Category Archives: January 2016

Yeah, I Can Do It…..And I’m Gonna

Have you ever had one of those days when you tell yourself, “Ugh….all I want to do is go home, put on my sweats, pop some popcorn and Netflix.”? Yeah, that was me yesterday. I had a fairly mundane day at work. I had felt pretty awake all day. Slept well the night before (which is unusual for me). My Road Warrior group had done a hill workout the night before and my calves were screaming at me. I spent my lunch hour rolling (see my “Foam and Trigger Point Rolling” blog earlier this month) my calves and preparing for court. But then, after an uneventful court session, I was simply wiped out. I was not really feeling going for a run with my group at all. And I contemplated not going. But I knew I should. So I did.

its-neve-rtoo-late-to-change-life

Of course, once I got there I was all ready to go. Run courses were discussed. I was to do an easy, conversation pace 2 mile run. I knew the route. My coaches asked to try to run a full mile without stopping, then walk/run my last mile back. Now, let me back up here. I am an interval runner. It has taken me a long time to get in the mindset of interval running. So I basically got comfortable in a 3 minute run/2 minute walk protocol and finally got into the groove of that. Then came the Road Warrior Program. They push me. In a fantastic way. I have gotten down on myself a bit, but, I know where they are coming from and these ladies are fabulous.

So off I go for my one mile run. I know it involves a hill. A fairly significant hill. And the hill is at the END of the mile. So, as I start off I prepare myself. I make sure to not start off too fast, but at a comfortable pace. I am lit up like a Christmas tree so that I do not get run over by a car. I focus. I pay no attention to my calf that is begging me to stop. I focus on form, leaning forward, bringing up my knees, utilizing my quadriceps muscles to launch myself.  And it was going well. I turned the corner to the road that would head up the hill. It seems long to me, although it is not as long for most runners. There were a couple times where I found that I needed to slow down a little bit. If I did not slow down, completing the full mile would not be possible. So I slowed, and for a short moment, it may have been to a fast walk, but it WAS NOT full on walking.

But then the hill came into view. Ugh. It is dark. It is cold. It.Is.A.Hill…….sigh…..but I am still running. It is a slow pace, but still running. And I am running up the hill. Up. Up. Up. Then, the end. The flattening of the hill. I am at the top! I have completed the request. And I feel good. No, not good…..GREAT! Like, “Tony the Tiger Great”! GRRRRRRREEEAAAAATTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!. So, then I do the unthinkable. At least for me, I continue to run and head back to the beginning, still running. More than a mile. I set goals. I mean, it is easier going downhill. So, why not? I will just run to the bottom of the hill. Then walk. My calf is really not liking me, but, it is okay. However, I know I should not push it. So, at the end of the hill I will walk. But then the end comes, and I don’t want to walk. So I’ll just go to the beginning of the walkway. Or maybe the end of the walkway. Yeah, then end of the walkway. And that is where I decide to stop and walk it out. And while my calf is thanking me I want to know how I did. So I make it through the snow to the sidewalk, stop my TomTom watch and see………1.25. 1.25 miles. This is huge for me. I have participated in numerous 5k races since I have started running, but this is the VERY FIRST time I have ever run 1.25 miles without walking. And it was hard. Not as hard as I thought, but hard. And doable.

I am not sure when being able to do this will happen again, but I will hold on to the fact that hard work and dedication is something that gets you where you want. Patience is necessary. I am not a huge fan of patience. I do not really have any patience, but it is true that you need to be patient in order to get the full capability of what you have worked for. So go out and work for what you want. Push yourself. Accept challenges.  Surround yourself with those that give you the support and drive you desire. You are amazing. Phenomenal. You can do what ever you want to do. And you will.

 

Much Love! Keep Running.

The People Along My Path

I think I can honestly say that I would not change the fact  that I have depression if I could. It has made me what I am. It has gotten me to where I am today. And regardless of whether or not I feel hindered by having it at times, it keeps me in check. But living with it can be quite a draining sink in my life.

