Monthly Archives: March 2011

Why I Don’t Run: Part I

Since I wanted to keep yesterday’s gym post from becoming a novel I decided to defer my knee story to today. Turns out it will now come in two parts! Here’s Part I:

I had issues with my right knee starting in elementary school. I played travel soccer (yeah we had sweet jackets!) when I was younger and I started to do some unknowable damage to my knee when I played. I say unknowable damage because I honestly couldn’t tell you what would happen. All I know is I would take a step, my knee would freak out and then the world would go black and I’d be on the ground in immense pain. Then my knee would swell up for days and I’d  be out of commission. It was really hard to get a diagnosis from an orthopedist since I blacked out everytime it happened. My body’s way of telling me: this is gonna hurt like a betch, so you better go night night.

The doctor in middle school finally determined that I had a plica. It’s a membrane around your knee that is supposed to disolve when you grow up, but sometimes if you are a very active child, it strengthens and acts like a rubber band snapping across bones. YIKES! They decided I should have orthroscopic surgery to remove this plica. Simple outpatient surgey with tiny cameras and tools to cut that puppy out. I got four sweet cross-shaped scars to prove it. The recovery from the surgery was hellish. I was put in this machine that forcibly moves your leg and I had my first contact with pain meds: Tylenol with Codeine. Once I could walk I was put in a big brace and sent to physical therapy.

The surgery seemed to work and I went about my athletic ventures but then some time in high school the same thing happened again with the black outs and knee flip out. Boo. I was not fixed after all. I just learned to deal with it and to not play sports where I would have to move laterally. I also wore a brace or taped up my knee whenever I exercised.

It kept happening in college, maybe every 4-6 months. WHAT THE HECK?? The trainer just said my quads were pretty weak and therefore my ACL was probably loose. I got tons of X-rays, etc. Nothing. So I kept icing and training and strengthening. Then one day I was in the Varsity weight room on the treadmill. I just finished an intense walking session and half stepped off to get the cleaning spray for the machine. BOOM. My knee tweaked. No blackout. I looked down. My knee cap was outside of my knee – like full-on sticking out of its socket. Before stepping down with my full weight I carefully pushed it back into place.

HOLY CRAP THE MYSTERY WAS SOLVED!!

I hobbled to the trainer next door to explain what had just happened. He goes, “Yeah, that’s called subluxing your patella. We’re gonna need to strengthen that knee up so it doesn’t keep happening.” Jesus. I’d never caught my knee mid-freakout before. And now it had a name! I was read once that when you name something it loses all it’s power (Marx, Nietsche?). Take that subluxing patella.

I continued to deal with my knee but after I graduated I wasn’t very active anymore and therefore wasn’t having many patella issues. Then 18 months ago, my knee swelled up to the size of a large cantelope for no reason. To be continued…

Have you ever had injury mysteries?

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Filed under Exercise, Injury

Cheapest Gym in NYC

I did it! I actually went to my gym.

Gyms in NYC are so expensive. I can’t justify spending $178 / month at Equinox when I’m not even convinced I would go. Case in point: I joined the gym at my old job last year (half the price of Equinox) for 6 months and I went maybe 3 times. Those are some expensive workouts! When I started going to Physique in the fall I decided that I loved it and that I should start working out more in general. Physique is great for strength and toning but it doesn’t do much in terms of cardio, especially if you are like me and only go once a week. I went online and researched all the local gym options.

I found a gem (yes, I meant to say gem). I live across the street from a hotel. It turns out that the hotel has a gym that is run as a separate business. The advertised monthly fee was pretty low. As I searched further, the website said I would get a discount because I live in the neighborhood, awesome! So one night after work in November I went over to check it out. It’s your typical hotel gym – a couple treadmills, bikes, lots of weight machines, some free weights, TVs and mirrored walls. I didn’t need anything fancy. The gym’s manager told me that if I paid for a year’s membership up front I would get 50% off the already discounted price. SCORE! A gym in midtown for $20/month? I was sold.

