Monthly Archives: May 2015

Berryman

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Part I: The Race

I can honestly say, this is the first time I’ve ever written a blog post hooked to an IV.  But I’ll get to that later.

On Saturday, I ran the Berryman Marathon.  Back in January a couple friends had enticed me into signing up since they were doing the 50 miler.  Coming off of Arizona, I didn’t feel like doing much.  And while my usual motto is, when given the choice, choose the longer option, I didn’t think I should push it so I opted for the marathon.  (That just sounds silly now)

On Friday night, after I closed up shop with James in Town and Country, I hopped in the car and drove to Potosi, a rural community on the edge of Mark Twain National Forrest, where they have a Super 8.  I checked into my room and was in bed eating pie by 10pm.  I had everything laid out and ready to go.

At 6:15 I rolled out of bed and began race prep. I dressed in my running gear and went down the hall to the ice machine so I could fill the bladder of my hydration vest.  I grabbed my bottles of Scratch out of the mini fridge that I had mixed the night before and added them to the pockets of my vest, which was also stuffed with Huma gels and Gu.  It was supposed to be humid, so I was going to be prepared.

Eventually I took my stuff to the car and went back into the lobby to grab some breakfast.  Or some coffee at the very least.  I was greeted by a gal in running gear who asked if I was headed to Berryman too.  I confirmed that I was.  While I drank my coffee, we chatted about previous races and our thoughts for the day.  She was hoping to finish between 4 and 5 hours.  I was hoping to finish.  While I was the more experienced of the two of us, I wasn’t sure what to expect of this course and I knew that I hadn’t properly trained for it.  So I set the bar low and my goal for the day was to go out and have fun.

By 7:30 I was in the car, driving the 25 minutes to the course.  My race started at 8.  The thing about trail races that is very different from the huge races downtown is that you don’t have to get there an hour and a half early.  At Berryman, like many others, you basically pull up, get out of your car, slap on your race bib and away you go.

I saw several friends at the start.  Rosie and John had already started the 50 mile at 6:30, but Rosie’s husband Alex greeted me with a hug.  I handed off my keys to Megan and Seth to put in the Fleet Feet truck for safe keeping.  Then I gathered behind the starting line with some of the girls from the tri club and a few seconds later we were running.  About 10 steps in I knew it was going to be a slow day.  Not that I hadn’t already figured that out from lack of training, but the humidity was at about 99%.  It settled over us like a blanket.  An oppressive wet blanket.  It was making my legs feel like lead.  It was then that I knew my body didn’t have it that day, my mind was going to have to do most of the grunt work to get this race in the books.  But it’s not like I’ve never had to brush that feeling aside, and so into the forest I ran.  I stuck right behind Tara and Donna for the first 5 miles or so.  We broke apart at the first aid station, which was good for me, because then instead of mindlessly staring at Tara’s shoes, I started to take in the majesty of the forest.  It really is an unbelievable trail.  Tough, but beautiful.

I’m not really sure when it started raining, but it felt amazing!  The cool water on my face felt refreshing and it made running seem easier.  It also made the creeks rise, so where in the beginning I was able to jump from rock to rock to get across without getting wet, it wasn’t long until I would just trudge right through, soaking my shoes and socks.  There’s something to be said about the thrill of returning to youthfulness, playing in streams, enjoying the woods, exploring and the satisfying crunch of gravel under your feet.  This was the fun I had been seeking.  Yes, I was going slower than usual and no I hadn’t adequately trained for this race, but it was reminding me of what I loved to do.

Just before the 14 mile aid station I caught up to Donna.  She was walking, so I slowed to walk with her for a bit.  Her stomach was off and she was having a rough day.  Mine wasn’t the stomach, but we probably could have started a club.  We approached the aid station and when I was ready to take off, Donna waved me on.  She was done.  “Have a good race,” she hollered after me.  “Thanks!” I waved.  And I heard someone from the aid station ask if she wanted a ride back in the truck.

And then, I was alone in the woods again.  The terrain was rough, so there were several times throughout the day that I turned an ankle so hard I felt it down to my toes and all the way up the lateral side of my calf.  That would probably hurt, I thought to myself, if I hadn’t taken that Aleve earlier.  However, the Aleve was not only masking the ankle pain, it was also hiding the bigger, more serious issue.  While making them worse at the same time.

