This post isn’t going to be like my typical workout recaps. It was an interesting week of workouts for sure, but not at all what I thought it would be. But I am still proud on how I finished out my workouts for 2017!
My first workout of the week was Wednesday. Monday was Christmas so the studio was closed. And Tuesday they had a limited schedule and all the classes were during times that I worked that day. So Wednesday was my first workout since the Saturday before. That was a long break between workouts and I didn’t like it. I know that I’m going to work on not letting that happen again if I can help it.
Wednesday’s workout was a power day and we had 4 blocks on the treadmill and 4 blocks on the floor, with all blocks being 5 minutes. All the treadmill blocks were a similar format starting with a push to all out, then a walking recovery, and ending with a push, base, all out pace. For the first two blocks, I was able to run the push and all out paces and was very happy with that. But I got a bit tired and wasn’t feeling my best (a preview of things to come) and ended up walking the last two blocks.
On the floor we had 3 blocks on the floor and one block on the rower. For all the floor blocks we had 2 moves. The first block was power jacks with shoulder work and knee tucks. The next block was low rows on straps and knee tucks (technically they were supposed to be pikes but I can’t do those). And the last block was power pull ups on the straps and rotation sit ups. And when we went to the rowers we had the same pattern of what was done on the treadmill.
My other workouts this past week were on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (I’m also doing a workout today which will make 4 workouts in a row). But none of those 3 workouts went the way I thought they would. On Thursday, I started to experience some pretty horrible PMS symptoms. My body does not react well to hormone fluctuations and that is why I went on birth control when I was 18. But since I can’t have any hormonal birth control now, I have to deal with my natural cycles and the issues that come with them.
While I do have medications to take to manage these symptoms, those don’t always work. And from Thursday evening through now I have been dealing with some extreme nausea and debilitating cramps. I am so lucky I work from home because I don’t think I could go to a job right now. I’m going to keep working with my doctors to see what new medications I can take or what other options we can try, but I also know that this may be my reality from now on and I need to learn to deal with it. I can’t let 25% of my life be wasted.
So even though I was feeling pretty awful on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I still went to work out. I couldn’t walk on the treadmill because that made my nausea worse, so I stuck to the bike. Rowing was difficult and I couldn’t even work half as hard as I normally can. And the floor work was sometimes ok, but if I had to lay down or do something in a plank pose I couldn’t always do it.
I don’t really have a recap for any of these workouts because I don’t exactly remember what I did and I didn’t really do anything that great. I didn’t even really sweat at all on my workout on Sunday. But what I’m trying to focus on is that I was consistent and went to class. If this is what things will always be like each month (and I hope that isn’t the case), I need to learn how to deal with it.
But even though my workouts for most of this past week weren’t that great, I still ended 2017 on a great note! I managed to do 196 workouts for the year!
I love that I went beyond my goal for the year because I feel like things weren’t as good this year as they have been in the past. I dealt with a few different injuries plus all the hormonal issues I’ve been having. But this is proof that I did put hard work into my workouts! And even if my last workout of 2017 was not my best one, I’m glad that I was able to work out with some amazing coaches and other class members! Have great people in class with me helps me focus on something better than how I’m feeling and keeps me motivated.
And now I feel ready to start my 2018 workouts and see what those may bring!
I originally planned this past week to be a 4 workout week because I knew that this week was likely to be a 3 workout week. I’m now having 4 workout weeks be the norm and 3 workout weeks to be rarer instead of how it used to be the other way around. But this week was another one where my body was telling me stuff and I just had to listen. So I had 3 workouts and they weren’t all up to my normal abilities.
Monday was a strength day. I knew I’d be going to Disneyland that day, plus I was dealing with some hip pain and nausea, so I decided to walk the entire workout. It was probably a smart choice for me because a lot of the work was longer segments on the hills. I can do running on hills for short bursts, but I definitely can’t really do longer running on hills just yet. Most of my walking was at 6, 8, or 10% and it was tough to feel like I was getting a good workout in because I’m so used to running.
We also had one cardio block on the rower and it was a pretty fun challenge. The goal was doing 100 meters in as few pulls on the rower as possible. Doing as few pulls is tough because your brain is telling you to go super fast to get it done. But really you have to take your time and take long pauses at the beginning and end of each stroke. It’s an exercise in patience and I’m getting better at it. The goal was to be able to do 100 meters in under 10 pulls and I knew I could do that since on these pull challenges I usually average 10 meters a pull. In the time we had on the rower, I had time to do 4 attempts. 2 of those attempts were at 8 pulls and the other 2 were at 7 pulls. I’m pretty happy with myself with that effort.
Once on the floor, I focuses on heavier weights since my cardio wasn’t as good as normal. We did have rowing on the first block with 200 meter rows (I did them between 40-42 seconds each time). The second and third block on the floor was mainly arm work like pull overs, triceps, upper cuts, and raises. And the last block was all ab work like planks, crunches, and toe reaches. Even though I felt disappointed with my cardio, I knew I’d be doing a ton of steps at Disneyland and I feel pretty happy with what I was able to do on the floor.
Wednesday was a run/row day and I was pretty excited about it. I knew it was going to be a very difficult run/row, but it was a great opportunity for me to prove to myself that I’ve made some really great progress. On the running part, it started with .25 miles, then .5 miles, then 1 mile. And the rowing was 1600 meters, 800 meters, and 400 meters. I had a feeling I wouldn’t get through the mile so I put my energy toward the first 2 segments. I was able to run the .25 mile run pretty easily (it’s still so crazy to me that running that has become easy to me now) and then I headed to the rower.
