Sunday, December 31, 2017

INJURIES, WHAT ARE THE GOOD FOR?


I have been dealing with tennis elbow (or lateral epicondylitis) the past couple weeks. It is a first for me, and it sure is a new sensation (I typically deal with leg pain with lipedema, arm pain is somewhat new to me).


I use my arms, and arm strength a lot in moving about my every day life, and I like feeling strong, so this has put a cramp in my activities as of late.

I think the injury was caused by a somewhat new movement for me, floor pulls. We started doing floor pulls as part of our WOD (workout of the day), and they are just what they sound like, you lay on the floor and using your core and arms (no legs), you pull yourself across the mats. My MOD (modification) for this movement is to do them on the doorway edge...


When I first started doing the floor pulls, I was only able to do a couple, but have since built up to incorporating them into my regular CrossFit warmup (in place of the pull-ups), and lately coach has been having us do "stations" where we have different movements and do them for a set period of time, as in the photo above - the pulls were one of four movements that day.

Injuries, What Are They Good For?

So here is where the title came from. In talking it over with coach, and after doing the floor pulls yesterday, and realizing if I bring my elbows in more, and engage my core more, the pain was greatly diminished.

Coach made a comment about all movement should start from the core and work it's way out. You get in to trouble when the outer extremities start to do the work that the core should do (or the core is not engaged when the extremities are working).

So don't treat your elbow like a shoulder, and don't treat your shoulder like your core.

The injury I had sustained reminded me that I was not using my core enough. That I was finding a way to move my body any way I could, instead of the proper way.

So in that regard, the injury is a good reminder of engaging my core, and probably will be for some time as it heals.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Handling the Holidays

We are one week away from Christmas, one week and a day from Boxing Day and the start of Kwanzaa, and there are still two days left in Chanukah. Whatever holiday(s) you might celebrate, if you celebrate, I wish you a very happy one.

But not everyone celebrates, or looks forward to the holidays. Some find them too painful, too stressful, too costly, too much pressure, anxiety and/or depression.

I love the holidays, but even I find them stressful at times, and stress is one of the worst things for those of us with Lipedema. 

For me stress causes my legs to swell up and become tight and painful. So what can we do? How do we handle the stress during the holidays?

Here are some ideas...

  • Physical activity, is one of the best things we can do for our bodies in general, but especially when dealing with stress. It not only gets our endorphins pumping, but it also gives us back some feeling of control, we feel stronger and less like a victim.
  • Stretching is also good, or a warm shower, even a nap, as they all help us to relax our muscles, which we tense up when stressed.
  • If you find you cannot steal away for some physical activity, to stretch, shower, or nap, maybe find a place you can be alone for five minutes (ten would be better) and do some deep breathing. Maybe you forgot the cranberry sauce (hint**hide the cans you actually bought a week ago) and take a quick trip to the store; or maybe you are missing those much needed candles and recall you had some in the attic or in the shed.
  • Acknowledge what is causing you stress, talk about it with someone, if not in person, hop on facebook or phone a friend who might also be having some "relative" stress. If you can keep it positive (think affirmations over memes), you can actually reduce it, but rehashing all that is going on to cause your stress in the first place might just send you deeper into it.
  • Be gentle on yourself, remind yourself it is for one hour, one day, one weekend, whatever duration it might be and plot out how you get through the moment you are in, not the entire duration.
  • And the best bit of strategy, if all of the above fail, is to do as Jerry Lundegaard did in Fargo, and simply flee the scene. Bail. Escape. Leave. We are our own protectors, we do not have to stay in a situation that is uncomfortable, causing us harm emotionally or physically, and we have every right to take ourselves out of the environment (or ask those in our home to leave). If you have to be polite about it, then fake an illness or an injury (yes, stub a toe if you have to), but do whatever you need to so that you can get away from the stressors.

Know you are not alone, and it will get better.

Take care of yourself first, you are top priority. If what I have touched upon is not helping, you feel it is beyond your ability to handle on your own, and you need help, please call the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255. They have the tools you need.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

MODs for WODs

MODs (Modifications) for WODs (workouts of the day) are key, not only when you have lipedema, but for life in general.

