Monday, August 29, 2016

A Whole New Meaning to Going the Distance

I came across my old blog today. I used to love blogging and I loved triathlon. I was going to complete a full Ironman when I turned 40... And this past Friday, I turned 41. Sadly, I have not completed an Ironman - unless I on count watching Ironman movies.

What happened? My life took its own turn and I had to follow the path. I left my law firm, got a Certificate in Nonprofit Management, and became the Senior Director of Development for a nonprofit and raised more than $1.8M in a year. I LOVED my job, my team, my nonprofit. Mr. Darcy changed jobs and despite the ridiculous number of hours he worked/works loves his job. The girls seemed happy. Life was good, no great!

Two years and 8 months ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with itchy hands and feet. I went into the bathroom and took a look. My hands and feet were about three times their normal size and hot pink. I presumed I must be having an allergic reaction, took some Benadryl and went back to bed. I woke up the next morning - still swollen, still pink and with a rash on my face. I shrugged it off and went to work because if you can endure through a triathlon, this is nothing.  Midway through the day I ended up in urgent care because people at work were flipping out. They prescribed me medication for an allergic reaction and told me to get tested for lupus. The meds did nothing so I went to my allergist who looked at my now slightly swollen feet and still somewhat pink feet, heard me tell him that as the swelling went down my joints started to hurt and were starting to hurt worse and worse. He says, "I don't know what that is, but I know it's not an allergy. You need an ANA panel run." So I get an appointment, get some bloodwork, and my ANA is high. I head to a rheumatologist, lots more bloodwork, high ANA but no lupus or anything else that has a rheumatology test for it. Meanwhile the pain and tightness spreads - not joints only but muscles too but unlike any pain I've had before. It sometimes feels like I have electricity running through my body along with the pain. Some days my skin hurts, lights are extra bright or my hearing is extra sensitive. Oh and the fatigue. Some days I wake up exhausted, others I wake up ok but in a few hours feel like I need a nap.  The doctor says for my joints its Hypermobility syndrome and gives me an anti-inflammatory which works wonders for the joint pain but doesn't touch anything else. Things get worse and worse, and stress seems to make it worse too. I try working part time but when you run a department, it doesn't really work for your employer, and to get what I have to do as part of my job, I can't work part time. The pain keeps worsening, and is never in the same exact pattern. I know I can't keep this up, but I finally have the job I love and I'm really good at it, I want to make a difference in the lives of these kids, but it's really bad and I'm starting to get forgetful from it all - pain at level 7 or more almost every day, exhaustion, falling asleep on the sofa around 6-7 every night.  The girls start asking why I don't want to hang out with them. The doctor finally tells me I have fibromyalgia. I'm not allowed to exercise unless it's walking, cycling, swimming or yoga, and only for 30-45 minutes. I start eating an anti-inflammatory diet (no sugar, no gluten, no grains other than rice, no corn, nothing processed). I lose 35 pounds. I'm walking 5 days a week for 30-45 minutes. I get 7-8 hours minimum each night. I still hurt like hell. I'm still exhausted.

And then it happens. I have to go to work because I have a big event coming but I wake up at pain level 9 and feel like I haven't slept at all. I go in anyway. I'm grumpy and crabby and in excruciating pain from head to toe. HR tries to kick me out of the office but I tell them I can't leave. The event is coming. I go in the bathroom at one point and cry (after checking no matter be else is in there) because I have to do something. It doesn't help the pain, but with some frustration out I can handle things better. I make it to 5:30 and can't think well. I drive home, pick up the kids from after care, get home and walk in the front door. Suddenly, I can't function- I hurt so bad head to toe, I don't feel like I can walk, I can't think clearly at all. My kids somehow get me to the sofa. I lay down and don't get back up. Daughter 1 cooks dinner. Daughter 2 snuggles me. The only other thing I remember is that Daughter 1 asks if chicken is the meat that's not allowed to be pink when you eat it. The next morning, my pain is a 7 and I don't remember how I got into bed or anything from the night before. I know I have to quit my job. I can't do this anymore.  I give notice though because I'm a serious professional and I'm secretly praying it will magically disappear. It doesn't.

