Thursday, May 9, 2019

1 year ago: #cancersux

One year ago today I sat in my dad's doctor's office and heard the doctor say cancer.  My dad had been told by his PCP about 2 weeks before that this was the most likely explication for all of his symptoms but this was the official word: colon cancer. 

As of last week my dad is officially in remission!  We had to go back to the surgeon this past Monday for a finding on his CT scan but she is taking a watch and wait approach.  Apparently, the finding were normal for him and his distance from his last chemotherapy session.  So now he is in remission and ordered into recovery phase.  He still needs to rest but he won't need to travel to see a doctor for 3 months!  He gets to relax the whole summer!

DH, Gymgirl, Baby Lala, and I were with my dad when he rang the bell for his last chemo treatment!  It was pretty emotional for me.  As we drove away from Temple, I could feel my age.  The weight of the previous year seemed lifted but the effects not so much.

This journey has not been easy.  My dad was on death's door twice.  The 1st one was so close and honestly without divine intervention my dad would have died in June of last year.  Had it not been for Baby Lala's well placed kick, new MRIs, and a good surgeon, my dad would have died before we could have gotten him to the hospital.  When I think of how close it was I just can't even.

This last year was full of transitions for us.  Not only did my dad nearly die, Baby Lala almost died as well, and then I blew up my career.  I almost don't recognize my life, in a good way.

I feel like I really grew up in this last year.  I am more set in the things I will accept and demand.  I can't work at job just because.  I need to feel not only useful but respected as well.  I won't ignore symptoms of illness.  Had my dad gone to the doctor when his symptoms started he might still have his large intestine.  If I had waited 24 more hours to run Lala to her doctor she might have died before we even realized we were in real trouble.  I won't ignore my needs and just push through. 

Yes this last year was difficult.  At points I was pretty sure I couldn't make it.  I just wanted to run away and never come back.  Instead of running away, I started running.  Since my dad's diagnosed, I have run over 400 miles.  I've found that the running smooths my mind.  The crazier life gets the more important running has become to me feeling "normal."  I'm 17 days from turning 40.  17 days from completing my first marathon.  The last year of my 30s has been hard and all I can really say is, "Look at me, surviving and shit!"

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

#NoExcuses & #TeamTurtlePower

So I use the title hashtags when I post my running pics on IG but the other day someone posted a blog about being a mom of young children and never having time to run so don't no excuses her.  I've been wanting to write but simply have been too crazy busy and/or tired until now. 

Here is what I mean with #noexcuses: I am making choices.  See I don't run everyday.  I don't run on schedule.  I don't always make my goal of running 3 times a week and I'm okay with that.  I'm okay with choosing to not run.  See #noexcuses is about me asserting my choice to not run, to skip my workout, to run fewer miles than scheduled, and hell to fuck the time and just enjoy the run while I'm out there.  I have a 2-year-old and a 9-year-old.  So I do have a small child at home and completely understand putting your children, especially young ones, before your workouts.  Ladies, assert yourself and choose your kids!  They are little for such a short time.  My kids needed me is not an excuse it is a valid choice.  No further explanation needed for missing your workout.  I don't want to make or use excuses.  I want to choose.  I want to own my choices.  I need to own them.  So when I #noexcuses know that I 100% support you not running.  Do you!  No excuses, do you!

As for #teamturtle, I struggle with the whole being a slow runner thing.  Back in the day, as in high school, I ran cross country and I was the slow runner.  I ran somewhere between an 10:30-11:00 min mile.  I would kill for that now.  Lord can I be as slow as when I was in high school!?  Now I'm on the 13-14 min mile club.  For some reason in my mind I need to beat 15 min miles.  15 minutes seems pretty arbitrary to me but it is stuck in my mind that way.  With my trail race in a couple of week, I have found that trails runs have me averaging about 17 minute miles and I'm good with it.  But anyways, my point is I know some people would kill for my 13 minute miles.  I go around apologizing for being so slow and someone else wants to shoot me for being so fast.  Instead of being envious of the people who qualify for Boston, I want to work on being supportive of the runners who dream of 13 minute miles, 20 minute miles, just running/walking/crawling 1 mile.  We all start somewhere and we need to make sure we cheer other newbies.  Yes I will always be jealous of the thin gazelle-like runners who run 8-min miles as a slow recovery run but I want to be there cheering for my fellow runners at the back of the pack.  We are runner because we say we are and we get out there.  Our mile time does not equal our worth as runner, our value as runners, or the quality of our miles.  24 minute mile, 13 minute mile, and 8 minute mile are all a mile! 

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Hiding in plain sight

I am on the search for a formal dress for the Wiley College Founders' Day gala.  I hate shopping.  I'm sure if you have read any post on this blog you got that already.  I'm not exactly happy with my looks so buying clothes can feel torturous.  Add to the low self-esteem, the complete lack of fashion sense and any concept of what looks good on me and you can see that shopping with me is not fun.

