Decathlon: Sports Supplies Heaven

Getting sports supplies is now a lot easier and better than before. I now have access to whatever I need to support my efforts to stay active and fit, thanks to Decathlon store located inside Festival Mall Alabang. This place is sports heaven for adults as Toy Kingdom or Toys ‘R Us is to kids.

We dropped by yesterday to check out running stuffs on my list and once again Decathlon didn’t disappoint. I got my two-bottle belt (Php800), race bib number belt (Php250), and smartphone armband (Php450). I can now take selfies during my runs. Just kidding. Online stores like Lazada sell similar items, could be even cheaper, but being in a physical store allows me to check the quality and fit so I prefer doing it if I have the time.

Running and cross- training stuffs from Decathlon.

On non-running days, normally weekdays, I do daily cross-training at home before I go to work. Weeks ago I started progression on handstand and I can now do it facing the wall. Then I discovered I could perform the human flag progression without a straight pole–though I might have one fabricated in the guise of the kittens’ scratching post and trail. I also found a way to start front levers. Hint: pull-up prep (using Domyos pull-up bar from Decathlon which I bought November last year).

I find facing the wall trickier than back against the wall.

To improve cross-training I also added one small but helpful item in my shopping list–50-kg band. I already tested it today and it made me achieve pull-ups drop sets. A worthy purchase for only Php480.

My workout supplies hanger is getting crowded.

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Marcus also loves Decathlon even if he can’t walk. (I just feel guilty seeing him watch kids use the trampoline and test the bikes.) He likes wearing and trying out items on display. Yesterday he donned the boxing headgear and gloves. Then he asked me to demo the parallel bars and pull-up rack. He also played goalie while I kick the football to him. I hope he keeps the positive attitude.

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Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Didn’t run but an hour bodyweight training burned yesterday’s cheeseburger.)

Bye Fat Wedding Ring

I recently read an article about someone trying to avoid taking sugar for a month and I immediately thought it isn’t a feat I would succeed at. An honest assessment. It was another challenge worth checking though. With the 711 run closing in I had my mind set to cut on more sources of sweets to lose a couple weight further this week.

So far I have resisted opening the packets of Swiss Miss that’s been staring at me every time I open my workstation drawer but that’s all about it. I have a sweet tooth and can’t imagine completely letting go of sweet treats. Me regularly digging in on the Kirkland candy jar for dessert just cannot be stopped–for now. But the fat loss seems to continue. Take note, fat loss.

My weight have been stable despite my caloric deficit diet. If the fitness articles I’ve read are correct, then there’s a good explanation for my current weight plateau. Some studies show that the intake of supplements and recovery food that follow after every workout is part of the reasons that there won’t be any movement in the weighing scale. During recovery the body absorbs fluids to help heal the stressed muscles that result to muscle growth one way or another. Makes perfect sense.

Will have the right ring size moving forward.

My current diet has one obvious effect, however. My wedding ring has loosened further. I’ve been wearing mine on my middle finger for years and even that can no longer hold it in place. If I don’t pay extra attention it’ll fall off down the washroom drain. Placing the ring on my thumb is an option but would look weird. So I’m letting go of it until I either have it adjusted or replaced. Today I will be using my wife’s ring with my name on it as she stays at home most of the time anyway. Nineteen years later, a wedding ring will be on the right finger.

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On rare occasions our son steps out of the house at night. Tonight is one of those as we keep watch of the transition from blue to blood moon. Dear clouds, please don’t fail Marcus.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Survived mood swings. Must be the blue blood moon.)

Daylight Runs

I seem to start liking the idea of running when and while the sun is up. For almost a year I have preferred doing my runs very early morning while it’s still dark and cold outside and when there are still few curious onlookers along the way. The lesser people, the better was among my motivations.

Things have changed lately however. I began to realize that I couldn’t take vitamin D supplements forever to compensate the lack of exposure to sunlight. My wife seems to have also accepted that we can’t wake Marcus up early to attend Sunday mass (and expect neither me nor him not to be grumpy in the church) thus leaving her doing it on our behalf. She goes to church, I stay in bed and look after Marcus until he wakes up. So there goes my dark weekend runs.

Besides dealing with more people, pros of running in daylight does outweigh its cons. Visibility for one is a big plus. I now have lesser chances of stepping into animal poop, tripping over invisible potholes and uneven road segments, getting side swiped by sleepy/drunk drivers, and being chased and bitten by rabid stray dogs just to name a few.

More running options have also become available. Like this morning my wish to try going uphill close to the foot of Mt. Makiling materialized. I soon discovered that it was tougher than I first thought. Few months ago I was with Marcus pushing him in his wheelchair but it was more of a leisurely walk. This time I was running, albeit stopping every now and then, and I had my nose flaring, my throat drying up halfway of my run.

How high did I get? Well, my Garmin says that in about 15 minutes I achieved the equivalent of 26 floors. On average, I do 10 floors a day spread over 8 hours.

