Post Race Hiatus

I have not run since the race in Indy at the start of November. I’ve been off a little over two weeks. I haven’t worn my Garmin every day. I plan to start again on Thursday as part of my usual holiday streak from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. 

Not much activity there

I can feel the difference in me when I’m not running. I feel a little less optimistic and energetic. I feel a little more isolated and it makes me want to isolate myself more. It’s the right time of year for depression to creep up on me. That unwelcome and uninvited guest sneaks in during the extended dark and tells me that I’m too tired or not good enough to complete everything I need to. I have to force myself to override the exhaustion on most days.

Fortunately, my prayers were answered for my oldest daughter. God placed the right person in our lives to help at the right time. She’s living in a safe environment and has even secured a full time job. It has been an incredible relief to my husband and me. I think recommitting to my faith this year has shown me why faith is important. God is good and this is me witnessing that.

I worked out last Monday with weights and pushed a little too hard. I was sore most of the week. I spent a lot of time foam rolling, stretching, and walking to relieve the pain. I was volunteering during most of the week, so I spent much time on my feet. Standing was fine because my rear end and quadriceps made sitting a chore. I intend to work out again this week, but I’ll choose a workout with less squats and lunges so I can actually sit down the next day. I think focusing so much on my calves, feet, and ankles during this past training session has left me weak everywhere else. I didn’t have sore calves or ankles at all from all the work. 

This Nike Workout

I’m in pain. I have a recurring pain in my shoulder and neck muscles. I’ve had a few migraines over the past couple of months, which is unusual. I get nervous about talking to the doctor about it because the answer I get most often is that depression causes physical pain. I’m not fond of that answer because I’m not sure that my depression isn’t a symptom of a greater problem. I know how weird that must sound to some. It doesn’t change that it is more optimistic than accepting that I have a disorder that can be managed and treated, but not cured. I don’t think that is true for every case of depression, but I think looking at it as a symptom could be helpful in finding relief.

I’ll soon be working on my goals for 2019. My goal for the remaining time of this year is to maintain my weight (no gain) and to complete the running streak. I’ve graduated physical therapy and I’m not under the care of my podiatrist anymore. I can start cross training as part of my workout regime again. I am aware that some of the therapy exercises are ongoing and I’ll probably have to work extra on my ankles and calves to keep my feet healthy. 

Do you have end of the year goals? Do you have goals for next year already? How does winter make you feel? 

I’m also hoping this little pup will be able to run with me in 2019. Aurora is already 6 months old and over 30 lbs! When she joined our family, she was 3.5 lbs! 

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.

 

Race Day(s) in week 12

Week 12 is finally through. When I signed up for Whiskeydaddle in Peoria, I entered a challenge where I’d do a 5 k race on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday.

Tuesday’s training run was near our local Fleet Feet for four miles. The weather was hot, but the run felt great. Four miles gave me confidence for the upcoming weekend because I managed to do well in the heat. The group I was with ran and commented on the bulk waste sitting on the curbs. We saw a couple of bowling bags, a lot of furniture, and even more luggage. It was fun to point out the little treasures we saw in the trash.

My oldest daughter was unhappy with her choice to stay with family out of state that she’d made last week. She asked to return near the end of the week and was encouraged to try to make things work out. She returned to the area over the weekend. I had spent the weekdays placing her things into boxes and rearranging things to utilize the emptied space. The finished product was my kids playroom being moved to the less visible basement from the room directly beside the entryway. I was wiped out from all of the cleaning and organizing I had done through the week.

The entire week, rain was in the entire weekend forecast. Friday morning, I set out on a 45 mile drive to packet pickup. Rain poured down the entire way there and got so heavy, I couldn’t see the tail lights in front of me and I couldn’t hear the radio over the rainfall. Once I was in Peoria, it wasn’t raining. I picked up race packets and headed back home without being rained on for the 45 miles back.