As the race went on the hills seemed tougher, I don’t know if that was the course, my body, or the fact that the sloppy conditions were making it more challenging.  I walked a lot of the uphills, I ran the down hills and the flats.  As I cruised into the aid station around Mile 17, I saw Tara. I told her that Donna had gotten a ride back to the finish; she said she had a feeling that would happen.  As we took off again, I vaguely heard one of the volunteers giving directions about when we get to the road the trail is only a little ways up.  When we got to the only actual road we would encounter that day, there were 4 of us, Tara, me, a random guy and a random girl.  We saw the arrow that appeared to point across the paved road directly at a gravel road, so down the gravel road we went.  About half a mile down, a big white pickup truck pulled out and almost blocked us.  The driver got out and said, “This here’s a dead end.  Whatchya’ll doin’ out here?”  We explained that we were looking for the Berryman trail.  “Well, ya won’t find it down that way, that’s just Joe Bob’s farm.”  Good thing he intercepted us.  He couldn’t understand why in the world we were looking for a tiny little trail in the desolate weather we were experiencing, but he told us generally where we needed to go.  He offered to drive us up there in his truck, but we politely declined.  Nobody likes a cheater.  But I can’t honestly tell you that none of us thought about it for half a second.

Usually around mile 17, 18, 19 of a marathon, your brain has to do a decent job of convincing your body to keep running.  Even worse at that point of a race and you realize you’re not even on the course.  You’re running to get back on course, I can assure you it’s more than a little deflating.  But, just as I said in that moment, what’s a race without a story?  We plugged along on that gravel road until we got back to the paved road, which we began to follow.  And about 10 steps up, we came upon another spray painted arrow on the road.  If only we had seen that sooner.  Ah well, such is life.  It wasn’t long until we ducked back into the woods again.  We trudged up a hill single file with the rain coming down.  Tara disappeared from my sight again shortly after that.  And eventually so did everyone else.  It’s funny how that works, one minute you’re in the midst of a crowd, the next minute you’re in solitude with a bunch of trees.

I continued my strategy of walk up, run down.  There were times that I was literally running in a creek bed, slopping through mud puddles.  It was amazing.

A lot of the latter part of the race is a little blurry.  Looking back on that now, understandably so.  I don’t recall ever feeling bad, other than tired.  I remember a lot of telling myself to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  I even passed a few people in the last mile or two.  And then, just as we were about to come out of the woods, there were Tara’s shoes right in front of me again.  Just like I don’t  I don’t recall exactly when it started raining, I don’t remember when it stopped either, but it wasn’t raining when we came out of the woods and ran through the finish.  Despite running completely different races on the same course, we’d seen each other at the beginning, the middle and the end.  Two races with times that were just seconds apart, and we spent most of the day not together.

I was so glad it was done.  And even more glad I had signed up for the marathon and not the 50 mile.

Then there was a medal around my neck and I went to grab a bottle of water.  There was a great spread of food, that I couldn’t even think about enjoying until I changed into dry clothes.  I glanced around looking for Alex, but saw no sign of him, so I wondered if Rosie had decided to call it a day after 1 loop.  I couldn’t fathom doing that a second time.

I hiked up to my car, changed into my flip flops, made my recovery drink, took off my empty hydration pack and began stripping off soaking wet clothes.  Once I was dry and the Gu brew was gone, I started back towards the food.

I joined the other runners in the pavilion, downed a big cheeseburger, lots of chips, some cookies and more water.  I was tired, sore, but I felt good.  The girl next to me noticed my tattoo and asked which Ironman I had done.  I can’t remember which one she said she had completed last fall, but we both agreed that we thought that one standalone trail marathon was harder than the marathon at the end of an Ironman.  It took me 6 hours and 1 minute.  Even in Arizona, I was solidly under 6, at about 5:20.  It had been a tough day, one that I wasn’t truly prepared for.  But I’d made it.  And something I had thought about on that course was how often are we ever really prepared for the hard stuff?  We aren’t.  There really isn’t much we can do besides take things as they come and do the best we can under the circumstances.  Ah, and wasn’t that a prophetic thought…

Part II: The Aftermath

On the drive home I wasn’t in any hurry, so I plugged my address into my phone GPS and let it take me home by way of the back roads.  Hilly, twisty, turny roads with tiny little churches, grand houses with big white fences and fields full of wildflowers.  I enjoyed the ride home as much as the race, maybe more.  And by then the sun was shining.

