Redemption Race

Flashback: November 2016:

 

Sixteen weeks of marathon training was coming to a close on a mild autumn Thursday afternoon. The training group had one more meeting at Fleet Feet to run before our trip to the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. The mundane task of walking to the bus stop to collect my son resulted in an injury that would sideline for what was supposed to be my first marathon. I went to Indianapolis anyway and cheered on my friends. I saw from the sidelines the stocking hats finishers were getting and I said I wanted one to myself and to the Fleet Feet Bloomington owner, Julie, and pretty much anyone else who would listen. Julie told me I’d have it one day when I earned it and it would be that much more special. 

November 3, 2018: Race Day

The crowd was HUGE. My usual panic set in getting to the race start before the race actually started. After the first wave started, my friends and I discovered we were in the wrong wave and had to go underneath a divider to get into the correct one. I danced around to the music and said, “If you’re not having fun at the start, you’re not going to have fun later.” I watched my friends go forward as we separated in the group. Their goal time was over 20 minutes faster than mine and I didn’t want to sabotage my race.

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Ready to START!

I was finally in Indy to race. I was doing the half marathon instead of the full, but I was finally there. It seemed like an eternity from the time the race started to the time I finally crossed the starting line. It was about 12 minutes, in reality. I had my music ready and was excited at the prospect of finishing this race.

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Yes, 10 hours of variety. It keeps it fresh.

It was crowded, but I settled in and told myself that the first mile needed to get me warmed up and would have to be 11 minutes or slower. I warmed up and tossed my outer layer during the first mile. I was feeling so good by mile 3, I told myself that I needed to hold back just a little longer despite feeling good and start running how I felt after the first 6 miles were over.

The crowd was amazing! There were the usual “press here for power up” signs and the “worst parade ever” signs. BUT…there were people in costumes all over the place. Young Skywalker and a Storm Trooper were there. A skeleton placed in a chair held up a sign that said “Worst Caravan Ever.” A guy in a shark suit ran beside me and asked if I was his best friend’s friend until I laughed and gave him a thumbs up. A man in a Batman costume ran the race. A woman in a nun getup (a habit) ran the race. She probably beat me even in her nun shoes. There were people giving out beer. There were others giving out ghost peppers and milk. Despite not taking any, I thanked everyone that had an offering on the sidelines. The atmosphere was like a party and it helped push me through. Someone even yelled “Go Jenn Go,” as I’d had printed on my race bib.

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I took in scenery and talked to myself about how I finally got to see the streets and the sights I’d missed before. I reminded myself to take it all in and I prayed a few times for the strength to finish. I felt so good, in fact, I nearly forgot to take a gel until I was into my 5th mile. I was walking through every water stop and taking 1-2 drinks of water at each one and it was working out well for me energizing. I wasn’t taking many drinks from my hydration belt, which contained Tailwind. I’ve had a lot of luck using Tailwind in my summer runs and figured it would be a good thing to bring along to Indy. It would have been if I’d used more than 1/4 of the bottle by mile 10.

I felt amazing! Then, it hit me. I felt a little tired. My head was soaked with sweat. I was pushing as hard as I could and I couldn’t surpass a 12 minute pace. My heart rate was in the 170 range. I had to walk before I hit a water stop and I was not happy about it. I took off the Buff that was on my head and shoved it down the right side of my pant leg. I removed my gloves and shoved them down the left pant leg. I walked and drank from my water bottle. I started estimating a finish time and set a goal. Initially, I’d wanted to get a personal best at less than 2:19. Today, I would finish in less than 2 hours and 30 minutes. I picked back up and pushed myself as hard as I could.  The elite runners of the full marathon started to pass me. I clapped for them and yelled how impressive their performance was. It gave me a little recharge, but probably more because I’m competitive and my ego was achy.

Upon seeing the sign that said “Mile 25,”  I turned off my headphones and I prayed. I thanked God for helping me. I wasn’t doing a marathon that day, but I was nearing the finish line. I repeated: “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1). Then, I just silenced my thoughts and paid attention to everything there was to see. The people. The signs. The things the people said that were so beautiful and encouraging. This was a fantastic show of people being positive without even knowing all of the people they cheered for. I saw the finish and breifly looked down at my watch. A lady shouted “ON YOUR LEFT” while passing me in the 100 yards to the end. I noticed my watch reading 2:29 and seconds ticking away and I went as fast as I could to cross and beat my goal time by 11 seconds officially. Not my personal best, but still did what I wanted to. I looked at the person next to me [total stranger] and said “We did it,” with a smile as she looked back and mustered a little grin.

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I found my way past the finish and I got my medal and put it on while I tightly wrapped the Mylar blanket around my sweat soaked clothes. I mindlessly grabbed a banana (I’m a little allergic). I saw the hats. The stocking caps were being handed out and I reached out and grabbed it and thanked the people at the table while I carefully ensured it was secure in my possession.

