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New Year, New Me?

January 12, 2014 Leave a comment

Happy (belated) New Year’s. I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year.

So why did I title my blog entry as “New Year, New Me”? Well…for starters I entered the new year without the use of crutches. My medical history has prevented me from starting the new year healthy. Two hip surgeries later, I feel great.

And as I enter the new year pain free, 2014 will be a defining year for yours truly. In 2010, I was at my healthiest and strongest. Upon feeling healthy and vowing to never look back at my old 250+ pound self, I decided I wanted to run the NYC Marathon in 2012.

Fast forward to 2011, I felt my body breaking down. Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI) was the cause to my malaise. My hips hurt. My confidence shattered. And my desire to run in the NYC Marathon in 2012 was in question.

Enter Dr. Bryan T. Kelly in the spring of 2011. His experience in arthroscopic hip surgery has been mentioned in this blog countless times over. But once again I must state, we approached this head on. One option given to me was to alter my activities. Running and working out has become a constant fixture in my life. While I stopped working out for six months at the discretion of Dr. Kelly, my confidence was not completely deflated. And my dream of running in the marathon was not dead. The dream was and to this very day remains ALIVE.

Two hip surgeries later I have never felt better. My hips no longer ache. The running path is clear. I am now running without worries or fear. Today I prepare for my toughest and most probably task, the NYC Marathon.

Training has not been kind to me. But I recently realized I was the one to blame. For instance my cardio lacked intensity. I became too complacent. The monotony of using the elliptical machine five days a week mentally drained me. On the first day of the month, I decided to mix my cardio. I re-included the use of the spin bike, the treadmill/running path, stair master, etc. It truly feels like 2010.

My goal between now and the NYC Marathon (November 2) is to mentally and physically prepare myself for the grueling 26.2 miles of fun. Yup fun.

The first item on my checklist is to lose the weight I gained from the two surgeries. In 2010, I weighed 150 pounds. Three years and 15 pounds later, I do not want to weight 150 pounds, but I sure as hell do not want to weigh 165 pounds. In the coming weeks, I plan on finding a personal trainer. I also plan on going for more runs. But of course that last item is contingent on the weather. I do not mind running in the cold, but when a “polar vortex” hits the area, my limbs mean more than a run in the park.

Is this really a “New Year, New Me”? The answer is simply “no”. For one I am not keen on resolutions. Secondly, I met my goals in 2009. And now that I am healthy, “it’s go time”.

Stay tuned. I will go through a lot of peeks and valleys.

 

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The Week That Was

As another week has come to an end I must share with you the insights to my life, in particular health.

Heading into Monday, I ran on an emotional high as I ran the equivalent of a 5K in 28+ minutes. If you were to tell me if that would be my best for a while I would have been content. But as I soon would find out 28 minutes was just the beginning.

The next day (Sunday) I met up with Mitch for my weekly personal training session. On this day we were doing two things. The very first item on the agenda were measurements. He took down the measurements, unfortunately, I do not have the measurements in front of me. But rest assured I will hound them from Mitch and dedicate the results in a future entry. After the measurements, we focused on a lower body workout. Compared to an upper body workout my lower body is my strongest area.

Mitch had me working with the leg press, lunges and squats. I broke into a sweat during each workout and set. The most challenging workout that day were lunges. Why are lunges challenging? Well there is a form and technique to lunges. Plus it’s also a matter of balancing. Unfortunately one of my biggest weaknesses in staying fit is maintaining a good core system. Lunges are challenging but they can also be fun. When I have my core at a strong level they will be fun.

As for the week itself, well I had my six months consultation with Dr. Bryan Kelly on Tuesday. After meeting with Dr. Kelly he was once again impressed and surprised at my recovery. His amazement came in the form of what I did over the weekend. Running the equivalent to a 5K six months after hip surgery is not common. Let me rephrase that, considering the amount of inflammation in my labrum, running in six months seemed to be out of the question. But without tooting my own horn, and I am not, I defied those odds. And as I have written in previous entries, I thank Dr. Kelly, Jeremy, his assistant, and of course my physical therapist, Jeremy Crow and Amanda Wohl for their time and support in getting me back into shape.

That was the good news, the bad news, we discussed the options of my left hip. Dr. Kelly mentioned some numbers and jargon at both Jeremy’s and while I had no idea what they were saying, I knew it was not good. And to my dismay his comments confirmed my concerns but at the same time they were not too bad. He did say surgery is inevitable, the inflammation in my left hip may not be in bad condition. To me that sounds like a plus.

