I Cannot Explain The Excitement!

Saturday was another long training run. Not from my favorite location as the roads are very lacking in structure, and…..hills. However, it was on the books. Ten miles. Since October of last year I have not been able to make it much past 6miles before having fairly to very severe calf cramps. So the longer my mileage climbed, the longer I would have to walk back to the start. It is pretty defeating. So Saturday I was just thinking how long 4 miles seems when you walk.

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However, I prepared as much as possible. Electrolyte water on board since the evening before, good breakfast, some good rolling and stretching before, K Tape placed, compression leg sleeves on, electrolyte capsules taken. My thoughts, “Here we go…..”.

I have been working on strengthening my hamstrings so that they can start to take some of the work off of the calves. I have the proper shoes, with good insoles. With everything else I was getting more and more into the thought process that half marathons were not going to be a future possibility for me. The only item left to try was to change my running style.

Now, I am not…..NOT a fast runner. And I describe my running style as more of a shuffle. My knees to not lift much, and I am always thinking about my Good Form Running lessons that I have taken so many times. “Lean forward…..let the lean help to drive you forward.” However, the lack of proper use of my hamstrings was weighing on my calves. So, time to refocus. Pick up the knees, drive them forward. That along with the lean……well, we will see.

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So, I made it to the turn around point. Five miles down. I had made the decision that if I cramped on this run I was going to forgo half marathon races. I made sure to bring the proper amount of nutrition. And while I was going slower than normal, I was remaining focused on upping my knee height. I felt like I was running strangely, a reminder of band camp and having to “high-knee” march. I also did not feel like I was taking long enough strides. However, one step at a time.

Mile six came and went with no real issue. Mile seven. Mile eight brought one quick little twinge. I immediately took it to a walk. At the last aid station I made sure to stretch out a little. Time to continue. Mile nine. All good. The last mile I slowed to a nice pace to “cool down”. I even cried a little. Tears of joy. Is it possible? Could the right combination of everything have finally come into sight?

Ten miles. Technically the longest I was able to do in a training run (or any run,. for that matter), where I did not have to walk the last half distance to the end. Technically, the longest run I was able to complete while sticking to my interval plan at a 90% rate (sometimes you just need to “rest” through a “work” time). And technically, the best run I have had at that distance ever. Recovery was even easier.

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So, fingers crossed as I move forward. But for now, half-marathon distances are still ON the table.

Keep running!

Much love!

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!

With Patience, Positivity Comes

The cold can be a rough time to be an outdoor runner. It can be even tougher if you are dealing with a minor injury. I am currently battling some IT band issues. This seems to be exacerbated with the cold. Can definitely feel it more. It can really bring me down. The best thing I could do was joke about it with my fellow runner in IT band frustration and team leader, Katie Olson. Otherwise it would make me question my goals. Trying to stay positive is the best thing possible. And with the wind whipping your face, drawing out tears that eventually freeze halfway through their facial decent, positivity feels like it is freezing right along with them.

But here is the positive. MY FEET DID NOT HURT ON A 5 MILE INTERVAL RUN!!! That is right, people! On top of IT band issues I have been dealing with the need for more “proper” shoes….okay, okay, okay, Rob Andro…..”the right shoes”, and though some pretty minor trial and error, and the addition of insoles…..a solution has been found!

So, this may seem like a minor concern and a minor plus note, but this is huge for me. I have been thinking that I will just concede and leave my feet to run no more than a 10K, but the fact is, there are ways to work through the issues. Now, you need patience, which I have none of myself, but find the right people, find the right motivation, find the right method that works for you and go with it!

 

Much Love!

Keep Running!

 

Bettering Myself for Myself

When one suffers from depression and anxiety as I do…..thoughts can sometimes be your enemy. I have always been so concerned with the wellbeing of those around me. Many times so much so that I do not care for myself. And showing care and concern for others is not a bad thing, but I have always been told that if I don’t care for myself, who will show that care and concern for others?

I have never been one to shy away from discussing my thoughts of suicide in the past. Those thoughts generally set aside because of my furkids. They are the one thing I could not have a guarantee on care if I was gone. Also, part of the reason I always have pets around. Even though they always drive me crazy, I love them to death.

And things have gotten better since I discovered the joy of my running family and what I gain from everything within that. But there are still days. There are still thoughts. There are still cuts. There are still scars. There are still tears. I still have anger and hatred. I still don’t understand many times. But the important thing is that I am working through all those rough memories and times. And some people are needed to help get me through. Some people are not needed. But I am trying to make sure I am using all of myself to better myself.

It’s Okay To BE “Lone”…Why My Depressive Brain Keeps Me Company

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So, I run a majority of my running season with my Priority Health Run Camp Run Group (SHOUTOUT!!!!!!). We meet every Wednesday evening and Saturday morning for training runs to train for whatever it is we are training for next. There are the “speedies” (which is not me) and the ones that “get it done” (which is where I like to place myself), and everyone in between. EVERYONE in the group (and it is a pretty large group) is fantabulous (even though I have not ever really met all of us). And the groupings are fun. I admire those that can run and pace each other and chitty-chat along the way. Pace groups that can work together and get to know each other. But, honestly, that is just not me.

