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Archive for "Health"

My Couch to 5K Journey

Posted on December 7, 2016 by under Health.    

I recently started a Couch to 5K program. I hate running. Absolutely despise it. However, I envy people who run and enjoy it.
A few months ago I asked Tammie, a friend of mine at work who runs regularly and enjoys it, for some advice on how to get started and she told me to do intervals of alternately running and walking. For example, run for a minute, walk for two, and then just do that continuously for 30 minutes straight. I took her advice but, me being me, I needed more structure.

It seems I’m good at telling other people what to do but, when it comes to working out, I need to be told exactly what to do. LOL. Ironic, I know.
Derek, another friend from work, recommended I download a C25K app. I’d seen my friend Andrea post screen grabs from her app and I had other friends who went through similar programs using an app so I found a free app (and there are several in the App Store) that appealed to me and began my C25K adventure last month. November 15 to be exact.

This is a picture of me after completing Week 1 Day 2. I forgot to take a selfie on the first day. Imagine that.

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I was in Topeka for training that week so I did the first two days at the fitness center of the Holiday Inn Express. It was a dinky fitness center and there was only one treadmill and, to top it off, the belt had a tear. What a way to start, right?

But I thought, if it was unsafe they would have marked the treadmill as “out of order” so surely it was fine. And, I decided I couldn’t use every, little excuse to avoid running. It was now or never.

Although, I did wonder if they didn’t bother marking the treadmill as “out of order” because they didn’t think anyone would actually use it. The two times I was there, I was the only person in the fitness room so I didn’t even bother with headphones. I just played my fun Zumba music straight from my phone. Then again, I had my back to the door, so maybe the Zumba music kept all the other people away?

That Thursday evening, I had to spend the night in Kansas City for a Friday morning meeting there so I completed Week 1 Day 3 at the Kansas City Downtown Marriott’s fitness center.

Here’s the selfie from that run.

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This fitness center is much better equipped than the one at the Holiday Inn Express. They actually have six treadmills, several ellipticals, and a few bikes. There’s plenty of equipment for weight training and they even have a studio with some medicine balls where you can do stretching (or dancing) in private.

The other thing that’s vastly different about this hotel gym is that it’s actually busy. Seriously. I prefer to do my running when I get up at five in the morning, not so much so I’m the only one in the gym (though that’s kind of a positive side effect) but because I’m a morning person. Anyway, I’m glad I get up early because by 5:30 AM all six treadmills are already taken and there are lots of people working out throughout the gym already.

The first time I went up there (it’s on the 22nd floor of the main Marriott building) at five o’clock I was surprised to see at least a couple of people already working out. I was so sure I would be the first one there. Well, it seems I’m not the only crazy person who prefers working out first thing in the morning.

Anyway, Brian and I were both on vacation the following week but I didn’t want to get off schedule so I kept going. Brian wanted to experience downtown Kansas City as I’d been experiencing it working there the last few months so we had a mini Kansas City getaway. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott in downtown Kansas City. The one by the Kauffman Center. It is newer and the rooms are much nicer than the rooms at the Kansas City Downtown Marriott where I normally stay. They have a smaller gym though, and it’s in the basement. There were only three treadmills but, the entire time we were there, I didn’t run into anyone else in the fitness center. I think that’s partly because it was the week of Thanksgiving.

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This is Brian still in bed when I came back to the room after my morning run.

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It was this week that I was faced with a major decision. My “free” app was only free through W2 D1. Apparently, I was on the 5K Runner free trial. If I wanted to continue then I would have to download the app for $4.99.

Did I really want to do this?

I pondered this for a bit while Brian slept and I decided that I did want to continue but then I thought $5 was a lot to pay for a running app so I did some browsing in the App Store. I didn’t really find any other apps that were equally aesthetically pleasing, plus I was already used to this one so I decided to stick with it. Except, I found the 10K Runner for $9.99. I thought to myself that if I decided to go beyond 5K and continue on to 10K then I would have to spend almost $15 but if I just download the 10K Runner app right then I would be saving myself $5. It never occurred to me that I might not even make it all the way through.

Yes, I’m an optimist.