Saturday morning was the 5k race. I found friends at the start to chat with leaving my husband closer to the front since he’s much faster than me. My friend, Jess was doing her 2nd marathon on Sunday (after a 12 year marathon hiatus). I mentioned that I average 11 minutes for my first mile and that she could run with me to ensure no break neck speeds were had the day before her marathon. It was a hot and humid morning and I was sweat soaked by the end of that 3.1 miles, but I had fun and felt encouraged about the next day. It drizzled and felt cooler after we’d finished, so I put hope in the cooler feeling sticking around. I read my devotional for the day and it was titled, “Run” and included Hebrews 12 where it says “…and let us run with endurance he race that is set before us, Looking to Jesus…” I was amused at the timing of that particular message.

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Jess and I post race (with our Goodr sunglasses)

Sunday was the big 13.1 mile race I’d trained 12 weeks to run. I barely slept the night before. The weather was difficult to predict even with the forecast rain. I arrived to a fairly cool, but very humid start line. At the parking lot, I told my husband that all I could hope for was to finish the race and not cry or give up. He told me I was definitely too stubborn to give up, but to cry if I wanted. This is just how we joke with one another about running sometimes. I found friends again at the start and chatted it up. As the gun went off, most of the people I knew took off ahead faster than I allowed myself to start out. I spotted my friend, Wendy. She was running intervals and kept catching up to me on each of her runs. I decided that instead of chatting and splitting up on her walk breaks, I’d join her on the intervals. She was happy to invite me to run along, so that’s what we did. She informed me that she would be running her intervals for 10 miles and then walking the other 3 miles. Her goal race was Indianapolis Monumental, which I’m also running, and Whiskeydaddle was a training run leading up to it. Glad to have someone to chat with that was going to do 13.1 miles, I spent the rest of the race with Wendy. We did a fun photo during a walk interval.

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I hit a point where I was fighting my brain to keep going and I couldn’t think of anything except how much I wanted to just give up. Wendy kept my distracted from those thoughts and kept up the conversation even when I wasn’t actually talking much. She’d assumed I was annoyed with her, but I was just trying so hard to keep going that I just needed the talking. When we hit the 10 mile mark, we agreed to walk the remaining 5k to the end. We ran a few times when there was a downhill or just to stay loose, but the intervals were gone. My personality came back and I was able to form words and carry on a conversation more easily. We ran in the finish happily enough that the announcer said, “This is why you run with friends. Look at those smiles.” I raised my hands over my head for the finish photo and it was done. My time was over 25 minutes slower than my personal best. I made it 13.1 miles, though. That means I have a few weeks to work out the kinks before I run Indy and I could still reach for that personal record time. And Wendy will totally be there, guys. I could torture her for another 13.1 miles.

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FINISH!

I didn’t get the PR I’d hoped for when I started training 12 weeks ago. I finished, though. I had another half marathon finished and another one planned. I got the medals I’d signed up for and my training continues tonight with speed work. I’m looking forward to more training and more races. I push through the challenges in life with endurance and I run the races with endurance (even if the speed isn’t there).

The medals:

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5k was called “The Shot” and the Half Marathon was “The Bottle”

Thank you for reading! I hope you’re enjoying the fall race season and maybe even planning for the spring. I hope you can push yourself a little past your comfort zone to achieve things you want to. It is worth it each time!

 

 

 

 

Week 11 Taper starting

Last week was lively. It felt like at least 9 days instead of 7 in my opinion. I wound up missing my Thursday run by putting it off until Friday and running out of time.

Tuesday’s training group workout was hills. We typically run to a grassy hill that is popular for sledding (and hill repeats) and some distance afterward along the nearby trail. I decided not to aggravate my foot and did my hill repeats with a friend on an incline along the street near the grassy hill. It was challenging, but not painful. Success! Almost immediately after the run, the clouds poured down rain. I drove home in the pouring rain thankful that it hadn’t started before I’d completed the run.

