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.

 

 

 

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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Buh bye, 2016

This has been quite the year. It wasn’t terrible. There are still a few days left, so I won’t tempt fate by saying anything too final about it. I am at least a little distressed by many of the celebrities that we lost. I found a few disappointments through the end of the year that  left me with a less than favorable review of the year.

January saw the struggle to get my teenager’s mental health care in order. We weren’t done with hospital bills or doctor visits by a long shot. We managed to find a useful combination of prescription drugs and deal with some other aspects of the illness. She’s been exposed to an opinion that one medication is harmful  due to people like comedians saying bad things about it. Which makes it easy for her to believe that the medication is not responsible for the positive change. The thought process isn’t unusual in someone with bipolar disorder, but I wish people wouldn’t try to demonize certain medications for mental illness.  Additionally, her cognitive dysfunction makes communication challenging at times. There are many times where the message gets lost simply because there is too much trying to read between the lines or translate a hidden meaning where one doesn’t exist. Add to it just parenting a teenager, and it is constantly challenging. We’ve managed to get better control of her Crohn’s disease through some medication changes as well. That still hasn’t fully been adjusted to the perfect level, but she isn’t suffering as much as when it first surfaced. She has started to be able to gain weight, so there’s the positive in that. I’m really hoping that my efforts in raising money for Crohn’s will also increase awareness. She definitely has encountered some people who think the disease means she simply uses the bathroom more often and that’s a very minimal and ignorant way to view something much more serious. It wouldn’t be so disheartening if people wouldn’t make comments on her social media accounts that refer to Crohn’s as something that isn’t a real illness.

I spent a lot of time running this year. It may have helped keep my head above water in some pretty tough times. I was part of a training program during almost every month of the year. The start of the year, I tried to run at least 1 mile per day. I adjusted the goal to run or walk. Then, I got physically ill and unable to leave my bed for a few days. I didn’t immediately accept that it was over and intended to restart the running streak. I didn’t go back to trying to run or walk a mile per day. I mentored a winter/spring group for a 10k race while training for a half marathon. The 10k was a great experience. The people I got to know and the race itself were memorable. The half marathon was unforgettable because it was not pleasant and I may have actually had real tears in my eyes near the end of the race. I know that running is supposed to be fun and that if I’m not having fun, I need to pause. That was my second half marathon and now I’ve run 5 half marathons because the other 3 that I ran this year. I had no intention of any long breaks from running, but there’s that saying about man making plans and God laughing at them. My injured ankle is no longer swollen. It hurts from time to time. I often feel like I need to loosen it up and rotate my foot around a bit. The pleurisy I had finally abated enough for me to move normally and experience minimal pain. The relief was of course after 2 days of the pain being intense and unrelenting. I typically won’t complain if I’m hurting, but I considered crying a couple of times from the sharp pain and inability to move or even sit still without feeling it. It was a dash of holiday spirit and a bunch of stubbornness that pulled me through.

This Monday evening, I finally hopped on the elliptical and went for a 25 minute workout. I up the estimate of how long I’m going to work out by 5 minutes to leave a ‘warm up’ time, so I said I was going to do 20, but set the machine for 25. The first few minutes, I almost got teary eyed thinking about how it was such a big deal that I was doing cardio and I wasn’t swimming. After a few minutes, I got itchy from sweating and remembered how the itching used to be so much more frequent when I started working out regularly. I pushed myself to finish the entire 25 minutes, then I did my hip workout and stretches. I was energized by it and I was so happy to finally get a workout in after the back to back [to back] misfortunes and illnesses. I was actually able to move furniture around and clean under it for the first time since I’d hurt my ankle. It might not seem like a big deal, but I was ecstatic to actually sweep and mop the most used parts of the house.

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My first workout since early November. Elliptical for 25 min and some Eminem to keep me going. (And my cleavage because I said so)

I plan to run tonight. I’m nervous. I wish I could go during the day while there’s still light out, but all three kids are on break and my husband works, so I’ll have to settle for trying out a reflective jacket I still haven’t gotten to wear that I bought in October. Ok, I’m kind of excited to try it out. I might even run further than just around the block if I’m not hurting.

