. But I think that having some action steps and ideas is going to help me get closer to accomplishing this mindfulness now and hopefully things will snowball from there in the right direction.

A New/Old Challenge (or Using An Idea From Therapy This Month)

A new month brings the end to one monthly challenge and the beginning of another. Although technically my last monthly challenge is still going.

I set it to be my challenge last month to track all spending including cash. This is something that I’m doing for the 12 week journey for The Prosperous Heart. I had already started the tracking before the beginning of June, but I wanted to work really hard at it during the month. We are about halfway through the book’s plan so even though my monthly challenge has ended for it I’m still going to be tracking for another 6 weeks. It’s usually pretty easy for me to do my tracking since I do that for all credit card spending. But to remember to track cash was a bit tougher.

Most of the time with cash spending, I’m just keeping my receipts in my wallet and then writing them down later. But I’ve realized that I don’t always get receipts or I throw them out because of habit. I’ve been making a big effort to remember every time I get my wallet out to spend money. If I don’t get a receipt, I text what I spent to myself so I have it in my phone for when I get home to write it down. It took about a week to get used to it, but I’m now remembering to track everything including putting quarters in a meter or giving a friend money to pay for parking. I don’t know if I’ll keep up this cash tracking after I’m done with The Prosperous Heart, but it is good now for me to be hyperaware of all my spending.

When it came to my challenge for July, I was stumped for a while on what I wanted it to be. It’s not that I’m feeling unmotivated, it’s just that I don’t know what else I want to change in my life. The things I want to change are all big things and not right for a monthly challenge just yet. But as it seems each time, I got inspired just before the month started on what I wanted my challenge to be.

When I saw my therapist, a lot of what we discussed was me becoming even more mindful in life. I can be on autopilot at times and that is not a safe place for me to be. I need to stay aware and it’s not easy to remember that if I’m daydreaming or off thinking about something. I have that problem with a lot of things in my life, and what keeps me on track is to set alarms and reminders on my phone. I have so many reminders on my phone throughout the day that sometimes it’s laughable. But it really has helped me stay on track.

One of the ways my therapist has told me I can work on being more mindful is to work on my breathing. I was telling him that at times I can almost zone out while running and he said that it’s because of the rhythmic breathing. That’s the basis of meditation. So by working on more mindful breathing, I can get into that meditative state and hopefully be more mindful while doing it.

This challenge is very similar to the mindfulness one that I did last year. But it is good to repeat monthly challenges especially when I have new tools or ideas that can make that challenge better. I did pick up some ideas from my therapist that might work to make this mindfulness thing stick for me. I also have a new motivation because I have experienced this mindfulness/meditative state in other times in my day and just didn’t have the words to connect that that’s what I was doing. Now that I’m more aware of what it feels like when I get into that state, I think it will be easier to get into it when I try.

I’m doing a similar thing to my other challenges by setting a reminder for myself for this. This time, I picked a few times that I know can be tough for me and set a reminder to take a breathing break. My goal is to take that time and take about 10 rhythmic breaths to recenter myself and hopefully get myself more focused and aware of what I’m doing and what I want to do. I’m aware that this won’t stop me from binging, but that’s not the goal my therapist has for me. He wants me to be aware of when I am binging and accept that is what I am doing. If I’m going to do it, it has to be because I chose to do so and not that I’m unaware that I’m doing so.

I don’t know if this awareness will come within this month. It’s actually probably pretty unlikely that it will happen that quickly. But even if it makes some of my binges aware instead of feeling like I’m in a trance, I will consider that a huge step in the right direction for me. And I know that this challenge isn’t really just for this month. This challenge starts this month but it will likely be something that I will have to try to do for years if not the rest of my life. I want to work on mindfulness and I’ve tried to do it before, but this time feels different and I hope that the results are different too.