Wednesday, I woke up in pain in my mouth.  I went to the dentist for a filling. It was awful. I didn’t say much when it felt like nothing was numb when the work began. I winced and wiggled in the chair. Once it was over, I started to feel a brief numbness. By the time I got home, it felt like my face had been struck where the guilty tooth was located. I quietly sobbed as I took two ibuprofen, iced my cheek, and took two more ibuprofen after 15 minutes of no relief. It actually let up and I was able to sleep without taking any more anti inflammatory medicine.

Thursday, I felt crummy most of the day and I was exhausted. Things were taking me longer around the house and I wound up not getting out for my run and I put it off until the next day.

Friday was more busy than I intended and I didn’t run as I’d planned. I had my first physical therapy appointment. The analysis showed that my foot was not flexing as well as it should on either side, but that the left side (where the pain is) was slightly less mobile. The therapist did iontophoresis, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation on my foot. I was sent home with 4 pages of exercises to help with my pain and scheduled 3 appointments a week for the next 2 weeks.

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My puppy ate page 1 of my workouts, guys… these 3 remain.

Friday evening, I went to a party and was able to bring my husband with me I was there to try to win a trip to Las Vegas. I didn’t win, but I had fun having a date with my husband and knowing the kids had fun while we were out. I had dropped the kids and their bikes off with a family involved in the same scout troop, so they knew them and their kids enough for it to be fun for them.

It would have been easy to skip running Saturday to sleep in and relax a little. A kind stranger had given me an extra drink ticket on Friday night and I totally drank that beer. I knew I didn’t have time to make up the run later in the weekend, so I got up and had a great 6 miles. The weather was what I consider ideal for running. The run was relatively short compared to past weeks and I felt great. That’s the beauty of a taper. Saturday afternoon had a full calendar and seeing my bed at the end of the day was a relief.

Sunday morning was an early day for church. There was a ceremony and our evening service was cancelled for that day while the other two services were moved by time in order for an 11 am ceremony. It was all part of this book we’ve all been reading as a church.

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After church, my teen was feeling cross and any attempts to reason with her were unsuccessful. I won’t go into it here, but there was a brief period where she utilized a public audience to express her dissatisfaction. Family that caught the post offered their assistance and someone took her in at their home.

And so September ended and October is here. Race day is Sunday, October 7th. My podiatrist was excited about the end of my training until I told him I have another half marathon on November 3rd. He told me to let him know if I’d rather defer my entry to next year and then nudged me off the chair*.

*That didn’t actually happen, but it probably could have because I actually forgot that deferring was a thing for big races like Indy.

How do you feel about taper week? Are you already winding down for the year or just getting started? Do you already have plans for a big goal next year? I want to do the Mo Cowbell race in Missouri next October. I’m from there, so I like to use races to go back and visit.

Have a great week! Next Monday or Tuesday should be my race recap and we’ll talk about my participation in Rachel Hollis’s Last 90 Days. Heck, maybe I’ll write about that before next week.

 

 

 

10 weeks into training

I’ve completed week 10 of training. I’m in the last weeks of training before the Whiskeydaddle half marathon. I considered bowing out or challenging myself at a shorter distance. At least I’ve been stubborn enough to stick with it even after I’ve experienced some adversity.

I went to the podiatrist about the chronic pain in my foot diagnosed as sesamoiditis. I’ve slept with a splint on my foot in a flexed position. The Dr. made modifications to my shoe inserts to take the pressure off of the area of my forefoot that was painful. I had less pain, but not total relief. Tuesday, I had a cortisone shot and was referred to have physical therapy over the next couple of weeks leading up to the race. I was impressed that he was able to get a needle from the top of my foot into the painful region on the bottom and precisely hit where the pain was centered. I was less impressed that the injection recreated the pain I had while running. Over the next couple of hours, my toes became numb. Doc told me not to run on it again until at least Wednesday.