Am I saying 2016 was a bad year? Not really bad. I was sick more times than I have been in quite a few years. I had 2 really long bouts with mystery illnesses that seemed to last longer for me than anyone else who was sick around the same time. I actually drank enough to get a hangover, which at my age is far fewer drinks than ‘back in the day.’  I had an injury that sidelined me from my first marathon. Of course the injury didn’t happen until I’d trained 16 weeks and ran all but one of my training runs. I had a very sick oldest child and my two younger children to care for. My husband was needed on business trips to Atlanta and Tempe a few times, so I was left to my own devices at home with all of the offspring and my fat little puggle dog.

In 2016, I also managed to mentor 3 running groups (5k, 10k, half marathon), participate in a training program for a full marathon, run a bunch of races where I had a great time, and spend time with friends and family. My husband and I grew closer and we stood together through the toughest times and supported one another through it all. My kids really are all wild, but loveable. They know right from wrong and I try to set a good example. I’m human and I make mistakes just like anyone else. That isn’t unique to this year or any other. I’m still alive and kicking. I managed to keep my kids and dog alive. I managed to keep myself alive.

2017 will see me running my first marathon, I hope. I’ll be running in Chicago in October and I’ll be fundraising throughout the year for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). I’m missing out on the first training session of the year to make a full recovery, but I’ll be back at it soon enough. I run because I can, and never because I have to. I get to run tonight. I get to run a marathon this coming year. I get to run again and that is why I’m looking forward to the coming year. Not because I’m ready to escape the present year. I feel like I’ve really changed a lot in this past 12 months and I like me a little more than I did before.

Fundraising link here: Mom Jenn Goal of 26.2

Do you have goals for 2017? Was 2016 memorable for you?

I love feedback, everyone! Please reach out to me if you have any questions or comments. Or use this as a way to have a conversation with your friends! Happy and Prosperous New Year!!!!

Because I can

I’m still fighting with a bout of depression that seems to nag and pull at me daily and whisper to me that I just don’t measure up. Despite its best attempts at making me feel inadequate, I continue to challenge and push myself.

Today I find myself exhausted, but accomplished. I covered more miles than my training plan prescribed because I ran to and from a meeting place one day and I put in extra miles on another so I could run with a friend. I’m at the halfway point of mentoring for the half marathon and I’m on week 4 of training for a full marathon.

This weekend, I ran a 5k race at Lake Evergreen that I ran last year as well. It was apparently the same week in my own half training because I had 4 miles to run after and so did the group training this summer. I was aware that the race had some challenges going into it and I wasn’t confident that I’d be able to reach for beating my best time of 29 minutes. Each race after the one I made that time, I’ve set out just to beat that time even if it is by a second. Saturday morning was sunny, but not too hot. The gnats were swarming around the race venue and we swatted them away as we made way to the start line. At first, nobody was lining up in front of me at the start line and I attempted to move back. A few people finally went to the front of the start and the race began with everyone taking off down the road. I tried to just remember that I could hold as close to a 9 minute pace as possible to get my best time. I spent a little time praying. There was a person that was near me in the race that seemed stressed, so I prayed for that person. I prayed for myself to have the resolve to finish and I was thankful that I was able to run and able to train for a full marathon. I started telling myself that I’m “scrappy” because I always overcome challenges. I pushed myself hard. Toward the end, I kept trying really hard to pick up my pace and it seemed like every time I looked at my watch, I wasn’t getting any faster or I wasn’t picking up as much as I needed to get the time I wanted. Toward the final stretch, my husband and my friend were shouting at me and I actually mustered up a little kick of energy to push through to the end a little faster. Some guy passed me right in the last 50 feet, but I was going my fastest. Imagine my surprise when I pulled through the finish line and saw 28:49 on the digital clock and on my watch! I didn’t place, but last year, I finished the race in 30:57. I beat my best time and I killed my time from last year by over 2 minutes. Scrappy…lol. I ran 4 more miles right after the race and was back in time to see the tail end of the awards where 2 of my friends and my husband had placed in their age groups.