And so my journey continued. I completed all three days of Week 2 (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday) before Thanksgiving, and even with the long break for holidays, I breezed through Week 3 without any major issues. However, I made the mistake of looking ahead and kind of psyched myself out on W4 D1.
I tried to complete it on Monday night after checking in to my hotel and I couldn’t complete it. I was devastated. I had encountered my first major setback. I was further worried by some of the articles I found online stating that most people drop out of C25K around Week 4 or 5.

Taking advice from a book I recently finished reading, The Happiness Advantage, I went to my social support network. I texted Andrea, Derek, and Tammie and asked for advice. Even then, I was still very much afraid of failing again. So the next morning (yesterday) I couldn’t motivate myself to get up for my morning run. I still got up early so I just ended up going to work early that day. I had a bunch of stuff to take care of anyway so it worked out. But I realized that I was only delaying the inevitable. I would have to get back on the treadmill sooner, rather than later, to stay on schedule.

I recalled one of the key pieces of advice that Tammie gave me about diet. She told me to pay attention to what I’m eating because the foods you eat can either help or hinder your performance. Realizing that I had to complete my run that day to stay on track, I had a light dinner of sushi and chicken yakitori about two hours before my second attempt at W4 D1.

Well, she was absolutely right. I thought I would have to modify the run slightly in order to make it through but I completed it without any issues. I didn’t have to change it. I felt so good that I was pretty confident going into my run at 5 AM this morning, even though the running segments were considerably much harder.

Week 4 Day 1 consisted of a 3-minute run, 4-minute run, 4-minute run, and 3-minute run with walking/recovery time in between the running segments. Week 4 Day 2 has two 5-minute running segments in place of the 4-minute runs. And I completed it with no problems.

I’m feeling pretty confident about the run tomorrow also because it’s the exact same run I did this morning. The only difference is that the walking/recovery breaks after the 5-minute running segments are a minute shorter (they’re only 2 minutes tomorrow, instead of 3 minutes). I don’t anticipate any issues though, because the length of the walking/recovery segments today almost seemed to long for me. I felt that ready to start running again sooner than the app told me to. In fact, when it dinged to tell me that I was at the halfway point, I got confused and started running. So I basically started running 10 seconds sooner than I should have. The crazy part is that I normally think 10 seconds is a big deal. Toward the end of my running segments those last 10 seconds feel like an eternity. Today I didn’t mind running the extra little bit. I was like, “I got this!”

I know that I’m just getting started and there are going to be many challenging days ahead but I feel like, with the support of some amazing and inspiring friends, I can totally do this. I can’t wait to celebrate with you all when I reach the finish line!

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Pneumonia – Round Two

Posted on April 17, 2016 by under Health, Life.    

You may or may not have known this but I spent last Sunday at the ER because of pneumonia. This is my second brush with it. The first time was in December 2014. I was so glad when I managed to get through this last holiday season without pneumonia because I’d heard that after you get it you become predisposed to it. Now that I’ve had pneumonia a second time, I see what they mean.

I hadn’t been feeling well for a while but I didn’t realize how sick I really was. The problem with me is I’m such a workaholic that I tend to overestimate my health and underestimate how sick I am because I hate missing work. I’d been traveling a lot for work the last few weeks and so I thought I was just exhausted from all of the traveling but I did think it was really weird that I was running out of breath really quickly.

For instance, just getting on and off the plane was making me out of breath. And, when we were at Laclede in St. Louis and we had to walk across the street to their other building, I also felt out of breath. It seemed really strange to me that I was constantly running out of breath.

Because I’m a crazy person who doesn’t like missing work, I pretty much continued on like normal. We arrived back from St. Louis late on Wednesday night, and then I worked for about an hour before bed, and I got up early the next morning to be in Topeka by 8:30 AM the next day. I could have taken the meetings via video conference but (a) it’s better to attend in person and (b) the customer relations and key accounts group had a very important quarterly meeting (it was a celebration of Coleen’s retirement and Terry’s final one). I wanted to pop in for that even for just a few minutes.

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Here’s a selfie of Coleen and me. Don’t mind the raccoon eyes. It was kind of an emotional meeting. I don’t think I was the only teary-eyed person there.

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Anyway, I wanted to be back in Wichita by 5:30 PM to make the PowerGEN mixer but I didn’t end up leaving Topeka until after 3:30 PM. We still had to take care of the dogs and return the company car back to the office so Brian and I didn’t make the mixer until 6:30 PM or so. I’m so glad we went though because it was a great turnout.

