The Adventures of Now

exploring the mix of fun, fitness & health…as a diabetic


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My thoughts : #runforBoston

I was first introduced to the Boston pride when I was a freshman at college in Rhode Island. From New York,  I knew the spirit and pride that NYC held but Boston had something different. While it’s clearly demonstrated in its sports, it’s a pride that’s deep in roots and history, which can be felt throughout most of New England. I had often felt as the opposing New Yorker, smiling at their stubbornness but not feeling it within myself. That said, it’s undeniable to recognize that pride and strength, as many cities in a time of crisis, Boston is one that’s quick to come together to demonstrate its support.

When I moved up here a month and half ago, it wasn’t for the city itself, it was for the opportunities it offered me personally…part of that was knowing I would be able to find a spot in the running community. As of last week, I still hadn’t figured out how and where that spot was exactly. From my first day in Cambridge I saw my neighborhood filled with runners which provided a comfort as I adjusted to my new surroundings. In my list of differences between my old home and new, one major one was Central Park. While it certainly isn’t the only spot to run in NYC, the moment you step into the park, especially at Engineer’s Gate you feel the running community – something that I was newly a member of. There didn’t seem to be that central hub here.

I was still searching for it, determined to be in a groove before starting my own training for Chicago as I took note of the runners around me. On Saturday I was on Newbury street, crowded with people – many with yellow bags containing their packets for the Boston Marathon, some in the blue and yellow jacket. The first one I spotted was a husband with his wife and as I came up behind them waiting to cross the street, a part of me wanted to say something to him, to thank him for providing inspiration – because I was searching for it and being surrounded by all of these people who were not just gearing up to run a marathon but The Boston Marathon started to fill me with hope and strength and determination. Every runner has their story, we’re all overcoming a challenge of some sort. And while I may not have known what it took to bring everyone I saw to Boston, seeing that they were here was enough.

I turned on the TV to watch the marathon from the start, knowing the empowerment it would fulfill and remind me what I love about this sport. While there had been a fleeting idea to see it live, plans were never made – there wasn’t even a almost or what if moment. I am very grateful that all of my loved ones as well as myself are very very safe. Shocked, saddened and safe is what I told everyone who reached out. While I’ve been reminded of how much support I have more and more this year, I was touched yesterday by the stream of texts from NY as my Boston support system tried to process what just occurred. Heartbreaking was the word I constantly used. As I told my friends from college, it’s been too many emergency check-ins this year.

Unlike other events this year, I tried to limit my news intake, I turned instead to the running community through social media. I have never been prouder to be a part of such a community. 

While I may not have a drawer full of race shirts, one was all I needed today. I wore my 2012 NYC Marathon one, a race that was never ran but a shirt that symbolizes so much. I wore it on a 3 mile run, one of my first since being here. I don’t think I have ever been more determined to get a run in somewhere in the day. From the start I had tears in my eyes. It wasn’t an easy run as I’ve lost endurance and stamina but nothing mattered – I was running because I can. I wore it to spin class where I was challenged  and empowered. I had it at yoga where my legs trembled for being re-introduced to all this activity after quiet a lull. Tomorrow I will be sore. Tomorrow old injuries will nag. But it wont matter because it will serve as a reminder that no matter what the aches or twinges, I have a body that can do so much. I sit here in my first race shirt from a Turkey Trot so as I sleep I am reminded of the support and bond within this community.

There are so so many posts and tweets out there showing strength – people who were there, people who have dreamed of going, people who are now determined to cross that finish line, people who reflect on their love and reason for running.  It was heartwarming to see not news broadcasting of facts (and mis-facts) but stories and personal thoughts. I will continue to bookmark and read the ones that come my way to serve as a reminder of the empowerment that comes from the running family.

Thank you runners, whether we have connected or not:  you have inspired, you have motivated, you have understood, you have related, you demonstrated determination and strength, you have shown perseverance and dedication and you have provided comfort and condolence. 

