You all know I love a good pun or idiom. For this Easter Sunday weekly wrap up post, I really couldn't think of any phrase more fitting to describe my running right now. Running right now is just the craziest thing. I dunno, I look in the mirror and I look like myself. At rest, I feel like myself.
Once I'm up and moving, though, it's a different story. Any activities--running or walking--require careful pacing. There's no dashing out the door with reckless abandon, which has always been my MO. Gingerly placing my feet, now when I run, I continuously monitor my internal sensors. Is my heart beating too fast? Am I short of breath? Do my legs feel fatigued? I don't even have to remind myself to go slow because my body just won't let me push any faster.
I try not to focus on all the negative but it does really feel like I'm running on eggshells. As I reflect back on the week, there were some positive reminders that I'm still in this body. I might be down but I'm not out. Not yet. Actually, not ever.
On Tuesday, I received my monthly Tailwind newsletter and look who was featured! As one of the few marathoners who has been chosen as a Trailblazer, I was honored and excited to see this. It was a great reminder of yes, I'm a runner! Even though my trails are mostly asphalt. By the way: have you tried Tailwind? I'd love to send you some. PM me if you are interested.
Because I wasn't feeling well earlier in the week, I didn't go to the yoga studio, but on Thursday I went to CrossFit with Becky. I was a little nervous to talk to my tough-as-nails coach and tell her how I have been feeling. We talked at length. While I'm still on the fence about my marathon--I'm holding out for a miracle--she didn't try to sway me either way. What we did talk about is giving my go-go-go self a break. Rest days are rest days. She handed me my marathon training plan, which I am going to try to stick to even if I decide not to run Grandmas. We talked about how hard it is for me to call it quits. Becky reminded me that I'm not calling it quits, that my body is asking me to, essentially taking the burden of guilt off my shoulders.
By the time we finished talking, my session was over. My running friend Steph trains after I do, so we trained together. We've talked about doing this anyways, and it was really fun to have her there to keep me going. We did laps of lunges, kettlebell swings, unstable overhead presses, resistance band work, and my personal favorite, swings from the overhead rings. I was worried I wouldn't be able to do it, but yep, I did it all!
Running this week, for the most part, actually went better than I expected. While I'd love to just fly, I've come to the realization that RA has clipped my wings. I did all my runs using those 4:1 run/walk intervals. It's still so hard to believe that I have slowed down so dramatically in such a short time. But I'm still running and to me, that is a win.
One thing I've noticed about the run/walk intervals is that I have pretty consistent splits. So there's that too.
Saturday's run brought me some unexpected hilarity. It was sunny and 75 when I headed out at 8 am--unusual for this time of year. I decided to make the most of my 5 miler and drove to a local preserve that has a limestone path and a latrine at the trailhead. On the run, I was working hard at my newfound slow pace but enjoying the gorgeous day. Much to my amusement, as I ran, I came upon a guy on a bike and I passed him. I couldn't contain myself. Here I am, frustrated and angry, and there's a guy on a bike who couldn't care less that he was being passed by a runner, albeit a slow runner. Talk about perspective. During one of my walk breaks, he passed me on his weird, tiny-wheeled bike and I took his picture as he rode by.
For Sunday, I had 12 miles on the marathon training plan that Becky made for me. I agonized over this distance. 12 would be a great confidence booster for my half marathon in 3 weeks. But to run 12, I'd have to go into the Forest Preserve. Normally, that doesn't bother me. But I'm currently reading a really disturbing book--don't ask me why but I can't put it down--and I'm a little gun-shy about the woods right now.
So I compromised with myself and set 11 as my goal. I'd run the bike path and turn around at the entrance to the preserve. This turned out to be a good plan because I ran out into a very brisk wind. In fact, I had to do some serious pep-talking to get myself to push on. The run/walk intervals at 4:1 are still working well--I did do some minor adjustments when I anticipated a hill coming up. I wanted to make sure I walked up those hills. On the way back, the wind pushing me home was a definite plus for my tired body. I finished up with a smile on my face. Yes, it was slow. But I didn't quit. The fact that I ran 11 miles wasn't lost on me either!
Unfortunately, my speed work on Thursday was once again a bust. Right now, I cannot run a full mile without stopping. My VO2 max has to be zero. After 2 1/2 miles of this nonsense, I stopped for good. I walked back to the car and had the ugliest of ugly cries. You know, the kind with sobbing and hiccuping and snot and all that. I may even have banged my head against the steering wheel a few times. It's a good thing the parking lot was empty.
The tears weren't because I had a bad run. God knows I've had plenty of those.
The tears were because RA is threatening to take away from me the one thing that has given me all that I am.
Running has been my anti-anxiety and anti-depressant remedy for the past 25 years. Running gave me confidence when I had none. Running calmed me during my infertility journey and 2 cycles of IVF. Running gave me my "me time" as the mom of 2 little boys. Running kept me focused during grad school. Running let me pound out anger and frustration as those 2 little boys became teenagers and it kept me from pummeling them when I had to deal with their shenanigans. Running kept me young and fit as I started menopause. Running taught me that sh** happens--both literally and figuratively-- and when it does, you just keep on running because there are some things you cannot control.
Running has also brought some amazing people into my life. After that draining emotional outburst, I came home to a flower delivery on my front step. When I saw who the flowers were from--Marcia and MaryBeth--I started to cry all over again. Guys--the texts and emails from all of you, the kind blog comments, the wonderful Facebook and Instagram comments--you all have no idea how much this all means to me. If it weren't for running, I wouldn't have any of you in my life. While I don't want to be "that person", the one who gets flowers and sympathy, I am so grateful for the love of the running community. RA can't take that away from me.
I'm linking up with Tricia and Holly for the Weekly Wrap as well as Angela and Ilka for the Sunday Food and Fitness Linkup.