Friday, January 31, 2014

Day 2: Couch to 5k

"Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength."

-Phil Jackson 

Today I completed my 2nd day with the active couch to 5k app on my I phone. Right now the program is 3 days a week and this week it is 20 mins rotating 1 min jog and 1 1/2 min walk. 

Each time feels a little different of course I have only done 2 days but it's not causing me pain so that it a very good thing. I feel my back at times but very slightly but it's not necessarily bad just something to notice. My stride makes a huge difference of course. I have always been very heavy on my feet so I try to work on landing very light. Technique makes a huge difference and I guarantee my back will tell me if I am doing things right or not. 

“Do not let what you can not do interfere with what you can do.”

-John Wooden

My Journey Toward Recovery

"Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward."

- Vernon Law

My Journey Toward Recovery

Seven months ago I ended up with a pretty severe back injury. This injury has given me a huge insight to what it is like to be a patient. Now I haven't had a very good experience but the best experience I have had during my journey has been the support I have received from family, friends, and co-workers. My co-workers have been there for me every step of the way. As an athlete I found out quickly that the push through mentality wasn't going to get me through this one. The only thing I believe that has gotten where I am today almost fully recovered is my determination to find a way no matter what. To find hope when there wasn't any and to have everybody by my side to pick me up when I fell down. I hit some pretty low points but I didn't let myself stay there. Dealing with chronic pain is one of the hardest things I have experienced but it has also made me stronger. My experience has not only made me a better nurse but a stronger person and my life will forever be different because of it. As a patient I realized what is really important and it isn't having all the answers. Even though that would be nice. Its about hope and it's about having someone listen. That's what changes lives. Because sometimes the circumstances themselves can't be changed but supporting each other can. I want to thank everyone that has been there for me because you have forever found a place in my heart and truly changed my life.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

- Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Couch to 5k Day 1

"Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward."

- Vernon Law 

Tomorrow January 29th which is the 7 month anniversary of my back injury I will be attempting a couch to 5k with my goal race being March 29th in Birch Bay, WA. This is not a race for speed but toward recovery which means it's a very light jog with possibly some walking.

The key thing to note above is the word attempting. I am not too proud to stop this endeavor if my back isn't happy with it. Now I am coming back from an injury so that makes my situation and attempt a little different. 

I will be using the couch to 5k active app on my i-phone. What I liked about this app was that it encouraged you to listen to your body and if you need to rest then rest and if you need to repeat a week vs. moving forward in the plan then do that. Now of course there are times to push your body and times to listen when to back off. Your job is to distinguish the difference and not just give up because you don't feel like it or because it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's getting familiar with injury pain and muscle soreness and knowing the difference. 

My first day is a brisk 5 min walk. Then alternating 1 min jogging and 1 1/2 of walking for a total of 20 mins. 

The training will be 3 days a week. 

Wish me luck! :)

Hmmm...I do see a trend in all my old running pictures of me having coconut water in my hand. Yes I do have a coconut water obsession. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Back to Gym Day 2

So today was my 2nd day back at the gym since my back injury. My goal is to take it slow but to start testing the waters and start strengthening again. Being strong enough to support your back is very important to preventing re-injury. Of course not overdoing it and listening to your body are also key factors. 

My workout today consisted of:

10 air squats (full depth)

10 modified pull-ups (150lbs)

- Rotating x3 sets

10 strict push-ups x 3 sets


6 laps without legs

6 laps with legs

(Lap meaning down and back in the pool)

This was pretty similar to my first workout but not as modified and felt even better then my first attempt. There was no pain in my back but lots of burning in my lungs. Hmmm....someone must be out of shape. I take each movement very slow while listening to my body to be sure that is a good idea. So far I continue to get more and more surprised. My back just continues to get better and better. I feel so close to being completely normal but not close enough to forget my back isn't what it used to be. I have enough discomfort to make me take full precautions but not enough to even call painful. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Rebuilding and Reprocessing

Of course it's easy to be happy and continue moving forward when you see results and kinda see the end in site. A place where things are not as unknown. But the only way to get to this point from my experience is to have hope through the worst part of any process. To continue moving one step in front of the other even when you don't want to. Especially when you don't want to. That is usually the point you have to really dig deep and find something. Anything that will get you moving again.

Since I have been getting injections in my back called prolotherapy I can feel the rebuilding. Of course when the body rebuilds the mind does as well. Seems funny huh? When things your life are going the way you want. When things are positive then you are positive. Or at least I can say its much easier to be positive. I went into this therapy with a very small chance that it may help me since nothing else had proven to be effective with my injury. The things that would normally work for someone else didn't work for me. Talk about discouraging. First of all the injury kinda seemed to come out of nowhere and then people just kind eventually washed their hands of me. Kinda like I don't know what's going on with you so I'm out.