I go to cancel a disability policy and my agent tells me I need to file a claim... I do. They deny it and insult me in the process. I end up getting a lawyer and appealing...I'm still waiting to hear. In the meantime, money gets a little tight and my mentor who helped me get my nonprofit job calls me and asks if I'll work 20 hours per week for the nonprofit leadership center. I explain about my situation and she lets me come in one day a week (some weeks not at all), and the rest from home with uber flexible hours and if I don't feel well I don't work. I try medicine... One of which causes such bad acid reflux I have to stop it and then take meds to fix my burn esophagus. Another of which we're trying to find the right dose of... The pain and exhaustion are still there but the electricity is decreased a lot.

These days going the distance is staying up until 10pm with only a short nap... But I still have a good attitude (except toward the insurance company), still love Mr Darcy and My kiddos (now 10 but still funny as ever), and I know God has a plan even with all of this. I'll try to write more often... No races will be planned. No triathlons to train for. But life will still be going on, and I'll be right there walking, napping and going the distance the best way I can.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thursday Run Day

Today I ran. I have to admit that I haven't run for 2 weeks. One week of evident exhaustion (I figured out I was staying up too late.) and one week of a snotty, disgusting head cold. Tuesday I overslept because Mr. Darcy set the alarm clock. I decided that after almost 16 years of marriage, perhaps I should take control of my own waking time. So I am now the proud owner of an alarm clock that is on my side of the room but across from the bed because 1. Once I'm up, I am Up. And 2. The plugs by the night stand were full. Been doing yoga the entire time even if I hadn't been running.

This morning I had forgotten to set the alarm clock, but somehow still woke up at 5:45. Decided that I must go on a run, and literally told myself. You HAVE to run today. So, I did. Having not run in 2 weeks and having sore hamstrings for some inexplicable reason (unless I've been sleep running), and it being cold out, I decided a 2 miler would be a good plan.

It was brisk out, but absolutely beautiful. Clear sky and every star in the in universe twinkling away. Awesome. My lungs were feeling the cold air, but not too bad. Stuck to the 2/1s, and I could have easily gone farther. My pace was 10:27 per mile, which I was happy with.

Today is my last "non busy" day before I start work! Yes, work! As of Monday, I will be the new Executive Director of a small nonprofit that mentors and tutors foster care children to improve educational performance and encourage obtaining a higher education degree, as well as providing the kids with life skills to lead successful lives as they age out of the foster care system. I am very excited and looking forward to this opportunity.

So... I am being lazy. After taking the little Ladies to School (who, btw asked why I run and do yoga today. I told them that I don't get PE and recess as an adult so to stay healthy and get my body moving I exercise. They told me I must be smart. I am just waiting for them to ask me why Mr. Darcy does not exercise....), I've emailed, played on FaceBook, looked at cars online (any suggestions for a family friendly sedan with good gas mileage are welcome... We're toying with the idea of trading in the mini van), looked at Pinterest. Yup, plain nothing. Next I will put in some laundry and watch a movie. I guess the laundry counts as work, but I don't want to have to do it this weekend.

Back to running news, I am contemplating signing up for the Disney Wine & Dine 1/2 Mary. It's November 9 and my training for the Goofy indicates that I will be doing a 8.5 mile walk that Friday (I don't even want to figure out how early I need to wake up to do that before work that day) and then a 20 miler that Saturday. So I'm thinking why not do the walk that Friday, get up Saturday and do an "easy" 7 mile run and then follow it that night with the Wine & Dine. In some ways that sounds crazy to me (like not being able to stay awake past 10 pm on a normal night, let alone run late at night), and in other ways it makes sense.

I also am now in search of a 10k. Never found the 5k that would work with the weekend I needed, so I figure I'll train for a 10k instead. That is next in the plan for training for Goofy.

What do you suggest?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Shorter Ramblings..

1. I try to stay apolitical in my postings, but today I found 2 things in the paper particularly shocking that I feel the need There are only 2 African American members in the US Senate and this is a "record." This blows my mind that a representative democracy still does not fully reflect its people, although it is better than 0. And second, Dempsey wants to fund arming the Syrian rebels. Everyone seems to forget that we make bad mistakes in funding rebels - anyone remember that during the Cold War the US funded a band of rebels called the Taliban who were fighting the Russians in Afghanistan?

