Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Pneumonia Recovery Sux: The surrender

I have been feeling really good.  The weather has been strange but warm enough for me to run.  I got 3 miles on the trails last Sunday (12/15) and then realized I'm 35 miles from 500 miles for the year.  That meant 2 miles a day until the end of the year, right?  What's 2 miles a day when I just finished 3. 
Monday (12/16), I got up and headed to the gym with the intention of cross-training and completing a warm-up mile.  Did I really only intend to run 1 mile when I knew I needed 2?  Probably not but I didn't wear my compression socks so in theory, I was setting myself up for 1 mile.  Once I got up on the running track, I set my Nike app to 2 miles.  I reasoned that after my leg numbness on the trails the day before I needed to see what my legs would do on the indoor track.  I completed my 2 miles and my legs were going to sleep.  So it is an issue with terrain or shoes, just my legs acting up again.  However, my lungs felt great.  No shortness of breath, no lung pain.  I was doing well.  I just knew I was over this whole pneumonia thing. 

Yesterday was Gymgirl's 10th birthday.  I was so excited to get home to spend some time with my girl.  As I was driving home I started to feel funny.  A tingle in my chest, kinda in the middle.  It was scary.  I tried to reason my way through it.  Maybe I'm having a panic attack from the emotion of being the mom of a 10-year-old but I didn't feel panic-y.  I was joyful and excited.  So if you know Texas highways, this feeling started around Carthage so I'm about 90 minutes from home.  Once I hit Mt. Enterprise, I decided to use my rescue inhaler.  The feeling is growing, now instead of space the size of my hand, it is down the middle of my torso.  Now I'm about 60 minutes from home.  Halfway between Mt. Enterprise and Nacogdoches, I get lightheaded.  I was to the point of praying to get to Nac because there really wasn't a safe place to pull over.  I begin conscious breathing, deep breaths because I had really and truly become aware of a lack of air in my body. 

I couldn't decide what to do.  Do I stop?  Do I call my husband?  Can the ER really do anything for me?  Do I just need to give the inhaler time?  By the time I hit Nac, I was pretty sure I needed to go straight to the ER but with about 30 minutes to go until I was home, I just kept going.  My airway started to open a little bit as I hit the Nac loop and my lightheadedness was also going away.  I was finally feeling better after I crossed the Angelina River bridge.  It was so strange to go from feeling great to feeling awful to decent in a span of 2 hours.

The weather keeps changing in extremes this season.  Sunday it was 80.  This morning, Wednesday, it was 30 when I left the house.  It is about 11am and I've hit the rescue inhaler twice today.  So you know what, I give. Pneumonia recovery really sux and it is a fucking ultra instead of a 5k.  So I surrender.  I will not make 500 miles this year.  I'll get it next year. 

Dear Pneumonia, You are really making my holiday season awful.  I want to run free and take advantage of the few beautiful days we get in the winter but you make me pay for each and every one.  Since you have decided that you are my ride or die for the moment, I need you to hear me.  I have goals to reach this next year so after I give you an amazing New Year's, you and I are over.  You hear me?  We are so over. 
Maybe we can be friends and see each other for coffee on really rainy gross days but let us not make that a habit.  We both know this is a toxic relationship.  We need to break up so that we can grow.  It is totally you but honestly, I'm a selfish bitch.  I want the freedom to run and you want to stay in bed all day.  It has been so real but not real fun.  I won't miss you. 
Bye forever, Ultra-Marathoner in Training

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Places vs Spaces

A few years back during my doctoral studies, we read a book titled, "Significance of Place" by Kincheloe and Pinar.  The basic jest is that where in the world we grow up, the place plays a role in how we are raised. 

Going into popular culture, there is a scene in "Music and Lyrics" were Drew Barrymore's character is writing music lyrics and she is debating the use of the word corners instead of spaces.  She wanted to give boundaries.  She wanted a better visual.

Okay so now to the point, I have been either sick, dealing with sickness, or working for the last 6 weeks.  It was like I ran Tejas at the end of September, jetted off to Indy for a conference, and then disappeared into my house.  So last Saturday, I decided to officially leave my introverted space and rejoin the world.  I went out for coffee and then skating.  Trust me, I should have done one or the other, not both.  Recovery from pneumonia sucks but then you just read that post so you know that part already. 

But back to the point,  to start off my day of self-care, I  posted a picture of my coffee and scone at Java Jacks with the caption, "I am officially leaving my hiding space so hit me up."  I almost used the word place but switched to space.  Why?  The more I reflexed on my word choice, I found myself thinking about "Music and Lyrics" and "Significance of Place."  A place is a fixed space.  My hiding place would be my house or my office.  It has an address and I can guide you there; however, a space is more nebulous.  It could have an address but not necessarily. 

