Tuesday, July 24, 2012
So, I can't get into the ortho until tomorrow (Wednesday at 2pm EDT). I've kind of been in denial about the situation, but this morning when I had to stop in the middle of the hall because the pain shooting up my ankle was so severe (as I've had to do several times since then today), I figured I'd best face facts and admit that something is very wrong. If I'm being realistic, I will not be surprised if I walk out of the office tomorrow in a boot.
Look...I know this is a very temporary thing. And, my goodness, I have been in MUCH worse circumstances and much longer recovery periods in my lifetime. But, this Saturday is the Color Run. It is the first race I was ever interested in and the first race I ever committed to running. I have been looking forward to it for MONTHS, I recruited several team members and I paid $45! I can't tell you how upset I am that I won't be able to run it (and, just trust me, I won't be in any shape to run it by Saturday...if today is any indication). I thought I could walk it, but now I am questioning that as well.
My mind tells me all the things that you awesome SparkFriends have been telling me, but my heart is in a different place. That is what makes this so difficult for me.
Why is this so hard?
1. I was finally getting to a point of consistency with my running. My training plan for the half marathon just kicked in two weeks ago. I was doing so well! I'm not afraid of losing my physical conditioning as much as I am losing my momentum and my consistency. I was at 5 days a week of running and it was finally a habit.
INTELLIGENT RESPONSE: I have proved that I have the willpower. And, if I could do it once, I can do it again when I'm healed. More than that, I can CONTINUE to do it WHILE I'm injured. I realized I need to change my exercise perspective a bit...but I cannot quit.
2. I was just beginning to crawl out from under the crushing self-doubt that I've carried around with me for so many years...this idea that I can't ever possibly do anything active that matters...that I could never be an athlete...that it was, frankly, just TOO LATE for me. I was starting to think that maybe it COULD be possible...and I was getting to a point where I could see myself in that role. Athlete. It's amazing. I'm 34 years old and I've got 3 kids. How could a re-birth like this be possible at this point in my life?
INTELLIGENT RESPONSE: Can I still be an athlete? Of course! This is temporary. I know that in my head. But the feelings and the lies that slip in when you can't do what you love are really difficult to ignore. I know they are lies and I know this is temporary. It's just hard.
3. Running was a way to push back against my past defining me. I had this terrible accident that broke half my body...and I somehow came back from that to do things that I never imagined I could do. As I recline on my couch with a bag of ice on my ankle, I have awful flashbacks of injuries past. It is really tough to fight those old demons and hold them at bay. There was a lot of depression surrounding that accident, specifically the lack of mobility. It's like a horrible re-run (no pun intended...but funny pun nonetheless).
INTELLIGENT RESPONSE: THIS IS NOT THE SAME! Not even close! I still have 90% of my body functioning, which leaves room for a LOT of activity. I just need to DO it!
4. On top of that, there is a whole other world of pain that has nothing at all to do with my ankle. It's this horrible situation where I have to choose between one course of action and another. And, they simply can't co-exist. Even though I love them both and don't want to let go of either. In addition, it's always a shock when someone makes a choice FOR you...without much input from you. That is what happened here. And so I'm left reeling from the effects of it...and I didn't have a plan for how to handle my emotions. I certainly didn't expect to lose this part of my life at the same time that I would temporarily lose running. That, in itself has been quite a blow.
INTELLIGENT RESPONSE: Move on. Right? Easier said than done. I have ONE friend that's been tracking with me through this ENTIRE situation. One day, she said to me, "Leah, it seems like you can't decide between two options here. If you could take everything you are, all your passions, your entire person and soul and wrap it up in a box and give it to one or the other, which would you choose?" I was actually pretty shocked how easily the answer came to me. "Neither." Neither deserves THAT. I'd choose ME.
And so, even as I cry myself to sleep every single night this week, I know that I'm strong. Because, when given a choice...my instant response was to choose myself...because I'm worth it. And that....THAT never would have happened 3 months ago, 6 months ago, a year ago.