A Planned 3 Workout Week (or Medication and Workouts)

2 weeks ago, I had an unplanned 3 workout week. It wasn’t easy on me because I’m getting so used to 4 workout weeks. And I knew this past week was going to be a 3 workout week so having 2 of those in a row was a bit frustrating to me. But this 3 workout week was so much better than the week before because this one was planned for and I knew what I needed to do. Of course, when I plan it doesn’t always go that way and that’s exactly what happened.

Monday’s workout was totally my best one of the week. It was an endurance day and pretty much all the work was 90 second push paces with varying base paces. The base paces were either 60, 45, or 30 seconds so it did make the 90 second push paces a bit harder. But I’ve said it before that I’ve been testing the idea of shortening my walking during my run/walk 5Ks and this was the perfect way to test out my endurance for that. I think that 30 seconds was a bit too short for me, but it’s always good to push myself and see what I can do.

The floor had 2 blocks and each block started on the rower. The first block was 500 meters and the second block was 1000 meters. I managed to somehow PR on the 1000 meter row which shocked me. It was toward the end of the workout and I was tired so I didn’t think I could do it. But I must have pulled strength from somewhere (or just was really mad I didn’t PR on the 500 meter row) and managed to get a new best time. The rest of the floor work was pretty mixed between upper body, lower body, and abs.

Wednesday was a tough day for me. I didn’t realize it until almost the end of class, but this was my first workout with the increase in medication my therapist set for me. Vyvanse raises your heart rate so it’s no surprise that I was having issues with my heart rate being super high. But because I wasn’t thinking about that during the workout and I was getting a bit frustrated. I was struggling and couldn’t figure out why. And it should have been a workout that I really excelled in.

It was a power run/row day which meant all the segments were on the shorter side. But it was a unique format that was not the normal run/row. First, we had 3 rounds of running .25 miles (I ran it each time) and between each round we had 2 different arm exercises. After that we had 3 rounds of 150 meter rows with the same 2 arm exercises in between each round. After that, it was a more traditional run/row. For the running, I started at my normal speed but our coach set goals for us to hit on the treadmill. She wanted me to get to at least 7mph at some point. I knew I would need that to be during my last round and I did 7.2mph for the last .05 of my last round.

On the rower, I kept my 150 meter rows between 28-30 seconds which isn’t a record but isn’t that bad either. But I only made it through the rowing and weights by the time we had to switch. I never made it to the last segment that was the more traditional run/row format. That was tough for me, but I know that I worked really hard.

Once I was on the floor, we had 2 blocks with a good variety. The first block was squats, shoulder swings, planks, and sit-ups. But we also had a few different times that we were told to stop what we were doing and hold a plank for 30 seconds. Those 30 second plank breaks almost did feel like breaks to me since we’ve had so much plank work and I had my plank challenge in May. In the second block, we had power jacks which I was able to do with a weight, skaters, rowing with the straps, and more plank work. I was taking a lot of breaks during that second block because of my heart rate, and I was trying to not be upset with myself. It was then that I remembered about my medication being increased so I knew that it was something beyond my control. But it still doesn’t make it easier on me when I always want to do better than I have before.

Friday’s workout was another endurance day. And even though I struggled on Wednesday with my heart rate, I had forgotten about it by Friday and struggled with heart rate issues again. But fortunately, I remembered it much sooner this time and was able to go a bit easier on myself and not beat myself up over those struggles. It also helped that I had an amazing group of friends at the workout on Friday that were next to me and keeping me motivated!

I do totally notice a difference when I’m working out in a class with friends versus a class that only has acquaintances or people I don’t know as well. I’m so lucky that I usually will have at least 1 friend in class, but to have 4 friends in class is a rare treat!

There were 3 blocks on each side and I started on the treadmill. Every treadmill block was a similar pattern. It started with a 3 minute push pace followed by a 90 second base pace. Then it went to a push pace to all out pace, but the time of the push pace changed each block. I ran all the pushes and all outs, but it wasn’t easy. Even though I know I can run longer than 3 minutes, there was something about those 3 minutes each time that seemed longer and longer. I just tried to get into a zone and not think about the time passing by. And in the 28 minutes I was on the treadmill before switching to the floor, I did about 1.9 miles which isn’t that bad!

