Fit Friday

Happy Halloween! Today is fit Friday. At the gym this morning, I used the foam roller to stretch out my legs, then I did the rower for a half an hour, then I used the standardized bike for an hour. Today’s topic since it is Halloween: does sugar feed cancer cells? Today’s holiday is known for Americans taking their children trick or treating and consuming a ton of candy. It is not totally the healthiest holiday but when Americans consume a massive amount of sugar it could lead to issues with cancer patients.

Here is more information about this factoid from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute:

There is not a 1:1 ratio or direct link between eating a bite of sugar and the resulting growth of a certain number of cancer cells. “Sugar” is a term often used to represent dozens of important, natural chemical structures that exist in our bodies.

The typical American diet is high in many processed and refined foods, including sugar and white flour. Replacing these foods with healthy forms of carbohydrates, such as fruits and whole grains, is advised for people who have had cancer. However, being fearful of or restricting intake of certain foods that contain natural sugars is not necessary or healthful.

Here’s an example: Should cancer survivors avoid eating oranges because they have natural sugar? For comparison’s sake, let’s consider that one medium orange contains 12 grams of sugar and a small donut contains 10 grams of sugar. The difference is that the orange also contains fiber and phytonutrients, both of which may play a role in fighting cancer, whereas the donut is just 200 empty calories, devoid of any potential nutritional benefit. Eliminating foods that contain sugar, such as fruits, is not wise for cancer survivors as this limits intake of cancer-fighting nutrients that are important for energy and overall health.

In fact, many cancer patients are led to believe they must follow a restricted sugar diet for fear of causing cancer growth in themselves if they do not adhere. This fear and rigidity often promotes a very stressful experience. The stress will actually lead to an increase in blood sugar as well as compromised immunity. These negative health effects are actually the exact opposite of the purported benefit of such a plan.

There may be a connection, however, between a diet high in refined, processed foods combined with a sedentary lifestyle that may lead a person to become overweight and eventually experience insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can cause an increase in blood levels of insulin and related compounds that may act as growth factors. The connection between body weight, insulin levels and cancer survivorship is currently being researched. In the meantime, becoming more physically active, striving to maintain a healthy weight and eating a plant-based diet including substituting refined sugars and white flour with whole grains and other unprocessed carbohydrates can all help to keep insulin levels in check and promote cancer survivorship.

Weight Wednesday

Today is Weight Wednesday. I focused today on doing lat pull downs, rows, pull ups, and chest presses. The purpose for me to do weight lifting is it helps runners like me to get the strength I need to run faster and build more endurance.

Cancer patients use weight training as an outlet to be positive and find an escape from all of their treatments. Plus, this helps them increase muscle mass while going through treatment.

Below is more information I found about positive reasons to work out while battling cancer:

  • Reduces the risk of certain cancers
  • Enhances the therapeutic effects of radiation and pharmaceutical treatments by increasing tolerance, reducing side effects, and lowering risk of chronic diseases, even those not aggravated by cancer treatment
  • Regular exercise after diagnosis can increase survival by 50-60% with the strongest evidence currently for breast and colorectal cancers
  • Moderate exercise boosts the immune system, which may help in the fight against cancer
  • Muscle-building exercise can help ameliorate the weight and muscle loss that often accompanies various cancers, and to which treatment may contribute
  • Physical activity can improve your mood, which is important in the treatment and recovery phase

Motivation Monday

Cancer patients face their worst fear when they get told the three words by their doctor “you have cancer”.

During my marathon training journey I will post three themes of Motivation Monday, Weight Wednesday, and Fit Friday on the days I go to the gym and provide facts or motivation for cancer patients so we as a Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team can be positive and move toward finding a cure to this awful disease.

Today’s motivation is from Audrey Hepburn. “Nothing is impossible the word itself says: I’m possible”. Cancer patients try to see the bright side to their results from their doctor and always try to stay positive whatever the outcome. Today like a cancer patient, I did just this. I pushed myself to the limit on the rower for a half an hour then went on the standardized bike for an hour. Even though, I’m injured with a small foot fracture I am staying positive knowing that I’ll be back to running in less than two weeks. Today, I pushed my body and did all of the cardio I could do in the hour and a half time I had and even though I’m sore I knew it was possible!  Just staying positive is the ingredient one needs to accomplish the recipe for a good outcome.

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Fit Friday

This morning I went to the gym for two hours. I lifted using the machines, went on the rower for a half an hour, and went on the standardized bike for an hour. Even with my foot injury I felt stronger than ever. I lifted at least 20 pounds on each machine, rowed at least 35 rpm per minute, and biked 7 miles in an hour. What did you do for fit Friday?