Sunday is long run day for full marathon training. While I normally complete my long runs on Saturday instead because of my half marathon mentoring, I did my goal pace run Saturday and planned ahead to do 12 miles on Sunday. Jane, who mentored me during my first half last year, is my primary running partner for the full marathon. We match pace and we amuse one another. So, we ran 12 miles with a couple of breaks to adjust, refill, and loosen up. Only towards the end did I feel anxiety and have to zone myself out and Jane was there to pull me out of my head. We even got to go to a brunch afterward just for women to shop for bras and have mimosas and pancakes. It was fun and a nice incentive during our run was that there was a mimosa in it for us. After that, I went to a nature center and hiked around a little with my family. I needed a nap after.

Monday, I woke up with ear congestion and a sore throat presumably from being in the great outdoors so much over the weekend. I spent most of the day feeling a little ‘blah’ from the decongestant. My husband worked late and was preparing for a business trip through the middle days of the week. After dinner, we had problems discussing then arguing with my oldest child. She nitpicked at me and tried to break me down seeking out insecurities about my parenting. She walked out of the house and after a little while, I had to call the local police to help me find her. They opened a case with a national database. She returned home around 10 pm and I called off the search. The police came by for a welfare check and then we went to bed.

I didn’t get to run last night. I won’t be running tonight with my group. I’m sad and I’m disappointed. I’m still a little angry and hurt. When I get to run, I will do it. Because I can do it. Not because I have to. I want to run 26.2 miles because I know that I can, so why not do it? I train for it because I want to do it right. Sometimes, I carry on because I don’t know what the other options are. I don’t know how much of my strength was a choice on my part, but I’m here and I’m pushing forward. I know that I’m not always confident and I worry how people see me and how my children see me. I also know that I’m human and I make mistakes just like anyone else and nobody is perfect no matter how much they appear to be. I have depression and life doesn’t slow down or ease up on me when I’m down. It doesn’t matter how far down I am, it’ll still kick me. So, I just have to get back up more times than it knocks me down. That doesn’t mean I’ll just spring up and be ready for more each time, though. I’m tired. I get worn down.

So, I’ll get back to running once I can later this week. I’ll do my long runs and I’ll put in the time to train for my 26.2 mile race. Not because I have to, but because I can and I will do this.

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Hubby and I after the race. He got 2nd in his age group and I PR’d!

 

 

Two sides of one year

Summer break has returned and the dread started to fill me in the weeks leading up to it. I love hanging with the kids and doing fun things. It’s just that this past year has been extremely difficult and everything started right as summer break began last year. It was so bad, my mom had to take an emergency leave from work and come to my house to help out.

At the time, I was already signed on to train for a half marathon for 12 weeks. I wanted to run it and I wanted to train for it in the best way possible. Training was to start in about 6 weeks. I suddenly had no time to run and was booking appointments for my teen to seek intense mental health care in addition to care for her Crohn’s that had been diagnosed in the previous months. We were looking at a very unhappy person and we were doing our best to help her despite the things she said to us that were unkind and did to us that were vengeful. We had a few good days and bad ones, too. We were interviewed and investigated regarding accusations made. I started hiding and smoking cigarettes after years of not being a smoker. My husband suspected it and asked that I stop wasting money on it and that I remember I had signed up to run 13 miles. I couldn’t exactly argue with it because he wasn’t asking for something unreasonable and it was from a place of concern.

Those first couple of weeks running were rough. I felt like I was slow and never quite catching my breath. I was stressed out and didn’t want to actually talk about things going on in my life. I spent a lot of time listening and asking questions that were about running. I was making friends and I was spending time away from the troubles at home. I finally stopped feeling anxious before every group run and I started wanting to go so I could clear my head and talk to my new found friends.

