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Baby Steps, Baby Sweats, and Goodbye for Now January 5, 2014

Filed under: body image,emotions,exercise,good things,health,injury,Nia — Susan @ 9:59 pm

A couple of weeks ago I sweated for the first time since September. It was a gentle, beautiful, emotional and extraordinary experience. I went to a Nia class, which was one of the very first kinds of movement I ever did, five years ago. Danielle was the instructor, and it was one of her final classes before she leaves for a two-year journey to China. IMG_2220One of the other dancers was Alexis (pictured in my post here 2009). She brought her adorable six-month old baby with her, and danced with her in a front carrier. Her gentle, modified moves were perfect for me, just creakily getting back into movement. She didn’t bend as low or hop in the air or do any sudden moves. Just gentle.

IMG_2221

babydancing

Because it was Winter Solstice weekend, Danielle did a routine called Mandala that involved no spoken instruction. She moved, we followed, and she indicated transitions by clapping her hands. It felt so organic and wonderful. And the music? It made me tear up immediately. She played the music of Kitaro, which brought back really intense memories of a long ago time…

……………………..

Back in one of my first home health physical therapy jobs when I was in my twenties, I had a patient named Oscar. He had a really advanced spinal cord tumor which had left him with paraplegia. I first worked with him in the hospital and then at his home. After some time it became clear that he was not getting better. His final desires were to walk again, however limited, and to go home to his homeland of Argentina. None of his doctors believed in either of these goals as either possible or advisable, but he was a determined guy.

When I visited him at home, he played Kitaro for me for the first time. “Listen,” he said, and he put these huge cushy headphones over my ears. This was at the very beginning of “New Age” music, and I’d never heard anything like it. He believed that it was magical. That it would help him walk. And one day I’ll never forget, he played this music through speakers in his living room, and step by step, he walked about ten steps across the floor. I was holding him by two shaking hands with a gait belt, and pulling his wheelchair by nudging it with my toe, and both of us were sweating bullets. But to the soundtrack of this incredible otherworldly music, he took his last walk.

Next, he asked me to take him to Macy’s in San Francisco so he could buy a traveling outfit – new pants and a jacket, and gifts for his family. It took all that I had to transfer his unwieldy body and his heavy wheelchair into my little Toyota hatchback, but we made it. I wheeled him all through that department store and helped him stand up (in physical therapy terms, using Maximum Assist) so he could see himself in a full length mirror. As we were leaving he said he wanted me to have a gift, and he bought me this beautiful ivory colored poet shirt with huge billowing sleeves. Because you are really a writer, he said. (yeah, he knew) Shortly after, he got onto a plane to Argentina and that was the last I ever heard from him. I assume he made it home for his final wish. But that was one of the most moving and meaningful experiences I ever had as a therapist.

I was young. Super young. And in retrospect I broke all kinds of rules I probably or maybe wouldn’t do now: I took a patient somewhere in my own car (liability no-no!). I accepted a gift from a patient, and lunch too. All these things are super frowned upon now (and probably then as well!). But that experience changed me.

……………………..

Hearing Kitaro again in this return-to-movement class was terribly emotional for me. Danielle was leaving. Oscar had been leaving. I was returning to something I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to do again. All of this without words, but in stretching and turning and circling around the room. I had a hard time keeping the tears in. (so I didn’t)

Danielle has been an amazing teacher for me  – graceful and strong and fun. I will miss her Michael Jackson Nia classes, her Halloween class, all of them. She sent out so much healing energy to me when I was hurt and I really felt her caring. I will miss her. I’m glad I got to experience her Nia one last time before she goes. Godspeed Danielle, and thank you. oxoxo

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Looking Back, Looking Forward December 29, 2011

I’d say that 2011 was overall very positive for me, health and activity-wise. Here’s a peek at what went on last year:

January:

first snowshoe adventure, New Mexico
2nd year as Weight Watchers leader
2nd “Healthaversary” Party

February:

I took my first of two trips to Baltimore last year!

running in the snow
meeting the awesome Roni for the first time!

March:

The “Fight for Air” Stairclimb with Sabrina
View from the top: 110 flights up!
Oakland Running Festival Twilight 5k THE NEXT DAY!

That was quite a weekend.

featured in story in Oakland Trib about running after injuries

April:

Trip to London (here on Abbey Road)
and Paris (Notre Dame)
Good thing we walked a lot because typical breakfast = croissants and cheese

May:

My first Bay to Breakers. CRAZY!

Yeah, people run naked. Why??

100th Anniversary medal was pretty nice

Major highlight of 2011: Fitbloggin!

MizFitOnline herself! I love Carla.

Best. Roomies. Ever.

Thank you Roni!!