No matter how many times someone suggested I put the hat on when I said I was cold, I declined. My hair was sweaty and this hat was special. It could only be placed on my hair after it was clean and dry. The hat was that thing I’d wanted and I’d finally earned.

My Takeaways

  • Indy was an amazing experience. I would actually spend more time there if given the opportunity. There are so many things to see and to do there, one night isn’t really enough.
  • I know better than to only take 1 gel and drink so little of my nutrition. This is likely the cause of using more effort with less speed nearing the end of the race. This still wouldn’t have led to a personal best, but probably a better time than I had gotten.
  • I chafed my under boob. I didn’t spray Tri Slide lower than the bra’s band, which I also know better. Bras start to creep down a little during long runs.
  • It was a good choice to not toss my cheap running gloves because I really needed to take them out more than once to warm my hands.
  • Mesh panels in running pants and shirts are a great idea for temps in the high 30’s and 40’s. At least for me, they were.
  • The Indy medals are set up for a 4 year series to spell the word “INDY,” and now I have the letter “I” medal in my possession…. uh oh.

Look at this race swag:

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Another taper

This week was nuts. I’m exhausted. I’m relieved to see training wrapping up. Running was probably the easiest part of this week for me.

Tuesday, I needed to use the day to run because my evening was packed with appointments including parent teacher conferences. Speed work was the task. I’d decided to try to be in the moment for the duration of the run. I ran a 1 mile warm up followed by repeats of 1/2 mile fast and 1/4 recovery, and a 1 mile cool down. My total distance was 5 miles. I wore my Aftershokz for music and used a route long enough that I wouldn’t need to turn back until I had completed at least 2.5 miles. It was windy, but otherwise great. I felt energized by the run and I wish I’d tracked my speed during the fast portions to see how it progressed.

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Tuesday evening, my husband and I visited my kids’ teachers. Each of them were noted to be talkers. My son’s teacher said he needed enrichment in reading and comprehension. My daughter’s said she needed a little help in penmanship and reading comprehension. I went home and found workbooks to order online to help them over the upcoming breaks for holidays. They’re not going to love it, but I’ll try to come up with some incentive to do the work.

Wednesday, my adult daughter (she’s 18), came to the house with a man and a truck to collect her things to move with “a friend and her parents.” She didn’t say hello to her siblings or bye to anyone when the truck was full and she couldn’t fit any more boxes.

Thursday, I had a morning full of appointments and skipped my run. The family minivan had the dreaded “check engine” light and the location of the problem was too deep for me to even attempt a repair on my own. I didn’t make my run up later in the day as I’d planned, either. The elementary school nurse called to tell me that my son had been to her and the school counselor because he was sad his sister had moved out and taken her things. The nurse let me know they discussed adults going out on their own, but I was a little angry with the way she’d neglected them the previous day.

By Friday, the oldest daughter was saying the house she had moved in to had been involved in a raid by law enforcement. She said that most of her day was spent with the police. She was communicating only with her dad. She was using WiFi and a messaging app because her phone bill had lapsed since she took over paying. Friday night, I was stressed enough to know I couldn’t handle the extra anxiety of being around people. Wendy messaged to ask if I wanted to meet up with her for our 8 mile run. She was willing to go 30 minutes later than my group was meeting, so I skipped my group run in favor of less people and more sleep.

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I don’t know why my face can’t take a good picture lately.

Saturday morning’s run was great. The miles flew by as we chatted. I needed to stop to use a restroom when we were only a half of a mile from finishing the run and I was so glad to see the bathroom when we arrived. I didn’t stretch when I was done. I went home and still didn’t stretch. I spent most of the day on the couch under a blanket and under my dogs. It’s Monday and my calves are still really sore. Lesson learned.

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The lesson is that dogs are freaking adorable. Wait…

Saturday night, my adult daughter posted to her Facebook that she was planning to end her own life. My response to her set off an intense argument with her. While I’d expressed concern, she implied my efforts were superficial and did her best to cut me down with insults. Since my husband and I were unsuccessful at locating her, I screen shot and re-posted photos of the entire conversation (including my comments that she deleted as soon as I posted them). She said she was at a local hospital, so I asked that anyone at a local hospital look for her and show security her comments so the correct actions could be taken. I had a lot of support despite being really nervous about posting the entire conversation.

I had also decided to tell myself that if anyone had an opinion, they could “eat it and eat it again after they shit it out.” Through these experiences with my daughter, especially over the past 3 years, I’ve started to realize that I don’t need opinions and they have no bearing on who I am as a person. It is liberating.

