Sunday, March 22, 2015

Recovery is a many splendored thing...

"Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” ~Hermann Hesse
This past week was all about recovery, both physically and mentally. How often do we get a chance to take a break from responsibility and come back to ourselves? To refocus and recharge? I had the week off from work and hoped to get some cleaning done and maybe organize my closet and drawers. I wanted to run, of course. Catch up on some sleep. Other than that, I had no big plans.

Running-wise, I tried to take it easy. The day after the race, I went out to do an "easy" 3, to shake out the legs. The weather was gorgeous and I hated to pass up a perfect day for a run. The legs were stiff and sore from pushing it so hard the day before. The rest of the week, for my runs, I ran my usual 6. And that 6 8 on Saturday. Oops. It was nice to run without worrying about slipping on the ice. The weather was pretty decent all week, and I liked being unencumbered by layers of clothing. Less laundry too. That was a huge plus.


I also was able to take out my bike. I'm a fair weather cyclist, and at 55 degrees, I was at the edge of my comfort zone. The air feels a lot colder when you're zipping along at 14 miles/hour! Initially, I forgot how to unclip my shoes and almost fell over the first time I tried to stop. But you know what they say about riding a bike...I took this one to my bike path and the forest preserve. I had a loose goal of 20 miles, because the 17 miles that this route takes me isn't an even number. I'm OCD like that. Part of the forest preserve path is a 3 mile loop and I had planned to repeat that, to get my 20 miles, but the workers were doing a "controlled burn". In other words, they were burning the grass in the center of the loop. I had to ride through thick smoke, and that wasn't pleasant at all. In lieu of doing an extra loop, I headed back home, past the guys backed into the parking spots looking for dates, and looped around my neighborhood to get my extra 3 miles in. Dare I say that I love riding my bike almost, yes, almost as much as I love to run?


For the first time in weeks, I went back to the yoga studio for a class. About 6 weeks ago, I had severe vertigo during a yoga class, and I was a little nervous to return. Once the vertigo passed, I was close to race day, and decided to postpone a studio class until after the race. I was so happy to be back in class. This instructor is creative and has an amazing positive aura about her. I always leave her class feeling happy. This class was no exception. She had us put our mats up against the wall, and we did all our poses against the wall. This is a great way to properly align yourself into the poses. Do you think you're getting deeply into a pose? Try it against the wall. Humbling. There were a lot of deep stretches and it was as if she knew what I needed.

Being able to focus on my workouts and not rush to get them in before work was really helpful with bringing me back to center. What does it mean, to come back to center? To me, being able to step out of my everyday life, where I feel so overwhelmed, to be able to step back, refocus and gain perspective...that is coming back to center, and to myself. We don't often get a chance to do this in our daily life, do we?

I also spent more time than I should have on the great time waster, the internet. I did a lot of reading and research. I also did a lot of writing, publishing a blog post every day. Writing is a great outlet for me, and I had fun writing some humorous blog posts. I connected with some new bloggers, and worked on some new opportunities to help grow my blog.

Not everything this week was about fitness, though. I had lunch with an old friend. And by old, I don't mean elderly. She's my age. She's not a runner but we've known each other for years. As I get older, I really value these long standing friendships. I love these friends, who accept me for who I am, without judgment. And vice versa. Maintaining these friendships is tough, time-wise, and I was so happy we were able to make it happen.

And even though I didn't have to think about work at all this week, I drove to the city, to UIC, to accept an award. In my life outside of running, my real life, I am a pediatric nurse practitioner. Besides taking care of kids, I train nurse practitioner students in my clinic, and was given this award in recognition for my efforts. I love teaching and mentoring student. I keep in touch with almost every student I've worked with over the years. It's fun to see what they're doing with their lives both in the profession and outside of it too. The award was a surprise, and I was honored to be chosen. After this ceremony, I was also able to reconnect with some colleagues that I've known for years.

Cleo is not impressed!