 


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Riddle Me That: A1C Drop

A1C_3

Do you see that 8.4???

Now some may read that as : 8.4?! What are you doing, eating chocolate cake for dinner every night??

I wish.

I read it as : 8.4?!!! WAHOOOOOOO!!!!

For a little comparison, my last A1C level was 9.7

And that was during the summer when I was at my most active / training for a marathon.

So riddle me that. 

My A1C level drops to the lowest I can remember it ever being and it’s while I’m at my heaviest weight and least active.

I can not explain it.

And that’s no dainty little drop either given my levels seem to have been permanently stuck above 9.

Which means the secret to perfect blood sugar control in my life has yet to be revealed.

As the doctor wrote : “needs work”

Well, I’ve been “working” on this for the past 24 years.

I have an appointment with a doctor at the Joslin Clinic (despite my hesitation) coming up in April, one that was recommended by a friend of a friend who works within the pediatric unit.

As part of their all-inclusive package I’ll also get an eye exam and 1:1 meeting with an educator. Sounds like fun.

(ohhhh flashbacks to the DE who basically wanted to strap me to a chair and insert an insulin pump right then and there – she was a real winner in empathy) 

I also have an appointment with another PCP  - one that looks more at the root of the issues at hand vs. just the systems.

I’m ready to look past just the numbers and start digging around to what’s really going on with my health.

The new office even has doctors focusing on sports therapy!! I’ll be looking at some other sports doctors options before I book an appointment …plus should probably start working out again first. But it’s still a nice idea that it could be all in one practice. #itsthelittlethings

So I can look back and try to figure out what brought my A1C down but realistically – I’m not so sure I’ll figure it out.

Fickle silly little disease.

Quick, hand me a pen so I can add “A1C under 9″ on the goal list so I can cross that shiz off!

Until, you know, I get the next round of blood work done.

Better make that a pencil.


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Adventures in Cambridge: Part 2

Last Saturday morning I was awoken by a flurry of text messages asking if I had arrived …..feeling loved is not a bad way to wake up! Even if it was a little earlier than planned. I had finally crashed at 3am the night before, after a full day of heavy lifting, so I was feeling it the next day. Once I was out of bed, the first mission was finding coffee….and preferably breakfast to go with it. I was trying to not do the whole “bar for a meal” thing but easier said than done / tough to break old habits.

ProteinBars

I had scoped out Yelp days in advance the night before  to know what my coffee choices were. I opted for Darwin Ltd since it also listed breakfast sandwiches. Still asleep, wide-eyed   sleepy-eyed, I stumbled my way to the shop. While full of personality on the inside…

{image source}

I got a little nervous seeing the outside…

{image source}

Yes, I’m being dramatic. But finding the coffee shop that was going to be my source of comfort was key in making me feel at home. Being in a non-functional, exhausted funk, I was overwhelmed by the sandwiches, the popularity of the place and my odd freakout over if I had enough cash / they accepted cards…..so I just went for the coffee and popped in next door to the health market for a few snacks…and yes a protein bar. Since it was so sunny out and fairly warm, I decided some fresh air would be good before I faced all the unpacking, so I decided to do a wide loop before heading back to the apartment. I was also in search for a grocery store. All Yelp led me to was specialty stores and Whole Foods…. there had to be a general grocery store riiight?? Well if you find one, let me know, because I’m still searching. I despise grocery shopping as it is and I got very used to shopping around in NYC for what select items I needed and doing cost comparisons (I’d rather spend my money on a meal out than a meal in). I had 5 grocery stores within a 10 minute walk, plus a health food store that had competitive / if not lower prices and Target not too far away.  Plus I would trek over to the West side for Trader Joes every so often. I may have been called dramatic for my freak out due to the lack of options but I’m not kidding. Seriously, all of Cambridge goes to Whole Foods?? When looking at areas originally, I was reassured by the fact that Cambridge has a Trader Joes. What I didn’t consider was how accessible it would be to me. I still haven’t attempted the buses here and while a 20 min walk doesn’t sound too bad, it’s not the easiest trek. I considered hauling the goods home my arm work out. While I’m still on the hunt for where I can stock up on Chobani (their new flavors please, maybe even a champion or key lime flip!) and get apples for less than $2.50/lb when I eat at least one a day, I have made some break through on the coffee front.

