Monday, December 31, 2012

2013, Bring It On!

So we are in the final moments of 2012. This has been a crazy year! I feel very fortunate to be closing out 2012 healthy and happy. I've reframed my life view, conquered anxieties and fears, and come through the other side of recovery older and wiser. I'm truly looking forward to 2013 and all it has to offer. So tonight I reflect using gratitude and peace. I hope you're all doing the same. ♥
[image via indulgy]

Saturday, December 29, 2012

11 months!

This morning I've accomplished a 6 mile run, breakfast with the OKARG, laundry, dishes, vacuuming and steam cleaning the floors, plus a shower. Not bad for 9:30 a.m.! What, might you ask, is sparking this new wave of energy? Progress. These last couple of weeks have been stressful-I had my platelets tested because of these darn bruises (all good, holllllerrrr), the shooting in Connecticut has me anxiety-ridden at work, and the usual holiday stress has been ridic. BUT, I'm FINE. I'm coming around to my old self, where I stress but not to the point of making myself sick. I am letting things roll of my shoulders more and more each day. In fact, Christmas day was my 11 month anniversary and I barely spent any time thinking about the heart attack. I took a moment to reflect, then put it to the side. It felt amazing. The stress of this year is feeling more and more like a memory and less like something I need to deal with on a daily basis. With the year anniversary coming up in a month, I'm interested to see how I will react.

Running wise, I have been slacking. Morning workouts during vacay have definitely suffered. The kids are just too cute to wake up at 4 a.m.! They love having me home more. So today was the first time I've gone for a run this week. It turned into a 6 miler which was fine by me. This next week I need to kick it into high gear because my next race is a half marathon in Safety Harbor on Feb 2nd. Any ideas for halfs next year? Who is doing something in Florida? ♥  
Best Damn Race here I come!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

And A Happy Holiday It Is!

I hope everyone is enjoying today with loved ones, no matter where you are or what you celebrate. Let's all reflect on how lucky we are to be able to be present on this day. Max certainly is enjoying his new toy, courtesy of Aunt Stephy. Now go drink some egg nog. ;)


Saturday, December 15, 2012

I Survived (This Week).

This week could only be described as a blur. This was the last week of the semester for my doc program. In between all of the other things happening, I would sneak off to my laptop to do some writing. Sleeping? Ha, good one. Tuesday was a School Board Meeting. Those of you close to me know how much energy and anxiety was put into that meeting. Wednesday my paper was due, and then Friday we took the kiddies to Sea World. This morning I woke up early to run 5 miles and now I'm getting ready to do a 4k tonight. Needless to say, I'm beat.

Amid the madness more bruises appeared. My arms look like I'm in some sort of fight club. Big ones, small ones, purple ones, red fish, blue fish. The ankles are still a problem too. So Friday morning I squeezed in a doctor appointment. Blood work was taken, and hopefully I'll get some answers early next week. Of course I sobbed like a baby because I'm so sick of doctors (no offense, they did save my life) and medical stuff. But, y'do whatcha gotsta do.  ♥

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Random Bruises

Ok, ok, I know it's been a week and a half since I've posted anything, but I've just been living in Normal EFville. I've been basking in the idea of being healthy and another year older. It's been a nice week and a half off from blogging and thinking about the heart attack. Of course I've been taking my medications and running but I hit a new plateau...unintentional normalcy. Or at least as close to it as I have had. After 10 months of eating, breathing, sleeping and dreaming heart attacks, this past week I went back to worrying about the usual craziness of work and school. It was actually...refreshing.

Just when I thought the week was going to turn into an extended vacay, the bruising started. A massive one appeared on my arm, to which my students all shrieked in horror at, wondering if I was in some sort of UFC training class on the weekends. I (of course) told them they should see the other guy (I kid, I kid). It's finally starting to fade, which is good because I only have so many 3/4 length shirts to wear during the Florida winter.

I'm sexy and I know it
Just be glad I didn't post a pic of the one on my stomach. As Beyonce says, I don't think you're ready for this jelly.

