Category Archives: Uncategorized

One In Five Marathon Relay

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On May 27 myself and four other amazing women got together to run. We ran for ourselves. We ran for each other. We ran for mental health. The Hope Network One in Five Marathon Relay focused on and assisted in benefitting services for those currently battling mental illness.

(Megan, Tina, Me, Ashley, Debbie) Before the Run18671159_10158688113745291_8598569898377047907_n

Now many of you know that I myself suffer from severe depression and anxiety. Over 40 million individuals within the U.S alone will experience symptoms and episodes of  mental illness. That is one in five Americans. With that, I am One in Five. This is also true of my four teammates who ran to support  others who suffer as well.

The unique aspect of the One in Five Marathon Relay is the fact that it is not a true relay in the sense of what we know. There are five legs of the relay. The first four runners run 5 miles each, with the last runner running 6.2 miles. This runner represents the one in five. The biggest difference, however, is that there is no hand-off. Starting at 8am, the first runner leaves. At 8:15am, the second runner. Then every 15 minutes until all runners are on the course. All runners, running together, different paces, different abilities, some going 5 miles, some 6.2 miles. All of us representing some part of the statistic.

The day was beautiful, the course was beautiful, the cause was beautiful and the people were wonderful. The four other women on my team, Phoenix Rising, came together that morning before the race to “officially” meet. While some of us knew each other, we had all never been together until that day. Sporting our green (the color of mental health support) in various ways, and making our own “one in five” mark, we prepared. We would wear green bandanas, one of us wearing white. We would sport white star stickers on our faces, one of us wearing green stars. And our amazing connector, Sasha Wolff of Still I Run, made us all bracelets to represent our own words of strength.

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The take-away from this day? We are all who we are. We are the one in five. We are unique. We are slow. We are fast. We are determined. We are women and moms. We are runners and Spartans. We are triathletes and marathoners. But what none of us are is our mental illness. Yes, it is a part of us, but together we are so much more!

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The Gazelle Girl Pre-view and the Gazelle Girl Pre-pare….Or What to do When Your Body Wants You to Stop Progression

So, last weekend I ran the Gazelle Girl preview course for the half marathon. Now due to the rain and such, Riverside Park was slightly moist, so we had to be re-routed for the half marathon course. I was excited to do this course because I had such success with the weekend prior and not issues with calf cramps or IT band pain. So I made sure to do all the same preparations. It was a little bit colder, but I was hoping for success still.

However, around mile 1.5 I already knew that I was going to have issues. I tried to walk things out more in hopes that I could get on track, but it was not something that was going to happen. I decided to turn around at the 10K turn around instead. If it was a minor issue, I did not want it to become a major one before the race.

So, my body was speaking to me. And it may continue to do so after the Gazelle Girl half. And I may need to change my future plans for longer distances, at least until I can get some things figured out. However, it is important that I can keep things in check and not get too down on myself for the temporary potential failures. I have accomplished so much more than so many people. I have accomplished so much in the past 3 years, alone. I may not be able to do an Ironman Triathlon, but I can do a sprint distance triathlon. I may not be able to run a half marathon, but I can crush 5k’s and 10k’s. I can continue to better myself and still be able to progress forward. Forward movement is still progress. It just needs some adjusting!

 

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Much Love!

Keep Running!

 

I Am This Close To Losing My…….

As someone who struggles daily with symptoms and thoughts of depression and suicide, I find that there are easy days and there are hard days. Sometimes a hard day comes from something as simple as a comment. Today is one of those days. A super poor attempt at making a joke at someone else’s expense.

The lack of tact, understanding and insensitivity of some people who work in public service is quite disappointing. One does not simply understand mental illness because they have a loved one who suffers from symptoms of it. One does not simply understand thoughts of suicide because you come in to contact with some people throughout your day that may or may not have thought about it themselves.

A kid gets drunk and decides he wants to kill himself. He decides to take his car and run it full speed at a tree. Ultimately he fails at the suicide and survives. How shitty is someone who looks at this scenario and says, “well, there were bigger trees he could have ran in to.” Really? You just said that? Out loud? With words….from your mouth? Well, guess what…..there are more non-abusive ways of voicing your poor joke. I mean, yeah, there are better ways of everything. I mean, sometimes I literally think that a safety pin being dug deep into my wrist and carved along the vein will work. It doe not. But hey, you know everything about everyone because that little piece of paper in front of you tells all.

