Saturday, November 12, 2011

Kicking Cystic Fibrosis!!

Guest Post by Eric Verdon

My name's Eric, and I'm 17 years old from the Great White North's capital, Ottawa. On October 27th I officially made it 4 years that I have been blowing an FEV1 of over 100%, and I owe those numbers to exercise. At the age of 4 my parents put me in soccer, and it wasn't until I was 16 that I stopped playing. I've spent countless hours at the soccer field near my house, literally countless. I have spent summers there, the soccer field WAS my second home, and it really payed off. I managed to make a provincial team, and I played with them for three seasons. All of that time spent running around the field with a ball, practicing my shot, and whatever else I ended up doing there for hours definitely payed off for my soccer skills, but more importantly it payed off for my health.

This all started about 5 years ago, and during that time it definitely started to show that an increase in my health was being made. In about 2 years, I jumped 3 divisions and made it to a provincial level, and from 14-16 I continued to play with the same team. The practices were brutal and and honestly there were mornings I wasn't getting out of bed because my abs hurt too much, or because us scrawny soccer players can do a max of 15 pushups and our coach squeezed one more out of us. In the end it all really payed off, because once I made that provincial team my PFTs finally reached 100%. The amount of mucus I was coughing up was huge, disgusting really (ask my girlfriend), but great for me. The numbers didn't increase much for a good while after, not until I quit soccer and began running.

Running is such a simple thing (and free!) and so good for people like us with Cystic Fibrosis. I don't exactly know why running gets stuff up, maybe it's the increased and harder breathing, or maybe it's the vibration of both feet hitting the ground, but whatever it is it gets junk out of our lungs. I began running about 3-4 times a week about a year ago, and not long after that I did my first 10km run, and did it in a time of 44:37. That's when I hit my highest PFT at 114%! It's been all over the place since then, as I've dealt with minor complications, but not once did it drop below 100%.

Now I've added swimming, biking, and lifting weights to my regime, and am really looking forward to completing my first triathlon next summer! Every single Cyster and Fibro can benefit from running twice a week, even once a week! There are countless stories of CF patients increasing their lung function and living a better life because of activity, and it doesn't necesarily have to be running, go join a recreational soccer team, basketball or any of the sort! Go get a gym membership and start lifting weights, or use the cardio machines they've got there. Anything is better than nothing! If this 17 year old boy can take control of his health, then anyone can.

Bio: My name's Eric Verdon, and I'm from Ottawa, Canada. My parents put me in soccer at the age of 4, and I continued it until I was 16. When I stopped playing, I found a new passion in running. Today I swim, bike and continue to run in hopes to complete my first triathlon next summer. I absolutely love learning about the body and am planning on studying kinesiology next year in hopes to continue my studies into medical school, focusing on sports medicine.

Note from Ronnie: I just want to thank Eric for sharing his story. I think it's so important to remember something he touched on - something is better than nothing! Many of us decide that since we can't do a lot of exercise, we'd rather just do none at all. Just as Eric pointed out however, there are plenty of options available to us if we want to get active. It's all about us choosing to quit making excuses and as Nike says, "Just Do It!!". Thank you again Eric for sharing your inspirational story!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Where's Mckenna?

Jezzabel was so confused after we laid Mckenna down in her crib when we first got back from the hospital. Every time Mckenna would make a sound, Jezzabel would frantically look for her. We caught one of those times on film.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Wraps & Small Changes

It's thankful Thursday time! We all have so much to be thankful for and we love to take this opportunity just to write down each and everything that comes to mind. Please take this time to share with us what you're thankful for as well. If you have a blog expressing your thankfulness, please share the link! Without further ado, here's what we're thankful for:

Mandi's List:
I'm thankful for wraps. No, not like the other form of a sandwich (although I do like those) - I'm talking the big long pieces of fabric used to strap your baby onto your torso. I have been wearing Mckenna the last few days and man is it awesome to have her near, hands free, sound asleep while I get other things done! Can't beat it.

I'm thankful to be running again. I'm starting out really slow (did 2 miles the first day and 2.5 the second), but never-the-less it feels awesome to be running again.

I'm thankful for Starbucks. I have been going to Starbucks in the mornings and man do I look forward to it each night as I sit awake feeding our little love bug. Something about a tasty warm treat in the morning hits the spot and makes the day start out right!

Ronnie's List:

I'm so thankful that our gym is so close to our house. The gym is only about .4 miles away which is always a perfect distance for a quick bike ride or a warm-up run before my workout. There is no doubt that I've been able to be consistent in going to the gym because it is so close. If you're thinking about joining a gym, don't worry about the newest one or the one with the nicest equipment, find the closest one and join today!

I'm so thankful to be witnessing the small changes in Mckenna each and every day. She seems to be more interactive with us and it may just be my imagination, but I think I can get her to smile on command now. I'm really excited for what the future holds and thought of her growing each and every day is not only a little bit scary, but obviously very awesome.

I'm thankful for my ability to get sore. That probably seems like a funny one as I sit here barely being able to get off of my chair because of the pain in my butt, hamstrings and calves, but that means I'm still healthy enough to work them out! I'm just so thankful that the physical capacity to challenge myself in the gym and “hang with” the other meatheads doing crazy workouts right next to me :)
So, what are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Workout Wednesday: New Exciting Workout!

In case any of you reading this are looking for a new exciting workout, I wanted to share the one I am currently trying. I've been consistently doing the same workout routine for about 6 months now and it was getting a bit mundane. I decided to search around for an "out of the box" workout and this is what I came up with. It was apparently inspired by the movie 300.

