Living in the aftermath


Hello all,

It has been quite some time! Since my last post I have moved back to Boston, found work and volunteering opportunities in places that I enjoy, and begun farming crops (tomatoes, spinach and basil :D) in my 4th floor apartment. Life is busy and life is wonderful. I have not run a 5k yet but I have been weight training and muscle conditioning for the last two months while it has been to cold for me to comfortable run outside. It’s warming up so I think I will begin exploring my new home with my feet soon.

Speaking of running I feel the need to write about the events this past Monday along the course of the Boston Marathon and the feelings it awakened in me as a native New Yorker. On a warm September day just shy of my birthday four planes changed the course of our nation’s history. As I walked home from school with my two best friends that day I knew that nothing would ever be the same. The life I had before that morning in September were the halcyon days of summer. I came of age in the icy grip of fear, terrorism and policies that hurt my people as a citizen of the world.

This past Monday I intened to take some of my students to enjoy their first marathon at Copley Sq. I wasn’t feeling well and I ultimately decided to call in sick and stay in bed. Just after 3pm I heard the sound of numerous police and ambulance sirens. Unusual in number but not extraordinary in and of itself. Then I was informed by my friend working at the table while I laid on the couch that two explosions had rocked the finish line of the Boston Marathon–an area where our students and dorm residents would be, a place where I should have been, and a location less than a mile from where I was lying.

I have resided in the Boston area for the bulk of the past 5 years, yet I neither considered it my home nor myself a Bostonian. There are many reasons for this, most notably the fact that it is the heart of Red Sox nation (abominable to all that is New York) and according to my previous estimates a deeply unfriendly place. On the former I remain steadfast, but for the latter my resolve is melting.

As the circumstances surrounding the event unfolded and my coworkers and I struggled to account for our international students I felt oddly removed. Within my friends and network no one was killed and a handful were injured, although two had to undergo amputations and one is still undergoing surgery to save his leg. Compared to the events of that fateful September the scope seems minuscule, the number of injured small and the ramifications unclear. ‘Boston,’ I thought to myself ‘should have learned from New York’s example and been better prepared at such a large gathering.’

How does one adequately prepare for hate? The emergency response was swift and treatment immediate for victims, so I must say I do believe Boston acted to the best of its ability. I feel protected rather than antagonized by service men and authorities stationed in the T and on the street who are gentle and courteous when conducting searches. As I walked home from the train today I was touched by the words of encouragement and affirmation I saw pasted on mailboxes, strung up on bridge fences and affixed along the barricade on Boylston St.  I found the collective message poignant and I am now realizing that this too is my home. In the aftermath of hate I am thankful to have discovered community and strength in our ties to one another.









Boylston St last night:


Stats Update


I probably won’t be running until Friday since I was off my inhaler for a couple of days and relapsed into some mild breathing issues. I have also been very tired and coughing due to mucus in my lungs. I just got a refill on my prescription yesterday so it might be up to a week of using my inhaler regularly before I’m 100% again.

I forgot to post the changes from my weight analysis about 1 week ago. The end of June to July saw significant discontinuity in my routine (plus lots of Taco Bell & takeout) but there has been progress nonetheless.

Weight:     196 lbs
Body Fat:  41.1%
Muscle:     32.2%

Week 1 of running (June 9)
Weight:     189 lbs
Body Fat:  40.1%
Muscle:     32.7%

July 20
Weight:     184.8 lbs
Body Fat:  38.8%
Muscle:     32.9%

I’m encouraged. I truly enjoy running now. I woke up fighting between my intense desire to go out and run anyway and my worry that I might find myself a mile into the run, alone, without my inhaler and in respiratory distress. So I did the smarter thing and decided to stay in. A big part of me is still itching to go, but I’ll be patient and sit on the sidelines for now.

