Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I kind of love Thanksgiving.  It's funny because when I was a child we didn't do very much to celebrate Thanksgiving.  We actually went bowling, which was always a traumatic experience for me as I lack the necessary hand eye coordination, and even at times, the strength to be a half way decent bowler.  Most Thanksgivings involved tears for me (I was a brat, its fine), but I look back pretty fondly on it anyways.  We also used to go to my grandma's and I was the pickiest eater ever, so I ate spaghetti on Thanksgiving.  Like I said, brat. 

Now, we don't go bowling because we celebrate Thanksgiving in the city with my family.  At some point, we established a new tradition that more closely resembles a typical Thanksgiving, and I kind of love it.  I'm still not the biggest fan of turkey, I don't like cranberry sauce, and I can definitely do without pumpkin flavored everything (sorry rest of world, I think its weird).  I just really enjoy spending the day with my family.  

So in short... to be sappy and corny: I am thankful for Thanksgiving!  This is my first Thanksgiving as a married woman, and tomorrow (if all goes right at the DMV and Social Security Card office) will actually be my last day with my maiden name.  I'm a little bummed about that, but more about that another day.

I'm also getting really amped up for the holidays.  We're going to visit family overseas and I'm pretty pumped.  I haven't seen my extended family for more than like a day and a half at a time in several years.  

Also, loved having a morning run this morning.  Nice little bonus of having the day off.  I am still not doing so well with the evening runs... dark and cold = cranky Nicole.  I'm just going to have to push through it.  

What is your favorite part of Thanksgiving?  Does your family have any cool traditions? 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What went wrong

OK, so this post title has 2 meanings...

First, I was thinking about the whole changing my blog title and 1) I can't come up with a name I like and 2) I dont want to change the URL b/c I don't want it to get lost on any lists I'm already on.  So... for now, Exercise ADD is stuck, but maybe in the future, I will post a much longer and more gradual change.

Second, I wanted to talk about what happened over the summer after my stress fracture.  See this post for the explanation of the injury. Even though I was injured, I could still do low impact cardio like cycling or swimming (which isn't easy in NYC unfortunately).  I decided to do cycling at the gym (one day I'll tell you all why I won't ride a bike outdoors, but thats a story for another day).  I went to the gym a couple times a week to cycle, and also did crunches most of the time when I was there.

Occasionally, if Cameron went to the gym, I would go with him to the weight room.  I made a vague attempt to gain muscle, but as I have a fear of the weight room, I had a very hard time going on my own.  This fear stems from feeling like I don't know what I'm doing in the weight room and I don't like to have trainers/staff help me, but I don't want to look like a moron.

As a result, I would really only go with Cameron, or I'd go in by myself, do 3 machines Cameron had shown me (probably in the wrong order or on the wrong day) and then sprint out of there.

Then September hit and I started going to NJ a lot to deal with wedding related things.  Which meant fitting in gym time was harder and harder, but I was able to go once or twice a week.  And then about 2 weeks before the wedding, I got a cold, and then threw my hands up in the air and essentially said, "SCREW YOU" to exercise.

I also had this issue where I really missed running as soon as I was booted.  I was very surprised the first time I said to myself, "Today is a great day for running, I can't believe I can't!" I also was a lot more stressed out, on edge and generally crankier.  Yes, there was wedding stress, but I had this itchy feeling like I didn't have an outlet for it.

What I realized is that running outside felt different than other forms of exercise for me.  The big thing was that I was disconnected from my life, but connected to the rest of the world.  I'm not coordinated enough to ever check my phone while running, which means text messages, facebook, emails and phone calls have to wait.  BUT, I'm outside with all these other people, observing how other people exercise, what other people wear, and looking into other people's lives. I can't zone out and watch TV like I can on a bike, but I listen to pandora and get lots of new songs and keep myself current.

Also, and this will sound very bizarre... I missed hating running.  Yup, thats right.  I spent a lot of energy during my runs saying, "f*** you hudson river" or "if only I could run as fast as that guy, I'd be done running by now" which got out a lot of my stress and anger towards other things in my life.

The first few weeks without running were really tough.  I felt very un-regulated and like I wasn't sure how to de-stress.  I tried napping, which I've done in the past, and it's generally unsuccessful.  I tried the bike at the gym, but I felt so un-isolated, that I couldn't process my own thoughts. In the end, I just had to do the best I could and try to get by without.