Things happen in life to take us out of our fitness routines, an injury, or an illness, or maybe you are just starting a fitness routine. Whatever it is, at some point we will all need a modification, and there is nothing wrong with that, in fact MODs are a fantastic tool in our fitness arsenal.

When I first started taking back my fitness (after losing most of my mobility listening to the advice given to newly diagnosed lipedema patients), I learned first hand how important MODs are. 

Coach wanted me to start off doing body movements like push-ups, pull-ups, squats, etc.  But how does someone do a push-up or sit-up, let alone a pull-up, when they are just starting out? The answer is MODs.

Sink Push-ups (LEGO Style)
I am lucky, my coach (who is also my husband) is aces at MODs. He showed me how to use our kitchen counter for my push-ups, and pull-ups.

At first I was hesitant, I didn't think it would do anything for me, but five years later, and I am now able to do them on the floor.

Here is the progression of my push-up MODS:
  1. Kitchen counter (or a wall)
  2. Picnic table (a little lower than the counter)
  3. Chair, or park bench (a little lower than the last MOD)
  4. Stack of mats or heavy bag (once I progressed to getting down on the floor)
  5. Floor push-ups (hands and knees on the floor)
This year I have been working on planks, and I was excited when I held my first one. Now I incorporate 10 second planks before my push-ups; one day soon I hope to be able to do my floor push-ups on my toes, instead of on my knees.

But you know what? I still do counter push-ups, I love them. If I'm doing the dishes, I'll throw in a couple rounds of push-ups and pull-ups. With good form, these are still an excellent movement for me, even though I am able to get on the floor to do them now.

Recently, when I had a nasty cold and couldn't get to our regular workouts, I relied on the kitchen counter once again to keep me feeling strong(ish) - the cold still had me feeling pretty weak, but those few movements against the counter reminded me I could do something to feel stronger - to fight back against that weak feeling.

The emotional benefits of fighting back is huge, and MODs keep you inspired to try new movements, and gain new strength.

Friday, June 2, 2017

2ND ANNUAL LIPEDEMA TRIATHLON - JUNE 24, 2017

Last year we setup and completed the first Lipedema Triathlon, with the help of my training mates, friends and the Saratoga Springs YMCA.

Fast forward to this year, and I am so excited to say the Saratoga Springs YMCA once again is letting us hold the triathlon at their facility, and even more exciting, they want to open it up to others (outside of Lipedema) that have mobility concerns, I just love that!

As I found out last year, Triathlon races vary in distance, the one we are focusing on is the Sprint: 750-meter (0.47-mile) swim, 20-kilometer (12-mile) bike, 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) run/walk. Here is a break down of what we will be doing come June 24:


Swim - The most common pool sizes built today are either 25 meters or 50 meters (Olympic size) so 750 meters will be 30 lengths in the smaller pool and 15 lengths in the Olympic.


Bike - Most bikes (road or stationary) calculate mileage, but if not , just calculate your speed (MPH) by your duration to get you to 12 miles.


Run/Walk - Most treadmills calculate mileage; or if using a standard indoor track (200 meters), you would need to do 25 laps for a 5K. If using a standard outdoor track (400 meters), you would need to do 12.5 laps.

Wish us Luck, and spread the word, June is Lipedema Awareness Month!








Thursday, April 6, 2017

Aqua Run 1K - April 22, 2017

April 22, at the New York Sports Club in Livingston NJ, The Lipedema Queen (TLQ) Organization is having an Aqua Run 1K Charity Marathon fundraiser, that I am proud to be participating in.


What is an Aqua Run, you ask?

Good question, I had not heard of one before Katia Page (the founder of TLQ) asked me to participate. It is an event where you run (or walk) 1000 meters in a pool. The NYSC pool, where this will take place, is a 25M pool (or, as we learned last year in preparation for the Lipedema Triathlon, a short distance olympic sized pool). 

1000M Race / 25M Pool = 40 lengths of the pool, or 20 laps. It takes place in the shallow end Katia said, so your feet are in contact with the pool floor, as opposed to treading water in the deep end.

I say if you want to come watch, bring a poncho, there is going to be a whole lot of splashing going on!

THE LIPEDEMA QUEEN'S
AQUA RUN 1K​
The AQUA RUN will be held at The New York Sports Club, 39 W Northfield Rd, Livingston, NJ 07039  from 2pm to 5pm EST Saturday April 22, 2017


There are no fees for the Aqua Runners for this event, and we need Lipedema Runners.