I checked my records, and my previous PR for 1600 meters was almost 2 years ago and it was 8:15.2. I had a feeling I could do it in under 8 minutes flat and set that as my goal. Distance rowing is still tough, but I’m getting better at it since we’ve had some more opportunities for it. And I think the endurance I’ve been building with my running is helping my rowing too. I tried to not focus on the rower while I was rowing because I knew I’d be on there for a while. I finally looked down at around 6 minutes thinking I would be close and I was much closer than I thought I could be to being done! So I decided my new goal would be to go all out for the end and maybe be able to take a full minute off my 1600 meter row. I think I was in a bit of shock when I was done.
I did just over 1:02 faster than my old PR! That’s pretty insane and I think that it was a really great time for me. I knew I’d PR on my row, but to think I could PR by that much is mind-boggling. I was pretty exhausted after that row, but I still wanted to do my best on the next running segment. I’m not sure how I did it, but I managed to run the entire .5 mile run too. I did the 800 meter row in 3:27.5 which is less than half the time it took me to do double the distance so that was pretty great too. And I only got started on the mile run by the time it was time to switch.
The floor work had an interesting set up. There were 4 blocks and the first 3 blocks all started with a minute of timed work like squats, pushups, and rowing on the straps). After that, we had about 4 minutes to do 2 different moves. The moves after the timed work was mainly arm work and a lot of it was rowing (which seemed mean after doing so much rowing during the run/row). The very last block on the floor was timed ab work like crunches and leg lifts. We also had a 90 second plank hold to finish which felt pretty easy considering all the plank work I did in my challenge last month. I’m happy that planks have gotten so much easier for me and I’m excited to see what other plank progress I’m going to make soon.
Friday was another run/row day but it was also a strength day so that meant hills. I originally planned to do all the running as running and it started off great with a .5 mile run which was at a flat road treadmill (which is 1%). I actually was able to get my speed up and did it at 4.7 mph instead of my usual 4.5 mph. Next was a 450 meter row which I wasn’t too worried about since I was focusing on the next run segment.
Next was supposed to be .4 miles at 2% and I assumed I’d be able to do it. But my body was saying otherwise and after less than a minute I had to switch to power walking. It was disappointing because I was so set on running, but I’m really learning to be patient with myself and knew it would be best to not run. My body was hurting from some hip pain plus I had eaten too much the night before (more on that in a future post), but I was hoping that I could overcome that. But once I started walking I was feeling better so I know I made the right choice. I did the 350 meter row, the next run segment (as a walk again), and just had enough time to finish a 250 meter row when time was called. I didn’t get all the way down the run/row assignment, but I got almost done which is pretty good for me.
Once on the floor, I again wanted to do heavier weights because I felt like I had to make up for what I didn’t do on the treadmill. We started with lateral lunges and I was able to use 20 pound weights in each hand. It wasn’t easy and I had to take breaks, but I got through the entire set. I did my front raises with 15 pound weights (usually I use 12 pounds) and I even used weights for my hip bridges and scissor kicks which I usually do without weights. In the second block, I wasn’t using much heavier weights than normal, but I didn’t go easy on myself either. And we ended with a core blast with a medicine ball and I went for the 10 pound one instead of 8 pounds. I felt like I really made up for my lack of running with weights.
Leaving Friday’s workout, I had every intention of making it on Saturday. So I probably didn’t go as hard for that workout than I would have if I had known I was going to skip Saturday. But Saturday morning things changed and I knew it would be best for me to not work out that day. It’s not easy for me to listen to my body because I’m always trying to push myself, but I’m trying and I’m seeing the results when I do pay attention.
I’m a bit paranoid about not hitting my workout goal for the year, so I might try to see if I can fit in another workout this week. It might not be possible and I might have to be ok with 3 workouts for 2 weeks in a row. It’s not the end of the world, but I’m so set in my plan that it can be hard to deviate from it. But this is all a lesson in patience, listening to my body, and not being too hard on myself. It’s just tough for me to do that sometimes.
After Peak Performance Week, I was pretty tired from all the hard work. I knew I’d still be doing my 3 workouts for the week, but I didn’t feel like I needed to push myself as hard as I had the week before. Having a recovery day (or a recovery week) is a totally normal thing to do. But I usually am so competitive with myself that I don’t want to do that. But this week, I knew that I needed to. So I tried to find a good balance between working really hard and taking the recovery I needed.
Monday was a power day that didn’t switch between blocks. But even though we didn’t switch between blocks it almost flew like we did because the first 3 blocks were only 4 minutes each. For those short blocks, I was able to run all the pushes that were 2 minutes or under and all of the all out paces. We had a 3 minute push pace followed by a 1 minute all out. I did run for 2 minutes and then took a quick 1 minute walk break before running my all out. The last block on the treadmill was 7 minutes which was a mix of push and all out paces. I tried to follow the paces perfectly (only walking during walking or base paces). And by doing that, I ended up doing 3 minutes of running at the end which felt pretty good for me!
The floor work that day was a similar pattern with 3 short blocks and 1 long one. Each of the short blocks was 2 different things we had to do and I was able to get through 2 rounds most of the time. And for the longer block, we mainly did squats followed by rowing. I didn’t take it too easy while on the floor since the blocks were so short. I was using 20 pound weights for my squats and 25 pounds for the deadlifts we had to do. Even in my recovery weeks, I’m finding that sometimes I can use heavier weights (especially doing lower body work), so I’m glad I still did that.
