Today I ran/walked almost 8 miles. I had a successful 8 mile run last week but this one didn’t go so well.
The first 4 miles were fine. Around 5 or 6 my left knee started hurting. I’m not sure why it does this, or whether I should get a knee brace or bother seeing the orthopedic surgeon again. When this happens I generally push through the pain until it gets too unbearable, and then I walk for awhile to give it rest. I need to be careful with it so I don’t end up with permanent damage.
Around mile 7 my left leg just completely gave out on me. With no warning, as soon as I put weight on that leg it collapsed. Thankfully, or miraculously, I was able to catch my balance. So I didn’t fall, but I was nervous to keep running. I pretty much walked the rest of the way home, with short bursts of jogging tiny, careful steps every now and then.
The last mile though, was all walking. Walking, and telling myself this was not a failure, because im doing the work. I’m not a slacker, right Bob? This is just part of my training process, and when my body is telling me I’m pushing it too hard, sometimes I need to listen. Today was definitely one of those times. So training is going well, I guess.
I was chatting with one of my infusion nurses yesterday and she told me she wanted to start running, but wasn’t sure how to go about it. I shared with her that I started really slowly, and had great success with the Couch to 5k program. I encouraged her to just start, and keep moving a little farther each time. It’s a slow progression but if you stick with it and keep your eye on your goal, you can do it!
I still really love running and I love that it brings people together who maybe wouldn’t normally have anything in common. It’s been such a great thing and I hope I never have to give it up!
I bought an electric toothbrush last weekend and the first time I used it I made the mistake of leaving the bathroom door open. The thing is noisy. My husband said it sounded like a Peter Frampton song and I laughed so hard I spit toothpaste all over myself. So now that’s what I think of every time I clean my teeth.
Today is our official anniversary! I woke up this morning and Mike said to me “you know what today is?” And I kid you not, I said “uuum, Wednesday?” Because I legitimately drew a blank when it came to the day. We celebrated last weekend so in my mind, I had already moved on.
So just a little about our trip. We went to Traverse City because that’s where we honeymooned. Twenty years ago we stayed in what was then my grandpa’s future retirement home on Old Mission Peninsula. He and my grandma built the house intending to retire there some day, but my grandma passed away from breast cancer before they could realize their dream. Grandpa since sold the property, and the new owners tore down the house and built something bigger and more extravagant. (They kept the garage though!) We were able to snap a selfie with the house in the background, but we didn’t dare step too far onto the property for fear they would see us and think we were a couple of creepers. (I don’t know what a creeper is, I’m just making that a term.)
I mentioned that my grandma passed away from breast cancer. She was someone very special to all of us, and I miss her dearly. We had a special connection, but I feel like she had a bit of a special connection with all of us in the family. She had a magical way of making you feel like you were the most important person in the room. She truly loved her family, and gave her heart and soul to each of us, every second she had the opportunity. I was in high school when she passed away and I always wished she could have met Mike. I feel like they would have gotten along well. He would have loved her spunk. Anyway, so I was able to visit her grave stone, and kind of say a little hello and let her know I still miss her. It’s kind of sad but kind of sweet that she and grandpa will be together again – “retired” – on the peninsula. Sort of like they planned, but not really.
The entire weekend was very relaxing. We are a no frills kind of couple. Not much for romance. We just enjoy each other’s company and I suppose that’s how we’ve lasted this long. It was extremely refreshing to be able to have an entire weekend together, just the two of us. We ate good food, we saw beautiful sights, we took seriously solid naps, and we caught a beautiful sunrise over the West Bay. It was better than I could have hoped for, and I hope we don’t wait another 20 years to take another trip together.
Mike, I love you. You make me laugh, you make me cry, you make me stronger. These last 20 years have been quite a ride, but I wouldn’t have wanted to spend them with anyone else. You are my perfect partner in life, and I look forward to the next 20 years.