Now my pain after 7 months of dealing with some very excruciating pain is very minimal. Its there but it doesn't bother me. Or at least not very often and definitely not like it did. I can deal with this sort of discomfort but I couldn't deal with what I had before. The key is finding a way no matter what. I tried everything throughout my recovery. And when it didn't work. I kept trying. I believe in my heart that is the only reason I am where I am today.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

First day back at gym

So today was my first day attempting to go to the gym to do a little strengthening in 7 months. I tend to be one of those people that usually goes too fast I have learned a lot from my injury including the fact that I don't want to be injured and in pain anymore which means yes that I have to be very very careful. 

The whole time at the gym I was kinda having a conversation with myself. Ok so not out loud that would seem rediculous. But after a little work I would feel some discomfort and be like are you ok can I continue then it would go away. Then it would come back and so I just played with it trying to figure out if what I was doing was ok with my back. 

I have no choice recently but to form a sort bond with my body. I really have to listen and feel what is going on so I make sure my next step is the step toward full recovery. 

1st step was the cross trainer. Now I haven't been doing anything like this and even though I went slower then a turtle I am telling you one thing though I could definitely feel my legs after 15 mins. 

Next up was the assisted pull-up machine. Ok so I know I can do regular pull-ups all day long. Well maybe exaggerating a little but you get my point but 2014 is all about smarter not harder so I am starting slow. I set it too 135lbs which is actually almost my body weight but gives me a little extra support along the way. 

Next up was air squats. These may have been the trickiest. I decided after trying a squat to go only to parallel for now. Moving very slow and monitoring how I was feeling I did 3 sets of 10 reps. 

My last movement was push-ups. I decided to start with modified push-ups on my knees. Now this was actually much harder then I expected. Fitness wise I feel pretty out of shape but thinking about it I am hanging in there pretty good after being down for 7 months. 

I am finally starting to see progress. My recovery period is faster and faster and the pain is less and less. It is amazing when the pain decreases you are automatically happier but when the pain is worse you struggle to find peace. Pain is certainitly a challenge. But my determination has gotten me to a place the doctors said I would never be. 

The recovery continues...

Biggest Loser Makeovers

Now normally I don’t get emotional but last night watching the contestants of the biggest losers be so happy with themselves and reunited with their families was amazing! I had tears flowing down my face like a river. Maybe it hits me harder because I know how good that transformation feels and I know that feeling of finally being happy with yourself. Wow, Amazing!

Ok so the first picture is me of course and no I was on the biggest loser last night. But this was where I connected with that feeling. This was the first day of the rest of my life. This was my makeover. Fake eyelashes, someone helped me with my hair and I walked out in a bikini for the first time. Confident and completely happy.

download (11)

These were just a couple of the amazing transformations last night. Both of these contestants are not just physically strong but mentally strong as well. They have a fire inside and determination to never give up. They believe deep down inside that they can go all the way. Who do you think will win? or will we be surprised?

images (30) images (29)

Must see video below on David Brown's Transformation.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

In the Zone

‘It’s a very strange feeling. It’s as if time slows down and you see everything so clearly. You just know that everything about your technique is spot on. It just feels so effortless; it’s almost as if you’re floating across the track. Every muscle, every fibre, every sinew is working in complete harmony and the end product is that you run fantastically well.’ 
- Extract from ‘Mind Games,’ Grout and Perrin, 2006.

Being in the zone, also considered flow. Is a mental state in which you are fully immersed in a state of complete absorption in what one does.

This is how I felt tonight in yoga. I have had this feeling before in weightlifting where I was completely focused and in the moment. A state where all thoughts stop. Where movement flows. A state of complete peace. 

Tonight I started moving very slowly and carefully expecting the usual discomfort I have felt in most of my yoga classes recently. But it wasn't there. I was so focused on feeling every movement and making sure I did it right when finally realizing I didn't feel anything at all. I tried not to get to excited or push too far. When I wanted to go further I sat with it. Then I tested it. Inch by inch and moving slower then slow. At other moments I sat with the wanting to go further and gathered acceptance in staying just where I was. 

We get there by not trying to get there.

Today I know that I cannot control the ocean tides.  I can only go with the flow. . . . When I struggle and try to organize the Atlantic to my specifications, I sink.  If I flail and thrash and growl and grumble, I go under.  But, if I let go and float, I am borne aloft."

-  Marie Stilkind

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Smarter not harder

“Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.” 