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My group knows, (well, most of them) that I am one that eventually just breaks off on to my own. I become “lone”. I got me, my working feets, and my music. But, believe it or not, I have all kinds of conversation…………with myself. Now I know that a lot of us may experience our brain telling us, “you can just walk, now”, or “It’s okay to just stop. You did a lot already”. And my brain does that, too. But my brain also tells me things like, “You know you can’t really do any better than you have already done, right?” or, “Is there a reason you keep trying to crush goals you know you cannot get any where near?”. Yeah, sometimes, my brain is a shithead. Literally. But I use the time that I am running alone to work up the ability to stand up, not only FOR myself, but TO myself. And there are bad days still. Days where I do just stop. Days where I do look at my goals and think, “yeah….not sure what I was totally thinking here…..no way this is EVER going to happen.” And plans change. Goals change. And that is okay. But I change them. ME. Not my challenging shithead brain.

So, if you are in run camp with me and see me running along yelling at no one, just know it is for good reason. Because we can all be our own worst enemies. And my second-guessing, depressive peeking, shithead brain is getting a beat down.

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Much Love. Keep Runnng!

2017 Season Has Arrived

Run camp starts soon and I CAN.NOT.WAIT! I mean, I have no real desire to run outside in inches of snow, but I am more likely to do it if I have paid for it and others are there as well! That being said, it is not the act of the running that I am excited about, it is to really focus on the need to make sure that I am working on improving my strength and ability to not have to walk the last half of a half marathon due to leg cramps.

#IGOTGOALS.

That being said, I would also like to improve on my triathlon times. As well as NOT have a sore rear for 3 days after said triathlons because #bikeseatssuckforbigbutts.

I did notice during the Resolution Run that, even though I chose to walk it I made it up them hills with much more steady movement and less “WTF??” in my head. Plus, it provided a nice glute and brain workout!

So, I got goals for 2017. Are they major change goals? Nope. They are steady goals. Major change-type goals for me are major failures. So slow, steady and functionally worthy goals set ahead. Watch out 2017…… I am coming for you!

Stay focused!

A

Resolution Run Reflection

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Today was the 2016 Resolution Run. A 4 mile run around Reeds Lake in the windy cold. Now last year I was recovering from a serious bout of the flu and developed bronchitis. So feeling on point today was already one up. However, I decided that I would mainly walk this event and use it to reflect on the past year. So reflecting I did.

2016 was the first year I “multisported”. Two sprint triathlons, a sprint duathlon and an Olympic duathlon. And I am amazed that I started and finished all of those events. And oddly enough it was the Come Clean Duathlon in Lansing that was my favorite and most memorable. I came in dead last. Not even close to the person ahead of me. But it was all the people who competed who cheered me as I ran across the finish line. Who were there and stayed and congratulated me. Who clapped and smiled and recognized me as I was awarded for my persistence and perseverance during the race.

2016 was the year that I upped the ante on my race distance. I was never going to run farther than a 5k. I was told by many that I was wrong. I told them that it was just totally out of the question. And I held off for a bit. And it was when I became a Road Warrior that I decided to try a 10k at the Fifth Third Riverbank Run. And there it was. twice that distance. And it sucked. I am totally not going to lie. Once I hit three miles and began to wonder what it was hat I was thinking. But I finished it.

 

2016 also brought me to the one phrase I was absolutely never going to try out. “Half-Marathon”. I mean, what the hell, right. So, I was signed up, no turning back. Unfortunately I was learning that my calves were not in agreement with my decision around mile 6-7 and would cramp. And they did so during the race as well. I ended up having to walk 7 miles to the finish. I did run across the finish, in pain, with running friends that are always there. And they even stayed with me as both legs seized up and made it difficult for me to walk.

2016 brought me to places other than my running as well. It brought me to the realization that I really do love to write. Not just blog, but write. Poetry, stories. Writing that tells readers of my life. My feelings. My faults. Writing helped me to realize that I got a lot to say. And sometimes words come out better on paper than they do out of my mouth. And they told a lot. Some of what was told was a surprise to some. Some got scared. Many asked questions. And some of those people were myself included. I admitted a lot of things. To cutting when I was in pain. To testing my medication and deciding not to take it. To screaming at the top of my lungs when things got hard. To telling people that for a very long time I had a life plan that was my end. And it was all perfected and planned to every possible outcome.

And most recently 2016 has helped me to realize that I love and care for those around me. I want to help them in their dire times of need. I want to get them to places they cannot get themselves. And I want this because I could not do this for those I loved long ago. But I can help and rescue myself. And in order to go any farther in this life of mine I am going to need rescue me.

 

You see, while it may not all seem like a lot to you, 2016 was the world to me. The changes that came were……..life changing. But they will only have worth if I continue the path. And while I am frustrated daily with the depression and anxiety I have, I would not change any of it. I will continue to talk about my depression, women’s issues, body positivity and positive support. I will always embrace and love those around me who have shown me that I am capable of so much more than I try to tell myself. I will continue to move up and on, daily, without an end in sight. Because for me…….there is no end!

Keep running! Happy New Year!

A

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!