Lesson Learned

Today, I went to the podiatrist because I had a pain on the top of my left foot. The day after the Hartford Marathon I bought a pair of Sketchers Go Walk shoes. They were the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. I have been wearing Sketchers for years. Well, I found out from the podiatrist that I have a raised fracture on my left foot from wearing the sketchers sneakers. He told me to change into neutral shoes and that the respected brands of walking and running shoes are Brooks and New Balance. In the meantime, I will be using the standardized bike, lifting, and maybe even rowing until my foot heals.

The lesson learned from all of this is don’t buy Sketchers shoes.

Monday Motivation

This morning I went to the gym and did exercises such as clam shells, hip abductors,  and hip adductors. After I did my exercises, I went on the arc trainer for an hour doing a interval workout. I am doing these exercises to try to increase my endurance and enhance my stride. When it comes to training in the winter time starting on December 20th I will have the opportunity to use my endurance and strength to run up hills faster and increase my speed. This is why I am motivated to head to the gym multiple times a week to make this happen. Hopefully, this will mean that my overall marathon time will decrease.


Back in Action, Gyming It, and Signing Up for Another Race

After last Saturday’s marathon, I went to the gym this morning to start training for the Boston Marathon. I did jumping jacks, HIIT training, hip abductors and adductors, and ab exercises. It was a great feeling being back at the gym to start fresh and to start training for a new race.

This morning I signed up for one more race before I start DFMC training runs on December 20th. I signed up for the Frosty Half Marathon in Raynham, Massachusetts which is on December 14th. I will be running this race with the three girls that I trained to do the Hartford Half Marathon. One of the girls lives in Raynham so we will have a girls night before the race and a sleepover. Can’t wait to see how these girls will do especially running with their coach by their side! Can’t wait!

NU Hartford Marathon Recap

This past Saturday, I ran the Hartford Marathon. I always wanted to run this race because it was in my second home of Hartford, Connecticut. I lived in Connecticut for over four years because I went to college and graduate school there. A lot of my friends from school still live there and most of them volunteered at the race handing out awards to the top place finishers.

I trained three of my friends to run the half marathon. I sent them e-mails of encouragement, training schedules, and advice since June of this year. They finished with the time I projected of around two hours and thirty minutes. I am so proud of them!

I ran the full marathon. I ran a personal record of 5:48:30. I ran the Boston Marathon in April of this year in 5:55:30. For the Boston Marathon, I plan on beating the 5:48:30 time. Thank you to all of my supporters who wished me good luck and helped me get across the finish line in the pouring rain.


48 Hours Until the Hartford Marathon

In 48 hours from today, I will be running my second marathon of this year the Hartford Marathon. I am privileged enough to have the opportunity to run a marathon in two places that are near and dear to my heart. Boston is the place where I grew up and where my family lives. Hartford is my second home where I went to college and graduate school, as well as where some of my college friends and the Sowalsky family live.

The spirit of the quote “it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon” reflects everyone’s own personal challenge especially mine. I never thought the day would come that I could say “I AM A MARATHONER”. Growing up I had health issues, two foot surgeries, and I could only run a few miles since I was a sprinter in High School. I never thought these words would ever come out of my mouth. On Saturday, I will be running this marathon for everyone I know who have battled or who is battling cancer, in honor of all of my mentors who have helped me get to where I am today Lynn Folsom, Dan McNamara, David H. Goldenberg, Art Iworsley, and Peter Comeau to name a couple, for all of my family and friends, and lastly for myself.

If you are in CT, I would love for you to come and cheer me on in the rain and the 60 degree weather to keep me motivated and smiling over the 26.2 miles I will be running (best running weather). It will mean a ton.

Reached the $1,000 mark!

Thank you to all of my donors so far who have helped me reach the $1,000 mark out of my fundraising goal of $15,000:

Adam and Elizabeth Korngold

Gail and Alan Radding

Gail and Arnold Kraft

Marc and Tori Zissman

Emily Johnson

Jack Weiss

Jamie Tighe

Joyce and Paul Manowitz

Mark and Patti Roth

Neal and Margaret Greenberg

Richard Meth and Robyn Glassner

Richard and Leslie Day

Bob Sullaway, Gail Schulman, Emma, and Marty

Sheldon and Cynthia Aronson

Stu and Mitzi Perlmutter

Stuart and Shelley Rossman