On the floor the first block was squats to rows with weights and plank work. The second block was bicep work on the straps, plank work, and abs. And the last block was 300 meter rows with tricep work. 300 meter rows are something that I usually use to measure my progress, but these weren’t that great for me. I was tired, dealing with my heart rate issues, and ready for the workout to be done. Normally I strive to get my 300 meter row under a minute, but I wasn’t even close this time. I don’t remember my exact times, but I was around 1:12 each time. I was trying to not be upset and frustrated, but again it’s tough for me to be easy and kind to myself.

I’m glad that this past week of workouts was a 3 workout week. While this was not my worst workout week, it was a tough one and I think my mental state made it more difficult on me. I needed to take some time off so I could get back into a better head space to start this week of workouts. It had been so long since my medication had been changed and I forgot how tough that adjustment could be on my workouts. I’m glad that I remembered it but I wish that I had remembered it sooner so I wouldn’t have felt as bad in the moment. But I guess I needed this past week as a reminder and hopefully this week I can be easier with myself and happier with what I am able to do in a workout.

Another Actor Night (Tweetup And Inside Acting)

In my attempt to be more involved in my acting career and not just sitting around waiting for auditions, I’m trying to go to as many actor events as possible. Fortunately, there are lots of different events always happening around town. My biggest problem is usually finding one that fits into my schedule, but I’m working on getting better with that and making more time for my acting career.

I am lucky that there seem to be a bunch of events that happen on Monday nights (which are usually my free nights) and this week that’s exactly what happened! The LA Actors Tweetup was this Monday at Busby’s East and I was able to make it! As I mentioned before, the Tweetup now has a more structured format with a Q&A with a guest so it’s not just hangout time. I think that makes it even better and makes the night an educational experience and not just catchup time. This time, the special guest was Kabir Akhtar who is an editor/director for the show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (which is one of my favorite shows).

I got to the Tweetup pretty close to when it started so I had a lot of time to see my friends and catch up with them. There were some people I hadn’t seen in months and some who I had just seen the week before. But it’s always fun hanging out with your friends at a bar and just talking. A bunch of my friends have seen the random online dating posts I’ve put online and they wanted to hear more about the stories. And before I knew it, the room was getting pretty full!

It was so fun to see all the people at the Tweetup. There were a lot of people who I hadn’t met yet, and I always enjoy meeting new people. And the Inside Acting Podcast team was almost all there! We tried to make an effort to be there for the Tweetup and we had every intention of taking a team photo. That didn’t happen, but we did get a “ladies of IAP” photo.

I love that there are amazing women working on the podcast with me now. For so long, it was just me and the hosts. They never made me feel left out or anything, but there’s something special about women being powerful and working together. And I think we make a pretty amazing team!

Since it was so crowded, I went with some friends to try to find a good spot to sit for the Q&A. I knew I might have to do some work on my phone, so I ended up sitting toward the back in a raised section. It actually was the perfect place to watch the Q&A from because I had a great view. And there was no need to be up close when I wanted to just sit back, listen, and learn.

And there was a lot to learn from. Even though I don’t want to be an editor or a director, there are some universal lessons that anyone (even if they aren’t in the entertainment industry) could take from Kabir’s story. He has worked so hard to get to where he is and so much of his journey was so relatable. Hard work isn’t glamorous, but it’s what you have to do to achieve great things. And when one person says no, that doesn’t mean that everyone will.

One story that he told was one that I was a bit familiar with. When the pilot for “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” was made, it was rejected by the network that was going to pick it up. It got rejected from other networks and probably most people on the show thought it was never going to be anything because they were getting all of the rejections. But then the CW decided to pick it up and it’s now an award winning show! They could have felt depressed after all the rejections, but they didn’t and they kept on going. The show just needed one yes to go and it didn’t matter if they had 100 people saying no first.