Sunday, we did morning church so we could bring the kids to a trunk or treat at a church one of my friends attends in a nearby town. We stopped in after church to have someone pray with us for my oldest daughter. The trunk or treat wound up being fun and the kids even thanked me for bringing them to it, so I was feeling pretty pleased.

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My son is a hot dog and my daughter a vampire. They’re fishing for prizes.

Nearing 10 pm, my oldest daughter called me from a facility asking to return to our home to stay. She stated the facility was going to release her at midnight. She hadn’t called earlier in the day because she was sleeping. I felt like a person who’s ex calls drunk in the middle of the night for a place to stay. Her words felt empty and she would insult me each time I insisted that she find other arrangements. A 45 minute long conversation ensued where she threatened to either kill herself or walk to our house and sleep on our lawn if we didn’t immediately collect her and give her food and shelter in our home. She hung up. My husband called the number that had called me and spoke to the facility, who assured us that she was not being kicked out and that she was safe. He reported to them her threats. Moments later, she called my phone and said that she would be staying there and gave me a password to speak to her and disconnected the call before I could respond. I know she’s safe. I wish I could lay out things to help people understand the place the decisions I’ve made have come from. I’m not going to, though. I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed some more. I can love someone and still refuse to help them repeat self destructive behavior. The best part is…the decision isn’t up to other people. My husband and I can do that.

So, this week, I’m just hoping to make it through my next three runs before race day. I’m hoping to have some fun with my girlfriends on our trip to Indy. I’m praying for direction and for something that will not harm the family as a whole just to help one member. I’m living one day at a time and I realize that God is in control. It helped that Sunday’s verse from Our Daily Bread was Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; acknowledge him in all your ways, and he shall make your paths straight.” This verse is printed on one of my walls and I think I get it now.

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Do you have struggles that sometimes making running feel more difficult? Have you forgotten to do something simple like stretching, hydrating, or something else that affected the way you felt days after a run? I hope you’re doing well and I can’t wait to share my race day stories with you! This will be my first Indy Monumental and I get a really cool hat at the finish [and a medal, of course].

Drop me a comment or even send me a message. I love feedback. Even the constructive criticism helps.

 

We, Kate….no, Week 8

My brand of humor could only be labeled generic if you meant that it’s weird and is not exactly everyone’s taste. Other than being a bit of a strange bird, I’m average. I’m mostly accepting of average unless I’m reading something where the hero emerges from ordinary life and does something extraordinary. Then, I dream a little bigger momentarily. I try to consistently set high goals.

This year, I set my eyes on beating my half marathon best time. I scheduled two half marathon races a month apart and signed up for training sessions that matched those goals. I completed week 8 of the first 12 week program. I’ve missed a lot of training runs over the past couple of weeks.

Tuesday was speed work. It was a one mile run followed by 6 repeats of 200 meters picking up speed and 200 meters fast running followed by 400 meters of recovery. Then, there was the mile back for cool down. I went all out until my nagging foot pain returned and I decided to cut one repeat from the program and just wait and run the mile back. I realized on my drive home that while I didn’t do the full workout, I’d spent all of my energy out on the trail. I’d worked harder than I had and I was proud of my hard work instead of disappointed in my early stopping. My best pace was actually really impressive and I only shorted myself 3/4 of a mile in the end.

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I missed cross training on Wednesday and my Thursday run. I’ve been physically exhausted from emotional hardship. Friday, my oldest child turned 18. I make birthdays special by cooking or buying a favorite meal, making a cake of choice, and gift giving. None of that happened Friday. I tried to find comfort in knowing that at least she was still alive and that addiction and/or mental illness hadn’t taken her life. I quietly mourned, praised God, and asked Him that she one day understands the things she resented the most were the things we did from love. A friend took my two younger kids out with her kids in the evening for some bounce house activities, so my husband and I had dinner and drinks out together. That was good for both of us on a rough day.

Saturday morning was chilly and there was a steady light rain falling. I had an 8 mile group run planned. I showed up hoping I’d be able to run unlike the previous week where I’d stopped short of 8 miles on a 10 mile run. The cooler weather worked wonders for the way I felt on the run. I not only ran 8 miles, but I held a pace close to my race goal pace for the majority of my run. It was so exciting! I got into my head and thought I couldn’t finish my run or that I should give up and stop trying to get a personal best time. What I realized is the goal and it isn’t over if I don’t reach it this year. I’m doing the best I can with what I have right now and that’s impressive. I’m really kicking my butt out there and I’m grateful.

Sunday, I went to church. The praise and worship, the message, and the time of reflection at communion seemed to fill the void I’d felt when struggling with the sadness surrounding the situation with my daughter. Some days, I get more out than I put in and I find that encouraging and comforting.

Are you chasing a goal? Can you accept that sometimes, all of your hard work will require more hard work before you can meet it? Do you stop to appreciate the progress along the way?

