Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hurdles, Hiccups, and Headaches

Once again, this marathon is quickly creeping up on me.  Yes, AGAIN.  Tecumseh was canceled and rescheduled due to weather last month, so I was "able" to continue training.  These past few weeks have definitely been a test of my patience, stamina, strength, and overall will. 

When Tecumseh was canceled, I honestly felt lost.  For the few days it took for them to decide if it would be rescheduled, I had no idea what to do.  Do I continue training?  Do I find another marathon?  I was seriously scouring the entire planet for a trail marathon in January...even as far as New Zealand.  I honestly felt like a crazy person.  Then, the email came that it had been rescheduled for January 11.  Whew!  Sigh of relief....until reality set it....

Let's see...if the marathon is now a month away, that means I have to do another 20 miler.  It also means I have to keep getting up at 430am 4 days a week.  It means I have to train through not only Christmas, but also New Years.  Ugh.

On top of that, Mother Nature decided to take out all aggressions that she has been bottling up for the past couple mild winters and come down on Northwest Indiana with almost everything she has in December!  We went two weeks without a temperature over 20 degrees, which meant negative numbers at 5 am most morning with the wind chill.  It also meant the trails were covered in snow and ice for most of the long runs on Sundays. 

I wish I could say that despite all of her raging, frigid, snow enhanced belligerent transgressions, I persevered and continued my training flawlessly...but I can't.  I'm human.  I get tired.  I get bad attitudes.  I want to quit. 

I want to quit so badly, it haunts me on a daily basis.  Yet, I won't do it.  I know myself too well.  I will see this through all 26.2 fun, hilly miles. 

I went back and read my first post about running this thing.  I can honestly say this training has changed me.  It brought me out of one of the darkest places I have been.  It brought me back to life.  It might "just be a marathon" to most people, but for me, it has been synonymous with everything I wanted to overcome.  It almost feels poetic that I trained for so long and couldn't wait to run, only to have it postponed.  This marathon has already taught me so much, but one of the greatest is that it is not what happens to you that defines who you are, it is the way you respond and how you overcome what happens.    Bring it on Tecumseh.  And someone please give Mother Nature her meds!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thank You

In three days, I will run the race I have been training for since August.  I feel strong.  I feel ready.  I'm excited to run in the woods of Bloomington for hours on end. I realize I have not posted since my 14 miler in the pouring rain in early October.  It's been almost two months and so much has happened, yet it flew by.

I turned 33.  I ran 3 ridges for a 21 mile training run and survived.  I think I hallucinated during my 18 miler.  I claimed to hate running...more than once.  I cried.  I laughed.  I woke up a few times sore in places I didn't even know could get sore.  I got a blister bigger than one of my toes.  I learned why Sports Shield is a necessity.  I fell in love all over again when my husband let me stay on the couch for an entire Sunday after a really hard run.  I let myself cry.  I let myself be sad.

Of all the things that happened over the past few months, that last one is probably the most important.  I've always put on a brave face.  I'm not one to ask for help.  I'm not one to let go of control very easily. Allowing myself to feel sad and be OK with that, was a milestone. 

No one likes to feel sad. It's just not a good feeling.  What I learned along the way though, was how you react to that sadness that matters.  Just because you let yourself feel the sadness, does not make you a walking pity party.  Instead, it made me 100% more grateful for the people and experiences I do have in my life.  Instead of allowing the sadness to overtake me, I decided to overcome it. 

You can't truly live life if you are always thinking about those things which you do not have.  You can't enjoy the little moments if you constantly wish it was a different scenario. 

I decided to pay more attention to the little details and the moments and just enjoy them.  I spent the past 20 days compiling a list of the people that have helped inspire, motivate, and encourage me through this training.  Each of them played a part in not only getting me through the training, but also helping me through what has been one of the most difficult transitions of my life so far. 

Four months ago, I wasn't sure if I could do this.  In three days, I will cross that finish line.  There is no doubt in my mind.  I am going to enjoy every minute of that race...every hill, every stone, every cold breeze.  I'm going to enjoy it because I never imagined I would be there and for that, I am forever grateful.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Running from Velociraptors

I've mentioned a few times that I am somewhat of a type A person.  I like routing my runs ahead of time.  I like a schedule.  I like to know what is going to happen before it actually happens.  When I veer off the schedule, I am typically not happy.

Sunday was one of those days that I surprised myself.  As I left to meet my running friends, there was a slight drizzle.  We knew rain was in the forecast, but it was not on my schedule to run 14 miles in the rain.  That was not part of my plan.