By the time we’d run the half, I finally knew people in my town. I’d lived here 3 and a half years and it was the first time I felt like I belonged and I wasn’t all alone in a strange place. I even ran into people I knew while I was out and about. I knew people on the trip to Hawaii because they were my running buddies.

Oh, the trip to Hawaii. The last time I remember things being a little normal and more pleasant. That was, until we returned home and things started to heat up with the teen. By November, I was on the phone with my bestie driving to the emergency room because I was working out when the ambulance arrived at my house and my husband had tried to call me with no luck.

Things started to look normal with a few medication changes for her. I stayed involved in running by mentoring groups. The past couple of weeks, I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I was just anticipating doom. Despite running, my anxiety had been lurking.

The first night after school was over for the teen was hell. The first day was no better. She thinks that being a stay at home mom has no merit and often likes to bring that up when she’s feeling bad. I don’t put much weight on it considering the source, but I am curious as to why this seems to be a topic that she comes back to often. I choose to stay at home and my husband and I are good with it. She also says that she would like to be an emancipated minor. She said that I’m the reason she hurts herself. Despite the hatred from her, I can offer my tough love. These are empty attempts at manipulation. I could be upset or disappointed, and I am. I can only repeat to her that personal choices are not made outside of oneself and that accountability must be taken for one’s own actions eventually. She is sick and I can empathize, but I can also draw a line as to how I will allow myself to be treated and stand my ground when I must. While some people would be quick to judgement, they haven’t been where I have or lived what I have and I don’t welcome it. Parenting is a challenge and the decisions parents make are deeply personal.

I have my own training approaching soon. I have mentoring. I have two other kids that I need to care for and show how to conduct themselves while trying to help the teen through this. This is a tough place to be in at home and I thank God that I have a husband who supports me and encourages me to take some time for myself to refocus. I am also grateful for the mental strength I have gained through disciplining myself for the long runs. Without it, I don’t know how I would have made it through the last year or how I could conquer the years to come.

I am strong. I am loved. I am capable of so much I have yet to discover. *

*This goes for you too! Say it. Aloud.

The Bull

There’s a song by [a band named] Atreyu called “Becoming the Bull,” where the lyrics say, “Grab the bull by the horns the old adage goes. Nobody tells you where to go from here.” While one could argue that its simply a line in a song and nothing more, it speaks to me as the whole song kind of does.

Atreyu “Becoming the Bull”

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Right. My drawing is still bad. Here’s “The Bull”

Recently, there was a medication adjustment for the teen. She was more angsty than ever and often verbally cruel. During one outburst, her phone was taken away. I decided to try to see if there was another problem that had bubbled up that she was not sharing with her father and I, so I started sifting through the many apps on the phone. That’s when I found the pics she had been struggling with since October. The ones I thought were taken candidly and without her knowledge that I’d mentioned in a previous post. I saw that they weren’t candid at all and I was disappointed that I’d been lied to so many times about the same thing by the same person. It doesn’t change the way I feel about the people who repost them and say despicable things to and about her in regards to the attempt at her life in November. A misstep is something everyone experiences in life. You try to move forward and past things and sometimes, people pick your rubbish from behind you on the path and bring it up to you waving it in your face to remind you of it. It doesn’t mean it isn’t rubbish and that it shouldn’t have been left behind. It means that someone wants people to lose focus of their own trash and they’ve picked up yours to distract from his/her own. It’s cruel and it isn’t right for people to do to one another. It just seems to be a way some people live.

I realized last weekend that I was signing up for a half marathon and was not taking the extra miles in to accomplish running 13.1 miles. I planned to run a few miles after our Saturday training run, but my husband mentioned feeling unwell, so I went home and planned to go later on. Instead, I headed out Sunday afternoon and ran 8 miles on the trail. My hands were freezing, but running seemed effortless once I got out and started. I really needed that time with my headphones on and my running shoes on to be outside and to have no other purpose than complete 8 miles. At first, my mind was consumed with all of the lists of things to do, bills to pay, accounts to reconcile, appointments to make, and other things that fall into the category of “very important for continuity of modern life,but not to enjoying this moment.” I started to think about more abstract subjects and realized that I was taking the hills without slowing and without panting once I reached the top. I was doing it with ease. I needed that long run and I needed to solitude. While I’ve been reluctant to train for anything while I’m mentoring people to run the 10k, I’m going to remember to keep up with the longer runs so it can be done with ease when the time comes. There’s always some push an pull involved in running. If you don’t keep up with distance, it becomes more difficult. If you don’t switch things up once in awhile, you don’t reap any benefits. Running can be a great example in other parts of life. The things that you nurture will become the things that do well. The things that you neglect are the things that are tougher to improve and take a little extra care when the time comes to put it into practice.