I joined in November…and never went back. The low sunk cost didn’t make me feel awful about not going. Oh, and I’m lazy. Plus I knew going to the gym and power-walking on the treadmill for 60 minutes wasn’t going to be nearly as fun as going to Physique for 57 minutes. Leo finds its very hard to believe that I was an NCAA athlete in college when I talk about my lack of desire to actually workout.

With all this mystery surrounding my headaches, I started to think hard about morphing my daily routine into something healthier. I read somewhere online that exercise can be good for headaches because it gets your blood and oxygen flowing which can help relieve brain pain. Is it true? Maybe not, but I was willing to try anything.

Since Maiden Voyage was cancelled (sadface), I knew I had no excuse not to go to the gym. I got home at 7pm and put on my workout clothes right away. My college coach always told us that half the battle to independent exercise was simply getting your workout clothes on and getting out the door. Great advice! Once I was dressed I headed out the door with my exam book and my iTouch and jogged across the street to the hotel. I signed in, made some joke to the manager about it being my first time in months and found the treadmill.

My right knee has always been weak (I’ll save the knee story for tomorrow), so I don’t run. Physique has been helping me with strengthening my legs though. Maybe someday I will run again!  Regardless of my unrealistic future as a marathon champion, I like to power-walk on an incline. That was my workout of choice last night!

The above is a blurry blackberry picture I took during the cool-down. I walked for 30 minutes at 4.0mph at an incline of 7.0. Technically it said I burned 331 calories, but…I doubt it. After my treadmill fun I found the 5 lbs free weights and did the Physique bicep/tricep warmup. I would love for my arms to be defined so I can look strong in a tank top instead of just skinny and weak.

My workout wasn’t extreme but I was proud of myself for just stepping in the door! I also got 30 minutes of study time in on the treadmill. I can read and walk at the same time, I am SO coordinated! I even sweated. It counts. After my workout, instead of ordering Thai food as usual, I walked to Walgreens to get some Lean Cuisines. Sweet and Sour Chicken, my favorite:

I know it’s not the most nutritious dinner and definitely far from homemade, but its a healthy option for us lazy folks. It’s only 300 calories, so I had some hummus and wheat thins to subsedize after I licked the bowl clean. After dinner I chugged a bottle of water and settled in to catch up on the first episodes of this seasons’ Nurse Jackie and U.S. of Tara. I heart SHO.

Thanks to all the healthy fitness bloggers who motivate me to be a healthier version of myself!

Note: If you want information about my awesomely cheap gym, email me. I decided not to publicize the gym’s name to stay safe.

How do you motivate yourself to exercise?

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Filed under Exercise, Food, Fun, Gym, Headache, Studying

Leo is a Leo

I found out this weekend that Leo is a Leo. I am an idiot.

On Sunday I finally decided to tell Leo (the longterm boy) about my current project: this blog. I can hear all of you now: What? He didn’t already know?

No, no he didn’t. I was under the impression he disapproved of blogs, since he finds my sister’s mommy blog a bit ridiculous. Ahem, it’s really cute. If this wasn’t such an anonymous operation and my sister knew I was in recovery (eek), I would provide you the link! Anyhoo…in case he did think all blogs were dumb (note: they are not!!!), I didn’t want to feel discouraged or put down, so I decided to hold off telling him until I’d built it into some kind of empire. God I am so insecure…

I consider this blog to be part of my recovery. Leo isn’t an active part of my recovery since he doesn’t come to meetings with me, has never met my sponsor and couldn’t tell you what the 12 steps are or what step I’m currently on. Four, if you’re curious! I also don’t write intimate details about him on SATC so I didn’t feel the need to tell him. Yet at the same time, keeping a new and exciting part of my daily life from him felt kind of wrong.

Sunday night we were driving back to NYC from our dinner in Connecticut. We always have good talks when we’re in the car. Maybe because we can’t be easily distracted by other things. I asked him if he would like to come to my 4-year Anniversary Meeting in July. Come on, don’t make a face. You know I’m a planner. I invited him early since my non-AA bestfriend will be in town that weekend and she has already expressed excitement in attending! Thanks M, you are the bestest! Our conversation developed into me saying that I would love for him to become more involved in my recovery and he was receptive. Score!

