My first 10k and my 40th winter

I logged on here to share my struggles with the coming of winter and cold weather and then remembered I hadn’t blogged about my 10k race last weekend. So we’ll take care of both here, if you don’t mind.

Yes. The cold weather. I don’t hate it. I love winter. I grew up in Michigan and I love all the seasons, but winter is a favorite. However, my body does not love it. It really resists the change. So as we are crossing over into colder temperatures, my body is screaming at me in protest. My joints ache, my muscles spasm, I have random throbbing nerve pain, and I’m just plain ol’ tired. All I want to do is curl up in a couple warm blankets and hibernate the days away. Which I could totally do, if it weren’t for all the things that need to be done. I’m behind on the laundry, dishes are constantly needing to be washed, children and the hubby like to eat once in awhile. Oh and I have doctor appointments to set and bills to pay. So now that I’ve pushed all of those tasks to Friday, it’s a pile threatening to overwhelm me. Argh. One day at a time, Mindy. One day at a time.

And then there’s the race! I actually ran the 10k I had set out to do, and I ran it in just under 90 minutes. An hour and 26 minutes, to be exact. I keep saying to people though, it was so much harder than I had expected it to be. But I don’t give up. My dad took a video of me finishing and I look incredibly hit up and worn down, as if I might possibly be actually dying, but then a minute after the finish I was smiling and laughing. Because I had finished. On my own two feet.

What was really extra special about this race is that I had my dear friend, Staci, running right by my side the whole way. She was my eyes and ears, to make sure I stayed on the course. It was wonderful to have her there next to me. Also, my brother Brett and sister Kari ran it as well, though they are faster so they ran ahead and met me at the finish line. My dad and younger brother, Josh, were there to spectate, so it was really a sort of family affair, and they were all celebrating with me. I think they all understand how far I’ve come and can truly appreciate what a victory it is for me. I could not have done any of this without their support and encouragement along the way. It was an extremely memorable day.

In the aftermath of that difficult race I was saying I would probably not be running a half marathon any time soon, as I had previously hoped. It just seemed too daunting. But then I was chatting with a friend on Wednesday and somehow we both decided we would train together to run a half marathon in the spring. So we will see how this goes! Training through the winter will be more of a challenge, but having a friend doing the training with me to hold me accountable should help.

I saw my neuro-ophthalmologist this week and shared with him my running victories and plans, and he cautioned me about training too hard. He suggested I talk to my primary neurologist for advice because she’s a runner and could give me some sound advice for training with multiple sclerosis. It’s a tricky thing, to find a balance so that I’m training enough to be prepared, but not so hard that I throw myself into a relapse.

I can’t think how to properly wrap up today’s post so I will just wish you all a Happy Friday! Have a great weekend!

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Souper hobbies

I have recently discovered that I love making soup. Something about the slow pace of the process, and the room for creativity (i.e. mistakes) really appeals to me. And then the satisfaction after all that work and waiting, when you have a delicious meal to enjoy! And at my house, since no one will eat my icky vegetable soups, I get to enjoy the leftovers for days!

Last weekend my dad and stepmom were in town for my son’s football game and I invited them over afterwards for beef stew. I had most of the ingredients but still needed to prepare everything. They both love to cook so they helped me put together an amazing stew. It was so much fun to work together as a team. Not rushed, just chatting in between tasting and smelling. Soup-er fun.

So, it’s been ridiculously warm for October lately. Seriously, 80 degree temps is nuts, even for Michigan. However, it looks like the cold weather is finally moving in as of this morning. It is currently 39 degrees, right where it should be. I turned on the heat, of course. Earlier this week I had the a/c on. This makes me chuckle, a little. I made vegetable soup yesterday and so of course I’ll be eating the leftovers today. Cold days are perfect days for eating hot soup.

But! As excited I am to eat some hot soup and snuggle on the couch with my crocheting, I’m nervous about running a 10k race tomorrow. That’s right, the 10k is finally here! I decided on my 40th birthday in March that I wanted to run a 10k, and though for awhile I wasn’t sure if I could do it, I know now that I can. Training works! This cold weather has me a little nervous though. I had my race clothes all picked out but now I’m wondering if I need to wear something warmer. Will I need gloves? A hat? Will my headband keep my ears warm? See, I don’t have much experience running in cold weather because the cold weather hadn’t yet come. So maybe today I’ll go out for a trial run and see how it goes. Yes, that’s what I will do. Practice run, and then cuddle up on the couch with my hot soup.

 

Whatcha doin?