I was initially “diagnosed” with depression in 2007. I say this because my regular, everyday doctor prescribed me the medication after I went in and sobbed to him uncontrollably for reasons I cannot even remember. All I can remember is that about five months earlier I had a tubal pregnancy that had to be terminated for my health and I had been in a funk ever since. Getting out of bed was difficult. Working without crying was difficult (and I work with the public). I cried on my way to work, on my way home, at home, everywhere.

The medication helped. Got me back on my feet. Functioning more readily. My doctor had recommended I see someone for therapy to talk through things as a supplement to the medication, but I just did not have time for that. So I just took the meds and moved on. But then another pregnancy. A miscarriage. A pregnancy. A miscarriage. We weren’t trying to have children. I never really wanted children. But the miscarriages made me think there was something wrong with me. The I found out I have a negative blood type, where my husband has a positive blood type. I needed an injection during my pregnancy so that I would not have issues. But I never got the injection in time, mainly because I never knew I was pregnant and it was too late.

So resentment. Failure. Inadequacy. It all just hit me. I have always been really good at things I do in my life. I put my all into everything. And even though I did not want children, it felt like this was happening because of that lack of wanting. So I blamed myself. Then, finally, in mid 2010 I decided to go to a mental health clinic and seek further assistance. I needed to know that what I was thinking and feeling were normal and alright, and more importantly, not my fault.

b7469603373d5b7e1b411a3e076fccc8

The psychiatrist was great. He did a basic assessment and then reviewed his thoughts with me. He “officially” diagnosed me with “Severe Depressive Disorder with Recurring Severe Episodic Situations” and “Generalized Moderate Anxiety Disorder”. And while all of this felt like, “FINALLY!!!!!!!!!” I was also like, “Huh?” So he explained that I will have these recurring little episodes of depression. That is normal. And my anxiety may come and go. But the medication should help. He also recommended a psychologist for me to see to talk to and get my concerns out in my words.

Everything was going very well. Meds were good. Talking was good. And I had made the decision to have bariatric surgery. In March of 2014 I had the procedure and have not looked back. I found a new love in running. I found friends. People that have problems just like me. Daily issues, family issues, personal issues, whatever. But we run. We, “leave it in the dirt” as one of my coaches told me last night. Exhale all of it before bed for a clear head. Running and fitness has been one of the best things I have added to my life.

I still take my medication. I carry around a pill box that says, “Happy Pills”. And, yes, there are times when I feel fine and do not want to take my medication. And one day turns to two, then to three, then before I know it, I am a downright mess. And it can be bad. Real bad. But it always gets better. And the people around me make it better. The runners, the friends, the listeners, the family. My family. More than I could have even hoped for in my previous “life”. And you are all fabulous no matter where you are along my path. And you are why I would not change anything. I would have never had all of you in my life if I had not taken this path. And the path is long. The end is not discernible. And I can not wait to see what is ahead and to bring all of you with me and meet the new ones that come along! Thank you for joining me. I love you all!

Much Love! Keep Running.

Depression + Winter = Wanting to Stay in Bed ALL WINTER!!!

 

Living with Severe Depression is no fun day in the park. That big brain of mine tries to get me down. And it wins more often than not during the cold months. I love winter. But mainly because I hate summer. And when it gets dark at like….3pm, I really just want to go home from work and hit the heated hay. However, I work hard in trying to maintain a better outlook than my depressed times. So winter tends to be a struggle.

So, a little background. I was diagnosed with “Severe Depressive Disorder” and “General Anxiety Disorder”. I take medication to help control any recurrences that may come up. However, like many people that are medicated, when I feel good I try to test myself and try one day without medication. Then two days. Then three days and so on. You can see where this is going I am sure. Now, this happens other times as well, not just in the winter. But when my symptoms start to kick in, it is not good. Headache, fatigue, crying over not being able to find my ink pen, sleeping all the time, critiquing myself in every aspect of life, and even plans to end my own life.

quote-Adam-Ant-depression-is-something-that-doesnt-just-go-114853

But I always go back to the medication. And when it kicks in I feel better. More ready to take it all on. I have always been one that tends to pile too much on to my plate. I tend to worry and take care of every one else and not so much of myself. I am slowly, very slowly, working on changing that aspect of my life. Running and fitness have become a good get away for me. A time to run all my stress out, cry all my stress out, scream at the top of my lungs if I need to. It is my time. Whether it is in the gym or on the road. It is something I MUST do.