By 7:15 when we were ready to start our run, it was an all out downpour.  We didn't question whether or not we should run, we just did.  We sucked it up, put on our special running rain jackets and took off like a group of lunatic runners in the pouring rain. 

As we ran through the woods, I imagined we were being chased by a Velociraptor from Jurassic Park.  It made me smile.  This was cool.  This was an adventure and a run I probably wouldn't forget.  We ran in the rain, in the woods, on the beach, over bridges, and down roads for 14.2 miles, making up the route as we went. 

It was the longest run I have ever completed and I felt good.  It wasn't easy, but I felt good.  I felt strong.  I actually enjoyed the hills.  It was one of those runs that made me smile the rest of the day. 

Sometimes, it's nice to let go of schedules and planning.  Sometimes, it's nice to just follow your running friends, take off the watch, and enjoy the rain.  I was soaked to the bone as I got in my car.  I smiled to myself because I was happy. 

Little by little, these runs are washing away the things that are trying to weigh me down.  Little by little, I'm learning that life is an adventure and it's best to just let go of what you can't control.  Once you can do that...you enjoy running through the woods in the pouring rain.  It's all about moving forward and not letting a little rain ruin your day.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Power of a Run

 As I explained in an earlier post, I can no longer have children.  I'm 32 years young and I've been diagnosed with early onset menopause.  I've had symptoms ever since having Lyla, but never fully understood what was going on until we tried to have a second child. 

I discovered out on a "ridge run" over this weekend, that there is more to this story than I was willing to admit.  Somewhere along one of the most scenic parts of the run, my heart started to race, my chest tightened, and my vision blurred.  And then, I started to cry. 

I was not sad.  I was not upset.  I was scared.  Not of the run, but of what was happening to my body that I had absolutely no control over.  A few moments before I started crying, I realized I was having another hot flash, but because I was already drenched in sweat and my body temperature was already high, my body was trying to figure out a way to regulate my body temperature in different ways.  Once I understood this, I couldn't stop the tears.

I'm 32.  I'm not ready to come to terms with my reproductive system failing before science says it's supposed to.  I'm not ready to fully accept that I'm not capable of creating and carrying another baby.  I'm not ready, but I have no choice.  And out there on the ridge, I came face to face with this realization as my reproductive problem now forced itself into one of my runs.

I use runs to escape, to heal, to think.  It never occurred to me that the side effects from the menopause would catch up with me on a run.  It never entered my mind that the two worlds would crash into one another while in the middle of my sanctuary. 

I spent a large part of the day yesterday talking to my husband and writing down how I was feeling to friends.  I became acutely aware that this was much bigger than just not being able to have another baby.  This was about accepting this transition in my life and letting go of any "control" I thought I had over the situation.  In a quiet moment with my daughter, I picked her up, hugged her and cried real tears as I fully understood for the first time what an absolute miracle she is.  I'm not sure any of this would have happened, if I had not broken down on my run. 

I woke up this morning, ready for my 45 minute run.  I felt lighter.  It felt easier than it has in weeks.  The therapy I receive out on some of these runs is immeasurable.  The gratitude I feel for those that have inspired me to attempt this marathon is beyond what I can put into words.  The power of a run can change everything.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Running, Capes, and Super Powers

If you ever dreamed of having super powers, start running.  Start running and never stop.

Alarm sounds at 4:35.  Roll over.  Pick up phone.  Squint my eyes together just enough to see the button to turn that dreadful sound off.  Open Facebook and squint even harder to find some motivational quotes that were posted during the past 12 hours that might encourage me to get up.  Literally roll out of bed, letting my feet hit the floor first and gingerly walking to the bathroom, careful to let my knees "crack" before taking real steps.  Go through the bathroom routine, find my running clothes on the floor where I left them the night before so I could be as quiet as possible, throw them on and stumble down the stairs.  Grab my watch off the counter and hit "mode", "run", "outside" in hopes the stupid thing will actually find a satellite before I start running.  Sit on the couch, tie my shoes and pet the dog until the clock says 4:57.  Then, it's time to walk out the door, through my neighbor's yards to the bike trail to meet my friend and finally run.  The running is the easy part.  Right leg, left leg, right leg, left leg, breath in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, stay in a straight line, keep eyes open, don't fall, right leg, left leg, breathe in, breath out.  Repeat for 40 minutes.

I don't know why I ever try to talk myself out of those morning runs.  As soon as the run is over, I feel alive.  I have a little hop in my step and there is a smile in my voice.  Running brings a joy that lets me truly appreciate and enjoy the rest of my day.  Hard things seem easier, challenges seem conquerable, and limits seem to disappear.  I almost want to wear a cape on days I run.  In fact, I think everyone should wear a cape after they run.  That way we know each other and we can smile, high five, fist bump, chest bump....whatever the moment calls for.  Whatever can keep that momentum going for the rest of the day.

