Monday, January 27, 2014

A dark place

I wanted to share this brief commercial because I was so powerful and moving. I saw it for the first time last week and it literally brought tears to my eyes. Part of that was clearly the content matter of the commercial, but there was more to it than that.

I cried because I'm in a dark place.

There. I said it.

And seeing those words on the blank screen in front of me make me sad too. Because I've tried so long to keep my chin up and put on that happy face and pretend that everything is ok. When in reality, everything wasn't ok and I was finding comfort in denial.

I've been fighting this foot issue for so long that when the doctor said I had to be laid up from the time I finished the Space Coast Half Marathon to at least the middle of January, I wasn't overly surprised. I backed out of the Live Ultimate South Beach Half Marathon and the Palm Beaches Half Marathon and was horribly upset that I was going to take a DNS (Did not start) at both of these events. For me, I've always heard that DL (deadlast) >NDF (did not finish) >DNS, and for me, this was one of the worst things that I could have done.

I've since gotten past that and realized that a DNS isn't that big of a deal when not starting comes from an injury and a desire to get better so that I can participate in many races down the line, but at the time, it was rough going.

But then I had to back out of my first (and only) full marathon experience. I still went to the event and cheered my dear friends on, and laughed and cried. And it was still a good experience. But to a certain extent it was tempered by the fact that a couple of days later I would be returning to my foot specialist and (hopefully) be cleared to start running again.

And thankfully that happened. I was cleared to ease my way back into running. I was cleared to start (slowly) working toward getting ready for the Miami Half Marathon (which would be my first race back at it and probably my all time favorite race in my short running career), and given strict rules to follow to keep my foot in good shape.

But the night that I was cleared was the beginning of a cold snap, and with temps dipping to the 40s, I said I would start running the next day instead. One more day off wont hurt me.

And when I woke up the next day, I realized that I had finally succumbed to the horribly icky sickies that I had been having an ultimate fight championship with since Marathon Weekend.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time in bed and drank probably my own weight in orange juice and whiskey. I was popping pills like crazy to clear my sinuses, make my teeth stop feeling like I wanted to wrench them out with a crowbar, stop the vicegrip on my head, and to stop the chills and the shakes. And when I felt that I had finally gotten past it, I went to bed one night last week and thought tomorrow is the day, I am going to get out there and get a nice 5 mile run in.

Except I woke up in the middle of the night with a coughing fit that wouldn't subside. And I realized that my illness wasn't going away, it was just packing up and moving. Now instead of being in my head and sinuses, It was in my throat and upper respiratory tract. And for someone who has battled respiratory issues their whole life and who can get bronchitis and pneumonia at the drop of a hat, this can be a very scary realization.

I self treated for 2 days before finally forcing myself to go to urgent care due to a really bad coughing spell, and was given a round of antibiotics, codeine cough liquid, decongestants and asthma medications. And I finally started to feel better.

And for the past 3 days, I've gone to bed feeling great, saying tomorrow is the day, I am going to get out there and get a nice 5 mile run in.

And every night I have woken up feeling like death warmed over.

So now, It is January 27th, almost 2 months since I have run, And I still haven't been for a stroll around the block. When I started running, it was AWFUL. I couldn't really even go a tenth of a mile (hence the name of this blog) without feeling like my lungs were going to explode. I took a brief hiatus that year when we bought a house and moved, and at that point, I had to return to the Couch to 5K program to just go a tenth of a mile without losing my breath.

And now, here I am, in the same situation. I can only imaging how torturous it will be to get running again. The pain in my lungs and my chest, and my legs and back... Do I really want to go through that again? Is that something I really want to do?

Obviously the answer should be no. Because who in their right mind wants  to experience pain and shortness of breath and all the other awfulness that goes along with getting out there and hitting the pavement.

But I guess I am not really in my right mind. Afterall, when I'm not running, I'm kind of like the guy in the snickers commercial. I'm just not me. Something feels off. I feel irritable, and frustrated, and hurt, and upset, and overall I succumb to that dark place.

And I dislike that dark place far more than I dislike the thought of pain.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Marathon that didn't happen

If we are being honest here, something that I really try to do in my blog, I have to admit that while I was devastated to have missed the full marathon at Disney this past weekend, I was also somewhat relieved to be spectating instead of participating.

I talked a good game, and talked myself into thinking that I wanted to run a marathon when a few friends were kicking around the idea last spring. I think at the time, I only signed us up as a challenge to myself... almost like if they can do it, I can surely do it.

And having done some serious running this year there was no doubt in my mind that I probably could have finished my training for the marathon and completed it, even if it meant crawling across the finish-line.

But we had a falling out with those friends. And because I still hadn't been entirely sold on the idea that I actually wanted to run this race, I convinced some other friends to sign up and run it with me. But October rolled around, and as much as I wanted to convince myself that I actually wanted to do the race, I was still teetering on having full out dread and panic.

Of course I was going to do it... but I realized that I didn't really want to. The only reason that I kept training and kept pushing myself was because I thought if I worked hard enough at it, I would convince myself that I really wanted to do this and it would make me happy.