My first run of week 10 was on Thursday. It was hot and humid outside and I set out to complete 5 or 6 miles since I’d missed 5 on Tuesday was due for 6 on Thursday. I completed 4 miles running and walked under a mile home. I felt no pain in my foot on the run. I was bummed that the weather was so gross when I finally felt no pain in my feet, but the heat was oppressive and I wasn’t going to push too hard.

Friday, was an event with Fleet Feet for “Run at Work Day.” [I don’t make these things up.] I enjoyed a 2 mile solo run followed by lunch and conversation with women who also run. Friday night was spent getting to know my neighbors while our kids ran around and played past their bed times.

Saturday morning, I’d agreed to time a race for my local running club. It was cool enough to need a jacket to stand outside. I missed my group run, but I wasn’t really ready to run 12 miles Saturday. I needed to rest and to reset. Also, I got to hold a time machine. See?

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Upper right. It says “Time Machine”

Since my usual morning long runs are Saturday, my husband gets Sunday mornings. He checked with me since I’d skipped my run, but I told him that I wasn’t enjoying running and I would make up my long run when and if I felt like it. My kids let me sleep in until almost 9am. I was feeling rested and refreshed. After his run and after a lot of back and forth with my best friend, Liz, I got dressed and set out for “whatever I could do just so I could tell her how gorgeous the weather was.” I knew it was supposed to be 12 miles for training. It is the last long run on the calendar before taper and race weekends. I drove to a local park and secretly hoped I’d make it to 13 miles with the beautiful weather. It was afternoon already. It was warm and running still felt hot. I enjoyed the first half of my run. I even made myself stop to take drinks even when I felt I was going at a good pace. Upon completing mile 10, I stopped at a fountain and messaged my Liz. She’d hurt her cornea and couldn’t run outside. She gave me crap for not wanting to run when she was missing her last long run before her half, so I muddled through the last two miles with a lot of walking and whining. The last two miles were speed walking, nearly crying, jogging, and feeling the sensation of pain again in my forefoot (which made me get a little teary eyed thinking about how the pain wasn’t actually gone). Finishing felt like I could see more clearly and had more energy walking to my car. I got my mat, walked to the trees, and did my post run exercise and stretch routine in the shade and took a selfie.

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I was actually pretty content after that long run.

I went into church with a wet head of hair barely dried from my shower, but I didn’t stink and I looked presentable. Our pastor talked about repentance.  At the end of the service, there was an offer for anyone who wanted to be baptized. They had spare clothes and towels on hand. I squeezed my husband on his hand and whispered, “I’m going to do it. I really want to.” He then asked if I was serious and walked with me to the changing area out of view of the congregation. They asked him if he was getting baptized. Without missing a beat, he said “Yes.” We changed into athletic shorts and t-shirts and were baptized before the congregation by a church elder who had recently prayed with us over our teen daughter and her recovery. I’m so happy that we did it on the same day and witnessed for one another. I’ve always been a Christian, but I haven’t always been good at staying in my faith. This year, we started going to a local church at the request of our oldest child after she’d completed rehab. While she hasn’t continued her attendance, we have committed to attending and teaching our younger two about faith and service. I’ve been examining myself and my faith and I really hope that I stick with it. I still struggle with depression at times. I’ve devoted more time to reading and praying and I have less time for being plugged in. That has helped.

Is your race coming up? Are you ready? I’ve noticed that each training session has had different challenges. This time, it has been harder to overcome the “can’t” in my head.

Enjoy your journey and share with me your thoughts!

 

Week 9 was alright

I have nothing clever to title my post this week. I barely have the words in my head to form anything worth reading this week. I’m not going to make an “at least I’m not,” statement because that would totally damn me for that thing to happen because that’s my luck lately. I had fun that didn’t involve running. I totally mommed like a pro (I know “mommed” isn’t a word, spell check). I accomplished running things I didn’t think I was going to. Overall…

Week 9 was alright. Tuesday was a hill workout. I was on time for the warm up, did my hill repeats, and ran the additional mileage to equal 5 miles total. I didn’t want to finish after the hill repeats, but it wasn’t physical pain, so I moved along. I was pleased with myself for actually pushing through the barrier and going for it. I was dealing with finding long term solution for my oldest child after her voluntary treatment stay.