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. Please check in on your friends and loved ones and let them know that they matter and that you want them to see tomorrow and the next day and so on. Heck, tell a stranger something positive you see in them. You never know when your kindness could save a life.

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Wonderfully Misunderstood [and week 7]

This week sucked. I thought last week did, but this week was the ‘challenge accepted’ week for “could shit get worse”. Much of the story belongs to my teen and I can’t go too far into it because it’s really for her to face and come to terms with. My teen daughter relapsed in her addiction and ran away when we confronted the issue and offered to get professional help.

Tuesday morning, she had been missing since the evening before. I was pouring through comments, messages, and information to attempt to locate. I messaged my friend, Jess and said that I didn’t know how I was going to fit 5 miles into the day with everything going on. She lives over 20 minutes away, but told me she hadn’t completed her own run for the day and that we’d meet me so we could go together. We knocked out 5 miles in the humidity and heat. I felt better after taking some time away and I was happy to have someone care enough to take time out to help me.

My teen turned up less than 36 hours later in an emergency room unwilling to talk to her father or me. She’s now in competent care that meets her needs. She will be 18 this week and this is an attempt to help while we still can in this capacity. Finding her in the state she was in brought a level of stress and lack of sleep that carried over into the rest of my life. Mental exhaustion carried into my physical being with brute force. I found myself tired from taking the stairs instead of the elevator and forgetting the day of the week. I was neglecting to eat meals because I was tired and trying to catch naps when I had time where I was without kids. Friday, I had no appetite and I forced myself to eat an apple and cheese stick for dinner despite knowing I had a training run the next morning.

Saturday morning sucked. I had a 10 mile run in store. It was humid outside and I wasn’t paying enough attention to drinking water. I took my electrolyte pills at 4 miles and my drink had a mix in it for electrolyte replacement, but I was hit with muscle soreness and exhaustion of not being properly hydrated. I stopped my run before hitting 8 miles. I wanted to cry, but I had a lot of reassurance that people understood I was exhausted. From what I’ve learned about hydration, my pee was indicative that I should have had more to drink on my run and that I actually knew better than to ignore when I’m sweating heavily. I attribute it to the other things on my mind keeping me from operating normally.

Sunday, I set out to run after feeling irritable. I got out on the trail and I was running at a good pace. I enjoyed the run until my stomach gurgled and I felt the unmistakable need for a bathroom. I wasn’t on a part of the trial where bathrooms are near. I stopped running and sat along the side of the road. I messaged a friend who lived nearby, but she was not home. I assured her it was fine to laugh at my problem because I would’ve found it humorous, too. My husband picked me up with a plastic bag on his passenger seat as if it was already too late for a bathroom. Fortunately, I made it home and to the bathroom without any messes or need for plastic seat covers. My stomach was not having any more running for the day, though. I ate pretzels and napped. Then, I grumbled about how my runs were stupid this weekend.  This week, I didn’t run much and I seriously considered dropping the earlier of my two half marathons down to a 10k to lighten my load. I really want to PR my half marathon time, though.

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This could make me negative and want to sulk on the week past. I tend to go silent when I’m not feeling mentally healthy. I made a post to my Facebook on Saturday evening that said: “COMPLIMENT CHALLENGE Comment 👇👇 and I’m gonna tell you something positive that I like about you! Best challenge yet! We need positive energy in our lives.” Everyone started answering it with positive things ABOUT ME. It was heartening. I made sure to consider each person and highlight positive things I’d noticed about them. It was unexpected, but the timing was perfect. I still don’t feel well and things aren’t suddenly fixed. I had a shift in focus from the things influencing my feelings to view the way I influence others.  It is really something to have people say so many nice things.

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How is training going? Thank you for reading. Please feel free to comment and share. If you’re one of the people who gave me one of those positive remarks, THANK YOU! It touched my heart.

I hope you can find in yourself or have people who will point out the positive when you’re not seeing that light. I also hope you know that you’re here for a reason and that Tomorrow Needs You (please see: To Write Love on Her Arms Melbourne, Fl, USA).

 

 

Week 6 and Mental Fortitude

Not much is said in training about the mental toughness required to complete certain tasks including long distance running. Often, the thing that is preventing completion of a run or reaching a goal is mental. Of course injury and bodily pain and often hinder progress. More often, we find ourselves fighting something in our minds. This is the strength we’re finding when we ‘dig deep’.

I find it difficult to be mentally tough when I’m battling with stress in my life or a relapse in my major depressive disorder. This week was rough with getting the kids back to school and battling with my depression coming in a huge wave of exhaustion and feeling inadequate.