>>We paid off our truck! We had been throwing extra money at it when we could and finally with our tax refund and some extra commissions from the hubby we were able to make it happen. We are really hoping that will be the last of car payments forever. Now we are using that money we were spending on payments to save for the next vehicle. Meh. It was actually more exciting in the days leading up to it than after. It very quickly lost it’s luster, but I’m sure I’ll be giddy when it comes time for what would have been the next payment, and instead of sending it to the bank, we’re just gonna tuck it away in its own little savings account.
>>We updated our wills AND got them signed and notarized! I had them printed off a couple weeks ago and they just needed the notarized signatures, so we stopped at the credit union on our way out of town last Friday. It feels good to have that done.
>>After 2 years of using and loving their products, I signed up to be an ItWorks! Distributor. You might hear more about this from me as I’m learning more about the products and the company. I’m not a natural salesperson and this is way out of my comfort zone, but I’m really excited about it in a timid sort of way.
>>In two days, I will have been married for 20 whole years. Not to mention I am still crazy in love with my husband. We took a trip over the weekend and had such a great time that I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Very soon. Stay tuned!
I’ll be honest, I’m not even sure where to start with this post. I had a lot of thoughts running through my head throughout the race and these couple days following.
I’ll start by setting the stage for this 10k race. It was cold and rainy, and by the end, snowy. Michigan weather at its finest. We had been watching the forecast so we knew what we were getting into, and none of us were swayed. We were committed to completing this race, no matter the weather.
I should back up. By “we” I mean myself, a friend from church, and two other friends of hers. So you could say this was kind of out of my comfort zone. I had asked Chris, my church friend, if I could tag along because it was an all female race, and it looked like a lot of fun. It was out of town and they already had plans to stay at a hotel the previous night and they welcomed me with open arms. The comradery among runners is incredible. I’m fairly new to running compared to a lot of others, but throughout this whole experience I was never tempted to feel like an outsider.
The race itself started out pretty smoothly. I was feeling strong and confident for the first few miles. However, about halfway through I was noticing my left foot dragging quite a bit. This “foot drop” is one of the symptoms of my MS. Running doesn’t cause new symptoms, but it can aggravate old nerve damage. I have been training for my half marathon this coming fall, and have done plenty of long runs with almost no foot drop, so the fact that it was happening so soon was disheartening. Maybe I was just being more affected because of the excitement and nerves for the race, I don’t know.
My friend Chris had agreed to run with me for the entire race, to be sure I was safe. She did a fabulous job pointing out all the potholes and manhole covers, and steering me away from other obstacles. Throughout the race I did not trip even one time! However, I would not have finished this race without her assistance.
I think it was around the end of mile 4 I was having serious trouble keeping my foot from dragging. I was also experiencing some side and shoulder pain, but I was afraid to slow down and walk. My balance is better when I’m running. Something about the motion, I guess. I have another friend with MS who says the same thing about running. Walking requires a different movement and different nerves, I suppose. I told Chris what I was experiencing and she urged me to walk to give my body a rest, and use her arm for balance. At this point I was pretty discouraged and frustrated with what was going on with my body. I had not expected this to happen so soon. When Chris explained to me that my pace at the beginning of the race was much faster than I had been training at, it all made sense. I had been training between a 14 and 15 minute mile, but I had been running closer to 12! So clearly I had made a mistake, and I was paying the consequences.
I tell myself I don’t care about times and personal records, but that’s a big fat lie. I do care. I am always competing with myself, and I feel a great sense of pride when I am able to see my pace improve. The problem is, I want it to happen sooner than is realistic. So now thanks to my prideful denial of my physical abilities, I hobbled the last two miles of the race mostly hanging for dear life on Chris’ arm. I felt ashamed, defeated. My ugly pride had taken a hit. I started off too fast and it hurt me in the end. This felt a lot like failure, because I feel like I should have known better.