I got home, unloaded the car, showered, and I was feeling pretty good about myself making 6:30 church.  I grabbed a cup of coffee on the way in to keep me awake.  As we stood to start singing, I felt it hit me.  A wave of dizziness passed over me.  I wanted  the singing to end, I was desperate to sit down.  Finally we did.  I was shifty, fidgety, unable to focus.  I was so tired, but it wasn’t an ordinary tiredness.  I felt like I was going to pass out.   I fought to maintain through the service.  I survived.  Then I drove home, grabbed more water and curled up on the couch under a blanket with my jacket still on.  I was shivering.  My heart was racing.  It occurred to me that I hadn’t peed more than twice that whole day.  Once in the morning before the race and once after the race.  That’s it.  I recognized some of the signs of dehydration and I started getting worried.  After talking to my mom, we agreed I should consider having someone take me to the ER.  I called Vega, who lives just a couple miles away, but he was over in Illinois so he suggested I call Heather.  I did and she came right over.

I had turned on the movie Wild, which I’d been wanting to see, because I knew it would hold my attention and keep me alert as well as anything.  I kept refilling my water.

When Heather arrived, I had already started feeling a little better, so we decided to sit tight and see how things went for a while.  We hadn’t seen each other so we caught up on each other’s lives and the time passed quickly.  Before too long I was going to the bathroom frequently and things seemed to be returning to normal.  I sent Heather on home and I climbed into bed for the night.

I woke up around 1am and stumbled clumsily with marathon fatigued muscles into the bathroom.  When I returned to bed, I had a hard time going back to sleep.  I tossed and turned a lot.  I didn’t feel right but I couldn’t put my finger on it, so I chalked it up to post-marathon yuck.

I finally got up around 8:30 the next morning.  My muscles hurt more than they should have.  True I hadn’t trained very well, but this seemed like an excessively miserable state.

I made my way to the kitchen and shoved a bag of lays potato chips in my face.  Yes, for breakfast.  Don’t judge me.  I knew I needed salt.  I chased them with a bottle of lemon lime Gatorade Silas had taken one sip of and then left in the fridge.  Typically I loathe lemon lime Gatorade, but on that particular morning it tasted like the nectar of the gods.  Again, I should have suspected that something was awry.  I downed an orange Gatorade and some other easily accessible items.  I avoided coffee, because I feared the feeling of my heart racing the night before was due to the quantity of caffeine I had consumed.  Pre-race coffee, caffeinated gels, cola at the aid stations, coffee at church.  It was a lot even for me.  I settled in on the couch to study for my Monday exam, this week testing on the Urinary system.  Oh, the irony.

As it closed in on 11 am, I got ready for work and headed out the door with enough time to stop for a burger on the way, I was craving one.  I swung by 5 Guys and Fries, got stuck behind a whole baseball team and was shoving fries in my mouth as I drove the rest of the way to work.  I pulled into the parking lot and in a cumbersome manner dragged myself and my supplies (food, water, Gatorade) into the store.

We were slow for quite a while.  I told Hannah about the race.  I used the massage rollers.  I wanted to lie down.  I wandered aimlessly.  Hannah was helping a customer with a Garmin when a guy came in for a shoe fitting.  Hannah knew I was going to have a hard time getting up and down off the floor, so she had already offered to take fittings first, but she was helping someone, so I sucked it up and did what I was there to do.  I did have to explain to my customer that I am not typically so inflexible that it takes me 5 minutes to get up off the floor.  He was kind about it, he probably should have laughed, I’m sure I looked absurd.  After those 2 customers left, the entire store was empty.  I was freezing, so I put on my jacket. Hannah and I were over talking to James and Ronette.  I really wanted to just go to sleep on the couch on the SBR side.  I went and stood halfway out the door.