Yesterday a whole new issue occurred. My right ankle started swelling and bruising for no apparent reason. I didn't twist it, smack it against something or punch myself in the ankle, so who knows why this is happening. Regardless, I ran this morning with Amy (she finished her 20! YEAH!), Kathleen and Joe. I could just feel the squishiness and how tender it was. Now I'm propping it up on the couch while I procrastinate and snuggle the kids. Anyone else ever have these problems? Please comment! I hope everyone has a restful, injury free weekend. ♥  


The Michelin man called, he wants his feet back

Friday, November 23, 2012

Shop Your Heart Out!

Wishing you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving! While you're shopping today and planning your holiday, please don't forget about ShopHeart.org. 100% of the proceeds goes towards educating about heart disease and stroke awareness. They have some great holiday gifts! Also, pin the things you like to my Heart Healthy Pins board on Pinterest for others to enjoy as well. Happy Shopping! ♥
[screenshot via shopheart.org]
(P.S. I am obsessed with this Survivor tee!)
Oh, and this is officially my 100th posting! Happy 100 everyone! Here's to 100 more!
[photo via pubshop]


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Lady Speed Stick Half Marathon (aka SUCK IT Heart Attack!)

*Photo creds to Chris, Kathleen, Leah and Amanda*

After a 17 hour nap, a massage and 2 bowls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, I finally feel mentally and physically able to compose this posting. Side note: if you're going to take a 17 hour nap, alert your closest friends so they don't think you've kicked it when you don't respond to their frantic text messages.

I DID IT! I beat my Daytona Half Marathon time from last fall! I finished the Lady Speed Stick Half Marathon this past weekend in 2:56:46. For some runners that time may seem slow and like nothing to get excited over, but for my behind it's big stuff.

Friday morning I woke up to a very sicky Maxwell. After rushing him to the vet, I worried all day until the vet called to tell me he had pancreatitis. My poor baby! I cried for the remainder of the day because 1.) he was in a lot of pain and 2.) I didn't know what to do about St Pete. The vet said to wait and make any decisions in the morning so I snuggled in not knowing what the morning would bring. Max cried most of the night so I barely got any sleep. Luckily in the morning he was feeling much better.

Poor little boo boo
My friend Mike still agreed to dog sit (thank you Dr. Mike!) and the vet said he should be fine, so I packed Madeline's meds, Max's meds (crap, did I remember MY meds?!) and headed for the door. My worrying started to melt away as soon as we saw the water. St Pete or bust!
On our way! Look at that Gulf weather!
First on the agenda was a stop at the expo. Bib, check. Adorable SweatyBand with hearts on it? Check. New iFitness belt? Check and check. I was all geared up and getting excited. We decided to have dinner at The Columbia (one of Amanda's favorite places) and celebrate the big weekend.
The Pier - Columbia Restaurant
The gorgeous view at The Pier



We'll be running down the Pier in the AM

Actin' a fool

Gotta stay hydrated!

<3 these ladies (l-r: Amanda, Leah, me, Kathleen)
After dinner Kathleen, Chris and I headed back to the hotel. This hotel was totally haunted. Some of you will think I'm crazy but I shot this video on my iPhone. Check out the lights! All the blinds were down and the lights were off. Anyone got any other explanation? Super creepy. So the ghosts and I settled down for our Half Marathon Eve slumber.


Time to get up and face the race! The weather was a little chilly (by Florida standards) but I was loving it. Perfect temp for my Northern body. We headed for corral 4!

We're in there, I swear!
Da crew. 




Let's do this!
Hey look, it's Betty and Gloria!
We were off! The first few miles felt great! I felt energetic, light on my feet and ready to conquer the race. Then at about mile 9 my heart rate stopped cooperating. No matter what I did it just wouldn't go down. So some extra walk breaks were thrown in there. Even though Amanda, Kathleen and Leah tried to reassure me I was super nervous that I wouldn't make it. We made it through Tropicana Field and then something awesome happened-we saw the 3:00 pace leader (who happened to be preggo and barely breaking a sweat, PS)! We made our way in front of her and I felt better. As long as I was in front of her I knew I was ok.

