Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years Now

With the new year on the doorstep, people spend more time looking back(see: recaps) and to the future(see: resolutions). Unfortunately, it is not limited to the holidays. We talk about living each day to the fullest then spend each day focusing on the past or future. We are so often looking to our past with fondness(or regret) and our future with trepidation (or anticipation) that we miss the present moments. Our lives are just a series of present moments. Now, now... and now, and now.....

You may not be able to control where you are or what you need to do right now to stay employed but you can certainly control how you feel and whether you remain in the moment instead of looking forward to some "other" time. There will always be some other time but why not just be in the one that's happening now? How many times have you reached for a second bite of dessert while still having the first in your mouth or planned another vacation while still on one? And those are fun things!

Instead of dreading your day of work ahead of you, why not do it with intention? Focus on something positive like how deep your breaths can be, how springy your steps are, or maybe just the warmth of your office chair. I think we are always so driven by the future that we very rarely just get to appreciate the moments of our lives. So for this new year join those people that you love doing the things that you love and try to think of nothing but how much you are glad for where you are at this very moment and stop worrying about the future. All things will eventually change so don't try to stop(or worry) about that occurring but rather just enjoy and appreciate the moments that you do have before they are gone... and gone... and gone...

A easy way to stay mindful and in the moment:

May we all be filled with lovingkindness.

May we all be safe from inner and outer dangers.

May we all be well in body and mind.

May we all be at ease and happy.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Year(s) In Review

I figured since everyone, including Amber, has done a year in review, I would as well. I changed it up a little in that this will be the first two years of the decade(2011-2012) in review.

The Year of the Broken Spoke
Amber's first year as a professional triathlete was not without incident as she had seemed to be cursed by a broken spoke that would never die. First at Ironman St George where she sat on the side of the road for 45 minutes because nobody else had 650 wheels, before having a bike mechanic tape the spoke in place. Then a month after losing out on a podium spot by 4 seconds(the time it took her to hug me on the run course) at Mooseman, she suffered another broken spoke at Ironman Lake Placid. Was she doomed at the Ironman Distance? One would think so until Ironman Arizona came where she put together a great race and finished with a solid 9:42. Oh yeah, and she came in second place at the Snowshoe Nationals out in Cable, Wisconsin.
Amber plugging up before Snowshoe Nationals
In the pain cave
Making the US team! Again!

Amber meeting new people
Galveston, Texas
Zion National Park
Vegas Baby!
St George, UT
Danny trying to catch Amber at Mount Washington

The Ferreira's at the 3rd Annual Gold Jacket Tournament

Fellow triathlete, Eric Gattie, getting married

Genny getting married the day before Eric-in Philadelphia-that made for a long wedding road trip weekend

Danny suffering through Cape Cod Marathon
Meanwhile, I, apparently not having gotten my fill of travel with trips to Wisconsin, Galveston Texas and St. George Utah, decided to travel with my mom to visit my sister in Munich, Germany. Then a few months later traveled again to Shanghai and Beijing. It was a great year to travel.

The great wall with Marilyn and Matt

Hiking with my mom, sister and sister's fiance

Salzburg, Austria


Supposedly Georgia's Largest Flea Market-discovered after moving Andrew to Atlanta
2012 will always be remembered as the year where we lost our cousin Kevin. His death helped me put in perspective what was truly important to me in life and helped me try to live each day like it could be my last. I cut out activities that I do not enjoy and have started to focus more on those that I do.

Kevin and me playing baggo
Falling Waters with cousin Will

My parents at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame shortly before the Cleveland Marathon
Hiking Katahdin
Descending Mountain Washington
Deep Sea Fishing with my dad and brother, Matt
Right before Danny's retirement from Ironman races
At the RI6 Hour Relay with Rich L, Sean S, and J Massa
Amber and Danny at Matt's Wedding
aR after Danny's race director debut at Winter Wild Championships
Meanwhile, Amber took it to mean she needed to eat and race more which is exactly what she did.
Amber after getting the Silver Medal at the World Snowshoe Championships
Amber eating

Amber Racing

Amber Winning(Pumpkinman)

Amber eating

Amber Racing

Amber Winning(Rock N Race)

Amber eating some more
  To be fair I also had my share of eating, especially when I went down to Atlanta with all the food contests:

But not impossible

The difference is Amber is ripped.

A rare moment of down time

Two Little Elves

Amber and Craig Alexander

A great homestay in Oceanside CA

A superstar in our midst

Must be taper time?

See you next year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Motion is Lotion

The Franconia Ridge Line as seen from Cannon Mountain
At the risk of having Amber never contribute to or read this blog again, I have entitled this blog post Motion is Lotion. She absolutely hates this expression and likens it to fingernails down a chalkboard. We hear it so often as physical therapist that it does get pretty tiring. However it really is an amazing aphorism. Just like if you don't use it you lose it. Except maybe not quite logical. Motion is lotion implies that the more you move the better you feel. When you think about it, though, motion is lotion suggests that movement makes your a slippery mess that may fall on the ground and injure yourself further. Oh boy, I guess I can see Amber's point.

Nevertheless the implicit meaning is that if you move you will feel better. And it's true. I strained my back on Christmas Day trying to sneak down the chimney. Or maybe just lifting something too heavy but let's pretend. I was les miserables all throughout the day even when watching an amazing(with the exception of Russel Crowe's Javert) Les Mis.
Deidre trying to help with making my pain better
I awoke feeling even more stiff and sore and did not want to do anything. However, as many of you may know, winter has started. And with winter has come my winter goal: hike all 48 4,000+ foot peaks in NH. With such a good day, I couldn't pass it up. So I called up Deidre and Myles Chase and we headed up to Cannon Mountain.
Myles and Deidre

The hour plus drive did not help the back and by the time I had gotten up there, I was starting to doubt my decision to make the trip. However, as we steadily ascended, my back got better and better to the point when we reached the summit, I did even notice it. It may not have resolved in its entirety but it became very manageable. Imagine if our first reaction to muscle strains was movement rather than medication- I think we may be in a much better state as a society in regard to chronic pain.


 Anecdotally it is always easy to say what worked for you, so don't take my word for it. Below are just a few references that would agree that motion is lotion. OR rather that motion is the potion (or elixir of life) that can help your get back moving. Happy reading!

Sculco AD, Paup DC, Fernhall B, Sculco MJ. Effects of aerobic exercise on low back pain patients in treatment. Spine J. 2001 Mar-Apr;1(2):95-101.

Olivier N, Thevenon A, Berthoin S, Prieur F. An exercise therapy program can increase oxygenation and blood volume of the erector spinae muscle during exercise in chronic low back pain patients. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2012

Murtezani A, Hundozi H, Orovcanec N, Sllamniku S, Osmani T. A comparison of high intensity aerobic exercise and passive modalities for the treatment of workers with chronic low back pain: a randomized, controlled trial. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2011 Sep;47(3):359-66.

Gencay-Can A, Gunendi Z, Suleyman Can S, Sepici V, Çeviker N. The effects of early aerobic exercise after single-level lumbar microdiscectomy: a prospective, controlled trial. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2010 Dec;46(4):489-96.

Kankaanpää M, Taimela S, Airaksinen O, Hänninen O. The efficacy of active rehabilitation in chronic low back pain. Effect on pain intensity, self-experienced disability, and lumbar fatigability. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1999 May 15;24(10):1034-42.

van der Velde G, Mierau D. The effect of exercise on percentile rank aerobic capacity, pain, and self-rated disability in patients with chronic low-back pain: a retrospective chart review. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2000 Nov;81(11):1457-63.