New Shoes, Sweaty Shirt, No Problem

Getting back into running has been challenging. I was doing well for about a month before I went in to have a sleep study. I was so focused. I was running stairs in my house every night to make sure I hit at least 10k steps every single day. I did a Fitbit challenge group with my friends that I usually won. My running partner kicked my ass, even though most of it was virtually since our schedules didn’t always match up.

And then my sleep study…

I’ve had issues sleeping since I could remember. Back in high school, I could run on 3-4 hours of sleep. The thing is, back then, I would get 3-4 hours consecutively. Now… Not so much. It goes something like this:

Bed at 10pm
Restless until1045pm
Up at midnight. So restless I get up, walk around my house, avoid looking at my phone since the bright light shocks me from half awake to wide awake.
Back to bed at 100.
Wake up at 130.

…..I think you get the point. I wake up at 530am for the day. I cannot tell you the last time I felt rested. I would get a total of maybe 3-4 hours of sleep, but without it being consecutive, I started becoming more tired and hazy than I ever thought was possible.

After my many many restless nights, and many years later, I finally caved and went to do a sleep study. This has been on my bucket list for years, so I finally just caved and booked an appointment.

Diagnosis will take a while to fully find out. But here’s where I’m at: I have Restless Leg Syndrome. And possibly an acute form of insomnia. (Honestly, neither of these I’m shocked by.) Here’s the tricky part we need to figure out: RLS is caused often (not always) by anemia. I’ve been border-line anemic my entire life. I donated plasma in college (because beer money…). My iron count was hit and miss for donating, but I’d say I was fine to donate 75% of the time. Donating blood though? That’s another story. I had never been able to.

In June, I made a diet change which incorporated some OTC iron pills and mostly spinach salads for lunch. I donated blood through work for the first time that month. So my RLS couldn’t be because of that then right? Well it still could be …

For two weeks, my doctor gave me some guidelines to follow and keep a sleep log. No strenuous exercise after 6, no alcohol at all and no caffeine after noon. The alcohol and caffiene rule I can handle, but no running for two weeks?? I don’t get home from work until 630pm and running before work was out of the question because of my long commute.

Ugh. Fine. It was only two weeks. She needed a baseline to see if these three things could be affecting me. And then the two weeks after that (which I’m currently doing now) I could do what I wanted. And we will be comparing the two weeks to see if there is a difference.

In the meantime, I had to get a blood test taken so they could do a full synopsis to see if my iron levels are too low. If my iron levels are too low, she will give me slow-releasing iron tablets. Seems like an easy fix right? Except it can take THREE MONTHS to fully tell if RLS is caused by anemia. If I need iron pills and after three months, I’m still having issues, they will do an overnight study. On the flip side, if my iron levels come back normal, then we will do an overnight study right away. At this point, its too hard to tell of my insomniac symptoms are just secondary to RLS or if I have both.

Needless to say, this will be a long journey to figure this out. But I’m ready to face it.

Back to running:

Since I was not able to run for two weeks, every morning before work, I did 30 squats. The second week I increased to 45. I needed to do soooomething.

Monday I went running in my new running shoes (which I ordered the DAY BEFORE my sleep study so I was torchered for two weeks staring at a box of perfect new shoes I couldn’t use). I was determined to run 3 miles. I got a mile in and the sky drastically changed. I thought I was going to get stuck in a bad storm, so I turned around and went home. I finished 1.75 miles in 18:39. My first mile was in 10:07. My best time ever. I was so so proud of myself!! I can’t help but think squats had something to do with this. And those shoes. Amazingly comfortable. My feet don’t even hurt today.

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Because I neglected to stretch after my run on Monday, my quads were quite sure yesterday. I did an ab workout, along with a bunch of stretches instead last night, and tonight I’m lacing up those shoes!

I’m Climbing 103 Flights of Stairs… by Choice!

About three and a half years ago, I was running seven miles 3-4 times a week. I was in the best shape of my life. I lived at home with my mom in order to save up money to move to Chicago. My brother would accompany me to the gym and whip my butt into shape. We would spend at least two hours in the gym. I felt great.

Then, in January 2012, my friend Katie told me about the company she was working for. I applied, got the position, and the two of us moved to Chicago in April 2012. I was fascinated with Chicago. We learned the transportation system – usually by getting lost. We tried many different new restaurants and bars. We made a lot of new friends.