Running antics
About to run through Tropicana Field

Guess what? We made it!! 2:56:46 is my official time. This is also a PR for Kathleen too! I wouldn't have made it without the ladies. I was pretty much discouraged from the start and they kept telling me to worry about my heart rate, they would worry about the rest. Thank goodness they were there! 


Race bling, baby!


Hard to see, but I sewed a heart patch on the inside of my shirt for good luck

BLING! This medal had a removable charm!


Official time! 
I bought myself a Tiffany's heart necklace (pink and silver) and didn't open it until after the race. Then I put my charm on it. Pardon the wet hair but I was so darn excited to have it on.

Necklace reward
So it's over. I won't play Aesop on you and give you the moral of the story, but I will say that I'm excited to see what the future holds. I may not be the fastest chick on the course, but I finished. It's only been 10 months since my heart attack and I'm getting better. Onward. ♥  




Sunday, November 18, 2012

I Did It!

I did it! 2:56:46. I'd tell you more but I desperately need a nap. Details to come... :) ♥

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Anticipation

My stomach is turning. My head is killing me. I just ate waffles for dinner. 
It must be nerves. 

The Lady Speed Stick Half Marathon in St Pete is THIS SUNDAY. As in THIS WEEKEND. As in November 18th. Crapola. I am terrified, excited, anxious and gloriously happy, all rolled into one little knot in my stomach. I've had horrific nightmares and deliriously happy dreams this week about running. I even went so far as to give myself a pinched nerve in my shoulder blade from the stress (which still hurts by the way). Most days I've woken up late and most nights I've fallen asleep hours before bedtime.

And for what? A race. A run. A Sunday morning stroll. For most runners this would be just another race. For me it's a milestone. Just over a year ago I completed my first half marathon and now, just 9 months after my heart attack, I will complete another. My time in Daytona was 3:03. My perfectionist, stubborn self would love to beat this time and come in under 3 hours. My logical side (a much smaller occupant of my brain) says that I'm crazy and should just enjoy it and be thankful. So who knows which voice will win. Stay tuned... ♥

Before the Daytona Half
Lucky running number 4! ANOTHER ONE! AAAANNND corral 4!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

9 Month Checkup

Today was my 9 month appointment with the cardiologist. Wait, shouldn't I have a baby by now? I digress. Basically it went well. Blood pressure looks good, I haven't turned into a droid yet and Dr. K knows all about my half marathon. So things are looking up! I have an echocardiogram scheduled for later this month to get an updated EF (ejection fraction for you crazy kids who don't speak heart attack). I'm really hoping it's gone up dramatically. After the heart attack my EF was 35%, which was borderline defibrillator. By April (I found out thanks to my fun little stay back at the bed and breakfast) my EF had increased to 40%. A normal EF is between 55-70% so I still have a long way to go. But, I'm working hard and hoping it will pay off. Dr K did put me on a new medication (yeah, that makes 10 now...sheesh) called Niaspan, or Niacin. It's supposed to help with these sticky particles my body calls blood and fights excess cholesterol. Although my cholesterol is fine, I do have the weird kind of blood that clumps easily. A side effect of Niacin? Facial flushing. Fantastic. For everyone who knows how pale I am and how easily I blush, that'll be ah-dorable.
photo via cartoon stock


As a side note, November rocks. Lady Speed Stick St Pete Half Marathon in 10 days (HOLY CRAP--10?!!) and my 32nd birthday in 20 days. The weather is amazingly refreshing, Obama has been reelected, and I am able to wear boots without sweating my tookus off. Life. Is. Good. ♥
photo via lululemon


Sunday, November 4, 2012

12 miles?!