Wednesday was actually pretty awesome because I went on a first grade field trip to the pumpkin patch with my youngest child. She learned, played, and picked out her very own pumpkin to take home. We played in a silo full of corn. Yes, WE. I climbed in and sunk down to my thighs in dry corn. No, I haven’t seen the movie “A Quiet Place,” yet. I am aware there is corn.

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Pumpkin Picking

I don’t even remember Thursday clearly. There were 6 miles on the plan. I’d announced to a friend that I was going to do 3 and call it a day, but I went out and ran 6 miles. It wasn’t pleasant, but I recalled that I didn’t want to do 5 miles on Tuesday and was still able to. I was fortunate enough to bump into a runner friend at one of the parks where I’d stopped for water. We chatted for a few minutes; Me declining her offers of NUUN electrolytes and an ice pop. I picked up the energy needed to take the 1.5 miles back home for 6 miles. Another run that was better after it was over.

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Friday, I had a conversation with my teen that did not go well. She was not wanting to be in treatment due to other clients there. It was unpleasant and generally stressful to discuss. We hadn’t settled on a place for ongoing help and I was working on budget forms to determine the cost of one option. My husband and I agreed he would drive the couple of hours to pick her up on Saturday morning after my long run of 11 miles. I’d need to be finished by 10 am for him to leave on time, which shouldn’t have been a problem. It totally was Setback Saturday, I tell ya.

Saturday at 5 am, I began to consider just getting my run over with since I was already awake. I still considered a solo run when I arrived for the group before meeting time. Running felt crappy inside of the 2nd mile, but I was with the group that keeps me accountable. I stopped for a bathroom break at mile 6 and my wheels fell off. I found company in another miserable runner who needed to be finished at the same time. We ran, walked, and talked our way to finish 9.5 miles of our run. I said I’d make it up later, but I didn’t. I was frustrated with that.

Sunday, we went to church in the morning instead of our usual 5pm service. Our pastor talked about Joshua 24:15-16 and contemporary idols we enslave ourselves to. I actually thought of the Nine Inch Nails song where he refers to “God Money,” as the pastor spoke. This didn’t take away from the message, though. After, I was a volunteer at a benefit concert for a local animal rescue called My Loveable Angels. (I know about the spelling, guys). It was nice to be busy and have the distraction. Then, my phone started buzzing with messages from my husband. I decided to forgo fast food on the way so I could get home. I realized a contemporary idol of mine was food. Now that I’m aware of it, I have to make the right choice to lower food on my list of where I turn when I’m sad, lonely, happy, or confused. I’ve known for a long time it was a problem, but I hadn’t seen it as turning to something instead of prayer.

We have had so much support from family and friends through all of this stress. We have a more positive outlook for how things will be moving forward despite not being sure how we’re moving forward at times. I appreciate it, though and I want everyone who has reached out to know that I am so grateful and blessed to have this much support. Thank you!

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Seriously….this corn. Every time I take the kids here, I’m in awe.

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).

 

 

Good stuff

The Good Stuff

by: Jenn M

My husband and I have been through some shit together. The past few years have proven to be challenging and we go about it the best we can. Rarely, we’ll argue and we go to bed completely pissed at one another. This doesn’t mean we don’t have spats of disagreement. Just that we don’t spend much time in conflict.

This year has been a nightmare compared to past years. We’ve encountered challenges with our teenager where most parents never imagine themselves. We have felt shame and guilt. There have been times where we feel divided. Our marriage has been hard work lately, but our love is so simple.