I thought after my bariatric surgery my depression would subside. That it was mostly due to the level of dislike I had for myself and what I had become. But it did not go away. If anything it changed and got stronger. Now I was not only dealing with the things in my life that contributed to my depression, but I am also dealing with a new found me I needed to get used to.

So it is hard to get out and exercise. It is hard to get out in the cold and run. It is hard to WANT to go to the gym, or for a swim, or to yoga. It is cold out. I have kitties at home that like to cuddle. I have sleep to try to get. But none of that detoxes my mind from the depressive thoughts that creep in. Okay, maybe the kitties do help. So get out there in the cold, in the rain, in the snow, in the mud. Run it out. Bike away. Swim hard. Release all that tension and toxic thinking that gets you down. You don’t need any of it!

 

Keep Running! Much Love!

Winter Blues

untitledjoi

Ugh. Winter. It is currently 10 degrees outside. TEN! No wonder people tend to not keep a new year resolution that involves fitness. Who wants to go outside in this? Some people may be lucky and have a larger home where fitness can happen there. Not me. I have room to do some HIIT, some standard stretching. But then that means I will also get help from the furkids that are around. And when they see mom get on the floor, well, it MUST be because she wants to play, right?

The winter blues can hit us all. Well, I guess unless you live in the warm states where your winter consists of a perfect spring day in places like Michigan. However, the fact that it gets dark around 4pm doesn’t help either. I did manage to get to the gym today, though. Fact, it will be so much easier to continue as the days get warmer and the light lasts longer if I just keep going now. So for those of you who may be struggling like myself, just keep in mind that warmth and light will be coming!

untitledkkk

Keep Running! Much Love!

Foam and Trigger Point Rolling

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, I just play one in this blog post.

Many people know what I mean. Those large, hard foam logs that people roll around on to “loosen” up tight muscles. And many people, myself included prior to my running experience, thought those people were just, well, weird. How in the world is a foam stick going to do anything for you or your muscles? All they ever helped me do was float in the pool as a kid. Well, as it happens, besides not being the same type of foam roller, they do much more than that.

Foam and trigger point rolling not only helps improve blood circulation to your muscles, but also blood flow, loosens muscles, and can even assist in reducing pain. As a new runner I quickly learned of muscles that I never really knew I had prior to running. After a few training runs I remember thinking, “where did these muscles come from and what do they do?”. But, obviously they are important, otherwise they would not be there….screaming at me. So I learned about foam and trigger point rolling. Now, these are two very similarly different things (see what I did there?). Personally I like the harder rollers, and more often than not I like roller sticks. The foam rollers just do not do anything for me. But regardless there are some general rules I like to follow to at least decrease the chance I get actually injured from using a form of injury prevention.

  • I drink ALOT of water. ALOT. This is just something that I got used to after beginning my running fun anyway, but this is always important when rolling because the hydration helps keep those tissues moist.
  • I generally try to roll a problem area BEFORE a run. However, honestly, sometimes I don’t know of a problem until after a run. So I try to remember to roll that area the next couple to few times I run after realizing the problem BEFORE my feet hit the road.
  • Knead everywhere. I remember once after I bought my house that my dad had told me to, “mow the grass in different directions every time. Vertical, horizontal, diagonal, etc..”. I use this thought process when rolling. This can help break up and loosen the tissues all around. Have you ever seen those “muscle body” pictures? Our muscles go in every direction. So should your rolling.

