I’m Moving to New York!

Hey there!

In the last post, I mentioned how I was moving to New York and according to the countdown app I keep looking at I’ve got 9 days and less than 10 hours till I board that plane. I’ve managed to continue stretching at home and I keep foam rolling because well, we are the best of friends since I have not been able to afford the sessions at my therapist anymore, but that shouldn’t be an excuse. So I continue to do the workouts I learned.

Unfortunately, the pain is still there but it’s due to stress and I’m working on foam rolling more to ease the buildup around my upper back/shoulders and chamomile teas are certainly helping.

Now, like I said before, once I get to New York I need to make sure I get back to stretching properly and taking as much care of my body as I can. So, I’ve done some searching for free yoga and fitness classes and I’ve narrowed down the possibilities. If you have tried any of them or know of any others, please let me know. All of them are free. And free is good!

 

Bryant Park Moves – every week on Saturday (from 5/31 – 9/27) at Bryant Park from 10am – 11am. Basically a modern dance class, led by Limon Dance Company. Cause y’know, sometimes you just need to do something different.

Yoga on the Waterfront – every week on Saturday (from 8/9 – 9/27) at Socrates Sculpture Park from 9:30am – 10:30am.

Club Fit: Free Outdoor Yoga – every week on Saturday (from 6/7 – 9/27). They have 4 locations, the closest one to me will be the Target Bronx Community Garden. From 10am – 11am.

Shape Up NYC Body Sculpting – every week on Saturday (from 8/2 – 12/27). It’s a total body workout that addresses muscle strength and endurance. From 10am – 11am.

Shape Up NYC Dance Fitness – every week on Saturday (from 8/2 – 12/27). Aerobic workout including latin, international and popular music.  From 11:30 – 12:30. If work schedule permits, I can combine both Body Sculpting and Dance Fitness on the same day for a longer workout.

Tai Chi in Socrates Sculpture Park – every week on Sunday (from 8/1 – 9/28). Led by certified instructors. From 11am – 12pm.

Bryant Park FitClub: Pilates with Pilates on Fifth – every week on Monday (from 5/12 – 9/22). Pilates workout addressing spine and deep ab muscles. From 7:30am – 8:30am.

 

While searching for these workouts I cam across these two events going on (lucky me, I get to NYC on Labor Day Weekend).

Run for the Trail: Labor Day B’Ramble - Monday, September 1 at 10am. Proceeds from this 5K/10K race go to The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park’s trail plan. I checked out the venue and the park actually has a very interesting sculpture of a turtle and a hare, meant to honor runners of any pace. I found that very welcoming. Apparently this trail is used by schools and a few of the runs that take place in the Bronx.

NYCRUNS Labor Day 5K & 10K – Monday, September 1 at 8:30am at Firefighters Field in Roosevelt Island.

I will not be racing, but I would like to show up and check out the race. It is labor day monday and I will not be working so this I figure this would be a great way to get out to an event and hopefully meet some people.

 

This is the update for this week. My last day at work is August 28 and my amazing coworkers are throwing me a little farewell party on Friday and I’m excited. My parents are also throwing me a going away/belated graduation party on Saturday and I’m hoping my cousin takes me to Purdy Lounge this weekend as well. This is officially my last weekend in Miami. I’m a little anxious, but ridiculously excited. I’ve literally been looking at possible color options for my bedroom furniture and decor. Yup. I’ve never done that before.

 

Let me know if you are doing any of the above races or workouts in NY or any others. I love to meet up with my readers, I’ve made some pretty good friends this way, and this would be a great way to break in a new beginning.

Quick Update

Finals are over!

I have officially finished my 2nd Associates! Whoop!

I’m a little less stressed now, thankfully.

I have not been going to my therapists and up until yesterday I looked like I was sick because of how tired I had been. My hand was in pain of so much writing I had to do while studying for my finals that I took prescribed Meloxicam and hoped to the heavens that I wouldn’t bleed internally.

I haven’t gone to the therapist for a number of reasons, apart from finals and serious lack of sleep, my car has been getting fixed for almost two weeks now and having to take the bus everywhere in Miami is the absolute worst so that just stacked sleepless hours on top of sleepless hours and I realized my back would hurt a bit less if I just got some rest.

