Sleepless Nights

I’ve been having a hard time sleeping lately.  And it’s not just the 90°+ weather. Although that’s been spectacular. 

Our A/C unit is 30+ years old so we open windows,  turn on fans,  and just sweat it out. When it’s really bad, we’ll sleep with ice packs on our chest or back.  I’ve found the clay ones stay cold for ages. 

“Get the A/C fixed!” you cry. Except our slab concrete porch was sinking and putting pressure on our basement wall,  causing a slowly growing crack.  We had the Basement Doctor out.  They (literally) girded up our basement for several grand. 

Then we realized the gutter on the front of the house was overflowing so we had someone out to check for a blockage and found out water was flowing from our gutter into the front of our house.  The clay pipes were long since destroyed if they ever existed at all. 

They used a neat tool called a Ditch Witch to put a trench up our front yard,  hand dug under our porch,  and then laid all the piping and connected it to make sure it flowed away from our foundation and sinking porch. That was stressful and not inexpensive. 

While this happened, we realized our chimney needed chinked.  We know a Jack of all trades, but masonry work is best left to the pros.  They came out and ran a camera up into our chimney and horrified us with everything wrong.  The flashing where the gutter meets the chimney had a gap so water was pouring over it causing the external damage we saw.   It was also destroying the entire chimney box inside. 

We had them fix the gutter,  chink the bricks outside,  replace the box and flu inside,  and also fix the pipes from our furnace because THAT was not correct either.  (They told us to get a CO2 detector the same day and that we were lucky my niece slept downstairs in the summer when the furnace was not on to give you an Idea.)

That was not cheap. 

Fast forward…. well okay not really.  Maybe a year? 6 months? We had our Jack of All Trades come out with a jackhammer to destroy our slab porch.  We also had the city come out to permit us.  Our JOAT was dumbfounded by the depth of the slab and the amount of stone underneath. 

Nate and I helped where we could to save time and money.  Nate helped break up concrete.  We both threw slabs into the dumpster.  It was not pretty.  We still have scrape marks on our walk way from the wheelbarrow of concrete chunks.  (Did I mention we grow tons of flowers and didn’t want to completely destroy the yard?)

Our JOAT sets the concrete for the beams, and our porch comes together beautifully.  He also tends to come around 12 and work until 6, and typically forgets something and has to drive across town in rush hour traffic to get it. (Even though I complain about it,  he does an amazing job,  and his mind works in a totally different way than mine does.  Perhaps I envy him to a degree.)

In any case…. that wasn’t cheap either. 

This past Fall he came back out to insulate our house.  He used a drill with a special attachment to cut 4″ holes in our crawl space and blow insulation in.  (Nate manned the machine that chopped it up and blew it up 20+ feet of hose through an open second floor window and into the 4″ holes in the crawl space.

That was (relatively?) cheap. It was under a grand anyways.

So yeah…. I can’t sleep these days. It’s not the heat necessarily as much as my anxiety.

I’ve been writing this for an hour, and we’ll hopefully replace our central air unit within the next few years. In any case, I’ll be getting up at 4:50am tomorrow, lacing up my running shoes, and hopefully running off some of my anxiety.

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.

Hilltop (Virtual) 5K

Over the Independence Day weekend, I ran a virtual 5K with my friend Michelle.  It wasn’t originally supposed to be a virtual event, but like so many others, it had to switch because of Covid-19. 

The Hilltop 5K is put on by the Columbus Westside Running Club and benefits local veterans.  A few of their honored guests included local VFW posts and the Columbus Mounted Police. They offered a traditional 5K and a rucksack 5K where you fill a backpack, rucksack, or other bag with 35 pounds of stuff and run/walk for 3.1 miles.  I’m already carrying an extra hundred pounds of fat on my body, so I passed on the rucksack challenge.  (Michelle told me that the Columbus Westside Running Group is completely free, I just joined today and added them to my Strava.  I need all the motivation I can get.)

Since it was a virtual event, volunteers dropped off the t-shirts, race bibs, and medals in advance.  Michelle had completed it last year, so she also received a dog tag with her name and last year’s race results on it.  Last year the event kicked off around 9am and was blazing hot.  She said she walked the last mile and begged someone to spray her with a garden hose to cool her down.

This year, Michelle wanted to PR it and crush last year’s results.   We met at Westgate Park before 6AM.  (I have to say running in Ohio in July has me on a super weird sleep schedule!  I am up a few days a week at 4:50AM to run at 5:30AM!  Other days I sleep in until 7am.  Either way, I still go to bed at 9PM like a grandma and take naps every chance I get.) But I digress, we each got up at the butt crack of dawn and met at the park to beat the heat.   