James looked at me quizzically, “Are you cold?!”

“I’m freezing.”

At this point, Hannah started insisting I go home.  We were mostly through the day, the “rush” was likely over and I was pretty much useless to anyone.  So, I followed Hannah’s orders and I went home.  The drive was one of those drives where you get to where you’re going and you’re like, huh, how did I get here?

I went in the house and resumed my position on the couch under the blanket, jacket still on.  When B showed up about an hour later with my requested can of soup, I hadn’t moved and I probably looked like death.  I had quickly escalated back to worse than I had felt the previous evening.  I don’t recall that I said much for the next hour as I dozed on the couch.  He asked a couple different times if I wanted my soup, but my appetite had become a thing of the past.

He sat down on the couch at my feet.  I finally looked at him and said, “I don’t think I can fix this myself.”

B asked, “Are you ready to go to the hospital?”

“Yeah, I’m done suffering.”

We gathered my purse, a blanket, my phone charger, things I would need in case we had to be there a few hours.  I wasn’t planning on days.  I figured we’d go to the ER, they’d give me a bag of IV fluid, maybe a prescription for an antibiotic and send me on my way.

B dropped me at the emergency door and then went to park, I was already in Triage when he came in.  I told the nurse my symptoms, she drew some blood and started an IV and put me back in the waiting room for a bit.  I was glad I had brought my blanket.  I was shivering again.  B went and asked the nurse for another blanket for me.  A nurse told him she would bring one over.  The longer I waited, the more I shook.  I was freezing, I actually had a fever of almost 103. Eventually, B went back to the nurse and got a blanket that felt fresh out of the dryer.  It was heaven.  But with the shaking, came the nausea.  So then B had to go ask for something for me to puke in, just in case.  If you’re wondering, I never did. Finally after the longest hour ever, they took me back to a room and not too long after the doctor came in.  “You know your body well,” he said.  Turns out I was severely dehydrated, with a kidney infection to boot.  They planned to give me a couple more bags of fluid and some antibiotics.  That right there was enough to confirm the decision to come in.  They needed to run more tests, so they took more blood.  And then I was admitted.  More confirmation I had done the right thing coming to the hospital.

I got to my room just after midnight.  I was exhausted.  It took a while for that to change.  My temp would ebb and flow, waves of nausea mixed with episodes of violent shivering, vitals every 4 hours, midnight round of antibiotics and shots in the belly, 5am blood draw for labs, one day would flow into the next with the hope of going home tomorrow.  I started feeling like the little boy who cried wolf.

My diagnosis was Pyelonephritis.  What are the odds that I know exactly what this is because there was likely a question about it on the exam I missed Monday.  My kidney infection allowed the infection to be sent out from my kidney into my body through my blood.  Had I ignored my symptoms longer, I might not have lived to tell the tale.  Scary, but true.  The good news is RRG rambles on.  However, I may not be running much for a while.  But that’s ok.  I’ve got a lot to focus on.  And after 4, almost 5, days in the hospital, I’ve got some catching up to do.

Something Rosie texted me the other day was, “Take care of you.  Remember: your face mask first.” She’s right.  I know everyone calls me supermom, but what good am I to my kids, or anyone else, if I don’t take care of myself?  This was a good reality check that while I know I am capable of pushing through the pain, there are times that I probably shouldn’t.

So apparently, the moral of the story is, I’m not superhuman.  Huh. Who knew?  😉

As for Berryman, we’re on for a rematch.  Someday.  When I don’t have a potentially life threatening infection.  As for this weekend, be certain I won’t be traveling too far from the couch.

 

 

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The Truth about Mother’s Day

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I have a confession to make.  And it likely won’t be very popular.  But when have you ever known me to do something simply because it was popular?  Here it is.  You ready? The truth is…I’m not super fond of Mother’s Day.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my mom and I am glad to be able to honor her.  But as a mom, as a single mom, this weekend is really tough.  I’ve spent the better part of today either crying or fighting the tears that want to come, depending on the situation.  Crying at work isn’t typically the most acceptable way to greet customers, so I got by ok there.  It was actually a good distraction.  But it was difficult to hold back when I was at the grocery store and several people were buying flowers, and cards, and I was overhearing conversations of the planned menus that were being prepared tomorrow for all the moms.