The weather is starting to get warmer. We have the threat of one more wintery storm in the coming day or so. Then, the winter will probably start to ease away into the spring. Running season is starting to peek through with races to sign up and train for. I’m excited for the races I’ve signed up for so far. I’m excited that I actually ran through the winter months and won’t have to feel like I’m starting over when the weather is finally warming up. I still have run each day this year at least 1 mile per day and every one of those miles has been outdoors. Mentoring has been great. We’re so close to the goal distance and I’m excited for the day we do a trial run of the course ahead of the race day. I can’t wait to see the people I’ve been running with realize their abilities! I plan to keep up the streak for the foreseeable future and hope to make it all 366 days of the year.

Do you take time where you’re alone with your thoughts and clear your mind? Do you have any races coming up? Any new goals yet?

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to drop me a comment or message. I love to hear from people reading my blog!

Still going strong

I ran outside every single day this year for at least 1 mile. Even when I wasn’t feeling well and even when the windchill was negative degrees Fahrenheit, I pulled on my shoes and did it.  I’m working on perseverance, I suppose. I thought after forcing myself to get out and run when I wasn’t feeling well, I’d give up the streak after a month of doing it. I was wrong. February 1st rolled around and I dutifully went out and ran my mile to ensure I didn’t break the streak.  I can’t just drop it after this long. That was the reason when I was sick at the end of January and that is the reason now. I’ve done it this long, so I might as well keep doing it until I literally cannot go on.

I’m in week 4 of my first experience in mentoring. I am in a group training to run a 10k. That’s a little more than 6 miles. Many of the participants have run a 5k before and are going to double their race distance now. I find that impressive and challenging. We have an evening group workout and a morning group workout each week in addition to individual training on other days/nights. This week, our evening workout was hills. We ran a course that involved 2 loops with hills on them and we ran the loop twice. I was worried that it would be rainy that night, but it turned out to be a dense fog where the night seemed eerie. It was warm, too. I’m pretty sure most of us out there broke a sweat. Only once did I feel like I screwed up and it was because I did. I told the people I was running with that we were turning left ahead, then wondered why they turned the opposite way from me when I went right. The correct direction was right. I tried to laugh it off, but I felt like a huge ditz mixing up my directions out loud. The people I ran with kept a really good pace despite having to climb the hills and I was impressed at how they kept it up and didn’t really complain. I probably complained quite a bit on my first hill workout in training. I know I did, actually. This weekend will be a progressive run where we warm up, get faster each mile, then cool down. I have been working on negative splits for months, so I’m ready to challenge other people to do it with  me.

 

I love running, so I thought mentoring was an obvious choice for running in a group while I’m not personally training for anything. So far, I’ve discovered that I’m always worried about whether I’m doing it right and I often ask other mentors who have experience if I’m doing things right. I am really enjoying doing it, though. I also enjoy pestering the people who organize our program because I’m a worrier. It is only week 4 and we have some time ahead. I keep reminding myself that this is my first time and I just have to be open to learning how to teach and remembering what I liked best about my training mentors.

Running totally burns off the crazy. Our problems with the teen are ongoing. Some have to do with people who want to insert themselves into the situation so others notice them. Some have to do with my daughter not being completely honest and being more of a ‘forgiveness instead of permission’ type of person. Then, more has to do with the fact that while everyone blames parents for everything their kids do, we don’t have the ability to be there 24/7 to monitor their behavior and they are individuals with their own minds and thoughts. We can teach, but we can’t decide what lesson the student ultimately gets from it.