But with all that said, I scheduled the surgery. On December 17, I am going under the knife. Quite frankly I am not concerned nor afraid. I have been there and done that. For the interim I plan on dealing with the discomfort of having an abnormal femoral head. At some point this summer I will request the hip injection. The injection will buy me time as I would like to run at least two 5K races.

Despite the news I left his office with my head high and with a smile. I am feeling great and healthy.

On Wednesday I debated as to whether visiting the gym or going for an impromptu run in Central Park. Okay in hindsight I do not think the run would have been an impromptu. The day before I read on twitter through the New York Road Runners official page June sixth would be “National Running Day”. In a way I had motivation to partake in national running day.

By the end of the day I decided to go for a run instead of going to the gym. I changed into my workout clothes and left the office for my very first run along Central Park Drive. I was excited and elated all in one. In a way I was about to fulfill an item off my “bucket list”.

As I arrived to the stretch of road on East 59th Street, I had no expectations. To top that since I decided to run at the last minute I forgot my Garmin watch. I decided to use the timer on my pedometer to time my journey. I figured the run would end quickly since I have never completed a task of that nature. I hit the button on my pedometer, the clock was ticking, and I was now off.

The difference between Central Park and the track is the elevation. Running through Central Park Drive I realized there a number uphill peaks. As I ran uphill I realized I needed to pace myself and slow down a bit. It took me some time to adjust and continue  through my run. Halfway through I did not feel exhausted. But I was concerned about my time. My pedometer was fastened on my shorts – I had no intention on stopping or slowing down to check my time.

Running along unfamiliar areas in Central Park allowed me to take in the sights. Tourists taking pictures. Runners running in opposite directions. Skaters and cyclists trying to beat one another. But then I started to take in the sights of the park itself. I discovered some new areas. I found a wooded area with a pond. The minute I saw that I told myself to visit the area and photograph the serene setting.

I then entered areas I was familiar with. I ran across the NYC Marathon finish line, albeit the opposite way. I imagined how I would react to completing the marathon. Yes that sounded cheesy but my biggest dream is to complete the marathon. It will happen but until then running in Central Park will be my inspiration.

I was nearing my end. All of a sudden a shot of adrenaline kicked in. As I approached the finish line I had to fight back my emotions. The time soon became irrelevant. I was overcome with joy and emotion. I overcame weight issues by 2009. In 2011 I had hip surgery. Six months later I ran Central Park Drive.

I crossed the finish line. As I slowed down and made a complete stop, I stopped the pedometer. In 57 minutes and 16 seconds I ran the course of Central Park Drive. At that point I had no idea the distance. In due time I would calculate the mileage, at that time I wanted to enjoy the moment.

After stretching I walked back to the office. As I walked back I held my head high. Smiling from ear to ear, I knew nothing nor anyone could take what I had accomplished away from me.

I arrived at the office. Instead of quickly gathering my belongings I turned my computer on. I logged on to mapmyrun.com to track my run. After calculating the distance it turns out I ran the equivalent of a 10K (6.23 miles). I was in awe. The completion of the run was great but seeing the distance was the icing on the cake.

6.23 miles anyone?

Now that I have that out of the way, I am exhausted. But quite frankly I am still elated days after the run. I cannot wait to do it again. Wanna join?

Have a great one folks.

 

The Weather Can Never Derail My Plans

May 21, 2012 2 comments

It’s Monday, May 21, 2012 – the weather is cool, dreary and rainy. Compared to yesterday the thoughts of running in NYC became an afterthought. My original plan was to run the pavement at Hudson River Park. But over the last few days I constantly checked the weather report through my “Weather” phone app. For the first few days last week, the ten day forecast appeared to be clear and sunny. Then as the day drew closer the weather periodically changed from sunny and clear, to cloud, to rain. OUCH!

Yesterday was the pinnacle of my academic career. I graduated with honors from a Masters Program at New York Institute of Technology. The day was beautiful and not a cloud in sight. The commencement was filled with uplifting words from NY Senator Charles Schumer as well as those honored with honorary degrees. The Class of 2012 had a great time. What a day!

I Did It!

After Two Years, I bid my alma mater farewell. After earning my Bachelor’s from NYIT in 2005, I now hold a Master’s Degree from NYIT in 2012.