There are 2 more weeks until the Lady Speed Stick Half Marathon in St Pete! Today was our 12 mile training run. I have to admit, it wasn't terrible. I tried these sport beans (Jelly Belly) that I found at the Track Shack. If you can get past the ungodly strong taste of a watermelon karate chopping your uvula then you should try them. They had a little bit of caffeine in them and kept me going for the full run. Definitely a keeper. Minus getting a little lost on the golf course route, we did pretty well. I had a mini breakdown after we finished when I looked at my time and realized I wasn't going to beat my Daytona Half time from last year. I walked off the tears, trying to be thankful I was running at all, but my impatient nature got the best of me. It's hard to accept that it's going to take me awhile to bounce back. I want so badly to be faster, stronger and more energetic but I have to remember my limits. So little impatient me is off to take a nap with the fuzzy babies. Time to reset and relax. ♥
photo via daily mile

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

12,007 Hits, 241 Miles, 18 Days & a Partridge in a Pear Tree

A few numbers coming your way...today I hit 12,000 views on my blog! Pretty good for 9 months! Also, I checked my Daily Mile profile and I'm at 241 miles in 2012! This may seem puny to some runners, but that's 241 miles more than I thought I would run this year. In February I was convinced I would never run again, nonetheless train for a half marathon within the same year. In fact, 18 days until St Pete! Oh and the partridge? It originates in "The 12 Days of Christmas" as a symbol of 2 becoming 1...I'm feeling more together by the day. 
Heck yes! Photo via blogger
In 18 days this baby will be MINE! Photo via Competitor.com




Saturday, October 27, 2012

Heart Walk SWAG

After participating in and raising money for the Greater Orlando Heart Walk, I got to pick my kick-booty prize. I didn't want some product that could slice, dice and puree...I wanted a Heart Walk hoodie. I was never in it for the prizes (duh) but I definitely wanted something that would remind me of this experience and how I felt. I also wanted something that would spread the word if I was wearing it. I was super excited when it arrived on Friday, along with my Walk t-shirt! Check out the SWAG! ♥
SWAG.

Spoke Too Soon-Thanks Rosie O'Donnell & Dr. Oz!

So I wrote the last post all about my emotions balancing back out again, and along comes the party train that is The Dr Oz Show. Rosie O'Donnell was on Thursday and spoke about her recent heart attack. I figured it would only be a segment of the show, since that is usually the format. However, it was the entire hour, from her symptoms to stent. It never crossed my mind that I would have an emotional reaction like I did. Here's the kicker...her heart attack was the same as mind in almost every way. She had the extreme fatigue and the chest pain. She didn't call 911. She waited a day (I waited 4). She had a widow maker heart attack with a 99% blockage. She got a stent. She had a video of the procedure that looked identical to mine. So needless to say I started bawling my eyes out. I cried partly because it was all too real (darn you Dr. Oz and your purple gloves) and partly because I was so grateful for the first time. Dr. Oz kept telling Rosie O'Donnell that he had no idea why she was alive, because women don't survive these kinds of heart attacks. My focus for the past 9 months has been on "getting back to normal." As my therapist says, maybe it's time for a new normal. I'm never going to go back to how I viewed life before this experience. For the first time I feel extremely lucky, all thanks to Rosie O'Donnell. ♥

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Y'know What I Just Realized?

I haven't cried in weeks! WEEKS! There were days this year where I didn't go an hour without moisture on my eyeball. I realized this last week but thought maybe it was just a fluke. Definitely not a fluke...maybe I'm back to my callused self. ;)

Here is a list off the top of my head of the ridiculous things that have made me cry this year...in no particular order.

