plan, initiate… result?: reflecting on goal progress [from 2011?!]

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.

intention.

The last six weeks was, I am sure, more than enough to make me unsettled (in a not-good way).

Last week, the seventh week, was about reclaiming ground, becoming more settled in my body, knowing things are getting better.

Saturday . . . i had this feeling arise over me. For the first time in a very long time, I felt healthy. I have clung on to that feeling for the past 30 hours. (My lungs still don’t feel right, but hey, otherwise I feel good, I can deal with the lungs. I’m blaming the rain for that).

Finally feeling healthy, though, made me realize everything I need to work on. Things I have the energy to work on. Finally.

Physical Activity.

Exercise is a thing that suffered–which is also a thing that I’ve found keeps me balanced . . . contributing to the state of emotional unbalance on top of the obvious physical unbalance.

Exercise graph

Part of this dropoff was intentional. When my hemoglobin was slipping bad, I was intentionally not exercising beyond walking to and from the bus, because I didn’t want to contribute any to the state of dropping–the reality is, I’ve been sicker than I cared to admit since March. And I was trying to be proactive and my doctor was not engaging with me on working with me on that.

The other part is that I simply could not do things. I would walk home from the bus and have to take breaks because it was too hard–my heart would pound inside me with even small amounts of moderate exertion. I would get short of breath and it wasn’t the asthma. I was a mess for a lot longer than I admitted to many people, but what else was I supposed to do? I didn’t know better that what I was feeling would become as bad as it did down the road.

This, I need to rectify.  Back to paying attention to the fitbit, and doing some TribeSports challenges to bring my focus back to where it should be.

Nutrition.

It is not so much the fact of micromanaging the micronutrients that I need to work on, it is just simply making healthier food choices. Leaning away from all of the stuff that I know I don’t feel good from or about after eating, and having all that stuff on a less frequent basis. It’s a fine line, and I know myself–and I know that I have a hard time balancing this stuff in the most basic way.

Creativity.

Writing has for as long as I can remember been my release. I started journaling and writing lyrics/poetry in the fourth grade. These things have been the sole methods of getting me through so much of the tough stuff in my life.  2013, having the theme of Make Yourself, I want to expand on that. I’ve been trying to make a more focused attempt at journaling–“and i scratched these words / into a black notebook”.

Words have always been my weapon. Music has been a second.

Visual art? Even farther, yet still something I have gravitated towards and wanted . . . but seldom wrapped my fingers around.

Friday . . . I started to transform that with a quote inspired from one of Andrew McMahon’s tattoos.

Winnipeg-20130623-00647.jpg

my intention / a bullet / my body / a trigger finger / . . . and my pen is a pistola.

my secret arsenal is an infinite, ageless inkwell / it’s a fountain of youth and a patriot’s weapon of choice.

pistola, incubus

I’ll be capturing that process on deviantART.

Balance.

I’ll be honest here. It’s a paradox: when my health is at its worst, the things that keep my body and mind balanced are the first to go in the effort to simply survive. I’m realizing now that this is incredibly backwards, yet . . . it feels incredibly necessary at the time.

when dark clouds cover the sky / like there’s no hope, You are my light / You tell me to live. / when i’m all by myself / and i’m scared about my health / You tell me to live. / and when You heal my broken wings / yes, You heal my everything / You tell me to live.

You tell me to live, the rocket summer

Be intentional.

This week . . . I am rolling back onto Operation Intention. Getting back to making better choices . . . for all of me. Body, mind and heart.

Recovery.

badassmatics defined – find me at breathinstephen!

A year or so ago, I combined some words to invent the term badassmatic. Simply, a badass living with asthma. To be used in a sentence: Steve is the epitome of badassmatic.

Today, let’s define it. It is an honour to be the first ever guest-poster at my friend Steve’s blog Breathinstephen!

Please join me over there for some conversation on music, asthma, owning your health . . . and badassery!

where i’m at, and where i’m going

hello, good morning, how ya do? what makes your rising sun so new? i could use a fresh beginning, too . . . all of my regrets are nothing new.

[…] i’m dying to breathe in these abundant skies.

hello, good morning, how ya been? yesterday left, my head kicked in. i never, never thought that i would fall like that, never knew that i could hurt this bad.

i’m learning to breathe, i’m learning to crawl […]

learning to breathe, switchfoot

 

I will be completely honest that I have been very much out of the groove since the beginning of September. At first, I blamed it on readjusting to the new routine of school. Then I was crazy busy, and blamed that. Then I went to California. And we all know what happened in California [and, unfortunatley, did not stay in California].

I’m not intending for this to be a bitchfest post. I’m intending it to be an accountability point. While it is one thing that two or three weeks ago, doing stairs was still really hard, I am slowly getting back to where I want to be. The fact that I haven’t been working out lately prior to the asthma exacerbation is nothing’s fault but my own. I am the one who makes those choices, and I have not been making those choices. So, it is going to be doubly hard to get back to doing what I know I need to be doing exercise-wise because I’ve probably already lost a fair amount of where I was at the beginning of September from simply not being intentional. Yes, I’ve been busy, and yes, recently I’ve been sick. The latter is a reason . . . the former is an excuse.