Finally, and most importantly, I was around to focus on my family. Since I normally work most of the week, my husband does the cooking. This week was my turn. I planned some new meals for the week. One of them, Southwestern Pork and Sweet Potatoes, was a win. Another, Moroccan Chicken Stew, not so much. Win some, lose some, I guess! I was sad about that, because I hate throwing out food. Plus I felt bad for picking such a turd of a recipe. It sounded good on paper! We celebrated my youngest son's achievements at his gymnastics meet this week. As for my oldest son, we had a little drama again towards the end of the week, and life with him continues to be a challenge. 


We're heading off for a family vacation in Florida now--yes, I have another week off--and I'm hoping this week to really reconnect with my boys and my husband. My youngest son told me that he doesn't want to go. He wants to go to gymnastics and work on his skills. He also wants to be with his friends. I get that. I don't think he realizes that this may be the last time we go on a family vacation like this. Next year, the coaches of whatever sport he participates in will fully expect him to be at practice over spring break. Topic for another blog post. And I have no idea what my oldest son will be doing in a year. Will he be in college? Will he be working? It feels a little disconcerting to me, that after all these years of raising kids, that this chapter in our lives is coming to an end.

But for now, I'm going to spend this time with them, enjoying their company, and yes, coming back to center. And then, I can move forward.

I never did get that closet organized....

What do you do to come back to center? Do you take time off for yourself, to regroup?

I'm linking this post with Tara at RunningNReading for her Weekend Update! Be sure to head over to her page and see what everyone else is up to!

72 comments :

  1. We do barre yoga at my studio sometimes. It's amazing how it helps! Congrats on your award - I am sure you are awesome to work with! Have a great vacation.

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    1. Thanks! I have yet to try barre. Everyone seems to love it!

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  2. Congrats on your award! That is fantastic! Sounds like you had a really good week. So nice the weather is turning. And I have to chuckle at your "OCD" comment. I have been known to run 50 feet past my driveway just to make the GPS end on even number. Enjoy to vacay!

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    1. It was a great week, and I'm so glad i have one more week to play! At the beach, no less...

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  3. I'm usually exercising first thing in the morning....once a month or so on a day off, I'll regroup by skipping the am workout and coming back home to an empty home...having a cup of coffee and breakfast while reorganizing and prioritizing. Also, once a week yoga is another go to more relaxed yet energizing activity for me....despite being a power yoga class.

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    1. There's something really awesome about being home alone, isn't it?

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  4. Congrats on the award. I hope you take this week to unplug, unwind, and all the other un's that we need to do. When you get a chance shoot me your digits. xoox

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  5. Congrats on your award! Sounds like a great week off! My family lives quite far away, so for me, a trip to be with my family is what I need to get centered! I had half of this week off, and like you, my plan was to organize the closets and dressers in the house. I only got mine done! Oh well! Is Cleo a Springer Spaniel? I have one of those myself!

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    1. Cleo is a cocker, but everyone thinks she's a springer because of her coloring.

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  6. Congrats on your award! I hope you make lots of awesome memories on your vacation! That's really what it's all about :)

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  7. I love this post. Waking up and reading about my girl! I hope you are having a wonderful trip!! Miss you.

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    1. Miss you too! But enjoying my break from every day life...

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  8. Usually yoga is my re-center activity, but I'm taking a little bit of time off due to a shoulder issue. I'm all kinds of thrown off from that!
    Congratulations on your well-deserved award! As a mom who has unfortunately had to spend time in a pediatric unit of a hospital with their child, anyone who practices pediatric medicine in any form is a hero to me. You are amazing!

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    1. Awww...I don't feel amazing! It's just what I do. Always have. I can't imagine taking care of adults!

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  9. I remember the last time, we "made" the kids go to Disney. They wanted to stay home and play on the computer. Looking back, it was our last family vacation and I'm glad they went. I think they even had fun.

    Enjoy the warm weather. It is still freezing here - teens today :(

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    1. I think this is our last one...trying to get them enthused is hard work.

