Sometimes You Have to Take the Pain With the Pleasure

Pain-what is it exactly?  In the medical field, we are taught that it is the fifth vital sign and that it is what the patient says it is-a totally subjective assessment.  Some people live with chronic pain and they have become so used to living with it that to look at them, one would not even know they have pain.  Then there is acute pain-the type that hits out of nowhere and is the most common reason for ER visits.

I have a very high pain threshold.  Therefore, when I actually say I am in pain-that means I feel as if I am about to die if I don’t get any relief.  It doesn’t happen often-almost non existent.  I ignore aches & pains a lot.  As a runner, that has made me very in tune with my body. I know what is normal and what is… well…odd.  If it is unusually odd, I take it in stride and may lay off a day or so or do some cross training.  It happened this past week when the top of my right foot was sore.  Most of the time, the “discomfort” goes away after a couple of days without any fanfare.  I usually foam roll, soak in a hot tub, and ice the area.  Not a big deal…unless it persists, which doesn’t happen often either.

This past Thursday, 3/19 I endured the “pain” of 40 miles on a treadmill.  I needed one last long run before the 50 mile ultra I am doing this coming Saturday 3/28.  If not for the rainy day that day, I would have done those miles outside.  However, I am really not into being soggy for that many hours, although I am aware that the day of the race could very well be rainy.  Big difference-I PAID for that run!  Plus, that long on a treadmill was something I had never attempted (nor ever wanted to)do before.  I can honestly say in retrospect, it wasn’t that bad.  I can also honestly say that it is something that I NEVER want to do again!  I averaged 5 miles per hour and finished in a little under 8 hours.  After each hour I would jump off, stretch, and take in my nutrition.  I was trying to best simulate what I would do on race day.  This was the aftermath:

Nutrition for 40 miles on a treadmill
Nutrition for 40 miles on a treadmill

Distance runners are a curious lot.  Trust me, there are a lot of other things I could have been doing for eight hours.  But I made a commitment to myself that I would get the training in and be as strong and confident as I could be going into race day.  As I said in a previous post, I have no time goal, I just want to finish strong (although I have made a 10.5 hour prediction).  The joy is in the journey. That is also the joy of running.  For me, it has been a journey of self discovery.  To be honest, the pain I put my body through has been to conquer emotional pain.  I’m no different than a lot of you.  I have suffered intense emotional pain.  Running has kept me sane.  Running has been my refuge. Running has been my best friend and confidante.  Physical pain has numbed my emotional pain.  To me, that’s a pretty good trade off.

So how did I get through eight hours on a treadmill?  Well, my puppy dogs were my faithful companions and I also got by with a little help from my friends-

I get by with a little help from my friends!
I get by with a little help from my friends!

What would life be without music?!  Since I don’t run outside with music, it was a real pleasure to be able to have it on the entire time on the treadmill.  No need for T.V., Netflix or DVDs- that would require too much concentration.  I just zoned out on my tunes.  I might also add that I had some really great twitter friends giving me encouragement along the way.  Those tweets were something to look forward to.  The running community is an awesome group of people.

In conclusion, I have had a LOT of emotional & toxic “weeds” in my life.  But as anyone who has grown flowers knows- the most beautiful flowers can grow and thrive amongst the weeds.  I plan on being a hybrid. What about you?

Until We Meet Again,

Stephanie

Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back into the same box.” –Italian proverb

 

 

 

“Ode to the Person Known as Me”

I’m compassionate,  Intelligent, and creative.

I’m valuable.

I’m passionate about life.

I am a caregiver by profession, a daughter, a sister, a mother , a good friend, a co-worker, a dog lover, a runner, and a very deep thinker.

I love to be silly, humor people, and make them smile.

Jamaican Gangsta wannabe
Jamaican Gangsta wannabe

Abuse of children, the elderly, and animals-those who can’t defend themselves…makes me incredibly sad.

I can put on overalls and a tool belt and get my hands dirty.

I can clothe myself in workout gear, shoot hoops, and drip with sweat and not care about my hair or makeup.

Sweaty & Loving It
Sweaty & Loving It

I can clean up, dress up, and be amazing.

A Dressy Occasion
A Dressy Occasion

At the end of the day, I can drink chocolate milk or a glass of wine (both through a straw if I want to), and be thoroughly content that how I lived my life that day was not in vain.

My age does not define me.

What others think or say about me does not define me.

My life is a gift.

I matter.

