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Mile marker 12

Mile 11

There was too much rain for me to embrace my emotions of my first half marathon. Passing mile 12 was going beyond where I’ve ever gone before. It was hard for me to really take in and absorb. I was covered in rain- covered in a poncho–clothes clinging to my skin and water sloshing in my shoes. It was so far beyond my comfort zone it was hard to focus.

I will daydream … for in that moment in time I cherished the only warmth of mile 12 were the warm tears running down my face. I will hold that moment closest to my heart. The only moment I had been able to accept this momentous time in my life all the while my feet were pounding the pavement.

I never found the zone of running in my first half marathon. I never found my full ability to focus on what I was really accomplishing for myself. I was too distracted by the comings and goings of the pellets of rain hitting my body.

I did it… I really did it. I am still in shock. Say 13.1 to me and I would say it was impossible to complete…. impossible to dream and yet here I am. I have done it.

 Finishers

My new students didn’t believe me a few weeks ago when I told them I was training for it. Many of them giggled and talked about how that was simply impossible. Hmmm don’t doubt me now folks. I took some photos and my finishers medal in to share with them. They were in awe about it. A task that seemed impossible for someone like me…. impossible to imagine. An unachievable dream.

I went to see my chiropractor the following day. Do you remember me saying he ran with me to the finish line in a dream? Someone pinch me. This doesn’t seem real. I told him my hips were sore like muscle soreness the day after the run, but that I was otherwise fine. He said, “Well that’s just weird.” Certainly at this point you would think I would have had a harder time. I would be in serious pain… I am not. Sure I had trouble going from a squat to standing the first day post run, but honestly I am okay… truly okay. No pain to really speak of this week.

Remember when I posted that I cried at reaching mile 2 on my treadmill? Now we are ten miles later…. and I’m crying with one more mile still left in my gut.

I asked my husband to run with me. He makes these things look so easy. He picks up things before me. He’s beyond my pace in a matter of no training at all. He stayed with me and coached me on with his positive words. We held hands as we crossed the finish line.

My dad texted me and said I looked like I had more miles within me. I do believe he is right.

Dear world… dear dear world. I am not done yet! I have merely just begun.

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That’s a Recipe for Making Love ~ Harry Connick Jr.

We woke the morning after the 4th of July to being married for 10 full years. It was strange to think about how long it has been, but we filled it with doing things we both wanted to do.

We woke early to do something I really wanted to do and that was to complete my couch to 5k workout program by running a full 5k which is 3.1 miles. It wasn’t intentional to reach such an accomplishment on our actual anniversary, but I figured I might as well finish in Central Park. No better place I could think of and I just so happened to be in NYC.

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I was still physically tired, but had at least rested up a bit from actually getting sleep from the night before. So we headed uptown and got off at 86th street at the Museum of Natural History to give ourselves a starting point. Off we went but I had trouble this time with keeping the focus in my mind and not on my legs.

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My pandora app had trouble keeping a connection so I listened to the Avett Brothers on my itunes… which just wasn’t doing it for me this time. I needed Justin Timberlake to keep my focus in my mind and not how exhausted my legs were at the time. I now realize I need more on my itunes. It was a hard run. I won’t lie. The 5k I had managed in Cape Cod on Wednesday and all of the physical activity from this trip I was wiped out and managed to finish the 5k in 47 minutes. Regardless, I finished it and I’m proud of how far I have come. photo (83)photo (82)

As far as my personal goals- I’m going to start the couch to 10k program from the beginning and work on speed. As far as our anniversary… I’m not sure what else says love than to get up on your vacation on your 10th anniversary at 7am and catch train to Central Park for a run.photo (72) I can’t thank my husband enough for his support in this.

Here is a link to my previous blog regarding my running journey.

After sweating it up together, we went back to the Canal Park Inn and had breakfast hosted by Sarah-Doe. It had all the carbs we needed after our run and the charming atmosphere was wonderful. We rested, showered, and headed out for some shopping. John had it in his mind that I had to have a new shirt for our evening festivities and I agreed. We had lunch/dinner at a deliciously perfect Greek restaurant on 42nd street. We were so annoyed with America right then as we had passed all of these chains… lines out the door at Mc Donalds, Burger King, Duncan Donuts. I mean it’s not like I never need a quick bite to eat, but the Greek place was nearly empty with lots of servers… the food and service were great. The prices were probably the best we came upon the entire trip. So I encourage you to try something new and step out of the box. You might be surprised. photo (69)photo (78)

photo (75)We left the restaurant and headed on the subway to Yankee Stadium. John loves the Yankees so what a treat for him. I have never been to a major league game. Too bad Jeter wasn’t there in all of his cuteness, but alas I went anyway. I’m joking. I really enjoyed the game and the atmosphere.  I am very impressed with the new stadium. It was a drab game in the beginning until the bottom of the 9th, when the Yankees won and there was tons of energy. John is convinced it was because of his rally cap. photo (77)I’m not sure that’s true but it didn’t pick up until he did it so I will give him that one.

The song when we were announced Mr. and Mrs. Bryant was Harry Connick Jr’s. Recipe for Making Love that goes something like this- “A little bit of me and a whole lot of you… Add a dash of starlight and a dozen roses too….That’s the recipe for making love.” 