Wednesday was an endurance day, but fortunately we did switch between blocks. For the treadmill blocks, on the first one I ran for 2 minutes, walked for 1, and ran for 2 again. I was really happy to see that I felt fine doing that but then after that first block my body decided that it was done. I was feeling pretty light-headed (I didn’t have the best food day before my workout) and was dealing with a bit of pain all over. So for all the other blocks, I ended up walking even during the all out paces. I ended up keeping my speeds and inclines lower than I normally do on a walking day because of all the issues I was having. But I was trying to keep focusing on remembering that this was now a recovery day and that was ok.
On the floor, I used some medium to heavy weights when we had our squat work. In the last floor block, we also had a 400 meter row which I did get done in under 2 minutes. But the light-headedness and pain were affecting me on the floor too and I was taking quite a few breaks. I thought that the toughness of the workout was just because of my personal issues, but after class everyone else seemed to agree that for some reason it was an exceptionally hard class. That did make me feel a bit better about all the struggles I was having in class.
Friday’s class was a power day without switching. I was still dealing with a bit of pain (all the rain we’ve been getting in LA makes my hips hurt so much), but fortunately my workout didn’t suffer too much from the pain. All of the blocks we had were 5 minutes or under and that was helpful. We had a lot of all out paces (I think it might have been 8 or 9 of them, but I lost count). We had 1 minute pushes to all outs, 90 second pushes to all outs, and 2 minute pushes to all outs. And I managed to run all of it. I did walk during the base paces and walking recoveries, but it felt really good to run as much as I did. I still want to push my running more, and I feel like this workout was a good way to do it.
The floor was similar with the short blocks. We had a lot of squat work, a lot of ab work with the ab roller, and I even attempted doing knee tucks on the ab roller on my toes instead of my knees for the first time (that only lasted for 2 knee tucks, but it was the first time I ever did that!). But one of the floor blocks was all rowing for 5 minutes. We had base, push, and all out paces on the rower; but basically it was rowing constantly for 5 minutes. I know I could have done better than I did, but I think I didn’t do too shabby.
For this being a bit of a recovery week and a bit of a challenge week, I think I found a great mix. I listened to my body when I needed to and adjusted when necessary instead of trying to overcome the issues. Hopefully this will be a pattern that I’ll be able to continue doing for a long time!
I wasn’t sure how this past week of workouts would go. I knew that Monday would be fine, but since I was getting my IUD in on Tuesday I thought there would be a chance that was going to be my only workout. I was hopeful that I would be able to do my 3 workouts, but I was also realistic. So I figured even if I only did my Monday workout or only made it through 10 minutes of the other workouts that it would be good enough. But because I’m stubborn, of course I didn’t take it easy.
Monday’s workout was the last challenge for the 12 days of fitness. And for day 12 we had a 12 minute distance challenge. Since I knew my mile PR was 13:39, I just wanted to be as close to a mile as possible. Some of my friends were telling me that I could probably do a mile in 12 minutes, but I didn’t believe them. But then I realized I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.
For the 12 minutes I did 1 minute of running at 6 mph, 1 minute of running at 5.5 mph, and 1 minute of walking at 3.5 mph. While I’ve done 2 minutes of running with my intervals before, it has never been that fast. There were plenty of times that I thought that I couldn’t do it and by some change I realized I had made it to my walking minute. I was so tired and so out of breath, but when I saw the 1 mile come up on the treadmill screen at 11:48, I’m so glad I did it! Taking 2 minutes off of my mile is massive progress and I shocked myself so much! But since it was a 12 minute challenge, I couldn’t stop the treadmill then so my picture is of my 12 minutes being a little more than a mile.
After that challenge, we switched to the floor (so the other group could do their 12 minute challenge) and it was a very intense floor plan. We had burpees, abs, lunges, squats, and shoulder work and all of them were between 10-60 reps. I made it through most of the floor work and then it was time to get back to the treadmill. I wanted to run on the treadmill, but I was so tired from the challenge so I did walking for all of the segments.
That would have been enough for a workout, but it wasn’t done. After that last treadmill time, we had to do a 1200 meter row. That is such a long row, and it was even harder considering all the other work I had already done. I wanted to be able to do it in under 6 minutes, and I’m happy to have done it in 5:57.
Wednesday’s class was the one I was most nervous for. I wasn’t in too much pain, but my stomach was dealing with some dull cramps and things were feeling a bit off. I figured I’d do the best I could and that would be that. It was an endurance class where we switched between blocks and I think that switching helped make things easier on me. I was able to do my regular 1 minute intervals for the long 3 minute push paces. And while I tried to run the entire 2 minute and 90 second push paces, my body just couldn’t do it. I had to cut them short, but I did run for the majority of the time.
I stuck with slower running speeds for everything that day. Even my all out paces were at a speed that sometimes is more of a push pace for me. It wasn’t that I was in pain, but things were feeling weird and I think I was psyching myself out and afraid that I was going to hurt myself somehow. There’s nothing wrong with taking it easy, but I was caught in-between feeling fine and wanting to do things like normal and being scared that I was somehow ignoring my body and going to hurt myself.
On the floor work, we had rowing each block. The first block was 300 meters (I did them in 1:20 and 1:14) and the second block was 600 meters (I did that in 2:42). All of those row times are pretty awesome for me, but rowing was tough. There was something about sitting and bending that way that made my stomach cramp up more. The pain was never that bad (it felt more like a strong pressure in my stomach), so I figured it wasn’t bad to push myself. I did have a tough time with the squats and ab work, so I did modified stuff for those. But considering that this workout was the one that I was going to take it easy or skip, I clearly didn’t follow that plan.
Friday was a power day with a run/row. I was still feeling some cramps and uncomfortableness, but still nothing that bad. I was still taking Motrin for the pain, but Friday I probably could have skipped it (I just didn’t want to risk hurting a lot during the workout). For the run/row, we had 3 row segments for each distance. For the first distance, we had to do .2 miles 3 times with different rows in between (200, 150, and 100 meters).