{via Dwelltime FB page}

Dwelltime does not mess around when it comes to coffee. While it seems to be a wifi hotspot, it’s not overly crowded. I started off with iced coffee and it was the good stuff, strong. Plus their registers are iPads … they offer up a little Brooklyn style comfort. I’ve been in there a few times already and switched to a hot coffee on a rainy afternoon. The barista offered up a blend and I took her suggestion … didn’t know I was getting a hand crafted drip-coffee. Did I mention there’s no card minimum? Love it / dangerous. And the day that I got the drip coffee, I treated myself to a Pumpkin Cranberry Vegan cake …..oh that was delicious.   I’m all for paying more for a good cup of coffee but this wont be my regular quick fix.

{image from their site}

Enter 1369 Coffee House. One major draw back is the cash only thing, I’m awful about having it on me and now that I’m saving my quarters for laundry, I don’t even have that emergency stash for a small cup. But their coffee is pretty good and they have a large selection of teas. They offer up wifi but I think only the first hour is free and then you pay, it’s also more packed in there so I think this will be my more regular to go place. Still lots to explore.  I walked through Iman Square, while not the next block street, it does offer up a few coffee shops & restaurants that looked worth checking out. Perhaps that’ll be on the list for this weekend.

 

Adjustment #2 : it’s going to take me a little longer to get to coffee ….but I’m slowly scoping out my likes & dislikes

Adjustment #3 : Seriously, where do Cambridge people (uh is there a name?) grocery shop? Considering PeaPod, anyone use it before?

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YourTurnIcon

Ever been to the Cambridge area? Suggestions? 

Ever move to a new town / city ? Biggest challenge?

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Adventures of Cambridge: Part 1

Last Friday evening around 10:30pm marked my arrival to Cambridge, MA. By 1:30am it was no longer a road trip with  my dad and all my stuff….I was officially in my new place.

Let me just tell you, unpacking a van and carrying everything up to the 3rd floor is a whole heck of a lot easier than carrying it down from the 5th and trying to figure out how you’re going to cram it into an already stuffed vehicle. Especially when those stairs from the 5th floor are plentiful and narrow and steep and the new one is a simple wide spaced two flights with landings in between.

It was a looooong day. It started with running around the UES to drop off donations (yes, I should have done it the week before), pick up last-minute items and clean up the apartment at 10am. I owe my dad a big thanks on that one – because of course I had more stuff than I accounted for which made it quite the accomplishment that we (he) fit it all in. Then again, doesn’t he remember picking me up from college from freshman year at college ? Or better yet, when he would pick me up from my mom’s house and I would have a large suitcase, a backpack, a duffel bag and some extra bag full of dolls or crafts or sports stuff……when I was only going to his house for 3.5 days…in the same town! I was no  two-two like Karen Brewer

… I  shuffled my stuff back and forth, want to have options. Should have taken it as a chance to learn outfit planning early on.

Anyways… it went smoother than I anticipated given that taking a load of laundry up 5 flights had my arms aching and me huffing the other day. I got a bit of kick back in to my step as I brought loads down. I tend to make moving on myself a lot harder than it needs to me. Like walking 12 blocks with a bag full of books (thick books like Harry Potter and Fountain Head) to donate early in the morning. The fact that I went low during that trip alone was a smack to the forehead reminding me I should have cut back on insulin. With no food left  it was few pit stops for candy and coconut water through out the day.

When we arrived to Cambridge, a solid 5 hours later than planned, I had to meet up with the new roomie to grab the keys. By that time it was established that we would need to grab me some snacks and juice to have on hand for the evening. As we started unloading and the clock soon approached midnight I started panicking, not knowing if anything would be open. Sure there were tons of people out walking but my street (I guess they’re not called blocks anymore) is residential. I used to have a 24 hour CVS an avenue over.

