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.

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.

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.

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.)

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.

Columbus Marathon

I started out this year with the goal of running my first marathon ever. I was turning 40 in the first bit of October, and the Columbus Marathon was turning 40 in the second bit. It was serendipitous, totally meant to be.

And then life happened. Mom was in and out of the hospital, spending 8 weeks getting around the clock antibiotics for a spinal infection. She was home for a short bit and ended up back in the hospital under a medically induced coma because she was in so much pain from her congestive heart failure.

Nate was looking forward to the holidays for the first time in ages (his father passed away 3 years ago immediately after Thanksgiving and we lost his mom in November of 2017.) I didn’t expect my mom would make it through the the holidays. (These days I’m hopeful, but not taking it for granted.)

The stress of this plus the trips up North made me realize there was no way I could dedicate 6+ hours running on the weekends. I switched to the half, and continued to half ass train for it. It wasn’t pretty, but I was going to make it happen.

I felt like I was starting to come down with something but got the flu shot anyways. And then I ran a ten mile race. I wasn’t sure about it, but I’d convinced a few of my friends to do it because it’s my favorite race. I got super light headed and considered turning around at mile 1.5 for the 5k course, but decided to carry on. It was ugly. I struggled, but I ended up PRing the race by 20 seconds.

And I came down with a cold. Everyone jokes about the man flu or how pathetic men act with a cold, so maybe I should claim that metaphorical man card, because it destroyed my energy levels for 3 weeks.

Which happened to be how long it took to get to the Columbus Half. Even worse than a DNF, I was a DNS.

Breathing Room

After a few days, a few kinds of anesthesia, a few attempts to have mom breathe on her own, her lungs are finally clear enough for her to manage. They take out all of the tubes and bring her back to consciousness.

Her throat hurts which is understandable and to be expected. Her voice sounds stronger than it has in ages. It sounds like she has some of her pep back. The antibiotics and fluid removal is working. The swelling in her legs is down and her lungs are clear. After seeing her under anesthesia with breathing tubes, this seems like a miracle.

I tell her that my niece, C, and I will be up Saturday to visit her in the hospital. I know it cheers her up to see us and it’s always nice to see her. We’re not able to do this often because of the bedbugs at her house. Honestly, I miss her and wish I could spend more time with her and help out more than I can from Columbus.

I am very relieved that she’s doing well enough to be moved out of ICU, and expect she’ll be back home Monday.

I’m forcing myself to get workouts in at work. Spin once, strength training a few days, and one short run in. I keep telling myself I need to keep myself healthy too. I also know it helps my stress levels and mental health. I feel guilty for not running more, but I’m pulling overtime when I can at work.

Life just gets in the way

I’ve been meaning to post for weeks now but life keeps happening. It started with several reminders/ prompts from my computer that I have zero right to privacy on company computers/ time. Which I respect, but means it’s all cell phone all the time for posts.

And then things with mom keep popping up. I’ve been stressed and not handling it well. I’m eating foods that I know disagree with me, and too many of them trying to find some sort of comfort. I’m forcing myself to continue my strength training and spin workouts but find myself avoiding running because I don’t want to be left alone with my thoughts.

I’ve noticed that when Nate is totally stressed, our cat starts getting sick.

Well, I’ve now managed to make him vomit everywhere too. I guess he’s accepted me? Lucky him, and lucky me.

Anyways, I intend to write some posts in the coming weeks about everything that’s been going on, and I intend to make running more of a priority or I’ll never make it to the Columbus Half marathon.

June Recap

May was pretty lackluster. I think it’s because Cap City was such a shitty half marathon performance for me. That plus visiting mom as she was bouncing between a rest home and various hospitals kept me pretty busy and frankly pretty depressed.

So here’s my May stats:

May

  • Ran 14 miles
  • Walked 3 miles
  • Strength 6 times (most of it was scheduled personal training- having accountability is huge.)
  • Yoga 2 times

In a previous blog post I said all right, this is it. I’m going to get back to it. And here’s my June stats:

June

  • Ran 17 miles
  • Walked 9 miles (Columbus Arts Show)
  • Strength training 1 (may have done others? Only 1 in Garmin)

So… yeah. Not exactly what I’d intended. The first two weekends of June were spent driving to Toledo. My workout buddy was skipping strength training classes every other day, and my trainer was in another country. Mom went home, which I personally think is a terrible idea. We were also having some issues at home that I’m still debating on whether or not I want to share, so overall I was still pretty depressed. When I’m depressed it’s hard to practice self care even though I know it will improve my mind.

Are these all excuses? Yeah. Probably. In all honesty, I could have gotten in a few more runs if I’d wanted. I could go to classes at the fitness center by myself and the floor wouldn’t open up and swallow me whole.

I’m in the process of figuring out how much cross training has a positive effect, and what’s the tipping point that keeps me from running.

I’ve realized that I absolutely hate the yoga class at work. I don’t know if it’s the instructor, the music, the style of yoga, or some other factor but I find myself completely aggravated by the end of it. So I’m dropping that class. I may try some YouTube videos or something instead, my trainer insists yoga is necessary for runners.

Depression is a Bitch

I’ve really been struggling with depression over the past month or so. I could list a million reasons but mostly it’s just mom being in and out of the hospital, her not wanting to be at the nursing home, but also knowing in the back of my mind her going home isn’t the best move either.

I feel helpless and lost at sea, and am never sure how much of what I’m hearing is true. She has a tendency to hear what she wants and also happens to embellish a bit.

My brother and I spoke about our fears of losing her and I guess it made it a bit more real. I hadn’t put my inner thoughts into words with another person before. Nate understands to some degree- he lost both of his parents over the past 5 years. His father passed in his sleep, and his mother passed shortly after a fall in the shower. I’m not sure that he necessarily understands how bad it hurts to watch the slow process of illness and recover over and over wondering if this will be the time she just gives up.

(After watching my grandmother pass from cancer, I’m a strong believer in a person’s will to continue being a huge part of recovery.)

Either way, it’s that plus a million little things that usually wouldn’t bother me just piling up. I went from fuck yeah I’m going to run a marathon to, maybe it’s best I switch to a half marathon so I can continue to visit rather than spending so much time training, to what do you mean I ran 16 lousy miles in May, that’s completely pathetic!

That was a wake up call for me. I’m trying to be honest with people that are close to me and tell them I’m struggling with depression, and need help getting motivated. It’s difficult to open up, but I feel like it’s clearing the air.

And I got out tonight to run. It was only 2 miles, and it was slow miles, but I’ll blame some of that on the heat and get back to it again tomorrow.