As my family and I walked toward our vehicle I thought about the plans for the rest of the day. We left Long Island and headed the long trek back to New Jersey. Before shutting my phone, due to low battery, I once again viewed the phone app. Unfortunately the likelihood for precipitation on Monday reach 70%. At that point I was disappointed. Within the last week I bought running gear from my favorite store, City Sports. It was the first time since last March that I dedicated my resources on running gear (ie, running shoes, shorts, compression socks, dry-fit running shirt, etc). To add to that I even opened the Garmin Forerunner 110 watch I bought last March. For once I was going to put that watch to good use. Unfortunately I was not going to get the opportunity on Monday.

During a wonderful early dinner with my family, I literally came to the conclusion, “why not run today?” Afterall Monday should be a washout. I set out to do just that. However, considering how busy my Sunday went running in NYC would be out of the question. My impromptu fallback plan was to run on a track in my neighborhood.

An hour passed after dinner. The time was 5:30 in the early evening and I went from shirt, tie and slacks to running shoes, running shorts, iPod mini and for the first time, my Garmin Forerunner. I went to the nearby track and ran four laps. After feeling a bit nauseous I continued to run. But after that fourth lap I realized I needed to run elsewhere. Like Forrest Gump I ran because I wanted to run. Unfortunately, while I ran the equivalent to a 5K (3.1 MILES) in 31 minutes, I wanted to hurl. Sorry for the TMI moment. My biggest mistake was running an hour after a filling meal.

After running for 3.1 miles, mentally I felt great. Had it not been for my ailment, I would have ran an additional 3 miles. Despite the ailment I not upset. Yesterday was the first time I ever ran a 5K. I was elated. Afterwards, I walked an additional few miles. How many miles? I do not know, I ended the setting on my Garmin watch. I walked for the pure enjoyment.

I arrived home after a few hours and could not find the strength or energy to shower. After an hours, yes an hour, I gathered whatever strength to shower and ultimately pass out on my couch. The weather that night was calm, serene and peaceful. And yet, I still felt surprised to hear rain drops Monday morning.

So much for my run on Monday – thankfully I went for a run late Sunday afternoon. Despite doing an early morning errand, and getting caught in the rain, I managed to get a workout on Monday. On my way to the gym, I saw this image which I took with my Instagram app. Talk about night and day – yesterday was picture perfect, today was dreary and gloomy. Take a look for yourself.

Downtown NYC – One World Trade Center covered in fog. (May 21, 2012)

In hindsight, today was not a complete wash out. I ran on Sunday and received my Master’s Degree. And on Monday I worked out at the gym and took a really good picture as I was on my way to the gym. All in all – it was a win-win.

Until next time.

Jorge

Where Have I Been?

April 14, 2012 2 comments

Hello folks –

The last month has been a blur. Okay not really. Nevertheless I have abandoned this blog due to something called “the real world”. While my career beckoned, I still kept my eye on the prize.

In the time I have been cleared to return to the gym, I have devoted a forty hour work load at the office and also devoted close to ten hours per week at the gym. Needless to say while I feel great I am a bit worn out (physically). Am I doing too much? Maybe. But keep in mind I am close to four months removed from arthroscopic hip surgery. My body is no where near where I want it to be. Maybe this is a reason why Dr. Kelly and Jeremy have been adamant on not wanting to overdo anything.

For the time being I am doing my best not to overdo a damn thing. I do have my good and bad days. There are days when I listen to my body and then there are days when I have a great workout but feel exhausted.

For instance I had a great workout. For the second time this week, and subsequently the second time since December, I used the stair master. On Wednesday I got re-acquainted with the stair master. Let’s just say it took a lot out of me. But today, I managed to hold on and complete over 60 minutes. It felt great.

After my cardio workout I stretched the hip and afterwards did some light weight lifting. All in all I had a great day.

Today I enjoyed the lovely weather in the NY/NJ area. My initial goal was to walk around Hoboken and take some pictures. Boy after a great workout I ended up walking through four cities. As of this writing, my feet are sore.  Why? Since I was wasting the battery on my phone by using Instagram (this is a story for another day), I opted not to use my usual app (Map My Run). However, I just calculated the walk on the app’s website. According to the log I just crated, I walked for a total of 9.84 miles. Am I crazy? I think I am.

Tomorrow will definitely be a low key cardio workout. But Mitch, I am putting you on notice. Let’s rock.

FYI – On Sunday, I will provide you with my measurements. The measurements we took will be used as the barometer of where I hope to be by graduation and then in December.

Until next time. Be safe and well.