So, friends...I'm sad. I'm very very sad right now. I won't lie to you. I haven't figured out how to stop my tears at times. My usual outlet (running) has temporarily been taken from me. But...I won't give up. I haven't bowed out. Please don't worry about that.
Listen, when I get use of this ankle again, you can bet I'll come back swingin' and you KNOW I'll have a few rage runs stored up too. We've all got stuff we deal with from time to time. If you promise to hang in there, I'll promise too.
Above all, I can't tell you what it means to have you all supporting me. You are lights in the darkness and I'm so SO thankful for you.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Do you see this man?
He looks like a nice fella, doesn't he? Secretly, I think he looks like the lead character in that Pixar movie, "Ratatouille" but maybe that's just me.
This man has played a pretty big part in my life. He has been there at my lowest point and taken care of me. He is not my husband. He has seen a side of me that so many have never seen - a rather disgusting side, if I'm being honest. He is not a family member. But he should be...he knows more about me than a lot of people in my life know. You could say he knows me inside and out - and that would be an accurate statement.
This is Timothy Steiner. DR. Timothy Steiner to you and me. A man who knows intimately how many pieces of metal are currently growing into my bones. He was right by my side when I was wheelchair-bound and was learning how to walk (the second time). He gave me that disapproving look when I would proudly straighten my elbow for him and he wasn't satisfied with the range of motion. He doesn't mince words. And he doesn't mess around. And, that's good, because he shamed me into doing my physical therapy for 6+ months. And he healed me.
He's an expert in the field of sports medicine and he specifically works with athletes (even though his office is usually full of old people). He's the best kind of doc because you go in complaining of ANY type of pain and he will ALWAYS take an X-ray right then and there to find out what's actually wrong. No random diagnoses pulled out of his ass...just the facts.
I love this man, but I'd hoped I wouldn't ever have to see him again.
When I started running, I had a sinking feeling that I might need to get re-acquainted with the brilliant doctor. And, tomorrow, I will beg him to let me come in and see him...so he can tell me good or bad news about my ankle.
I'm pretty scared...because, frankly, if I hear the words "don't run for a month" or more...well, I know it won't make sense for some of you...but it will devastate me. But, if I put it off and try to ignore or ice the pain away, I will most certainly hear those words at a later date. I promised myself I'd go at the first sign of pain. Just as I won't break my promises to myself of consistent healthy living, I can't break this one either.
For now, I'm going to somehow drag my butt out of bed at 5am tomorrow and head over to the YMCA to see what kind of fun torture they have for me there that won't put any pressure on my ankle. It's not the same. I won't lie to you. I don't really want to do it. But...I know it will make me feel better and stronger. And, God knows, I NEED to feel stronger.
So...I'll keep you posted. I'm kinda down right now. But I wish you all the best week ever. Keep sparking, friends!!!!
Saturday, July 21, 2012
A friend of mine just got a tattoo of a line from her favorite poem on her foot. I'd never heard of this poet or this piece before...but, as I read it, I thought to myself, "Geez...could this be more perfect for SparkPeople????" So, I thought I'd post and share it here.
BY STANLEY KUNITZ
I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face,
Yet I turn, I turn,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.
Saturday, July 21, 2012
So, last night I got home from a Girls Night Out around 11:30pm. Woke up at 5:30am to meet my new running buddy, Sarah (see "Running Buddies") for a nice easy 7-mile run. Everything was wonderful. I took a gel (Hammer Orange - BLECH!) before the run because I didn't have time to figure out breakfast. HATE gels. Will try a couple other brands and flavors, but I am not hopeful. Took a package of Honey Stinger Chews for the middle of the run and those things were DELICIOUS (not even vitaminy tasting!) Took 24 oz. water and 24 oz. Nuun, but ended up only drinking about 12 oz of each because the temp was a PERFECT 53 degrees.
Sadly, I got home and after I finished stretching, I stood up and experienced sharp, shooting pain through my ankle. :( Iced it for a long time...it seems to be doing a little bit better now...walked it out a little bit and still have it in the brace...but it's not recovering quickly. I am not sure what's wrong. We'll have to play it by ear and if it isn't improved tomorrow, might think about seeing my ortho. I hate this...I have the Color Run next Saturday. I will NOT miss that!!! I have already determined that I will just walk the entire thing if I can't run it. So I'll still get to experience it. It's not a timed race, so it's not a huge deal.