You can also sponsor an Aqua Runner:
  • $25.00  you're the "Floaties" for our runner
  • $50.00  you're the " Vest" for our runner 
  • $75.00  you're the "Life Vest" for our runner
  • $100.00 you're the "Buoy" for our runner

Click here to sign up to be a runner, to sponsor a runner, or to get your tickets to watch. Huge gratitude to Katia, and the event sponsors (NYSC, The Avenue, and Pepsi).

The Lipedema Queen is a 501c(3) organization created to assist women with Lipedema. TLQ helps them obtain needed medical grade compression garments, surgeries and treatments, and helps advocate for the ICD (International Disease Code) insurers need Re-issuance of the Lymphedema Act. Thank you for your support!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Getting Down with GPP

I must admit when coach/hubby first mentioned GPP to me, the 1991 Naughty By Nature song popped into my head... "you down with OPP - yeah, you know me".

Well GPP is much less controversial, it stands for General Physical Preparedness, and everyone should be getting down with it.

General Physical Preparedness is exactly what it sounds like, being prepared for the physical aspects of your life. Whether that is an athletic event coming up, taking walks with your family, getting to/from work, running errands, doing chores, or moving about your house.

GPP is not a new concept, it came into the forefront when firefighters, law enforcement personnel, and military men and women started looking for a better way to prepare themselves for the physical demands of their jobs. 

Just like these Occupational Athletes, being prepared for our daily lives is important. Our daily lives may not be as physically demanding as those who have chosen to protect and serve, but they still pose physical challenges, add to that the challenges of living with Lipedema and it can seem incredibly overwhelming.

GPP workouts were created to improve your overall fitness by improving your strength, balance, flexibility, mobility, etc. Being fit helps us all to fight off being injured during our daily lives.

Traditionally, athletes preparing for an event (like a runner does for a marathon, or a MMA fighter does for an upcoming fight, etc.) would follow a SPP (Specific Physical Preparedness) regimen to get ready for their event, and they would follow a more GPP style regimen after.

I mention marathon runners and MMA fighters because those are the folks I train with. Our CrossFit style workouts are primarily GPP, and while it helps my training mates prepare and become better athletes, it helps me prepare and become better able to live with Lipedema.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

LIPEDEMA TRIATHLON 2016

June 25th at 9am we began the swim portion of the first ever Lipedema Triathlon. The distance was 750M or 15 laps in the 25M pool of the Saratoga Springs YMCA.

I learned the size of the pool is called a "short course" Olympic pool, which is recognized by FINA (the International Swimming Federation). Not that I thought I would be breaking any swimming records, but I love learning new things.

My coach/hubby, our daughter, our triathlon coach, our training mates, our friends and their significant others, and my best friend growing up, who drove from DC to NY the night before, all met up a little before the race began, and while I was anxious and nervous about what I had not only signed myself up for, but those that stood before me, it all fell away in that moment I saw them - I was blessed. I had all these people in my life that cared about me, that cared about this thing called Lipedema, and who fought just as hard as I to help spread awareness.

I was emotional in that moment, I am emotional here and now typing this, one month later, and it is the reason I didn't write about it sooner. How lucky am I.

Lucky, blessed, and oh so grateful & thankful for those I have standing with me, and those online from all over the world cheering us on as one of our friends shared videos of the ongoing race and read out the comments they typed - which really helped in those moments we needed them most, and brings tears to my eyes as I re-watch the footage now and hear those comments.

OK, enough emotion, lets dive into the recap (ha, see what I did there, "dive" into it). Sorry.

The swim caught me a little by surprise, I was surprised that while I thought my nerves had calmed down, my breathing did not agree. I couldn't seem to catch my breath (which breathing was the number one thing I was working on prior to the event, and is typically the thing most swimmers need to work on), and our twelve-year-old daughter swimming in the lane next to me began to have some issues once she reached the deep end of the pool. But our Aquatics Director, Ilene, came to the rescue and two pool noodles later our girl was swimming like a champ!

My coaches and friends on the shallow end reminding me to breathe, to slow down, and letting me know that the hour and thirty minutes I allotted for each event of the triathlon was going to be blown out of the water (oops, did it again, sorry, pun alert).

