Channeling My Mom

Seven years ago I ran my first half marathon. It was 12 days before my 40th birthday. I called it Holly’s Half and ran near my home. My husband and then 6-year-old son were my “water boys.” It was really hot for an early June day and my goal was just to finish, preferably under 3 hours. I beat my goal by 3 minutes. It was really difficult and I was completely done by the end and was useless the rest of the day. But I was damn proud of myself.

The last time I truly trained for a half was 5 years ago. I even got up to 12 miles on the treadmill. I didn’t want to run the whole 13.1 on the treadmill because I wanted to do it outside the following week. But a few days later I had pancreatitis and ended up in the hospital.

This spring I decided it was time to try again. Seven years have past, 25 pounds have been gained, 1 brother and 2 parents have died, 1 broken arm, 1 dog bite, husband nearly died, various scrapes and bruises have been formed, and 1 pandemic still coping with. Yet I also got a new job, watched my son grow (and grow and grow!) into a person I’m proud to know and love, read a few thousand books, and most importantly? I gave and received so much love that it’s impossible to measure.

I think I wanted to train for a half marathon again because I needed something to reach for and challenge me. And honestly? I also wanted to lose those 25 pounds but have only lost 12 so far. Oh well!

My goal is to run a half on my mother’s birthday–September 20th. She would have been 74. I wanted to do something for myself but thinking of her and channeling her amazing strength and bad-assery.

Today’s run was supposed to be around 10 miles with a few speed intervals in the middle. I have not run more than a mile since my fiasco on the treadmill last week (I fell off at mile 8 and majorly bruised and scraped my legs and arms and took chunks out of my right hand), so I figured I’d do my best but told my husband he may get a call in an hour to come pick me up. 🙂

I set out with my tunes and water bottle and just trotted for a while. My shin ached at the beginning, but it felt good to move my body. The weather was perfect–breezy, mostly cloudy, in the 60s–a touch of fall in the air. At mile 3, I saw a blue heron. My very first sighting! That completely buoyed my spirits even more. So I ran on and on and turned around at mile five on a road that I had not run on before but look forward to going back to. It was serene and lovely with very few houses.

I took a few walking breaks and as I got closer to my home, I thought about my doctor’s visit this week. He gave the ok to run and I told him I recently ran 10 miles. He said, “Oh! Then you got this! Just 3 more and you’re done.” Then I remembered the pancreatitis and a few times in my life when I didn’t say what I wanted to or did not do what I wanted, all because I planned to say or do them later. Yet that “later” never came. I thought of my mom and the pain she worked through and kept going day after day because that’s who she was.

When I turned onto my road my husband was in my car with a water bottle because he was worried. I gasped out, “Gatorade. I’m gonna keep going.” He raced back to our house and was at our mailbox with Gatorade as I passed. I thanked him, drank, walked for a minute and kept running.

This is me today, just after I finished my second half marathon.

My 11th and 12th miles were pretty slow, both over 13 minutes, but most of the others were pretty decent, and I finished in 2 hours and 33 minutes. The Map My Run app wants me to finish about 15 minutes sooner, and maybe I will if I try this again in 3 weeks. Or maybe I’ll say “no thanks” and be happy I could do it today. Either way, I am once again really damn proud of myself. And I am not nearly as tired as the last time I ran a half! I did laundry today, cleaned the shower, vacuumed, and baked bread. I feel pretty darn good.

That’s my poor bruised leg, my kitty Miso licking my forehead, and my step count. I’ve never seen my steps over 20,000 before!

I expect the upcoming work and school week to be a tough one in our household, but I’m hoping that today will keep me “running high” for a few more days and give me a positive perspective on life, at least for this week. 😉

Take care of yourselves, y’all. One day at a time.

OMG. This is a forewarning. This post may be TMI.

I fell on the ice one day last week…and I fell hard. Or at least it felt like I did.  It was dark, I was walking to my mailbox, and I slipped on a large patch of ice.   I screamed as my left hip and buttock slammed into the ice.  I didn’t waste any time on the ground though, and continued on to my mailbox….where there was no mail. (Grrrr.)  As the evening wore on, my hip and back started to ache and I knew I’d hurt the next day and probably have a nasty bruise.

The next morning I didn’t feel too bad and worked my tail off on the elliptical machine.  I was feeling good and strong and happy I wasn’t sore….then I lay down on my mat to stretch.  It was fine at first,  until I had to turn over on my stomach. I rolled onto my left hip first…OUCH! Ok. Maybe I wasn’t quite as good as I thought.

After stretching, I got undressed and decided I needed to look at my hip and butt to see if I had any bruising.  Now….I have to tell you that I rarely look in the mirror while naked.  And by rarely I mean never.

Seriously. I am 40 year old woman who has lost nearly 90 pounds over a period of years, with 50 of those pounds in the last 5 years.  I may workout every freakin’ day, but only surgery can firm this body up now.

But I still wanted to see if I had a bruise.  So…I turned my backside to the mirror and looked over my shoulder, gasped and actually said out loud, “Oh my gawd, THAT’S what I look like?!”  I shuddered for a second, then took my scary and bruised self to the shower.

When I got to work, I was feeling particularly frumpy.  I climbed out of my car in all of my bulky winter clothing, walked across the street and climbed up the steps to the library.  There, on the lovely glass door, was my reflection.  It stopped me in my tracks.  I looked tall. My jacket fit nicely and showed I had a decent rack, an indented waist of some kind and good hips.  I was kind of cute, and not frumpy at all. I liked that image.  I had to remember this. “This is what you look like, Holly.  With clothes on anyway. This is good.”

With that reflection still in my head, I began my day.  Things were going pretty well…until one of my favorite patrons, jokingly, started to imply that I was fat.  Now, this is a guy who makes me laugh and who I help on a weekly basis.  He knows I’m a former big girl, but had no idea about my massive insecurities.   Because we have a great working relationship, I cut him off before he could complete his implication of my largeness.  I completed the task he needed done and before he left the building, I told him to never, ever even imply that I was fat *ever* again. “You don’t know what words like that do to my head,” I told him.  He laughed but agreed to be good, then left the building.

Now, I felt really quite proud of myself at this point.  Physically, I felt a little shaky, but I stood up for myself and let someone know that I’m a bit fragile when it comes to certain situations, so don’t mess with me or I may break.  This was good, I thought.  I’m getting better. (The same patron actually called me later that day to apologize and to tell me I had absolutely nothing to feel bad about and went on to tell me all of my great qualities. He’s a flirt. A good ol’ guy, but a flirt nonetheless.)  The next morning, after what I thought was a breakthrough, I again felt dumpy and frumpy and was stopped by my reflection once more.

This is something I must overcome.  I can’t live the rest of my life thinking one thing and seeing another.  Do I have to keep telling myself, “Woman. You’re hot. Live with it.”  Perhaps.

Do I need to keep looking at myself in the mirror?   Maybe. But at least for now, clothes must stay on.

Unless I drink a lot of wine first…and maybe a margarita or two…then…maybe.