Tuesday was a speed workout with the group. It was humid outside and hotter than it had felt earlier in the day. My speed was declining within my repeats even with coming to a walk during cool down. I could sense that my body wasn’t up for the challenge. My legs never really loosened up and the pain in my foot was not lulling away as it usually has. I cut my own work out short by a mile. I wasn’t disappointed. I actually listened to my body and I didn’t give up because I thought I couldn’t. I stopped because I realized my body said I shouldn’t. How can I distinguish the two? I’ll get to that. I went and had dinner and a beer with a couple friends afterward and that was a good distraction.

Thursday’s plan said 8 progressive miles. I hit the trail heading east, circled a local park to add distance, and ran through a subdivision. I got to another park and had to use the porta potty with no soap for me to wash my hands. I couldn’t stop thinking about how germ filled my hands were using just the non alcohol hand foam. I went home, making my total 6 miles. I washed my hands and the mouth pieces on my hydration belt and added ice to my water. I could have just stopped and said that 6 was close enough. I knew I could get 2 more miles in, so I set back out and ran. My reason for stopping had nothing to do with listening to cues from my body. I needed to calm my mind to proceed and I did what I had to do and moved along. I was pleased with myself once I finished and realized how close I’d come to giving up.

Saturday, I ran a race along Old Route 66 from Funk’s Grove to McLean, Illinois. It was a 6.6 k, about 4.1 miles. I’d mistakenly thought it was 4.4 miles. Participants were offered a shot of sirup [that’s how they spell it] and a strong cup of cold brew coffee. Toward the end, as I was reaching the city limit of McLean, I saw a Blue Note painted on a pallet and I thought “Go Blues” feeling like the sign was just for me. The next pallet in their yard was the STL symbol for the St. Louis Cardinals. I felt like it was just the push I needed to finish strong. I ran the race averaging 10:45 per mile. That’s the pace I want to complete my upcoming half marathon. The post race food and entertainment were fun and it was quite the experience. I didn’t end up making up the miles to get in my 9 for the day and I didn’t end up doing it Sunday like I thought I would.

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Week 6 at a glance

I spent more time last week resting than I would have liked. I did things that were good for my soul, though. I started reading a book loaned to me by a friend. I spent more time praying and less time worrying. I confided in people that I wasn’t feeling well. I could have been a little harder on myself to complete my long miles, but I can’t change that.

I saw the podiatrist today. No cortisone shot, but I got a boot to help me with my achy foot. I also got orders for physical therapy. I miss the physical therapist there, so I hope I get to see her. We spent so much time together after the cast and boot came off last spring and again while I was marathon training last summer. Hang on….you have to see the contraption I’ll be sleeping in to stretch while I sleep:

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This should be interesting.

Thanks for reading! I appreciate your comments and suggestions. I am halfway through training for my first half marathon of the year and then I’ll have a second one just 4 weeks after that. I’m hoping to beat my best half marathon time at one of the two. Best of luck with your training and I hope you can identify when you need to push yourself and when you need to give yourself a break. Is there something that you say or do that helps you to go that additional bit you need to? Do you have a mantra that you use? Mine is that “Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.”

 

 

Another adventure begins

I call my blog, “Jenn’s Journey,” and I’m sure I’ve explained my reasoning in the past. I’m hoping to become more fit and healthy, but there isn’t necessarily a stopping point or single goal. The experiences leading up to something, also known as the journey, are more important than the destination.

Enough of that. I started training for my fall half marathons this week. It came at a great time. My anxiety turned on last week and would not shut off. I sought out friends to help me through it and I was so happy that I did. Being in ‘fight or flight’ mode for days is exhausting. I actually started to feel physically sick. My husband took a day off of work for me to rest because he saw the toll it was taking on me and how tired I was. Boy did I rest. I slept most of the day and got up to tidy the house before heading back to my room to lie down some more. Usually, I’d say I wasted so much time, but I don’t know that I needed anything more than to reset.

Saturday, I joined my training group for a kickoff meeting and run when the weather decided that there would be no run. We had lightning followed by a downpour that went on for quite awhile. I got to have a chat with friends at the nearby coffee chain. Later, I went to the local brewery for yoga class and beer with another friend. I had a relaxing day overall and I even watched a movie on my Prime.

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Indoor beer yoga due to weather

Sunday, my husband decided he was taking the kids to the pool and insisted that I stay home and enjoy some kid free time. Of course, I decided to hop into my running gear and hit the trail. It was so hot and humid, but I figured that I’m only at the start of training and some days will have weather that isn’t ideal. I had a great time running and even did my stretches outside of my house so my dogs could play a little while out there. The pooling of sweat on the concrete beneath me was a source of pride when I saw it.

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I could’ve just collapsed into the kiddie pool at that point.

I showered and we went to church that evening. The message was about….rest. About not forgetting to be still and relax. My pastor actually said that people are so wrapped up in being busy that they forget to not be busy. Message taken, sir. I took a few days to relax after pushing myself to do ‘it all’ for awhile.

