IMG_1335

I coach two teams, I am semi-active(-ish)—per Fitbit, I’ve averaged 178 total active minutes a week for the last 4 weeks (and this is a period of time I feel rather inactive, but it still puts me over the 150 recommended minutes a week… although that is really moderate activity and mine is, um, mostly not?). But sometimes keeping it interesting is hard, and sometimes I just want to stick with the typical things because they are familiar, and familiar is easy (except then I don’t do the things).

Late last year, ParticipACTION (Canada’s leading physical activity promotion non-profit) took a vote of which physical activities were the country’s favourites—selected activities (and those voted on) range from the predictable (duh, hockey) to the “WHAT IS THAT?” (snow snake, stick pull) to the “BUT HOW?” (white water rafting, axe throwing, highland games).
These final picks are known as the 150 Play List. So now, I am setting off on doing them all. Sadly I have many from last year that I could have checked off that I have little clue how I will get in again this year (sailing?!).

Finishing week two of the year, I’ve checked three activities off the list so far (note: ParticipACTION apparently counts each time you do an activity as 1, so the site says I’ve done 7. Okay?):

1) Goalball. Well it probably is not any surprise that my favourite activity on the list got completed really early. I play goalball with the guys I coach almost every week, and last week (our first week back after the holidays) threw some pretty hard shots at me. I was surprisingly unbruised (except one tiny bruise on my hip, which I thought would be larger.)

http://i0.wp.com/farm1.staticflickr.com/461/32298581196_8d2c2ba714.jpg?resize=500%2C379&ssl=1

Doug came to goalball for our first practice back. We spend a lot of time laying around on the floor in this sport, I will be honest. Unfortuantely due to my shortness this is not actually a great defensive strategy for me most of the time.

http://i0.wp.com/farm1.staticflickr.com/494/31526724983_ea250e0244.jpg?resize=500%2C351&ssl=1

2) Walking. That was easy. Well, actually not terribly so, considering the dump of snow on December 26th and the lack of sidewalk clearing crews out (until Steve got on the news about it, anyways.)

3) Soccer. We only had a couple of athletes at Special Olympics practice this week, which meant that the athletes got to choose what we did. After playing floor hockey for awhile, we played soccer. My passes are as inaccurate as ever, FYI.

For the next 5 weeks at Special O, we are trying to get as many of these activities in as we can with our athletes. I already have goalball checked off, but I hope to be adding another 24 activities as we explore them with our athletes!

Now, we’re supposed to be getting some warm weather (after our wicked cold snap) so I hope it doesn’t kill off all the skating rinks or that’s going to pose a bit of a problem in regard to checking of “skating” and “hockey”…

IMG_1335

First off, for some reason the 135 second plank, the day after the flu shot, the day I played wheelchair basketball and tennis and used my arms more than ever was infinitely easier than the 145 second one I did tonight. 

I’m not sure what the deal is with that. Maybe just because it’s day 20? Or maybe the flu shot made me secretly awesome yesterday and today I am just back to normal. My arms are sore as well, my left non-flu-shot and non-tennis-raquet-ing arm more-so than my right, which I am not sure I understand. Seriously, this is the most hardcore DOMS I’ve had in awhile. (I mean, probably a good thing because that sort of means I am doing something.) Can’t stop, won’t stop. 😉

Unlike Google Word Trends and ranting, as I’ve done on the other two Thursdays this month, I don’t have a lot to say. It’s 12:26 am and I should go to bed. I’m doing a presentation with Gerry tomorrow at the Mantioba Teachers’ Society Physical Education Professional Development Day (or #MTSPhysEdDay because duh MTSPEPDD is clearly too much of a mouthful). Our session is called Play With Your Eyes Closed and it’s going to be super fun.

I may have under planned because I thought we had 2 hours and not 2.5, but we can just throw stuff around longer. Or let people go home early. I’m pretty sure nobody will refuse to go home early on a Friday, right?

Challenge Update: Day 20

Plank: 145 seconds, AKA 2:25. Ten(/eleven) days of planking to go. (And then to maintain it. Or keep improving on the planking. I’m not sure I need to plank for more than like 3 minutes though?)

Meditation: Bite Size Exploring Sounds meditation. Because at 1 AM I seem to be unable to do anything more than 5 minutes. Or 3 minutes. And I need to work on my morning meditation routine. Baby steps, right?

So this, this is all too true. And with that, I present, Goals from 2011 – Revisited.