It seemed like the perfect time to tell him about SATC. I decided to put all my anxiety about his possible reaction aside and tell him about it. To my surprise he thought the blog was a great idea! He even suggested we try and do even more fun things together so I can continue to write! He even said something about it being source of income for me down the road too. I don’t want to profit from this blog of course, but if I end up learning a thing or two about writing and social media – I could possibly run with it in other directions. A girl can dream right? Right.

The funniest part about revealing the blog to him was telling him his pseudonym. I explained why I chose it and the meaning behind it (as it is in no way similar to his real name) and he looks at me and goes- “You know I’m a Leo, right?” I stared at him blankly. Really? I am mostly un-concerned with astrological signage. Except of course, when someone told me months ago my sign might have changed – I was worried for about five minutes my whole life was going to turn upside down. Turns out because I was born in the 1980s, my sign remains in tact.

I thought I was being so clever coming up with pseudonyms for myself and for him that had real literary relevance. If you’d love to know what they mean, all guesses are welcome! Turns out Leo has always been a Leo and I have always been a bit ignorant of details. It’s hard not to believe in this description of him as a Leo too, aside from the talkative part. Addictive much?:

Being honest, even about the smallest things, can still terrify me. Yet everytime I am honest, I always get something good in return.

Medical Update: CTScan is scheduled for Friday. Let’s hope my head doesn’t explode before then.

What’s your sign?

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Filed under Anxiety, Fun, Love

Headache, Headache, GO AWAY!

Happy Monday!

I am sad to report that my weekend was sub-par due to another horrific headache that peaked on Saturday. I had to cancel my Physique class but since it wasn’t 6 hours before the class…I got charged the $30 as if I had attended the class. Physique has such a smart business model, I just wish I hadn’t had to waste a class on account of a debilitating headache. I kept holding out, hoping I would feel better, but I didn’t. Looks like I will be scheduling a CTscan this week to get my head examined. Jokes are welcome here, folks.

I’ve been getting low-to-high grade headaches since mid-fall. These headaches are not cured via Advil, Exedrin Migraine, hydration, caffeine, lack of caffeine, nicotine, lack of nicotine. Nothing works. Not even reading WebMD. Finally, thinking the headaches might be caused by sinus issues, saw an Ear Nose & Throat (ENT) doctor a few months ago. She gave me some decongestion spray and I’ve been doing the NeilMed Sinus rinse everyday too. But she said if these headaches didn’t go away with the use of those products I should get a CTscan. I’ve been putting off the scan because either I think they won’t find anything, I am terrified they will find something or because a lot of the time I feel fine. Last week was a low-to-high grade constant headache lasting 6 days. That’s just not normal. I feel a bit of relief today, but time to go in and get a scan done.

UGH! I did not get sober to be sick.

Needless to say, my weekend was not filled with fun. I did bake Leo a gluten free pumpkin pie that turned out horrifically even after baking for over an hour past the expected cook time. Here’s a picture of the ingredients:

I found the gluten free pie crust at whole foods. I followed the instructions on the Libby’s pumpkin can but after an hour of baking it was still a soupy mess. More sugary than the organic filling I used for a pumpkin pie for New Year’s but it never solidified. Either my oven is a sad mess or I’m an awful pastry chef.

On Sunday we attempted to study for a while before heading out to a really nice dinner in Connecticut at Leo’s club. My veal scallopine was amazing. I should probably apologize to all my health-nut readers for eating veal, but I’m not going to. It was delicious. Plus, it’s the only thing that made me feel good all weekend.

On a more positive note, I am in third place in my basketball pool. Unfortunately, so are two other people… at least I will get back 80% of my original investment!

Have you ever had an unexplained, unrelenting, untreatable headache?

