Tuesday, February 28, 2012

First Run with the Inhaler

Did not happen... there were 7 people in line for the treadmills when I got to the gym. 7!! Thats absurd.

So I went up to the "secret" bike area.  On the way up there, I realized that while trying to remember to use the inhaler, I forgot to grab my headphones.  A year ago, I would have been like, "thats a good excuse to go home." but I was not wasting those two puffs of albuterol.

I decided to go on a spinning bike.  I've never been on a spinning bike, so word of advice... if you haven't either, have someone show you how to adjust it or look it up online.  I wasn't quite sure how to do it, so I guessed...  it felt okay and I looked like the rider in the picture, so that's a good sign.

I had a GREAT ride.  Not having headphones kind of sucked, but overall it was a really great ride.  I think the inhaler actually helped - I felt like my heart was pounding, but I could breathe.  It was one of the best workouts I've had in a while, maybe ever.  In the past, which I didn't realize might be wrong, the limiting factor was that I felt like I couldn't get enough oxygen to my lungs and I had to slow down.  Today, the limiting factor was that I was frequently pushing my max heart rate or my thighs (which are weak) were exhausted. I think that's a good sign?

In other news, I decided to do crunches.  I did 100 crunches total - a combination of regular crunches, reverse crunches, bicycles and oblique crunches.  So we'll see how that supplements the variety of classes I'm taking.

Happy Tuesday!  That means its almost Wednesday, which is practically Friday! :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Yoga to the People

2 big things today... used my inhaler for the first time (how cool am I??) and I went to Yoga to the People for some cheap, stress-relieving hot yoga.

First: the inhaler... well, I don’t think I used it right, I don’t think it helped, and now I have a terrible taste in my mouth... however I had a really great yoga session so maybe it did help and I just don’t realize it?

Second: Yoga to the People. I went to the studio on 38th and 6th. The entrance is very hard to find, especially because their website directs you to the orange nails sign, but that sign is actually black now. So I showed up at 5:55 for the 6:00 yoga class and was given the 2nd to last spot. At the very front of the class. Facing perpendicular to everyone else. So everyone can see... that’s right... ME!

The class was really good. It was slow, but the instructor gave opportunities for you to move throughout a “flow” at your own pace, which I actually really liked. I felt like I was able to breathe at my own pace and with my own movements, rather than sneak a breath in between while everyone else is still figuring out what they are doing. I was upset however, that there was no balance series. The balance poses are my favorite in yoga and the most relaxing for me. I always look forward to that part of class, so I was bummed that we didn’t do that today. However, all in all, the class was really good. I don’t know if the inhaler helped or if being the person everyone else could see pushed me, but I felt like I made some nice yoga progress and was able to do more than I’ve been able to in a long time.

Would I go back again? Sure! The class was good and what makes it is even better was the price: $5! (it’s an extra $2 if you need to rent a mat)

All in all, a great day for exercise. Up tomorrow, testing out the inhaler with a run. We’ll see how that goes...

Saturday, February 25, 2012


A couple springs ago, I laid awake all night in the midst of what seemed like an asthma attack.  I couldn’t stop coughing, I was wheezing, and breathing was overall very difficult.  I went online and talked to one of my close friends who happened to be in med school at the time (she is now a doctor).  She thought it was probably an asthma attack and I should probably go to a doctor.  Well, I ignored her advice.  Last spring, I started having similar attacks several nights a week.  I decided if I take a daily Claritin, it reduces the intensity and frequency of the attacks.  Never saw a doctor.   

Yesterday, I went outside to run along the Hudson River.  Within a few minutes, I noticed that my back started to itch, which is usually a precursor to an asthma attack.  A couple minutes later, my chest started to feel very tight and I was short of breath - but not the same as when I’m running and tired.  I decided not to chance it and walked for the rest of my allotted “exercise time”.  When I got home, I called my doctor and today I finally went.  