So, I’ll keep on streaking with at least a mile a day. I’ll keep on training through the goal race at the end of week 11. I’ll keep on trying to become the best mentor that ever existed and being critical of myself about what I do during training. I’ll keep on parenting my teen and trying to instill good values and morals and hope she clings to them one day. I’ll continue to be a good example of it just in case that’s a better teacher, which I think it is.

Are you still working at your goals for this year? Are you aware that this is typically the week of the year when resolutions taper off? What are you going to do to not be in that statistic? I’d say not make a resolution, but it’s a little late if you already did. Are you your biggest critic? Do you try to be a fan of yourself once in awhile?

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Obviously, that’s me in the lead….misdirecting.

 

Group victim blaming…

The internet is full of memes meant to shame all different types of people, especially parents.  I think that if you have time to judge other people for who they are and what they choose to do, you probably could use that time to work on yourself and whatever insecurities you have that make you feel the need to pass judgement on to others. That’s just my opinion.

I have a teen daughter. We’ve had a rocky past few months and have gone through a lot. For whatever reason, without her consent, a friend recorded video of her in the bathroom and shared the images with a large group of people. My daughter is 15, so this is essentially, pornography depicting a minor. Not soon after, she tried to commit suicide by overdose and things have been a bit difficult from then on.

She has been in counseling and doing very well lately on her medication. She has been earning things back like usage of her technology. We have had a few bumps, but nothing as severe as the episodes that landed her in inpatient care at a facility. Then comes this weekend, where someone starts sending her ominous messages about how she will ‘ruin her’ and ‘share her nudes’. Suddenly, a boy posts the photos to social media and a group conversation turns to calls of “kill yourself” to my teen daughter and “you should’ve taken more [pills used redacted].”

So, this week, I did the right thing. I consented to press charges against the person who posted the images. This has not turned out well for my daughter, who is being called names at school and told that she is ruining the boy’s life by having him arrested. Other kids have told her that her mother (that’s me) is suing all of these people and posting things with a “#free[the perpetrator]”. This behavior is dangerous. This behavior among a group is ridiculous.

Not only are they literally blaming the victim, they are siding with the person who committed the crime here. They’re also confusing criminal with civil legal proceedings. I haven’t sued anyone. The perpetrator committed a crime and now he may face criminal charges. In a court of law. This isn’t a modern idea where people blame the victims of crimes for somehow causing the crime itself. What is more modern is that people use the internet to say and do horrible things and don’t anticipate consequences.

This is about parents looking at their own kids’ social media accounts and making sure they aren’t using them to hurt someone else. This is about asking other people in your friends or family group to follow them and pay attention to help you catch on. Raising a kid actually does take a village and if you’re so busy judging watching other people raise their kids, why can’t you use that time to offer a helping hand or at least a head’s up?

You can assume what you will about what transpired. You can even assume that I’m in the wrong, but when will we stop saying that someone was asking to be hurt by being present? When can we honestly stop saying that criminals act because their victims somehow lured them into a crime? Do you honestly think that the person who set out to hurt my daughter is sorry or feels any remorse? What if this had been someone in a much worse place and someone lost his/her life over this? Would people still be blaming my daughter if his post caused her suicide? Pressing charges may make someone else think twice before doing something so careless and wrong and I will not stop pursuing what will protect my family and potentially prevent other families from having this experience.

 

On the approach

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Time passes. Miles pass. At least the watch is cute…

We’re approaching the end of 2015 to usher in 2016. The future is the final frontier that we’re uncovering constantly. While being “on the approach” would typically indicate that we’re descending in a flight, I’m not quite sure that’s the case. There’s less of a predictable nature of time moving where we’re going up, down, and sideways, yet always forward no matter which direction we’re looking.

This year has seen new and different things for everyone. My oldest kid started high school. My youngest started preschool. The middle child started going to preschool 5 days a week. My husband got a promotion at work. I ran a half marathon.

