Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Yes, I'm depressed.
The loss of that client really hit me; it's like a bad divorce, one in which you haven't worked through the issues, have no idea why things ended.
Yes, I'm worried about my job, because I feel that I don't have enough to do, don't contribute enough. Times are tough, and now this makes them tougher. I hate not being busy, not keeping my mind occupied.
I'd like to go out and run it off, but my knees hurt, so I'm taking it easy this week. I laugh when I realize that a year ago it would never have occurred to me to go out to run in order to deal with stress, pain, whatever.
This past weekend I started painting the bathroom - my daughter had wanted it deep red, but finally got tired of it. So I started with a coat of primer, which is almost done. I realized afterwards that I had done what my mother used to do: when stressed out, she painted walls or scrubbed floors. When a family friend of ours was found murdered in Prague when I was a teenager, she and I repainted several rooms over the course of the weekend, as we waited for more news about what might have happened. There's just some magic about doing something productive while you suffer and wait.
Her birthday is on Friday. This time last year (as long as I'm wallowing) I went up to see her in the hospital. I just ran across a picture of her sitting outside in a wheelchair, oxygen tank at her side, looking gaunt. A living skeleton at that point. I didn't let myself see that at the time, all I saw was the fierce spirit struggling to get better. She never gave up.
I guess I'm my mother's daughter.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
The Jewish New Year found me in bed with a fever and chills. With a normally low body temperature, the slightest elevation in temp really affects me. I got up and went to work several times this week only to head back home after a few hours. By Friday, though, I was able to make it the entire day.
Midway through the morning, I got a call from my eldest who was on her way to services (she's a rabbi.) What started out as a social call quickly turned to tears as she recounted the tribulations she's encountering with regard to the senior rabbi position at her congregation. She's applied for it, a vast majority of congregants are very supportive, but there are underlying political moves and changes afoot unknown to most of the congregation. She's in a tough situation, and unfortunately she's got her mother's disposition: an unwillingness to be confrontational. I did the best I could but it was the blind leading the blind.
Not an hour later, I got a call from my largest client, informing me we were fired. A new CEO, an old relationship, and we're out the door. That one was out of left field, totally unexpected. I'm stunned and speechless.
Which brings me to Saturday's long run. You didn't think you'd get by without something to do with running, did you?
I got to the meeting place in plenty of time to start the 23-miler at 2:15 AM. We headed out first for a 3 mile run, then back to base. Then a 10 mile run, and back to base. I was feeling fine, and having no difficulty. We headed out for the last 10 miles and I got to the first SAG. We started up again, and when we got to what was mile 16 my left knee suddenly started hurting. The group leader told me to go back to the SAG and I would get a ride back. I declined. Foolish in retrospect but here's the thing: I had had no control over what was happening to me and my family, and here was something I thought I could control. I really thought I could tough it out
I did - went on for another 5.5 miles but took a shortcut that would get me back to my car. I normally do 1/1s, but found I could run about 50 seconds and then the pain would make me go back to a walk. So that's what I did. I shouldn't have.
I know everyone has a bad run now and again, and that was my first really bad one. I get that, and I can accept that.
What upsets me is not knowing what happened. I still don't understand what caused the sudden pain, so I'm not sure what to do to fix it. Because of the strain, the other knee started hurting as well, but not as much. The pain is on the outside of the knee, but doesn't extend above or below.
One of the other runners was running behind me for a bit, and when the pain started she helped me stretch. She's a podiatrist and commented that my gait seemed fine and the shoes I have seem to be what I need. She recommended the exercises from the October Runners' World issue, so I'll try that. I decided strength training was probably a good idea, so took myself off to the gym this morning.
So, four days into a new year, and I'm being confronted with challenges right and left. I don't know whether to burst in tears or find a way to fight back. OK, the truth is that I'll do both. I always do. I can't help the tears, but I never quit fighting.
It can only get better!
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
No, really. I think that's what I'm doing.