We wore our bibs and left our medals in our cars for afterward to make it more “official.” Michelle had never run a virtual 5K before, and I had only run a couple before this year.  It was cool- only reached 66 by the time we were done, but we worked up a sweat doing run walk intervals anyways.  It was nice to catch up and talk about work, our mutual friends, home remodeling projects etc in between sprints.  I think my favorite part was when we saw someone running down the road wearing the Hilltop 5K t-shirt, probably doing the same virtual race.  If there’s 3 of us doing it at the same place, that makes it a non-virtual, in person official race, right?  Especially since one was a stranger!

We completed it in 46:14, which crushed Michelle’s last attempt.  She was very happy, and then went on that day to work with her husband delivering packages and more than doubled her step goal.  All in all, it was great.  It made me realize a few things.  Not all virtual races are a cash grab- some can benefit your community.  Running early is the way to do it.  And last but not least, having an accountabili-buddy is really helpful

Drowning

I hesitate to start this post because it seems so melodramatic even to myself.

I’ve been having stomach problems again. Poor food choices and stress have combined to give me what seems like chronic diarrhea. Is a week long enough to say chronic? It’s gotten to look like cornflakes and I’ve seen enough blood that I can’t deny it’s there. Even to myself.

In any case, I’m eating imodium like it’s my job. Gas-x too. The gas cramps and pressure keep me up at night and make it hard to sit or stand. I don’t want to wear pants because of the pressure but I’m scared to wear a dress in case I can’t make it in time.

Running is pretty much out of the question, but I’m forcing myself to continue with strength training. Made it 3 times this past week, and am pushing myself with (slightly) heavier weights. As much as I enjoy strength training, it doesn’t help my anxiety.

Everyone around me seems to be going into full meltdown mode. Some of it is from my need to be fairly close to a toilet. Some of it is entirely independent of me – mom flipped out on me about a prescription for heart pills. She hasn’t had it for over 2 weeks. Her prescription ran out, the visiting home health aide insists she goes back to her specialist for a refill, but was willing to call in one months worth. Mom said the pharmacy won’t fill it because of Medicare laws even though she’s on Medicaid.

She’s mad at me for not taking the day off work to drive 3 hours to pick her up and take her to a specialist. Stop being so selfish you might be thinking. Then you throw in the fact my brother and his son could barely get her up the stairs into her house, and she hasn’t left since then. And the bedbugs. It’s hard for me to reconcile. I picture having to call the rescue squad to get her into the door, if I could even get her out. Never mind the 6+ hour round trip when I have 3 brothers who either live with or less than 15 minutes away.

There’s other minor things. There always are. But I feel like I’m drowning.

Oh dairy, why do you hate me so? (Weekly Recap)

The best laid plans of mice and men ironically go wrong when dairy is introduced. We all know what happens with mouse traps, but dairy has also knocked me off track this past week as well. My intention was to start posting a recap of my week on Mondays and a second general post on Thursdays.

Last week I did spin Monday, arms and core (weights) Tuesday, ran after work Wednesday, had a hard time fitting in workouts Thursday/Friday trying to make up time at work for a mammogram and then getting to said mammogram. My water intake followed that same pattern, crushed it Monday- Wednesday, started dropping off Thursday/ Friday, and then the cheese truck hit me.

My lactose intolerance is one of those things I’ll never understand. Not because I love it more than any other food on Earth, but because there are times I can eat it and be totally fine and other times I’ll be doubled over with cramps.

Giving up dairy was going to be one of my heavier goals for the year. I thought I would start out with some easier ones. Water intake, step count, more vegetables, exercise, then once I was feeling like I was making good progress, I’d tackle my phone habit and dairy problem.

Nate has guys come over for Poker every other Saturday, and enjoys making food for them. This weekend he decided to keep it lowkey with sloppy joes, cocktail weenies in barbecue, veggies and chips with dip. The texture of sloppy joes is weird for me. I had some cocktail weenies and cheese cubes. Later I had veggies and dip.

I’ve been a wreck since then. I’m scared to stray too far from the bathroom, I’m super bloated, my body feels weak, and my guts sound like chupacabra is in them and they ache. Needless to say, I’ve not been drinking enough water, or running the last couple days.

I feel like I should tackle my dairy problem earlier than intended but I’m not sure that I’m up for this challenge yet. I am going to continue my water goal, and add a step goal in. I will work towards hitting my Garmin suggested goal every day. I’m not going to lie- it’s currently closer to 7,000 than 10,000 steps, but it was nearly 5,000 last month due to inactivity on my part. I’ve been reading articles about how 10,000 steps is arbitrary and chosen because the Chinese character for 10,000 resembled the brand logo for the original pedometer. (I’m not trying to v discourage anyone from that goal, just saying it may not be appropriate or necessary for everyone.)