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Filed under Exercise, Food, Gluten Free, Headache

Ticket Success

I usually don’t blog on the weekends but since I am at the office on a Saturday doing some work, I decided to report on my recent concert ticket purchases:

Death Cab for Cutie (Bowery Ballroom – June 1st)

I am sad to report that getting the DCFC tickets was quite the process. I was told online that if I bought a fanclub membership I would get access to the special ticket presale. But the darn tickets sold out in less than 30 seconds on Wednesday! I was so disappointed, especially because I spent money on the membership solely to ensure getting the tickets early. Basically I just end up with an expensive T-shirt. Luckily when the tickets went on sale today at 12pm I hopped on Ticketmaster and got them! Leo is very excited.

Guster & Jack’s Mannequin (Central Park Summer Stage – August 8th)

While perusing Ticketmaster I found out Guster and Jack’s Mannequin will be performing in Central Park! Guster is a favorite from growing up at summer camp in NH  – I saw them live at NYC’s Beacon Theatre last year. Leo sat down as I danced around during the whole concert, so not sure he will be accompanying me this summer. Jack’s Mannequin is actually a spinoff of the band Something Corporate. Does anyone remember them? God I miss high school emo music. I used to listen to them as I mulled through all of my teenage anst:

Let’s get drunk
You can drive us to the harbor
Wish upon a star but
Do you know what stars are?
Balls of fire, burning up the black space
Falling from the landscape
Exploding in the face of God

I hear sound echo in the emptiness
All around but you can’t change this loneliness
Look what you’ve found, I’ve fallen down

Taste the saline rolling down your cheekbone
Tell me that you’re alone, tell me on the telephone
Feel your heart it breaks within your chest now
Try to get some rest now, sleeps not coming easy for a while, child

Hopefully they will perform some Something Corporate tunes if that’s even allowed…if not I will settle for the emo-tastic voice of the lead singer.

Happy Saturday Kids! I’m off to get my bridesmaid dress altered and then to P57!

What concerts are you going to this summer?

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Friday Funk

Happy Friday kids! Apologies for the following less-than-exciting post, I’m in a funk today.

Last night I met up with Leo and his friend who had entered a beerpong tournament at one of the University clubs here in the city. Note: this is in no way whatsoever a sober activity. I remained sober of course, but I don’t recommend this as “sober fun.” I hung out with Leo’s friend’s girlfriend while the boys lost twice to two female teams. The females were apparently cheating but since I don’t play beerpong anymore I don’t know all the rules nor do I care to learn them. I saw a friend from high school at the tournament – newly engaged…awesome. There was free food, so that was about the only highlight of the event. Then we wandered over to a local pub and watched some March Madness. I am still in first place in my pool! Except I only have one team left in the Final Four so there is no way that I will win the pool. No fun.

It’s not easy dating someone who drinks. Some days I deal with it well and sometimes I don’t. I’m not sure whether it’s because I’m jealous he can drink and I can’t or if I simply don’t like how drunk people act. Luckily he rarely gets “drunk” in front of me anymore but last night was borderline. I could ask him to stop drinking because I don’t like it, but he’s not an alcoholic and that’s not really fair of me. I also know that controlling someone else’s actions only leads to resentment. So for now, if he drinks I require him to brush his teeth and rinse well with mouthwash before he kisses me. And if he wants to go out and act like a crazy 21 year old with the boys, he can go without me!

Weekend plans:

Tonight: Gluten Free Chinese Food and baking gluten free pumpkin pie with Leo.

Saturday: Bridesmaid dress alterations and Physique57. No plans for the evening yet, anyone want to hang out??

Sunday: Studying in the morning and then dinner at Leo’s club in the suburbs.

Last but certainly not least: HAPPY 4 YEARS of Sobriety to Nic!

What’s your sobriety date? I’m going to put together a page of anniversaries (pseudonyms of course)!

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Filed under Beverages, Food, Fun, Gluten Free, March Madness, Recovery

Bridesmaids Giveaway Take II

Another chance to see Bridesmaids for free! Leo and I will be in Connecticut on Sunday and therefore I cannot take advantage of this awesome offer from movietickets.com.