It’s been a week, and my fatigue is finally lifting. I’m back on the vegan diet, I’ve pushed through to get a couple good runs in this week, and I’ve been napping a lot. All of that, combined, seems to make a big difference. I also have my next Tysabri infusion on Monday so that should help as well. The fog is lifting! Hooray!

So, what have I been up to? I think I already mentioned I’m leading a Financial Peace University class at church. We are three weeks in and it’s going pretty well! Every one is really excited to be there and we have great discussions every week. I’m really hoping this class becomes a regular thing, because I know there are people who expressed interest in the class but weren’t able to sign up for this one.

I made homemade granola bars the other day, for the first time ever in my life, and I was really surprised at how good they turned out! I have a couple ideas to tweak the recipe, but nothing major. I didn’t measure anything as I was just going from memory of a recipe I had read earlier in the day. Oatmeal, peanut butter, honey, and chocolate chips. I was surprised at how easy they were to make and how many bars it yielded. So much cheaper than the store bought ones, by far. I’ll have to remember this and make another batch soon. Aside from the honey, these are all ingredients I almost always have on hand, so it would be nice to be able to throw a batch together to have snacks to feed the family for when we are running around and don’t have time for proper meals.

I’ve also been doing this weekly Bible study and we are currently reading the book of Joshua. The Old Testament has always been a bit difficult for me and while it’s a challenge, it’s nice to be able to tackle that challenge with other ladies who are usually equally confused. I’m learning a lot and that’s always a good thing.

Alright, now I’ve typed a bunch of things and I still feel like I’m forgetting something. I’ll go back to my crocheting, or my Farmville, and maybe it will come to me. Or not.

Have I mentioned fatigue lately?

It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about fatigue. So long, in fact, that had forgotten how debilitating it is.  But then it hit me, like a velvet hammer, and knocked me off my feet. I should have seen it coming, really. I had been cheating on my vegan diet. First it was a little bit of meat here and there, and then the cheese. Oh, how I missed the cheese! Creamy, cheesy pasta was my downfall. I had no stomach issues, which is what I had been expecting. What I had not expected was the fatigue. But it came, and though I’m back on my vegan diet, the fatigue is reluctant to leave.

I’m struggling. Struggling and sluggish. I’m still waking up early to be with the kids before school, but that’s been more of a challenge. I set my smart watch with alarms every 15 minutes after the initial 5:30 alarm, so if (when, rather) I turn it off and fail to get up, it wakes me up again in another 15 minutes. Since there is no snooze option on the smart watch, this works beautifully. So I get up, power through making sure the kids get off to their school buses, and then I go back to bed. Because when I try to stay up and do things, my body and mind are resisting so strongly. And when they resist that strongly, it starts to bleed into my soul and spirit and I risk entering that awful state of depression. So I rest when my body says to rest. And I pray that this doesn’t continue for long.

I know this is MS and it’s very common, but I felt like I had it beat, you know? So I’m trying not to feel defeated. I’m trying to be positive and believe that I can beat it once again. Because I cannot function like this. I simply can’t. It’s no way to live.

Okay, this is a depressing entry, I know. But please know that even through these hard days I am reminded continually that Jesus is my strength and that gives me endless hope. For reals.

Rainy days

It’s raining today. Storming, actually. It’s been awhile since we had a thunderstorm during the day like this. We’ve had a couple overnight, but those are no fun because I can’t hear the thunder. I don’t wear my cochlear implants overnight. Usually my daughter tells me all about the storms the next day because though she usually sleeps soundly, she is sensitive to the noise. That and she worries about lightning striking and all that. So it makes for rough nights for her, while I secretly envy that she can hear the thunder.

So. Today’s storm is nice. It’s dark and cloudy though, which makes me want to go back to bed (which I did) and stay in my pajamas all day (which I am). I’m also roasting a butternut squash to make soup, so the house smells like autumn. My sister and I have our annual retreat to the monastery this weekend, and this year we decided against planning an elaborate menu and instead are each bringing a homemade soup. We think between soup, salad, and snacks, we should be set for the weekend.

My plan for this year’s retreat is to get a big head start on my book. I want to read through the past five years of journals in order to get an outline or map of sorts of what I’m going to say. That’s a giant task and not something I feel like I can do sufficiently while I’m here at home. Distractions and all. I am very easily distracted.

I still feel like I have this nagging voice that tells me I can’t write a book, not one worth publishing anyhow. That voice I need to just keep telling to shut up. Lots of people less qualified than me have written books so I have no reason to believe that voice.