First time I got this high.

Going downhill also posed another challenge. If I were on a bike would have been all fun but running was different. I stayed focused and controlled my strides so that I don’t become the old version of Jack ‘n Jill. It was tempting to go fast but it would have been a stupid idea. Nursing a fresh black toenail didn’t help either as the negative slope means that I need to land on the ball of my feet thus putting more pressure on my toes.

This new route was short yet not easy. But would I do it again? Definitely. As the the mantra goes “Know the whys so that you could endure the hows.” Next time again Makiling once the sun is up.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Ready for work?!)

Black Toenails

Ugly. That’s for sure the answer if you ask most people how they find black toenails. I had the same impression myself, of course, until I populated my social media feed this year with more stuffs about running (and fitness).

I read from several articles that black toenails would normally occur, at some point, to those who run. Either due to bad sneakers, bad fall, bad form, fungus included (ok, this is gross) or due to longer runs. It just could happen.

Last December I registered for my first run in 2018 but no thanks to a bad bug that made its way past our door (despite our extra consciousness not to expose Marcus to the common flu) I had to lay off practice runs while I and Marcus spent our last week of the year blowing our noses. This month, my patience paid off and a week ago I saw myself in running form once more. I made 10K on my first run against strong cold winds especially originating from Mt. Makiling.

This weekend was warm and run started as a struggle. All of a sudden I would rather have either strong headwind or tailwind regardless of drag. But I picked up the pace and soon I was looking at my Garmin showing another 10K finished in an hour and some minutes. Not bad except for one thing. Toes hurt.

Removing my running shoes confirmed my suspicion. A black toenail–runner’s woe . I wasn’t alarmed though. In fact, its sight got me excited–I’m becoming weirder, am I? I might, however, need to minimize wearing flip flops in public in the next few days unless I want to wear it proud like a trophy as I’ve read other runners would do. Cheers to black toenails, yes?

***

A year ago was when I started running outdoors with a Garmin Vivoactive HR. I racked up 5K on my first day even if I was about 160 lbs fresh from vacation. I credit my endurance to the regular treadmill sessions which usually happened after we raid my sister’s pantry. I’m now 135, FYI.

Only gym I’ve used that needs a room heater.

***

How do you become better at running? You run more. Writing? You write more.

Now let’s see if the time I set aside my regular Netflix session so I could write would see itself posted on WordPress.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (My turn to watch after Marcus in his room. Air-conditioning is extra perk.)

Magic 10

It’s a great day despite the overcast skies. Just had a 500-calorie breakfast after my usual second run of the week which is the routine I’ve tried to stick to for months already. You see I have never been committed to running, not to mention waking up early, in my entire life. Now I hit 5 km on average and this week I broke my personal time by clocking below 35 minutes and with a best pace of 5.5. 

I hit plateau in August and since then I decided to take actions. It was a personal challenge I took seriously just to test if everything I read about losing weight while staying fit is one that I can also achieve. So I jumped into the fitness bandwagon–extra weight in tow.

Measurement is key. Everything almost done by the numbers. In fact, I’ve caught myself doing things just so I would know the calories I take. I’ve called waiters to ask how many grams my serving has. I used the kitchen weighing scale more often than before–and was worried when the ones seven segment display broke. I would take time reading nutritional labels at the grocery isle. And I would log on my MyFitnessPal app, if not scan the barcode of any food packaging,  any food I consume every meal. It’s a strict routine but fortunately not in vain.

On this tenth month of 2017 I now hover close to the magic number. I just stepped on the bathroom scale and it shows I’m 0.6 away from being exactly 10 pounds lighter than when I first started my calorie watch regimen and trend shows that it’s a matter of days when I breach 140. 

Controlled descent.

It doesn’t end here though. According to basal metabolic calculator–my age, weight, height all factored in–my ideal weight is 4 pounds farther. That means more restrictions ahead but I know I would hit it soon anyway. MyFitnessPal predicts five weeks which is just a couple before my birthday.  I think that by then I would have earned the right to celebrate it with my favorite 200-calorie Krispy Kreme.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Running light.)

Balloons

One that got away.

Timehop continues to amaze me with what it can pull up from my past posts years ago today. Some cringeworthy, some funny, some sad, and some funny kind of sad like this one from eight years ago. This was the last balloon I’ve ever bought for Marcus which got away from his grip just before we left MOA. Few years later though we’d buy balloons again for him, this time only red balloons–the symbolic red ballooons we released on our first celebration of Duchenne Awareness Day.

Duchenne awareness day symbol.

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We don’t have balloons today but the significance of this day remains in our hearts as we remember everyone with DMD. God bless all these children and anyone–especially their parents–who commit in making sure this progressive condition doesn’t stop them from enjoying life.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (That ribs for lunch…)

Short and Sweet and Sad

Sometimes the shortest discussions are both sweet and sad. Like this one with Marcus yesterday.

“How old would I be in 2025?”