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I went to work on Friday but it was a blur, probably because I was so out of it. Fast forward to Saturday… After teaching my Zumba Fitness class on Saturday morning, Brian and I had lunch at Asian Bistro because I felt like pho would make me feel better. The broth usually helps to open up my chest and soothe the congestion.

I really didn’t feel well so I went to bed in the “sick room” immediately after we got home from lunch. Slept in the “sick room” instead of our bedroom because Brian had stripped the bed to wash the sheets.

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BTW, the “sick room” is the guest bedroom next to our office which is the room that grandma stays in whenever she’s with us. Jenni also stays in this room on occasion. It’s the room with the most comfortable bed in the house. I’m calling it the “sick room” because it’s usually the room I end up in whenever I’m sick. The last time I had pneumonia, I stayed in the “sick room” for a few days. Brian put one of our cameras in the room and just kept a watchful eye over me.

But I digress… We had it on the calendar to clean the living room, dining room, and kitchen this weekend because our neighbors Jim and Karen would be staying with us on Monday night. Since I was sick, I was completely worthless and of no help to Brian. Brian did all the cleaning himself. He even did the laundry, which is my job. He did all of this while I slept in the “sick room.”

He did check on me a few times and determined that I wasn’t running a fever. After doing housework, he spent the rest of the evening playing video games downstairs (I can’t complain; he earned his video game time that weekend) until I got up to move to our bedroom and was finally ready for bed.

I pretty much spent the entire day on Sunday in bed while Brian did errands and mowed the lawn. I did get up briefly to eat lunch (Brian made us ham sandwiches) but then wen’t back to bed. Later in the afternoon Brian took a shower and was getting ready for bowling. I really wasn’t feeling well and so I just slept the entire time without showering even after my Zumba class on Saturday. That’s gross, I know. I smelled bad and was feeling gross so I decided to get up and shower also. I ended coughing violently while in the shower and vomitted my lunch (in addition to the ham sandwich, I had BBQ flavored potato chips, chocolate cake, and ice cream) so you can imagine how putrid and brown the shower floor was. It kind of looked like I pooped a diarrhea poop in the shower. But I was grateful it was just in the shower because I was able to wash all of that gross stuff down the drain. The violent puking shook me so much that my head hurt. I really didn’t want to go to the ER but I didn’t want to miss work this week so I finally caved and asked Brian to take me.

When we got to the ER, they found I wasn’t getting enough oxygen and gave me a breathing treatment which helped tremendously. They also checked my temperature and got 100.4 which was a surprise to me because Brian told me that I didn’t have a fever.

When the nurse left, Brian was like, “You should ask them to take your temperature again because you could be hot from just getting out of the shower.”

They got 100.7 the second time around. I had a fever after all. I guess no one is perfect. LOL. As wonderful as Brian is, he isn’t a doctor.

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Anyway, I got the same ER doc this time that I had the last time when I had pneumonia but he didn’t remember me. I suppose enough time has passed and he does see a lot of people (or I’m simply not that memorable). The crappiest part about the whole ER visit was that they had to stick me seven times to draw blood and attach my IV.

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The whole getting blood drawn bit is always so traumatic because my veins never want to cooperate. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve been through it, I will never get used to its unpleasantness.

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Brian figured that I would have some massive bruising as a result. He was right. These are what my arms looked like after five days. Even today the bruises are still there. I know that the bruises will eventually go away but it’s taking a while.

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The crappiest part about getting pneumonia over the weekend is that we missed Rune’s birthday celebration on Saturday and Jay’s birthday celebration on Sunday. I didn’t get to teach my Sunday Zumba class (huge thanks to Charis for subbing) and we missed Tulip Time at Bartlett Arboretum and the season opening of Old Cowtown Museum. We obviously missed bowling because we were at the ER instead. And, I also missed spending time with my little sister. I hate being sick because I always end up missing out on so much stuff.

The ER doctor prescribed some good stuff. Besides the breathing treatment, they gave me some steroids through my IV. I also got some strong antibiotics. It sucked that I’ve been on medication all week (just finished my last one yesterday) but I think it really did help because I’m feeling tons better. I could tell I was feeling better because I actually managed to have a great time while I was away on business this past week.

Check back in a few days for a recap of my most recent work trip, which I consider to be my best work trip ever.

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Poolside Massage, Anyone?