Small things

  • Focus on the good things.
  • Complete the onehundredpushups program and not derail. Yes, I am doing girly push-ups. It is better than no push-ups.  If all goes well, this will be completed by the end of January.
  • Stop making Saturday and Sunday the exception: 
    • the weekend is not an excuse to only brush my teeth once a day instead of twice
    • it is not an excuse to forgo a workout or two
    • and it is not a cop out for eating all kinds of random food.
  • Become more reliable at hitting up the cardio workouts 45 minutes/day, 5 days/week.
  • Read over the day’s notes when I get home from school and make study notes as the term goes on, because it will make finals suck less.

Bigger things

  • Health advocacy: do new things, reach beyond what I’ve already been doing in some way.  [Maybe that’s doing more races sporting the Team Asthma gear, maybe that’s trying to see if volunteering at asthma camp will work this year, maybe that’s giving my time and my own body for research if I’m eligible.  It could be a lot of things, or all of these things].
  • Actually walk a half marathon.  I’ve been saying I’m going to do one for about two years, so let’s make 2012 the year pending all goes as planned.
  • Work with others to help them realize their own potential, be a part of that ripple effect.
  • Figure out where I’m at with God.
  • Make another attempt at the 365 project.
  • Hesitate less, do more.

So. How have I done?

Focus on the Good Things: It’s a conscious choice, but I try to nail it every. Single. Day. And I think I’m succeeding for the most part.

Onehundredpushups: Nope. I can safely say that I have not, nor am I trying presently, to be able to do 100 pushups… of any sort.

Stop making Saturday and Sunday the Exception: Here’s the issue: every day is Saturday and Sunday to me right now. Which means that I try often and fail at brushing my teeth twice daily—I always get bedtime in, morning is a bit tougher to remember and I don’t know why—I can tell you that I haven’t done any working out since several weeks ago when I impulsively bought a yoga app and did a yoga workout I really enjoyed and then… didn’t touch it again—and, I eat random food all the time. Right now I have Combos beside me. If you want to talk about random food, that is the epitome of it right there.

Become more reliable about hitting up the cardio workouts: 2013 derailed this because I was sick for so much of it. But you know what? it’s effing over. 2013 is effing over and it has been for a long time, and yes that got me off track but it is no reason to still be off track.

Studying: Currently irrelevant, but I can say I never really made good on this, except for in Anatomy round 3.

Health advocacy: In the big picture, I have done this—when I wrote this, I had maybe haphazardly filled out an app to medicine-x at Stanford… But then I got in for 2012. I had yet to learn of attending the World Congress of Asthma with the Asthma Society in Quebec City in 2012. And, I had yet to know that I’d start taking on more roles with the ASC, link up with the Canadian Severe Asthma Network, attend MedX again, and, most importantly, find more ways to practice everyday advocacy within the places I was all the time: school and work. So I’m going to give this a check mark—but it’s a constant growth, and I still have more work to do. See also: Badassmatics!

Actually walk a half-marathon: I don’t even know if this is on the goals anymore to be perfectly honest. But maybe see that thing about cardio above.

Work with others to help them realize their own potential, be part of that ripple effect. I’m gonna give this one a check-mark, but once again, that isn’t something that ends.

Figure out where I’m at with God. My journal would indicate that is still a big question mark, but it’s actually something I’ve been contemplating in the last week. And, I feel like I might never figure that out and that’s just part of my story.

Make another attempt at the 365 project. CHECK MARK. More to come on this!

Hesitate less, do more. Sometimes I meet random strangers off the internet in airports in a country I don’t live in, and they drive you down me state awhile and drop me off to crash in a hotel with someone I also don’t know. And then I repeat that process in a few different ways in a few different states. And, sometimes those people end up becoming your best friends. That’s a pretty extreme example, and I’m sure there was a lot of reservation, but… adventure is really not born of extreme caution, it’s born of optimism and trusting your instincts. And, it’s worked for me.

There are certainly things to build off of here, but the important thing is, I have been building. But, I need to act more, and more fully. And I know this—I just have to harness the energy to make it all happen, because I can. In the coming weeks, I’ll revamp the goals list for 2015—and be doing some introspection surrounding previous goals lists, too.

Even though I am to not be bound by calendar years, yes, that fresh start effect everyone gets so into is contagious.

I watched with anticipation as my finger was pricked with a lancet. A drop of blood appeared and was wiped away. Repeat. The third was sucked into a test strip, and a cotton ball affixed to my finger with a band-aid.

Three drops was all the blood Canadian Blood Services would allow me to give them yesterday. My hemoglobin didn’t stop them.

