Saturday, August 16, 2014

Check your boobies!

On Wednesday August 13th, I hopped in the shower and was singing along to Avery Sunshine. I was determined to have a great day. I was singing "Shine" and lathering up. I am a jerk. I don't care if any one else in the house is sleeping. I sing loud and off. So...while singing and lathering, I found a lump in my right breast. My day immediately went downhill. I thought of my mother and her fight with breast cancer (despite the fact that we had no genetic connection) and leaving my kiddles and then I snapped back to reality. I thought about who I could talk to. The answer was: no one. I was worried but would anyone else be? And does anyone else need to worry besides me? I thought and thought and decided not to talk to anyone. I went to work and called my ob/gyn's office and requested an appointment. I was scheduled for September. I share an office with one of my ob/gyn's nurses who is also a friend. She jumped into action emailing the doctor and then scheduling me for a mammogram and ultrasound for the next day. I was relieved to have the appointment and that someone else knew and was also concerned. I had my first mammogram on the 14th of August (1 day before my 39th birthday and 1 year early). I had heard terrible things about mammograms. It wasn't as bad as I had heard. I was a little embarrassed at how much the young lady struggled to smoosh my tiny little boob onto the plate. I imagine that if I were perhaps a cup larger it would be easier but , alas, my girls are wee little things. After the mammogram, I waited in a little room watching HGTV and eating snacks with an older lady who was VERY talkative for what seemed like hours. Finally, I was taken for the ultrasound. I watched the screen as two masses appeared. "Oh" she exclaimed "There are two here". She examined them and took pictures and then explained that she thinks that they are just cysts and that she will send them to my doctor who will contact me. The doctor has not contacted me yet so I am going with "no news is good news". My nurse friend said that they would contact me immediately if there was a concern. I am now very hopeful and thankful for the quick response.
Sometimes I ignore ailments for fear of of the unknown or because I don't want to look silly for complaining about something that is minor. This situation reminded me that I am in control of my health and I need to be vocal about whats going on and my needs.  Just wanted to remind everyone else to check your boobies and be your own advocate for your health. You're the most qualified person to do it!!!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Free yoga: Tried and Tested

Over the past few weeks, I have frequented as many free yoga classes as I could. The common theme has been the setting. They are always outdoors. There is something perfect about the combination of yoga and nature. I found that many of my balancing poses were done in the grass; and not on my mat. I felt grounded and connected and powerful. Every single outdoor yoga experience has been unique and amazing.

I went to Moonshine Buzz with two friends. We practiced at night under the full moon. Despite being bitten by 1.2 million bugs, it was an awesome experience. There was a great turnout and the energy was high. I learned how to improve my revolved chair pose.

I went to yoga at the Art Museum a few times. The instructors were warm and friendly and eager to assist. There was a variety of fitness levels at the last class I attended and the instructor worked hard to cater to all participants. I also received special help after the class on my upward bow or wheel pose. I have not been able to straighten my arms completely but she gave me great pointers to help work on it.

I went to Northcoast Namaste on Tuesday evening. Yoga on the lake is exactly as you would imagine it. It was serene and perfect. While there were a lot of yogis practicing, there were not a lot of non-participants in the area to drown out the sounds of nature. The only sounds we heard were sea gulls, waves crashing, our own breathing and the instructor. The sun was warm but the grass was cool. The atmosphere was calming. It is a most perfect location for yoga.

I also practiced at Edgewater Live on the beach on Thursday. While this is another great location, the atmosphere is not so serene. There are throngs of people. It is very noisy. There are many onlookers. This location is accessible to a variety of people and they are exposed to yoga in a relatable manner and given the opportunity to try it.

I have thoroughly enjoyed all the free yoga and plan to continue, but I know that it is time for me to consider finding a yoga home. I am beginning to feel changes in my body and my abilities and I need to find classes that foster growth in my practice. I have begun looking…

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Free Yoga in Cleveland

I've been a fan of yoga for a few years. I've taken classes at several studios but the cost has deterred me from consistent practice. I have recently begun practicing more regularly with the patients in the clinic where I work. We have a terrific instructor who is passionate about yoga and the particular population we serve. I've been seeing improvements in my abilities since I started. I have also started practicing at home with various DVDs. I'm pretty confident that I can now officially say that I love yoga and how it makes my body feel! I've been trying to get the Joes to practice with me for quite some time. The littlest Joe was very excited to practice yoga on our last cruise but we were unable to because of her age. She was too young. Last week, I was headed to the Believe in CLE yoga event at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and invited her to come along. Surprisingly, she accepted the invitation! We went to this event with no expectations. I just wanted her to experience a fun introduction to yoga. This event was a perfect first experience. The energy was amazing. There were so many people and so many different levels of experience. She was able to feel comfortable and free to try something new. She did tell me afterwards that she never imagined that yoga was this difficult. She thought it was something super easy that her old mama does! She was so excited that she has decided that she will accompany me to the next outdoor yoga event.