-  Tori Amos

Slowly but surely I find myself being able to do more and more. I have devoted this year to living smarter not harder. Meaning less tearing my body up and more putting my body back together. More focus on being healthy and happy and less focus on being the best. Less work more play. Even though I have a lot of work to do this year I am going to focus more time on the little things. I have always wanted to see a field of wildflowers but spent too much time in the gym. Don't get me wrong I have no regrets but seeing as I accomplished so much in the gym it's time to get outside more. Travel and be with nature. Do things I want to do and seeing things I want to see. Life is too short to put things off. 

Today I went for my first hike since my back injury. Only one week after my second prolotherapy treatment and I am feeling fantastic. The pain I experience is so minor that it's not worth mentioning but important enough for me to not get too carried away and continue being very mindful about what I do and staying present with how I feel. As much as I am trying to hold myself back I am very excited to see such improvement. I am excited not to be in excruciating pain everyday. 

I feel this year shows a lot of promise! :)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Recovery continues

"The wound is the place where the Light enters you."

-  Rumi

Everybody is always telling me how positive I am. The truth is I don't really have a choice. If you don't stay positive I feel like that would be giving up. Don't get me wrong there are always some dark moments when dealing with challenges and obstacles. But you can't stay there. You have to keep pushing forward toward something better. Towards acceptance of what is. When you accept how things are then you find the power to move past it. 

I should count next time how many injections I get in my back but it's seems like a lot. I just say anywhere from 20-30 including the lidocaine. First they inject the lidocaine all over then they inject the combination of dextrose and saline for the prolotherapy treatment. This last time I about jumped off the table for each one. At one moment wanted to cry and she had to stop to give me a break which means it was bad. I can usually tolerate a lot. But this time I wasn't as sore. Of course sore from the needles and some bruising but I recovered pretty much in a day or so. Now when I say that I don't mean I am pain free but there is such a tremendous difference now then how things were for me a couple months ago. The progress is slow. So slow that you really have to pay attention to see it. But it's there and there is lots of hope. Now maybe I will never be an athlete again but maybe I will. The future and the unknown doesn't scare me anymore. I know that I will never give up.

This year is going to be very exciting. I started as a leader in a council at the healthcare organization I work for. Something I never would of pictured myself doing but others saw something in me that I didn't and here I am. More successful then I would of ever thought. It's not because I am extremely smart. But it is because of my determination. In every obstacle I have faced I found a way. I start my yoga teacher training next month. I move to a new apartment in about 4 weeks and I applied to the university of Washington Bachelor in nursing program starting in the fall. That is a lot to do this year along with my recovery but I am excited about all if it. Do I take on too much? Of course but nobody will be able to say that I didn't give life everything I got. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Prolotherapy 2nd series

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it." 

-  Helen Keller

Prolotherapy series 2:

I have to say it was definitely a lot more painful this time around. Of course we are never excited to go back to experiencing more pain and it definitely seems like an odd concept. But on the other hand makes since as well. Your basically re-injuring the body to trigger it to go through the healing process again and try to rebuild the ligaments holding everything together. 

After my first treatment I was definitely a little leery about wether I was doing the right thing or not, since I had started making some improvements on my own and then I got worse after the injections.  Of course anytime you re-injure something you can expect to get worse. But then toward the end I started feeling stronger. Bad days got less and less and I kinda feel like I was able to do more. Of course still experienced pain but a tolerable pain which may be all a person can ask for. It could be I will have some pain for the rest of my life but the goal is to become more functional and keep the pain from getting out of control. 

I am very hopeful and excited to see my progress and recovery this year. Next injection is on February 10th.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My Story

June 2009
December 2013

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”  
~ Jim Rohn

Back in June 2009 I had succeed in losing about 60 lbs and went from a size 16 in pants to a 4-6. This all happened in less then a year. I completely changed my life not just physically but mentally. I wasn't inspired when I started. I almost feel like I was dragged into the gym kicking and screaming but yet with some curiosity and longing for a healthier life. I knew I was on the edge and I couldn't go much further without falling off if I didn't make some changes. I just didn't know what those changes were. 

At that point in my life I had been a nurse for 5 years. Doesn't seem like a long time when you think about it. But the effects it had on me could of seemed like a century. I had gained over 60 lbs in college. I experienced my first panic attack in nursing school. Over those years I tried many diets only lasting a few days. I would go to the gym for a day then stop. My husband had convinced me to try a new gym. We were talked into buying personal training when we definitely couldn't really afford it. But this training changed my life. I started working out a lot. The trainer put me on a diet. My energy increased and I started to experience what it felt like to feel good. I hadn't known this feeling in a really long time if ever. This is when I really got inspired. The results kept me going and ever since then I refused to ever go back. 