I keep thinking back to a couple years ago, my first Mother’s Day after things were finalized.  I remember sitting in Ihop with the kids, cutting pancakes and mopping up spilled orange juice and tending to everyone’s needs, when suddenly I looked around me.  It was like slow motion that I noticed all the families.  My eyes went from one table to the next, to the next, scanning the faces of moms, and kids, and dads.  That was the day I realized Mother’s Day would never be the same for me.

Fortunately, I managed to get my work schedule switched around tomorrow, so I can spend the day playing with my babies.  Assuming the weather cooperates, we’re going to spend part of the day at Eckert’s Farm over in Illinois where they will have rides, inflatables, and all kinds of other activities for the kids.  But the other day when I called to make reservations for Mother’s Day brunch and as I spoke to the lady on the other end, she asked how many.

“Four,” I told her.

“Are there any children in your party?”

“Yes, 3.”

“But you said there are 4 total in the party, right?”

“Yes…”

I wanted to scream into the phone, “Yeah, that’s right!  I’m making my own reservation for my own brunch!  And I’ll be picking up the tab too!”  It wasn’t her fault that things turned out like this, but it was just one more reminder that my life didn’t go the way I planned.

The reality is I am a mom with great kids that I wouldn’t trade for the world.  The other part of my reality is…I do it alone.  Yes, I have a fantastic guy in my life who has come through for me big time on several occasions.  And yes, I have the most amazing friends ever who make sure I am never lonely.  And yes, my kids and my mom and the rest of my family love me to pieces and I’m so blessed to have them.  But none of them are responsible for taking on the role of the other parent in my household.  That is reserved for me alone.

Trust me, I’m not saying I regret my life choices.  And I’m not saying I want to be back where I was.  But I pulled out a picture earlier of Mother’s Day morning a few years ago.  My three babies sitting on the floor next to my bed, crowded around a tray full of pop tarts and soggy cereal and something in a plastic wrapper.  They had decorated big cards that read “I love you, Mommy!”  That picture was taken the last time I got to wake up on Mother’s Day to my babies’ smiling faces.  Tomorrow I will meet them at church and we will go off and spend a fun day together.

And while there is definitely something to be said for sleeping in, I would trade that a hundred times over for the snuggles in bed, and a tray of soggy cereal and cold pop tarts prepared for me.

I keep thinking about my friends that have lost their own moms, and my friends who have had several miscarriages or lost children, my friends who have been alienated from their children and friends that have struggled with infertility.

Mother’s Day is a beautiful sentiment to honor and celebrate the women who have brought us into the world and loved us unconditionally.  But it is also bittersweet for many.

The fact is we can’t have any way of knowing what the experience is of anyone we encounter tomorrow.  So the best we can do is to honor the moms of the world, wherever their babies are, on earth, in heaven, in their hearts.  And tomorrow if you look around and notice a mom without a partner, or someone with sadness in their eyes, give them an extra smile.  As a personal request from RRG, do what you can to pay it forward and spread a little extra sunshine.

So to all of the women in my life, whether you are a mom or not, I salute you and celebrate you tomorrow for the beautiful souls that you are and all that you bring to this world!

To all of the moms in my life, we have the toughest and most amazing job ever.  Thank you for helping me navigate this challenging, rewarding, heart-breaking, exasperating, wonderful path of motherhood.

To the ones who are grieving, if I could wrap you in a big Lindsey sized hug, I would do it!  I am sending love and prayers to so many of you.

To the three little people who made me a mom, I can’t imagine life without you.  You make me laugh, you make me cry, and sometimes you make me completely CRAZY.  But I love you all a super, super, super lot!  And I wouldn’t trade you for anything!

And finally to my own mom, there are no words to thank you for all that you have put up with from me, but my one hope is that I can be to my children even half of what you have been to me.  Love you, Ma.  Thank you for making tomorrow worth celebrating!  Happy Mother’s Day.