That story is so relatable to me in both my acting and my personal life. I deal with a lot of rejection and sometimes it’s tough to not take it personally. But I have to just remember that someone at some point will say yes and that can change everything. I just have to be patient and wait for that yes to come and I know it will be worth it.

After the Q&A was done, I tried to start saying my goodbyes to my friends. But somehow that always takes an hour or two to get done. But it’s because we are all having so much fun hanging out and we know that we are all so busy so it can be tough to see each other. There are a few other actor events that I know will be coming up this summer and I’m trying to plan for them the best that I can. But knowing that I can make it to the Tweetups on a somewhat regular basis is making me happy and feel more connected to my acting friends and the community. I’m always reminded about this at each event and I tell myself that I’ll attend more. Hopefully this time I can make that happen.

Another Therapy Check In (or Someone Sees Progress)

I only see my therapist every six months now, and my visit with him was this week. So much has happened in six months and I was trying to think about what I wanted to talk about with him before I went in for my appointment. I know that my time there is limited and I wanted to maximize my time. I knew that not everything was relevant to talk about, but I still took some mental notes on what I wanted to make sure we go over.

A lot of my appointments with my therapist are pretty basic check ins. He wants to make sure that I’m still making progress and doing ok on my medication. But there isn’t a lot for me to work through in therapy anymore. Coming to the realization that I just have bad luck genetically with getting an eating disorder has helped me a lot. I know that I didn’t do anything (or have something happen to me) that caused this and I just have to work on getting through it and figuring out good recovery tools for myself. Sometimes knowing that is tough, but it does make my therapy appointments easier.

The first update we discussed in my appointment was me not having the liver surgery. Even though my therapist has access to all my medical records, I knew he wouldn’t have reviewed everything that has happened lately. He was very excited about me not needing surgery and was asking what might have caused the tumors to shrink. There is really no medical explanation for it, but he agrees that my tumor visualization might have been a big part of it. Our minds are really powerful and can do miracles. He agrees that I should keep that up and see what happens when I have my next MRI in a few months.

We also talked about how I was struggling a bit with the idea of preparing for surgery for so long and then that just stopping. I told him how the unknowns unnerve me a bit and that I was finding it tough to reconnect to myself. I still struggle with a bit of disconnection with my body and I don’t know if that will ever be resolved because even if the tumors go away they could come back another time. My therapist understood why this is so tough for me, but he was encouraging me to work really hard to get through it.

He was talking about how we cannot set expectations for life and then fall apart when they don’t happen. Things can change and we have to be ok with going with the flow. And when something doesn’t go our way, we have to let go of the idea of what we thought would be and start thinking about what is. Obviously, those things are easier said than done, but I do need to work a lot on that idea. And to have him tell me that it’s ok that I struggle with this idea made me feel better because sometimes I wonder if it’s just me who seems so rigid in these ideas.

Even though there are things that I’m struggling with, the main things that my therapist was saying to me were all positive things. He said that he can really sense a change in me and sees that I’m so much happier. He can see that I’m figuring things out and I am making progress. I don’t always see the progress, but I know it’s easier for someone on the outside to see it. He knows that even if my eating disorder isn’t getting better right now, I’m building the skills and gaining the tools I’ll need to be in recovery. So eventually it will all connect and come together and I’ll be better equipped to be in recovery.

We also started to talk about the future and when I will be going off of Vyvanse. I cannot be on this medication my entire life (nor do I want to be on it forever). I am not in a place to be off of it just yet, and in fact we actually made a small increase to my dosage. But we went over how this is just a temporary tool and how I need to be preparing myself to eventually not have the crutch of the medication to help me through the day. It’s a bit scary to think about going off of it because when I don’t take it for a random day off, I notice that things aren’t as great. But to start working through an end plan is something that I know I need to do.

The biggest takeaway I had from this appointment was that I am making progress and improving even if I can’t see it yet. Getting to see myself through someone else’s eyes (and someone who has a critical viewpoint) is pretty powerful and really helped me feel more settled in what has been happening. My therapist wants me to focus on being more in the moment and accepting things as they come. If I am going to have a binge episode, he wants me to do it because I chose to do so and not because my eating disorder is putting me on auto-pilot. I’m getting much closer to that point so it’s good to know that that’s actually progress.