As an introvert, I am very good about hiding myself in a crowd.  I can turn inward into my own mind and look like I'm part of the crowd but really I'm far away.  I'm in my hiding space.  I have a few friends that understand my need for my hiding space.  They don't get offended when I suddenly grab my phone and space out for a minute.  There are just times, I am overwhelmed with input and just need to hide.  There are times that a minute will do.  There are times that I won't communicate personally with anyone for weeks at a time outside of posting on social media. 

To post that I am leaving my hiding space means that I am open to seeing people and to be seen by people.  I am in a headspace for difficult conversations.  Let me tell you, September was full of tough conversations and I was pretty glad to be forced into hiding.  I thought I had plans with a friend that suddenly just went MIA.  Honestly, I was looking forward to that conversation but when he just disappeared I spun into a shame spiral that I had been circling and managed to avoid until I couldn't escape the internal dialog of "See, everyone hates you.  X is avoiding you.  And you just had that fight with A and S also seems to be avoiding you.  Your good doesn't outweigh your bad.  You don't deserve friends."

Once I jump into the spiral I just seemed to keep being buried again and again.  I finally made some plans to leave the house and then sickness hit the house.  Then as I was recovering I entered the hardest weeks of the semester.  I had no energy for anything.  The struggle is real and dangerous.  I feel like I don't deserve love or friends so then I avoid everyone which of course only reinforces the feeling that I don't deserve love or friends since no one wants to see me but no one wants to see me because I am refusing to be seen.  And the spiral of shame sucks me in deeper but add to that the illness and work and you begin to have a situation were professional help might be called for.  At this point, I have learned to stop the dialog for an in-depth analysis.  Is it true that X is avoiding me?  Probably but maybe he is busy.  Did you lose A?  Probably but if she can't have an honest conversation do you really want her?  Is S avoiding you or am I just hiding so that she can't find me?  Then I list the people that love me.  Then Baby Lala demands hugs and kisses and I can see that I was just exhausted.  I couldn't see the truth because I was just exhausted.  Now that I've had a chance to rest and see the completion of some projects, I can be seen again.   

I can't exactly say I can breathe again, fucking pneumonia, but I can see the end of the tunnel and I feel bright again.  I'm no longer a cloud of darkness and therefore I am fit to be around people.  Maybe my bad doesn't outweigh my good but that's cool.  I'll hang out with my fellow badass bitches and we'll fill with space with love, laughter, and light.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Pneumonia Sucks

So the last few weeks of school are always super busy at a college.  Between the end of classes and finals, students and professors seem to lose their minds.  This is a critical time in an academic library.  We are the quiet study space and the group study space and defacto tutors in all subjects.  The number one thing I do is help students write papers and research for those papers. 

Now I work at an HBCU which also has the added hype of homecoming.  My HBCU does not have a football team so homecoming is pretty late in the semester since we wait for basketball to start.  This year's homecoming was the last week of October.  At an HBCU, all of the alumni come back to campus.  At Hollins, we had a reunion and it is always targeted a few special class years.  Homecoming is everybody comes back.  It is fun.  It is exhausting.  I opened the library this year for the first time in about 5 years so a "grand opening" was planned. 

On Monday of homecoming, I was feeling awful.  I didn't have any help for my entire shift and I was hopping from project to project.  On top of the grand opening, I was scheduled to present to the Board of Trustees about the library and a couple of other projects on my plate.  By the time I left that Monday, I told my evening assistant that I would see her tomorrow unless I ran a fever.  I got up Tuesday morning running a fever. 

Mind you at my house, we were just finishing a long string of illness starting with Gymgirl with a random tonsillitis infection, moving to my dad with shingles, that lead directly to Baby Lala getting chickenpox.  Between the fever, body aches, and general fatigue, my husband took me to one of those urgent care places for a flu test.  Never agree to a flu test; it feels like they are trying to scrape your eyeballs.  So I survived the flu test, which was negative but the PA did not like the sound in my chest.  After only my second x-ray ever, he declared I had pneumonia.  I would not be allowed to return to work for the Board presentation but if I was feeling better and took all of my meds, I could attend my grand opening.

While I was at home, I had to be in quarantine.  Baby Lala was still recovering from chickenpox and my dad from shingles on top of still recovering from cancer treatment.  So we had 2 people that we absolutely could not afford to allow to get sick. So I was stuck in my room, listening to Baby Lala crying for me and coughing up a lung or lung butter as the old folks like to say.