My heart rate did.

[Note that’s 120.0, not 1200.]

For whatever reason, after my ten-minute “time-out”, my heart rate was 112. There are no third tries and I was deferred for the day because of 12 points. The day I wanted to be able to donate blood more than anything. I have been looking forward to this for a year—and with two heart rate readings from the blood pressure machine, I was told I wouldn’t be able to donate.
There were a lot of hard things about 2013, a lot of disappointing things. I had to cancel a trip to California last June because I was sick, and even that is, in retrospect, far less disappointing than this. I was sick and while not going and visiting ERs instead was super disappointing, I know I would have been okay on that trip.
 
This, though? This was crushing. Immediately, I was in tears; the screening woman didn’t know what to do with me, and wasn’t too good about being sympathetic (not that it would have really helped). I took my ID from her, and booked it across the gym for my bag and through the front door. I faked a smile and waved at the kids from work outside after lunch, and did the 40 minute walk home.
 
I know my heart rate runs a little high. Whether it’s a byproduct of my meds, or the hell of 2013, or both and other factors, I know that. Usually it’s not quite that high, so chalk it up to some excitement. Nobody has ever expressed real concern over my number even when I’ve asked. And while, yes, I know I can donate another day and that there are rules for a reason, it will never be that day again. The anticipation of yesterday carried me through the bulk of the past year, from the trivial where every time I contemplated getting a tattoo, I pushed the thoughts away because it would screw up my eligibility, to the more important because that thought gave surviving 2013 more meaning: to go full circle in that “everything’s a piece of everyone”.
 
The last thing I want right now is that all of me is still within me. Yet it is.
 
Part of me wanted to try again today. One year and one day after—the revival. The other part couldn’t resign to the fact that I could be tossed twice in two days. Those outcomes, like many of last years, are not in my control—and I can’t deal with that right now.
 
So I return to, resort to, quantifying myself. With a pulse oximeter purchased using my Shoppers Optimum points—essentially free, yet another byproduct of chronic disease. Because, as always, I want to know why. I want to grab those variables and eradicate them so that I don’t get let down by nothing but my own body again.
 
 
 
And, maybe I can’t change this outcome either.
 
 
But, damn it, maybe I can.

Over the last few years, I have made friends with too many people who live with diabetes to count them all. These people have become my friends, both online and in real life [and some currently online and ABOUT to become real life friends!] and through Twitter and their blogs, I get a small glimpse into their worlds of living and thriving with a variety of types of diabetes. When I was searching for a Fall race to do, the Run for Diabetes in support of the Canadian Diabetes Association grabbed my attention and didn’t let go. Thanks to my generous friends who helped me not only raise but shatter my fundraising goal, and thank you to anybody who has supported me in the physical activity endeavours in the past couple months!  With tribute to Jay, we unofficially called our team “Good Things Run on Insulin!” and got to throw the phrase around and tell the story to a couple people today, which was super awesome.

My friends Sam, Danielle and Julia joined me today, and they were so much fun to race with. We got up at 6 AM (can you say early? I work at 10 AM tomorrow and 7:30 AM for the rest of the term, and my body is going to have no idea what to do with getting up at that hour), got ready, and drove across the city to the beautiful park where the D-run was being held. We preceded the race by visiting the bulk of the booths set up, where the people from Virgin Radio gave us free shirts, and tweeted and facebooked about us (this was the first time I told the Good Things Run on Insulin story!)

Love the tutus and the t-shirts – its team Good Things Run On Insulin! 

A13pMlxCAAEYzUL.jpg

Left to right: Sam, me, Julia and Danielle

Photo Credit to Virgin Radio

YES!

The actual race got rolling a bit late, and in the time we were waiting, literally seven people asked for pictures with us and our tutus. It was a little crazy (stay tuned for those, I know the Diabetes Association has a couple, as do the pharmacy people, as does the Manitoba Runners Association).

538515_10152065465340375_1165860173_n.jpg

Come on guys, I’m ready to go over here!

Finally, after a lengthy walk to the starting mat, and some sort of siren-esque interlude as the gun, we were off!

Being a walker in a race is awesome, but awkward. People cheer you on, but all the runners run past you all the time, and the half-marathoners have triple-lapped you, and et cetera. Also all the runners are super hardcore, obviously. Here’s some footage of the race, except minus the parts where we had to say thank-you four hundred times when people commented on the tutus. It’s super short, because video-ing is kind of distracting from the task at hand and such.