Ok. I am off my soap box.

2. There are not enough hours in the day to do everything I want. Of course, I want to do a lot of things. Perhaps that's the issue.

3. I am looking forward to next week's Junior Leagues of Florida's State Public Affairs Committee Convention in Tallahassee. I'll be introducing a speaker, talking to legislators about healthy food access, human trafficking and literacy. Especially about healthy food access. And I'll be updating the group on our work and AJLI's work in healthy food access.

4. Then I return in time for Ladybug's crown 1 & 2. She told me at dinner last night that she is looking forward to being able to eat on both sides of her mouth like everyone else.

5. This morning's yoga kicked my booty. Tight hamstrings make life interesting. I am hopeful that one day I will be able to do down dog so that when my legs are straight my heels actually touch the floor.

6. Having a girls' weekend with Angelfish and Ladybug. Should be fun!

7. Any suggestions for a 5k on 3/30 or 2/23? Needs to be in driving distance from Orlando.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

My crazy life...

So the girls got back to school from their flu. Life seemed to be settling down, but I was playing catch up at the same time. And lo and behold, life thought I needed some excitement. This excitement is not for the faint of heart either. But I was/am sticking to the workouts although this week is a little wonky.

I took Ladybug to get sealants out on her molars - they didn't develop fully, shaped ok but enamel is wacky and she has a good bit of pain with two of them. To the point that she eats only on one side of her mouth, although she never told us this until very recently. But she tells the dentist at least at her check ups. Two sealants completed easily. Two not completed due to excruciating pain that I have never seen in person (outside of the movies) in my life. Worse even than when Mr. Darcy ended up in the hospital with (to this day) completely unexplained abdominal pain - he got to enjoy dye studies, and scopes. I do not want to relive it, but lets just say that the dentist felt like she was torturing Ladybug and deemed crowns to be necessary because that amount of pain could not be tempered by sealant (that we would have to numb her to get done). Traumatic, probably more so for me than Ladybug at this point.

Next day, I take the kids to choir and then go to drinks with friends. I call Mr. Darcy to let him know I'm on the way home and can tell things are not good. turns out Angelfish decided to run between aisles at Lowes - you know, under the shelving - and close lined herself on wire that scratched the heck out of her neck to the point Mr. Darcy thought she had internal bleeding and took her to an urgent care, which made them wait for hours to tell him that they thought she was ok but "didn't really have the right equipment to be sure." He took her home, they were eating dinner when I got there. It was bad but she said it was not hurting and she could swallow etc. She goes to the bathroom and comes back to the table with a look that tells you she's deliberating something. mr. Darcy asks her what's wrong and she tells us she just went poop and that there are WORMS in her poop and she's not feeling good about this. She talks more about what they looked like and I realize she has pin worms (no, we're not dirty. Kids just get them, like lice. And it's not amazing to me since she puts random stuff in her mouth) I tell her we'll make an appointment for the doctor in the morning and all will be ok.

And then Ladybug pipes up..."Mommy? I have to tell you something. What Angelfish has? I have it too. I've had them for a FEW WEEKS." I did not handle it as I should have. I yelled at her for not telling me because how can I help her if she doesn't tell me. I apologized later for my reaction and told her that I wanted her to be able to tell me anything but if she was afraid of me getting mad to at least tell Mr. Darcy. So mystery solved on Angelfish getting it because Ladybug had been helping wiggle her loose tooth. ladybug got it from licking her hands when they were dirty. she has since stopped this behavior, but it was this thing she was doing. Not sure why but it seems to have stopped now.

But I confirmed they had worms based on their description and Angelfish could not handle the fact that she had worms living in her behind. Ballistic mental reactions and an insistence she had to go to the bathroom every two minutes and carrying on about worms. So I started lying to her saying that she pooped them all out and they were gone. She wasn't buying it, but we got the, into bed. And 20 minutes or so later she's up screaming that her neck hurts. Mr. Darcy ran her down to the brand spanking new children's hospital relatively near our house and their ER. They were in and out. Neck was fine, Tylenol for skin hurting. Oh and Angelfish starts ranting about the worms. So they dosed her with meds.

