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Disclaimer

This is a personal blog about my experiences with running.  Occasionally I will mention work, relationships, or my mother’s health problems because those affect my mental health a great deal.  Coincidentally, I took up running for that mental health.  I do understand that there are MUCH worse problems out there and many outlets are covering these issues.  I don’t believe that this is a place to cover those issues, and I DO believe that many other people have worded my beliefs much better than I ever could. 

If world issues are on your mind, please seek out resources that align with your beliefs and needs.  Spend the time and effort to be the change you wish to see in the world.

This however, is, and will always be my personal blog about running, mental health, and occasionally delicious food.  Fueling your body is very important to running and general well-being.   Baking happens to be one of my favorite hobbies.

Ugly crying

I found myself ugly crying in the shower so I thought I’d finally processed some of my emotions.  I always find myself being strong for everyone else, doing what is required in the situation for my family. 

Holding it together so I don’t burden the people around me who love me even though they don’t have to. 

It’d been a few weeks since the awful call. 

I had been sitting there cross stitching Mr Resetti for Tim, talking to Nate when I my phone buzzed.  A missed Facebook call from Jenny.  We hadn’t spoken in years.  It must be a fat finger.  And then another call.  My stomach drops.  I message her back asking if everything is okay.

A third call and I answer.

Sobbing.  My brother Chris is gone. 

Just like that.  Someone found him.  No one knows why. Gone. 

I’m numb.  I don’t know what to think.  I don’t know what to do.  I jump to conclusions.  I cry. 

I call my mom crying.  Ruin her night hell her life. Telling her that her first son is gone from this world. No I don’t know where.  No I don’t know how.  All I know is he’s gone. 

Sure it’s the week before Christmas. It sure doesn’t feel like it though. It feels like I’m in purgatory ot Beetlejuice. Nothing makes sense.

I message my boss. I try to carry on. I cry. Nothing makes sense. I can barely function. I can’t believe it. My boss asks me to please stop trying to work. Please take time off. No it doesn’t matter that it’s the holiday and most of the staff is off. Just close the laptop. Stop going through the motions.

Deal with the emotions. Stop and actually feel them. Be there for my family.

Instead I write bad poetry. The first in years. Hell decades.

Summer Cicadas and Winter Blues

I dream of those days occasionally. Whether I’m poking at the picnic table inscribed with Led Zeplin or flying over the shed covered in cicada shells, it’s always summer.

I’ll dream about riding uncle David’s oversized tricycle and one of the neighborhood kids stealing my Eskimo doll, pedaling furiously after them. ‘Eskimo’ even though it was as ebony as I was ivory except for my red, red, skinned knees from climbing trees.

I will never forget playing up in the tree. It seemed to stretch up and over for counties, and we shared so many secrets in that tree after inching up board by board to the widest branches that sheltered us from the summer sun.

Sam would behead my barbies and bury them never to be found again. OR we world play with the old cap guns watching reruns of Westerns and put together puzzles with grandma Boots.

You were out of the house long before I came along, but you would show me heavy metal magazines and let me play Rock Em Sock Em Robots during the day as the sun slanted in the windows.

At night there would be shenanigans. Pictures would be taken of my Eskimo doll with Steve after he passed out. Or the cap guns and a milk man’s hat.

You’d be out by the keg next to that inscribed picnic tabl. Or by the shed and car covered in 17 year cicadas. Rarely I’d be allowed to stay up late and you’d laugh about me wearing socks over footie pajamas or someone would give me a drunken piggy back ride that was both exhilarating and terrifying.

Eventually you went away, and then went to a halfway house.

Grandma Boots was in hospice, watching her Westerns. Mom tried to move the tissue box from the hospital bed table so grandma could see. She just laughed and said she had them all memorized. She was playing her Indian on a Hill trick and willed herself to slip away that Fall.

You were slipping through our fingers in the slanting late Fall sunlight as well.

It was winter when we lost uncle David. He played the same trick and slipped away sitting on his bed in the cold, cold winter after refusing to buy gas for heat. I can’t help but picture him with a feather in his hair. Or maybe it was a cap gun and a milkman hat with a smile. Either way, he was with grandma.

Matt eventually began remodeling the house and sent photos. The fence in the back was gone. The tree with boards was now a pile of wood cut in the Spring to be burned in the Winter and no longer stretched counties. No more secrets to be told there.

This cold winter, I was wrapped up in five or six blankets, maybe insulating from the cold that took uncle David when I found out you’d slipped away from this world like feeble beams of sunlight on grandma’s dusty ferns way back when.

I hope you’re with grandma and uncle David now. I hope it’s late summer again and you’re throwing a kegger with all of your friends. Ignore the 17 year cicadas on the cars and shed. They’re a part of summer that only happens a few times in a life if you’re lucky, just like you.

I pray I’ll dream of flying over the shed again, just to be with you for a few moments before I wake.

Welp

So much for seizing the opportunity last week. I ended up hobbling around like a pirate Thursday evening and doing a virtual health visit with my doctor Friday.

It’s funny to do a self knee examination on Webcam. Well… maybe not funny. Odd may be a better word.