But listen – this was NOT failure. I finished the race! And with a PR to boot! So I made it more challenging for myself by starting too fast, and I had to lean on a friend to accomplish my goal of finishing. So what? Can we all agree there’s nothing wrong with that? We all have challenges in our lives, and very often we have to lean on our friends for help. Friendships enrich our lives, make us stronger, make us better. This is good!
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 ESV “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”
There was a point in the race that I was feeling particularly angry. Not angry at myself, but angry at the multiple sclerosis that makes things so difficult. On most days I am able to function like a normal person and can almost forget I have this affliction. But then you run 6.2 miles and you are reminded. And that sucks, Big Time. So yes, I was angry. But then I was reminded that I hated running for most of my life. I didn’t start running until 2015, six years after I was diagnosed with MS. I run because I have MS. To show myself and others that it’s possible. MS doesn’t have to mean life in a wheelchair. This is what I believed when they first diagnosed me, and I know now that’s not the case.
I watched the following day as Worknesh Degefa dominated the Women’s Elite Race in the Boston Marathon. She ran the last 20 miles alone. Way ahead of the pack. Yes, it was cool that she was in the lead, but what was even cooler was that she was doing her thing. It didn’t seem to bother her one bit that she was surrounded by absolutely no one. The mental fortitude that must have taken is something I aspire to. If I can run these races and just zone out Degefa-style, then perhaps I can keep a steady pace and finish strong.
So I learned a few lessons with this race. I learned that you can’t rush the process. You have to pace yourself, and that requires patience and humility. There may be people zooming by you, but pay no attention. As Chris encouraged me I think during mile six – “you do you”. Forget about the other runners. Just keep moving toward the finish line. You’ll get there. Lesson #2: You want to change your pace? Do it in training. Don’t switch that up during a race. Sorry, I don’t know how that applies to life. It might pretty much just be applicable to running 😉 And lesson #3 was that friendships are invaluable gifts and not to be taken lightly.
My dad was able to join us to spectate this race, and it meant a lot to have family there rooting me on. He called me the following day and asked how I was feeling. He specifically asked if I was still planning on running a half marathon and I answered without hesitation – YES. No question. At this point in time I have no idea how I’ll physically manage it, but I’m choosing to trust in the training process. Four years ago I was barely walking, three years ago I ran my first 5k, and just 6 months ago I ran my first 10k. This body just keeps getting stronger. The more I push, little by little, the farther I can go. I don’t know how far MS will let me go with this running stuff, but I’m gonna keep pushing the line until she forces me to stop. And with God’s grace, I have hope that day will never come.
I ran a race today. It was hard. I’m exhausted. But I finished, and I have the medal to prove it. This was a challenging run for many reasons and I plan to post all my thoughts and feelings on it but not today. Today I sleep.
I’m constantly having to remind myself that it’s not my responsibility to ensure my kids are happy. My responsibility is to teach and train. I guide, I offer consequences and discipline, but I am not here to make them feel happy or entertained. So when it breaks my heart to see them upset, I need to put my big girl pants on and remind myself that I AM THE MOTHER.
I need this confidence more than ever as my son is a preteen and is questioning everything. EVERYTHING. Like, “Why do you set limits for us on screen time? And why do I have a bedtime even on the weekends or during spring break? NONE of my friends have these rules at home.”
Today I answered these questions for my son with renewed and miraculous confidence. “Because your brains are still developing and we believe, as your parents, that those limits are good for you. I can’t speak for your friends or even begin to explain why they might not have limits at home, but in our home, this is what we do.” (Also, I’m sure he’s exaggerating or hopefully mistaken, but whatever.)
My husband and I are the people in charge around here. “In charge” is not a role I’m all that great at or comfortable with, but I know I can do it. God allowed us to be parents and He cares about our children way more than we do, so I trust that He will give us the wisdom necessary to train them up right. I have to trust Him, stand firm in this role, and never stop seeking more wisdom. I must, or the monkeys will take over and then I’ll have no one to feed me or change my diapers when I’m 90.