June:

Nia dance party for my friend Audrey's Bday

July:

NorCal Fitbloggin' Local Meetup

of course there was tons of awesome food

signed up for Team in Training to do my first triathlon!

met the best training buddy EVER

August:

started riding a bike after 20 years

started swimming after 18 years

September:

A few bumps and bruises

Learned how to put on a wetsuit

Look, Ma! No hand!

October:

Dealing with the mental game

"Stories of the Body" Retreat at Santa Sabina

giving the course a test run

practice "mini tri" with paper medal

November:

Featured story in local paper

Holy moley, I did it.

Joined the TNT Hike/Snowshoe Team

Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot with WW folks

December:

Las Vegas Santa Claus 5k!

Looking back, I have to say I feel good about it. That was quite a year. I kept pushing myself and finding new and different things to do. I think that’s the name of the game. Keep going. Keep improving and challenging.

What’s in store for 2012? I’m starting out with a New Year’s Day 10k run. Then I’m doing the TinkerBell Half Marathon in Disneyland with my two daughters (fun!) on January 29th.  February 5th is the TNT Snowshoe Hike in Yosemite (prettty!) and then I’m diving into a new season of triathlon training, this time as a mentor. I can’t wait to get back to training again!! Would you like to be on my team and become a triathlete in 2012? Believe me, if I can do it, anyone can!!

What did you do in 2011 for health and fitness’ sake? What are your plans for 2012? I want to know!!

 

Fitbloggin’ Local Comes to NorCal! July 10, 2011

Filed under: Fitbloggin',friendship,Nia,other great bloggers — Susan @ 1:23 pm


Today was Fitbloggin‘ World Meetup Day – what a great idea! It’s hard for many people (especially in California) to get all the way to Baltimore for the BIG Fitbloggin’ so Roni has come up with this fabulous idea of local meetups everywhere. Today was the day that people met all over the country at their various spots. I had volunteered to host and organize our Northern California meetup. My idea was to make it a mini-replica of Fitbloggin – a combination of activity and learning about blogging.

We started out in the morning with a hike at Redwood Regional Park, a few blocks from my house. We chose to drive up the steep hill and leave the walking part for the trails. It was a beautiful day that had started out foggy but was perfect for the walk.

We got back to the house right at noon. LUNCHTIME! Yum! Everyone brought the most amazing food, and then people set to doing what food bloggers do. This is my favorite picture.

The food was so amazing!

 

fruit & marshmallow! dip!

 

shrimp ceviche!

 

vegan pasta & barley salads!

 

angel food cake with cream cheese frosting

 

strawberry pie, lemon bars & nutella banana muffins!

 

how on earth to choose???

After lunch we had a great presentation by Danica at Danica’s Daily – “Taking Your Blog to the Next Level.” It was inspiring and informative and helped me get over my feeling of having missed a lot of the great bloggy talks at Fitbloggin.

After the fabulous blog talk, some people had to leave but a small group stayed around to have a private Nia demonstration class by Terre, wonderful Nia instructor. It was the perfect way to end the day.

Special shout-out to Sue W who provided all of our tech support – helping us be able to see Danica’s powerpoint on the big screen, and helping us with Terre’s Nia music (even if it ultimately didn’t connect!). It was a huge public service!

Other shout-out to Annelies of Attune Foods who brought us bags of amazing goodies, from chocolate bars (MMMMMM) to fancy storage bowls to coupons and cereal and wow!

All in all it was a fabulous day with great people. I love the idea of Fitbloggin Local and can’t wait wait for the next one!

Who was here?

Front row: Sue W @way2wild, Yvonne (“friend of blogger”)

Second Row: Courtney (@courtpancakes), Terre (@helpyouwell), ME, Ashima (@healthyengy), Danica (@danicasdaily)

Top Row: Annelies (@attunefoods), Deb (@debroby), Tracey (@tjstestkitchen), Marlene (@marbaird), Melissa (@sfmelissa)

Courtney, livetweeting?

Deb, Marlene & Annelies

 

The Great Nia + Pie Healing June 18, 2011

Filed under: friendship,good things,Nia — Susan @ 6:49 pm

Ah the healing power of Nia and pie! My friend’s birthday-party-Nia-class this morning was SO much fun and exactly what I needed in every single way. The class was taught by an awesome guy in a wonderful space and it was just fun, fun, fun but also good exercise (I was sweating rivulets) AND good therapy. I feel a million times better. It also made me think it would be good for me to get more Nia classes into my life. I might even BART over to San Francisco to take this class again.

I wish I had a bunch of fun pics to show, but not yet. We took dozens of great shots using the instructor’s camera, and he said he’d email them to the birthday girl, and who knows how long that might take.