Born to Live an Incredible Life
Born to Live an Incredible Life

Until We Meet Again,

Stephanie

I Gave Up & I Stopped Caring

Weird title this week eh?  At first glance it sounds negative, I know.  I assure you though, that it is meant in a positive way.  Like you know, when someone gives up smoking, that is a positive thing.  Or when someone stops caring about fast food.  You get the idea. So let’s get on with it shall we?

I must start out by saying that the past two days have been phenomenally beautiful days weather wise.  That in itself is a huge positive.  I have come to realize that I have pretty severe Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D) 😦  I actually bought a “Happy Lamp” that emits high powered light that is suppose to emulate time in the sun.  Does it work?  I guess it doesn’t hurt any.  The fact that I was able to run outside most of the month of January was a big plus as well.  February- not so much.  I really felt that I was falling behind on my ultra training in February which just added to my er, “cloudy disposition.” Not to mention the fact that things going on in my personal life have been less than ideal.  But in the midst of it all, I stopped caring and I gave up.

The Long Days of Winter
The Long Days of Winter

I stopped caring that I chose to not go outside and run in the ice & snow. Hey, I’m a month away from 51 years young and the Boston Marathon. I wasn’t about to risk going out there and injuring myself and not being able to run…period.  So I gave up and spent A LOT of time on the treadmill.  I gave up on following the training schedule to the “inth” degree and stopped caring that it was what others deemed as ideal and modified it to my lifestyle.  It has worked out fine.  Last week I ran 31 miles-the longest ever in my life, in a little less that six hours-11:08 pace. Today I was able to negative split a four miler with my fourth mile at 7:39 pace.  I cross train/strength train as time permits on my non running days, usually three days a week.  I gave up on trying those nonsense 30 day challenges because they just don’t work for me!  I stopped caring that I couldn’t mark each day off on the calendar like a kid waiting for Christmas…bah humbug!  I also gave up on trying to EVER believe I would look like one of those fitness models with perfectly chiseled abs/glutes/quads/biceps/triceps. I stopped caring that that just doesn’t work for me.  I stopped caring about the opinions of others about how skinny I am, how small my boobs are, how boney my butt is, how  much I run, how ungracefully I run, how I dress when I run…ad NAUSEUM!  Because you know what?  It just doesn’t matter! As long as I am happy with who I am (and I am), that is what is important.  Which leads me to the topic of opinions.

Opinions are neither right nor wrong, they are simply that-opinions.  Not too many people can base their opinions on scientific fact.  Some people just rudely have the need to be “right.”  People have their preferences.  I gave up on trying to convince some folks of why I do what I do. They will never understand because they have a different history than I.  I stopped caring about what they thought of me.  In the grand scheme of things, it is highly insignificant.  If they’re not feeding me or financing me, their opinion means very little.  But they’re still entitled to it.  I respect their opinion and I expect the same in return.  I have an opinion on selfies such as why people take so many of themselves and feel the need to expose body parts.  Doesn’t mean I am wrong or right.  I am not a psychiatrist.  Does that mean I am being negative?  I hardly think so, as I find most of it highly humorous….and I do enjoy humor.

Be Yourself
Be Yourself

This matter of opinion extends into every area of our lives.  Where some prefer Pepsi, others prefer Coke. You may like coffee, others may like tea. Then there is Folgers or Maxwell House, Lipton or Luzianne!  Does it really matter?  A preference is a preference.  Just today I bought a drill.  I listened to the opinions of others and ended up with one I am perfectly happy with, given the fact I am not a carpenter and don’t intend on using it to build a house.  I picked it out and bought it with the money I worked for.   That fact alone gives me the freedom to not give a flying fart about what others think.  If they paid for it, it might matter…but they DID NOT!  I am also going to pick out and buy a riding lawn mower of my choice that will suit my needs.  I am woman, hear me roar.  There are still far  too many people who think the opinion and decisions of women are insignificant.  We have allowed ourselves to be devalued and exploited.  I had a nurse friend who was told to “be quiet and just sit there and look pretty because that was what she was good at.”  That makes me furious.  As if just because she was pretty, her knowledge did not matter-her “looks” were the card she was suppose to play.  Women…WAKE UP!

One of the pitfalls of social media is getting caught up in opinionated mumbo jumbo and adolescent jargon (my opinion).  I gave up on following insignificant/irrelevant posts and stopped caring about most, if not all that are not about running or health be it through twitter, facebook or youtube.  All of that other crap is mentally draining and doesn’t grow me.    I have grown to be quite fond of the “mute” button on twitter.