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  10. Wendy, congratulations on your award; I'm so glad you've received some recognition for all that you do in the clinic and with your students. It's nice to be validated every once in awhile, right? Sounds like you had a great week with some easy running, back to yoga and the bike - woo hoo! I hope that y'all have a nice trip together and I'm sure your boys will enjoy themselves in spite of their initial desires to stay in their routine. Crazy kids - ha! Thanks so much for linking up today and I hope you have a great vacation!

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  11. We rarely get to see you in real clothes! You clean up well :)

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    1. Haha! That's why I put that picture on here...

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  12. Congratulations on your award. How wonderful to be recognized! And is CLEO a Spinger? I loooooove Springer Spaniels and have been lucky to be doggie-mom to 2 of the best ever!

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    1. Cleo is a cocker; but with her coloring a lot of people think she's a springer.

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  13. Beautiful, filled-to-the-brim-with-LIFE post. Congrats on your award and your love of mentoring. Your students are very fortunate to have such a kind, fun, smart, active teacher. SO "centering"... hmmmmmm. With my life and activity and work and Caregiving my Mom and my husband and 11 grandkids and 4 kids and 4 in-law kids and friends... I've a little bit lost the feeling of what my Center is. It's a very good question. Hmmmmmm, again. I seem too often to be "squeezing in" rather than "centering". But I may have an answer. I kind of hurt my calf a couple of weeks ago; don't know how. But I haven't been running; instead, started swimming again while in Florida (BY THE WAY, HAVE A WONDERFUL TIME!!!!). I was amazed at the peace it brought to me. Amazed at the sounds and not having to pay attention to much. No pace. No "time". No cares, actually. I did feel a CENTER in all of this. Maybe my CENTERING changes in phases. I tried to NOT be too overwhelmed with my calf and running and marathon training, but that's difficult. What swimming again did was to give me something else. Oh, and when these frigid temperatures finally make haste, I'm very excited to hop on my bike and take off. Again, wonderful post!

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    1. Thank you! It's so hard to center when we are busy taking care of everyone else, isn't it? Running is definitely my me time.

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  14. Congratulations on your award! Mentoring is such an important part of the learning process and your students are lucky to have you! On another note I chuckled when I read about your trouble unclipping because that totally happens to me every time I get on my bike outside for the first ride of the season. :)

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    1. It was pretty scary, trying to unclip that first time. I'm so afraid of falling!

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  15. you clean up well! congrats on that award!! yes, I love me time- we all need time to decompress. No worries that closet isn't going anywhere- enjoy that vacation! :)

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  16. Congrats on your award! That is so lovely! I hope your family vacation ends up being great and drama free! The little one will have a good time once you're there :)

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  17. Do you have problems with Vertigo regularly? I have it from time to time and it is so scary!

    Margo

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    1. I don't have vertigo often. I've maybe had it once before? But it took a few weeks to completely resolve. It is scary.

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  18. CONGRATULATIONS on your award!!! I wish you a wonderful vacation!!!

    Bummer to hear that the Moroccan Chicken Stew did not turn out well because the recipe sounds to me like it would be a winner, too!

    Wow, a yoga class done with the poses against the wall? That sounds awesome and very unique! Sorry to hear about the vertigo, though - hopefully it was just a one-time passing occurrence.

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    1. The vertigo lasted for a few weeks, was pretty annoying!

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  19. Congratulations! And also, have fun in Florida- definitely a fun time! I went out of town this past week for spring break with the family, and I feel like that has really helped me regroup. Today is my son's last day of spring break, although we are back in town. Tomorrow officially starts getting back into the swing of things, but I feel prepared at least :)

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    1. It's nice to get out of town and away from every day life, isn't it? This may be our last family vacation, my oldest will be 18 and out of school next year. Kind of hard to believe!

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  20. Congratulations on your award! Sounds like you had a lovely week. Your younger son sounds a bit like my younger son - we are already having challenges with him that we did not have with our older son.

    And I'm totally jealous of your trip to Florida. I'm so tired of being cold.

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    1. I hear you on the cold weather...it snowed at home today. My neighbor sent me a picture of my house. So glad I"m not there.

      Hey, if you need to commiserate about your son, I'm here for you...