I decided to go back and reread some of my blogs - is there a way to get a list of one's own blogs? I've figured out how to see a list of my friends' blogs, but not my own. In any event, I landed by happenstance on the day my mother died. I read a few blogs earlier, a few blogs later, and noticed how full of emotion I was.
I've always been about feelings. My parents would get irritated by the crocodile tears. Not that all my feelings were bad, but what I remember is the criticism of course. I always talked about my feelings, which seemed to be OK. What I didn't notice is that my parents didn't talk about feelings. I've wondered before where the heck I came from! When my dad was in his early 80s and commented about all his friends and family dying, I asked him how he felt being the survivor. He was baffled: how should I be feeling, he asked?
My mother was not one to express positive emotions. She must have told us as kids that she loved us, but she stopped before we were teens. She didn't resume again until my youngest brother died when I was in my early 40s. And even then, she was one to offer her cheek for a kiss, all the while having an expression of distaste on her face. A complex woman, difficult to live with, and yet harder to live without; I do miss her.
Running away? Yes, I started running after she died. Partly as a reaction to her state of ill health and partly, I think, to give myself some space. But I filled the space with music while I ran, so I was never really alone with my thoughts. I'm not sure what I'm running away from, but at least I'm doing something constructive while I'm doing it.
September 1st already! My mother's birthday is in September, as was my youngest brother's. And Rosh HaShana is right around the corner, time for another beginning. I tend to get melodramatic at this time of year, without any conscious thought that it is that time of year. It always catches me by surprise. Maybe it's the changing seasons, although there are no signs of that here yet.
But it came to me this morning that I'm running away from something. Or maybe towards something, I just don't know.
Monday, August 30, 2010
It seems the most memorable thing in my life at the moment is the weekly long run. Thatís all I seem to blog about. Itís definitely the highlight of my week in that it defines how I schedule my time and what Iím able to do the rest of the week.
After the 20+ miler last week, I went to Austin to teach a dance workshop. It was not bad planning on my part, just circumstance: other schedules were changed. I did get an hour's nap on the way (no, I wasn't driving), so I was at least able to keep my eyes open during the remainder of the day. The brain was somewhat dead, and I was anything but graceful. The brain-dead thing is what I minded most, that feeling of just being stupid, of having something in my head that I just canít access. There is no doubt in my mind now about what happens to me when I donít get enough sleep. When we don't sleep enough, we are dull.
During the week that followed, my body was constantly exhausted. I would fall into bed at night, and reset my alarm to get that extra 30 minutes that I usually donít take. I slept at least seven hours every night the following week, and didnít even hear the alarm a couple of times. Absolutely unknown for me to do this, you understand.
So on to this weekís long run, a not-so-long 6-7 mile run with hills. Hills in Houston? OK, Iíll be honest, we use a parking garage.
My greatest fear is not hearing that alarm. The evening before the 20 miler, I set two alarms. Iím surprised I even slept: there have been weeks when Iíve awakened every hour, dreading that Iíd somehow oversleep. Well, this week it happened. The alarm went off, I was oblivious. At 5:10 I awoke and realized I needed to be at Memorial Park at 5:30. Being compulsive, I had everything just lying there ready to be put on, and I tore out the door furiously texting the group leader that Iíd slept through my alarm, and that I would catch up with them somewhere along the way. She called me 15 minutes later to ask where I was, at which time I was five minutes away. She asked the group if they wanted to wait, and they opted to do so. If ever I deserved a speeding ticket, it was Saturday morning. But I got there safely and we took off. Iíd had no breakfast, no coffee, hadnít taken my meds, and I was stiff.
Mercifully the weather had cooled down somewhat, it was 78 degrees, a good 10 degrees cooler than the previous week. Since the group waited for me, I vowed to behave and I studiously avoided the front-runners in the group who took off ahead. It pained me to hang back, but it was the least I could do. I was very grateful I hadnít tried to run alone, as I would surely have gotten lost and missed a few turns. I probably wouldnít have found the right parking garage! I did give in to the challenge issued to run the ramps twice, but at least half the group responded, so I didnít feel too guilty.