I was able to run the full .2 miles each time. I was a pretty long run for me (close to 3 minutes) and it wasn’t easy. I still had that odd feeling happening but I wanted to push through it. I think the exercise helped the pain go away faster so I wanted to keep going. I took the rows easy because it was still hurting a bit to sit down and row. I didn’t pay attention to how long it took me to do each of them because it didn’t really matter to me at that point. I did make it to the .15 miles block (there was also a .1 miles block) and got 2 sets of that done before it was time to switch to the floor.
The floor work was focused on arm work which was good for me. I wasn’t dealing with any weird pain while doing the arm work so I was able to life 20 pound weights for all of the work. We did also have some plank work which was a bit tougher. I was having some weird knee pain so I had to do my planks on my toes and that made things even tougher. I know my plank form was sloppy, but again I just focused on making it through and getting it done.
Overall, I would consider my workout week a huge success. It would be a success even if I didn’t have my IUD to deal with so that makes things even better! I know that my stubbornness can be bad at times, but having it to push me through any uncomfortableness to keep going with my workouts is a good thing. I needed the workouts since my food hasn’t been great and I’m glad that even while one thing is not going so great that the other is going even better!
Warning for my readers (especially the guy readers): This post is about my experience getting an IUD. I’m not shy describing stuff so just know that if you read today’s post.
With the liver tumors, there isn’t much for me to do between now and my next MRI in the spring. I just have to hope that my body will decide the tumors should shrink so things will be easier. I don’t have to change pretty much anything in my life because of them with one exception. I had to stop taking my birth control pills.
I’ve been on the pill since I was 18 and it was weird to stop taking them. But knowing that the hormones in them were what caused the tumors (literally a one in a million complication) made it a non-negotiable thing for me to stop. Ironically, I had to stop hormonal birth control but right now pregnancy could be extremely dangerous. I needed something to make sure I won’t get pregnant before my surgery (even though that is not really a concern for me), and non-hormonal options are pretty limited. But since hormonal options will be out of the picture for me for the rest of my life, I figured now is the best time to figure out what I want to do.
I have a very open relationship with my family. It helps that my dad was an OB/GYN and there is no shame or embarrassment to discuss things with him or anyone in my family. And everyone in my family agreed that I should get an IUD. Several women in my family have them and love them. And since there is a non-hormonal option (the copper Paragard), my OB/GYN agreed and scheduled me a time to come in and get one. While getting an IUD was something I thought about doing for a few years, I wasn’t too happy about having to get one. This wasn’t totally my choice, but I knew it was the best thing for me.
Of course, I reached out to all the friends and family I know who have an IUD to ask them about their experience. Mainly, I was terrified about the pain I might have with the insertion. I’ve read it can be very painful when you haven’t had a baby yet and I’m not a fan of pain. But since my OB/GYN knew how scared I was, she prescribed me some things to make it easier. I already have prescription motrin for my hip, but she also wrote a prescription for 1 dose of Valium to keep me calm and 2 doses of Codeine to help with the pain before and after.
Since I was going to be pretty loopy going to my appointment (I had never taken Valium before so I had no clue how I’d react), I had a friend who has an IUD drive me. I knew she’d be able to help keep me calm and would be a good person to have with me after if I was in a lot of pain. So this week, I had my appointment and I wanted to share my experience because I think it is important for people to know what it is like.
I took the painkillers about an hour before my appointment and felt fine with them. I’ve taken those painkiller before and knew I wouldn’t have any weird reactions. But when I took the Valium, I got loopy right away. I was shocked how fast it got into my system but was grateful that it did calm me down significantly. But when my friend picked me up, I knew I was acting weird. My brain and mouth felt disconnected and I couldn’t get out what I wanted to say. I was slurring (my friend said I sounded drunk or someone who was in the middle of dental work) and I couldn’t think of words that I wanted to use. I don’t like being out of control like that, but I knew it was for the best.
I was still nervous when I got to the appointment, but fortunately my OB/GYN is a family friend and was willing to work on making this as easy as possible. After doing a pregnancy test (they are required to do it even though I knew there was no risk of me being pregnant), my OB/GYN decided that the best option would be for me to get a shot of lidocaine. Most OB/GYNs don’t do this because getting a shot in your cervix can be very painful and can be worse than the IUD insertion. But for me, I didn’t really feel the shots. I didn’t know she did the first one and for the second one I didn’t feel pain but did feel a slow mild shock going up one side of my abdomen (it was on the side that the shot was going in on my cervix).
After the shot, we had to wait about 5 minutes for it to take effect, so we were just chatting and catching up on random things. I also told my doctor that I was totally going to be blogging about this so she took the IUD out of the box so I could get a picture of it before it went inside me.
You can see that the IUD is pretty small. The device it is in is the thing that is used to put it in your uterus (the arms get folded down before insertion, but I wanted the picture of it before it got folded down). Even though I knew IUDs are small, seeing it before the insertion did make me feel better. I don’t know why I needed more reassurance, but knowing that it was tiny and the device to insert it is smaller than a straw was good.
After I was numb, the next step was to measure my uterus so my doctor knew how far to insert the IUD. They used a device to hold my cervix open, but I didn’t feel it at all. I thought I might feel some pain or pressure, but when my doctor told me it was on there I was shocked because I had no idea. When she used the sounding device to measure my cervix, I felt that a bit. But I only felt it when it hit the top of my uterus and it was a little pinch (less than a shot or needle stick for an IV). I jumped a bit when that happened, but again it was significantly less than I thought it would be.