I gotta get a dress.  I'm down to 3 weeks.  I gotta get a dress.  DH works Saturday-Wednesday.  I work M-F with a long-ass commute so we don't really have to go shopping together; hence now I'm getting down to the wire.  This would be an excellent time to have a gay best-friend who is honest and can put me into a dress that works with what I have.  Oh well, wish in one and shit in the other and see which gets full first.

Yesterday, after I narrowly avoided disaster with Gymgirl (I totally forgot she has piano lessons on Saturday), I decide to take the "free" hour I have while waiting for her and head to Ruby and Jane's dress shop here in beautiful downtown Lufkin.  It is prom season.  I totally forgot so the place was packed.  The shop girls are very nice and helpful and helped me pull 3 dresses into a dressing room.  2 duds but 1 that was pretty, within budget, fit, and even had pockets.  I was thinking winner but without DH, I wasn't ready to buy it.  I did send it a fashionista guy friend too just to get a couple of opinions and both vetoed the dress.  They both used more or less the same reason: the purple dress does nothing for your figure.

Figure! LOL!  Seriously, that was one of the selling features of the dress to me.  Higher waistline to help hide my mommy-tummy, flow-y shirt which I just like but also means hiding my ass, the neckline while a bit big also helped me not show too much or any cleavage.

DH is great with words.  He told me to stop hiding.  I need to stop being afraid to shine.  I am doing a great job at Wiley and I need to be good with shining.  Fuck me and my mental scars.  I know he's right.  I know that I could in theory wear a dress that fits my curves better.  In theory, I have decent curves.  So the hold up?

My last job put me at the front of the stage.  I had to be a public figure.  While at Wiley, I am public figure as the director of library services, I am not the face of the college.  I was the face of the private school.  My kids had to be perfect.  My marriage had to be perfect.  My stance for Mass had to be perfect.  All eyes on me.  I hated it.  I managed but I hated it.  Add to that the judgement from the families in relation to my weight and figure.  The principal before me wore jeans everyday; male White privilege if there is any.  As a young-ish Mexican professional I was being held to a higher standard for my looks and clothes.  On top of that, I was getting paid well enough to buy new clothes, let alone stylish brand name anything.  I worked with I had and just swallowed the tears brought on by the constant criticism of my body.  I expected to hear that I was a horrible principal but to be called fat and ugly and whatever because someone didn't like a decision I made.  It hurt.  It scared me.  It scares me to be put out front.  I have so little to work with both resource-wise and self-esteem wise that it doesn't take much to send me into hiding in the dark corner of my mind where the shame germlins attack me to the bone.

Neither DH nor fashionista were trying to be mean and send me into hiding.  They are both right.  I need to pick something that lets me shine but how to get shiny when I am in hiding?  How do I find the clothes or in this case fancy dress when each and every atom of my being just aches with the memory of criticism? How did I go from celebrating an 8 mile run, strong and centered in my body, to looking a plastic surgery before and after and contemplating going on a diet?  Oh yes I remember, I decided to try on a dress.

Friday, February 22, 2019

I stopped the run . . .

On Wednesday, I went out of my weekly mid-day run.  I try to get a mile of at least walking each day and twice a week, I try to get in a run of about 30 mins or so.  I was so excited to have a pretty day and coverage for the library so I went out with a happy heart.  I guess a happy heart translates to moving with a bit more speed because Nike+ called me at 11:51/mile at .25 miles.  Then my watch also made some noise about being at less than 12 min per mile and then disaster.  My mind said, "Shit that has to be wrong.  I must have the wrong setting again."  I stopped my run.  I quit the run in the app at .41 miles with a sub12min/mile pace.  I double checked all of my settings and they were right.  Outdoor, check.  Distance: 3.1 miles, check.  Was my time really sub-12 on an outdoor run?

I restarted my run and off I went.  I was proud of myself for double-checking my settings and trying to get it right.  Then at my first .25 miles, Nike+ again called sub-12.  SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!  I had really been running a sub-12.  I was actually doing it!?  Then I lost all my will to run.  I had cheated myself.  Because I didn't believe that I could run at sub-12, I didn't.  Simply put, I didn't run because I didn't believe in me.  I did finish the run.  You can totally see on the picture that my pace was less than stellar: 13:36/mile.  I finished.  I started a 2nd time and I finished.  So actually I got 3.5 miles so it wasn't a total loss.

I have been running somewhere between 5-10 miles each week pretty consistently for about 3-4 months.  I don't run fast.  I don't need to qualify for the Boston marathon to call myself a runner.  I just move.  That being said, I do want to get faster.  Sub-12 minute outdoor miles are this year's goal for me.  I was there and I totally let it slip away.

Self-sabotage!  I don't have anyone else to blame.  No excuses to make.  I didn't believe in me so I quit.  Lesson learned.  I am better, stronger, greater than I think I am.  My mind will quit long before my body.