Me and John in my new Yankees gear he was certain I should have.

Me and John – my new Yankees gear he was certain I should have.

Running in Dreams to Running in Reality

When I left my teaching job in 2010, I was having trouble sleeping. I spent many nights just dreaming about odd places, with odd people, with odd conversations- but always running. Not running out of fear. Just simply running.

My friend said to me, “Maybe, you are just dreaming of running away from the stress of the job.” I thought that was not the case, because I even desired the ability to run during my waking hours. As the school year ended, my new life began running my own business and being home with my children and the dreams suddenly stopped. Maybe… my friend was right.

Why did I not run when I so desired it? Why did I not just run out the door with my sneakers on and hit the pavement?

Excuses were- Knee trouble. Flat footed support issues. Being self-conscious and heavy. Being too busy with the kids. Sprained my left ankle in 2008 and it was weak. Really those other ones are lame and this is the real reason- During both pregnancies I had this thing that makes most people instantly uncomfortable upon hearing it, mostly because of social awkwardness, but it’s called SPD- Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction. Basically, my pelvis was completely out of whack. I wore a brace. I was not allowed to take stairs. While pregnant with our son, I worked a full day at school and was instructed to rest by my ob. I went to physical therapy a few times a week for months. I used a wheel chair to go through stores and I could barely walk much less run and in 2010 I was less than a year since having my daughter and still had trouble walking- running- was literally and metaphorically only a dream… so I did not run.

The hope of running dissipated and I sank into disappointment. I still lived in pain, but tried to push through. By the fall/winter of 2011, I had trouble walking a few blocks. My hips ached. My back ached. I sprained my left ankle again…. I would go slowly down steps like an arthritic tin man much in need of his oil can. If the kids climbed into the bed at night it was worse in the morning. If I sat on the bare floor it was worse. If I sat in the car too long it was worse. If I exercised it was worse. If I went to one of my husbands shows I had trouble standing and walking afterwards.

Doctors offered sleep aides over the years, muscle relaxers, pain medication- I hate medication. My husband encouraged me to visit his friend Garrett, a chiropractor. I drug my feet in frustration and fear. One week I had hit rock bottom… the pain was just too much to even function anymore. My husband took the initiative and called Garrett and I went to meet with him. Garrett scanned my spine and the results were unnerving. I knew, by the end of the meeting, that I had a long road ahead of me and too much weight on my small frame and Garrett had more guts to say that to my face than my obgyn or my family physician. It was difficult to accomplish- approach- admit. I needed to visit Garrett every week sometimes multiple times a week for a few months. I went with great effort- sometimes leaving more sore than I went in and iced and heated, but I went back again. I slowly became more independent and stopped going until I felt I needed to.

I tried running in the spring of 2012. It didn’t take long for me to bench myself from hip pain. I lost about 25 lbs and then put it back on in less than six months. I was discouraged and frustrated, but I knew running wasn’t going to happen. We had a gym membership we never used… the days were complicated. So in November of 2012, I convinced my husband to buy a treadmill and ditch the gym membership. I figured I had time to use it if it were at home. I started out really slow- embarrassingly slow, but regardless I was doing laps around the old me on the couch. It was slow at first with days and weeks in between building myself up to even walking a 25 minute mile. Then a 20 minute mile…. I was stuck there for a while and my joints would ache after even such simple activities.

After the first of the year of 2013, a new push and drive hit me. I lost 25 lbs and I started the couch 2 5k program. I had to do my own version of the program where I started a week earlier and easier than the programs designated week one. About 4 weeks in I went to see Garrett. I was having pain in my heel. He adjusted me, but really it was more than that. My progress with Garrett is more than that, because he is so encouraging. I had bruised my heel and he gave me some stretches to do, told me to put the treadmill on a higher incline, ice the heel, and some shoe insert suggestions. He cautiously said, “I don’t want to tell you to give it a rest.” I am so glad he said those words to me…. I didn’t want to be benched again or have an excuse not to try harder. He knew exactly what to say and it helped me so much. His advice was spot on and I messaged him the following day already feeling better.

I have been able to jog for the last 7 weeks. Making steady progress.

Here is today’s treadmill picture.

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For the average thirty something, I imagine that’s not so impressive- someone else’s long stride- but for me that is such a great accomplishment. That’s six and a half months of improvement doubling my distance in the same amount of time. I’m not aching anymore in my joints. I don’t hurt when the kids get in the bed anymore. I don’t hurt after sitting for long periods of time. Stairs are easier- especially going up… Still feel like a tin man going down in the morning, but in time maybe that will improve as well. I still go to stand sometimes and my hips take a second to go in a normal balance and sometimes my gait is off, but for the most part the chronic pain has disolved into a memory.

Recently, I started dreaming about running. It’s running with odd people, odd places, odd conversations, but it doesn’t plague my nights as before. One dream a few weeks ago was with Garrett. I was running in a 5k and he ran along to encourage me- it speaks volumes of how much he has helped me heal and grow. I desire so much to run… I awake thinking about the run of the day. Always running towards something to keep my focus. Never running away from anything except the old me that hurt in chronic pain.