Why Do You Lace Up?

I have not been doing as much running lately, but trust me, I have been thinking about it just as much, if not more, I than I typically do.  My leg wasn’t cooperating, but man I wanted to run again.

I have been doing any and all stretches I heard about, read about, thought of…anything to eek out even a few feet of running.  And finally, a couple weeks ago, I got 3.1 miles out in one run.  I ran the whole distance…but then I was toast for the rest of the week.

I kept trying.  I even got to run with my aunt when I had to make a quick trip up north due to a family emergency.  It was a hard situation, that is turning out wonderfully, but I will never forget my joy of running with my aunt.

But again, I was toast for the rest of the week.

I kept going to the chiropractor…and found out there were 7 exercises I was supposed to be doing twice a day.  Due to a miscommunication, I had not been doing them.  I have now become obsessed with them.  And boy, are they helping.  I posted this on my Facebook just moments ago.

No, you just called your chiropractor to thank him for all the help in getting your leg back into shape for running.

It was with the greatest joy that I ran 5 miles straight earlier this morning. Even a week ago I wouldn’t have thought today possible. I ran a total of 11.2 miles this week…between rehabing and the heat, it was slow, but progressively better and today without pain. Thank you all to all who have encouraged me and prayed for me.

Now it is time to resume half marathon training.

The joy at feeling those endorphins this morning has not abated almost 3 hours later.  It is good.

In the midst of all this, I was talking to a friend as she prepared for an 8k.  Her first race in awhile.  Like all normal runners before a race, she was nervous.  Boy, do I understand that.  She has stepped into the gap of encouragement for me many times.  On this particular evening, it was my turn.

Look at the view, embrace the power your body has, and the cadence of your feet, they rhythm they find.

I realized as I reread what I had texted, that I had spelled out what gets me through every run, every race:  My running philosophy and creed.   Right there.  True and pure.

What gets you through your runs?  What makes you lace up your shoes when watching tv or reading a book might be more inviting?

Words, Words, Words

I have a lot of words. You know it, we all know it–I have a lot of words.  I say a lot of words, I read a lot of words.

Last week the girls were reading something and it included the word dolt.  They were stuck.  I piped up and said, “oh that is an old word used to mean someone is an idiot or not very smart.”  They were impressed, so I thought, “hey–I should use this as a teachable moment.  “Girls, how do you think you go about learning all those words?”  They chimed, “You Mommy, we go to you to learn new words.”  Not what I was going for.  Yes, they learn a lot of words from me–some good, some bad, but the teacher in me was trying to get them to say, “by reading.  We learn words by reading.

Unfortunately, no matter how much we read or how many words we know, sometimes our words will fall short.

I feel things very, very deeply.  If you are someone I admire or that I feel a connection with, I feel it very deeply.  I don’t give those feelings easily or lightly and I want those people to know how much they mean or how valuable they are.

And words fail me.

I try to send little gifts or random texts to let them know they are being thought of, that they are important, and that they are valued.

Problem is, I don’t think that message always gets across; I think I end up coming across as desperate or needy and the thing is, I’m not.  Yes, I have those times, for the most part, I am ok.  I just want the people in my life to know they are valued in my eyes and more importantly, valued in the eyes of God.

We all need to know that.

Come and Drink

The last couple weeks have been…for the lack of a better term…weird.  Running has been on a hiatus.  I have not been planning when and where to run, but rather when and where to stretch and which stretch will make me magically all better.

None have.

Don’t get me wrong, I am improving.  I did do a little running this weekend and I have much hope that soon I will be back to pounding out the miles.

In this two weeks, I have spent a lot of time begging God to bring the strength back to my leg.  But I realized today, I haven’t spent much time, if any, asking Him to be my strength.  To be my source of satisfaction.

This weekend really highlighted this for me.  I have been fighting against a desperate blanket of depression.  Despising the fact that I could not fix it with my running and worried the lowered meds wouldn’t be feasible long-term.

Thankfully the Lord reminded me that much of that depression is coming because the Ibuprofen I have been taking for the leg reduces the effectiveness of my primary bipolar medication.