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  21. Congrats on your award! That is fantastic! And I hope you are having a fantastic time in FL! :)

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  22. Aww, that's so awesome! Congrats on your award! I would totally hug you for this post too! Thank you too on behalf of your students! I've really loved the preceptors I've had over the past year who were really enthusiastic about their jobs and about teaching, and went out of their way to create a very friendly and comfortable learning environment for me, so we definitely appreciate it! <3!

    (I love the potato head comic, ahaha.)

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    1. I'm so glad to hear it! I wish you lived near me so I could precept you too! :)

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  23. Its so important to recognize when its necessary to take some time to refocus and regroup. I hope you have a fabulous time in Florida!

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  24. Enjoy your week!! && congrats on the award!! Did you guys get any snow today?! Ugh... South of Chicago got plenty!! :P

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  25. How awesome to recognized for your work! Congratulations! I hope you have a wonderful vacation with your family. ENJOY.

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    1. The boys are loosening up...hoping that things continue to improve as the week progresses!

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  26. Congrats on that awesome award! I'm sure you are a wonderful mentor!! In terms of regrouping, my husband is really great about letting me get away for a weekend away with girlfriends, or in this case, Paris this year. That will really be a regrouping experience for me! I hope you have a wonderful time in Florida with your boys!

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    1. I do get to go away every fall with my sister--it's a great weekend for us. But I'm enjoying being away from work for this extended vaca--I really needed the break!

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  27. Wow! I don't even want to think about when my boys get older. I just want to savor the time now when they aren't busy with all of the activities and friends and not wanting to be with the fam. :) Congrats on your reward! Hope you have a great vacation!

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    1. It's definitely hard for me. I'm enjoying just being with them!

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  28. I have learned to enjoy and embrace the recovery. I no longer see it as a time of little to no running. It's a time of look at what all I CAN do :)

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    1. It's still a challenge for me! :) Maybe because I run for my mental health as well as physical.

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  29. Enjoy your trip and a recovery week! You timed that perfectly. :) Congrats on your award!!

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    1. Isn't that the truth? Funny how things fall into place. I'm really grateful for this time off.

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  30. Congrats on the award!! I love the dinner options you chose, they sound delish!!

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    1. The first recipe was amazing! But the other wasn't pleasing to anyone at my house. Maybe someone else might like it.

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  31. So glad you had a chance to enjoy some nicer, warmer weather during your time off. I too have got to get back to doing my yoga. I know it helps me I've just been a little afraid with my back and all. I can relate to the older child mine is 18 going to our local college but she kind of does her own thing while still living with us. I do appreciate more my time with her. Congratulations on your award at work what a great accomplishment! Hope you have a great time in FL!

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    1. It's so nice to talk with other parents of teens who completely get what I'm going through!

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  32. Good luck with the family vacation! Enjoy the time to yourself and with your husband, hope the boys will also find some things they can enjoy.

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  33. Have a great time in Florida! This spring I am hoping to get more workouts in on my bike. Congrats on your award!

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  34. Congrats!!! Family vacations are honestly the best. Kids don't understand how expensive it is when they're all grown up and have to pay for things themselves! haha

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    1. I think so, but my teenagers aren't so sure...They are enjoying themselves in spite of being with us.

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  35. What a wonderful week!! Congratulations on your award, what an honor! I can't even imagine how you must be feeling with the boys so grown up and not knowing when will be the 'last' family vacation. I totally understand how unsettling that must be. It's funny you did the wall poses in yoga - last week in my prenatal class we had a really small class, so we used the walls and did balancing poses. I was thinking it was so challenging because I hadn't done balancing stuff for so long, but what you wrote about being able to get deeper into the pose using the wall sounds right.

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    1. Yep, I keep trying not to think about it, that this might be the last time we all go away together. It's a weird feeling. Time will tell...

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  36. Right now I am in the middle of raising three little littles but your post made me realize that one day, I too will have that last vacation where I will wonder if there will ever be any more like it. I hope you are enjoying every last bit of this special family time!!!!!!

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    1. We are, and I'll write about it. It's been a fun but challenging trip.

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