Mother's Day 2011

 

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Letting Go of the Martyr Thing…

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Before I start, I want to give a quick update on Katherine.  Thank you so much for all the prayers, she is doing really well.  She was awake about a day after I posted and was communicating through writing while she was still intubated.  Last I heard, the breathing tube was removed and she was resting up in preparation for surgery scheduled for today to repair her facial fractures.  She still has an intensive recovery ahead of her, but the worst is behind us. She proved that she is the Superwoman we all believed her to be!
Something cool that happened from my last post was that my friend Leslie reached out because she had just met Katherine a couple weeks ago.  Katherine had posted looking for a photographer in Chicago and I gave her Leslie’s name.  Leslie had the pleasure of meeting Katherine’s entire family on the River front for photos.  Leslie thanked me for bringing my world’s together.  I always say I love small world stories, but my world is small because I make it that way.  I love bringing people together.  It’s who I am.
Now I’ll tell you a story…
Today I went out for a nice, little 16 mile run.  Ok, so most people wouldn’t put little in the same sentence as running 16 miles.  Fair enough.  I did the same thing I’ve done the past couple Thursdays, which has become my one “free day” during the week.  I don’t have to go to school on Thursdays and if I work it isn’t until later in the day.  So I’ve been dropping the kids at school and taking advantage of my solitude out in the woods.
This morning a couple ladies asked me if I was a “real ultra runner”.
“Are you an ultra runner? Because you look like an ultra runner.”
“I’ve done AN ultra”, I informed them.  “And I’m getting ready to run Berryman next weekend.”
“Oh, doesn’t that have one that’s like 50 miles?”
“Yes, but I’m just doing the marathon.”
As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I heard how ridiculous it sounded.  “Just a marathon”.
At what point did we become a society that belittles our accomplishments?  I realize that the running community is known for this, but it happens a great deal in our everyday lives too.
I’m “just” a stay at home mom.  I’m “just” an associate.  I’m “just” a (fill in the blank).
I was thinking about this while I ran today.  And let’s face it, even though I “just” ran 16 miles, I was out there for the better part of the morning.  So I thought about several of the events of the past week.  Such as…
Last Thursday morning when I arrived at the Al Foster trail head, I pulled into the parking lot “just” ahead of my friend Heather.  (See what I did there?  Ok, sorry, I’ll stop.  For now.)  Heather was meeting a girlfriend to go for a run.  They invited me to join them, but I didn’t want my pace to slow them down.  And I was in need of zoning out, so I sent them on ahead.  But we chatted in the parking lot for a bit.  Heather gave me some of the details about Katherine’s accident that I hadn’t gotten.  We were all still pretty shaken by the whole thing.
Before Heather and her friend left, Heather said something that stuck with me this week.  She said there was a song that she always associates with me when she hears it on the radio.  I couldn’t place the song she meant, but I appreciated the sentiment.  It was something about a fight song.  I planned to look it up later.
That was Thursday, the weekend was a whirlwind!  Friday I dropped the kids at our friends house to ride to school, headed off to school myself, straight to work from there and finally arrived home in time to put Silas to bed Friday night, so I could study for a bit.
Saturday was off to the races early.  I dropped Ally at her dad’s for coverage of her day’s activities (Cue:severe mommy guilt for missing her Gymnastics Showcase).  Then we had Ethan’s baseball pictures at 9am and game at 10am.  The game went into extra innings, because I wasn’t stressed enough about the schedule, and we came screeching into the garage just minutes before Ethan’s friends arrived for his birthday party.  Fortunately my beau and his little dude were already there, just in case.  Brian and I filled canteens for all the boys, loaded everyone into the cars and headed off to Shaw Nature Reserve for an afternoon of hiking and exploring.  After everyone was thoroughly exhausted, we headed home for parents to pick up their boys. I ordered pizza while our boys played Wii.  Then B and I collapsed on the couch for a bit.  I may even have dozed briefly.  After B and G left, and my boys were settled for the night, and Ally was retrieved from her cousin’s house, I sat down for another study session until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer.