Now, these are just MY personal choices. Of course you could find varying differences of opinion. I have learned, however, NEVER ROLL YOUR IT BAND. Can you say, “OUCH!!!”? I mean, that thing hurts like crazy when it flares up, why oh why would you ever want to add to that pain?

opener-roller-400x400

I do recommend trying out many different types of rollers before making a purchase. They can be cheap or expensive. They can be everyday items or specialty. They can be soft foam or hard plastic. I have running friends who use standard kitchen rolling pins, tennis balls, golf balls and other every day items. Trigger point rollers are made of a harder material and more like a rolling pin. They can also be larger and hollow. Personally, I like being able to use my hands to determine the pressure amount used, so I use a roller that is more of a rolling pin type.

I need to do lots of rolling on my calves. I tend to get a lot of “charlie horse” type cramps that render me to a crying little girl when they hit. Last night I did a 3 mile run in the snow. Granted, my shoe choice was not that great, but wow did I feel that after I was done. In my opinion sand is the worst to run in, but snow comes in a close second. So I went home after and rolled my calves before bed. Feel great today!

When it is all said and done, just make sure to research and try things out before committing to a purchase (unless you have unlimited funds). Rolling can be of great benefit when you need it to be, just make sure to know what you are doing so as to not make things worse.

Keep running! Much Love!

A Little Inspiration Is All That’s Needed

On Saturday January 9, 2016 our Road Warrior group split up due to conflicting events. Some of us went the RunGR kickoff event and the others went to the Gazelle Girl kickoff which also had the pleasure of Olympic Marathon Runner Joan Benoit-Samuelson gracing us with her phenomenal running presence.

Now, let me shout out and say I am proud of my girls, my fellow Road Warriors Sarah and Lisa for pacing the RunGR people at 11:30 (see picture below). You chicas are rawsome and a definite inspiration for me! The rest of the Road Warrior group that made their presence at the RunGR event made it great, too, I am sure! I joined the Gazelle group. And even though we all had the chance to run with Joan Benoit-Samuelson, her pace is beyond my capabilities (I think even in a walking pace 🙂 ). However, listening to her talk and do a Q&A after the run was all I needed.

Sarah and Lisa

Joan Benoit-Samuelson won a gold medal in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. This was the first year that the women’s marathon was introduced as an Olympic event. Due to this, she was cemented as the first ever women’s Olympic marathon champion. In 1986 she established the 25K American and course record of 1:24:43 for the then named Old Kent River Bank Run. A record she held until 2012.

So imagine my excitement to hear this amazing woman speak. Here is me, new to running, not thinking much of it more than what it does for me. Here is this woman who has helped paved the way for female runners everywhere. Her words were surprisingly “everyday”. Simple and true. Her favorite indulgence? Dark chocolate. Any mantras or thoughts that keep or get her going? Just run. She talked about how, if she had started in sports just a year or two earlier, she would have played soccer. She talked about running in Maine, and how, when training, one should, “train where they are comfortable. Where they know”.

The inspiration was immense and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing from such an amazing woman. I learned that running in and of itself does not take much except getting up and getting out. They can be hard steps to take o matter where one is in their running journey, but just a few steps to start. She stated that one saying that she does always tell herself is, “Last shall come first. First shall come last”. Smart words. Words I shall remember.

Keep Running. Much Love.

StrideBox Review

I know Many of you may have heard of “StrideBox”. I know I had seen some people posting on Facebook about what a good idea it was. However, I didn’t know anyone who actually subscribed to it. So, for Christmas my husband subscribed for me. And right after we returned from our Christmas vacation in Ohio, the first box came!

IMAG3756

It was a small box, so I knew it did not contain any full apparel. I excitedly opened the box and saw a plethora of fun-ness!!!! It was, essentially, a nutrition box. And I love my running nutrition. It also provided a card describing each product and where they can be purchased and for how much! And, most wonderfully of all, it explained when the product is best utilized – before, during or after a workout! This is a good key thing. Nutrition can be such a bugger for some people. There is so much info out there on carb-protein consumption and when that it makes my head spin. I don’t like to have to review ingredients to see if the food is best at a certain time……but StrideBox tells you.