A few weeks into being booted, I didn't miss running so much anymore, but I did start to obsess over how much I had probably lost throughout all this, and I started to get discouraged.  I worked so hard to be able to run 4 miles, and now I probably lost it all.  It was very easy to let my mind think about what went wrong, and not how things will be in the future.  Also, my diet went downhill.  Not that I have the best diet to begin with, but I was starting to eat lunch consistently, and I was starting to have healthier snacks.  Pfft, that went out the window very quickly.

Now that my foot is better again, I'm starting really slowly.  I realized that jumping into it too quickly set me so far back.  I'd rather do very short runs for a little bit and gradually build up my speed and distance.  I'm not training for the Olympics, so why take the risk??

How do you feel when you can't do your favorite form of exercise?  What is your favorite form of exercise?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

HI!!! I'm BACK!!

Hello world, I'm back!

So what the hell happened to me?  Quick summary.  So last you all saw me, I fractured my foot and was in a walking boot.  I wore the walking boot for approximately 2 months, and have been finished with it since the beginning of October.  During that time, I used the bike at the gym and did a little weightlifting (only if Cameron came with me), but obviously no classes, no yoga and most importantly, no running.

So why didn't I reappear in the beginning of October when the boot came off??

Cuz we got married!!

Here are a couple of pictures from our wedding: 

OK, that was October 14, why didn't I start blogging and exercising right after that??

That's a little tougher to answer.... I'm not sure why to be honest.  I wanted to and even had moments where I thought about writing, but then I just didn't.  But now I feel ready and I'm back and ready to document my exercise "adventures" and other life events.

However, I've done a lot of thinking about this "journey" I started over a year ago.  When I started exercising, I was just trying to get into the habit of doing something a few times a week.  When I started blogging, my goal was to try all sorts of different forms of exercise.

When I was injured, I found what I missed most was running.  I'm not sure if I missed running because I'd been training or because that was the form of exercise (I feel like I've said exercise too much) that alleviated the most stress for me.

I think my journey is evolving.  It makes sense thinking about it.  My first goal was to just do ANYTHING.  It really was to just make it to the gym or a class several times a week.  I didn't care how I did, I just had to stay for 30 minutes or the duration of the class.  My next goal was to explore different options.  I thought that I would get bored doing the same thing (hence exercise ADD), but I also was looking for something that I enjoyed, was good at, or wanted to keep going back to.  Unexpectedly, I found that: running.

So I think my focus now is running, and improving my time and increasing distance.  I still plan to take classes when I can and do other activities, but my main focus is really going to be running.  With that, I want to change the name of my blog and update the format.  Suggestions are welcome!!

How have your goal changed over time?  What should I rename my blog?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Happy Birthday!

To my #1 fan!! Enjoy your day.  Try not to get hurt!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

That can happen??? Seriously??

This is supposed to be an exercise blog, not an injury blog!  And I thought exercise was supposed to make you healthier, but apparently since I've started exercising, I've discovered I have asthma, developed sciatica, had a little plantar fascitis and now...


Not sure what you are looking at?  I wasn't really either.  Other than the fact toes are freakishly long and those little end toe bones are a funny shape, I have absolutely no idea what this x-ray means..


You see the little fleck that those very discrete arrows are pointing to?  That's probably a piece of bone. I didn't even know bone could do that!  Basically, I most likely tore a ligament and when I tore the ligament, a little piece of bone chipped off as well.


I was given a super cool boot to wear for several weeks and I have to get an MRI to check out the ligament damage.  She called it a "Stress reaction" which when I googled it, I got "Acute stress reaction (also called acute stress disorderpsychological shockmental shock, or simply shock) is a psychological condition arising in response to a terrifying or traumatic event. It should not be confused with the unrelated circulatory condition of shock" from wikipedia.   Not what I have... 

Further googling reveals that it is caused by overuse and is similar to a stress fracture, but a different kind of injury.  Lesson learned... don't go from running leisurely a couple times a week to running 10-12 miles a week immediately.  I think this is why experts recommend only increasing your mileage by 10% every week.  Fortunately, I am not an expert, nor have I claimed to be, so all I can tell you is what I've learned from this experience.

Back to my original point... has exercise made me healthier?  Yes.  Definitely.  OK, so all these random injuries suck, but honestly, I basically haven't exercised at all, so my body is still adjusting.  And it's funny, because the (second) most frustrating part of this injury is that I can't run right now!  I feel a little scatterbrained without running.  I love running on the Hudson... I wasn't particularly enjoying the longer runs, but I was really starting to enjoy 3-4 miles.  