I can’t be the polished mommy of the mom blog world. I don’t try to be. Parenting is hard and it isn’t always play dates and Pintrest worthy projects. So, I like to run. I like taking time to myself. It makes me better at what I do and makes the time I spend with them more enjoyable.

We still have the puppy we found and nursed to health. She’s sweet and funny. I’m totally mad at her for making me love her so much. Even my six year old ‘mutt’ named Trevor gets up and plays with her all of the time. It’s been a lot of work and I take it in stride. I think I might have a running buddy when this puppy gets older, though.

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Trevor is the lighter top dog. Aurora is the darker puppy.

Have you started training for a fall race yet? Which one? I’m doing Whiskeydaddle in Peoria and Indy Monumental in Indianapolis. I can’t wait to go for my next training run!

 

Running helps me

My depression and anxiety have been really annoying lately. I had a shaking anxiety attack that left me completely exhausted. My depression has been rather unkind in making me feel ‘not enough’ lately. It is tiring.

My running has taken a huge hit lately. I had intense hip pain that spread into my pubic bone. Stretching, ibuprofen, and Epsom salt baths were not helping at all. My runs were reduced to the minimum of 1 mile per day due to my reluctance to stop the running streak I started on Memorial Day. The runs became slow and were often more of a quick walk. Running is my outlet for my days spent “momming.” I listen to music, pray, and/or sometimes just relish in the fact that I’m not in the heavy air of conflict (with 2 kids 18 months apart and a teenager).  The mile breaks weren’t enough. I physically needed the rest, but I also mentally needed the outlet.

I visited the chiropractor, who needed to adjust my hips and the left side of my pubic bone. My husband encouraged me to go to a fun run that involved a visit to a brewery afterward for a social. I guess I’m a little insufferable when husband says: “get out of here awhile.” I went and planned to plod through my mile, and go have a beer and chat with other people who enjoy running that I don’t see as often as I used to.

I met up with people I hadn’t run with in awhile and they were doing run/walk intervals. I had such a good time talking to them and spending time out on the trail, I went 3 miles with just a little soreness and not the same pain I’d been having. It was a relief. Then, I got to talk to even more people after at the social. I actually stayed awhile and really enjoyed myself catching up with people and talking.

I had one more adjustment at the chiropractor to get the hip pain under control. I invited friends to join me at a pop up yoga class at a local brewery Saturday morning. The yoga instructor worked on hips at the request of a few people including me. It wound up being hot yoga because it was already in the 80’s and humid at 10 am. I think the session really helped my hips.

This weekend, I intended to knock out some miles to ensure I’d be ready for the 4th of July race that is 5 miles. Saturday night, my stomach wouldn’t behave and I had to stop in at my house at 3/4 of a mile to use the restroom. I made it another 3/4 of a mile before I had to go back home for the same reason. Sunday, I planned a visit to the gym. My stomach wasn’t agreeing with my plans. I took a nap and didn’t wake up until the evening when it was time to leave for our 5 pm service at church. While we were at church, a storm rolled in and the temperature dropped dramatically. After dinner, I was able to change into running gear and head out on a 3 mile run. It was still hot. The humidity was still there. I enjoyed it, though. I felt myself going faster than I had been. I glanced at my watch and saw the distance just pass by. I stopped running at the 3 mile mark and walked the remaining 1/2 mile home as a cool down. I took it all in. Finally. I got a run in.

I was exhausted after I did my hip exercises and stretches. I sat on the floor in my room and drank my electrolytes and played on my phone instead of hopping up to take a shower. It was tiring, after all.

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Almost a grin. I’m pleased with myself.

My running doesn’t miraculously heal my depression or my anxiety. I’ll admit that I’ve wanted it to. I thought if I could just go further, faster, or better that I’d be healed. While that’s not the case for me, it dramatically reduces the intensity of the symptoms.

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I wanted to go 3, but was happy with my 1.5 miles.

Do you feel like fitness helps you in another aspect of your life? Does it help your mental health?

Thanks for reading! I try to come back weekly with updates for you.

Peroneal Tendon. Again.

I saw my podiatrist after experiencing what I thought was a stress fracture to my 5th metatarsal bone on my left foot. The injury that sidelined me from my first marathon (two days before the race), was to my right foot. I had a tear in the peroneus brevis, a sprain to my ATF ligament, and tendonitis in the tibial tendon from running on the other two for a few weeks. It has taken me months to get from walking a 20 minute mile to walking 16 minutes and faster. I have recently broken the 12 minute mark running a mile. Progress! Finally!

