Saturday, January 13, 2018

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Friday night was a supposed to be a run night.  I had 2 people ask me throughout the day if I got my run in.  I had not.  

So, after a full day at work, horrible traffic, picking up my kiddos, and then having to leave again at 6:20, I finally got home at 5:00.  

Oh...and it was pouring down rain.

I had a choice.

I could fore go my run.  I had good reasons.  Or, I could put on my shoes and get in a solid 30 minutes.

By 5:20, I was in my running clothes and started lacing up my shoes.  The dog and I headed out.  It wasn't raining.  We finished a shortened warp up and it was go time.

And it started raining.

And then it rained harder.

My dear running (and life...I can probably take away the descriptive word) friend once said that she would meet me in the rain or in the cold, but not both.  Thank goodness it was 70 degrees.

(Side note....earlier in the week it was 12.  Degrees.  For the high. There was ice on the road and snow in the yard.   Yesterday it was 70.  You are not losing your mind.  Welcome to Virginia.)

So, I got wet.  I remembered that I like running in the rain.  (Not every time...but sometimes.)

I didn't have time for my run on Friday.  I made time for my run on Friday.  I can do this!  I can make it work.  I will do this.  I WILL make it work!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Just as Fast as I Can

A song came on with these lyrics.  While I have taken them COMPLETELY out of context, they fit. 

Day 2 of the Comeback:  DONE.

It was a little harder today.  My body reminded me yesterday just how long my sabbatical actually was.  You know those muscles in your core that hold you upright?  (Did you even know that you had muscles in your core to hold you upright?)  Well, not running made those muscles go to sleep.  I woke them back up.  My nemesis, the hamstring, reminded me of its existence as well.

I did NOT pull my hamstring, but this is funny...

But, even with my old ( is happening....I am getting old) body reminding me that it isn't getting any younger, I got up today, laced up my shoes, and headed back out there.  

Some thoughts:

- I am still slow.  It is a fact.  It might just be how it is.  I am way slower than my slowest slow.  I might get faster, but maybe not.  But it is not about speed.  (Hard to wrap my head around that sentence, but it is not.)  
- The dog was bad on the leash today.  He only made it about 10 minutes before he got banished back to his daddy.
- I brought back the music.  I like running with music.
- It felt good.  Even with the tight hamstring and the shoes that might be too small (or my feet are too big).  I have missed running for running's sake.  I am not training.  I have no races.  I just want to love running again.
- Today was a day of thinking and remembering:
              - I remembered how much fun running was when I was a stay at home mom.  When I had time to run.  When I was fast-ish.  When I was skinny-ish.  When going to the gym was the only thing I had to do some days. 

               - I was reminded today of the first time my wonderful coach told me to do a warm up run.  You know, when you run a mile or so before you run 13.1 miles or so.  I thought of this near the end of my time...when it was getting hard.  It made me laugh because I remember looking at him like he had lost his mind when he mentioned this warm up run.  One day we will get back to that

So, now what?

We have been home for a week.  I haven't been to work.  My husband has been home all day.  I can run at 10am or at 2pm.

But tomorrow is back to reality.

I am not a stay at home mom.  I work full time.  As soon as I get home from work, I am running a kid somewhere at least 3 days a week (and this is the off-season).  I have to feed everyone.  I have to do all of the chores.  I am looking at about 6 weeks of tackling all of this alone.  How am I going to fit in a run on top of everything else?  This is going to be the hard part.

Here's my plan:
I am going to run on our lighter days, 3 times a week.  I am going to do it in the evenings.  I am going to do it with my dog....kills 2 birds with one stone.  On the weekends, I am going to get up and get it done before everything else gets started.  On the other days of the week, I am going to get up early and do a Beachbody video.  Mix in some Shaun T ( I LOVE that guy) and some Autumn Calabrese to cross train.  I will rest on Sundays.    

Please help me stay on track.  I can' t meet my running friends.  I can't go to the gym.  All I can do is the best that I can.