No swelling. No that part doesn’t hurt when I press it. Nope, that part is cool too. Dear God that part does. Okay cross my leg over my opposite knee, act like I’m sitting and twist side to side. No issues on my right side other than feeling silly. Left side? Arghhhhuhhhhhhhjhh!!! Okay that is definitely painful.

Okay. PT sounds like a good idea. Yes that time works on Monday.

Yes, I’ll try the arthritis medication.

Rest? All weekend? Okay. So no running. But walking a few miles is fine. Why are you laughing?

Okay okay. REST. In all caps. Not Rest with a capital R.

But the weather is going to be perfect this weekend.

What do you mean runners are the worst patients? (JK she’s a pro. She may have thought it, but didn’t say it.)

Today is an Opportunity

A month ago I was working out at Rise and the trainer was giving the usual spiel about form and then she switched gears and said that each day is an opportunity. Okay. Sure. We’ve all heard that before.

Then she said this opportunity that you’re taking right now? You’ll never have it again. *mike drop*

I was floored. She was 100% right.

Which is why I am struggling to rest and recover my knee. I have all of these big goals, for now, and for the year in general. The current one is 200 miles during the Fall. Then my mid term goal is a Spring half marathon, and the longer term one is a Fall marathon.

I’m trying to remind myself that absolutely none of that will be possible if I don’t recover first. I can not begin to tell you how hard that has been. I ‘rested’ for 2 weeks and now I’m slooooowly getting back to it. And maybe taking ibuprofen every day so I don’t walk like Frankenstein’s Monster.

But you won’t tell my coach, right?!?

Recovery

Recovery is going very slowly. I’m trying to not run, and it’s really getting to me. I have been sleeping 10 or 12 hours a day instead of my usual 8 and my anxiety has been through the roof.

Nate and I went to a different grocery store than we typically do. Same chain, but a different location with slightly better produce and cheese selection. Initially he had wanted to eat at a restaurant nearby, but realized he wasn’t familiar with how clean they are. (Turns out this can be scary during a pandemic.)

We skipped the restaurant and went to the grocery store, it was 4:00 and there were people everywhere. This store has one way aisles to prevent crowding and promote social distancing. It seemed like every aisle had someone going the wrong way, someone dragging 4 kids, an old trophy wife in giant stilettos in the middle of the aisle, or a combination of all the above. Plus throw in the occasional hurried businessman or completely lost patron.

Nate was annoyed, and I was on edge by the time we got through a few aisles. We didn’t need much, but we’re not familiar with the layout so we’re going everywhere. I’m getting anxious and he’s getting annoyed, declaring people won’t push him through the aisles. By the time we get to the cheese I’m 15 seconds from totally melting down and leaving my cart.

Sometimes I forget how much running helps and not working out for a week is getting to me. I’m not addicted in a fitorexia sort of way (I weigh twice my ideal body weight) but it’s become such a stress reliever that I question if my anti anxiety medications are doing anything at all.

The first time I tried to run I decided to do a 5 minute waking warmup then 30 second runs and 1 minute walks. I managed to get one 30 second hobble in before my leg cramp set it. 2 mile walk it was.

Back to massage, foam rolling, hot baths, and biofreeze.

Oops

I’m guessing everyone other than myself saw this one coming….

Doing two a days after just starting to get consistent was a bad idea. It’s good to support friends, but my body was 100% not ready for it.

I woke up Thursday and still had a lot of muscle stiffness. I tried to massage it out, went to the gym, did a bunch of warmup moves, and immediately started hobbling on the treadmill.

The instructor asked if I was limping and I sheepishly had to say yes.

She listened to me explain how it felt, gave me a foam roller, and told me walking. Maybe add some incline to increase my heart rate, but no running.

She said it sounded like a muscle problem and that I need to listen to my body and take it easy. That running 10,000 steps on a cramping leg will in no way help it.

I can not even begin to tell you how bad I am at listening to my body.

If I knew how to listen to my body I would a. Not be as fat as I am and b. Would not have injured myself.

I can not begin to tell you how frustrating it is to hear the instructor call out different intervals and be stuck walking because your leg is rolling with a cramp.

So instead of working on that 200 mile challenge or running every day, I’m resting and grumbling. And feel like I’m not supporting M in her goals.

Positive Peer Pressure?

I went to one of my favorite killer workouts yesterday morning. 30 minutes of treadmill intervals followed by strength training and it kicked my ass.

I am continuing to push myself. We have levels 1-4 for our intervals and I’ve decided to use 3.5mph for level 1, 4mph for level 2, 4.5mph for level 3, and 5mph for level 4. I know this doesn’t sound like very fast to some people reading this, but they’re difficult speeds for me, and setting minimums will keep my consistent until I am ready to increase again.

M said I’m the only one holding her accountable for workouts. She’s doing well with her diet and is working with a nutritionist and encouraging me to come back to the program at work that I quit halfway through. I need to do something.

Anywho… since we’re trying to be accountabilibuddies I decided to do a 2 a day and workout with her a second time last night, we got a few miles in at Westgate. It’s starting to become one of my favorite parks. (If you can ignore the smell of weed wafting from some of the houses and cars in the area anyways. The smells are almost comical.)