With a yelp search I spotted a Starbucks that was open until midnight but we were quickly approaching that and only half way unpacked. Then I located a 7-11  … those have to be 24 hours I exclaimed. Silly as it is, I felt a little safer. So I stocked up a few bars and a coconut water. And then proceeded to binge on them once hunger kicked in and our weird diner dinner wore off.

Oddly, the one thing I did manage to pack from the kitchen was two bottles of honey … boy am I glad for that.

 

{image source}

I went low in the middle of the night, finishing off the rest of my food supplies. Waking up a little on the low side, barely functioning and having to figure out where there was a cafe (and is it cash only ??), the next morning I was grateful for that honey to give me a little boost.

Sounds dramatic and silly, yes? It is, but it’s also a lesson that I’m going to have to plan a little better in Boston. I’m not able to run downstairs or a street over for juice if I run out of glucose tablets. Going low in the middle of the night with no food is no joke …. especially when I was dropping all day with the uptake in activity.

 

So adjustment # 1 : not having a convenience store, let alone a 24hr one, on your block for emergencies

 

First week in the books, bring on the adventures!

 


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Goal Pose: Headstand

ReflectionsfromtheMaticon

One of my goal poses (not to be confused with fear pose) in yoga is to be able to hold a headstand. With my fear pose(s) it’s often over-thinking that holds me back from, with goal pose(s) I’ve given it lots of thought … I just haven’t gotten quite there yet.

Headstands are one of those poses that I’ve always been surrounded by but often forget about practicing it myself.  I always remember when my Dad and step-mom introduced yoga to my high school my senior year (soooo glad it wasn’t freshman) and while my step-mom was guiding us through one thing or another, my dad silently extended in to headstand  slowly catching the awe of everyone in the room – for me it was just dad being dad. He’s 6’6″ so it made for quite an impressive site.

When I taught children, they would happily flip into headstand – often a little too quickly. I’ve done plenty of donkey kicks myself and taught many. But the strength in headstands comes from the control.

Like  from 0:22  - 0:40 in this video from Equinox (but perhaps not in your underwear)

Control takes a little more concentration. So I’m trying to pay attention to certain steps and poses in my current classes that can help me gain that control and strength (looking at you core).

10 steps to a headstand from FitSguar

Wide-Legged-Forward-Bend

  My favorite yoga class has included a wide-legged forward bend in almost each one since I’ve been practicing in April. Looks simple enough – my hamstrings tell me otherwise. My head is not on the ground. Not even close. But through the guidance of the instructor, I’ve really tried to be more mindful of the pose. It’s getting there! Slowly but surely.

Dolphin-PlankAnother  pose that is a huge support is not just plank but Dolphin Plank and with babysteps, inching my feet forward. This is part strength and trust, as my feet move closer to the front my trust needs to build in the strength of my arms for the foundation of my headstand.

                                                                                                                                                                  Bound-Headstand-Against-Wall

 What I should be doing, is practicing at home – and this would be an excellent way to do so (not really an option at the gym).

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:: Related Links ::

How to headstand || Lululemon Blog

5 Reasons you can’t do a headstand yet (#fearpose) || FitSguar

Yoga Inversions 101 || Whole Living

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YourTurnIcon Headstand : challenge or child’s play? 


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Fear Pose: Wheel

ReflectionsfromtheMaticon

                           

  

 I’m scared of wheel pose.

 

I have been since gymnastic days … right there with cartwheels.

(Those still don’t happen)

Perhaps it’s a lack of confidence in my arm strength …. with good reason.

I start in bridge, really reaching my arms away, shoulder blades in, feet grounded. Maybe, just maybe lifting one leg in the air…and then the other.

Then it’s time to transition into wheel. Panic starts to set in.

I place my hands by my ears, ok I can do this, today will be the day, I will lift off the ground. 