Finally, it was time to get my IUD. The IUD is loaded up in the insertion device and then it was placed in my uterus. I didn’t feel it at first, but as my doctor was placing it and getting the arms to pop out that was a weird sensation. I don’t know how to describe it. It wasn’t painful but it was odd. It almost felt like something was trying to pull my insides out of my body. It lasted maybe 3 seconds and then it was done. Then my doctor trimmed the strings of the IUD (I felt nothing) and the worst was over.
The final step was having an ultrasound to make sure the placement looked good. My doctor turned the screen so I could look at it too and she pointed out where the IUD is and where my uterus and ovaries are. It’s not easy to see in the image, but the long straight line in the center is the IUD.
The placement looked good to my doctor and we were done! If you don’t count the 5 minutes we waited for the lidocaine to take effect, the entire thing was probably less than 3 minutes. And I’m aware I had more painkillers than most people and I got the lidocaine shot too, but this entire process was pretty close to painless. Getting an IV for my liver MRIs were more painful than this process.
I have to go back to my OB/GYN in 6 weeks to have the placement checked again, but if everything looks good I’m protected against pregnancy for 10 years! There are no hormones in the copper IUD so it won’t affect the tumors at all. And if I want to have kids within the next decade, it’s pretty easy to have this removed.
I know that most people have much more difficult experiences than what I had. Even after the lidocaine wore off, I wasn’t in much pain. I have a small cramp in my lower abdomen, but it’s a pretty dull pain. I am still taking motrin as a precaution and after getting the IUD in I used a heating pad that night. But this was not unbearable at all. I know this could get worse later, but I’m not too worried about that. The thing that scared me the most was the insertion and I was laughing after it was done about how easy it was. If I had known that before, I probably would have gotten this years ago.
While I still wished that this was more of my choice and not something that was my only option, I’m glad I did it. I’m glad that I was able to manage the pain with the options I was given and that the experience was easy. All of the stress and worry I had before was so much worse than anything I experienced in the appointment.
I want to thank everyone who shared their stories of getting an IUD with me when I reached out for advice. You were all right that it wasn’t bad and that I was worrying more about it than I needed to. And if you are considering an IUD, know that while it can be painful that pain is usually over pretty quick. And maybe you will be lucky like I was and have an almost pain-free experience. Feel free to reach out to me through the comments or the contact form if you have questions or want to contact me about this. Obviously I’m an open book and happy to share whatever I can with you all.
I had a weird week of workouts this past week. When I started the week, I had no idea that I would be getting so sick on Wednesday. But even though I was in the hospital that day, I still managed to get 3 workouts in (it was originally going to be a 4 workout week, but I’m proud of my 3).
Monday obviously was my best workout day. This was before I got sick and I was pushing myself quite a bit. It was a strength day and we didn’t switch between blocks, so I had a long time on the treadmill. I still am not running hills, but I decided to run the flat parts that I could and get my inclines as high as possible. We started the workout with a 2 minute push pace that I ran in full and we ended the treadmill time with a 1 minute push and 1 minute all out (both minutes were run). And in the middle we had 2 30 second all outs that I was able to run.
But besides those parts, I was walking the rest of the treadmill time. Hills are tough in general for me, so running hills is not a priority for me right now. I was keeping my inclines pretty high most of the time by averaging between 8-12% incline with my usual walking pace. The hills are starting to feel more like they did before I hurt my calf, so I was very happy with that. It’s been a long time since the hills felt like that, so I saw that as a huge improvement and something to be proud of.
The floor work was a bit tough for me. My abs were hurting (I thought it was because of the MRI, but I’m now wondering if it was something related to my current issue). When we were doing ab work, I was able to do it but things were tougher for me than normal. I wasn’t able to get up from being on the floor as easily as I usually can and I decided to be a bit careful with my weights for the rest of the floor work. I wasn’t going with really light weights, but I took it a bit easier than I probably would do on a strength day.
Wednesday’s workout didn’t happen because I was still in the hospital at that time and there was no way that I could go anywhere once I was done. I honestly thought that there was going to be a chance that I couldn’t do any more workouts for the week, but I decided that since the doctor I saw said I could work out once I was getting better I figured it was worth trying. I told myself that if I could only make it 10 minutes into the workout before I had to leave, that would be ok. So I kept my already scheduled Friday and Saturday workouts.
Friday was really a challenge for me. I know I must have been getting better, but it was hard to believe that. I was still hurting so much and there were only so many positions that my body could be in that made the pain go away. There was no way I was going to walk on the treadmill (even if I kept it really slow, I would be tempted to push myself more), so I went onto the bike. I kept the resistance very low and didn’t pedal too fast the entire time I was on there. It wasn’t easy, but I made it through.
Friday was a run/row day, and I think that was the best thing I could have had. I didn’t spend too long on the bike for a stretch and the rower had the ability to be a good way for me to stretch a bit. My bike time wasn’t fast, but I wasn’t pushing myself at all. I just wanted to make it through what I could. The rower wasn’t that great for me (crunching my body up was hurting my stomach), but I just did a bit of a lazy row and got all the meters in that I needed to. My coach knew I was dealing with health stuff, so he wasn’t pushing me that hard and kept checking in to make sure I was doing ok.
When we moved to the floor, I decided there was no point in me trying to use my normal weights. I needed to keep things easy, and that means easy weights too. So when I usually would use 15 or 20 pound weights, I was using 10. I felt a bit pathetic and weak, but I had to keep telling myself that I was feeling like crap and wasn’t letting that keep me from the gym. Most of the floor work was focused on arms, but there was some ab work as well. I knew the ab work wasn’t going to happen, so I just skipped that part and did more arm stuff. I ended up leaving class a bit early because the last 3 minutes was a core blast, and I knew I couldn’t do any of it. Plus, I was feeling a bit exhausted since that was my first real workout or movement since I got sick.