Let's see how a run on Friday works into this crazy life!

Monday, January 8, 2018

It's Like Riding a Bike

I used to be a runner. 

I used to get up at ungodly hours to run ridiculously far for a medal and a banana.

And then I stopped.

3 years ago, in 2015, I ran my first marathon.   And then I ran another in the same year.  This was on the heels of  16 half marathons in 12 months.  And then I stopped. 

There are lots of reasons.  My body was tired.  My mind was tired.  I went back to work.  I needed a break.  It was too early.  It was too late.  I had to take the kids somewhere.  I had work to do.  My husband was gone.  (This is the most recent one.)

All of these are valid excuses.  All of them together add up to a huge mental wall.  It was too hard.  I was too tired.  So, I didn't do it.

And there have been consequences for my decisions.  I'm sluggish.  I'm cranky.  I have gained weight.  (In my defense, that started during marathon training....I just didn't stop it.)

I planned my comeback so many times in my head, but it scared me to put on my shoes.  I didn't want to run with people because I let myself get out of shape.  I didn't want to run alone because it is dark and lonely in the middle of nowhere where I live.  I was afraid of the hot.  I was afraid of the cold. I knew it would be hard.  I was afraid that I would forget how. So, I didn't start.

And then the Bomb Cyclone of 2018 hit.  And I have been in my house with my family for almost a week.  We got 8 inches of snow.  The temperature did not get over 30 degrees for 5 days.  Until today.
Today is was a balmy 35 degrees.  My neighbor plowed a path up my street.  So, I got dressed and laced up my (new...I bought them in July) running shoes and decided to go for it.

Some truths from today's reset:

1)  My body remembered what to do.  It felt good to put on my running pants, my tech shirts, my neon yellow princess hat, and my trusty purple running gloves.  (The jury is still out on the shoes....)  It felt good to get out there. 
2)  It wasn't easy.  I mean, it was 35 degrees.  It is not easy to run and breathe at 35 degrees even if you are in shape.
3)  It was boring.  I ran up and down a 1/4 mile stretch of plowed road for 40 minutes.  My phone was dead, so I ran without music.
4)  It was exciting.  I ran with no music.  I didn't have to talk to anyone, so I didn't have pretend that I could breathe.
5)  My dog LOVES to run!!  He might be my new favorite winter/spring/fall running partner.  (Bonus...maybe he will stop chewing up my house if he becomes a runner!)
6)  My old trusty Timex interval watch is less stressful than the fancy Garmin or the running app on the phone.  The Timex doesn't judge.  It just beeps.  You make a change when it beeps.  It doesn't track distance or speed.  It just tells time.  There is something calming about that.
7)  I miss running.

Some stats from today's reset:
1)  I did Galloway run/walk intervals for 30 minutes, with a 5 minute warm up and 5 minute cool down, for a total of 40 minutes of movement.
2)  You have to go back to go forward, so I did a 1 minute run/2 minute walk for this first time back out.  (It took me exactly one minute to catch my breath after the run interval...I am blaming it on the cold.)  I think this interval will work for the next week or so.
3)  I did not break any speed records and I did not pick up any speed during my sabbatical.  I can only estimate that I went about 2.5 miles. 
4)  I kept the dog with me for about 25 minutes.
5)  My husband joined me for a little but of it.  I ran circles and then walked with him.  It was nice to have company, but he worried too much.

It's time to start over.  I miss running.  I miss the excitement of a starting line.  I miss the exhilaration of a finish line.  It's not going to be easy.  I may be running in the pitch black dark.  I may be running up and down my street, but I am going to do it.  It's time to start over.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 - A Year in Review

May review

2017 was a year of nothing and a year of everything.  

The winter was pretty quiet.  Jacob and Jeffrey started a new adventure of indoor soccer and Joshua started playing basketball.  

Once we hit April, the year of memories really got started.