Since I lost my Fitbit [seriously. It was honestly super depressing when I discovered it was MIA. The people at Fitbit are awesome and are sending me a complimentary replacement], and am constantly in need of some kind of motivation, I joined MeYou Health’s Daily Challenge site–I’d love for you to join me! I receive simple challenges every day to motivate me towards just making one small choice that . . . when added up . . . can make a big difference. It also helps with that intentionality bit by asking a few questions to help evaluate your current wellness–I’m hovering at 80%, likely because of some nutrition and physical activity issues, and dipped down today because I have been feeling stressed this weekend (see also: Darwin paper). The questions are simple, but really make me realize how I am feeling about things, which is awesome.

I get things narrowed-down in a nice little screen like this, helping me to see what I need to work on.  Emotional health dropped like 19 points I think just due to the stress factor. The physical health thing is quite obvious due to my state of physical activity and asthma lately.

Wellbeing Scores

The healthy behaviours bit, let us explore that a bit more:

Healthy Behaviour Score

Each domain can be outlined like this, giving some concrete ways of how to improve health in the determined area that might need some work. So, once again, this one is all about those little choices that add up . . . and the little choices that are dragging me down in some of the other domains adding up.

I know part of the exercise aversion is that I’m scared of two things, one being that I won’t feel good while doing it [which is basically a given at this point that it will be harder to breathe than usual] and two being that I’ll make myself sick again [which is, at this point, unlikely I would hope, but it comes with the package deal of having a wicked exacerbation, apparently]. The only way to crush those feelings though . . . is to try it.

Goals for the week:

  • Get rolling on the backpack snacks again.
  • Do what it takes to get more intentional about the nutrition on the whole [I might try the picture-taking method].
  • Give exercising a go again–take it slow, but try. Even if I make it ten minutes on the bike, that is much better than nothing.

 

i got my scars, i been to hell and back again. born for the blue skies, we’ll survive the rain. born for the sunrise, we’ll survive the pain.

we’re singing wait it’s not over now, we’ve been down but we’ve never been out . . .

we found a way out, the city takes everything it can. but outside the crowds, i can feel my lungs again. . .

dark horses, switchfoot

home-made energy gel!

After tweeting and receiving a lot of exclamation about home-made gel, I decided to forgo delaying this to be part of the race report as intended (plus, I don’t know what I was thinking because it doesn’t really fit in there anyway). Here y’all go!

I know you aren’t supposed to do anything new on race day, but screw it. I tried a gel in my last race [a 5K last fall–I gotta get more races into my life]. The gel was awesome, it kicked up the energy, and I highly enjoyed my first CarbBoom experience. Also, the gel was free, so I was all over that. After trying my first gel, it’s easy to see why so many athletes use them. However, they come with a hefty price tag [$1.50 per pouch], so I set out to make my own. After a bunch of googling of nutritional breakdowns of things, I loosely based it on this recipe from No Meat Athlete, but did some additional googling and this worked out okay for me:

  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp water (can be omitted, I added it before the lemon juice and it is extremely thin)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp raisins

It, obviously, worked out to just over a quarter of a cup.  Soak the raisins in a bit of water for as long as you are patient to (mine were in an hour and a half), but mine didn’t all blend completely, which is whatever. The NMA recipe calls for dates, but I don’t think those existed in my house. Also now my entire kitchen smells like raisins.

It doesn’t look super appetizing, but it tastes better than it looks. Also, it’s not full of artificial things, so that’s cool.

Winnipeg-20120902-01626.jpg

Nutritionally, the issue is, it’s extremely high in sugar thanks to the syrup. I originally intended to use honey, which while higher in some vitamins, was much higher in sugar. Also the honey was granulated, thus the first batch of gel I attempted was gross. Plus I don’t actually like honey, but that’s beside the point. However, Maria pointed out that the point of gels is kind of the sugar. So hooray syrup? I’m also not expecting to down this all in just over two hours [the anticipated time it will take us to walk the 10K–fingers crossed for shorter].

Nutrition Facts 

Serving size: 90g

Total Fat 0.2g – 0% DV

Cholesterol 0mg – 0% DV

Sodium 242mg – 10% DV

Total Carbohydrates 58.0g -19% DV

Sugars 50.6g

Protein 0.2g

Calcium 6%   Vitamin C 4%    Iron 6%

Some rationale:

The majority of energy/carb gels are obviously simple carbohydrates for energy, salt to make up for what your body is losing through sweat, and potassium (the raisins contribute 70.1 mg!) which is used and therefore lost by your muscles during exercise. Obviously the more pure the carbs [this case, glucose in the form of maple syrup], the less work your body has to do to use the carbs [ATP holla!]. Some sites also said that maple syrup packed a more sustained energy source than others (but I can’t be bothered to research the validity of that information–I don’t start school till Wednesday, yo). Fat can slow down digestion and requires more energy to break down, so nutrition before and during exercise should be extremely low-fat or fat-free.

It tastes decent, and the lemon juice gives it a nice bit of a kick to take the edge off the maple syrup.

I’ll report on the actual use of it in the race report tomorrow!

Have you ever made homemade energy gel? What did you put in it, and how did it work?