Yet, even today, among some amazing time with Christian friends I adore, there was an emptiness, a hollowness.  I know a great deal of that is my inability to live in the moment and it is my overwhelming fear that I will screw up every single friendship I have and that maybe I don’t even actually have any friends, but that is a separate topic.  Tonight, I realized where that emptiness really is coming from.  I am not allowing the Lord to be my portion, I am not allowing the Lord to satisfy my desires.  Just as I realized that this verse popped up, literally, on my phone.

 Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

I want the water of life.  I want to draw close to Jesus.  I want to trust Him as I often forget to do.  I want to allow Jesus to walk with me, not just keep Him from afar in a boat, there to send me a life preserver when I realize I am drowning.  I want to allow Jesus to heal some of those hurts that make interacting with others so scary.

I said to a friend recently, “I don’t think anyone knows how broken I am.”  And that’s true.  It’s the gift and the curse of high-functioning depression.  I do everything I am supposed, I look normal.  I laugh and joke.  Thing is, hiding how broken you are–includes hiding it from yourself and God.  And, somehow, that needs to change. I don’t know how to reveal to God how broken I am and let him step into those broken places, but for once, I am going to start with acknowledging I have kept Him out–and pray it does not get worse before it gets better.

In my mind’s eye, I am envisioning a lot of struggle, but there may be nothing visible.  Maybe the Lord will just open His arms and say I have been waiting your whole life for you to acknowledge the broken and that will be it.  I don’t know, what I do know is I want my hunger and thirst to point me to the Lord, to point me to him.

 

No-Go

I have not done any running in 5 days.  Yup, you read that right.  5 days.

Last Tuesday, I tweaked something in my leg or knee or something.  It hurt.  But not terribly.  Thursday it hurt a little more, and then on the day of my 10k (6.2 miles) race, it hurt more, but I pushed through and made the pace goal I had set for myself, regardless of the pain.

Before the race

6.2 miles later

But after that race, that race full of hills, I hobbled around a fair amount.  But refused to admit how much it hurt.  But Wednesday I tried to run again and there was no denying it.

And I was so scared.  So scared I had injured myself permanently and wouldn’t run again.  Running is how I manage the bipolar.  It is more effective than any medication they have yet to try.  Nothing compares to it, really.

I cried a bit on Wednesday.

Thursday I was more scared.  Finally, it came out in a jumble of emotions with my hubby.  Tears came as I finally admitted how badly it hurt and how scared I was.  He urged me to relax, keep stretching and add some ibuprofen to the mix.

I was a little reassured, but he hasn’t run in a long time and what if he was just saying that to get me to stop crying?

So I talked to my cousin about it.  She echoed his sentiments and reassured me it has happened to her several times and was by no means a running stopper.

And I breathed a sigh of relief as she assured me it meant I was a real runner!!  And realized this was the perfect time to be sidelined as we were away at a Homeschooling conference all weekend and there was no time to run anyway…but now I home and I am ready for this knee/calf to chill out and let me get back to the business of pounding the pavement.

Today is again busy, with a very special project, but tomorrow, tomorrow I am really hoping to run.  It has been too long.

Five and a Half Years

I feel like such a newbie when it comes to running.  I’m slow.  I am still working on doing a half marathon, but in truth, I am not that much of a newbie.  I have been running off and on (had a baby in there) for 8 years.  Tomorrow I am doing a race I originally wanted to do five and a half years ago…the time has finally arrived.

Tomorrow morning the whole family is joining me at a race about 40 minutes from here that I originally saw advertised at another race I did on December 10, 2011.  It is the Angel’s Place Race.  It raises funds for homes for adults with developmental disabilities.

I love the area we will be running in, minus the comments about hills, and somehow, I feel like I am keeping a promise to myself.  I ran 6.2 miles (10k) earlier this week so I know I can do the distance, but as always, I am doubting myself.  What if this twinge in my knee means it is giving out on me?  What if I am dead last?  What if I embarrass myself and my family on my birthday, no less?

 

 

On a gentle run Thursday night as my final preparations for my 10k

Only one way to know, to get out there and run.  One foot in front of the other.

Bumpier Than I Hoped

Treating any illness is a balancing act of sorts.  Always adjusting as you go.  How much do you put up with medication side effects?  How much do you rest?  Where is the trade off equilibrium?  Always shifting, always adjusting.