  • 2 weeks of Disney!!  We went on a week long cruise  on the Disney Fantasy where we enjoyed a Star Wars Day at Sea.  We celebrated Joshua's 6th birthday on board.  As soon as we left the ship, we headed to 5 days of fun at Walt Disney World.  It was a magical two weeks!

  • May brought a month of highs and lows.  
  • Early in the month, we said goodbye to our beloved Hershey, just a few weeks shy of his 13th birthday.  He was a great dog and we miss him every day, but once he crossed the Rainbow Bridge, he was no longer in pain and could run and play like a puppy again.  He was a joy in our life from a month after we got married and his passing left a hole in all of our hearts.
  • May also brought Joshua's graduation from Kindergarten!  Our last baby!

  • The month ended with our annual family camping adventure, this time to Chincoteague, Virginia.  We visited Wallops Island, drove the Harriet Tubman Byway, and saw the famous Assateague ponies!  As usual, it rained, but we had a great time!
  • In June, we welcomed Mako to the Meier family!  He was a rescue and is a great dog!!  He chews on everything, but he is sweet and smart and we are to glad that he is in our lives.

  • Jacob and Jeffrey turned 10 and started participating in the ABCD Cognitive Study, a brain study that they will participate in for 10 years.  They got MRIs and answered a lot of questions, but earned money and had fun.
  • July was the beginning of our lazy summer of fun!  
  • We spent a lot of time at Ocean Breeze Water Park.
  • We went to the zoo to see our favorite animals.
  • After a few years out of town, we went back to the Lakeside Park Fourth of July Celebration!
  • And we went to Busch Gardens!
  • Russ and the big boys went to a week long Webeloes camp at Camp Goshen while I finished my 3 year certification program at Chorister's Guild Institute, and Joshua had fun at Gaga's house!
  • August started, as usual, with our two week beach vacation!  It is one of our favorite places on earth!

  • We also drove 8 hours to Columbia, South Carolina to see the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse.  16 hours of driving for 2 minutes of darkness..  It was worth every minute!

  • We all went climbing at the Virginia Beach Adventure Park.

  • As the month ended, we celebrated Russ's promotion to Commander in the United States Navy!

  • Fall brought a return to our crazy, hectic life.  It also brought a return to sea duty.  After 6 years of being home, Russ returned to sea life with the start of his Command Pipeline.
  • Jacob and Jeffrey started playing Advanced Soccer, leading to three practices a week on top of games.  It is a lot of running, but they love it!
  • Joshua moved to Coach Pitch baseball.  It has not been the easiest thing for him, but he loves playing baseball!

  • Jeffrey and Jacob started 5th grade and were chosen to be Safety Patrols.  Joshua started 1st grade and rode the bus for the first time.

  • Joshua started Cub Scouts and I am his Tiger leader.  Scouts is usually Daddy's thing, but I think that I have done a pretty good job holding down the fort!

  • All three boys loved their Halloween costumes and had a great time Trick or Treating.

  • Russ came home after 10 weeks away just in time for Thanksgiving.  He left again for two weeks in December.  I was able to join him for a great week in Newport that culminated with a wild and wonderful weekend in New York City!
  • We celebrated a joyful Christmas together.
  • For the 3rd year in a row, we drove to Pittsburgh to see the Penguins play hockey!  
Looking Ahead
  • 2017 was a great year for our family.  We made memories and had fun together.
  • 2018 is going to bring many changes for us.  Russ will report to a ship for the first time in 7 years.  He will be the XO (Executive Officer) on the USS Gonzalez for about 18 months until he takes command.  He will be gone a lot, which will be a hard adjustment for the boys.
  • Jacob and Jeffrey will leave the safety of Southeastern Elementary School for the unknown of Hickory Middle.  
  • Joshua will be having eye February.  It will be the 4th surgery in 3 years.  We are hoping it works this time.
  • I am finishing up my National Board Teaching Certification and will, hopefully, be announcing my success at the end of the year.
  • Mostly, we will spend the year adjusting to a new normal....a sea normal.  Thankfully, we have a New Year's cruise to look forward to!