IMAG3759

Also in the box was a cute, bright green (how did they know, one of my favorite colors???) bag. Perfect size for a wet bathing suit or maybe even wet shoes or socks. Or possibly even for storage of nutrition to take with you on a marathon run or triathlon.

IMAG3757

So, all in all, StrideBox is off to a great start in my house. Price point is wonderful for what one gets as well. $15.00 to sign up and $15.00 per month for the box. They ship quick and if you really enjoy something, you don’t have to search all over to find it….they tell you!

Note: There is one product missing. There was a sample tea bag of “CogniTea-Energy Tea”. When I returned home from Ohio I was so sick it was the first thing I opened and tried. By the way….it was sooooo good!!!

Much Love!

Twenty fi….sixteen

Reflection time. There have been quite the hills and valleys I have ridden along in 2015. Oddly enough, a lot happened in both March and December with small amounts of everything sprinkled through the months between. In March the Sobriety Court Program that I write the grant for and developed the program for got up and running, moving me into a position that I have been working towards for 6 years. This is a program that I am extremely proud of and hold close to make sure it provides my clients with the treatment and understanding of addiction as a disease.

Also in March I celebrated 1 year since my gastric sleeve bariatric procedure. At that time I had lost 95 pounds and, per my medical staff, was “on point”. Along that line, this is also the time that I began having some pretty major depression issues in dealing with my new body and lifestyle. I know, you’re thinking, “Seriously? you LOST weight. What were you depressed about?”. Well, after years and years in a body that I despised, I was getting more attention than I was prepared for, and simply did not know how to handle that attention. I was also wrong in thinking that my depression issues that I have had for many years would subside with the weight loss. This was not the case.

In April I took a quick weekend trip to Mississippi with some friends. We stayed mainly in the casino hotel, so I didn’t get to see much of Mississippi and I had already been to Vegas twice, so…..not much difference there.

As the year went on, my husband and I had some ups and downs in our marriage. We took several months to work on ourselves and become a stronger couple-unit. I spent the July 2015 “Hankison Gals Vacation” (a yearly week long vacation taken with my mother, my grandmother, my aunt, my cousin and myself) to Washington, DC. My mother and I took the Amtrak train which was a wonderful experience as I had never travelled by train before. Also, I have always wanted to visit DC and thoroughly enjoyed the visit.

IMAG2479

In September I ran the Lake Michigan Credit Union Bridge Run 5K and realized for the first time since running, that enjoying yourself AND your run is more important that running a 5K without stopping or getting a PR in every race.

Screenshot_2015-12-27-20-22-00_1

In October I got to spend Halloween for the first time with my niece and nephew, who was a pink skeleton and a cop, respectively. This was a fun time, to see all the kids dressed up and to see my niece and nephew categorize their “candy stash” at the end of the successful sugary evening.

In November we lost one of our fur-kids, Lucian. I had adopted Lucian as an 8 week old kitten to be a “buddy” for my 4 year old adopted cat, Zoya. Zoya hated him immediately and it was a love hate relationship all his life. He was a fat, black purr box of a guy that loved his mama and always stole my pillow at night. He was 13 years old and developed an auto-immune disease. He went peacefully with lots of love surrounding him.

In this past month I became a “Fifth Third Riverbank Run Road Warrior”, an ambassador for the Riverbank Run as well as other community functions and promote charitable actions and community health (and…..this blog). Also, in the same day, I celebrated receiving the honor of being named one of six department “Employee of the Year” at my job, AND celebrated the fantastic action of my husband, Ron, receiving his black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

So, all in all 2015 was not too bad. 2016 can only get better in my opinion. I will continue to write and talk about my fitness and health journey, my life and living with depression. I will continue to be a workaholic with job and build my program at work. I will continue to try to make my friends and family laugh with my overreacted and outrageous stories. I will continue to provide more for my fur kids than my husband and myself. I.WILL.CONTINUE.

So Happy New Year to you all. Be safe. Be happy. Be wonderful.

Much Love.

Screenshot_2015-11-11-22-32-59_1