What else is going on? I started leading Financial Peace University this week for my church. We have a small group but it happens to be very diverse. People from every walk of life. Newlyweds, single, married with kids, empty nesters. It should make for some really interesting discussions as the weeks go on. I’m very excited to be doing this class. For one thing, I needed the refresher, for sure. But also it just feels good to be able to give back and serve God in an area I feel like He’s given me a passion for. I was a ball of nerves this first week, because my vision loss and difficulty hearing still give me great social anxiety, but everyone was extremely understanding and gracious. I’m confident it’s going to be a life-changing class for everyone.

Speaking of social anxiety, I’m also in a women’s weekly Bible study and yesterday was my first time going. I attended last year and loved it so much, I’m doing it again. However, I had a lot of trouble hearing people in the discussions as well as reading the materials they hand out every week. There’s not a whole lot I can do about the discussion because you can’t expect to completely retrain people to speak a different way just for that one hour a week, so I’m learning this is an area I have to accept not being able to hear everything. I just have to accept and be thankful for the words I CAN hear.

As for the lesson handouts, I had been scanning them into pdfs every week so that I could read them in high contrast on my computer or tablet. That was kind of a pain, but it worked well. It only occurred to me after the class had ended that I should have been scanning my answers to the questions as well, because every week I would get to class and struggle to read my answers during the class discussion. This year I am super excited because they offer the lessons and questions in pdf format, so I don’t have to do all the scanning! It may be hard for others to understand my level of joy here, because until you’re faced with the daily difficulty in seeing and hearing things, you just can’t imagine it. I know it’s something I took for granted, for sure. If you are reading this and you have fully functioning eyes and ears, will you please just take a moment to thank the Lord? Because not everybody has that luxury. It’s so hard, people. Not impossible, just hard.

Well, my squash is roasted so I need to go saute some shallots and garlic and get the soup assembled. After that perhaps I’ll do some crocheting. I’m on my third of thirteen afghans for each of the nieces and nephews. A perfect rainy day activity, wouldn’t you say?

Running with the dog

I ran with my dog again today. I had run with her once before, but it was a much shorter run. This time I just kept lapping around the neighborhood, with a couple detours to dispose of doggie poo (twice!) and to avoid a FedEx truck (she loves those delivery drivers). I didn’t start out intending to run a long run, but she sort of motivated me?

What’s funny about running with Piper is that she’s not really running. I’m the only one running, and she’s just trotting along. When she tries to stop to sniff things or mark the territory, I just give the leash a little tug and keep on moving. So she didn’t really slow me down, other than having to stop to pick up the poo and walk it to the trash (I refuse to run with a swinging bag of dog poo).

Piper is just a happy dog, and she makes for good company. I sort of wanted to keep running to see if I could tire her out. She always seems to have limitless energy. I don’t think I tired her out, but she did seem a lot less eager as we entered that fourth mile. I have no doubt she will nap happily the rest of the afternoon.

Either I’m crazy, talking like this, or my husband is right: I’ve become a Dog Person.

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Sleep

I sleep pretty well these days. I don’t have the burden of sound that most people have. I never have to worry about being woken in the middle of the night by the dog barking at a neighbor heading off to work the third shift, or a thunderstorm passing through. I don’t even have to worry about my husband’s snoring anymore, though I had been married long enough when I lost my hearing, and I had already learned to sleep through it.

My kids started school today. My son started middle school, which starts earlier than the elementary school does, and is located quite a bit further away from our house. Those two factors mean the school bus comes a full hour and a half earlier than his younger sister’s bus. It makes for an early morning, but it went surprisingly well today! I woke up at 5:30 to give myself time to brew my coffee and wake up a little before waking him up (He had set an alarm but slept right through it, as I had expected he would).

Y’all, I was really dreading 5:30 am but I woke this morning feeling surprisingly rested. I checked the sleeping log that connects to my watch and it said I went to bed at 11 pm and had over 3 hours of deep sleep. Six and a half hours of sleep, 3 of it deep sleep. This really surprised me because I generally sleep a full 8 hours or more and get almost 3 hours of sleep. So getting more sleep apparently wasn’t really helping me? I guess it’s all about quality, not quantity, because I had a full, busy day today and did not feel the overwhelming urge to nap. I survived an entire day that started at 5:30 am with NO NAP. What?!?! I don’t know if this is a fluke or what, so I’m going to see if I can keep it up, going to bed at 11 and getting up at 5:30.

I have to say, I really enjoyed 5:30. It was super peaceful in the house, and I was able to wake up at my speed (i.e. slow as molasses). I read my devotional, and just eased into the day. It was really nice. It was just me and my coffee, and Jesus. I’m looking forward to tomorrow morning!