I went into Saturday a bit more optimistic. I knew I could do the bike and make it through a workout with significant modifications. It helped the nerves go away since I knew I could do it. I got on the bike again and even though it was a power day (my favorite) and there were a bunch of push and all out paces, I didn’t do any of that. I just tried to ride the bike at a steady resistance and cadence for the entire time. I did have to take some breaks (my stomach would hurt or I needed to stretch out a bit), but I did ride for a good amount of time. The computer on the bike stops when I stop, and in the end it said I was on it for 25 minutes. Not too shabby at all.
The floor work was a bit tougher for me, but I stuck with my Friday plan and used 10 pound weights again. We had a bit of squat work to do and I was modifying those and doing what I could. I was feeling my muscles working so even if I felt like I wasn’t doing much, I was doing something. We had some ab work that I skipped (like toe touches) and some ab work that I tried (mountain climbers which were very difficult but doable) and we had a bit of rowing as well. My stomach wasn’t hurting more at the end of the workout than it did in the beginning, so I consider that a victory.
This was not the workout week I was expecting to have. But I did my best to make it the best I could. I’m not disappointed in myself since I know that it would have been so easy to decide not to go at all. But I still wish I wasn’t hurting so I could have done more.
With HellWeek starting this week (and going through the beginning of next week), I’m still planning on doing all the workouts I have signed up for. I’m hoping that I won’t be in pain for all of the workouts and can really push myself to see what I can do, but if I have to be on restricted exercises I’m going to try to make the most of it. I want to earn my Hell Week shirt and I know what I need to get it!
If you follow me on social media, you saw that I spent Wednesday at the hospital. I was there for about 6 hours doing medical tests and things, and in the end I got some interesting news.
First, I need to explain why I was in the hospital. On Tuesday afternoon/evening, I had a pretty bad binge episode. It wasn’t the worst one I’ve ever had, but it was pretty significant. I’m not proud of myself, but it is what it is and I can’t go back to change it. About the time I was getting ready to go to bed, I noticed some symptoms that usually mean I’m about to have a gallbladder attack. I wasn’t looking forward to having an attack, but this happens from time to time after a binge.
Usually my gallbladder attacks follow a very predictable pattern. I feel the signs that one is starting before going to bed and I usually can fall asleep before it happens. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night in pain and within an hour it is over and I am able to get back to sleep. But this time, it was very different. I couldn’t go to sleep and the pain was not ending. I didn’t get any sleep for that entire night because the pain was so intense. There were times in the middle of the night that I debated calling my mom for advice or going to the emergency room, but I decided to try to tough it out.
By the time my alarm went off on Wednesday morning, I wasn’t doing any better. I was exhausted from not sleeping and feeling horrible that I did this to myself. If I hadn’t binged, I wouldn’t be in pain. I tried to see if I could make it through the work day and go to the hospital after, but that wasn’t going to happen. So I made an appointment with someone in internal medicine for 9:45am and went over to Kaiser.
I was very honest with the doctor I met. I told her that I binged and that I have a history of gallbladder issues. But she didn’t feel like it was gallbladder stuff this time based on the pain I was in. So she ordered some blood work and an x-ray and instructed me to come back once those things were done.
The blood work wasn’t fun (I passed out a few times while the blood draw was happening) and while the x-ray was easy I was still in very intense pain. By the time I got back to the internal medicine department, I couldn’t find a way to make myself comfortable.
The good news and bad news was that there was nothing weird in my tests. I had elevated liver enzymes, but I had that issue the last time I had blood work and I knew that it was something I was supposed to work on. So the doctor ordered an ultrasound to be done so that my stomach, gallbladder, and pancreas could be looked at to see if there was anything that would explain the pain I was in.
The wait for the ultrasound was excruciating. I was sweating and crying in pain and it took almost an hour for them to get to me. And in the ultrasound, they had to press really hard where my pain was located and that was causing me to tear up and have issues breathing. I was really glad when that test was done and I went back up to internal medicine again to see the doctor for her response to my tests.
When I went back up to internal medicine, the first thing they did was give me a shot of a painkiller to help me a bit. At that point, I didn’t even mind that the shot was happening because I just wanted to get out of pain. It didn’t take the pain completely away, but it dulled things a bit and helped to make it more tolerable.
But again, the doctor couldn’t find what was causing my stomach issues. She let me know that it wasn’t my gallbladder as there was only one tiny gallstone in there and it was not in a place that could cause me pain. And everything else they were looking for looked normal. So her best guess was just really bad indigestion or a stomach ache or possibly a small ulcer. She told me to get some antacids and heartburn medication down at the pharmacy and said that my pain should go away within a week.
I was still really mad and embarrassed that I did this to myself. If I hadn’t binged, I wouldn’t have had this problem. And while I want to believe that this will stop me from binge eating, I’m not thinking that would be true. It’s a very tough addiction to get over (can you imagine an alcoholic having to have 3 drinks a day without going crazy?) but I’m trying to focus on getting myself better as much as I can.
But my appointment and time at Kaiser wasn’t a total wash. While my ultrasound was happening, the tech scanned over my liver and noticed what may be a cyst on my liver. If this is accurate, this would explain my weird liver enzymes on my blood work and would make things easier to figure out. Since the ultrasound isn’t the best diagnostic tool to look at cysts, I now have more blood work scheduled plus a MRI with contrast (which means another IV) to look more into things. And I have an appointment with a surgeon after that to hear what needs to happen if there is something I need to do.