Categories: Misc., Training Tags: , ,

Project Graduation

March 18, 2012 4 comments

I have not set foot inside a classroom since December; however, I am officially on the road to graduation. On March 8th, I received an e-mail from New York Institute of Technology (NYIT). After two years I completed my masters program – and upon submitting my portfolio and subsequently receiving approval from my advisor, I will graduate with my class on May 20th.

Even though I am not shocked by this news, 2012 is off to a rocking start to the year. For the record I did not mean for the last statement to sound conceited. Fact is I worked hard for this masters degree. For two years I dedicated myself to my career, my education and my health. All three will play an important role this year.

As I continue to recover from arthroscopic hip surgery (three+ months since the surgery), I have received clearance from Dr. Kelly and my physical therapist, Jeremy, to return to the gym. Of course that piece of information is nothing new. What is new, I intend to use my graduation as the motivation I need to get back into shape. Last year, I dedicated my workouts to the NYC Marathon. But around this time last year, my life changed. I was diagnosed with Femoroacetabular Impingement. The diagnosis stalled any aspirations of running the marathon, albeit temporarily.

Three months after surgery, and two weeks after receiving approval for graduation, I am back at the gym and dedicating myself to look good come May 20th. Yes, graduation has become the motivating factor in wanting to be healthy. Do I really need the motivation? Not necessarily. But having this as motivation helps. To add to that I recently re-enlisted the help of a good friend and old personal trainer.

I have known Mitchel Heard for two years. He was instrumental in my good health prior to my FAI diagnosis. And now that I am over with the first phase of my procedure, I am working on getting fit and healthy for graduation. On top of that I will also use this motivation to be as healthy going into my second surgery this December.

Mitch was a trainer at the New York Sports Club (NYSC) for a number of years. I worked with him after my original trainer left the company – and on his recommendation Mitch ultimately became my personal trainer. Over the months we became friends and after a few months of his training methods I noticed improvements. I owed a lot of my initial success to his guidance, advice and methods.

Here we are two years later, and while he no longer works for NYSC, I once again asked Mitch if he still did personal training. He still does personal training. And after a brief discussion we both agreed to collaborate again. Personally, while I am happy with my current gym membership, I feel the personal training staff will not meet my expectations. To re-sign with Mitch was a no brainer. He knows what I am about and I know his methods.

After some back and forth dialogue with Mitch, we agreed to start training today.Project Graduationhas become my rallying cry. Focused on regaining the fitness level I had prior to my surgery is my goal. I know between now and May 2oth I will succeed – and with my friend guiding me on the path to healthy living I will meet my goals.

My day started out at the NYSC doing some light cardio. But once the clocked hit 12:30 I began my first training session. I learned I have a lot to overcome. I do not see that as a hindrance but instead I see that as motivation.

Project Graduation Session 1Yes we started out with light weights but in due time the number of plates will increase. I felt great after this first set – and while I used this machine for the first time in months my arms felt like jello. Oh by the way our sessions did not take place at the NYSC, but instead at the Hudson Athletic Club in Hoboken.

I loved the facility. In my opinion the gym is not your typical gym. While they do offer the traditional “gym” membership, they do allow independent trainers to use the facility for a fee. In essence he charges a package which is comparable to other personal training packages but instead of being committed to that particular gym, Mitch and his customers can train at a variety of gyms including the Hudson Athletic Club. I hope that made sense.

Unlike the NYSC, I had the whole gym to myself. Typically I usually have to find an alternate machine to use due to the initial machine I waned to use in use by other members. Mitch and I did not get that at this place. What a great session.

I did not realize how fast the session went. We did a lot and while I am not comfortable working on my lower body, I am content with today’s session. On Tuesday I will ask my physical therapist on my limitations for lower body training. When I am not lifting I am focused on my therapy by doing cardio and therapeutic hip exercises. But come Tuesday I will ask Jeremy and Amanda on what restrictions I have for my hips.

I am back and I am ready for the challenge. This will be a great ride. I’ll keep you posted folks. Project Graduation has commenced.

Arms and Core TrainingUntil next time folks. Comments are greatly appreciated.

Re-Train My Mind, Body and Soul

February 20, 2012 6 comments

After nine weeks I am improving. Yes I endure the constant soreness and stiffness from the procedure. But while that is expected I truly feel a sense of accomplishment. My body is healing. I have regained a good amount of strength. Physical therapy has taught me a lot about the conditioning I need to take care of my body.

I have officially started a countdown on my long awaited return to the gym. March 1 is my long awaited return to the NYSC. My health has taken a temporary back seat while I recovered from surgery. But as my physical therapist Jeremy has mentioned, returning to the gym will be a great way to compliment the work I have put in at physical therapy. I am ready for the challenge and I am ready to slowly get back on the running path.