Friday, February 19, 2016


There hasn't been a lot of running this week.  It's hard to run when the built in child care is laid up in the hospital.  But, with the lack of running, I have been awake at night to think.  No matter what is happening in life, there is so much to be thankful for.  

Russ had a serious internal bleed.  It was a big deal.  He left the hospital today with no restrictions.

Thank you to the blood donors who selflessly gave the two units of blood that were pumped into Russ. I am pretty sure that saved him.

Thank you to the ER staff who realized that there was something wrong, even if they couldn't quite pinpoint what it was.  They knew something wasn't quite right and decided to keep him overnight to check.

Thank you to the ICU staff (in both units) for their attention and care.  There are really, really sick people in ICU and the staff treated Russ with just as much care and concern as they did for those people.  They realized that the boys needed to see their daddy just as much as daddy needed to see the boys and they helped make that happen.  They explained everything and answered all of our questions.  We were blessed with fantastic care every day he was in the hospital.

This has to be the thing that I am most thankful for our friends.  I called Peggy in a panic and she was willing to drop everything to take care of my boys, having no idea how long we would be gone.  She checked in multiple times a day to see how he was doing and if I needed anything.   Our Cub Scout families filled our freezer with meals and checked in every day, willing to take care of anything we needed - Jeanna even offered to take care of our chickens.  We had a visit from a Lakeview parent, just to check on us.  My aunt came to join me for lunch.  My dad stopped by on this way to work.  We had countless offers to help with the boys or to come sit at the hospital.  We had so many notes, messages, and texts checking on him.  When I needed to back out of a PTA function, the ladies picked right up with no questions asked.  I was overwhelmed by the love and support.  We have appreciated all of the thoughts, prayers, and offers of help.

Thanks to my mom and dad for keeping the boys' week as normal as possible.  That consistency kept our household sane. 

It's been a long week, but now Russ is home and healing and we are able to get back to normal.  Running shenanigans start back this weekend!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Bad Week

What a week!  In the grand scheme of life, it wasn't THAT bad.  I mean, everyone is still alive.  But, I'll get to that....

Let's rewind to Sunday, Valentine's Day.  It started like any ordinary day.  We took the boys to play Laser Tag.  Russ and I played too.  It was super fun.  We had lunch at Steak and Shake and were well on our way to go look at flooring for the house updates.  All of a sudden, Russ got a little nervous and mentioned that the Check Emission System light came on and the car had lost power.  It started stuttering.  We nursed it to the dealer and my dad picked us all up.  We spent a quiet evening in - dinner with the boys and snuggles with everyone on the couch.

Now it's Monday - President's Day.  The car dealership calls to say that it is only a sensor and it will be a quick and relatively inexpensive fix.

It was a Thud-Klunk-Thud kind of fix instead of something worse.

Russ and the boys started working on hooks for the mudroom while I was doing some cleaning.  All of a sudden, Russ started to say that he was really hot and wasn't feeling so well.  He went into the bedroom to take off some of his layers and I found him laying on the floor.  Now, I am not going to lie.  The man flu is strong with this one.  He tends to overreact to illness a bit.  I don't give him a lot of sympathy most of the time.
He was lying on the bathroom floor, sweating and complaining about how he had no energy.  I tried to get him from the bathroom floor to the bed.  As soon as he stood up, he crumpled back down.  Eventually, he crawled to the bed, rested a minute on the floor, and then climbed into bed.  He slept for about 2 hours.  I would go in and check on him and he seemed to be feeling a little bit better.  We both thought he had just been a little too hot.

I was supposed to have a  hair appointment - my Valentine's gift from Russ.  I cancelled it because he wasn't in a place where he could take care of the kids.  We were supposed to have Scouts.  I cancelled it because he wasn't in a place where we needed to be out and about around people.

So, with all of our events off the calendar the kids playing nicely, and my husband in the bed, I sat down on the couch to have a moment of peace.