Not sure about my workouts this week, but I figure I ought to have a back-up plan in case I can't run. I can't just let myself go completely...not with all the stress I have at work and the emotional stuff I'm dealing with. I've got to have some sort of outlet to sweat it out. So...I'll be thinking about that in detail today.
So, I received an interesting question in my SparkMail the other day and thought I'd address it in a blog.
QUESTION: How do you justify the cost of all these races? Don't they all have registration fees?
This got me thinking about how much it does cost me to run. First, I was just figuring up the race entry fees, but then I started to think about the cost of shoes, long run fuel, clothing and gear, travel for races, etc and I thought it would be interesting to map it all out and see what the total is...just for curiosity. I am also assuming that I will only be running half marathons this year...no marathons in this financial plan yet. Those are much more expensive.
So, this is another super SCIENTIFIC study (with one respondent...which is me). We're gonna go ahead and try to figure an entire year. This will be highly inaccurate, I'm sure. But fun...and scary.
Running Shoes: $400
I'm going with an average price of $100 for a good pair of shoes (although many will cost more) and, since I run about 20 miles or less per week, I figure I will need to replace my shoes every few months or so...for a total of 4 pairs per year.
Running Clothes: $250
This is probably low for most runners...but I don't go all fancy, yo. Target has some AMAAAAZING running clothes and, if you catch the sales, you can get stuff pretty cheap. I can get about 3 pairs of running socks for $8. I bought two packs of those. I also bought 4 sports bras for a total of about $30 once and I expect them to last a year...I take very good care of them and never let them go through the dryer. Currently, I only have two really good, high quality wicking shirts for warmer weather and two pairs of running pants. Shhh...I wear both outfits twice and then I wash them. LOL. I will probably have to invest in some winter clothing at some point. I really don't mind having two outfits that I rotate over and over.
iPod Shuffle & Skull Candy Earbuds: $60
I did buy an iPod Shuffle because it's small and it clips on to my clothing and it's just easier than dealing with a full size mp3 player. The Skull Candy earbuds are the soft rubber that wrap around your ear so they don't fall out, even if you're sweating. This purchase has been invaluable.
Fuel for Longer Runs (gels, chews, Nuun, etc): $350
This also might be a little low of an estimate. Some people take 2 gels at a time. So far, I have not needed that much. But I figured about 4 gels (or similar items) per week - just for my long runs or races.
Race entry fees: $300
A 5k is usually $15-$20. I tend to do mostly 5k races, so it's not really breaking the bank. But half marathons start to get into the $40 and up range. This estimate is based on a race schedule of about seven (7) 5k races and 2 half marathons in a year...which is how my first year looks.
Travel for races: $250
This includes gas, hotel, food for a trip outside of my hometown. Most of my races this year are local, but I am going to figure in two out of town races, which require travel, for the purposes of this blog post. I'm also figuring in sharing a hotel room with friends.
TOTAL FOR ONE YEAR OF 7 5K RACES AND 2 HALFS: ~$1600/year
So, yeah...that seems like a lot, right? Well, how much does it cost me NOT to run?
Here are some ideas of alternative ways to use my money:
Starbucks Specialty Drink every weekday for a year: $910
McDonald's Value Meal 3 times a week for a year: $546
2 New Kinect Games per Month for a Year: $700
Going to the Bars to party every weekend (2 drinks): $780
Or how about these benefits? Can you put a dollar value on:
1. Improved Health
2. Disease Prevention
3. Weight Loss
4. Stress Relief
5. Eliminating Depression
6. Increased Confidence
You know, I didn't need all these facts and figures to answer the original question. I already knew the answer. The answer is...how do I justify NOT spending the money to run? It's something I love...something I have found a deep passion for. And, when you love something, you don't care what it costs.
People pay for things they WANT to pay for...pure and simple. At this point in my life, I just really want to be healthy.
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