But I stopped working out because “I had no time.” Well, my excuse of “I have no time” turned into a year of excuses… and then two years…

Flash forward to about a month and a half ago: I had let myself go. I gained 25 pounds. I don’t care if someone is a size 0, or a size 8 or a size 18. Gaining weight sucks. I had gotten so tired of “but you don’t look like you weigh XX amount.” Or “but you’re still skinny.” I think that is one of the worst things to tell people when they are battling weight issues. I was not skinny. I had gone up 2 pant sizes, and I weighed more than I had ever been. I was uncomfortable. I hated looking at myself in the mirror.

I joined a fitness challenge at work (how many steps can you get per day for 100 days? Goal is 10,000 steps per day), I bought a fitbit, and I found a reliable running partner. Since a month and a half ago, I’ve lost 10 pounds and dropped one size. I haven’t worked out a lot, only running here and there due to conducting a sleep study (more to come on that). My biggest change was my diet. I had gotten into a bad funk of eating McDs breakfast, skipping lunches, eating very unhealthy foods packed with high fructose corn syrup, adding a ton of cream and sugar into my coffee, indulging in sweets way too often… you get the picture. I hated how my body felt after eating these foods. I felt bloated. My stomach always hurt.

I haven’t skipped breakfast in about a month. Maaaybe once or twice. I make smoothies every morning. And no, I do NOT use that Beach Body Shakeology or any other crazy powder concoction. I bring my lunch everyday and use my half hour to go for a walk and then eat at my desk instead of wasting time going to Jimmy Johns or Chipotle or somewhere else that’s sucking up my money.

I’m very proud of the progress I’ve made! I definitely have not blogged in a very long time. I recently posted one about my home. But part of why I didn’t blog a lot was because I had nothing to write about. I was being lazy and depressed and a Negative Nancy. No one wants to read that.

So, what’s with the “climbing 103 flights of stairs by choice?” My bucket lists contains a slew of things that I want to do. One of them is climbing 103 flights of stairs in the Sears Tower. (Whatever, sure yes it’s actually Willis Tower, but everyone knows it will always be the Sears Tower.)

What is the SkyRise TowerUp you ask??

I will be tackling the planet’s highest indoor tower climb at the Willis Tower to raise funds for the nation’s best rehabilitation hospital, according to US News and World Report – the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC)!

RIC provides world-class rehabilitation care to thousands of patients for traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, stroke and cancer recovery, and more. The funds raised through SkyRise Chicago 2015 will directly support advances in patient care and cutting-edge research at RIC.

SkyRise Chicago is truly a special event. It’s the only tower climb in the world to offer two modes of participation – by foot up the Willis Tower stairs and via stationary hand-cycling the equivalent distance uphill. These options give anyone, no matter their level of ability, the opportunity to participate.

In order to participate, I do have to raise $100 (none of that goes to my pocket!). If you’re feeling generous, feel free to click my page (here) to donate! If not, send me some good luck!

The Climb is Nov 8th. I will probably not be able to walk the next day. 🙂

I’ll be posting about my progress! So stay tuned!

xoxo
Megs

5K Color Run

The Color Run. The Happiest 5K in the World. This remained on my Bucket List for years. Finally, I decided I could no longer wait. I wanted to get this crossed off my list. And what better way to do that than to involve my family!

“I’m doing this with or without you. Who wants to join me!?” I blasted on our family Facebook page. Yes, that’s basically how we all communicate now… on Facebook. We have a private group that I set up to coordinate family dinners, holidays, events, etc. It’s very convenient actually, but still hilarious that Facebook is now a form of communication. Oh how times have changed!!

It wasn’t very difficult to recruit my family to join me. We’re an awesome goofy bunch! Because we had a team of four or more, DISCOUNT! So that was nice. I mean, I’ll save that extra $5 and put it in my piggy bank. Let’s be real here. I definitely used it to buy Starbucks afterwards…

I took many videos and photos during the race. I have never had so much fun during a 5K. Sure, you need to make sure to cover your mouth when you’re getting the color thrown at you – but who cares? This isn’t a timed-race. It’s for fun. I had fun. My family and friends had fun! And that’s all that matters! I included some photos from throughout the race… because #selfie! Right?

Yes, I just used a hashtag in my blog.

Hope you enjoy these photos! I definitely want to do another fun 5K next year. There’s so many to pick from!! I’m thinking maybe the Glow Run for 2015!!

Note: Some of them have captions, so if you hover over them, the captions will show.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with the Color Run! Link me to your blog if you posted about it! Or feel free to share photos!

xoxo
Megs