When we called the pediatrician's office the next day, we found out we all had to take meds - just in case. Mr. Darcy and I and the kids were all examining our stool for the next day or so.

Then Angelfish lost her tooth. The tooth fairy visited. We had a nice weekend (even went to a nature preserve and the beach), and knock on wood life returned to normal. I kept up my training schedule through it all.

And then this week, I have been completely unmotivated. I did my yoga Monday. Tuesday I could not bring myself to run. So I walked the kids to school and ran home. 2 very uninspired miles. Yesterday, Yoga for athletes. Good stuff. Today, I forced myself to run. And once I was moving, it was ok. I told myself I was doing good just by moving and didn't worry about how long it took or how far I went. Ended up doing 2.5 miles average mile pace? 11:36! Did a total of 3.2 miles including 5 minute warm up and 10 minute cool down. Then I walked the kids to school 2 more miles, which I am counting as my Saturday "run" because Mr. Darcy is out of town until Monday and that's how I have to roll with things. Unless I am possessed to skip yoga and run again tomorrow.

My walk to school with the girls was the best mile I have ever done in my life. Those girls are amazing. We did our usual racing (they pick a distance and we you might guess, I sometimes cannot bring myself to let them win every race) and then thy decided we needed to play a game. They made it up... The rules: no stepping on cracks because they're lasers; no stepping on gum spots or bird poop because that's toxic bird poop; avoid water from sprinklers because its acid; but if we're in the sun then we have rainbow power and can do any of the above without getting hurt. Oh, and while not required, it is encouraged to ballet leap over the cracks. It was so much fun! I will treasure it always.

On the way back, I decided I need to sign up for a 5k. It dawned on me that I'm not overly motivated to run because I have nothing pressing me. The Goofy challenge is not until January 2014. So if I focus on 5k training and have a 5k race on tap, perhaps I'll have better motivation. So stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lessons/observations on the Run

Sorry it's been a bit since I last wrote... The girls had the flu for a week, despite having a flu shot. I now swear by two things as I did not get the flu after them (I had the flu shot the same time they did): mixing 1/4 tsp of cinnamon with 1 tsp of honey and eating it once or twice a day, airborne, and sleep. They're back to school, I readjusted and have been doing a few different things. Thursday, I start the Certificate of Nonprofit Management program at Rollins College's The Crummer Graduate School of Business. My first class is "Strategic Planning for Nonprofits" which should be good. I always loved school, so I plan to enjoy learning, hope to meet some people in the nonprofit world that can further help in my search, and learn things from a slightly different perspective. I came close, yet again, to another position but was down to two and the other person got the job because they had more direct work experience but they really, really liked me according to the HR person. My only question is how do I get that direct work experience until someone gives me the chance... But I know that it will all work out, it is just a matter of time.
I have been doing things for the Junior League Community Council that I head, a little bit for our headquarters move, and other stuff for the National Communications Team I lead for my sorority. Plus Time with my little ladies...

My runs and yoga have been good. Averaging just under a 12 minute mile. And when I say just under, I mean just under. This morning's average was 11:45 per mile. Sunday's was 11:55. I was really surprised at that one since I ran at 1:00 pm, which was super hot. I was drenched and dripping with sweat by the time I was done. But I am super excited about my progress thus far. Amusingly, I discovered a folder that had my certificates and awards from high school which contained my "Varsity" cross country certificate. I only got that because I was a graduating senior... I ran JV the whole year. It said my best time for a 2 mile race was 20:21, or essentially a 10:10 mile. I may be no speed racer, but I get 'er done.