“17”

“Are you still alive by then? How about mommy?” 

#run4Marcus

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He has funny moments as well. Last night he drew something he plans to sell for 200 pesos on OLX.

He calls this the best drawing ever. I did the body and right arm, FYI.

Any takers.

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Mood: 1/10 Honks! (Just ran. Thank God for the recovery.)

Blood Results Are Down

The results of the blood test made last weekend is out and there is good news. Both CK & CK-MB levels are down compared to the previous results. This third test has the lowest so far. The baseline for the normal values vary from one online source to another but I made the graphs below to illustrate how significant the latest results are.

Yes, those are thousand percents versus normal.

According to Mayo Clinic, the normal CK level within the age range of Marcus is 150-499. Using the highest limit, Marcus Creatine Kinase (CK) level is just 2000% this time. Relatively high but it’s way better than the result prior to it.

CK-MB is likewise favorable.

CK-MB level follows suit. To explain what CK-MB is I would liken it to a story most of us have probably heard when we were in grade school. Remember The Leak in the Dike? CK-MB is basically a measurement of a leak which means that ideally there shouldn’t be any level of it in the blood result.  Normal blood test results should  show almost zero.  Mayo  Clinic says that  males would have a  reference  value  of < or =7.7 ng/mL. That’s 7.7 nanograms per milliliter–a lot smaller than a single tear drop. The CK-MB test results we got from Hi-Precision Diagnostic Clinic are in Units/Liter (U/L) and internet sources say it cannot be directly converted to ng/mL unit which means the percentage on my graphs could be off (those are rounded off figures anyway).

My wife and I could only assume which factors attributed to the improvement in the blood test. It was after the second test when the doctor prescribed to double the dosage of the Co-Q10. Marcus has been taken 200mg every night since then together with an intake of Alpha-Lipoic. It was also during this time when Marcus began to have frequent sessions with the manghihilot. The skeptic in me couldn’t see that there’s a direct benefit but there’s nothing to lose. 

And there’s one thing that could highly likely affected the results. The doctor’s advice prior to taking each test was to minimize Marcus’ physical activities and we just realized that sometime in February this year he totally lost his capacity to stand and walk on his own. Since then, he has remained seated either playing games or watching TV. In this case, being immobile was both a bad thing and a good thing. Sigh.

We are yet to see the doctor to interpret the results but for now we are thankful that it wasn’t the result that we were expecting. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

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Hi-Precision Diagnostics has been accommodating us very well so far. The closest clinic to us now is their branch in Sta. Rosa, Laguna wherein the same professional and friendly personnel took good care of Marcus. Kudos to this company.

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Mood: 3/10 Honks! (If miracles come true…)

 

 

 

The future of mobility

My Facebook timeline was recently full of posts featuring wheelchairs. It made me wonder then if it happens to be wheelchair awareness day. I didn’t bother to check. Today a post from my elder sister shows a concept wheelchair that could make the less mobile live more independently. This one’s the future of wheelchair. The video is on Facebook.

The concept wheelchair extends to hard to reach areas. (Image from Facebook.)

So is it wheelchair awareness season? Mobilityawarenessmonth.com says it’s May but it’s nice to know anyway that there seems to be a growing and sustained awareness on the needs of people who have limited mobility. May we soon see more people-with-disability-friendly places.

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Weather was ideal last Sunday so I grabbed the opportunity to have Marcus take a morning stroll. He enjoyed it.

Summoning his inner peace.
Our morning walk partner. He got hot pan de sal for reward.

Today’s weather, however, isn’t as good as last week’s so as of this writing, past 1 PM, we let Marcus stay asleep. Thanks but no thanks to tropical storm Butchoy that despite having exited out of the Philippine area of responsibility is still making the skies dark every now and then. There’s always a next time.

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Mood: 5/10 Honks! (Cats are dying.)

 

 

Is it Wheelchair Awareness Day Today?

My Facebook timeline shows that a year ago today I posted The Wheelchair Didn’t Stop Them and interestingly other posts related to wheelchairs appeared as I scrolled down. So I am now wondering if it is wheelchair awareness day today. Is it?

Mentalfloss.com reports that Xbox will soon feature avatars of people on wheelchair. I am quite sure that Marcus would be very happy to see such on Xbox though it is more likely going to be for Xbox One consoles only looking at the icon on the flags.

I can’t wait to see Marcus see this appear as one of his avatars. (Image from mentalfloss.com)

The Lad Bible also posted a video from a helmet-mounted camera of a motorcycle rider stopping at a crosswalk to aid a guy in a wheelchair cross the street.

The world would be a better place if we do one small good deed at a time. (Image from The Lad Bible)

There are people, however, who are either ignorant or just insensitive to the needs of the handicapped. Like another photo that Top Gear Philippines posted today about one of those people who learned how to drive but never learned to read the signs.

Which part of no parking is hard to understand?

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Mood: 5/10 Honks! (Storm’s coming.)