All of a sudden, I heard my name.  I ran into the bathroom to find him sprawled out on the bathroom floor, with blood running down his head.  He had passed out and hit his head.  He was breathing very fast and very shallow.  He was scared to death and asked me to call an ambulance.  I called 911 and put the littlest one on ambulance watch.  I called my friend to take the boys, but my mom called in the middle of that, so she came to sit with the boys at our house.  My dad took me to the hospital behind the ambulance.

Once we got settled in the ER, it was about 3:30.  The staff was pushing bags of saline because they also thought it was just dehydration and took some blood. The PA and her student stitched up his head with the big doctor came in.  She started asking questions and ordered a CT scan to check for a blood clot.  The CT came back and showed some fluid around Russ's heart, so the staff admitted him to the Observation unit to keep an eye on him and ordered an echo cardiogram for the next morning.  I went home to get the boys settled for the evening and out the door the next morning.

Right around 7am the next morning (we are now on Tuesday), Russ called to tell me that he would be in a different room when I got there because they were moving him to ICU. WHAT??  (He is REALLY, REALLY bad a breaking bad news.  I mean, he is AWFUL!)

He had started passing blood in his stools overnight and the doctors were concerned about an internal bleed.  I raced to the hospital and got there in time to see the first of two units of blood start transfusing and to transfer to the ICU with him.  He went to ICU4, which is the highest level ICU at the hospital.  Needless to say, I was a lot confused and even more concerned.  He was just supposed to be watched over night and now he was in ICU.

The wonderful nurses got him settled and the echo cardiogram team came to his bed to do the test.  I got to stick around and watch.  It was an ultrasound of the heart.  Then the GI team ordered an endoscopy.  That test was pretty quick, but they made me leave.  The doctor came out to talk to me and said that there was a ton of blood in the stomach but he could not find the source of the bleeding.  He said that he was pretty sure there was no ulcer, but Russ had a Dieulafoy's lesion, which is a very rare bleed that is hard to find.  He mentioned that Russ has lost HALF of his blood volume and they had pumped over a liter of blood from his stomach.  All in all, he got 2 units of blood.

Wow!  He lost half of his blood.  He has some rare bleeding, and he is in the ICU at a civilian hospital because he is  too unstable to transfer.  The hits just keep on coming.

The doctor decides to keep him another night and repeat the endoscopy the next morning.

Now it is Wednesday.  I wake up to a text that he has moved rooms again.  Now he is on the second floor ICU, which is more of a step down unit.  I get to the hospital and we sit and wait.  The Cardio doctor comes in a clears him from his care.  The fluid around the heart is insignificant. He is not concerned and doesn't need to monitor it anymore.  In the meantime, Russ gets a call from a doctor at Portsmouth Naval Hospital.  The Navy has found him.  My heart drops as I think he is going to be transferred, but the doctor thinks he should just stay where he is.

I leave for lunch when Russ is leaving for his endoscopy.  When I come back up, he is not back yet.  I start to panic.  The procedure on Tuesday was about 15 minutes long.  He has now been gone an hour.  After 2 hours, I started to get antsy and less easy to deal with.  I wanted some answers and nobody was willing to give them to me.  He finally comes back and the answer is less dire than we thought.

 It was "just" an ulcer.  With the blood cleared, the doctor could see where it had bled and was able to fix it.  The new plan is to let him try to eat on Thursday and head home on Friday.

Again, nothing is easy.  That doctor went off duty and a new, more conservative doctor came in on Thursday.  He pushed the timeline back a day...or so we thought.  All of a sudden, at about noon, a nurse comes in with a tray of food.  I have never seen him look so happy.

The nurse practitioner for the GI team came in.  She expressed concern about his hemoglobin numbers.  They are watching to see if that number goes up.  If it doesn't, he will need another unit.

He's on the mend.  We are still hopeful that he is going home tomorrow.  We are so thankful for the staff at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center for taking such good care of him!  They even let the boys sneak in for a  minute to see him.  This was important for all of them.

It's been a week, but everyone is still alive, and I am thankful for that.