The offer is for TWO free tickets at the AMC 42nd Street theater in NYC @ 5pm Sunday March 27th.

If you want the tickets, comment below with your best/worst bridesmaid experience.  If you haven’t been a bridesmaid but have a funny wedding story – you can enter the contest too! I will choose a winner on Friday night and email you the info!

What’s the best/worst bridesmaid experience you’ve ever had?

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Is the World Ending?

That’s it. I am declaring war on NYC weather.

On my way out of work last night the security guard goes to me, “You need to be extremely careful outside.” Confused, I looked through the glass revolving doors ahead of me. Holy crap in a pita! It was hailing! Hail? Seriously? Dippin’ dot sized hail, but hail none the less. Glad I had my ‘brella with me or otherwise I would have suffered some serious ice cream flavored brain damage on my walk home.

It must be the end of the world because I also have the plague. Tummy pain, serious digestive issues, massive headache and I’ve felt feverish since Monday. Alright, enough complaining…

I finally had a real lunch yesterday:

A delicious salad from Pret. Very similar to The Salad that Leo and I love from Whole Foods. Except this one involves chicken. And blue cheese instead of goat cheese.

Finally got to watch the Series Finale of Big Love last night. So powerful. I’m gonna miss my weekly polygamist television fix.

Short and sweet today. I’m so busy with work, ack!

Have you ever had the plague?

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Filed under Food

Death Cab and Dumb Cabs Are Not the Same

First of all, this was my lunch yesterday:

What is with the worthless meals at work this week? I literally had three conference calls in a row from 8am until 4pm yesterday. Boo to the hoo. Although if you look reaaaaaally closely you will notice that the Life cereal in my plastic cup is Cinnamon Life! That’s right. My inner dialogue when I opened the cabinet and saw the box: Oh my God, Cinnamon Life! You’ve got to be kidding me. I am in love. Cereal changes on a daily basis around here and you never know what you’re going to find.

Second of all, Death Cab for Cutie is coming to NYC on June 1st!! Leo took me to see them at Radio City Music Hall in 2008 and I saw them at a friend’s college in Pennsylvania when I was less than sober. I love Death Cab so much I can’t explain it with words. This year they are playing at none other than Bowery Ballroom. My tickets will be purchased during the fanclub pre-sale on Thursday. YIPPEE!!

I wish the world was flat like the old days
Then I could travel just by folding a map
No more airplanes, or speed trains, or freeways
There’d be no distance that could hold us back.

Third… have you ever used the word amazeballs in a sentance? I’ve seen it all over the blogging world in the past month and I would like to add it to my vocabulary. According to Urban Dictionary, the phrase originates from Perez Hilton but apparently it’s also a food. I believe it could be used interchangeably with awesomesauce but frequent amazeballs users please set me straight!

Fourth and MOST IMPORTANTLY: love and prayers go out to Miss N. Last night on the way to Maiden Voyage a dumb cab interrupted her travels and landed her in an ambulance. Luckily Porscha was right there to ride to the hospital with her! My sources tell me that Miss N is doing OK with a banged up wrist and a few bruised ribs.  Even though all nine of us wanted to go to the hospital to see her, we decided to avoid creating chaos and moved the women’s meeting to a local diner. While we were busy chatting and getting pictoral updates (thanks Porscha!) on Miss N, I had this a delicious Peanut Butter Milkshake:

GET BETTER SOON MISS N!!! WE LOVE YOU!!

Is your life better with cinnamon?

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Filed under Food, Fun, Music

Meeting Makers Make It

Look what I had for dinner last night:

Yep, that’s right folks. A chocolate cupcake with marshmallow cream and chocolate sauce on top. Mmmmm.

So to all the healthy food and fitness bloggers I follow … I’m sorry. I have failed in my attempts to become slightly more healthy than I was before I starting reading your blogs. Don’t worry. Your tips still fascinate and motivate me. But sometimes a girl just needs a cupcake.

This is also what happens when I am at work until 9pm and don’t remember realize that I am hungry until 8pm, at which point it is almost pointless to have dinner delivered to the office.

