Category Archives: running

A Running Recap

This last week has been all about THE HALF MARATHON!!!!!  I signed up for this race back at the end of November.  Since then I have talked, trained, and planned for September 17.

And, after all that…the weekend arrived.  Hubby and I headed for a fundraising dinner cruise…great price and great cause…

And it was time for flat runner Charity!

Hubby’s alarm went off at 4.  I rolled over and told him to “shut that thing off.”  That was not an option when my alarm went off at 5.  I yelled and fretted, but we got to the race start in plenty of time.

The first half of the race was decent.  I finished the first loop in good time.  Still smiling.

I’m pretty sure I quit smiling after this.

The girls made me posters to cheer while I ran.

It got way hotter, I dipped into my nutrition gummies and accepted the water at each spot.  I quit smiling.

I may have cried more than once.  I used up a little strength to text hubby “I can’t.”  It got hard guys.  Really, really hard.  Beyond hard.  Unspeakably hard.  I cried.  I seriously considered sitting down on the curb in the last mile and just waiting for someone to come get me…but I had come this far…I just couldn’t quit knowing how far I had come.

A few strides, if you could call them that, I heard my hubby whistling and cheering from around the bend.

My Caitlyn came up and ran me the last few feet up to the finish line as I sobbed uncontrollably.

After the race I felt so horrible, I hardly noticed someone hand me my medal.

But I did hear the announcer say “Good job mom, way to be an example for your kids.  Kids, pay attention to how strong your mom is and what she did.”

Beyond that, yesterday afternoon and evening was miserable, not what I expected at all.  I am used to feeling amazing after a race–feeling like I could conquer the world.  This time, my hubby had to catch me several times as I threatened to fall over on the way to the car.

It was hard, y’all.

But today, today is better.  I have enjoyed sharing pictures and I might have interrupted the girls’ schooling at one point to yell, “I DID IT.  I RAN 13.1 MILES!!!  I PLANNED TO DO IT, I TRAINED TO DO IT, AND I DID IT!!!!!!”

Today, I walked while Sue was in dance class and thought about getting back to running later this week and get myself back to training for something.  Another half, not at this point, nope.  But I have a 5k coming up and I love 10ks, so we’ll see.

And today, I can whisper–“it was worth it.”

Sometimes It’s About the Stubborn

This last weekend we had an amazing time at Sue’s callbacks for her casting in the next play, James and the Giant Peach.

She can sing, she can dance!!  I wish I had video of her dancing.  She does it so well, but that was in a room sans audience.

My little Sue has spunk and talent.  I could not be more proud of her.  I am very sad to type that she did not get a named role as we had hoped, but she is already working very hard on her audition piece for the next production–A Christmas Carol.

She amazes me every day.

As I watched her this week I realized she has something I don’t have…talent.  The things I have done, or do, are out of sheer stubbornness. Not because of talent.  I am thinking talent might make things easier, but stubbornness works out pretty good too.  I have pulled off a lot of things due to being very stubborn, and the grace of God.  And Sunday, it is time for another one.  It is time for my half marathon.  That is a long 13.1 miles.

I’ve run the distance once to make sure I could.  The first 9 miles were decently comfortable.  And then came the rest.  I truly ran them because I said I would.  I had told people I was going to run 13.1 miles, not 9, so I just had to keep going.  And this quote I had read on-line helped me keep pushing.

So here’s to Sunday and running with my legs, my feet, and my heart.  Whatever gets me to 13.1!!

Running With My Thoughts

I run with my feet and I run with my thoughts.  I enjoy the running with my feet.  The running with my thoughts, not so much.  It gets me into trouble.  Thinking ahead too much feeds my depression, anxiety, and mania all in turn.  It brings up things that I’d rather not remember, it robs me of sleep I’d much rather have.

And it has me puzzling over problems I just don’t  know how to solve.

This week it brought up one of those issues.

I began training for a half marathon on December 29th of last year.  Said race is now just 9 days away!!!  Single digits.  Wow.  Preparation for this race has consumed me.  And

Preparation for this race has consumed me.  And gotten me through some rough stretches with the bipolar.  It has given me the coping mechanisms I needed to tolerate depression that sought to overcome me.  It has focused my brain when anxiety and hypomania tried to tear me asunder.  Running is hands down, or is that feet down, the most effective coping tool I have when it comes to the bipolar disorder.

My practice run to make sure I can run 13.1 miles.  Guess I can.

Thing is…what happens when I am finished?  What happens when the post race high crashes?  What happens?