But seriously... 26.2 miles is a long way to travel on foot. Sometimes I struggle to get into the zone for a 5 mile run... I know what 16 miles can feel like. And through all that positive self-talk, I still wasn't convinced. But I made commitments to other people, and commitments to myself... and I would move forward and finish what I started.

But then my injury got worse, and I was put into a bigger boot, and I had some shots, and even standing on my foot was completely verboten for 3 weeks in there... Logically speaking, I knew the Dr. would tell me that the marathon was out. But hearing confirm what I already knew made my have a near breakdown in the exam room.

And I was crying over not being able to do a race that I not only didn't want to do, but that I never really wanted to do in the first place. And I was so confused. So. Damn. Confused.

But then, because we had made a commitment to split hotel costs with our friends who were also running the race, we went to spectate the event instead. I knew it was going to be emotional. And I posted facebook about my sadness at not actually being able to participate, and I got similar responses.

There will be other Marathons.

You can always do it next year.

And while, yes, these people are right... I never really wanted to do the race in the first place. And so as I was watching many of my friends from near and far pass by us while we were spectating... and in between my own self-indulgent fits of turning away to sob uncontrollably... I realized that these marathoners are amazing athletes, who I admire and respect, but who I will probably never join the ranks of.

Not because I can't. But because I don't really want to.

Which brings me to my final moment of complete cognitive dissonance... Not 10 minutes after realizing all of these things about myself we met up with our friends who had just finished and saw how incredibly exhausted they were and congratulated them on their respective (and respectable) finished... and I thought to myself...

Hey Amy, there's always next year

... if you want to.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Tap-n-Run 4K - December 7, 2013

I had hoped to have written this entry before New Years so that at the start of 2014, I would have all the race reports from 2013 races completed and I could start the New Year off with a bang. Unfortunately, I couldn't seem to get out of my way. I've been wicked depressed since starting to see the new doctor, and while he has cleared me to no longer wear the boot for every day activities, it has just been a rough month for me. I'm still out of commission on the running, but I began today with a much needed bike ride. Not quite as long as I would have liked for it to have been to get my cardio back up to speed, but it's a start after being completely so limited since the first week of December.

Which brings me to the report of my final event of the 2013 year, a 4K "beer run" in Ft. Lauderdale on December 7, 2013... just 6 days after space coast, and 4 days after being put into a much more limiting walking boot. I know many people will read this and groan that I wasn't following Dr.'s orders or that I wasn't truly taking a break, but this was actually BEFORE he told me to completely rest the foot. He even said that I could do it as long as I walked the whole thing, at a leisurely pace and didn't add any extra distance to the race itself. 4K is less than 3 miles. And 5 miles is the 10,000 daily steps that Dr.'s recommend for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. So I made the choice to participate. Maybe not the best of choices in retrospect, but I'm not upset that I did it... and I didn't actually cause any extra pain or damage to my foot... so all was good.

Tap-n-run is a 4K race that is being put on throughout the country. What makes this race different than most other shorter distance fun runs is that at every kilometer, participants stop to drink 6oz of beer. I am not a huge beer fan, but husbeast and I thought it would be a lot of fun. He chose to run it, while I chose to take it nice and easy with my friend Allison from Karma Athletes. She didn't want to drink much, so at the start line I chugged the beers for me and gave the other to our Karma president, Danny. And we set out.

Of course I was in my boot, but once I got my momentum going, I was actually going at a nice clip. It was really warm out, and I was exerting myself dragging along that bum leg, so I quickly worked up a sweat. At the first kilometer, I drank both beers for Allison and myself. We were having a good conversation throughout, and the time flew by. It also was really cool that we would overhear people talking about that "beast with a boot" as we were passing them on the course. Although I had been feeling like a failure for letting my foot get so bad and having to go for a followup and all the crap I was going with, it really felt good to hear others taking encouragement from seeing me out there and commenting on my determination.

If there is one thing I hope to leave as a legacy when I am gone, I hope that it is my determination and the fact that I have been able to inspire others to create change in some way. And the motivation, along with the playful banter with Allison really kept me doing

At the 2K mark, I again drank both beers, and I was starting to feel really full. And maybe a little buzzed. At 3K Allison drank hers leaving me with only one beer to drink, thank heavens! I didn't think I could drink any more beer without throwing up. the pressure in my stomach was unreal. And soon we were coming into the chute for the finish line. Ray was there waiting at the finish line where he had been helping to hand out medals since he had finished. He gave me my medal and we went off to the after party for our final beer.

It was a good day but we were home and in bed by 6pm because I'm not a youngin like I used to be. Hammered, I went to bed and slept like a baby.

The next day, I tallied my mileage for the year, and realized that I surpassed my goal of 312 miles for the year by a LOT.

2013 Final Mileage= 472.43 miles.

Once this foot injury heals, I'm aiming my sights a little higher. 520 sounds like a good goal, no?