My back hasn’t been too bad at all. I got a tattoo a few weeks ago and I’ve been a bit scared to foam roll, but I will get on that this week just because it’s almost fully healed. I’ve also been sleeping in my parents room because my air messed up and I’m moving so purchasing a new air conditioner seemed pointless. But all in all, it’s been behaving. Any back pain I’ve had in the last 3 weeks is mostly due to stress from finals and my new move. I’ve just been asking my mom to rub some muscle rub on me when I go to bed to ease the discomfort and I wake up feeling new and usually when it’s hardcore bone pain, that just reduces the pain so that’s a good sign.

I am happy to say that it was worth it. I finished my A.S. in CSI:Forensics and I’m a step closer to where I need to be and my motivation is bursting.

I am also really excited to say that I will am leaving Miami and moving to New York! It’s happening in September and I’ve been stressed with job hunting, apartment hunting and selling almost everything I own in order to just take clothes, shoes and money to New York. Unfortunately, I seriously underestimated how many clothes I have. I’m only done with one luggage and my room looks nowhere near empty. So we’re just gonna ship a huge box. But, I’ve managed to sell most of my stuff, like TV, furniture, barely used clothing, purses and my Wii and the games.

Once in New York, I hope to find groups and specific workout clubs for yoga and running so that I can get some workouts in and continue to stretch properly without having to find a new therapist in a new state with almost no money. So, if you know of great places to do this, preferably for free, please leave a comment below and I will check them out.

Thank you!

Germany. Core & Inner Thighs. Beauty.

Hope you’re having a great start to your week!

If you were going for Germany in the World Cup, let’s keep celebrating together. If you were going for Argentina, I’m sorry. You deserved that Cup by the end of the first half, the second half was full of mistakes and well, the extra time wasn’t too hot for you either. I’m a huge Germany fan. I know, people call me a bandwagoner cause I’m “supposed” to solely cheer for the USA. I cheer for the US, just whenever they’re not playing for Germany. For the last 3 World Cups (pretty much as far back as I can remember) I’ve cheered for Germany and I couldn’t be prouder!

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Ahh! Look at the hotness that is Podolski! Thank goodness he can play for Germany! & please tell me that Muller’s facial expressions don’t make you wanna just go have the time of your life with him? And poor Tiger, this match literally had him sweating… and bleeding. It was worth it!

Now, as a continuation of what is supposed to be a series of posts that are meant to help share my experience on my back/hip injury, here are two workouts that I did this week using a medicine ball.

This first workout is called an inner thigh squeeze. What you do is place a small medicine ball in between your knees and squeeze. When you squeeze, you must activate your core and inner thighs. Remember that a strong core will help strengthen your back and during this exercise it will help stabilize your back. You can also use an inflatable ball, the more air the bigger challenge you will have. At the therapists office, I do 20-30 reps.

This next workout is a different version of the bridge exercise I had discussed on a previous post. The only difference in this version is that you have a medicine ball under one foot. So you lay flat on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place a medicine ball under your right foot, keep your left foot flat on the floor. The rest is just a normal bridge. Activate your core and lift your hips off the floor. Make sure to keep your body in a straight line as you lift your hips, hold for at least 3 seconds and bring your body back to the starting position. Do 20 reps with the right foot, then switch and do another 20 reps with the left foot.

It's a bit hard to take a video of myself doing this workout, and this is the closest image I found to give you a visual. However, instead of your other foot being extended, your foot needs to remain on the floor.

It’s a bit hard to take a video of myself doing this workout, and this is the closest image I found to give you a visual. However, instead of your other foot being extended, your foot needs to remain on the floor.

 

I’ve got two sessions this week, one Tuesday afternoon and one Friday morning. I’m hoping that I can begin running at the therapists office. He said that he would like for me to begin running under his supervision first and I’m hoping that that day comes this week. I did ask him about the possibility of jumping rope and he stated that although he won’t completely say no, he suggests that I find alternative workouts so that I don’t disrupt my back so soon due to the jumping movement. After doing some research on Google, which hasn’t been much help, I’ve come to the conclusion that modified burpees might be the way to go. Modified burpees are basically slow paced, very deliberate and more focused on proper form rather than intensity. So for example, I wouldn’t jump back from the push up position to the squat position and then jump up, I would just go back to the squat position and come upright and then repeat.