Sunday morning we were all pretty quiet.  B and G were back in time to go church with all of us. We caravan-ed over to the Crossing and I passed my kiddos off to their dad after service.  Then I raced home to change clothes and grab food before going to work for the day.  After work, I got in a short run and a shower and I was studying (while cooking salmon and drinking a glass of wine) when B showed up for dinner.  Neither one of us had enough energy to do anything more than sit on the couch.
Monday morning I was up with the sun for one last study session before heading off to school to take another exam.  I tanked this one.  And by tanked I mean it brought my average down to a 94%.  I’ll survive to see another day.  But my competitive nature is flaring.  During the 3 hours of lecture that followed, I found my mind wandering more than usual.  And at 1:00 when I finally sat down on my counselor’s mini-couch (I won’t say love seat, that’s a stupid name for a piece of furniture, especially in a therapist’s office), I promptly burst into tears.
“I’m so tired!”  I sobbed.
CRASH!  That was the the sound of my martyrdom crashing head first into a solid, cinder block wall.
We talked about a lot in our hour, but that’s covered under patient confidentiality so I can’t tell you the details.  I can, however, tell you that a big part of it had to do with me taking care of…me.
Yes, it’s true.  I have this problem with being a martyr.  I try to be all things to all people.  I make sure everyone is cared for.  And while I stepped out on my own a few years ago as a single woman, in an effort to take care of me, my needs, my heart, I still find myself crawl back into the role of martyr on occasion. It’s a sneaky, subtle process.  And then eventually I hit a breaking point which brings me to the realization that I’m back.
Last night I was out to pick up a couple things, gifts for Ally’s teachers and supplies for Silas’ talent show skit.  He’s going to be Silas the Mad Scientist and do “experiments” with Pepsi and Mentos.  I hope someone will take a video since I will be at my own last day of class that day.  I walked into Bread Co to get some gift cards for the teachers and I saw, none other than, Amy Marxkors.  I find it hilarious that this girl and I can try and try and try to make plans, but they always fall through.  And then randomly we will run into each other multiple times in a week.  I saw her twice last week at the end of my 13 mile run on Al Foster.
I gave her a quick run down of what’s going on with me and found out about some cool new projects she is working on.  And then, like a flash, she was gone.  Off to deliver a strawberry smoothie to the little girl she was tutoring.  But the thing that is so cool about my random Marxkors sightings, is that they may be brief, but they are always profound.  I texted her later to say how glad I was to see her and that I knew it was supernatural.  Her text back was on point…”Oh, I’m so glad! It is crazy how we run into each other at just the right time.  Be strong and deny the “martyr” thing.  That’s just a lie the devil uses to steal our lives.  God talks about quiet and stillness.  You need that.  Don’t sacrifice that.”
So, today as I enjoyed my quiet and stillness…maybe not so much physical stillness as just letting my brain be still, I heard Him softly telling me, “It’s ok. You do an amazing job of taking care of everyone, but it’s ok to take care of yourself.  You are my child, too. Let go of the martyr thing…”
While a part of me wants to jump up and down and scream, “WooHoo!”, there is an equal part of me that isn’t really sure what letting go looks like.  Change is scary.  It’s “just” hard.  But’s it’s also a necessary part of growth.
I have proven I’m a fighter.  I have proven I can do any darn thing I set my mind to.  I have proven I can be a full time mom, go to school, work and keep everything running like a well oiled machine.  But who am I trying to prove any of this to?  Now it’s time for me to prove that the fighter in me can fight the urge to be the martyr. Because I am so much more than “just” a martyr.  I can let go. I can make waves no matter what I’m doing. Or not doing. Starting now I reclaim my life.  I reclaim me.
And Heather’s song is still just as appropriate.  Take a listen…
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A Request from RRG…

