Monday, August 31, 2015

My Brain is my Greatest Foe

Okay so I tested up a belt in taekwondo over the weekend but it brought some emotions with it that caught me off guard. I actually bottomed out after I got home. Of course I was nervous about testing, but I've been told that just shows you care. I did okay and got the new belt....but I got really depressed afterwards. Why? I don't guess I know.

The blue belt is the lowest rank of the advanced belts and just one step closer to a black belt. But for some reason instead of encouraging me - I found the opposite to be true. I began to doubt I could get a black belt. Honestly, I just bottomed out. I still have a long ways to go and many things to learn so I have no idea what was eating at me so.

I really just felt defeated; with no justification for it. I also keep stalling out on my marathon training but mentally I'm still pursuing it. I know it's going to take longer than it does for most but I am determined to do it right this time. I really think I tried to cram a few longer runs in too close to my first marathon. In October I have a half marathon on my schedule. I also have a few 10Ks, a 12K and a few 5Ks to take me to the year's end. Once I finish this half in October (and more if I can find them local) then I want to continue to increase my miles. That's my focus for now is to get ready for the half; then continue to build on that. I want to do a full either in February at the Cowtown or for the OKC Memorial next spring.

Another thing I am itching to do is a Spartan obstacle race. I know, I know. I have thousands (not much of an exaggeration) of questions that start running through my head like:

  • you do know you are 55, right?
  • you do have some health issues you have to deal with
  • you can't afford an injury
  • you don't have time for training, now do you?
This huge mental battle ensues. Taekwondo, running and Spartan training? Am I crazy? Probably.

So this morning I started. I can't start anywhere other than where I am, now can I? So I took this 55 year old body into my home gym and I did a very light WOD. 30 minutes later I'm ready to kick butt! lol.... I feel fine I am refocused and ready to go. It may take me longer to get there than it does for others - but the tougher the battle - the sweeter the victory!

As far as the CHF diagnosis I am feeling very good. I have learned to listen to my body - and it's a daily thing. It's also a challenge to know how to push just enough without overdoing it. That is a process of learning that I'm doing a little better at. My blood pressure has been really good when I've taken it and I'm actually not retaining the water I was. My little secret is that I am doing an experiment this week. Since my ankles are not swollen at all - I am trying to go without my diuretic. I'm strictly adhering to my low sodium diet with no cheats.... just gonna try it - if I start to swell back up I'll take the stupid pill. I hate taking meds.

Overall I think things are going well. I feel so much better overall - just have to fight through the mental stuff. But I'm still headed in the right direction- and plan on getting there no matter how long it takes. Until then....every step's a victory.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Starting to Itch

I've been running but sort of been on a hiatus from racing. It's been a nice break actually but it's been more of a financial decision. But now I'm starting to itch...ready to get back out there. I was looking at my fall schedule and penciling in some fall races - hoping to get back to a few half marathons this fall.

As far as full marathon training, I'm still there mentally, but have a long (very long) way to go physically. I'm hoping for some good half marathons this fall to get my miles back up there so I can slip right into full training. That's the goal anyway.

Right now, I've made adjustments and I'm actually doing well - even though I'm not doing a lot of long mile runs. This is very frustrating to me - but life happens. I heard a long time ago that delay is not denial. But I am getting older here. I'm set my goal now on next year's OKC Memorial Marathon I think. That gives me plenty of halfs between now and then. Now to get to work on those! lol

It's hard to find that perfect balance I think. There's a point when running is fun - but if we are not careful it becomes work.It loses the fun part. I really love a half - but want to take on the challenge of another full. But of course, with my present medical condition (which seems to have leveled out nicely of late) I have to make each step purposeful. I can't get to the pushing it too far spot. So I'm going slow...but I am still going! lol

I guess I'm learning that this is what life is about - constantly moving forward. We know that time doesn't stop for any reason. No matter what situations we face, or circumstances we find ourselves in time just keeps on ticking away. It's up to us to embrace life's moments and try to not miss anything in the process.