554849_10152065464615375_566096851_n.jpg

You can’t see all the names, but you can clearly see that there are way, way too many people in my world who have diabetes.

394186_10152065470785375_1971495529_n.jpg

My first chip-timed race! Results TBA!

303497_10152065467300375_451543832_n.jpg

How could you not want to walk in this? [Running Room! Want to make a deal and you can use this?]

Hmm… maybe the view literally took my breath away and it wasn’t asthma? 😉

Aside from some of the usual muscle-related off and on pain, my legs were totally awesome this race (and they’d be good now if I hadn’t stopped moving!). My lungs, on the other hand, were just true to the pattern that’s developed. I tried a new plan of attack on this walk, and it mostly worked until the last couple kilometers, and I was still able to amp up a run across the finish line at the end!  Today’s plan involved a neb treatment (a bit less than a 5mg vial of Ventolin–I got sick of doing the treatment, okay?) at 6 AM, the usual meds with an increased Symbicort dose to 2 puffs instead of 1 (I upped the Qvar to 3 puffs instead of 2 a couple days ago). Then, two-plus (with the delay) hours later I took two puffs of Ventolin from the inhaler.  Since my asthma is the most trouble after an hour, or 5.5K-ish, I took two more puffs of Ventolin and two of Atrovent early into the second lap. The pattern of the last longer walk held true, and over the rest of the second half, I think I averaged 1 puff of Ventolin per kilometer, but I didn’t start feeling really short of breath until we started kilometer 8, which was good! I need to stop trying to make sense of this exercise induced asthma pattern, but I really want to understand it so I can treat it better! (Really, I am doing all I can be, which sucks) I really feel that it’s taking me an excessive amount of Ventolin to get through these longer workouts, and I am not super okay with that. To prevent any rebound-flares later on today and to quell the dyspnea already developing, I did another neb when I got home. (The night of my first 10K, I had a really hard time breathing and if it wouldn’t have been for having access to a nebulizer at home, I would have had to go to the ER. Crossing my fingers that I don’t have a repeat of two years ago!)

I had Gatorade at the first station (which I after realized was stupid because why the hell would I need Gatorade by the first stop) but it was also way too strong. I stuck with water for the next few (because cold water > the water from my bottle), threw back a few sips of Gatorade (which Julia described as Mr. Clean. Thanks, Julia ;)) and ditched over half of that one, and stuck to the gross water bottle the rest of the race. I tried the homemade gel at about 7.5K, I think. It worked really well, but it was just too freaking sweet. My pre-race nutrition was also crap, because it involved exactly two bites of some random protein bar that came in the race kit, and about four sips of some almond milk smoothie thing (complete with a carb count on the table! 11g per serving, y’all! I was actually surprised that was the only carb count sign I saw, considering Good Things Run on Insulin and all).

Finally we rounded into kilometer 9, where my friends refused to leave me to go run the last kilometre (I told them to go because I knew pushing myself any harder would be no bueno, but they’re just awesome and told me that we were all finishing together). Halfway through the crowd of people, we kicked into a sprint to the finish line about two-hours after we started, where were unceremoniously handed our medals over (there’s something about when they put the medal around your neck, you know?) to put on ourselves.

296856_10152065474445375_921268772_n.jpg

Post race

We walked around for a bit, because when you stop moving is when you start to hurt. A guy gave us funeral home branded water (like “Good health choice doing that race! Now, time to think about when you die! Ouch?) Found the bathroom that had no line by the point we crossed the finish line (it had a huge line pre-race because the porta-potties were still being put up, so we stood around until the Gotta Go guy was gotta gone. Also we had nothing better to do but stand there and dance, really–I’m sure even with the dancing we stood around less time than if we’d have waited in the bathroom line).

Subway had a booth with free sandwiches and yogurt parfaits, so we went and ate free food and sat on a bench overlooking a similar view to this, where Julia ran away from wasps while we had snacks and then headed for home!

546731_10152065463800375_353126925_n.jpg

I was happy to be a small part of making a difference today. With charity races, the making a difference is two-fold: the difference in yourself in not only working to keep your body healthy through training and racing, but in your thoughts in how you perceive the good things that these non-profits are doing for people, AND in bringing much-needed funds and support to these organizations that do so much to help ALL of us live the best possible life we can have! I can go out there and have all the fun I want, but it’s not as meaningful if I’m the only one benefiting from it. Just as a Canadian discovered insulin, my hope is that Canada can be an equally big part in finding a cure–and supporting those living and thriving with diabetes while they wait.