The doctor did some test to see how hard I breathe, which apparently I did not do so well.  She had me try it several times and I felt like I was trying my hardest and not getting very far.  She gave me an inhaler and a referral to a pulmonologist to get some other more scientific test done.  So I guess I’ll go do that...

I have to use the inhaler whenever I feel an attack as well as 15 minutes before exercising.  I’m interested to see if this makes a difference in my running - I feel like I’ve been trying so hard and not getting very far, so maybe this is why.  On the other hand, maybe I just make very slow progress and this won’t make that much of a difference.  Guess we’ll see the next time I exercise.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fitness goals

I guess if I’m going to track progress towards a goal, I should set a goal.  As a special education teacher, that’s pretty much my job anyways... set goals for my students, then track if they meet those goals.  If they aren’t on track to meet goals, we try different tactics to reach those goals.

Goal 1: Be able to make it home from work in under an hour (by running! I can already do it by subway!)  Right now, it takes me about 1:10, but I tend to hit lights.  When it gets lighter out, I’ll run along the river, which should help decrease my time.

Goal 2: Enroll in and run some kind of running race.  This goal will be refined as I figure it out.  I think enrolling in a race is a big enough goal for me right now, as the idea of doing so is pretty daunting!

Goal 3: Get more definition in my arm muscles.  More specifically... I’d like to be able to flex my left arm (I wish I could say I was kidding)

Goal 4: Get more definition in my abs.  I have a relatively flat stomach, but I would loooove having some abs. Also, I think that if my core were stronger, I would have better posture and be more comfortable.

That’s it for my goals, for now.  If I meet them, I’ll add more.  I haven’t set a timeline for these, but my wedding is in October, so that’s the absolute deadline!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Exercise in the City

I am a lazy person. At least I used to be. When I moved to NY from Boston a year and a half ago, I was super stressed about not having a car, and having to walk everywhere, and especially having to carry things!! Carry cat litter home with me? All 14 lbs? How many blocks??

The idea of exercising never even entered my mind. I’m walking everywhere! Why would I need to dedicate time to exercising?? In Boston, I did hot yoga a couple times a week at a fantastic studio called Inner Strength (I highly recommend it). But the whole experience was “easy” - I kept my yoga mat in my car, drove to and from the studio and that was that. In NY, if I wanted to even do something as relaxing as yoga, I would have to face crowds, subways, bring my yoga mat to work, lug things around etc. etc. whine whine whine. No way, not happening.

Then... I got engaged. What is it about a wedding that changes your outlook on things? I started thinking about exercise, which for me was a big step. In August 2011, I officially joined the New York Sports Club near me and started running. Er... using a treadmill. I have been consistently exercising for about 6 months. But the thing is, running on the treadmill every time is really boring.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that I can watch TV and run at the same time (I’m kind of a TV-aholic). Part of the reason I haven’t kept up with an exercise routine EVER is that I get bored and stop wanting to do the same thing over and over again. So I tried to switch it up a little. I went to a yoga class, I tried the bike, and most importantly, I started running home from work (which is a 5 mile trek). But... I wanted to do something different. Oh and, I want to get my arms and abs into better shape, and cardio doesn’t really do that.

My wonderful fiancee suggested the weight room, but I really can’t get over the stereotype that a weight room is full of meaty guys and I’m just this tiny little girl who has no idea what she is doing. Also, I don’t like people helping me with things (I’m a little OCD as you will learn) and I feel like when you look like you have no idea what is happening, people want to help you.

I found the Pure Yoga website and saw that they offer 1 complementary class at their studio, and decided I’d like to try it. I went with a couple of friends and did a hot yoga class reminiscent of my Inner Strength days in Boston. Loved it. Unfortunately, Pure Yoga’s prices and my teacher’s salary do not agree with each other, and I will not become a member there anytime soon. However, I hatched an idea... what if I take trial classes at lots of different places? It would fulfill my desire to do something different all the time, keep me out of the meaty weight room (no offense to those who like the weight room) and hopefully get me into better shape without breaking the bank.

So here is my experiment... will I reach my fitness goals by taking classes at different places across the city?