Week 1 thoughts

Week one of the new year is down. I heard that most people give up on their goals by the 2nd Friday, so I’ll be curious to see what sticks for me which will be here soon.
As mentioned in my previous post, my first goal is to drink 112oz of water a day.
1/1 – 16oz short
1/2 – made it
1/3 – made it
1/4 – not quite half
1/5 – made it.
I’ve also learned that I need to make more of an effort to drink the bulk of it in the daytime so that I’m not getting up every 15 minutes in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Weekends continue to be a struggle for me in the way of not sleeping 12 hours and drinking enough water. It is entirely too easy for me to get out of a routine, or into a bad routine?
I’ve gotten back to running in earnest. I’ve decided to focus on improving my Cap City time in the Spring and then focus on prepping for Big Bad Wolfe in the Fall. If I only focus on Big Bad Wolfe, there’s really no reason for me to run until April, and I prefer goals to work towards. They keep me motivated.

My 2019 Cap City time is ugly at 3:30:54, so definitely have room to improve.

New Year, Slightly Better Me?

New Year’s Eve has always been a depressing event for me. I could point to this thing or that thing that happened, but none of those things are really why. I don’t think I’d be wrong to say it’s a time of the year where we tend to be cooped up in the house, never seeing what little sunlight there is and making elaborate lies about how we’re going to wake up a sexier, smarter, kinder, and above all else thinner version of ourselves who remembers to take our vitamins, never forgets a name or birthday, and checks our teeth for spinach every time we have it which is all the time because we’re now a healthy person, right?!

(I have Tom Waits’ Step Right Up stuck in my head now.)

I have a tendency to do this to myself anyways. Occasionally I wonder if it’s my father’s bipolar sneaking in, or just mania from depression, but I can spend hours planning amazing rigorous workout routines with 4-5 runs a week plus strength training, yoga, and spin also taking up those same 5 days, and then find myself laid up with a cold after I destroy my immune system going from 0 to 60 in a week.

Since October, I’ve been in a funk and have run at most a few times a month so I’m itching to go weekend warrior myself into a sneezing, coughing mess.

Instead, I’m going to focus on one simple buildable goal for a couple weeks before adding a new one. My first one is to drink adequate water. Sexy, right? I do need to get back to the basics though.

All of this isn’t to say I won’t be making other healthy changes too. But I know myself. Instead of focusing on juggling 17 flaming knives, it helps to juggle one knife and a few oranges. Really focus on that knife, if the orange falls okay, no big deal as long as that knife stays up. I’ll swap out an orange for a knife over time and hopefully make some long term sustainable improvements.

Inspire Columbus

I fell off the running wagon and got run over by it when I got sick in the last week of September.   Not only did I not run the half marathon in October, I’ve barely run at all. Period.

                I told myself I needed to recover from the cold.  (It’s crazy to me how much a cold can zap your energy.  People joke about the man cold, but colds are horrible!) 

Then I told myself that I needed to run intuitively.  That I needed to find my love of running again.  To just go out and do what felt good each day rather than following a plan and getting frustrated when life happens.

                It turns out, it wasn’t bad advice necessarily, but it was a total lie in my case.  I’ve barely run.  I’ve hit the gym and lifted weights a few times, but nothing too amazing. 

                One of my friends sent me a link to Inspire Columbus through the Columbus Running Company.  (Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with them. I know that’s shocking considering my stats, but it’s true.)  The challenge is to keep moving through January to have an opportunity to win raffle prizes.  The only catches are- you pay $5 for the challenge, and the miles need to be tracked through Strava and outdoors. I personally have Strava pull the data from my Garmin watch because I’m not a huge fan of the app. 

                  My goals are simple.  I want to get moving again- preferably outside.  My stretch goal?  The CRC strava group has a weekly leaderboard, I’d love to break the top 100. This week’s leaderboard ranged from 45.5 to 17.3 miles.  I don’t expect to go out and crush 46 miles to be #1 and honestly I don’t expect I’ll crush 17.5 this week to be #100, but I will by the end of January.  #JeninesJanuaryChallenge 

December, where has the year gone?

It’s been a few months since I posted properly. 

What can I say? Things have been crazy.  Mom is doing well (enough) and I’m really hoping we can make it through the holidays with everyone at home and no hospital visits.

I had 3 interviews, each one worse than the last, and managed to land a new role.  Since September, I’ve been trying to do double duty- learning my new position while continuing to do my old role.   These days things are starting to come off of my plate and I feel like I have a general idea of what I’m doing, or at least good enough notes to make my way through most things.  I can’t begin to explain how frustrating it is to go from being a subject matter expert to a complete novice.  And yet, I keep doing it.  This is my 4th role in 5 years. 

And running has taken a back burner.  Hell, I think it fell off the stove.  I caught a lingering cold after the Big Bad Wolfe in September.  It stuck with me, sapping my energy and I did not run a single step in October.  I ran twice in November for 2 miles.  December still stands a chance.  I’m starting to get back to the gym and do weight lifting.

I’ve been baking a lot though which is nice. 

I’ve also been crafting a ton. I made ornaments for my coworkers, and they surprisingly went over well.