I returned to work for my grand opening and I was very tired afterward.  It took me all weekend to recover from 1 day's work.  I had planned to take a day off the following week before I got sick since I knew I would be covering weekend hours for finals.  By the time I had my day off, I was so tired.  Even this last week, I found myself exhausted.  I'm just tired all of the time.  I have had to use a rescue inhaler a couple of times to open up my breathing. 

Needless to say, I'm not running.  I miss running.  Between extended library hours and pneumonia, I haven't been able to see anyone outside of work and my house.  I miss my friends; not that I really have many (or any depending on the day) I do like to leave the house.  I'm 18 days released from quarantine and still tired.  The recovery is really kicking my ass.  I'm not used to sitting.  Yes, I get tired but that is usually from running or running around all day.  I want to run.  I need to destress.  All in all pneumonia and pneumonia recovery sucks.  Here's hoping that you and yours are doing well!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Introverted Trail Running - Headphones in your Ears

So I like to run trails. Up until being invited to train for Hells Hills, I only ran streets and tracks.  I don’t know why I didn’t run trails.  Looking back on some of my cross country races, many would have been trail runs.  Trails feel freer and more peaceful.

I noticed while I was running Tejas that I was one of the few runners with headphones in.  I always run with headphones, even on the street.  I need the music.

Running with headphones can be dangerous, especially if you wear both ear pieces.  Now when I run on the streets I only wear one but any other space I’m in my own little music world.  I have both ear pieces in and as loud as I can tolerate it.  I want to be in a world of music.

Now, introverts are known for wearing headphones to avoid the world and maybe that is the point with me wearing them as I run.  At least when I first started running, I know I was running with a C25K program with audio cues so I needed to be able to hear the cues.  Now after several years of running, I feel naked without my earphones and strangely more vulnerable.

If I know I’m sharing the trails, like at a race, then I turn down my music.  Proper trail etiquette requires you to move to the right to allow the faster runners to pass.  Remember trails are often single person wide and not big person wide, like narrow skinny track with very little room even on the sides to allow someone to pass you.  Since I tend to run on the slower side, I get passed a lot.  I try to keep my eyes open for a place to jump to allow the faster folks to pass me by without ending up rolling down a hill; honestly at times the options are make people wait or end up falling off the side of a hill. Now I said, I try.  Sometimes people do end up right on my butt and I have to quickly jump but usually they are calling out to let us slower runners they are coming up on us.

You should always be aware of your surroundings.  We have all heard stories about runners being attacked, murdered, and/or kidnapped while running.  I am learning to run with music set lower.  I like being able to hear my music but honestly I tend to tune it out a lot of the run.  However, I don’t want to let go of the music altogether.  I am not an elite runner.  I struggle to get out there.  I struggle to stay out there.  Music can often save my run.  At Tejas, when I wanted to quit and was so done, Erasure’s Chains of Love suddenly came into my consciousness.  I heard, “don’t give up, don’t give up.”  I took a deep breath and started running again.  During my marathon, Brandon Flower’s Crossfire took over my mind and yes, I was between heaven and hell but I wanted to finish.  Music just helps.

So yes maybe that headphoned runner is trying to avoid you but maybe they are just trying to keep going.  Of course, maybe I need to invest in a pair of earphones that play music in your skull.  I’ve read they are safer but at $200+ it will be a while before I drop the cash.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Fuck Tejas: Reflections on surviving a 25K in the Texas summer

It was already 80 degrees when we started at 7am. Just the walk from my car to the start was about a mile and I was sweating.  The sky was dark and the stars were big and bright on the East side of Texas but the humidity was suffocating.  It was in these conditions that I started the most grueling race of my life: Mission Tejas 25k.

I was supposed to be running the 50k and joining the ranks of the ultra marathoners but I had to leave for a work trip 48 hours later and the doctor didn’t want me to run the race at all so between not running and the running the 50K was the 25K.  It was seriously horrible.  People were dropping out of the race left and right.  People were cramping.  I passed several people just sitting on the trail, just trying to breath.

Mission Tejas is beautiful.  I had run close to 15 miles there in July.  If I could handle July heat then surely by the time the last Saturday of September hit I would be good to go!  Fucking hell dammit all, I was not okay.  Going into the race I knew I hadn’t really done enough training runs.  My doctor wanted me to rest.  He said my nagging leg numbing issues were from lack of rest.  I was dealing with some other issues, ie no sex drive, and that was from a lack of rest as well.  I pulled back but I needed to finish Tejas.  I had marked my summer with the end goal of finishing Tejas.  I’m way too goal oriented to just let it slip through my fingers without a fight.  What a fucking fight!