Posted on June 19, 2014 by under Health, Travel.    

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Jocelyn worked on both Brian and me. She’s one of the friendliest and most enthusiastic massage therapists we have ever met. Super nice and friendly. I highly recommend requesting her if getting massage services at the spa.

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Our poolside massage was complimentary for booking the club premium package. We thought it was a really good deal. But it’s only a good deal if you take advantage of all the perks such as the free poolside massages, unlimited wifi for multiple devices (that is, if you want to stay connected), room service etc.

I have read reviews online from people who say that it’s not worth paying the extra for club premium but Brian and I really found it worthwhile. Club premium guests get the best rooms on the property. From a couple of people who absolutely loved the room that we were given, we think that alone was worth the difference in price.

The club premium lounge isn’t really anything spectacular but it’s less busy than the regular client services desk. The ladies are all very friendly and helpful also. You wouldn’t think that you’d need that much assistance throughout your stay but you’ll have to make dinner reservations and club premium guests supposedly get priority.

You also have access to a couple of restaurants that are not available to other guests unless they pay extra. And, you have access to the hydrotherapy section of the spa throughout your stay.

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Speaking of spas, the facilities at Barceló are top of the line.

Check out this amazing relaxation room where you get to hang out before, after, and between treatments.

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The spa has several treatment rooms just like these.

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We’ve been to many and few can compare to their treatment rooms. Almost every room had a private pool.

They also had outdoor massage beds. The downside is that these are right by the main pool at Palace Deluxe so it’s not really the most peaceful or quiet place to get a massage despite the privacy fence. You can still hear people (and their kids) yelling and screaming in the background.

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The spa is connected to an amazing fitness facility that rivals the best gyms in Wichita. Plus, you can’t beat the view.

The walls are glass so you can enjoy the view outside as you workout, which also allows lots of natural light into the workout areas. Imagine doing yoga in this studio.

The health and wellness facilities at Barceló are amazing. If I had one complaint it’s that it’s at the Palace Deluxe so you have to either walk a long ways or take the Barceló train to get there. And, Palace Deluxe always seems so crowded which can be a turn off if you want to relax. Once you are inside the spa, the noise dies down except if you’re outside in one of the private pools or in the outdoor massage area. That would be my one complaint about the spa/fitness center.

Other than that it’s a fantastic resort amenity that is not to be missed. You’ll have to check it out at least once during your stay.

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Grandma’s ER Room Adventure

Posted on January 5, 2014 by under Family, Health.    

Shortly after the New Year my Grandmother fell in her apartment. When she called me she said she had fell and broke her wrist. I immediately called 911 and had an ambulance sent to her apartment. When I got there the EMS were already on site and I let them into her place. We stabilized her arm and got her to the emergency room. This is where the fun started.

Normally my parents are the ones who get called, but my dad works for Boeing and he now works in Oklahoma. So this was my first time doing this and I was unprepared. Once we got to the ER they got her in a room and started asking her questions. We went through the normal ones like what how many surgeries have you had, when was the last one and so on. Then they asked her about her medications and after we went through all of those she pointed out that she can’t take a series of pain killers because she has an allergic reaction to them. Then he asked if she drank. She said she likes a glass of wine from time to time. Then he asks if she does any recreational drugs, without missing a beat she said “Yes!” I started to laugh. The nurse looked at her strangely, then she took a moment and processed the question in her head and realized what he really asked.

You see, she thought she heard “Do you recreationally drink?” And she answered accordingly. When she processed the actual question she started back paddling to correct herself. Then we all had a good laugh. It’s good when you can take a moment like a broken wrist and hip and still have a good laugh.

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Working Out at Home

Posted on July 21, 2013 by under Health.    

Working out topless is definitely one of the perks of having your personal trainer come to your house. Except, I think it’s making us lazier. If I’m not lazier, I’m definitely a lot whinier. I’m not only heavier than I was last year, I feel like I’ve taken ten steps back. I’m way out of shape that’s for sure.

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Whenever we’re not doing a park or backyard workout with our trainer John Wilborn, we are usually working out in our basement. Brian and I got these 6 X 6 yoga mats from Amazon a few weeks ago because we figured we needed something to protect our carpets from excessive wear and the stench of our sweat. We also figured that we could use our new yoga mats for partner yoga for if we can ever make it out to one of the date night yoga events at Firefly. LOL.

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