The Littlest Joe in Child's Pose
Her desire to practice with me led to a search for other similar yoga experiences. The free classes I have found so far are as follows:

Saturday Morning Yoga at 10:00am: East 4th and Yoga at the House Of Blues in downtown Cleveland sponsored by East 4th Neighborhood and Zenworks (free valet parking) Check it out here!

Every Tuesday from June 3rd until September 30th at 7:00pm:  Lakefront yoga series sponsored by Northcoast Namaste located at Northcoast Harbors Voinovich Bicentennial Park (first forty registrants get free parking on the pier. There is additional free parking at Docks 30 and 32 behind FirstEnergy Stadium.) Check it out here!

Every Wednesday from July 7th until August 27th at 6pm:  Wade Oval Wednesdays outdoor yoga at the Art Museum sponsored by Zenworks Check it out here!

Saturday July 12th from 9:45pm- 11:45pm:  Moonshine Buzz Moonlit Yoga sponsored by Yogaroots, Athleta, The Range, NOOMA and thrive at The Range at Valley View Check it out here!

Sunday July 13th from 11am-2:30pm:  Family Yoga sponsored by Zenworks at the Art Museum
Check it out here!

August 8th at 7pm: Believe in CLE in downtown Cleveland on Mall B sponsored by Inner Bliss Studios Check it out here!

If you are new to yoga and want to try it out, these are perfect for you. If you love the energy of large yoga congregations, these are perfect for you. If you are parsimonious, these are perfect for you. You could actually go to yoga 3 days a week all summer for free. Even though these yoga classes are all free, your donations are also welcome and would be greatly appreciated! If you know of other free fitness opportunities in the Cleveland area, feel free to comment and share! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

My most favorite smoothie yet...

I am always trying new and different blends of things to make smoothies. Some are fruity some are not. Some are yumtastic and some are truly fails. Today I decided to try some things we had at home in a smoothie.

I put the banana, rice milk, peanut butter and a drizzle of coconut oil in the Ninja. Initially, I did not use oatmeal, but the smoothie seemed a little thin. The oatmeal thickened it up and gave it a little more texture.I should probably admit that I am a fan of chunky milkshakes/smoothies. I loooved the texture of this one and it was also delicious and filling.

I have made fruity smoothies that I have found to be terrific but this one was great for what I was craving today. It was thick and not too sweet and pretty nutty and wonderful. Try it if you, too, are a fan of the chunky smoothies. Chunky and smoothie? I guess that doesn't really match but that's OK. You'll love it!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tree pose and intervals

I have been relegated to the treadmill recently due to the fluffy, yucky pollen filling the air. I did try to run outside a couple of times but my allergies do not allow me to have a sneeze and/or snot free run. I have noticed changes in my body and definitely would like to continue to see these changes. I’ve had to challenge myself. I’m still doing yoga twice a month with the patients at the clinic where I work. I was able to do Tree Pose and  Warrior III. I am so excited about this!! I think that I would like to start practicing yoga more regularly. It is so expensive though!! I may have to do some videos on Hulu, Netflix or Amazon. I've been lifting weights. I have also been doing intervals on the treadmill. My buns are so tired after I am done with them!!! I run in increments of .10 of a mile. I run for 2 miles and it takes about 23 minutes to finish my workout. My interval run looks like this:
4/pace of 15min mile
4/pace of 15min mile
6/pace of 10min mile
8/pace of 7.30min mile
4/pace of 15min mile
4/pace of 15min mile
6.5/pace of 9:14min mile
7.5/pace of  8:00min mile
4/pace of 15min mile
4/pace of 15min mile
7/pace of 8:34min mile
7/pace of 8:34min mile
4/pace of 15min mile
4/pace of 15min mile
7.5/pace of  8:00min mile
6.5/pace of 9:14min mile
4/pace of 15min mile
4/pace of 15min mile
.90- 1.00
8/pace of 7.30min mile
1.90- 2.00
6/pace of 10min mile

My tree pose is starting to look pretty good. I am so excited about the progress I am making in yoga! Yoga and my laptop. Multitasking?

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Interested in an entry in the Running for Hope 5K?