This past weekend, we traveled to St. Louis to go to a hockey game and visit with his family and some of our friends from back home (near St. Louis). We went to the fan store at the hockey game and got separated. He was in line to buy a shirt, so I just kept shopping around and looking at things. I saw the perfect headband for working out with a Blues’ team logo on it. I picked it up and fought the crowd to finally get to him. The people directly behind him smiled HUGE when they saw what was in my hand. Matt turned around and had the SAME thing in his hand. He said he saw it by the register and just knew I would want it. He was there to find himself some new gear and thought of me enough to pick up something I would have gotten for myself.

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Love is in the moments

So, love comes in the moments. The small, seemingly insignificant moments where you realize that you’re in sync with another person and you acknowledge their desires. Even the “just because” gestures are meaningful.

We encourage each other. We support each other. We will not run races together because that man is much faster than me, but I’m okay with that.

I have a new headband to run with, so now if it would just get a little warmer or less windy on this first day of Spring….I’d like that.

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to share, comment, follow, or whatever you’d like. I love feedback!

Where have you been?

Where have I been? On the crazy train, guys. Google assistant says I spent 48 hours in a car in August. It’s probably  more than that, which is simply disturbing. More than 2 days driving and I don’t think I left Illinois. I also didn’t go on any road trips that were for pleasure.

That doesn’t answer the question of where I was. I started physical therapy. I didn’t finish it, but my foot feels great. No pain when I run. The extra time I took from running was due to my oldest child, the one with Crohn’s, being in the hospital for 15 days. We went from a local hospital that was only 10 minutes away to her being transferred to one 45 minutes away to be closer to her specialist and in a Children’s Hospital. Originally, she was just a little dehydrated. Then, her liver enzymes were up. Before we knew it, she was jaundice. Her liver was not doing well and she had viral hepatitis. All of these things started from one nasty virus that doesn’t even make some people sick when they get it. Epstein-Barr virus, also known as ‘mono’ by the masses, landed my daughter in the hospital for over 2 weeks with a couple of those days in the Intensive Care Unit. Her IBD medications took down her immune system so so her intestines weren’t being attacked by the immune system. Her immune system had a harder fight than it was able to handle. She landed in a hospital bed miserable and missed her first 2 weeks of school including the first day.

I tried to work out as much as I could. I had nervous energy I needed to expend. I did treadmill work at the gym one day until the hospital called. I planned to run one day on the way home from the hospital when my husband had taken my place watching her. Sleep won that day. I needed sleep more than I needed a run. When she finally was released, I went for a run to unwind.  I turned an 8 mile run into a 13 mile run and my friend who was (and is still) helping me get to the marathon distance was not surprised I had run extra. She told me to go for more this week. So, with exactly a month left to to until my first marathon, I have run 13 miles at the most. This weekend, I’ll be going for 16 miles. I’ve actually done 4 and 6 mile runs week outside without pain to my foot or ankle. I’m excited to get the long run out of the way.

I always talk up my running family and how runners are such awesome people. I never imagined how they’d all be there for me when I really needed them. There was so much encouragement and support when I was injured and even more when my daughter was in the hospital. It was amazing.

This week, I finally hit the fundraising minimum for Team Challenge for Crohn’s and Colitis. That put me 3/4 of the way to my goal and I was so excited to see that number and finally being so close.

I had a while when I was really down and out and so pessimistic about pretty much everything. Now, I feel like I have peeked around all of those excuses and ‘what ifs’ and I can see success somewhere in the distance.  I even think I can finish a 26.2 mile race despite a few snags in my training plan.

There’s no magic formula. There’s no words I needed to hear to push away the doubt. I decided that if there are people who can go through these things and come out fine, I can endure a marathon using up 1/4 of my day.  I want to do it now more than ever before. So, I hope you cheer me on in Chicago. I hope you give to my fundraiser. I hope you find the ‘why not’ when you think of reaching a goal you have wanted for awhile.

Fundraising link: MomJennGoal26.2

Here’s a picture of me after my 10k run yesterday. I have my “Tough Times Don’t Last, Tough People Do.” bracelet on. I am one tough broad, guys….

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