On the way back we went through an upscale shopping development, and since several runners needed a bathroom break, they headed off to Starbucks while the rest of us mulled about. The cupcake store was closed, but the staff was in early icing all the beautiful cupcakes and we pressed our noses to the glass. Since Iíve never had a cupcake that tasted as good as it looked, this wasnít too painful for me.
And then we headed back to the barn, or at least Memorial Park, where a local running group was setting up a picnic with food, music and massages. Regretfully I had to be home as I was expecting some contractors to do some long-delayed home maintenance. Leaving behind a potential massage was much more painful than walking away from a cupcake!
Monday, August 23, 2010
Another milestone reached: 20+ miles. I say 20+ because we missed a turn, went out of our way, and by the end of the run(s), my Garmin said 20.47 miles.
I have to say Iíve approached this run with a great deal of trepidation. It was scheduled for the previous week, but the powers-that-be flip-flopped the dates in order to accommodate the groupís need for multiple SAG wagons. So I had an extra week of Ďrestí which to me meant another week to lose whatever conditioning I had. Iím trying to have faith in the process, but as a newbie thatís difficult to do. Panic sets in quite rapidly.
Our long runs are generally organized in smaller increments: this was to be a 10 miler, and then a 7 miler, followed by a 3 miler, and was scheduled to start at 3 am to beat the heat. Well, relatively speaking, that is. One of our group members advised us he was going to do the 3 miler at the outset, and leave at 2:15 am. Ten of us decided to follow suit, in order to avoid doing that last leg of it when the sun was up and blazing.
So there we were at 2:15 am, leaving the Randallís parking lot. That 3-mile run was relatively uneventful, but a little bit faster than Iíd hoped. It takes my body several miles to wake up, and I felt I was pushing it during the first two, leaving me wondering how I was going to make it to 20 miles. We did get back to the parking lot about 7 minutes earlier than expected. The larger group then headed out for the 10 mile run, with the admonition to keep it slow.
Being new to this, Iím easily swept along. There are a couple of faster runners who usually head our group, and Iím usually up front with them, in part because Iíve been swept up, and in part because I detest being stuck behind people. As the group stretches out during the run, we cluster in several smaller groups, trying not to be separated too much. The official leaders of the group generally run in the middle or back, and are constantly calling for us to slow down. And rightfully so: we're training as a group, and we need to be mindful of conditions and abilities.
I was having a difficult time with the 10 mile run, not that it was hard, but it seemed endless, and I knew that there was yet another 7 mile run to do. The problem with returning to the same starting point is the psychological difficulty of having to leave again. While I struggled mentally, I was still at the front of the pack. And when I got back, I was branded a trouble maker for going too fast. Keep in mind that the desired pace according to our leaders was a 16 minute mile, due to the extreme heat alert. On the one hand it's funny that I'm going too fast, but on the other, I know I need to pay attention.
With 13 miles done, we headed back out. I had changed socks and shoes because my feet were drenched. So yes, thereís a benefit to being back at the original starting point. Once again I was at the front, but very aware of the need to keep the two other front-runners from distancing us too much from the rest. We were mindful of the others, taking two walk breaks in order to allow the others to catch up, but once we were within 3 miles of the end, the lagging group decided to walk the rest and we were free to do our thing.
All in all, it went well. Iím constantly amazed by my bodyís ability to keep going. Aerobically I could probably do 50 miles at the pace we run, but my legs and hips just arenít there yet. So I finish each long run feeling fine in one sense, but with very sore legs and hips. I know Iím getting stronger because my right hip doesnít start hurting as early in the game, and responds to Ibuprofen readily. I remember having trouble getting in and out of my car after the first few long runs because my right hip was so sore and stiff. I would get into my car to go home and when I arrived Iíd wonder if Iíd be able to get out!
Iím also having fewer problems with blisters, although I did raise one this past week. Iím sure changing socks and shoes helped, but I hadnít developed any problems after 13 miles so Iím hopeful that my body is acclimating to all of this.
And now two weeks of Ďeasyí long runs, and then itís on to 23 miles!
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