In the past year, we discovered our oldest has Crohn’s disease after a series of doctor visits and tests. Then, we watched in disbelief as she uncovered things she’d been hiding from us. It seemed surreal to hear. Our honor roll student and recently baptized teenager who was once a soccer player, cross country/track runner, and an avid reader had deviated from who we believed she was. I sat in an emergency room praying, crying, thinking, and hoping she’d survive an intentional overdose. I cried as her doctor told me that I needed to send her to rehabilitation for drugs and alcohol. I sought refuge in my husband’s arms many times and I’ve cried on his shoulder when I couldn’t hold back the tears anymore. We celebrated Christmas together at home. The very next day, we were reporting her as a runaway and sending her back to the hospital once she was retrieved and evaluated. She won’t be home to ring in 2016.

My husband attributes my ability to handle the stress to running. I have more friends and less time inside of my head to overthink things. I also have something where I feel accomplished when I’m pretty sure I’m not cutting it in the parenting arena. With parenting, even when I’m giving it my best, someone is standing by to say it isn’t good enough. When I’m running, I’m doing my best and there isn’t much anyone can say to make me feel inadequate about it. Of course, I joke about not being fast enough or not losing a ton of weight. I’m constantly beating my best times and even when I’m not, I’m preparing myself to do something greater. This year, I’ll run a few half marathons and hopefully one will beat my time from 2015. Maybe I’ll inspire some people to run and even try for a half marathon. I’ll also be trying to get the elusive sub 30 minute 5k. I put that goal on hold in 2015 to focus on the half marathon.

I’m not excited about the new year. I’m not optimistic about January 1st being the dawn of happiness for the rest of my days. I’m just hopeful that as time marches forward, I can grow and learn from the things that happen. I hope that I can find things that make me smile and laugh along the way. At the end of 2014, I said that I would run a half marathon before turning 35. I turn 35 in a little over a week. I did it. Now on to other things that keep me excited about moving into the future. I know what I want and I hope I can find ways achieve the tasks ahead.

Do you have any plans for the coming year? Are you looking forward to it? Thanks for reading! I hope you’ve enjoyed this entry. I try to post at least once a week.

Jingle, jingle

This sums up my feelings about "The Most Wonderful Time of Year"

This sums up my feelings about “The Most Wonderful Time of Year”

Jingle, jingle is the actual sound my head makes when I tilt it from one side to another. There’s too much clutter rattling around in there. I have so much to say and so many ways I could say it.

In the lead, I took my teen daughter to the doctor last Thursday and his opinion was to have her placed into the care of a hospital. I drove her there after stopping in at home for her to pack a bag. This facility was different from the last. The location and the general feeling of the place were both different. They had less availability for visitation and it was slightly further from our house.

Friday morning, I cancelled my train tickets to the race in St. Louis and I arranged for my race bag to be picked up by someone who lives in the same town so I could get my ‘goodies’ despite not being there. I mourned the weekend that may have been a fun time away from my kids and housework. I was sad that I didn’t get to give my friend her gift that I’m still looking forward to her reaction when she opens. It was really well thought out. I broke down a couple of times through the weekend seeing the fun that people were having there and that my friend wasn’t going to have me with her this time for what would have been our first 15k race.

Friday night, my husband and I didn’t hear from the teen. I was disappointed, but figured that she needed to settle in before calling. Saturday evening, my husband went for a visit. He called on his way home saying that she wasn’t attending groups because they kept being canceled, she only saw the doctor briefly and he didn’t even talk with her, and that her roommate found a screw and tried to hurt herself with it. I immediately made an emergency call to her psychiatrist who called me back a couple of hours later. He reminded me that we checked her in to a facility to keep her safe and that she was safe and that my other concerns could be addressed during the week. For some reason, that was incredibly helpful and I felt a little bad for having him paged. After speaking with the case worker, we discovered that groups were optional and not being attended by her. I was still a little upset with the facility when they wouldn’t let her talk to my mom on the phone and wouldn’t email me a form to give permission. When I found the form online and faxed it to them from my email, I felt like the facility was disorganized and not trying to help me at all.

