Thursday, July 23, 2009

I’m a changed woman.

I didn’t work the other day, so my friend Leah and I decided to enjoy the day and fab weather by taking a stroll around the lake. Como Lake in Saint Paul, to be exact.

This is one of my favorite places, and I think that’s because it truly was what inspired me to begin working out again. People are running, walking, biking, picnicking. Ducks are swimming. Nature is nature-ing.

There is so much to look at that I don’t get bored with what I’m doing. My iPod definitely helps, too. (The other day I caught myself air guitaring to Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock and Roll” while jogging.) It was nice to walk with Leah and chit-chat. We did two laps like nothin’. If it wasn’t for my feet beginning to ache (flip flops = bad idea), we probably would have circled around another time. Leah was also there to photograph my efforts.

I brought along my 2-lb hand weights, which feel like nothing at first, but I can definitely notice my biceps working more than with no weights. I’ve been majorly lacking on my arm exercises, and I think every little bit helps.

I didn’t really feel like sitting around when I got back to my apartment, so I went to my gym down the hall and did some arm lifting with the weight machine. Then I went back to my apartment to read. I had this totally foreign thought for me: Why don’t I read while on the recumbent bike? I was still in my workout clothes, so why not?! And that’s exactly what I did.

It was my day off work, and all I wanted was physical activity. I’m so glad I forced myself to work out 6 of 7 days last week because now I actually WANT to. My new life rocks.

I went to work the next day and there was a blood drive going on. I’ve never given blood before because a) I’m scared of needles. b) I get super queasy when I think about what’s actually happening. c) I’m a wimp. However, I walked right up to the check-in table and asked if there were any openings. There was an opening in 1.5 hours. Crap. Not really a lot of time to prepare myself mentally for my whimsical idea, but I made the appointment anyway.

I was soooo nervous I thought I was going to vom. The only thing keeping me motivated was knowing that I could be helping someone and possibly saving a life. Also, the way I figure it, I might need blood someday, and I would be incredibly grateful for the person who donated.

While I answered multiple questions about my life, a nice girl pricked my finger (ouch!) and tested my blood. I was worried my iron levels would be too low since I don’t eat meat, but I passed with flying colors! That meant two things: I’m getting enough iron in my diet (yessss) AND I’m really gonna go through with this blood donation thing. Yikes!

My coworker friend Michelle visited me while the blood-taker woman was setting things up. She definitely eased my nerves a bit and took my mind off what was about to happen. (Thank you, Michelle). I really don’t know a more glamorous photo op than lying and waiting to be poked in the arm, so Michelle snapped a shot.

Do I look terrified? I think I did a good job of masking my fear, but I do know how damp my clothes were getting. And then something wonderful happened … Blood-taker woman says to me, “Normally I’d have you sit up while giving blood, but since you’re a first-timer and you’re skinny, I’m going to have you lie down.” I know I looked way too giddy for such a throwaway comment, but I responded with, “Wow! You think I’m skinny?!” She obviously had no idea about what I used to look like, so I’m sure she thought I was as creeptastic as I felt.

Anyway, long story short (too late?), I donated a bag of my very own blood, and it wasn’t scary once I got going and it didn’t hurt. I did, however, almost pass out in the snack area afterward, but that was my fault as an amateur. I was just moving too fast too soon.

I wore my “I MAKE A DIFFERENCE” nametag for the rest of the day. My coworkers know my name (duh), but I was pretty proud of myself. Every time I looked in the mirror, I was reminded of how I conquered one of my fears. Yay me!

Before I go, I promise to work out every day this weekend. What are you going to do? How about something great for yourself, and maybe a little something nice for someone else, too :) Peace.


  1. I wish we had a walking path like that.

    Congrats on giving blood! You are so brave.

  2. no prob. :) i successfully recruited 2 people to give blood at the drive who otherwise wouldn't have, so major WIN. i figure it's the easiest way to help others, since you just lay in a chair for a while and then they give you cookies, and you don't actually have to interact with people. :D

  3. great job on the walking, the double-gym time, and giving blood. It is amazing to realize that you did just save a life by donating your blood!

  4. That's such a great story! You spent one day doing good things for yourself, then the next day decided to do something good for somebody else. AND you overcame some of your fears. Fastastic! I hope now that you've had one good experience, you'll continue to give blood in the future!

  5. Amazing! You are such an inspiration!!! Keep up the good work!

    I wish we had walking paths like yours. I have access to the Rail-Trail (the old railroad tracks that are now a paved path) but it is straight and boring....there is nothing to look at!

  6. You are freaking thin!!! Like adorably thin! I love that you started your own blog because it's such a motivation to me to see how far you've come. And congrats on giving blood, that's extremely awesome. If it helps you to feel even better (and so maybe you'll do it again!) I thought I would tell you a little bit about me. At the beg. of 2007 my appendix ruptured but all of these doctors and specialists couldn't figure out what was wrong so I had a ruptured appendix for over a month before I went in for surgery. Because of that I was very, very sick and it wasn't all that certain I was going to make it. I ended up needing 3 pints of blood after my first surgery and then another two after my second surgery. My parents wanted to donate, but they couldn't because we lived in England (Mad Cow Disease and all) so I had to rely on strangers for that blood-strangers helped save my life...strangers like you! Okay, this is making me tear up, but I wanted you to know exactly how important and amazing what you did was.

  7. Good job on pushing yourself to just do it! I totally get into the habit of thinking of things for too long and then making it a way bigger deal in my mind then it really is - sometimes we just need to hurry up and get it over with!

    I used to but got out of the habit of holding weights on the elliptical. Nothing heavy, just 2lb weights. It totally gives my arms a different workout - thanks for the reminder, I'm going to do that this weekend!

  8. Congratulations! And what an inspiring post. I think I am going to add in arm weights to my walks too. :)

    I'm enjoying your blog.