I was so happy with the progress. I pegged on a 12th mile during my 11 mile run. When confronted with pain, I was completely stressed out about it ending my training. I called the doctor anyway because searching the web turned up results that mostly said “you fractured your foot, dummy,” or something like that [which means I shouldn’t have put it in quotes, but I don’t want to edit them out]. I didn’t run any training runs until I saw him. It was so great that the pain was gone, I couldn’t really figure out what went wrong. I ran 12 training miles the following weekend and my foot hurt again. I scheduled another appointment and I didn’t take time from my training runs. My appointment was on a Monday following my planned 13.1 mile training run. I did the run. It was not pleasant after, but when I saw the doctor, he ordered x-ray images of my foot and did an extensive exam. I had brought him my running shoes to examine and he added padding to one side of my shoe insert and laced the shoes differently. He ordered physical therapy as well.

I got to see the physical therapist whom I’d spent a lot of time with after my right foot injury. Her parting words to me [the last time] were to not go all out too soon. I didn’t want to tell her that I was injured. I still went in and we talked a little. She studied my walking stride and then watched me run on a treadmill. Then, I sat down and discussed with her that my walking included a little flick of my left foot toward the outside. She said she hadn’t seen it on the treadmill, but believed that I was probably doing it after settling in on my run. She treated me with an an external anti inflammatory and sent me on my way to see me again in a couple of days and three times next week. Thursday, when I saw her, we discussed that my foot wasn’t hurting. She had me do some stretching, discuss what I need to do to correct my gait issue with strength, and gave me electrical stimulation and ultrasound therapy. She sent me on my way saying I was okay to work on endurance using an elliptical machine and that my outdoor mileage could go to 2 miles at the most because that was the threshold where I’d started to feel pain on my earlier in the week 3 mile run.

There are less than 60 days before the marathon. I am not calm about the situation. I’ve had a lot of other things in my life that are stressful. I’m a stay at home mom and it’s summer. My kids present me with challenges regularly. I am trying to focus on the positive. I am working on it. I’m going to finish this marathon. I am going to do what I can to ensure that I do. So, here goes something.

I’m still fundraising for Team Challenge for Crohn’s and Colitis. I have a fundraiser going on with Keep Collective if you like jewelry. I love making myself bracelets with them and I’m thinking I need a new necklace. Here’s the link:  https://www.keepcollective.com/soc/n39v7    

Please consider a donation as I’m a little over halfway to my goal and I am very close to my deadline date. My fundraising page is here

And here’s a pic of me after my run on Monday evening. The song came on in my 2nd mile and I ran relatively fast.

 

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Cranky boot

*In the past, I’ve chosen to be reserved and leave out any colorful language. That’s not who I really am. So, I’m going to try to write how I would actually say things.

I have been in a cast and boot one day short of two weeks. I haven’t run since February 19th and I miss it like crazy. Not only that, but this boot thing is bullshit. Not in the sense that it isn’t real science or serves no medical need. I’m sure it is legit. I just hate it. It could be that I’m more irritable lately. That could be because I can’t go for a run.

I’ve been to the gym a few times to lift weights that work my upper body. I even used the machines that could be operated with my legs without bearing weight on them. I’ve used my dumbbells at home, too. I have been doing knee planks, bicycle crunches and some other core work daily just to try to ‘stay healthy’. I’ve tried to keep my focus positive. I’ve got to say that I still don’t feel that great. I don’t seem to want to eat well and I just generally feel tired.

Compound my recent health woes with the fact that I feel a little trapped at home by the boot being on my right leg and having to change it every time I drive, and I’m suffering a little. I feel the ubiquitous surge of depression nagging. That voice in my head that says things will always be one difficult thing after another, which equals up to nothing of value. The voice that tells me that I’ve already failed at so much in life, that I really don’t deserve good things to happen. That voice that is still me, but so mean to me. No matter how hard I try to create things or to make an impact, I’m still not doing it right and I never will. I’m not particularly good at anything and I have nothing which sets me apart from anyone else. Disposable. That voice is a real bitch if you ask me, but it still hurts my feelings and I struggle against it like I’m swimming upstream. I’m never quite adequate and I don’t know if I ever will be. I’m usually okay with not being perfect, but when the darkness sets in, the mean voice is louder and it quiets my confidence.

My confident voice, the one that is sure I can do anything I put my mind to, is little more than a whisper. I don’t try to shut that out because I sincerely hope it comes back to being the loudest. Depression ebbs and flows. I don’t know how long I’ll be in this recurrence, just like I never know how long it’ll hide in remission. I’m used to neatly tucking it away when it comes around. I’m used to the irritability it causes me and the feelings that nothing matters and everything matters all at once.

I’m used to people who don’t suffer from mental illness trying to tell me that there are others who have it worse. I know and I feel bad that I can’t handle my much smaller load of life. Actually, worse after you mention that I’m not dealing with my shit as well as people who have it worse. Thanks, though.