I claimed I couldn't run a marathon because I couldn't make time for the amount of training that it requires.  I called myself out on my own excuse.  What else am I going to do between 4:30am and 6 am?  Sleep?  Nah...sleeping doesn't give me super powers.  Someone find me a cape, because at the end of this training, I'm going to wear that thing everywhere I go, just to remind myself that excuses are lame.  Every time I try to make an excuse for something, my cape will remind me how much fun life is when you live without excuses and just go for it.  Super heroes don't make excuses.  They do what is right and they do it without reservation.  Running feels so right for me right now.  Cape or no cape, I have super powers.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Marathon Training Day 1

Today officially started my marathon training for my first marathon in December.  My alarm usually goes off at 4:35 for morning runs, but today, I was wide awake and ready at 4:30.  Not exactly sure how long this "excitement" will last, but for now, I'm enjoying having something to focus on.  I like schedules.  I like plans.  I like knowing what I'm expected to do and when.  I'm very much a Type A, control freak.  With that in mind, you can see why training for a marathon is what I'm using as a mental release from those things which I have no control over.  Somewhat sick.....somewhat brilliant....100% what I need right now. 

As I begin this new adventure, I realize I must acknowledge my feelings about not having another baby.  Since registering for the marathon and actually committing to it, I have found myself more calm.  I'm able to talk about it without wanting to cry or hit something.  Yes, there is still a sadness there and yes I prefer not to talk about it, but I can if I need to. I'm not "over it" and I'm not sure I will ever be completely over that, but I do feel more like myself with each passing day.  My runs feel better, my attitude is better, and I'm enjoying just being a family of three and not obsessing over trying to get pregnant.  For me, that is a huge step....more like a hurdle.  So for now, I'll take it.  I'll enjoy each new day a little more, accept the setbacks, and open my mind and heart a little bit more to let the healing continue.

Monday, July 15, 2013

It's Time to Run a Marathon.


There is a moment of peace that I experience after a run.  It comes at different times, depending on the day and if I'm running in a group or solo.  Many times, it happens later in the day when something is bothering me, and instead of getting upset, I'm able to remain calm and just remember that it's really not a big deal.  I don't know how running did that for me, but it has.  Running mile after mile and being able to talk to others I don't otherwise get a chance to have long conversations with or running by myself and being able to open my mind and let things work themselves out.  Both situations allow me to find my peace.

 

You could say I'm in need of a little extra peace of mind.  We (my husband and I) recently found out that I can no longer have children (less than 1% chance of getting pregnant).  We have Lyla, which is a lot more than some others are able to have, so there are no complaints here.  She is the heart and soul of this family and brings more joy into our lives than I could ever have imagined.  But, there is a desire to give her a sibling and to have at least one more child. 

 

Yes, we could work more with the doctors and find specialists in other states and spend exorbitant amounts of money trying to have another baby, but where would that leave us...leave me?  Exhausted, with still less than 30% chance of being pregnant and time away from Lyla.  I'm not willing to lose these last few toddler moments with her.

 

Instead, I've decided to find peace with our decision to be a family of three.  I think that only other runners can really understand why running my first marathon has become my "therapy".  It gives me something positive to focus on.  It gives me time to think.  It gives me a little more peace day after day. 

 

I’ve had my moment of frustration, anger, rage at this entire situation.  I don't want to be that person.  I just want to move on and enjoy our amazing little family.  There are many high points to only having one child and I understand that.  However, it does not change the fact that my heart aches to be pregnant again...to have a sister or brother for Lyla to grow up with...to see in what ways they are similar and in what ways they become their own person.  That hasn't changed.  I think time does heal....and the longer I run, the more healing I experience. 

 

I'll be running a trail marathon in Bloomington on December 7, 2013.  I expect that I will question every little bit of why I did this to myself, but I pray that by the time I cross that finish line, I have accepted our fate and found peace with my diagnosis.  The training is going to be tough and I'm going to want to quit, but in the back of my head I will think of why I'm running. 

 

Everyone runs for different reasons.  I originally started because I was told I couldn't.  Now, I'm running for me.  I'm running so that I can let go of what is weighing at my heart and help me move on.  I'm running so that when I am with Lyla and Tom, I'm present.  I'm running because I've been told I can't do something again....and since there is no "fixing" me this time, I'll put my shoes on, walk out the door, put one foot in front of the other and let the miles heal my heart.