Do you have any suggestions on exercises that can be done as an alternative to jump rope?

 

Before you leave, take a look at the following video. You might have already seen it on the social media of your choice but I just found it and it made me smile. As a person who has struggled for years with her weight and the process of getting into her best possible shape, as a person who let herself go during a 6 year relationship, as a person who after 6 years of a relationship ended up single and is just trying to remember the beauty of life and learning to appreciate myself, alone, not because I can’t be with anyone but because I need to be with only myself for a while. As that person, and many more, I am glad there are videos and songs like these, relaying a message that needs to be heard.  Enjoy!

Update. Dior. Germany. Run. All in One.

Just a quick update on my status:

Summer semesters are the worst. Started a new class two weeks ago and my body is still getting accustomed to the new sleep pattern so I’ve been a bit bummed out lately. Unfortunately, the worse part is that my body will get accustomed to the new schedule, probably by the end of this week and then school ends at the end of July and it’ll have to adapt to a new schedule once again.

Oh well. We do what we have to in order to achieve success in every way.

This past week, I was not able to make it to my therapy sessions, however, I know the workouts and stretches that we have been doing and I was still able to set aside at least 30 minutes at home just for stretching. Now, that I feel my back pain has been reduced enough, I have been doing some relatively easy chest/back and lower body workouts which are also helping me keep track of my progress.  Last Monday, I did unfortunately feel enough back pain to want to sleep in and skip class but the rest of the week has been a breeze.

Lower back was aching real bad, foam rolled for a few minutes, stretched and then literally fell asleep with my ice pack.

Lower back was aching real bad, foam rolled for a few minutes, stretched and then literally fell asleep with my ice pack.

I have already set up my appointments for this week and I’m looking forward to them. My body misses the 10 minutes of warmth and electrical pulses (at a very high intensity, my therapist is always amused by this) and of course the amazing lower back massage. This weeks question will be: How OK is it for me to jump rope? I’m hoping the knee impact won’t be harsh enough for him to tell me to hold off on the idea.

Now that I’ve given you my update on therapy, let me share the wonders of life with you:

Meet Dior Ariana Booker Ortega! She’s my newest baby niece and she is so freaking cute! Baby Dior was born on July 1st and I finally got to meet her on the 3rd. This is my cousin’s second baby and just like I did with Mariah, her first baby, I had to go to the hospital at least once to help her feed, change and spoil the newest member of our family. Some of the pictures below look almost identical, but she’s making different cute faces in each, lol. Babies are too cute.

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Also, if you have me on Facebook as a friend, follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you might know that I am super into this World Cup. Just like I have been into the the World Cups for the last 12 years. I love soccer, I don’t play it because I am honestly and secretly a bit scared of getting hit with the ball (I once broke a nail, and not just the tip). For the past 3 World Cups, I’ve gone for Germany, why? I’ve always cheered for them and they’ve been my team for as long as I can remember. Even if Nicaragua (where my family is from) would play, I’d still go for Germany. It’s my dream to get there and live there. Anywho, I’m super excited we are in the semi finals and I’m hoping and praying for dear life that the arbitrage is not as horrible as it was during the Brazil and Colombia quarter finals. Here are some pictures of me as a super excited Germany fan:

& lastly, I haven’t ran since December. I haven’t ran in a race since November. As a runner, this is frustrating and apparently one thing runners like to talk about is running. Obviously. Attempting to focus on other projects, school and work I’ve attempted to reduce the number of times I discuss missing waking up at 6am to hurriedly get out to a race and I’ve held back the urge to go raid all these sports stores of anything running gear so that I can have it all when I finally get back to running. Apparently, I’ve succeeded at none of that. My supervisor’s friend, who I’ve only really spoken to about a total of 30 minutes in the 6 years I’ve worked at my job, has realized I’m in need of some serious help. In the past, he’s lent me his stick roller, helped me find good compression socks and given me tips on performance and nutrition. Well, here’s his newest gift to me:

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I plan on starting it as soon as school ends this semester. He’s been running halfs and fulls for a couple of years and he’s helped another great friend of mine complete her own share of races. I can’t wait!