Change is Always Possible
Change is Always Possible

 

Today has been an epiphany of sorts for me.  I got out and did what I wanted to do, bought what I wanted to buy, and met new people.  Today was very freeing. I suppose that is why I love running so much.  People can bring you up or tear you down.  We live with what we allow into our lives.  People will treat you the way you let them treat you, or rather-we teach people how to treat us.  What are you allowing to consume your heart, mind, and life?

Until We Meet Again,

Stephanie

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus

 

 

 

Winter Blahs…or Wherefore Art Thou Springtime?

Holy Moly, have two months really gone by since I last posted?  Egads, time flies!  I know, I know-it doesn’t really, especially this time of year. Winter-bleck!  It is definitely NOT my favorite season.  Although I must confess, January here in ole Missouri wasn’t half bad.  We even had one or two 70 degree days.  It was running bliss.  Then came February (darned that groundhog)!  Brr, cold, windy, snow, ice…dreadmill…er treadmill time!

Love/Hate relationship
Love/Hate relationship

Now, I know some of you are BEASTS and run in all kinds of winter weather.  I don’t mind the cold so much as the slick stuff on the ground, and I have actually done my fair share of running (dodging) ice patches as well.  But I do not like it one bit.  One slip and this half a centurion could be laid up and injured for weeks. I just can’t risk that with Boston looming on the horizon in seven short weeks.  I know I could just walk out to my car and slip as well, but that would be do to my clumsiness (that dance lessons didn’t fix).

The month of February posed a challenge to get my long runs in in preparation for the 50 miler I am participating in at the end of March.  Notice I said, “participating in.”  I am definitely NOT racing it and have no goal times. My goal is to finish and still be standing.  My challenge when running long has always been starting out really slow-uncomfortably slow!  Yet, I know that is what I must do or I will not finish.  Some runners say, “Death before DNF.” I say, “Hog wash!”  That is just dumb.  I have completed all races I have entered up to this point and finished in pain lots of times.  Two particular marathons I despised every mile past 18, but I trecked on.  I have learned a lot since then.  To not finish would not be the end of the world, especially when it comes to an ultra.  As I’ve gotten older, I have realized it is about the journey.  I learn a lot about myself with every training run and every mile covered.  Now to DNF Boston would be another thing!!!

That is the point of doing the 50 miler three weeks before Boston.  It’s called endurance, and I have enough of a base now from running consistently and smartly for over a year now in contrast to prior years when I would take months off at a time (winter).  My hope is to taper from there & make 26.2 seem like a half marathon.  People have called me crazy for doing it, but hey…that’s their problem.  I think drinking soda every day is crazy, but that’s just me. Now when people see me out running in winter weather I may LOOK crazed, delirious, insane, and ninja like- but that’s okay.  I gave up on trying to look “cool” a long time ago.  I was a fat little introverted kid in school-definitely not the “popular” cheerleader or “cool” athletic type.

Just me and Johnny D. & my Ninja like running attire
Just me and Johnny D. & my Ninja like running attire

I decided while grocery shopping today (and freezing), that I am ready to sweat and to not have to wear so many clothes.  I know there are a lot of running folks who love this cold weather running…I am not one of them.  I would rather sweat and look like I came out of a swimming pool fully clothed than be cold.  But that’s just me, we’re all different (thank God)!

Learning how to fuel for a 50 miler has been a learning experience as well.  I’m not one to carry things during a race that I have to chew.  It has always been GUs for me.  I did discover the baby food pouches and have decided that they will come in handy.  I am also going to have someone crew for me, so there’s that as well If I decide I need a banana or something.  Again, since I am not focusing on a specific finish time goal, I have been experimenting with many different things.  Oh yeah, and it will be nice to be able to go potty when I need to (no time goal, etc).

Fueling Options
Fueling Options

The good news is, this is suppose to be the last really cold week and the temp may even hit 70 by this coming Sunday.  My training is somewhat off due to a nasty stomach bug I had a couple weeks ago and the blasted weather.  I am not concerned.  Daylight savings is also this weekend, so running after work will be possible again.  I am super excited for that.  I am super excited for Springtime and sultry Summer nights.  Winter has it’s place.  I realize that I may not appreciate the warm weather as much without it.  It could have been worse for most of us in the U.S. Poor Boston got pounded with heavy snowfall. But they are Boston strong!  It still seems surreal that I am running Boston.  This former fat, introvert’s big running dream came true.  I guess life is sort of like that. Through running I have learned that if you’re going to dream, dream BIG…anything is possible!

7 weeks away!
7 weeks away!

Until we meet again (it just may be at a start line somewhere),

Stephanie