Yes, yes, I know I can keep running.  And I will.  I know I can sign up for other races.  Believe me, I will.  But there is this thing.  This very real thing.  The post race high.  And it crashes.  And crashes are hard on anybody, but especially on me.  I have a horrible time dealing with them.  Horrible.  The mass of emotions colliding is so hard to sort out and I immediately assume it is just going to get worse and worse.  And that I won’t survive the collision of thoughts and emotions.

This time I am a little extra concerned.  I have been thinking, planning, dreaming of this race for so long.  Years, really.  I originally trained for a half marathon when Patrice was a baby but had to quit due to issues with my medications…so really, this is a 5-year dream.  And here it is, 9 days away.  And my body will probably need a break from running for a few days afterward.  I also don’t see my body withstanding a full marathon (26.2 miles), so what is the next goal?  Where do I go from here?

I just don’t know.

I have no answers.

So, tomorrow I will lace up my shoes for my last long run before my half-marathon.  I’ll schedule a couple short, easy runs during the week and the rest of my running will be running kids around to cross country practice, dance, gymnastics, church, and then lace up for my big day, my half-marathon on September 17.

Parting Ways

All to the Glory of God–that is why I blog and share my story so openly.  I want others to know it is possible to live and parent well with mental illness.  This, by necessity, causes my posts to be brutally honest, and that is not always pretty.
I have always endeavored to live by the verse 2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

This is not me.  This is not her.  It used to be me.  It’s never been her.

I spent several years in and out of this wheelchair due to Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  I have learned to walk three times in my life…and that last time seems to have been the charm as the MS has been in remission since before that almost 11-year-old up there was even in the womb and I have gone from using a wheelchair to running 5ks, 10ks, and soon a half marathon!

So, today, that wheelchair and I are parting ways.  Permanently.  I am taking back my attic space and you, dear wheeled chariot, are going back to work.

Let me explain.

My family and I felt the call a few months ago to begin helping refugees who are fleeing horrible, horrible situations.  These new Americans have been vetted by every level of government and have waited through years of paperwork to get here.  They are here to be safe, to be free.

I didn’t know what to expect the first time I visited Mary (name changed) but what I found, was a friend–one of my most favorite people in the world.  I like to think I help her and her family, but what I know, is I love being around her and her family.  It brings me much joy and happiness.

Then there was an e-mail from a local agency asking me to help another family.  I was scared to say yes, but thanks to google translate all went well and I got them to their doctor appointment.  One of the family members Helen (name changed) was in a wheelchair.  A really old beat up wheelchair.  In this family, I saw loneliness.  I have known loneliness many times in my life and seeing it so naked before me, I wanted to run…but my heart was drawn to them.

Then, a few weeks later, the agency sent out a list of things needed for a family.  We had two of those items.  A sofa and a vacuum a neighbor had given us when they moved.  I ignored the wheelchair on that list.  Yes, I have one…but I can’t give it away…what if?

Last night, we went to deliver the sofa and the vacuum.  And who greeted us, but Stephen (name changed), Helen’s brother.  They were the ones moving into an apartment needing these items.  And there was Helen, sitting on the floor, needing a wheelchair.  And there was me, fresh from running 5 miles, owning a wheelchair. But, what if…

What if what?

I called hubby to talk to him about it.  He was all for passing along the chair…and she is not much bigger than I…so even though it was made for me…it seems like it is time for it to be made for her.

So today, I put Sue to work cleaning a decade plus of grime off my chair.  Tonight I am going to drop it off to Helen.  Friday I am going to attempt another 10 mile run.

All by the grace of God.

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?

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?

 

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.

Every Step

Sunday I did a 5k.  It was special in several ways.

The biggest?  It was the first race my family was at since I ran the Mackinaw Bridge race about 5 years ago.  Patrice was a baby at the time and while she will always be the baby of the family, at 6 years old, she is definitely no longer a baby.  My girls even made me a post to cheer me on.  It is fantastic, but it shows their reals names, so it has been cropped out of this picture.

 

The next amazing thing was the opportunity to run across the 50-yard line at the University of Michigan when I reached the finish line.

I am also still giddy over setting a personal record for a 5k Sunday.  I ran my fastest mile ever at 11 minutes and 40 seconds and overall time of 39 minutes 5 seconds.  I still feel like a rockstar.

And it is all to the glory of God.  He brought be from a wheelchair to pushing my body to see how far and how fast it can go…just because I can.

I am so thankful for what He has done in my life.