When I first started losing weight I couldn't even do a pushup. Running caused me to fall down gasping for breath. But over time the athlete inside of me came out. I have always been pretty determined and have always loved rising to a challenge. If someone said it couldn't be done it gave me one more reason to keep pushing. A fire sparked inside of me. My diet originally consisted of brown rice, oatmeal, eggs, veggies, lean protein and some healthy fat. I even got to eat bread occasionally. This was more along the lines of a bodybuilding diet. Eventually I plateaued and got interested in crossfit which introduced me to the paleo diet. And this was how I lost the rest. At that point I had improved my fitness level so much I started competing in fitness competitions ranging from crossfit, olympic weightlifting, and half marathons. I got certified as an instructor and dedicated my life to not only helping myself but helping others to change their life like I did. 

I grew up in Florida most of my life. As a child I struggled with my weight. I played softball since I was a little kid and one day my mom let me join tae kwon do. I excelled and threw myself into it. I lost a lot of weight and gained self confidence. I received my black belt and competed in the Jr. Olympics. During high school I competed in track and cross country and was the only girl on the wrestling team. Even though my skill wasn't the greatest my wrestling coach told me I had the most heart. After high school I received a scholarship for college after writing an essay about my family's battle with my fathers multiple sclerosis. During college I lost myself a bit during the struggle. I am not the most book smart but I do get things done when I put my mind to it. In college I got certified as an EMT and received my degree as a registered nurse. I can't say it was easy but every time someone told me I couldn't finish it drove me that much closer to success. I think that is why I have thank the people that were so hard on me. 

May 2009
My Husband has been a big part of my journey and has been on his own journey as well. Without the right support in your life these things that are already hard will be even harder to accomplish. My friends and my family have been with me every step of the way and continuing to see my beauty and strength even when I didn't see it myself. 

“Real leaders are ordinary people with extraordinary determination. ” 

~  Unknown 

December 2009

Day 1 Whole 30 Diet - 2014 New Year Better Me

"Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” 

-  Optah Winfrey 

After a small glass of champagne at midnight to celebrate bringing in the new year the journey to a healthier me has begun. Not that I was completely unhealthy before but let's face it we just strive for perfection but will never reach it. We just try to get one step closer each day. I definitely got off track over the holidays and I am very excited to start fresh. I know I feel so much better when I eat right and very much looking forward to getting that feeling back. 

This morning I started off with a cup of coffee with coconut milk. Three eggs, 1/2 avacado and 1 small apple for breakfast. I have already had two large glasses of water which means frequent bathroom breaks are about to begin but water is one the most important things I need to improve upon this year. 

Now my husband is not fond at all of the coffee with coconut milk so we bought him some black tea. Yerba matte is also a good choice for tea in the morning from my experience. 

The rest of the day I didn't really focus on cooking until it was time for lunch. I like my spaghetti squash with clarified butter and hot sauce. Hot sauce is accepted on the diet you just have to make sure it doesn't have unapproved ingredients. So I quickly put some butter in a pot melted it thoroughly and then let it sit for a while. I scooped the white portion on the top and used a small strainer with the tiny holes. Some recipies say to use cheesecloth but that wasn't available to me so I modified and did the best I could. I found out around dinner time though that the butter doesn't microwave very well as it exploded all over. What a mess! After you make your butter you combine one half hot sauce and one half butter. 

I finally cooked another batch of chicken so that there would be enough for tomorrow. Between me and my husband it doesn't last long. Then came the dishes. I can see this is going to get out of control quick since I can only do a certain amount then have to rest my back so I don't overdue it and become in excruciating pain again. 

I have done better then I have been doing with my water. I had 4 - 16 oz glasses of the flavored water I prepared yesterday. Definitely comes in handy. I rotate flavored which keeps me from getting bored with it. I have also had 2-3 cups of herbal (non-caffeinated) tea. 

I think I can decrease my portion sizes a little as I am very full after I eat a meal but I ate 3 large meals when I should be trying to eat 5-6 meals/snacks per day. Something to improve upon. Smaller meals more frequently keeps the metabolism going vs large meals kinda overload the body. 

So far I feel fantastic. Don't have much energy right now but it's the end of the day. Dedication and pushing through one day at a time will lead me to success and eventually eating healthy will once again become a habit. 

Just to add I started taking fish oil today 1 tbs this morning and ended my day with a calcium magnesium supplement. 

My first workout included:
3 sets of 20 - wall push ups 
3 sets of 10 - split squats with back leg on chair

I felt some slight soreness in my back after the squats but after sitting down for a bit it is starting to improve. Will have to monitor how it affected me. One amazing thing is is how hard the wa push-ups were for me. I guess not being able to workout much for over 6 months it's for sure going to be a challenge getting back into things as my back allows.