Forget the bandwagon I’ll just walk


My life is currently like this:

There is a lot on my mind as of late. Running helps me to relax and focus. When I’m out running it’s just me, the sound of my footsteps and the music being shuffled on my Zen. The more I run the better I feel but the more frazzled and overwhelmed I feel the less able I am to get up and run. Even though running helps me keep it together. ::Sigh::

This is part of why I started my blog. To be completely honest in tracking my journey to encourage myself and others. Even at my low points I know I want to keep going. I love the changes in my body, the muscle I’ve built and the way I feel physically. I ran today (Thursday) after a two week hiatus (this time involving copious amounts of fast/comfort food). I will make a better running schedule this time. I did 2.3km today, I plan to do 1.6 km tomorrow and then use Saturday and Sunday as rest days. I started out strong with my goals but life happens.

Cooking for myself is also helps motivate me to take care of myself. I can better control what I eat, unlike with takeout, and I find it therapeutic. I made pancakes with a fresh peach sauce instead of syrup for breakfast after my run. It was delicious and definitely helped improve my mood. I love good food! Carbs=happiness. Maybe I’ll start posting a few of my recipes now and then…

On a happier note a few weeks ago I had a complete physical done. My peak air flow was great meaning my maintenance of my asthma has been very good. I also had great cholesterol levels and everything else (!!). Only slight issue was my hemoglobin because I’m anemic. I recently bought different supplements I need so I’m back on my multivitamins and iron. It is important to provide your body with what it needs. Right now I’m keeping it simple, my only other supplement is Calcium+Vitamin D because it is an absolute necessity since loss of bone density is a side effect of my meds.

I’m frazzled but I’m dealing and life is still good. Ciao!

I fell off again


I felt great after my 2.1km run last week. The aftermath, however, was strange. For the first two days following the run my quads were sore. I hadn’t been sore since the first week I started running but I suppose it was to be expected. On the third day was when the strangeness began. I woke up just before 8am as usual but I as I rose I felt sluggish and my whole body ached. I slept in a bit (which threw my study schedule off) but I didn’t feel any better when I woke up around 10. Throughout the day I felt head-achy and generally unwell. This continued for about two to three days so I stayed in instead of running. I still cannot figure out what was wrong with me it was just a general feeling of malaise.

Unnamed illness combined with the loss of my beloved running partner/study buddy to the dastardly organization “summer camp” kept me from running for a full week (also a factor:  July 4th excess). Today I ran for the first time in a week and it was great! I found it incredibly tiring but I completed the full 2.3km route I mapped! The last 0.5km was the hardest and I did need to use my inhaler once during my cool down walk immediately after I stopped running. I probably could have managed without it but I was very tired and my breathing was labored. I just wanted to feel better faster. All in all a success.

5km here I come!

Getting back on the bandwagon


This morning I set out for a run that would push my limits the hardest yet. The track: around my neighborhood, along a winding road and back. The distance: 2.30km (1.43mi). As I planned my journey to the brink and back I was excited…and scared, very scared. I took two puffs of my fasting acting inhaler just in case and did my regular stretches for just a bit longer.

I got less than half way when I could feel a cramp setting in, my breathing becoming labored, my shoulders hurting and my quads getting sore. I pushed on. About two thirds of the way I cried mercy and it took everything not to stop. I told my self I would make it just a few more steps, then a few more. I felt like dropping but I knew that if I stopped this “track” would be an asymptote to my progress. Sorry for the calculus reference ^_^. It would be a barrier to my progress that I would find too daunting to surmount.

I pressed on, but like always I paid attention to my body. Even though my mind as keeping me going my body was tired but not at the breaking point. If it was I would have stopped–there is a thin line between perseverance and stress injury and I have no desire to cross it. My little sister stopped about 7/8 of the way, which surprised me but I kept pushing. When I kept running she pushed on and joined me. I finally stopped at the top of my block. I had gone 2.12km (1.31mi). I was tired but I felt great! I am just shy of half way to my goal of 5km! I think I might need to take two rest days but I’m excited about my progress. In less than a month I have gone from 0 to 2.12km.