  • watching an old woman cross the street
  • forgetting to give the dog fresh water in the morning
  • my gas light turning on
  • any dog or cat abused on the news...any story...any of them...including that darn Sarah Mclachlan SPCA commercial
  • new shirts getting snagged by my desk at work
  • mornings...enough said
  • returning a shirt to the store because it was too big (helllooooooo!)
  • a smudged toenail
  • sappy commercials
  • sappy shows
  • sappy movies (get the pattern?)
  • updating my mac 
  • updating my iPhone
  • looking at my planner and feeling overwhelmed
Aaaand perhaps the most ridiculous one of all?
  • burning a grilled cheese sandwich
I'm sure there are tons more but these are just the first few that come to mind. Maybe my hormones are starting to simmer down! I even made it to Walgreens tonight and walked past the sympathy greeting cards without a meltdown! Time to take the tissues out of my purse! ♥

[photo via nbu]

Saturday, October 20, 2012

This WomensHealth.gov Video Might Save Your Life!

Thank you WomensHealth.gov, for putting out this YouTube video! Did you know a woman has a heart attack every 90 seconds in the United States? Learn the signs ladies! Also check out their website to learn more about what a heart attack feels like and how to survive one. ♥  

Tired & Topless

I love sleep...maybe a little too much. Somehow I managed to oversleep 2 days this week. Tuesday I got texts from the running chicas saying everyone was sleeping in so I passed back out without even responding. Of course then I overslept for work but managed to get there looking only mildly like I was hit by a truck. So Kathleen and I ran that night. Running when it's day time? Totally weird, I definitely felt like a vampire. But we did it. Thursday I managed to get up (go me!) but today I overslept again. I slept through 2 text messages and 3 alarms. Running fail. The only thing that woke me up was Kathleen calling me to see if I was on my way. Ha. So I flailed around around trying to get ready, only to leave without wearing a shirt and my left contact. No bueno. Back inside I went to get decent and finally make my way out the door. My goal for the next week? Stay fully clothed and wake up on time. Sad but true. ♥
Not bad considering I was part zombie this week
love this <3

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Same Same But Different

The phrase "same same but different" was something Jo and I heard every 5 minutes when we traveled to Thailand back in 2008. It took us the entire vacation and some googling when we returned home to discover that this phrase pretty much means anything. You'd like a soda? Same same but different. A ride in a tuk-tuk? Same same but different. You are trapped in your hotel because of a monsoon (true story)? Same same but different. It wasn't until this weekend that I remembered this catchy little number.
Ah the life in Patong Beach

Plane Shenanigans
This weekend was my 2nd 10 mile run. It felt different-my energy level was higher, I wasn't sore at all, I even made it through using half of a Clif Gu that was like eating raspberry vaseline...ew. So I was convinced that this run was way better than the last. The result? Same same but different. The joke was on me. ♥



Max's New Shirt....Ah-dorable!

Max is always looking for ways to get his mug on this blog. It worked today! See what shirt he picked out at Petsmart? Smart moves Maxwell. ♥
heartbreaker
[photo via Petsmart]

Monday, October 8, 2012

Thanks to TakePart.com!

I've officially had my first guest blogging experience! I'm so thankful to Jeannine Stein, health editor at TakePart.com for contacting me! TakePart.com is an interactive news website which is part of the company Participant Media. Participant Media is responsible for amazing, award winning films such as Food, Inc., An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman, and The Help! I am so honored that they asked me! You can follow @TakePart & @JSteinTakePart on Twitter, but also check out their website. Oh, and don't forget to check out my blog. Pretty nifty. ♥
Booyah! Screenshot via TakePart.com

OMG that's me!! Screenshot via TakePart.com

Saturday, October 6, 2012

CPR Training is for Dummies (ha, see what I did there?)

This morning I woke up at the crack of dawn (not even, it was still dark) and ran 6 miles with the lovely Kathleen. Then I dragged myself home to shower and scarf down some cereal before heading to CPR class at the YMCA. What a day. Basically it was an emotionally charged training with plenty of heart attack references. What kept it light? The ridiculous pictures I took...enjoy. ♥  
Ok this one isn't funny, just cool
Dillard and I had our dummies in the exact same locations at one point. Great minds.
Freaky, or is it just me?
Then came the babies
Super creepy
Me and my buddy...prepare to be saved!