I hate it.  And I am not very good at it.  Six years into Bipolar and I still doubt my every move…except my running.  I don’t doubt that.  That, honestly, I hold sacred and am currently shaping the rest of my treatment around it.

A few years ago I was a few months from running a half-marathon.  Suddenly I went from running 10 miles at a time to 2-3 sidewalk slabs at a time.  I tried compression socks.  I tried changing my route.  I tried adding music to my runs.  Anything I could think of and it just kept getting worse until I gave up running altogether.

Turns out, it was a medication side effect I was on.  It was causing extreme muscle weakness.  By the time I realized the cause, it was too late.  I could no longer run.

That med and I parted ways due to other issues.

I ultimately started running again and did alright until an injury sidelined me.  Last August, finally found me well enough and confident enough to give running another go…and here I am, talking about it non-stop.

Then, a couple weeks ago, I started to feel that heaviness in the legs again.  This time I had a clue what was happening…I looked up my newest medication and there is was listed under side effects…muscle weakness in the legs.  I dropped that darn med like a hot potato (with medical approval) and the heaviness is gone.

Next, I got to thinking about the shortness of breath that has plagued me.  I have had a full heart work up.  That is not the problem.  I recently had pulmonary tests done.  All good there.  I have been able to get some relief with a great essential oil I use, but it is still nagging me.

Um, wait, I am still on one of my psych meds that I am actually allergic too and the reaction is trouble breathing and swallowing.  We have been able to keep those to a minimum with a lower dose, but what if that is part of the problem, so, again, with medical approval, I went off that medication.  The breathing is better.  Not perfect, I am still a little frustrated there, but I have hope.

Unfortunately, being without these meds has its drawbacks.  Getting off of them has been a bumpier process than I had hoped.  My mental reactions have changed.  I am seeing some red flags I know I have to keep an eye on.

And I am bummed.  I had envisioned coming off the meds without a hitch.  In my minds-eye, I didn’t need the doctor’s cautions about why we use those meds and what might happen without them.  So what am I doing?  Contrary to logic, I am getting lazier with the meds I am still on.  Because that will help, right?  Last night I decided I didn’t need my meds, I would be fine without them…so I got 3 1/2 hours of sleep, which really helps things.  On the upside, last night reminded me how important my medication regimen is…I took my morning meds exactly as I should and trust me, I will take all of tonight’s dose.

I am still hopeful that with lots of self-care and hard work, I can stay on the new medication plan, but at the same time, I am scared.  What if I can’t do it?  What if I am stuck with meds that will influence me physically?  What if I am not strong enough to do it all?

 

Sugar Butts

I am the potty mouth in this house.  My hubby never, ever swears…well, okay, he did when the camper flipped over and he was trying to control the car…but that doesn’t count, does it?

So, when someone gets in trouble for saying a “bad” word in this house, mommy is to blame.  Sigh.

Today, Caitlyn and Sue were working on putting together some projects they received for Christmas.  Caitlyn started her catapult yesterday and teased Frazier today by launching pieces of burnt bacon.

Sue started her robot today and was having a hard time finding one of the pieces–“damn!”

“Mommy, Sue said damn.”

Sigh…time to head to their room for a chat.

“Sue, you can’t say damn.” “But I can’t find the piece I need.”  ”

“But I can’t find the piece I need.”  ”

“I know, but you can’t say that word even though mommy does.  Say, um, ‘sugar butts’ like daddy does.  Or dude.  That’s the one I like.  You can say it with emphasis.  DUDE!!!”

Insert eye roll and a big, heavy sigh.

A few minutes later she is still searching for the piece, looks over at Caitlyn and mutters, “sugar butts!!”

My work here is done.

I’ve had a couple “sugar butts” kind of days lately.  It has been raining.  I have not been running.  I am coming off two medications due to side effects.  I am recommitting myself to eat low FODMAP to control some health issues that are obnoxious and kind of hard to control.  And there is still homeschooling and its duties, May has a couple super social days in it, and another birthday for me.

Sigh and a big helping of “sugar butts.”

What is your safe word to say around kids or that your kids are allowed to say?  If you don’t have one, go ahead and have ours.  We’ll share!