My response…..fuck you. Fuck you for thinking that making an attempt to “joke” about someone else’s situation is appropriate because you are in a room with a bunch of people that may get the “joke”. I got it. And it was not funny. Some statistics:

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages. (CDC)
  • Every day, approximately 105 Americans die by suicide. (CDC)
  • There is one death by suicide in the US every 13 minutes. (CDC)
  • Depression affects 20-25% of Americans ages 18+ in a given year. (CDC)
  • Suicide takes the lives of over 38,000 Americans every year. (CDC)
  • Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment. (NAMI)
  • 80% -90% of people that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication. (TAPS study)
  • An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors (AAS).
  • There is one suicide for every estimated 25 suicide attempts. (CDC)
  • 12.7 in 100,000 young adults ages 20-24 die by suicide each year. (NIMH)
  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year old Americans. (CDC)

*statistics from www.save.org

So, just think about things. We all say things we do not mean at some point in our lives. Just understand your audience. Understand that just because you work, or even live with someone does not mean you know them. Trying to find out about them is more productive than jokes………and in some cases, safer.

Much Love

Getting Back On Track

So…..I completed 8 miles on Saturday. EIGHT! This is a big step for me given all of my issues that I have had since the end of last season. First trying to figure out my calf cramp issues, changing of shoes, addition of insoles, change of insoles, IT band flare up, then I caught the plague of potential death, but survived, then the Michigan cold that my IT band and knee really loved…….ugh.

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So, needless to say, Saturday was a great day! This makes me feel like I am more on track with my goals. Set-backs tend to really bog me down with thoughts that I am totally setting myself up for failure. I am setting my goals too high? Am I able to actually fulfill the goals I have set for myself given my training capabilities? Am I actually crazy? Well, at this point, it all is what it is.

This season is for this season. This season is not for next season. It can only assist in next season’s goals. So I will continue to do my gym workouts, yoga stretching, run camp running and I will make it through this season successfully……then plan for next season!

Keep Running!

Much Love!

I want.

I want to run. Far, far away where no one knows me.
I want to run. To a place where I can search long and hard.
I want to run. So I can see if I have anything of myself left within me.
I want to run. Find a place where I can let down my guard.

I want to cry. Cry so hard that I can never cry anymore.
I want to cry. So that I can release everything that is hidden within.
I want to cry. To make myself feel good about being vulnerable.
I want to cry. So I can let go of all my sin.

I want to smile. Smile so big that it looks as if I am up to something.
I want to smile. So I can feel the happiness within.
I want to smile. To hide from others what I feel sometimes.
I want to smile. Simply to feel it on my skin.

I want to scream. Scream so loud that I cannot speak for days afterward.
I want to scream. So that I can let everyone who can hear me know my pain.
I want to scream. To let go of all of the swallowed screams from over the years.
I want to scream. So hard and loud I feel as if I have been slain.

I want to laugh. Laugh so hard my nose bleeds and I cannot breathe.
I want to laugh. So that I can feel the intensity of happiness.
I want to laugh. To burn those funny times into my brain.
I want to laugh. I just want to laugh.

I want to hit. Hit someone so hard that they can feel everything they have done wrong to me.
I want to hit. So I can remind myself of my strength on the outside, too.
I want to hit. To show those around me that I will stand up for those I care for.
I want to hit. So all of my hatred can come into clear view.

I want to love. Love myself for me and not for what others see.
I want to love. So that I can show those I care for that I do.
I want to love. So I can feel real and human and not like a machine.
I want to love. To know that I don’t always have to feel blue.

I want to bleed. Bleed so much that it is a relief.
I want to bleed. So that the toxins within can be released.
I want to bleed. Slow and steady and watch it all fade.
I want to bleed. Till all the pain has ceased.

But I cannot scream, or hit, or run or bleed.
I try to smile and laugh and love see the happiness in me.
It is hard, so hard to see the good in me.
It is hard, so hard to see the way out.

The Break Is OVER!!!!!!

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This weekend starts the community runs for the Fifth Third Riverbank Run! Not sure if I will be doing the 10K or the (EEEEKKKKK!!!!!) 25K, but I will be doing it again this year! I am looking forward to group running again. Honestly, even though I tend to single myself out and run alone when I am with a group, it is so much more to see other runners out running knowing they are training just like me. They may be faster. They may be more fit. But they are running a mile at a time just like me!

 

Michigan Titanium

So, I decided, mainly for the double down medal option, to sign up for the MiTi: Michigan Titanium. This event is not offered in a sprint distance triathlon, and I was not ready to try the Olympic distance triathlon for the distance of the swim. So I decided to register for the Olympic Duathlon. Bike24.8 miles, then run 6.2 miles. Sounds like it can happen. I mean, I have done the 20k sprint bike portion before and the run I was not worried about, so, I figured, why not give it a shot.

Now, I am still using my mountain bike that has been fitted with clip on aero bars and road tires. But, WOW…..hello Cannonsburg hills! I have driven down Cannonsburg road so many times since living in Grand Rapids, and it never seemed that hilly. But, when it is a car versus your burning legs on a mountain bike…..yeah…..it was hard.