Have you read this book? What others do you recommend?

How was your 4th of July weekend?

How strong is your World Cup Fever?! Who are you rooting for?

Back Injury: Core Workouts

Hi there!

As I mentioned last week, I will be doing a series of posts where I talk about injuries, their prevention and their treatment, including workouts, stretches and the progress that I am making towards my recovery and how it may benefit anyone with a back and an IT band injury.

In the previous post, I gave you a list of general rules that you should follow when you are suffering from an injury. Before I show you some of the workouts that I have been doing during my therapy sessions, let me tell you the injury specific rules that I have been given by my therapist for my back and IT band injury. After a few weeks of treatment, about 10 sessions, I can:

  • Walk for maximum of 30 minutes.
  • No running. The less impact on the knees, the better.
  • No biking. Even if seat is at proper height, a bike does not have back support and forces you to bend your back.
  • You can use the bike at the gym, the one with the actual chair and a back rest. No spinning. No fun bike rides.
  • Weights can be used but should be light, and not used over head.
  • Squats should preferably be done with a stability ball on your back.
  • Use proper form, when walking, sitting or bending down.
  • No heels! Specially when you’re going to be dancing for over 4 hours non stop.

Running on a treadmill takes long enough, but walking… I have no idea what to do with myself when I’m walking on a treadmill.

 

So what do I do every time I go to my therapists office?

Well, I start off with electrodes on my back and heat pads. He then stretches me out a bit, sees how tight certain muscles have gotten after the last visit and then gives me a massage, very good lower back massage. Then he leaves me alone to do a few core workouts.

Why core workouts if I’m dealing with a back injury?

A strong core strengthens your back. A strong core helps you improve your posture not just when sitting down, but when you workout and when you walk and in anything that you do. A strong core will help prevent injuries, specially back injuries, and it will give you stability. Think of how everything that you do uses your core.

So what are some of the core workouts that I do at the therapist’s office and at home?

This first core workout is very simple. You contract your core with your knees bent, and you bring your right knee to your chest and back down. As soon as your right foot hits the floor, bring your left knee to your chest and back down. Repeat. It’s that simple. It’s not meant to be a tough ab workout, it’s meant to help your back loosen up a bit. Start off with 10 reps. Increase by 5 reps every time.

(Sorry, it’s sideways) This second workout involves a stability ball. Lay down on your back and place the stability under your legs, knees bent.  Once again, contract your core and with your back and shoulders on the floor, move both knees to the right, back to center, stop, and then to the left. Then back to the center, right, center, left. Keep repeating. Start off with 10 reps for each side. Increase by 5 reps every time. If the twisting movement creates a discomfort, do not continue.

This workout involves a stability ball as well. With your legs straight, place your heels on the stability ball. Contract your core and bring your knees to your chest, without taking your heels off the stability ball. Repeat for at least 10 reps. Increase by 5 reps every time.

To perform the bridge exercise, lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Contract your core and lift your hips off the floor. The trick here is to squeeze your butt here and at the same time make sure that you are using your core to lift your hips. When you lift your hips keep your back straight, there is no need to lift too high. Repeat for 10 reps, holding for 3 seconds at each rise. Increase by 5 reps every time. Thankfully, this also works out your glutes.

These are a few of the core workouts that I started off with in my sessions. They sound very easy and they can be, depending on what your fitness level is when you begin any treatment, but you have to remember that core workouts will help strengthen your back and that progress is always progress. If you feel that you can start off with more than 10 reps, go ahead, just always be conscious of any discomfort or pain. Listen to your body and stop if necessary. I am up to 20 reps for some of these workouts and 30 reps for others, depending on what other workouts I combine them with.

**Please consult your physician/therapist about exercises listed above. The above workouts have been chosen for me to follow as per my physical therapists advice for treatment of my back injury.