Failing: The Saga Continues


As you can tell from my first couple of posts I started by running almost everyday for a week. While I think it was good for me to do that and get into a mindset of running regularly, I learned that not giving your body time to rest is detrimental. The following week I ran three times, just about every other day sometimes joined by my track star younger sister (-_-). Unfortunately, she is a pain to wake up and sometimes refuses to get up (which is very disheartening and often ruins my motivation) so last week was kind of a bust.

You may have noticed the lag in posts. I’m sorry! Laziness, tiredness and job applications kept me from pounding the pavement. I ran only about twice last week but at least I successfully increased my distance to 1.65km (1.03mi).  Running during summer has presented a challenge I did not account for–heatstroke. So I’ve been checking the temperature forecasts just so I don’t make the mistake of running on dangerously hot days. Thankfully it rained almost daily for the past week so my 8-9AM runs have been cool, even chilly at times (63°C yesterday). I still need to buy myself some active sunscreen for skin protection though. I am also thinking of swimming as a cross training activity. I really hate the smell of chlorine and the inherently unsanitary nature of pools but I like swimming. Oh the sacrifices.

My newest challenge is finding a new neighborhood course. Short or running the same path multiples times to increase my distance my current route is now too short (yay!). It’s only just over a mile and I have surpassed that. I like in a cul-de-sac which is isolated by two major streets so finding a new route will require me walking across a turnpike or running along a sidewalk-less road >_<. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, we’ll see what I decide.

I thought I would share one of my running outfits:


Failing is a part of progress


Two weeks ago when I left the house for what I thought would be my inaugural run I, a career overachiever, was surprisingly (not) overambitious. I bought snazzy new running shoes and planned an “easy” 4km route around my neighborhood. I put on two sports bras and bam! I was soo ready.
I hit a snag trying to make it to the end of my block. “It’s because I don’t want to get into a stride when I have to cross a big road” I told myself. So I walked for a few minutes to a place a decided was a better starting point. So I began: right foot, left foot, inhale, exhale…Stop. “Maybe this spot isn’t so great” I told myself. I walked to a new location, a much better one–no bushes and further from the road. I began again: right foot, left foot, inhale, exhale, right foot, left foot…Stop. “At least this time I made it to the end of the block” I consoled myself, “a very short block”. I sat down on the curb. My leg muscles itched, my boobs hurt, I was out of breath and I had a wicked cramp. “This sucks” I decided. Just when I was about to give up the heavens opened up and a ray of light hit me. Oh wait. That wasn’t light.

I walked home miserable, itchy and suffering from a wicked cramp in what I am sure was this area’s first monsoon. I trudged home soaking wet and defeated. As I walked to my room my mother took one look at my dripping face and drily remarked “don’t you think you over did it?”.

Needless to say I was discouraged. However, I learned and important lesson:  if at first you don’t succeed go home and regroup!

They say insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results and I am inclined to agree. I went home realizing that there were things very wrong with my approach to 5k training. Namely I was out of breath, my clothing sucked and I needed to have a challenging but far more reasonable route.

Getting back on my feet
I was pretty demoralized and I liked the idea of sleeping in so over a week passed before I hit the pavement again. However, in the time that passed I figured out how to solve some of my issues.

1) Out of breath too easily-Asthma! Duh!  I set alarms that reminded me to use my control inhaler twice a day. Part of the reason a let over a week pass was because it takes time for the medicine to kick in. I also began the hunt for my rescue inhaler in the packed up remnants of my former life (all my stuff is still in boxes from moving back home).

2) Boobs hurt while running- I went to Marshalls clothing store on a mission:  to find supportive but budget friendly sportswear. Success! I came home with  two high impact running tank tops with built in sports bras and an additional sports bra with underwire to wear under them. Why two bras? I’m a DD do you want me to hurt myself? Busty girl problems.

3) Clothing sucked- the two sports bra tank tops plus one long pair of fitted running pants and a pair of running shorts. In hindsight the long pants were a fantastic investment. They are very comfortable, stretchy and light but firm without making me look weird plus the small horizontal pocket in the back just fits my 3 house keys. I wish I bought two, I may go back.

Thankfully I already had my snazzy running shoes so I didn’t have to shell out more cash.