Yes, I have a doctor. Yes, I take medication. I also typically work out for it, but that’s temporarily limited to what I’m able to do at the moment without disturbing my healing or further injuring myself. I mean, I am actually trying and I don’t expect a cookie or anything. I just wish it wouldn’t rear its ugly head while I’m already working hard to overcome this injury. It could’ve picked a better time.

Anyway, I put little sticky jewels on my boot. It amused me a little.

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Drawing in positive

I can hardly believe it, but this is week 15 of the 16 week marathon training program. I’ve persisted, practiced, and pushed my way to train for something that I’m just so happy to be able to do. I’m going to run my first marathon. At the start of training, I’d said it would be my only. Now, I’m already thinking that I know this isn’t the last. I also went and got pink hair last week and I love it.

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Before/After

 

I’m not suddenly healed of my depression. Working out hasn’t taken away my need to have daily medication. I still have anxiety, too. When I run, some of that goes away and I can clear my mind. It also shows me that I have something to be proud of and goals to strive for giving me a reason to live sometimes when I just don’t want to. The darkness sometimes envelops me more than I care for it to. I just try not to embrace it too much and look to my goals. My running friends also help me look forward to the long runs and things we can talk about or experience together during the journey. I’m thankful for them and for the time we have together. I get to go out and run.

I’m also thankful that I have a husband who is supportive and encouraging. I’m not always confident in my abilities. Considering the things that he and I go through as adults and as parents, it has been a blessing to have him to talk to and to lean on. My mom might not speak to me for whatever reason. My kids might say hurtful things when they don’t get their way. My husband is there with unconditional love to give freely, which is important to have when the depression hits and I don’t exactly feel loved or lovable.

All negativity aside because I’m about to accomplish something that I couldn’t do when I signed up to do it. I have trained and conditioned myself to do this and I am as physically prepared as I’m going to be. Mental strength will go a long way in getting to the finish line. Yesterday, I started seeking out inspirational quotes to help me during the 26.2 mile run November 5th. Many of the quotes didn’t have sources, but I’ll try to give credit where due. So here we go!

  • There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream.
  • Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength
  • Let Go, Let God
  • The race always hurts. Expect it to hurt. You didn’t train so it doesn’t hurt. You train so you can tolerate it.
  • When your legs get tired, run with heart
  • The miracle isn’t finishing. It’s that I had the courage to start.
  • She believed she could, so she did.
  • What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
  • In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take
  • Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations
  • You’re a diamond. They can’t break you.
  • Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about dancing in the rain.
  • I believe in the person I want to become
  • Remember the time you thought you could never survive? You did and you can do it again.
  • Keep going. There’s cookies at the finish.
  • Penny gets winded walking to the bathroom (seriously, my friend Penny added this to my list)
  • HOPE – Hold On Pain Ends
  • A positive attitude may not solve all of your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort (Herm Albright)
  • Psalm 4:1 – Lord, be merciful and hear my prayer
  • The thirst you feel in your throat and lungs will be gone minutes after the race is finished. The pain in your legs? Within days.  The glory of your finish is forever.
  • 26.2 = The triumph of will over reason
  • Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life a champion. -Muhammed Ali
  • Be strong. You never know who you are inspiring.
  • Today, I will be one run stronger
  • I wasn’t planning on going for a run today, but those cops came out of nowhere. (ha, ha, ha)
  • One day, I won’t be able to do this. Today is not that day.
  • Set a goal so big you can’t achieve it until you grow into the person who can. *This one really struck a chord with me.
  • Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up. (Dean Karnazes)
  • You’re not dead yet, you can’t quit. (Kyle Maynard)

 

That’s just a portion of the encouragement I found yesterday. I will still be looking and still be repeating the ones I’ve found. I’ll probably print some off and bring them with me to the race so I have them there.

I can’t control what others think of what I’m doing or how they view the work I’ve put into it. I can control how I feel about it and decide to be proud of my accomplishments. Today, I choose to ignore the people who think I’ve done anything but improve my character and celebrate my body. I choose to see that I’m setting an example to be healthy, strong, and resilient. I could drown in the negativity that is often tossed in my direction, but I choose to let the good and the positive pull me through and keep me afloat. I am succeeding at something and that’s going to ruffle some feathers of people who are not. It doesn’t change my success.

Thanks for reading! This weekend will be a long run of 8 miles, then on to pre race week! Wish me luck! Good luck on your endeavors and in case nobody has told you, I’m proud of your hard work! Keep it up! Every time you challenge yourself, you get a little stronger. Until you’re a lot stronger.

Here’s a picture of me after running 4 miles of speed work that I really didn’t feel like running. I’m so glad I did it anyway.

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Terrible mood. Great run!