Are you looking to run a race this summer that benefits those in need? The Running For Hope 5K on June 28th at 9am is the perfect opportunity. The race is located at the Kopf Family Reservation in Avon Lake, Ohio. The race course is scenic and flat and could potentially afford some speedy runner a PR. Comment below or on Facebook for a chance to win a free entry. The deadline to enter is June 9, 2014. In the event that you do not win the free entry, please consider registering to run this race for only $20. All proceeds go to charity. If you register early enough, you will walk away with a snazzy tee and there will be food and refreshments after the race. If you happen to be super fast, you could win the top prize of a $100 gift card to Red the Steakhouse/Moxie!!

"Love Without Boundaries Healing Homes provides care for orphaned children with serious medical conditions requiring specialized care. These children have needs that cannot be met in an institutional setting. LWB also supports orphanage assistance and nutrition and educational support for Chinese orphans. Since the foundation of LWB in 2003, thousands of children have received surgeries or other medical care."

If you are interested in donating to this cause, go directly to their website: Running for Hope 5K
Hope to see you there!!!

Monday, May 26, 2014

My 2014 Cleveland Rite Aid Half Marathon Experience

The Cleveland Rite Aid Half Marathon kicked my butt. Prior to that, I was having a great weekend courtesy of the Cleveland Rite Aid Marathon.

I attended the reception on Friday night with my son, J1, as my date. We arrived a little late as we both had other engagements prior to this. When we arrived, we were able to hear some of the speakers and chat with a few of the other bloggers (Joe, Brian and Stephanie). We were also able to eat and J1 seemed pretty pleased with the selection!! We had a great time and he was a great date.                                                     

On Saturday, I went to the Expo alone. I was able to leisurely peruse any table that interested me without any one complaining that we were taking too long. It was awesome. I bought cute compression socks from, a snazzy 13.1 tee, Jelly Belly sport beans and some Nuun sport drink tablets. I also visited a table for the Detroit Free Press Marathon and I’m almost convinced that I should run it!!!

So…the race… I was very worried about my tummy issues this race. When I ran my long training runs, I had serious stomach issues. My stomach was very sad for almost 2 days after the 10 mile run. My time was great and on pace for the race but my stomach was troubled. I talked to the dietician at my job who suggested that I try the BRAT (banana, rice, applesauce and toast) diet for a couple days before the race. I decided that maybe Saturday was enough time for the change. I was pretty sure that this was gonna work well. While at the expo, I purchased Nuun and was convinced that race day would be a great day to try something other than water in my CamelBak. I have NEVER had anything other than water during a race or a run. For some reason, this sounded like a good plan to me. I prepared the night before. Everything was laid out and I pre-made my banana and rice milk smoothie and popped it in the fridge. In the morning, I jumped up, got dressed (in a super cute running skirt and matching socks!), blended my smoothie and was on my way. I was feeling very confident. I started my run with my cousin, J. 

We ran our first 3 miles under race pace. I was feeling great. I was feeling great until about mile 2.5, that is. I saw someone run into what looked like a hotel and I joked “I wonder would they let me use their restroom?”(I wasn’t joking) At mile three, I stopped at the porta-potty and my downfall began. I have NEVER used a porta potty during a race. NEVER!  My first poo-stop turned mile 4 into a 16 minute mile. The next stop registered an 18 minute mile. (The lines were long and the issues were troubling).
Miles 6,7,and 8 were under race pace but then mile 9 happened. My stomach was gurgling like a tiny geyser. I made my last stop (during the race). As I sat in that tiny little stink pot, I realized that I would not be making my goal. At all… Mile 9 was a whooping 21:38!!! I told my cousin J that he could leave me, but he stuck around for all 4 potty stops. (I stopped once and didn’t go because I thought that I could make it without going). After the mile 9 debacle, I tried to jog a little but my stomach was not having it. I walked and ran the last 4 miles.     

Cousin J finished his first half marathon in 3.06. He left me at mile 12. I finished in 3:10. I was super excited to see my own cheerleader J2 at the finish line.

The race atmosphere was great. There were so many people all along the course and great music scattered throughout the route. I passed a church with some young ladies on the porch singing a song from my running playlist,  Israel Houghton’s “Te Amo” which I assume means that we are all good at picking great running songs.

I am not happy at all with this time. I would calculate that I spent about 25 minutes in line for the porta potty or inside the porta potty. I actually want to scream!!! I, of course, cannot take this defeat. I have to redeem myself. I have to get a better time than my first half (2:49). I have to run another half!!!And sooner rather than later…

The highlight to the weekend for me was my little cousin Victoria Bankhead finishing her first marathon. She is a rockstar and an excellent example of hard work paying off!!! Congrats Vickie!!