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My dear and faithful readers,

I have a request.  Tonight I seek your prayers, positive vibes, good wishes, whatever you are willing to send, for my friend, Katherine, and her family.

Before I tell you the details, I want you to know Katherine.  I’ve mentioned Katherine several times before, and she is a loyal reader of this blog.  She often makes encouraging comments when I post.

From the night I met Katherine, at Teri’s house for my first attendance of the Fit and Fab ladies, she has been one of my biggest cheerleaders.  I was training for my first 70.3 and I didn’t have a clue what I was doing amongst a group of women who could boast numerous Ironman’s to their credentials.  Other than Teri, I think I knew 3 people there.  But somehow I was introduced to Katherine, and before long, we were chatting like old friends.  And within no time at all, she had me believing that I truly was capable of anything I wanted to do.

As we talked, I had absolutely no idea what a complete BADASS this girl is.  She runs marathons, she does triathlons.  Ok, so do I.  But unlike me, she is looming at a sub 3 hour marathon.  She PR’ed in Boston the day of the bombing, and I’m pretty sure she has kicked that PR’s butt a couple times since.  Last year, at Ironman Coeur D’Alene she was hoping to qualify for the world championships in Kona.  After dropping her chain TWICE and losing all of her nutrition and hydration on the bike, she still managed to earn a spot in Kona.  It’s not uncommon for her to place at major events or even win local triathlons.  The girl is, I would wager to say, the best all-around athlete that I know.  She’s amazing.

And yet, you would never know it to talk to her.  She listens intently as you talk about your accomplishments and she encourages vigorously as you talk about your goals. She talks about her love of our sport.  But she’s so humble, she would never tell you how spectacular she is at it.  She would probably be more likely to describe herself as a nerd or a music lover.  She is brilliant too.  A “board-certified Psychiatrist” offering a second opinion, as she posted in a comment on one of my recent Facebook statuses to a friend who was jokingly saying she disagreed with her shrink.  Always light-hearted.

Katherine has 2 beautiful little girls, about the same ages as my boys.  She brags on them often.  She’s a proud mama.  She is also quick to build up her husband Jacob, her brother, her family and friends.  I don’t think there is a single one of us who doesn’t feel Katherine’s encouragement push us to be better at our passions.

Almost exactly 2 years ago, just before I went to Vancouver to run the marathon on May 5, I was in the middle of a fitting with a customer at the Chesterfield store.  I was sitting on the floor and I saw Katherine come in.  We were super busy, but I smiled and she came over to deliver a gift wrapped in tissue paper.  Later, when I opened it, I found socks with the words Bad Ass, and an arrow pointing upward.  I’m sure I still have the card she hand wrote, though I don’t know exactly where it is at present.  But I can tell you what it said, she was encouraging.  What she wrote made me believe that I am capable of achieving everything I dream of.  And more. Katherine knew I was going after Boston that day.  It wasn’t my day, we had record heat in Canada.  But Katherine has not, and will not, allow me to let go of that dream.  She is the reason I know I will get there someday.

I guarantee I am not the only one with a Katherine story like that.  She has a knack for bringing newbies in and making them feel right at home.

Yesterday Katherine was involved in a severe bicycle crash and was found unconscious by the side of the road.  We don’t believe that a car was involved, but rather that her tire blew causing her to crash.  She was flown to Barnes hospital after a passing motorist saw her and stopped to help.  She is currently in a medically induced coma to allow for a decrease of brain swelling.  If what I’ve heard is correct, she also has facial fractures and some internal bleeding.  There is a reason I am terrified of road riding by myself, and this is it. But Katherine is superwoman.  I don’t think she is afraid of anything, pain least of all.

If there is any one person in the world that I believe is strong enough to fight her way through this, it’s Katherine.  We even received an uplifting report this evening that she was responding to stimulus today.

In addition to my plea for your prayers for Katherine and her family, I have an additional request.  When Katherine was found, she was wearing her RoadID with her emergency contact information.  The paramedics were able to quickly determine who she was and contact her family.

My confession:  I have been terrible about wearing my RoadID lately.  Maybe in part because it still has my old last name on it.  But what happened to Katherine was the kick in the booty I needed to order a new one with the gift card I’ve had sitting on my desk since Christmas.

RoadID’s come in a variety of styles and colors.  And may I suggest they make great gifts for your active friends and family members.  If your mom is anything like mine, remember that Mother’s Day is right around the corner.  Sorry, Mom, I guess that secret is out.

Whatever your sport of choice, I ask you please, Lovely people, go forth and be safe!

I will post an update about Katherine’s progress when we have one, but in the meantime, please keep my cheerleader, my teammate and my friend lifted up high in your prayers.

Much love to you and yours,

Rambling Runner Girl

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