All of these exercises are done with no rest between sets:

Pullups - 25 reps

Barbell Deadlift - 50 reps

Pushups - 50 reps

Body Weight Squat Jumps - 50 reps

V-Ups - 50 reps

Single-Arm Clean-and-Press - 50 reps

Pullups - 25 reps

I can tell you from firsthand experience that this is an absolute booty-kicker!! I'm planning on not being able to walk correctly for the next week or so. What I love about it is it's just as much of an anaerobic workout as it is an aerobic one. Best of both worlds!

If you end up trying it out, let me know what you think :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Extra Running Motivation

Had a pretty cool experience today -running with my daughter!

One of the gifts we received was a jogging stroller as my mom knew that Mandi would want to get back into running as soon as possible. Little did we know, that not only would it be something that I would enjoy, but something that I could use so soon.

As many of you know I have been rehabbing my foot for quite some time now and have not been able to run. It's been months now that I've been backing off any exercise that requires the pounding of my feet and strangely enough, I actually missed running. I would expect somebody who loves to run to feel those emotions, but coming from a guy who absolutely loathes running, I was surprised that I missed it. Fortunately while rehabbing my foot (this consisted of different stretches, ice, heat, rest etc.) I did discover a great way to get my cardio in, as I've also talked about on this blog, and that is spin class! Spin class is 45 min. of pure torture but it gets my heart rate going and keeps my lungs expanded for almost the entire time. I'm so thankful that I discovered that class.

Sorry, I'm getting off track.

Anyway, during the last couple of weeks I have been attempting to slowly get back into running. I'll go for a short run here or a quick sprint there, either on the treadmill or outside, in attempt to slowly work my way back into running shape. I've also been trying to pay attention to my body to make sure I'm not pushing it more than I should be. The last thing I want to do while getting back into this is re-injuring my foot. I was planning on going for a run today and when I mentioned this to Mandi she suggested that we run together with Mckenna in tow. I had first balked at the idea knowing that Mandi generally leaves me in the dust, but just as quick as I balked, she reminded me that she is also getting back into running shape. So off we went!

I insisted on running with the jogging stroller because I really felt like it was something that could come in handy as my legs started to tire. I pictured myself casually “leaning” on the stroller for a little bit of extra support towards the end of my run. Let me tell you, not only did I lean on the stroller a bit towards the end, but I also leaned on it a bit throughout the entire run. It provided some much needed support and I really feel like I ran faster than normal. I'm not sure if this is the case or not but sometimes the feeling of running faster is just as good as actually running faster :)

The last thing that running with the stroller provided was some good old-fashioned motivation. When I set out to run, in my mind, I didn't see us running as far as we did. That was the awesome thing about having Mckenna with us. Every time that I wanted to slow down or stop I just looked down and saw her staring back at me...well, she was asleep, but you know what I mean. Let's be serious, if I can't be motivated by that, I might as well pack it in.

I can tell you this, I won't be packing it in anytime soon!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

First Day Back in the Saddle

As many of you know, you're supposed to take some time to recover after having a baby. Makes total sense, you shoot a cannon ball through the eye of a needle, your body probably wants to take some time to heal. Generally they tell you to wait 6 weeks to really get back into your normal routines. However, 6 weeks seemed a little long to me. My discharge instructions were to not lift anything heavier than my baby...really?! They think someone can't and won't lift something heavier than 6lbs for 6 weeks?! That would mean I couldn't even lift a full gallon of milk on my own - a little silly if you ask me.

Anywhooo, I decided to just go by how my body was feeling, and slowly ease back into my normal exercise routine. Last week I started walking farther distances (2-2.5 miles) to see how my body did with that. I felt great and didn't have any increased bleeding (Sorry if you're eating lunch!! That's just one key thing they say to watch for to know if you're over-exerting yourself). Since I was able to walk farther and do more last week with no issues, I decided to try to run starting today. I'll be honest, I wasn't really looking forward to it when I woke up this morning. I was excited to get back into my normal groove, and this was the first step, but I wasn't exactly giddy about strapping on my running shoes. But today was the day that I had committed to in my mind, so today was the day I was going to do it.

I was nervous. Why? No clue. Maybe because I wanted so badly for it to be easy and comfortable, but I was a afraid I'd feel like Frankenstein, awkwardly making my way down the sidewalk. I decided to suck up the anxious feeling (what else can you do with an unjustified emotion, right?!) and hit the road. The first few steps felt just like I anticipated, awkward but exciting. I felt great. "I'm doing it...I'm doing it and I'm a rockstar!" I thought to myself the first 30 seconds. "People are wimps for waiting 6 weeks." I thought to myself as I hit the one minute mark. "Gosh. I stayed in better shape than I thought." I pat myself on the back as I made it another 30 seconds. "Ouch, what's that?!" I was quickly humbled 2 minutes in. "Yikes, that's a serious side cramp," my growing head began to shrink. "OOO yowzers, that doesn't feel awesome," I thought as my left knee let me know it wasn't excited about running. "OH" "EH" "OWWIE" I thought to myself as I Frankensteined down the sidewalk.

Never-the-less 2 miles and 20 minutes later the torture was over. I was back in my house, forgetting the discomfort of the first time back at it. "Ok, that wasn't so bad." I thought to myself as the discomforts from the run had already faded away....faded away just as quickly as they came; quickly enough to make me think, "Welp, at least tomorrow will be better."

Moral of the story? Running pretty much sucks for everyone who's out of shape! But I can assure you, there's no day as bad as the first day. So if you're out of shape and starting to run again...join me in my new anthem: tomorrow will be better!