There's always a place to give up if that's what you want. Excuses abound. Here's my personal list:

  • illness (CHF)
  • mom- early dementia
  • daddy- cancer diagnosis
  • son - TBI
  • finances- self employed....
I'm tired. But instead of using these as excuses - how about turning them into an impetus that thrusts me into running instead of holding me back? That's kind of my view on things. Life is going to happen - it's how we deal with it that determines our personal outcome. 

I've in no way been idle - but I'm ready to get back to racing. I need the thrill, the atmosphere- it keeps me going in between. We all have to find what works for us - and then stick to it. To thine own self be true!  Who said that? lol- It's called being real today I think. 

I have to be honest and real with where I am if I want to take it to the next level. There's no skipping, no cheating and no short-cuts in life. It is what it is and life is really about how we choose to deal with it all. Psalm 55 is an interesting passage where David talks about all the trials he is facing. But the last verse says this I will trust You. Even though I deal with my emotions while pounding the pavement - ultimately my trust is in God. He is the strength of my life. God keeps me going - keeps me moving. There's God....then there's running! We make a good team.

Every step a victory.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Can I be Your Running Buddy?

The other day my grandson and I took an impromptu tour of a couple of playgrounds close to my apartment. He decided he wanted to run with Gigi. So we ran! He also got tired and rode on my shoulders for awhile but then was all rested and ready to run again. It was a fun, active evening. Times like those seem like they are so purposeful and meaningful. Unlike many of the training routines athletes cling to. It was so enjoyable to just run with my grandson and have fun without feeling horrible physically. By the time we were headed home he asked me if he could be my running buddy. Of course I told him he could! Who could say no to that face? Here's to many more miles to run!

The last few weeks for me have been very discouraging to be honest. (I usually am!) It seems like it's been one thing after another. As most of you know I am a caregiver for my adult son who has a TBI and he suddenly got sick and ended up in the hospital for a few days. Since he is nonverbal I don't leave him for a second. The good thing was that my daughter and a friend supplied food for me so I didn't get stuck eating any prepared or high sodium foods during our stay. But it sure sends you for a loop!

After a couple of nights without sleep and just trying to get over such a disruption to our schedule, I have struggled. This all followed my birthday of course where I decided to have a couple of cheat foods. Well, let me tell you - it's been difficult to get back on track and stay there. My blood pressure is back to normal though and my diet has leveled out. It's not so hard to get back on track but it sure is difficult to stay there. 

None of us are strangers to adversity and I feel like I have more than my fair share. I'm not looking for sympathy here.. that gets me nowhere. Actually, one of the mantras I heard early in my caregiving journey says tears will get you sympathy, sweat will get you success. That's when I rolled up my sleeves and started figuring out the new normals of my caregiving life.

Running and caregiving are tied together to me because I started running when I started taking care of my son. We were in the hospital for over 4 months and again - I never left. But I did start walking and then running while they were bathing him each morning. Not a glorious running start - but a start nonetheless. In some ways it's certainly easier now but training can get interrupted so easily. I recall one year he was in the hospital during the OKC Memorial Marathon. My friend came to relieve me that morning at 4:30 - I ran the half marathon and came back to shower and stay another 3 days or so in the hospital with him. lol.....

I can do this. I won't quit. Adversity has a way of making us stronger and I choose to embrace the adversities in my life and become a stronger person and a better runner and athlete in their midst instead of using them for excuses. I've redone my exercise log without specific goals. This is very difficult for my Type A personality and my OCDness. seriously... But I just wrote "run" on the days I want to be run days and I penciled in TKD or bike. No distances set, just do it. I know I need a longer run on one of these this week - I have to get some long runs in. This was my problem when I trained for my first marathon. For now I am not even sure when I will do my second - but I am still steadily moving toward that goal. I'm taking my time. And I'm okay with that.

I'm determined to beat adversity - maybe I can't make it all go away. But I can scream I won!  in it's face....and I will.