Category Archives: running

Running Partner

I follow a lot of runners on Instagram and they all mention how great a running partner is.  Thing is, I am too slow to run with anybody.  I once tried to join the local running group and they told me they didn’t have anyone that did slower than a 10-minute mile but they would give me a map I could follow–gee thanks.  I can make my own route…I was interested in running with somebody.

Then, for a short time I could run with Caitlyn, but she is faster than me and trying to get her to run is very difficult.

I gave up on running with anybody and just ran for myself, but I was kind of bummed out.

Then this little dude came along.

His legs are long enough to run with me but not so long that he’s dragging me.  I have started taking him with me more often.  The other day I tried to sneak out without him and he was having nothing of it.  He now gets excited just seeing me in my running clothes.  He does 4 miles easily, though by the end he is slowing down.  I don’t know how much further he can go–I might have to sneak out for my longer runs, but for now, I am really excited to have a running buddy.

Hubby still sometimes makes the silly mistake of thinking he is the girls’ dog.  Nope, he is mine, all mine.

 

The Long Run

Let’s just start with I did it.  I didn’t know if I would be able to, but I did.  Eight days ago I started and completed my second half marathon.

And this weekend I began reading a book about optimal nutrition to lose weight while running long distances and for pre- and post-race.  It makes hubby just chuckle.  I said I would never run another half after the one in September…and I just finished my second and am now studying nutrition for continuing this type of long distance running longer and am already prepping mentally for my third one.

This second half started off really hard.  I accidentally found out most of this half was off-road, which I have only run once ever.

It started off in grass.  With the final pacer asking me in the first half mile if I could run faster because I was not running the required minimum pace.  I bawled like a baby for the next mile until another pacer started running with me and slowly I calmed down.  From there on out the volunteers and people along the way were amazing.

They had water almost every mile.  They even offered beer, mimosas, and bacon at the halfway party point.  I only needed to use the water I brought once toward the end.  They had funny signs, people cheering, and at one of the biggest hills they had people dressed up as superheroes to run up with you–Wonder Woman and the oldest runner guy I have ever seen were on either side of me as I went up the huge, dirt hill at mile 8.  The pacer running with me told me, “this is called the 8-mile holler because you will be hollerin’ by the time you get done!!”

My running companion would go just a bit ahead as we got to the groups of people cheering and tell them my name to people were cheering specifically for me.

Marilyn disappeared for a bit and I was joined by one of the medic guys on a bike.  I don’t know how he went that slowly and kept the bike upright, but he did.  He complimented me on how incredibly consistent my pace was.

I was rejoined by my pacer and the sweeper who swore I was going faster than he at mile 9 so he didn’t force me off the course–and this guy.

I thought he was just a piece of wood as I ran up to him–when I realized he was a turtle of that size–the sweeper took a picture of him for me as I kept moving along.  And slowly mile 11 was done.

I came in dead last, but I did it.  All 13.1 miles of dirt roads, two tracks, and hills, with just a few paved miles in there.  And I did it in just 2 minutes more than my all paved maiden half marathon last September!!!

The sweeper could not believe that I was undertaking this race as my second half marathon.  Turns out it is considered one of the most beautiful and one of the most difficult halfs in the country!!

 

Running with the Girls

Saturday I modified my half marathon training to run a 5k with Caitlyn and Sue.  We ran the Mind Over Matter 5k to raise money and awareness to fight suicide.

It is a lovely course and incredibly important cause.

I was so proud to run with my girls.

We worked hard and all made it to the finish.  This race is one we will always have on the schedule.

Most of the time I run just for me.  Saturday we ran for others.

Training Again

Today I ran twice.   I am training for a half marathon (13.1 miles) on May 20.  Caitlyn and Sue are logging miles for a Martian Marathon April 14.  We all needed to get some running in today.

The Martian Marathon is specifically for kids.  Each logs 25 miles before race day and then runs 1.2 miles with their group to each complete 26.2 miles or the distance of a full marathon.

Caitlyn and Sue did it last year for the first time.

I ran with each of them today (I don’t want them out there alone just yet–crossing roads and such–even if they are just side roads).

Both of my runs together only equaled 5 miles–but I got faster with each run.  I have always found after mile two I get faster and hit my groove.  Every mile I ran was faster than the one before.

This week has had some good mileage in it.  I ran to the library and back on Tuesday–6 miles in the rain, around in circles on Wednesday–3 miles, no rain, and 5 miles today with my girls–no rain.  The schedule calls for 10 miles tomorrow, but 8 or 9 is more likely…

Here are some recent pictures.

A treadmill run

Glad to be running outside again

Truth

 

The Shirt I Don’t Deserve

An amazing friend helped me out when she accidentally gave me a gift I needed. The scale has been a jerk for a year plus. Despite my sometimes good efforts and sometimes blah efforts. Even with my best efforts, the dang scale has been going up lately. We are tweaking meds, etc, but we’ll see…sigh.

And I have been frustrated and freaking jealous of people seeing results as they change their diet and exercise.  So jealous.  To the point of tears.

And today.

(my daughter swears this picture is clear, but it looks blurry to me…Guess I don’t pay my photographer enough)

Let me digress just a bit. A year ago, my husband noticed a trend in my resting heart rate. It was tanking. It had always been around 70 and all the sudden it was consistently in the upper 40s, low 50s. There was some panic. I went to a cardiologist. He did a full battery of tests and declared my heart VERY healthy and said I was not only cleared to run, but that I would likely see my heart rate continue to lower as my fitness improved.

In the past year, I have continued to run quite faithfully, even doing my first half marathon back in September.

And a new trend has shown up…my resting heart rate is a new solid 40. Just as he said it would, it has gone down even further.

Today I was even turned away from giving blood because my heart rate is too low. In essence, my heart is too healthy.

For the first time in my life, part of me is really, really healthy. And I am doing the work to get it there. That beats a number on the scale any day.

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?