 

 

 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Purification Success Story - Linda

I was afraid to commit to any type of "diet" program but I was intrigued since this program was advertised to help you learn a new way of eating. Being a type II diabetic for 20 years I thought I had it all figured out and over the years had learned to adjust what I was eating and not "eat the bad stuff." When I saw my endocrinologist in March of 2013 we learned that my hemoglobin A1C was worse and I had to change my medication. At that point I realized that I truly didn't have the "diet" down pat and needed to take a step back and truly think about what I was putting in my body. That's when I discovered the Standard Purification program on one of Dr. Bozovich's monthly emails. The more I read about it the more excited I got. I knew I needed to integrate more fruits and vegetables into my diet but I also needed to change the way I think about food.

I did have a tough first week on the program as everybody does and Dr. Bozovich warned us it would be tough. By day 5 it was all second nature. Now that the program is complete I am confident that I will be able to continue my new eating habits. I find that I now crave vegetables, absolutely love Kale, and can easily bypass the "junk". I am sleeping through the night on a continuous basis, have more energy throughout my day, and just feel great.

This program was one of the best things that I have done for me and Dr. Bozovich was there for all of us throughout the 21 day process.
Linda

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Run. From. Hell.

Every now and then, I need a reminder of why I love to run.  This morning was one of those days.  It was by far the worst run I have ever experienced as a whole.  I was extremely tired.  I hadn't eaten enough and in all honesty, I just wanted to sleep in.  Halfway through the run, I started to run out of gas, my legs started to cramp and my back was aching like it never has before.  I got done and there was no "runner's high".  Instead, there was a bad attitude, an empty stomach, and more aches and pains than I've ever had before.  When I got home, getting my, what felt like, 80 year old body out of the car and into the house was something out of a SNL skit.  Not only was I barely able to walk, but of course I dropped my watch and it rolled under the car.  As I bent down to get it, my back reminded me that it hated me with a deep, unforgiving passion that raged from my left hip like a lighting bolt into my mid back.  My knee buckled on the way up and I almost cried.  I didn't want to cry because of the pain, though.  I wanted to cry because I felt awful.    I have felt pain before, but there was always that "runner's high" with it that kind of masked the actual pain.  As I hobbled into the house, I started to question why the heck I even do this.  After a long shower, a morning of breakfast, playing with Lyla, and feeling sorry for myself, I decided to go back and read some of my old blog posts.  The inner sap reared it's head and I was nothing short of sobbing infant.  I realized that I truly had fallen in love with running.  Everything I had written was so true.  So, I had a bad run.  Oh well.  I need to suck it up, set my alarm, and try it again tomorrow...or maybe in a couple of days after I figure out why my back has all of a sudden decided to hate me.  Whenever that next run occurs, I will be ready for it.  I'm going to put today's run behind me and just be OK with having a horrible run.  As runners, we should just try to enjoy each run as they come.  If it's a great run, remember the feeling, but don't expect all runs to equal it.  If it's the run from Hell, move on.  Leave it in the past and look forward to the next chance you get to run.  The thing is, you really don't know when it's going to be your last run.  All you can do is just enjoy the run you are in and be thankful you are still putting one foot in front of the other.

Friday, January 25, 2013

I'm a Runner.

Tomorrow I run my 3rd half marathon.  I may sound like a broken record, but I honestly can't believe I just wrote that.  Of the three races, this is the first time I actually trained.  I set a goal time and ran tempo runs for the first time.  I ran trails, road, bike paths, an occasional treadmill, in the cold, the rain, the wind and finally the snow.  There are some nerves leading up to this race.  Not because I'm racing others, but because for the first time in a long time I feel like I "practiced" and tomorrow is the big game.  As a past basketball player, running is very foreign yet familiar.  The competitive side of me is there, but oddly not with other runners I know.  Tomorrow feels different somehow.  Tomorrow I just want to run my race.  I feel prepared.  I feel calm.  I want to enjoy this race.  I set a goal to run under 2 hours.  I'm going to run with my heart tomorrow and attempt to tackle that time.  I think what I love best about running is that the competition is always with myself.  I don't compare my times with others or try to beat them.  In fact, I love seeing others reach their own goals.  Maybe it's just me.  Maybe I've lost my competitive edge with beating other people.  Or maybe I just understand that the camaraderie that comes with cheering on fellow runners helps boost my own spirits far greater than finishing in front of someone at a race.  Don't get me wrong, if I still have something left at the end of the race tomorrow, you better believe I will be high tailing it to that finish line.  But, I won't be racing you...I'll be proving to myself that a sub 2 hour half marathon is within my reach if I just run a little faster.  I'll be proving to myself that I'm a runner.