My return to the gym will have restrictions. I am unable to run. As a matter of fact, for some reason I refuse to run. My psyche refrains me from even attempting to jog. It is nothing new. I had the same issue in 2008 months after my ankle surgery. Each time I would walk near a pot hole, I would grimace and slowly pace myself as a way to avoid falling into it. In a way I was traumatized. But after a while I slowly overcame my psychological disadvantage.

Today I am at another psychological disadvantage – a repaired hip with inflammation and soreness has prevented me from testing my right hip. Right now I am better off taking it slow and steady. After all both Jeremy and Dr. Kelly have advised me to proceed with caution. Now that was a statement not to deter me from working out (they have encouraged me to return) but instead not to do too much. When I do return I will be ready to take on the challenge.

I will definitely do my best to take my physical therapy methods into the gym. Going into March I will be better prepared and motivated to re-gain my old form. My future looks bright.

Returning will be another step in the right direction.

Categories: Misc., Training Tags: , ,

Reflections From an Injured Man

**Writer’s Note: This entry is not intended to be bitter. I do not want to come out as a person with sour grapes. In fact this entry is a reflection of where I have been and where I want to be in the future. Enjoy!**

As I reflect on the eve of my 31st birthday, I cannot help but feel different. And by “different” I mean I have seen my fair share of good and bad days since July 2, 2010. But for now I will focus on where I have been since the start of 2011.

I entered the new year with a sense of vigor and hope. Entering the new year I was in the best shape of my life. My workout routine along with my family and friends are a major part of my life in 2011. I entered the new year with a clear path. “Focus” was the operative word. No longer did I want to be heartbroken. No longer did I want to be the overweight kid who barely could run a few blocks without running out of breathe. No longer did I want to feel the negativity that has surrounded me for years.

Yes, in 2009 I lost 100 pounds. And for the most part I kept it off. But two months into 2011 I suffered a set-back. If you are a regular reader to “runjorgerun”, by now you know about my diagnosis. In March I was diagnosed with “Femoroacetabular Impingement” in each hip. The condition was a major setback in my pursuit of running in the 2012 NYC Marathon. Upon receiving the news of my condition I immediately stopped working out. Sought a second opinion and received the good news of opting for conservative treatment instead of surgery.

For the last three weeks I have been in physical therapy for my hips. They are still sore but with the power of faith and positive thinking I hope to resume my activities by August.

2011 has not been my year in terms of my health. Outside of the Femoroacetabular Impingement, I was also diagnosed with a neck strain which may have been caused by “knots” in my shoulders and neck. Of course I sought treatment. And let me say getting an adjustment to your neck and/or back does wonders.

And lastly, but most recently, I sought treatment from a oral surgeon. For about a year, I had a lesion on my lower left lip. I thought nothing of it at first but after recently pondering my future with a certain young lady, I decided to seek guidance from an oral surgeon. The good news he believes the lesion on my lip is not cancerous. The bad news to determine how safe the lesion is a biopsy would be required. This past Monday I had Dr. Kim perform the biopsy.

The procedure did not last long and I was placed on your typical Novocaine anesthetic. After 20 minutes, I was out of the surgeons office and on my way to the office. Was I groggy? Sure. But quite frankly, I was in minimal pain. The longest part of the procedure were the stitches. Overall it was an interesting experience; and while I wait for the stitches to dissolve I am confident that on July 12th I will receive positive news.

With everything that has occurred since the start of the year, I can say “I am a shell of myself” but I am not. However I can honestly state that at some point after receiving the news on my hips,  I played the whole “woe is me” card. I did put myself down. All of a sudden I saw mental images of my old self. The person I vowed never to be again.  Fat Jorge reappeared.

The images then became motivation. While my waist size has increased a bit, the voracious appetite I owned years ago has never returned.  Living this way took time to develop. And I refuse to return to my old habits. Now do not get me wrong I do indulge every now and then. But while I am away from the gym I have to indulge a bit less now. However, I may have to make an exception this weekend.

In any event NO SOUR GRAPES on my part.  This negative will turn into a positive. And in no time I will reclaim my fitness. However, as I mentioned earlier I am grateful for the circle of family and friends in my life. Their support and guidance has really been helpful. And to my loving girlfriend Jessica, thank you for your support. You are truly someone I care about.

Until next time. Have a wonderful holiday.

Jorge