Of course, the most frustrating/nervewracking part is whether or not I can wear my beautiful purple shoes for our wedding.  It should be all better by then, and the doctor said even if it isn't, one day out of the boot is fine.


Do you get injured frequently?  Are you done listening to me talk about my foot?  Do you feel healthier as a result of exercising?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hello, how are you?

I am SOOOO sorry!  I have been MIA and particularly unmotivated to write anything because I am no longer working towards the half-marathon and took almost a week and a half off of exercising.  I went back to my pre-exercising life.  And it was weird.

My ankle is still a mess.  I went to the Mt. Sinai urgent care center on the Upper West Side to have them check it out last Monday.  If I had to write a review of it (which I guess I could on yelp), I would say... it was a very unpleasant experience.  The place is gorgeous (sorry I didn't think to take a picture) but I was there for over 3 hours and I didn't feel like I got a lot out of the visit.

What took so long?  Were there lot's of people and your 2 week old injury was not high as "urgent" as other issues?  Maybe they did a very thorough work up?


I have no idea what took so long.  When I got there, there was no one waiting in the immaculate waiting room.  I think maybe one woman came in while I was waiting and that was it.  It was bad from the getgo.  It took like 40 minutes just to get called into a room.

Once I was called into a room, a nurse took my blood pressure, asked my history etc.  He then said it would be 10-15 minutes until the doctor came into my room.

It was 35.  There was a clock on the phone in the room that I was watching for most of the time.  I had gone straight there from Penn Station with my overnight stuff from a trip to DC.  My cell phone was dying, my nook was dead and there was not a single magazine in the room.  So I watched the clock.  I think I've enjoyed watching water boil more than I enjoyed watching that clock.

So the doctor comes, and she looks at it for 5 seconds.  "Well it could be a stress fracture or it could be a sprain" No shit, doc, that's what I thought too!  I'm here for your x-ray machine.

She recommends an x-ray (something that could have happened over an hour ago at this point) and leaves the room.  20-25 minutes later, the nurse comes back in and takes me for an x-ray.  He takes 3 x-rays and then sends me back to my room.  The x-rays took about 10 minutes to do.

30 minutes later, I leave the room because no one has come to tell me what the hell is wrong with me.  I ask someone at the check-out desk (I know, its not a hotel, but I can't think of a better thing to call that desk), and within a minute, the nurse reappears.  With crutches.

He comes into my room with the crutches and an ace bandage and wraps my foot.  I asked him what was wrong with it and he gave some weird vague answer that indicated the doctor would tell me.  I then tell him that I do not want the crutches because they are not practical for my life and if I could have something else, that would be helpful. He has to check with the doctor, and so after wrapping my foot (which took about 4 minutes)

So another 10 minutes later, the nurse and doctor both come back in.  The doctor said there was nothing on the x-ray, so its probably a sprain, but it could still be a stress fracture.  Can I see my x-rays?  No.  Can I have my x-rays? No.  She also said that I don't have to use the crutches but I should stay off of my foot as much as possible and recommended that I try not to run.  I thought it was kind of weird that it was just okay for me to not use the crutches, but they didn't have an alternative to promote recovery (i.e. an air cast or a boot). I asked how long it will take to recover, and she gave me a vague, "well it depends" answer and kind of shuffled me out of the door.  She also said I needed to follow-up with an orthopedist anyway.  That all took about 5 minutes.

I go to the check-out desk, and apparently the doctor has to sign off on my paperwork and write up the referral, which of course, she has not done yet.  So another 5-10 minutes go by while the doctor is draining someone else's finger or something (why would you start that before signing my paperwork?? Wouldn't you want to wrap one person up since it only takes 15 seconds?) and then that person comes out and hes all cranky because he was waiting a long time. Except not nearly as long. So she's trying to check us both out at once which is very confusing.

FINALLY... over 3 hours later, I am out of there!  On my way home at 7:00pm and exhausted.  In total, I spent about 20 minutes with people, and the rest of the time waiting which is a pretty terrible proportion.  And not only that, but I knew it was either a sprain or a stress fracture and I'd already stopped running (but thanks for the advice) a week before that.  And now I have to go to an orthopedist at Mt. Sinai because they have my damn x-rays! Mt. Sinai is on the Upper East Side so not terribly convenient for where I live.