There are a few things I realized while running and at moments in between:
1. My kids are funny and have a great sense of humor. Poor Mr. Darcy bears the brunt of their jokes, but Mr.Stinkypants (aka Mr. Darcy) doesn't seem to mind.
2. I like to run. I do NOT like getting out of bed to do it. It seems like I have to convince myself to get out of the bed, especially on a weekend morning.
3. My hamstrings pretend to be really old rubber bands. You know, the ones you use in a pinch and just hope it won't break on you. I keep stretching them. They'll get used to this again.
4. Yoga has to be my cross trainer right now. I walked instead of yoga on a non-run day and my lower back wasn't thrilled. Stretching works.
5. I bought Yoga Conditioning for Athletes and can't wait to do it tomorrow morning. I'm watching it as I right this, and am glad that I primarily do not look but listen to the video as I do yoga... There is a guy with a Mohawk, one ear pierced and a nipple ring. I am all for individuality and adorning your body the way you choose, but when they show him transition into certain poses I keep worrying he will catch the nipple ring...
6. Quinoa is one of our new favorite foods... Even Mr. Darcy likes it. He raved about quinoa burgers during meatless Monday dinner. And he didn't go for cheese itz later either!
7. I run without noticing time nearly as much when I run with someone. I ran with a friend last Thursday and I kept missing the 3 minute mark - we did a couple 4:1s and a 5:1 on accident.
8. This made me realize that I can do 4:1s, so starting with this morning's workout I am doing 4:1s.
9. I find myself on my runs thinking about running strategy for the Goofy Challenge, despite it being a year away. Yet when I looked at a date on my calendar in August and see a 9 mile run, I get nervous. Of course, my major running strategy is just to finish both races.
10. My bike has been calling me, but I think this year I need to be a runner.
11. It feels weird only doing one sport, although I am doing yoga too I don't necessarily see it as a sport. But it's good strength & flexibility training.
12. I'm going to need to find some 5ks and 10ks along the way, maybe a 1/2 Mary too. I need to remember what it is like to run in a race and not my neighborhood. There's a different mentally when you know where the mile marks are and when you don't.
13. Running at 5:30 am is so much better than running in the afternoons. Much to hot. Plus I am mentally more tired in the afternoon. So my talks to get myself out of bed will continue.
14. I discovered the show Downton Abbey, and a now addicted to it. I am not a tv watcher at all, so this is quite something.
15. I wish I had never stopped exercising. I absolutely feel great after every workout.

2 1/3 weeks of couch to Goofy done. 50 2/3 to go!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

I realized last night when out for my walk that I have a need for some sport competition, and I am even happier I've decided to do my personal couch to Goofy Challenge. You know you have it bad when you see someone running slowly about .2 miles ahead and you think to yourself, "at the pace I am walking, I think I can catch him." And you can't help but inwardly grin when you do.

Why I missed my morning window to do yoga is a long story involving two children who, while still having temperatures, are acting pretty healthy. Let's just say it's difficult to fully immerse yourself in yoga practice when you have comments like, "you know Mommy, the guy on tv is a lot more flexible than you are," "how much longer will this last? Scooby Doo is way more interesting," "it looks like you're eating your shirt when your in that dog thing," "would it help if i sit on your back while you do that" and my personal favorite, "what do inhale and exhale mean and why do they keep saying to do it?"

It also dawned on me that in figuring out my run pace yesterday, I included the cool down where I was walking a bit slow. So today, I did 1.9 miles during warm up & run/walk in 23 minutes which was a12:06 mi pace. With cool down, I did a total of 2.3 miles. I feel a bit better about that pace, but look forward to getting to my goal of a 10 minute mile pace. I was a bit stiff today - you may remember my chronically stiff hamstrings. At the end of the workout, I almost could audibly hear my hamstrings creaking. So I did 25 minutes of easier yoga to loosen things up. Ladybug woke up and watched me & the yoga video. Evidently Rodney Yee is not cute because he has a pony tail & it is strange that they do yoga outside. Then I stretched out my lower back and got ready for an interview.

The interview went well, but the outcome remains to be seen. A few times already I have been narrowed down to the top candidates and then it goes to someone with work experience in the nonprofit sector despite my "impressive volunteer and leadership experience." I know the right door will open at the right time. But at least in this interview the person was honest and told me that they thought I would be amazingly good in the position and she really like me, after telling me that they had other applicants who already had work experience in similar positions. Yet I feel positive that something good (and hopefully it's what I interviewed for today) will come my way.