I won’t have my next appointment until December (6 months from now) unless something crazy happens and I feel like I need to be seen sooner. But I’m feeling much better about where things are now after this appointment. Some of the doubts I’ve been having have been reassured as good things and I’ve been given homework to try to work on over these next 6 months. Hopefully when I go back to see him again, he will continue to see progress and be happy with the steps I’ve made toward recovery.

Family Brunch (or Sibling Catch Up Time)

Even though all my immediate family lives in CA, I don’t see everyone that often. I was lucky that I got to spend about a week with my parents recently, but that was only because that was when I was supposed to have surgery and they weren’t going to cancel their trip here. Usually I see my parents maybe 4 times a year and it’s mostly when they are down in San Diego. But I do talk to them on the phone pretty much every day so at least I’m catching up with them that way.

My brother and sister-in-law live in Santa Barbara which is only about an hour an a half away from me. But between them and me, we all have pretty crazy schedules. So even with them being so close I don’t get to see them that often. The last time I had seen them was Thanksgiving and there was a chance I wouldn’t see them again until this Thanksgiving. They were going to come down here for the day if I had surgery and was in the hospital, but since that didn’t happen they didn’t make it here.

But my brother and sister-in-law were in LA for a wedding this past weekend and they invited me to get brunch with them on Sunday before they drove back. Of course I said yes because I need to take advantage of any time that I get to hang out with them. I don’t get to talk to them that often on the phone (again, we all have crazy and conflicting schedules) so I’m not as caught up with them as I am with my parents.

They suggested going to Momed in Beverly Hills for brunch. I had never been there before, but I’m always open to trying new brunch places! And it’s not too far of a drive for me and I wanted to go somewhere that they wanted to go since they don’t get to LA that often. They made reservations for us on Sunday morning and I was excited to get to see them.

I got there before they did and sat at a table outside. It was pretty nice being able to sit outside and even though it was a hot day it wasn’t too bad that early in the morning. And I like being able to people watch because it’s always interesting to see who is out and about on Sunday mornings. I only was there by myself for a few minutes before my brother and sister-in-law were walking up the street to meet me.

They had just gotten back from a trip so they were telling me about their vacation and the vacation that they are planning for later this year. And they were telling me about the wedding that they went to the night before. Then they asked me about everything going on in my life. I still don’t feel like I have a ton of updates on my life beyond saying that I’m working on getting things back to normal. I filled them in on the plan for the tumors and that I should be having another MRI in the fall to make a new plan.

My sister-in-law was also curious about my adventures in online dating. She had seen some posts of mine on social media and wanted to hear more of the stories. My brother didn’t really want to hear about it so we had to wait until he went to the bathroom so I could tell her more of the stories. But they met online so I think they feel like it’s very possible for me to meet someone amazing online so that’s good.

Since they had to drive back home that day, we didn’t get to spend too much time at brunch. I did have an amazing meal though! There were a bunch of Mediterranean dishes on the menu, but I went for something a bit simpler. The potatoes had a really nice spice on them and everything else was basic breakfast food. But that’s exactly what I wanted for my brunch.

We were only at brunch for a little over an hour, but then we all had to say goodbye. My brother and sister-in-law did walk with me to where I parked my car because they hadn’t had the chance to see my new car yet. I think that they both liked the car and agree that it is a major upgrade from my old car. I think I’m still getting used to having a new car and having the chance to show it off to family members who haven’t seen it yet keep the car feeling new to me.

I’m so glad that I was able to see my brother and sister-in-law for brunch. I know we all need to work a bit more on trying to meet up more often, but we all also understand that our schedules aren’t the easiest ones to work with. We don’t get upset with each other if we only see each other 2-3 times a year even though they live so close. And while I’m hopeful I’ll see them again before Thanksgiving, November will probably be here before we know it and I’ll see them (and my entire family) again then!