It turns out I completed the 15 laps in about 36 minutes, almost an hour quicker than I estimated. I would do the standard front crawl (or my best attempt at it) down and do a move called the penguin back (that the lovely Ilene told me about after a few laps - it is on your back and you reach above your head with both arms and scoop the water down towards your sides). In a triathlon you can do any stroke you like, you really are just trying to have fun, and save your energy for the rest of the race.

With Lipedema I have to wear compression most of the time, if I don't my legs fill up pretty quickly with lymph fluid, which is painful, and heavy, and tight; your legs feel really tight as the skin is stretched to the limits with the expanding fluid.

Imagine having water balloons all over your body, they move separately from the rest of you, and you feel the pull of them. That is what it feels like, like you are encased in big water balloons that move independently from you. You feel the gravitational pull all the time, but when you start moving and they go there own separate way, you really feel the heaviness of the lymph fluid trapped in your body.

Even with compression I get swelling, but it is a lot better than without, I could not have done the triathlon without compression. I wore bioflect micro massaging leggings in the pool. Wearing my bioflect compression in the pool is tricky, because it is not really made for the pool, but it worked really well.

Back to the race, I was now in the changing room trying to get the compression off (compression is not easy to get on and wet compression is even less fun to get off). It rolls and the pressure it puts on my legs as it rolls down really hurts. I took a quick shower to rinse off the chlorine, and then dried off really so I could put on more compression for the rest of the rest, all while my friends spun my suit out and tried to assist me as best they could (all this time in the changing rooms counts towards your final time - the transitions count).

Finally we made our way out to the stationary bikes, which the YMCA had reserved for us. Five bikes all in a row. Our daughter Noelle, our friend Phyllis, me, my bestie Bettina, and our friend Colleen all began the bike event (our friend and training mate Paul and our friend Joel took to the bike trail setup outside the YMCA directly following the pool, so were a good portion done before we began - see transition is so important, but so is compression when you live with Lipedema).

We felt great on the bikes, we were joking and having fun and shouting out the miles as we each reached them. I would have to stand up on the pedals occasionally as my feet (and my bum) would begin to go a bit numb. About an hour and 5 minutes later we would be done with the bike event - which was my biggest unknown going into the race. I had not been on a bike in over ten years, I was fearful my lipedema body would not fit, or the bike would not be able to support me, but it did, and I did, and it was great!

The one thing I learned, about a week prior to the race, is the bike I thought I wanted to use (the Sci Fit) did not work for me. Yes it fit my body, it has lots of adjustments for all body types, but the angle of the pedals (it is a recumbent style bike) hurt my knees, so I opted for the Matrix upright stationary bike and it was perfect - seat set at 10 worked best for me, but play around with your seat to make sure your in the right position.





On to the treadmill. At this point we were all still feeling good, smiles, laughing, incredibly proud for how far we had come already, and then the treadmill. Treadmills have a downside, they can be incredibly boring. My main reason for choosing it though was for the ability to hold on to something as my body tired.

I had been training three times a week for about 1.3 - 1.5 miles on the Matrix treadmill at the Wilton YMCA. It was the event I was most ready for, but just as my 1.5 miles cleared I knew I was in trouble. I had more than 1.5 miles still to go (the distance is a 5K) and I was done physically and emotionally. Or so I thought. A training mate popped in to support us and took one look at me and asked if a cold cloth would be good - YES, I said. She came back with two and I had her give my friend Phylise one as well. It was perfect! I placed it at the back of my neck and it gave me a little boost. I told everyone I had to buckle down, so no more talking for me, headphones on and searching for great songs to push me through to the end of this race.
I'm sorry for what I said
during the Lipedema Triathlon
That is when my iPod decided it had also had enough and kept trying to play a slow Tom Petty song. I love Tom, but this was a slow cool down tune, and I had more mileage to make before I was cooling down. I got a bit cranky at this point and then the treadmill said time to cool down and literally shut off!  WHAT??? I guess it is timed that way, to force you to cool down; it shuts off and I still had about a minute more time I needed. It was fixed, I have very patient friends who knew to put their ear muffs on, and then, we were finally finished!

We were officially LIPEDEMA TRIATHLON FINISHERS!