I don’t know if it’s the cooler weather or the workout earlier but my thigh above my knee was tight and just didn’t want to let loose.

I just remind myself some runs are just going to be a slog, but it’s important to keep at it.

Woot!

I joined a walk (or run) every day of October challenge. It’s keeping me super motivated to keep on it.

This is in conjunction with a 200 mile through Autumn challenge. I’ve tried similar ones in years past and could never stick with it.

Either way, I’m feeling great. I ran with M last weekend at Sharon Woods. It was so hilly! My legs were on fire, but I felt like I could’ve done more than the 6 miles we did when we finished.

Yesterday I ran 4 miles with M at Park of Roses, then did my usual Sunday class at Rise which is 2 miles running and 30 minutes of yoga. I felt like I was absolutely flying when it came to the intervals on the treadmill. I was pushing past 5mph which I couldn’t have dreamed of when I started.

I may start doing this every weekend M is available so I can get my long run in as well as yoga. (It seems counter productive to do 2 miles, yoga, and then a few more miles.)

Rise Fitness vs Orange Theory

I’m four months into my newest obsession. Typically I’ve lost interest by now and have just accepted the fact my credit card is going to be billed an embarrassing amount of money until the end of my contract for me to do nothing.

I have held off on mentioning it in case that happened yet again. (I’m 41. I have lost count of projects I’ve given up on.)

Somewhere in what I pray was the middle of Covid (please make it stop) my friend Michelle and I were comiserating that we really, really missed the gym because of working from home. Our workplace offers free classes with a $15/month membership.

We wanted something super challenging that was convenient for both of us. I live near downtown and she is in Hilliard. I like buttcrack of dawn workouts and she prefers after work. And of course we didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg plus a butt and a thigh.

Her suggestion was Orange Theory. Cool! They have locations near each of us. They have varying hours. The classes look intense. I reach out via Facebook messenger to see if they have any promos. Nope. Okay. No biggie. I decide to do my first class anyways to check it out. It’s free and maybe they’ll have some offer that I like.

I download their app and try to verify the code to log in and sign up for my first class. It doesn’t work. I try it 3 or 4 times. Nothing. I email their tech support. Nothing.

I decide to check out Rise Fitness Community in Upper Arlington instead. They get back to me immediacy, I choose to buy a 3 month package without trying the first few class. Everyone is super friendly. The place is very clean and well storages out for Covid protocols.

Zero problems other than my lack of fitness. Seriously. The first two weeks I went 2-3 times a week and had to pace myself to make it through the class.

After my first month, I’m in love. I try to convince Michelle to join me and she says she can’t spend the $ right now. Totally understand.

Then orange theory IT reaches out to see if my case was closed satisfactorily. Umm you’re emailing me a month later after I’ve joined another gym to help me with a problem I asked about 4 weeks ago? I ignore it.

Two more months pass. I’m loving Rise. I’m noticing a huge change in my fitness. I’m now going 3-4 times a week and pushing myself in ways I never have before.

I’m at the grocery store with Nate picking up protein powder jk I was picking up rice and my phone rings. It’s Orange Theory. Some super perky person is super excited that I’m interested in Orange Theory and they’d LOVE to have me stop by.

I very politely tell them with a huge smile that I was very interested but they never got back to me for 3 months so I went with Rise Fitness who DID get back to me quickly.

It is month 4 now. I loved it enough to buy another 3 month package (and love the fact I’m not stuck in a contract) and am challenging myself to go 4-5 days a week. They’ve added more class times, so it’s totally doable as long as I get to sleep at a reasonable hour.

Covid Struggle

The Covid pandemic has been a really weird dream like concept for me. I haven’t known what to believe or how likely I am to get it, how long it lives on different surfaces, etc because we just don’t know enough facts yet.

I have friends who have only left their house twice a month to have groceries deposited into their trunk and I’ve had friends who went from Cedar Point to New York to Disney and back home with no quarantine in between.

I personally have been going to the grocery store once a week, wearing a mask, using hand sanitizer, cart wipes, not touching stuff I don’t intend to buy. And going to the fitness boutique gym that props open doors, has you sanitize as soon as you come in, wear a mask to your treadmill which is 6 feet from the next, and wipe it all down and carry your weights back to the rack while wearing your mask.

Point being, I don’t know what precautions make sense these days.

Last week I thought my heart stopped when I received an email saying I had possibly been exposed to COVID-19 from a person I had run with. It seems like everything is a symptom so Nate and I started playing the Russian roulette of is it Covid or allergies?

I learned about the possible exposure 72 hours after the fact, and started looking up testing times. Another 2 days to schedule an appointment and 3-5 days for results that may or may not be accurate? (Fun fact, if you have diarrhea like I did, you’re more likely to have a false negative from the nasal swab. It would require a stool sample which we do not do here in the US.)

It has been a week. I have not had the energy to work out, and am quarantining until I feel better (plus a couple days) I don’t want to chance infecting someone.

I can not begin to tell you how depressed I am from sitting at home, not working out. I’m barely functioning.