Interesting moment: I’ve been feeling just kind of awful lately. Like, maybe I’ve gained all my weight back or something. I did in my head, anyway. So I was rather shocked to look in the mirror during the Nia class and see that – um, NO, I didn’t. I actually looked strong and happy and pretty fit. And as the class progressed, I started – how can I describe this? – inhabiting the image I saw in the mirror more and more. It was actually a wonderful feeling. Nia is so funny and trippy and for much of the class we were doing these giant bird-wing movements, something I’d never done before- and I felt like this huge crane or egret or something. It felt good. I felt like once again I was taking off.

After class we went down the street to Mission Pie for the most awesome birthday party brunch ever. I had a piece of quiche (YUM) and a bite of someone else’s strawberry rhubarb pie. DOUBLE YUM. It tasted good and awesome and celebratory and just like food is supposed to taste.

As for all the other stuff, there’s movement happening and I guess the lesson is that as long as I keep moving externally, I can keep up with and cope with the internal movement. Silly old bear.

 

When Imaginary Friends Become Real May 18, 2010

It’s a funny thing about online friends. Some people have lots of them, but never meet them. Some people basically can’t imagine befriending someone they’ve “never met.” But I’ve been making friends like this for over 15 years now, and a few of my nearest and dearest I once met in cyberspace.

This weekend I got to meet one of Foodie McBody’s first friends. Someone who reached out to me when I was in a vulnerable and shaky spot here. When I didn’t have any confidence that I could reach ANY of my goals, and who has basically cheered me from afar, invisibly, for over a year.

I finally got to meet Superwoman Spirit Shannon. She IS a superwoman in my eyes. And when we met, the fact that we first knew each other online just vanished in about three seconds. First I hugged her. Then I began laughing hysterically at the GIANT suitcase (plus another smaller one) that she had lugged with her for her visit of 3 days!

We had the most amazing time together. Working out (every day!), eating, talking, laughing. It was very very hard to let her go last night. Here’s a little photo album/recap of our time together.

Fresh off the plane, she came to my WW meeting!

First she came to my WW meeting. This was such a big deal because the weekly meeting topic was “The Importance of Support.” How timely, right? My “prop” to open the meeting was a box of Kleenex because every time I looked in her direction, I started tearing up. I told the story of how she had supported me for so long and how I never could have kept it up without her friendship. I almost started bawling. All true!

Shan, DJ and me!

Shan is killing the Ropes of Doom!

The next day, I took her to see my awesome trainer Doug Jones. He welcomed her with open arms and a killer workout. She did GREAT. She totally beat me on the jumpropes (my personal nemesis) and held her own on the ropes of doom. DJ loved to yell, “UTAHHH in the HOUSE!” LOL.

After she spent a day at work with me, we visited her first Whole Foods where I introduced her to Fage yogurt and other delights. That was a trip! Friday night, I took her to her first author reading  – Kate Moses reading from her very foodie memoir, Cakewalk, at the awesome Great Good Place for Books. We ran into a friend of mine. I introduced Shannon and the friend asked how we met. When we said “online,” the friend gave us the most CURIOUS look, like WTH?! Really?!?! Yeah really! The reading was really powerful. I am looooving this book and will be reviewing it as soon as I finish.

On Saturday, we took a hike through the foggy forest near my house and I got to point out the Imaginary View. (how apropos!) Then we took off for a super whirlwind tour of San Francisco that was truly only the tip of the iceberg. She has to come back! There is so much more to see and do (and eat, LOL).

First stop: Chinatown. Dim sum. (her first) YUM!

yum yum dim sum!

Then we drove around San Francisco. We had to do Lombard Street.  It’s so ridiculous and cheesy and touristy (and CHOKED with tourists wielding cameras) but I love it. Views of Alcatraz. North Beach. Japantown. FUN: I took her to get some (first time) manju at Benkyodo, then we went to the best stationery store on earth, we snarfed down a strawberry & ice cream crepe at Sophie’s Crepes, and had a riot in the Pika Pika sticker booth. (oh that reminds me I have to scan our pics!) Then I took her through the Haight, Golden Gate Park to wave at the buffalo, through my old neighborhood (outer Richmond, 43rd & Balboa!) and to my favorite park in the world, where I introduced her to my favorite tree (she has the photo of this, will have to link later!). Then we went to the almost-completely fogged in Golden Gate Bridge and nearly froze our tootsies off walking about halfway across and back. BRRRRR!!

brrrrrr Golden Gate Bridge is in there somewhere

After that we hightailed it back to Oakland for a yummy Indian dinner (another first for Shannon and hey Mikey! she liked it!!) Then home. Collapse.

mmm veggies!

Sunday morning! Farmers Market. Shannon bought some super-juicy mandarin oranges and some sugar snap peas as healthy souvenirs for her family. Then I had to bring Shannon to her very first Nia class. Of course she LOVED IT and is now scheming how to get to one in Utah. It was truly an awesome class (thanks Danielle!) which featured TWO Michael Jackson songs, the theme from Flashdance, Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On” (which totally flipped me out with its mention of Gollum) and a song about being grateful for friends that got me ALL choked up. Good good times! Great sweat!