My brain got the message, why hasn’t my arms?

Oh crap, I’m stuck in that awkward moment of arms not pulling lifting enough weight and my head is still on the mat – not quite reaching the crown of my head either but the back of my head which my neck says is a bad idea.

More panic, I can’t do it. I’m not strong enough, I’m going to hurt myself.

This has been an internal dialogue for quite some time.

Teaching kids yoga, this was one of their favorite poses. Luckily many knew it from gymnastics already and I was able to use a model student rather than myself – and when I didn’t I just had to cross my fingers that I would actually lift into wheel to show them.

Silly really.

This is definitely mind over matter.

Last year I added it to my list of goals – thinking that if I worked on arm strength (yeah, about that…) I would be able to pull it off.

But wishing doesn’t make something happen.

And I would often chicken out of the pose in class, out of fear of discomfort (not to be confused with pain).

So I kept it for a goal this year. I have just over a month to finish out with my favorite yoga classes before I move. I wanted to get back to the practice I had last spring, especially if I was taking a break from running I could give it more focus and really try poses.

While that hasn’t quite happened yet, it still remains a very achievable goal for March 1st.

(I have a feeling my arms might be a little sore from dragging boxes down 5 flights after that …I say I have nothing to wear now and that I got rid of most of my magazines … wait until moving day and I’ll be singing a different tune  complaining other wise) 

Last Monday I was in a relatively new yoga class, one that’s more restorative  where the teacher provides adjustments and a sense of soothing. It hadn’t been about finding the challenge in each pose but about listening to my body and really paying attention to what it needs (hello hipflexors).

And then she said the evil word : wheel pose.

But it was what she said right after it that made a difference: don’t even think about it.

Wheel pose. don’t even think about  it. just do it.

Alright Nike.

Don’t think. Just do. Ready set…

Go.

And I did.

Up up up & away into wheel.

Boy did it feel opening.

For the whole two breaths that it lasted.

This past Monday she called out wheel pose again.

And I blocked out the panic and remembered that brief moment I was in wheel  - I wanted that.

Don’t think, just do.

As my hands started to slip, I slowly lowered down, grabbed my towel and tried again.

Only for two or three breaths, but it was up.

Wheel is uncomfortable [to me] and there’s a lot to be worked on but I think before I leave NYC I should be able to hold a solid wheel for 5 breaths.

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:: Related Links ::


  40 min yoga session leading up to Wheel Pose || Yoga Journal 

4 steps to one-legged variation of Upward-Facing Bow Pose (pic above) || Yoga Journal

What not to do in Wheel Pose || Fit Sugar

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YourTurnIcon

                                                   What’s your fear pose?

 


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Monday Motivation: Vision

I’m going to preface this with the fact that since it is still January I’m justifying that I’m going to talk about my plan for the new year, 2013. 

Last year I ditched the resolutions and went for a verb to describe 2012, I picked structure. Oh the irony. While I may have found structure in a marathon training plan, pretty much everything else was tossed up in the air. It was liberating, it was challenging, it was full of opportunity, struggles and new adventures. I knew I needed a change, I just wasn’t sure what exactly and in what way. I found my change, in a few different ways.

This year I think I’ve pinpointed it a little better, this year I’m picking VISION.

I’m going off two definitions of vision:

vi·sion

[vizh-uhn]

noun

1.
the act or power of sensing with the eyes; sight.
2.

the act or power of anticipating that whichwill or may come to be:

- dictionary.com

Let’s look at the straight forward one first : eyes; sight. With Diabetes you tend to be more sensitive / at higher risk / more susceptible to various health concerns. Vision healthcare being one of those. I once had a doctor tell me I should get my A1C level under control if I ever wanted to consider Lasik, sure Doc, it’s not like I’ve been trying or anything. Anyways, this past fall an eye infection (PSA: Daily contacts are just that, dailies, don’t turn them into weeklies) led to a new best friend relationship with my eye doctor. It was tough love at first but it worked. She got me to step away from the contacts (threats of blindness works pretty well) and I even ran my 18 miler in glasses. It’s been a few months of work and some serious vision attention as I was also diagnosed with chronic dry eyes which led to a few more prescriptions, a lot more glasses wearing and a more extended bedtime ritual (there’s eye drops and pill and needles – it’s a sexy time).  But yay for getting a job well done on my last visit!