We scheduled our family meeting for Wednesday and we had my mom come to our house to watch the smaller kids while we went to meet with our daughter and the case worker. We were tentative about the meeting since she’d been so eager to tell us how terrible the facility was and our impression was not positive. At the family meeting, we met the case worker. He wanted to hold her accountable for her actions, make sure that the words she used to describe what she’d learned actually held weight with actions, and he wanted her to express her feelings. He saw through much of the things that seemed to have been easily missed at the last facility. He explained to my husband and I that he wanted to see less impulsive reactions to emotion and less hopelessness when a situation was not within her control. So when he told her that she would not being coming home with us until Friday or Monday, she was visibly upset. She assured us that she was “fine,” but he pressed on to ask her real emotion. She settled on disappointment. As we left the meeting, the case worker asked us to press her to talk to us about things that might be emotional on the phone later that night. When we called, we started to press on after exchanging pleasantries and she disconnected the call after we tried to press on. The next day, the case worker informed me that a Friday release was looking more like Monday due to the communication breakdown. I realized that her negative reaction was a direct result of her accountability and that the treatment was more effective than I’d been thinking. She was upset because they were handling and addressing the problems head on.

When I visited yesterday, I had a special exception from the case worker to visit on a non visit day. I brought her bi-weekly inflammatory bowel disease medicine shot with me and I sat down and talked to her for an hour. She still expressed disdain for the facility. I maintained that they want to help her. She said she couldn’t wait to get out Monday. I kept most of the conversation light, but I mentioned to her that it isn’t easy to trust someone who you love after they’ve hurt you and there was a long road ahead. I had to explain to her that didn’t mean I didn’t love her. It meant that she’d damaged the trust and I hoped to see positive change in her. Some things  in the way of conversation were complaints about fellow patients, comparison of herself to others who she saw as “really crazy”, and her insisting that everyone will be released on Monday because of the upcoming holiday.

I try to keep up a positive outlook on the situation that she is going to come home and she’ll be safe because she’ll no longer want to hurt herself. Then, there’s the part of me that knows she’ll come home and we’ll still be on constant watch. This isn’t just about her feeling hopeless. This is about impulsive behavior like trying to kill herself. This is about abusing prescription medication and alcohol. This is about things that happen when we aren’t watching and that we can’t always see what’s happening and something did happen when we thought we had a pretty good grip on what was going on in her life.

I’m feeling more anxious lately. I manage to get out and run on schedule unless there is an emergency (like taking her to the facility last week). I realize how much I need to go out more often and I’m actually taking steps to make sure I put myself on a schedule so I stick to it. I gained about 6 pounds in the past couple of weeks. I’ve felt tired on most days and like I’m forcing myself to finish the most basic chores like dishes, cooking, and laundry. I’m just not quite myself and I’m more easily annoyed and upset.

I’ve requested that my daughter join an activity, preferably a sport, once  released. This was part of the family meeting on Wednesday. She used to run track and cross-country. Before that, she played soccer. She had a rough go, and I know that needs some grace on my part. That also means that I will need to be more proactive to assure her safety. Which will probably lead so some level of resentment from her that I’m not looking forward to receiving, but at least that means I’m not an enabler.

While I was going to hold off on this until her release, I am filled with so many conflicting feelings and thoughts, I need to just get it out and really give it a look.

I know many people aren’t feeling like they’re into the holiday spirit. I’m not exactly someone who gets excited about Christmas. I’d say if you’re feeling empty, there is nothing like giving an anonymous gift to someone totally deserving. You can even do it more than once. It doesn’t have to be a total stranger and it doesn’t have to be expensive. You could bring some cups of hot cocoa out to the garbage men or the mail carrier. Just remember to be kind to others. It goes a long way in how you feel about yourself.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it. Otherwise, enjoy your week! The first official day of winter is near and here come the months where it gets frigid and people start to feel lonely. Don’t forget your friends and don’t forget your fitness this winter.