Being that this was my first Duathlon, and the first Olympic distance I had no real goals except to finish. Ideally, I wanted to finish in under 4 hours. But that was using the time that it took me to do half the bike and run distances in a sprint triathlon. Plus, there was no swim portion, so, it seemed logical to try to calculate that I could finish in under 4 hours.

It was inspiring seeing all the other athletes competing in VERY LONG distance races. The MiTi offers the only full distance Ironman in Michigan. Also offering:

Full Tri – 2.4 Swim, 112 Bike, 26.2 Run
Full Relay – 2.4 Swim, 112 Bike, 26.2 Run
Full Aquabike – 2.4 Swim, 112 Bike
Full Duathlon – 112 Bike, 26.2 Run

Half Tri – 1.2 Swim, 56 Bike, 13.1 Run
Half Relay – 1.2 Swim, 56 Bike, 13.1 Run
Half Aquabike – 1.2 Swim, 56 Bike
Half Duathlon – 56 Bike, 13.1 Run

Olympic Tri – .93 Swim, 24.8 Bike, 6.2 Run
Olympic Relay – .93 Swim, 24.8 Bike, 6.2 Run
Olympic Aquabike – .93 Swim, 24.8 Bike
Olympic Duathlon – 24.8 Bike, 6.2 Run

So, needless to say, there were ALOT of atheltes.

There was strong Road Warrior representation there as well. Along with myself, Mandy Kitchen was competing in her first Half Ironman Triathlon, and Lisa Barrett was competing in the Half Relay.

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The Olympic duathlon was the last to go off at 8:45am. And soon after the start, the hip cramp creeped in….ugh. But, knowing that there was no way I was going to truly place in this event, I pulled off to the side and stretched for a bit. However, on the way back, the hills got the best of me. As did my water consumption. I had to stop and vomit up some water. Then this action made me feel dizzy. So, instead of giving up, I decided to just walk a little with my bike to see how I felt.

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Now, at the time of the vomiting, there was a course volunteer who told me that he was going to notify medical, because of his concerns. I told him I was not stopping, I was just going to walk for a bit. Part of me wanted to just give up. Give in to the fact that the hills and the distance were too much for me. But, that is just not me. So I walked. Then rode. Then walked some more. Many racers along the way made sure to ask if I was okay. Some offered nutrition or salt tabs. But I just needed to realize the hills were too much for a full ride. But my legs could still walk!

At bottle exchange I took another break. Slowly consumed more water and some Gatorade. Then, just as some heavy rain started, got back on the bike for the rest of the ride! What I wanted to take no longer than 2 1/2 hours took me over 3 1/2 hours. So I knew my 4 hour attempt was out the door. But, I had not quit….so I continued.

I came into transition at the run. Headed out and just started walking. The run course was also hilly, but, doable. And in the long run I ended up walking a lot of it, but, I did not stop. The aid stations were like my athletic “Golden Corral” buffet. I took cops of water, Gatorade, and Pepsi, pickles, a cookie and some pretzels at every station. And I slowly consumed everything between aid stations. I managed to run some. I managed to see some wonderful faces. I managed to meet some great people.

And near the end the emotion was overwhelming. I was actually going to finish this thing! So many times on the bike course I wanted to just get a ride back. No one would blame me. No one would think less of me. But it was not in me to do it! Luckily, the dude at the corner told me about the lady with the camera at the finish, so I managed to not look teary, smile and give a thumbs up. But as I crossed that finish line I broke down. It was, to date, the hardest event I have ever done. But……….it was done! It was done in 5 hours, 28 minutes and 11 seconds.

 

 

 

 

When Holiday Vacations Strike…..

Okay, so I made that sound a little bad…..I’m actually referring to the busy holiday times that can sometimes pull us away from our own focus on health and fitness. Cookies, cakes, sugar, carbs, muffins, cupcakes, ugh……They can really make you think you have wasted any workouts, or that you have to go crazy to work it all off. And then, for some of us, there is the travel. Now, going here, there and everywhere can be daunting enough. Traffic, crazy people, families…..stress!

Now, I have all my immediate family in Ohio. So, it’s a lot of travel. Luckily I belong to Planet Fitness, and there is a location near my father’s house. I had every intention of hitting my home gym early this morning before we left, but my brain and body vetoed that option. So after heading down to the O-H with the hubs and getting everything unloaded, I pulled myself together and headed to the gym. After all, my Road Warrior teammates are training tonight, so, even though I can’t be there, I can hit treadmill.

Remember that even though the holidays are a busy time, you still need time for yourself. We are coming up on a time of year that is practically owned by “health and fitness” (at least until about February). Be prepared that when 2016 comes a-knockin……you can run into it head on and show it who is boss……not let it guilt you for what you have lacked on at the end of the year!

 

Keep running. Much love!