Now for the other vision(s):

As much as I’m addicted to Pinterest, I’ve often had a hard time in laying out my visions. I am much better at repining something, ripping it out of a magazine (oh you should see the piles) or just generally liking it, rather than creating a vision.

But 2013 brings the year of vision – and I’ve got a lot of them.

First up : Boston.

March 1st I’m heading north to Boston to reunite with some of my best friends and start a new path. There are still many (major) details to be worked out but given my current state of life, there couldn’t be a better time for a change of course and new beginnings. I hesitated towards Boston for quite some time but I couldn’t be more ready for it now.

I’m already envisioning decorating my new (yet to be found) apartment. I have moved around a lot growing up. I believe I counted 27 places up to this point – and no one was in the army and many of those were all in the same school district (thank you parents). I’ve had a handful of apartments in NYC – all with their own charm and quirks. I’m ready to play house in a place of my own. Since housing in Boston is um shall I say a bit more selective than NYC, given that most listings don’t open up until September, I’m looking into a sublease until then which will give me enough time to get steady on my feet up there and hopefully find a place to myself. So I have a growing wish list of home items and decorating ideas – finally a full vision to pull it all together.

Second : Job

Boston provides many new opportunities. It was realizing that Boston has a growing sector of my interested industries that reassured me that this was the right move. Since my role was eliminated back in April I’ve really been able to evaluate and analyze and re-evaluate and re-analyze what interests me, what motivates me, what I excel at, what I’m passionate about and how they all intertwine.  At first I freaked out that it wasn’t this one giant picture in front of me. I’m determined and hard-working, shouldn’t I know?  Then I realized that it is ok to have a few different interests. It doesn’t make me scattered or unfocused. So at the beginning of the month I finally broke it down, in acceptance, appreciation and passion.

Design&Events || Marketing&Consumer Behavior || Health&Wellness                                                                                                                                      

And if you look at it, all three of those can connect, or collaboration could be created by two, or each can stand alone. The fun is exploring all of those options.

So while it may not be as defined as which book ends I want or what throw pillows would go nice with a navy couch, I’m creating a different kind of moodboard when it comes to building a career.

Three : Fitness

ooaf.  This is equal parts of a vision for my physical future and remembering the vision of health from this summer.

This vision is still being shaped but one major step was selecting a refund from NYRR rather than running next year (or 2014, 2015). How is that a step forward you ask? It frees up some much needed funds, prevents unwisely spending at the moment and frees me up to look forward and discover new goals and races. While I can’t start whipping out my credit card for every race out there, or really any still at this moment, I do have my eyes on one important one : the Chicago Marathon. Heading to Boston, I’m excited to discover new running opportunities. I have been touched by so many TFK’ers that will always be with me and have so many memories in Central Park but it’s revitalizing to look forward to new things.  While I should be able to maintain my same gym membership when I move, I get to explore new classes and teachers.

Finally, fourth: Health

{image}

Oh, so true. And I’ve never questioned it otherwise. I’ve grown up knowing it was my responsibility. I faced new challenges in 2012, questioning my attention and decision-making, all the while digging down to show my strength and trust in my body – inside and out. I’m actually really looking forward to building a new network of doctors. Lots of them. Boston offers some major opportunities in healthcare and while I can’t say for sure I’ll be knocking on the Joslin Clinc’s door, I’m ready to take an even more proactive approach and really find the doctors who can help me achieve my optimum health. I want to find doctors that take a collaborative approach and can appreciate my health for all that there’s to be grateful for while helping me to manage the many small challenges it throws at me.

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