OH, and to add insult to injury (haha no pun intended), I called Mt. Sinai to make an appointment with the orthopedist, and after being assured by the Urgent Care Center that all their providers take my insurance, I find out that the foot/ankle specialist DOES NOT take my insurance.

I'm off to the non-foot/ankle orthopedist tomorrow, so we'll see what happens.  Hopefully I won't be there as long.

Have you ever had an experience like this at an Urgent Care Center? Do you know of any more efficient Urgent Care Centers?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Recap of the past 2 weeks

Sorry guys, I disappeared for a couple of weeks.  Between wedding stuff, work and other things, I've been super busy... not a great excuse! 

Let's start with training week #3 - how did I do??

Week #3 went great!  Because of other commitments, I ended up not sticking to this order, but thats okay.  I ran 6.00 miles on that Friday from work to home.  It was pouring rain and it was a tough run, but I did it.  Not only that, but on Sunday, I did my 4 mile run and I ran the entire time.  I was very proud of myself and was so pumped that I actually ran 4 whole miles - thats such awesome progress and I felt great after the run.  It definitely helped that it was about 20 degrees cooler than it had been in the past 2 months, but it doesn't matter because I was still able to do it! 
Also, the 3 mile run I did on a treadmill and it went pretty terribly.  I don't know what it is, but I hate the treadmill.  I can only run for like 10 minutes and then I feel like I'm dying of boredom/exhaustion.  Even though I'm going slower than I do when I'm running outside, it still feels harder.  Does anyone else ever feel this way??

So with the overall high from week 3, I was pumped to start week 4.  My legs were sore from running 10 miles between Friday and Sunday, but I was actually excited last Monday to go for another run and see if I could do the whole thing again.  

Here was the plan for week 4:

Not bad, only adding an extra mile to the 1st run, but otherwise, basically the same as week 4.

Here is what happened on week 4:

Whaaaaaa???  Such a confusing week!  What happened?!?

I think I sprained my ankle. You know how I said my legs were sore after running on Friday and Sunday?  Well my ankle was very uncomfortable, but I assumed it was because of running so much.  On Monday, when I went for my 5 mile run, about 0.76 miles in, my ankle was in a lot of pain and I decided to stop running.  The only reason its 1.3 miles is because I had to walk back to my apartment.  I tried running a couple more times hoping that it was just very tired, but every time I took a step, I could feel my ankle/foot hurting.

On Tuesday, I had to go see a client in the evening and then on Wednesday we had our tasting for our wedding, so I had to take those days off anyway.  I rested my ankle and figured that it was still probably muscle soreness/tiredness.  Or maybe I needed new shoes...

On Thursday, I laced up, got back to running and went for 3 miles.  It continued to be uncomfortable, but I pushed through the run.  See, the thing is, I don't trust myself when I'm sick or injured.  I'm never sure if I'm genuinely injured/sick (unless its obvious like I have a fever), and so I tend to just believe it's all in my head/I need to push through it.  There is no visible swelling, so there is no proof that I'm injured, other than discomfort.  And I'm a baby, so I'm uncomfortable when I run anyway. 

I decided on Friday morning to buy an ankle brace to see if that helped relieve some pressure so I could run on Friday afternoon.  I put it on and it instantly felt much better.  Not perfect, but much much better.  I decided not to run on Friday and take a couple more days off. 

When I got home and took off the brace, there was some bruising by my ankle, which wasn't noticeable before.  I don't know if the compression increased blood flow and made bruising more apparent, but based on the improvement with the brace and the bruising, I'm pretty sure it's an ankle sprain.

So what does that mean for my half marathon training?

No more running for at least a week.  I am going to go on a bike for an hour as often as I can - at least 3 times a week, because I don't want to lose the cardio base I've built up.  It really sucks going on a stationary bike for an hour.  It's just very boring, even while watching TV, listening to music or reading on my phone.  After this week, I'll see how my ankle feels and do a short test run.  If it feels good, I'll try a longer run, and then just pick up where I should be.  I might have to tweak my schedule or add an extra run when I can to keep adding the mileage, but I'll worry about that once I'm back to running.  Who knows, it could be a week, it could be a month, so there is no sense planning a schedule when I don't know what will happen.

Icing my ankle
 How have you handled injuries/setbacks?  Do you prefer running outside or on the treadmill?