In other news I chaired the 10:30 clubhouse AA meeting last night and for the first time in MONTHS I had acquired a speaker ahead of time! I was so proud of myself for thinking ahead. You would think that with my obsession with controlling my life that I would always be prepared for my chairperson responsibilities. Yes, you would think…

For those of you who have never been to an AA meeting and are curious as to what the heck I am talking about, I will let you in on some secrets. Any 12-step program meeting you may have seen on television or in a movie (The OC, The Town, Dexter, ER, etc.) is usually not an accurate portrayal of what really goes on, so do not be fooled by the media. To find out what it’s REALLY like you should find an Open meeting in your area and check it out (“Open” means you don’t have to be an alcoholic to attend). But for a quick run down of what meetings at my clubhouse are like – they usually go like this…

You walk in, sit down in a room full of chairs. There is someone called the “chairperson” who runs the meeting. This person is not in charge per se, but basically helps guide the meeting. Most AA meetings in NYC last 60 minutes (90 minutes for NA). In the beginning there will be a few readings to explain to you what AA is, how it works, etc. The chairperson explains the format of the meeting. Then the speaker will qualify for 15-20 minutes. Qualifying means that the speaker will share his or her experience, strength and hope with the group. They will talk about what it was like when they were in active alcoholism, what happened to get them to AA and what their life is like in the program today. Sometimes the speaker rocks and sometimes you would rather they just stop talking. Either way, if you stay put and listen, you will hear something insightful.

After the speaker finishes the chairperson will pass around the Seventh Tradition basket. The Seventh Tradition states that AA is to be fully self supporting – so each member of the group puts a dollar or two in the basket to help pay the rent and other expenses to help the meeting run. If you have ever been to a church service, it is very much like the offering plate. Note: If you do not consider yourself a member of AA, do not contribute to this basket! We might like you, but we don’t want yo’ money.

After the Seventh Tradition, the meeting goes to a show of hands which means other people in the room raise their hand to share and the speaker will call on them. Each person shares for 3-4 minutes on what the speaker said or whatever is going on in their life today. Preferably people will share about something related to recovery and/or AA. Then at the end of the hour everyone holds hands in a circle and says the Serenity Prayer:

And that’s it! After the meeting people usually stick around to talk to eachother or head off to the diner for some snacks.

It’s pretty neat actually to have a group of people (all crazy in their own ways) sit quietly for an hour and listen to each other speak, especially when no one is really in charge. I always find this fact fascinating: you can say whatever you want to. Literally. To perfect strangers. It’s pretty awesome. One of the biggest things for me when I first started going to meetings was that my faith in men was reaffirmed. I grew up in a family and environment where men did not share their inner most feelings outloud and especially not in a group of people. Early on, I sat in a meeting and a man broke down in tears sharing honestly about something that he was struggling with…I was in awe.

It can be heartbreaking to listen to friends and perfect strangers share their pain and suffering in a meeting. It is also incredibly powerful. Someone may be sharing about pain that you have felt before or about an obstacle you are about to face. Today I firmly believe that all the pain I have felt in my life has turned into experience that I can share with another person. And I know that no matter what I will face in my life, there will be someone who has gone through the same thing and can offer me words of wisdom. 

Wow it got really sappy in the end there, didn’t it? Geeeeeeeeez, sorry about that. Here’s some humor for you:

Did I mention we get a lot of comedians in meetings too? It’s not uncommon to be laughing in a meeting. Anyhoo – I just think it’s pretty cool how it works. I never went to rehab so I have immense gratitude for meetings. It’s not the same as therapy. In therapy you sit with a doctor and talk about your problems and they ask you questions and they might give you some insight. Usually they have nothing personal to offer you. There is something powerful about one addict helping another. You believe that addict when they say things will get better because they’ve been in your shoes once.

Not all meetings are good ones and not all will be peaceful or moving but if you aren’t satisfied when you walk out the door – don’t leave for good – just try another one. Last night happened to be a kickass meeting and my speaker was awesomesauce!!

Where you do share your deepest emotions with others?

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