If I hadn’t had the binge episode and the stomach distress I never would have found this possible cyst. It is something that explains the weird things in my recent medical tests which is a relief since I couldn’t figure out why things were so weird. But it also is now taking me down a crazy rabbit hole of more medical testing and doctors. I’m hoping that they will tell me that if it is a cyst nothing needs to be done with it. Some cysts go away on their own and maybe this one will do that. But I’m also preparing for more stuff I might need to do.
Either way, I’m a bit grateful that I did something stupid because it lead me to find out something that I needed to know was wrong with me. I wish that this liver thing was what was causing my pain or we could find out what was causing it, but at least I have some medication to take for now and a plan for what else I might need to do.
After my super full day at Disneyland this week, I was in a lot of pain. The pain was happening while I was walking around the parks, but sadly I’m used to that. It was getting pretty bad close to the end of the night, but that didn’t seem too weird to me since I was at the parks a lot longer than I usually am.
When my hips start hurting (especially the one that has had surgery on it already), things don’t usually get better that day. For some reason, no matter what painkiller I take during the day, things don’t stop hurting until after I sleep that night. Sometimes the pain continues the next day, but usually when I wake up the next morning things are a lot better.
My friend June is used to seeing me limp toward the end of our Disneyland days, but I think this might have been the first time Dani saw me limping. It can be shocking when I’m doing fine in the beginning of the day and by the end of the day I have trouble taking steps. I’m sure that both of my friends were concerned about me and while we were eating our late dinner they discussed some options with me for future Disneyland days.
I’m pretty vocal about not wanting to use a wheelchair or scooter at Disneyland. A wheelchair would be annoying to push (or have a friend help me push) and I don’t want to be on a scooter because it’s bad enough being judged for my weight now and I can’t imagine how bad it would be if I was on a scooter. Plus, I enjoy walking and it’s good for me to get those steps in during the day. I’ve been on crutches at the park before right before I had my surgery, and it’s not fun to have to use some sort of assistance there.
But the pain this time was so bad that I was more receptive to my friends suggesting that maybe I look into something that could help me. I know that they were saying it because they care and I appreciate that they do want to see me enjoy the end of my day when I go to Disneyland. And the idea that they came up with is maybe I should look into getting a cane so I can take some pressure off of my hip as I walk.
I definitely didn’t love the idea at first. I know that there are so many articles about how people ignore those with invisible disabilities, but I’ve enjoyed not having my issues known as soon as someone sees me. I like to appear to be normal and if I start to limp eventually then I can always explain the situation. But to have a cane with me would give attention to my problem and I don’t know if I want that to happen.
But the reality is that maybe I do need some help with walking on long days like that. This doesn’t mean that I’ll use it all the time (even at Disneyland), but it could be nice to have as an option when I’m hurting. And I know that things will likely only get worse until I have the next surgery (or surgeries) I need so there may be a time where I need the cane more often and it’s probably best to get used to it sooner rather than later.
So the day after Disneyland, I did some searching online and found a pretty inexpensive cane that can be folded up so it fits into my backpack when I don’t need to use it. It arrived yesterday and it is pretty easy to unfold and fold back up. I took a few steps around my house using it and it’s not horrible to use. It’s totally easier than using crutches (those hurt my arms and armpits so much when I had to use them) so I think it won’t be too painful when I do use it. And of course my friends offered to decorate it for me since I got a plain cane (the fancy decorative ones were double or triple the cost).
This isn’t a decision I’m totally happy with, but I know that in the long run it will be the best for me. Even if I don’t end up using the cane the next time I go to Disneyland, it will be nice to know I have it as an option if walking is starting to hurt too much. And hopefully I do feel more comfortable with my hip issues being out there to the public so the cane won’t feel as embarrassing to use.
This past week of workouts ended up being a week of being cautious. I have no clue what happened, but on Monday morning last week I woke up with a very stiff knee. I didn’t do anything over that weekend that should make things hurt, so I’m wondering if I slept in a position that tweaked something. The knee pain is almost only at night (it wakes me up if I shift positions at night) and hurts a little in the morning when I get up. So since I was dealing with that, I didn’t go as crazy during my workouts because I didn’t want to hurt myself more.
Monday was a partner workout which was awesome because my friend Dena came try her very first Orangetheory class! So she and I partnered up together for the workout. During the partner time, the person on cardio controlled the switching. The cardio person did a 200 meter row and a run on the treadmill at inclines. The run was supposed to be .2 miles, but I know I can’t run that long nor did I really want to run on hills. So I decided to walk at inclines so I was only doing .1 miles each time. On the floor, while we waited for our partner to be done with their cardio work, we did arms, chests, lunges, and abs. We kept going the floor work until our partner came over and switched us out.
I have to say that Dena and I made pretty good partners for this. We were pretty equal on time for cardio, so neither of us was stuck on the floor waiting for too long. I was working on using some heavy weights on the floor, so I was mainly using the 20 pound ones for my work. At the end of the partner time, we had a small block that was like a normal block. While it was still hills on the treadmill, I did run during the 1 minute all out at the end so I got a little bit of running done.
Wednesday was an endurance, strength, and power day that didn’t switch between the blocks so I was on the treadmill for 30 minutes straight. It was an interesting day because all of the blocks were pretty short. Again on the treadmill, I walked for most of the time. I did run for the all outs again which were a minute each time. Running for a minute is getting a bit easier for me, but my heart rate is really high during it and I have a bit of trouble catching my breath after. I know that this will be worked out the more I run, but it’s a big adjustment to get used to.