Getting a Little Dirty

I think we can all agree that over the last many months we have read and heard too much about building walls.  Things going on within our country and around the world can leave us feeling powerless and frustrated.  Too many walls being built between countries and people…too many.

It leaves many of us feeling powerless.  Clay is one guy that has felt that, but he has begun getting more involved in activism, paying attention to the news, contacting others about what he sees going on…and looking to do more.

So was born Plant the Wall.

Plant the wall is…”a concept to help folks make a local impact on the planet as well as a statement about what we value as a country.
It’s the anti-“Build the Wall” message.”

He and his family are planting a variety of fruits, vegetables, and flowers and encouraging others to do the same.

“If we believe building walls to keep people out are wasteful and wrong, let’s find creative ways to protest and keep the conversation top of mind.”

His reasoning and idea have caught my attention and I find myself constantly looking for the new life of Spring here in Michigan and searching for ways I can beautify my part of the world.

The girls and I have cleaned a couple areas in the yard to plant very soon.  I have captured photos of the early buds on the lilac bushes around here.  We have planted California Poppies in a planter in the house…I am chomping at the bit to do more.

His idea is not only beautifying the earth, but also the internet as people share their pictures of planting the wall with the hashtag #plantthewall.  Check out his website, Let’s Plant The Wall for more about the project and how you can get involved.

*All quotations taken from Let’s Plant The Wall

Runner Bucket List

I remember when I took up running–eeking out those first few steps on the Wii Fit.  They were hard.  And worth it.

It is still hard.  And still worth it.

When I ran those first steps, I never dreamed how important running would become to me.  I never dreamed how the Lord would use it to teach me about Himself.  How He would use it every day to remind me what a powerful, loving, constant God He is.

Last night, I put a few of my thoughts in a video.  It is not very flattering of me, but honestly, it is meant to be flattering toward God, not toward me.

 

Those thoughts, about the Lord and the gift He has given me goes through my mind at least once on every run.  Today,  I formed a few other thoughts that I would never have even thought to piece together when I was taking those first steps in running.  I started to think about Running Bucket Lists.

I started with a 5k.  Next, I did a 10k.  Followed by running across the Mackinac Bridge.  Next month I am going to do my first 10k in a long time to celebrate my Birthday, and then in June, I am so excited to be running a 10k on Mackinac Island.  I suspect the crowning jewel in my running adventures will be a half marathon in September.  Nestled in there is something I never considered doing, but now think every runner should do at least once–a marathon relay race.

Today I had the privilege to run the 4th leg out of 5 with a group of women.  It was extremely nerve-wracking leading up to the race to have other people depending on how well I did, but ultimately, it pushed me to train harder and then definitely run harder during my leg earlier this morning.

Turns out I ran so hard I popped a blood vessel in my eye, but it was worth it.

Raising Me

I hate the Bipolar.  I hate the anxiety.  I hate what it does to me.  I hate how it makes me feel and act.  I hate it.

I don’t want this for my girls.  I don’t want them to feel a single second of it.  And yet, sometimes anxiety does hit Caitlyn.

Monday was one of those nights.

We have been thinking for a long time that Patrice would be really good at gymnastics.  And Caitlyn has been dying to learn how to do a cartwheel.  The big day finally came Monday.  I made preparations last week and Monday we headed off to lessons.

And the anxiety hit.  Me–because I managed to forget the paperwork I had so carefully done, at home.  Caitlyn–because she didn’t know anyone there and didn’t know what to do when.

Patrice was excited from the get-go, but Caitlyn admitted later that she just wanted to go home.  I saw her anxiety.  I saw her fear.  What I tried not to see was me.  I did not want to see Caitlyn immobilized by her emotions.  I also saw her bravery.  She kept going.  She put one foot in front of the other.  She worked to find out what she was supposed to be doing and where she was supposed to be.  She didn’t give up.

As I saw her go from activity to activity, I saw her nail biting lessen.  I saw her paying more and more attention to what was going on around her and less and less attention to what was going on inside of her.  And my anxiety decreased.

Once again, I was able to tell myself I am not raising a daughter who will be immobilized by anxiety.  I am not raising me.