In the meantime, I am still having fun with the ladies. Today they created a treasure hunt for me so that I would have to follow the notes they left for me around the house to find the treasure (pencils, crayons and ladybug erasers). I have missed the playground after school but when the fevers prevent attendance, the playground is out as well. (Angelfish's fever is finally gone as of today, but Ladybug's is lingering still.). We are also reading Harry Potter, well I read it out loud and they read along or listen. (Angelfish once informed me I was slow because she could read in her head faster than I could out loud.). We are already on the 4th book, which we are reading with the understanding that if anything is too scary that we will stop. Angelfish has declared that she does not like to read unless it is a science book or nonfiction, and that she only loves math and art. Ladybug on the other hand loves reading and is only ok with math. They both like science ... So I bought them a book of science experiments for kids, which they want to start doing - 1 a Saturday is their plan. But we need to build our soda can robot first.

My advocacy work is moving along slowly, although now I am not working on a bill but behind the scenes to work with government agencies to see what we can accomplish without the legislative process. We've been able to get an agreement on what a food desert is, which is a good start for figuring out where the gaps are.

That's life in the slowed down lane. I'm having a hard time getting the blog to post my replies to comments so 1) thank you for the encouragement and 2) I do not have a Tri on the calendar as of yet, but my neighbor mentioned a Tri in April that he's thinking about doing. So who knows?

What races do you have planned for the year?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Let the Goofy Training Begin!

I've planned out my year between now and Goofy. I've even gotten a couple of people who say they'll do it with me. Of course, when I started training for the Augusta 70.3 I started with a much larger group and ended with 2 or 3 people. But I have every day on my calendar. I'm using Galloway training. I have one year, so I am starting part way in on 5k training, then 10k training which will take me to the 6 month point, and then I start The Galloway goofy challenge training regimen. On The non-run days I am going to do yoga and/or walk... Although I uncovered my bike trainer in the garage the other day... That just might work it's way in there too. I have been thinking about cycling lately, although I have a little fear about being clipped in after more than 2 years since my last ride...

Since the ladies were home with their colds, I did about 40 minutes of yoga. Then I cleaned the house hoping to kill as many germs as possible and hung out with the girls who vegetated completely in front of the tv. Brains were probably dribbling out if their ears. But at least I got them to read some and to do their math homework.

I've decided we are having meatless Mondays at our house, to Mr. Darcy's chagrin. He claims he's not full if he doesn't eat meat. I think it's because he doesn't like adding a salad to whatever it is. Either way it's good for all of us so we'll adjust. I made a southwest quinoa salad (quinoa, black beans, red pepper, cilantro and a dressing of olive oil with lime, cumin and spike). The first time I've cooked quinoa and only the 2nd time eating it. I have to say that I LOVE the stuff, and luckily the Little Ladies did too. Angelfish avoided the red peppers because heaven forbid she eat a vegetable, but Ladybug asked for more and suggested we have it again next week. Did I mention that Ladybug's favorite shows are cupcake wars and chopped?

Both of the girls slept through the night, which meant so did I. : ). Right as I was tying my last lace, I hear Ladybug...101 temp. Mr. Darcy got up and sat with her so I could still run. Yay!

I have to be honest. I have barely run in 2 years or so. I have been walking at a good pace, but not running. I decided that I would do 3:1s this week and if it was easy I'd move to 4:1s. I'd like to get to either 5:1s or 7:1s. I used to do 5:1s to keep my back happy but I am wondering if being lighter that I could get to 7:1s. I'll see how things go.

So off I set doing my 5 min warm up walk and then started running. 3:1s for 18 minutes and the last one was a 4 minute run. 2.2 miles, about a 14 minute mile pace. Sad that I can power walk it faster than run, but I also know that it is the start and that I did run slowly because I wasn't sure if I could do 3:1s. But I plan to get to a 10 minute mile pace. We will see... I think the last time I did a 10 minute mile consistently was in high school. I've never been speedy, but I can get it done. But then I never thought I could do the goofy either. Anything is possible and I have a year to prove it.

But in the meantime I am off to tend to my sick Ladybug who is literally moaning because she feels bad right now.... Temp up to 2 pm.... I think I'll take my 2nd airborne of the day while I am at it...