The rest of Sunday I hunkered down with my script and prepared for my show. Wow that was great. I was the headliner (which I didn’t find out till I arrived at the theater)! Woo hoo! So many awesome friends showed up, including Pubsgal (another type-2 diabetes and 5k runner kindred spirit!) and Dailykat from the blogger/Twittersphere. (hey, you know, any Twitter or blogger friends who come to my show will get a SHOUT-OUT from the stage – I’ll write you into my script, no kidding!) It was a little nervewracking waiting to go last, but my other performance stars ROCKED and were just amazing. (note to locals! or visitors! LAST CHANCE to see show this Sunday at City Solo! Buy tickets QUICK before they sell out!)

After the show we went over to Mel’s Diner for a bite. I was raveeeeeeeennnnouusssly hungry after expending about a million calories of nervous energy. Big fun to hang out together!

It was an incredibly special weekend. I loved every minute I spent with Shannon. We have so much in common, even beyond health and fitness, it’s almost surreal. The time went by WAY too quickly and now I can only wait hopefully for the next time. For any of you who have not yet met an “imaginary friend” in real life, I really recommend it.

 

Back in the Saddle January 5, 2010


saddle

Originally uploaded by unicornodeath

I do not know what that spell of shakiness was about. It was so weird. I wasn’t really DOING anything differently, but my head was all messed up. After I wrote that, I went to a Zumba class and then worked out on the elliptical thingie. That pretty much snapped me out of the funk (as I figured it would). It was strange though.

Yesterday I went to a fabulous Nia class. (I admit I am really attached to Nia in a way I do not see happening with Zumba, even though Z burns more calories. It’s not just about the calories)

Last night I had a GREAT BIG new Foodie McBody idea. I’m not ready to announce it yet, but suffice it to say I have something exciting, fun and kind of scary brewing in the brain. I’ll let you know soon if I actually put it into motion.

Today our WW meeting was packed! All chairs taken, some people sitting on the steps. Exciting energy. I hope my new meetings also fill up this week!

 

BodyBugg: It’s All Information December 28, 2009

I’ve been doodling around with my new BodyBugg for the past couple of days. Some people might think a device like this is the ultimate in obsession, but for me, it’s just more Information. Just like the number on the scale is just that: information (or as we say in WW, “Feedback not failure.”) I have been really curious about my REAL calorie burning in relation to what I’m taking in. So it’s been interesting.

The things I’ve learned should not come as a complete shock, but it has been illuminating.

1. I actually do burn calories while I sleep!! Of course I “knew” this on some intellectual level, but to wake up and see “486 calories burned” between 11pm and 7am, was… pleasing. :-) I think I had this naive belief that I only “burned” calories while I was exercising. Like if I went to the gym, it was so many hundred calories, but if I didn’t, it was… zero. Again, I KNEW that wasn’t true, but still, to see it confirmed was interesting.

2. All exercise is not created equal. Of course, I “knew” this one too, but really it has been kind of surprising. Also, the number of “calories burned” on the cardio machines at the gym bear little resemblance to what I am hoping is a more accurate count from the BodyBugg.  Of course, the machines say you burn way more. :-(

3. Comparatively speaking, an hour of Nia class burns a lot less (215!!!!) then an hour on the elliptical (420) which in turn is less than an hour of running on the treadmill. (550) Which is also sort of obvious, but another way I used to trick myself. It doesn’t mean I’m going to stop doing Nia. It means that on Nia days, if I want to keep me In-and-Out ratio about the same, I need to eat a lot less. OR do a lot of other activity to balance it out.

The BB is pretty cool. It tells me the # of steps per given period (the only day I broke 10K this week was today, when I was running on the treadmill), a very elaborate breakdown of food and food types (I do eat way more carbs than I think I do!!!), number of minutes of “physical activity” or I guess what IT considers exercise, and then overall calories burned which can be broken down by period.

Also, see the graph where it says Cal/Min? That is interesting to me bc when I am on a cardio machine, I always try to aim for 10-11 cal/min. But according to the BB, I never achieve that. Even when I was running today, it only reached 9 cal/min at the max, and I was pumping it out. So that’s interesting.

Here’s a report from yesterday. That big spike in the middle is from when I was at Nia class. But it didn’t last very long, and I think most of the class was pretty mellow. But I did do a lot of walking around and shopping before and after, so you can see the little peaks around it. I think that is what saved it. Also,  I didn’t have QUITE that much of a deficit because I did not log every single thing last night. Apparently, it thinks I should be eating AND exercising more.

It’s all interesting. But then I’m a huge gadget geek, so I love this stuff.

 

 
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