During the floor, we had some lunges and arm work, but the big thing to me was the timed row blocks. We had 2 blocks where we had timed rows. One was for 3 minutes and one was for 2 minutes. I really wanted to do well, but I was also so tired after the cardio time so I knew that I wasn’t going to be hitting my best distances during those times. So I just wanted to get the minimum of what we are supposed to do, which is basically 100 meters every 30 seconds. For the 3 minute row, I got 606 meters which met my goal. But for the 2 minute row, I was just too tired to keep my momentum going and I only got 355 meters in. I know I could have probably gotten to 400 meters if I really tried, but my legs just weren’t having it (and a majority of rowing is leg power).
Friday was another strength day, but fortunately we were switching between blocks. Again, I walked almost the entire time on the treadmill. Since it was a strength day there were plenty of hills to work with and I really tried to keep my inclines where they needed to be. I did run during the all outs (either 30 seconds or 1 minute long), but while runners were supposed to run at a high incline, I kept it at either 2% or 4% (4% is the flat road for walkers). I’m really not ready to try to run at an incline where I’m still struggling to run at all.
The floor ended up being a really great day for me. We did have a 400 meter row, but rowing wasn’t a big part of the day. I was using 20 pound weights for my arm and chest work (including bicep curls) and during the burpees we had to do I was always adding in pushups. We also had an entire block just using the TRX straps. Most of the strap work was core work, so I was feeling pretty awesome t the end of class.
My knee did hurt throughout the week, but again it was almost only at night. I woke up almost every single night with pains in my knee while I was moving. In the morning, I would be very stiff but after an hour or so the pain would end. I never felt pain during the workout (that’s a good sign) but it wasn’t getting better or worse through the week. I really have no clue what I did and I doubt doing to the doctor would give me any guidance. There’s always a chance that my hip issues are causing the knee pain, but again, I can’t really do much to fix that. Over this past weekend, I pretty much did nothing to try to rest my knee and that seemed to help.
I’m hoping that this week, things will be a bit better for me. I would like to try to push myself a bit more in my running because Peak Performance Week is coming up soon. I know I’ll be doing the 1 mile challenge day, but I don’t think I can do the other treadmill challenge days because of my schedule. So I’m trying to focus on what I can do to prepare for that day and making sure that I have the best workouts possible leading up to it.
I’ve been pretty lucky lately with my panic attacks. I was warned that with taking Vyvanse it can make panic attacks more frequent or more severe. But I’ve almost experienced the opposite. My random panic attacks aren’t really happening right now (which I am so grateful for) and my expected panic attacks (like at the dentist) are the most mild they have ever been. I’m very happy with this side effect and it’s been really nice to not have to stress or panic about a panic attack happening.
Then the other night in the middle of the night I had a gallbladder attack. It was pretty awful, but fortunately not the worst one I’ve ever had. But they are pretty painful no matter how mild they get. I was in a lot of pain and couldn’t really see straight. My vision was going in and out (it almost felt like I was going to faint at times) and I stayed on my bed to stay safe. The pain was so uncomfortable and I couldn’t find a position to put my body in to make things feel even the smallest bit better. And I’m not sure if this is a part of the gallbladder attack or a reaction to the other symptoms, but I couldn’t stop sweating and was having trouble catching my breath.
In the past, my gallbladder attacks have brought on panic attacks. It makes sense to me because you do feel like you are dying when you are having a gallbladder attack. I really was wishing that I would pass out so that the pain could happen without me really knowing about it. I wanted it to end, but it wouldn’t. If I had a panic attack, I would have felt that it was totally normal.
But somehow, I was able to rationalize with myself in that really bad moment. I knew that it was a gallbladder attack and that it wasn’t a heart attack or that I was dying or anything. I knew that it would end eventually and when they do go away it usually is sudden for me so it could be going away any minute. And I knew that I had a choice to go to the doctor’s soon if I wanted to get my gallbladder out and never have to deal with this again (I don’t do that yet since my attacks aren’t that frequent and it’s a surgery that isn’t necessary yet).
I found a way to lay on my bed that was a safe enough position for me (I wasn’t at risk for falling off the bed if I did pass out) and I was working on focusing on my breath. I was trying to do counts for each inhale and exhale and was putting the counts in the front of my mind and not the what felt like endless pain.
Finally, the attack stopped pretty much as quickly as it came on. I tried to get as calm as I could and focus on getting back to sleep. The entire thing was about an hour long and the next morning I found it pretty funny that when I looked at my sleep tracking from my Fitbit, it was clear when the attack was happening.
The pink lines are when I’m awake so you can see that chunk of pink in the middle of my night. That’s when I couldn’t stop moving because of the pain but you can also see that the entire night was a bit restless for me (the restless moments are the blue lines).
I know that I have the option of getting my gallbladder removed, but like I said above the attacks are pretty rare so I don’t think that surgery is a good option for me. I’ve had a couple of ultrasounds in the past and they have always told me that until the attacks are frequent enough that they are affecting my life, I don’t need to have my gallbladder out (the attacks aren’t good but they aren’t damaging my health in any other way right now). I’m just glad that my attacks are rare and they seem to be over within a few hours each time (from my research it seems like some people can have them for a day).
While it sucks that I had the attack, I’m so glad that I was able to prevent the panic attack from happening at the same time. I think that helped me get through the attack much better and I’m thinking maybe it helped it end faster than they have in the past.
Obviously I don’t want to have to go through this again, but I know realistically that it will happen again but I’m glad that somehow I was able to control the panic attack from coming and whatever skill set was in my subconscious to do that is able to be used in the future.