I knew that physically I could do the race.  Maybe I won’t beat my Hells Hills time but I could finish.  I knew it would be an issue of my mental state rather than my physical one.  By the time I hit the snack/water table before going into my last full loop, I was done.  I was crying, like ugly crying.  I wanted to quit.  I had done all of this twice and I needed one more loop.  I was convinced that one more loop would kill me.  People would find me half way up the steep steps and have to finish their loop in order to report me dead.  I would be in the hot Texas sun just rotting for hours.  I just knew it. I can’t do this.  I can do lots of things but this wasn’t one of them.  Then the crew of Trail Running Over Texas brought me back to my senses.  Of course I could finish.  I still had 10 hours before they called the race and only had 5ish miles to ahead of me.  Fill up your water.  Cool off in the ice and keep moving forward.  Forward I went.

My time/pace wasn’t great but I finished.  I was tougher than I had given myself credit for.  I am stronger than I thought.  I am a trail runner and I am not going to get over halfway through a race and just quit when I’m not hurt just being challenged.

I still don’t want to run Tejas again for a good while but once it cools off, like in December, I’ll go back out to Tejas.  It really is beautiful.  For sure I’ll run with T.R.O.T again; seriously they know how to run a race and the crew of volunteers were amazing.  I know as we were running and cursing the ground we were on, they kept us hydrated, carbed up, and iced up as much as they could.

Was Tejas the hardest thing I’ve done, no.  I birthed two children naturally without any medical intervention, that was hard.  Tejas was the most difficult race I have done.  I think Hells Hills was more physically taxing.  Wayne’s World took longer and it was a new distance for me.  Tejas had so many wonderful places to quit.  I passed my car before going into the hardest part of the race.  My last loop, I saw my car, started crying, and cursed myself for not having the guts to just walk to my van and leave.  Tejas broke my spirit and then I emerged a stronger person.

Challenge yourself.  Change yourself.  At the end of my life, I don’t want to wish I had tried.  I will get there and know I lined up.  I showed up for me.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Pace Shame

So I love Brene Brown and read everything by her and really try to take in the lessons on vulnerability and connection.  I struggle with belonging and that struggle means I cling to people, teams, jobs, and such.  But that is a different post, this is really about shame.  One of Brene's bits of wisdom is that if we cannot ask for help without judging ourselves then we cannot help others without judging them. 

As I was running the other day and listening to Nike call out my pace, I began to think about my pace at this time last year.  Of course, I was running like crazy to avoid my life because it sucked to be me.  My pace now is way slow by comparison but my life is so much better than I'll take the slow pace on my runs and in my life.  

Now before the marathon, I was doing my long runs on a 1-mile loop at the local zoo.  I was out there for hours at a time so I would see people come out and run a 1 mile, run 3 miles, run 10.  I just kept my intervals and shared the track.  After my 18 mile run, one of the guys that had been running stopped by to ask about my run.  He was talking about trying really hard to build distance and that he noticed I kept messing with my watch as I ran.  I told him about Galloway running and that I had kept like a 17-minute pace over the whole run.  But I said it in a way that let him know I wasn't happy with my pace.  His response when I think of it now kills me.  He looked down and said I wish I was that fast for just my 5k.  Before thinking, before I even give him a chance to be seen, I had shamed him.  I didn't mean to.  Honestly but I did it anyway.

Keeping your pace.  Keeping up with your pace.  All runners know "their pace."  I can tell you that I usually run around 13min on an indoor track, 14 min on an outdoor track, and 19 on the trails.  I do this while running 30/30 intervals.  I know that for some people looking at these numbers they think I'm so slow.  Other people looking at it go, wow that is way faster than me.  It is just my pace and I use these numbers to help me gauge my run.  Did I push today?  Did I run some recovery miles?  Am I running faster on this surface or slower?  I work hard to not measure myself against other people.  I am not running for anyone but me.  I don't care if I ever run in an elite race, ie Boston Marathon.  I don't want to end a run dying because I push so hard that I don't enjoy the run. 

So I always post my run pace.  Nike makes it super easy and I like that I can go back on Instagram and see my pace back a year ago.  People hide their pace.  Once upon a time, I would have told you that any run that I didn't beat 15 min pace was a bad run.  I don't think that anymore.  If I finished 1 mile at 20 min/miles and I finished with a smile on my face then that was a good run. 

I don't hide my pace because I want everyone to run and go out for a run.  There are so many websites, magazines, dialogue about running that is based on the idea that a runner looks like x and runs x pace.  Fuck all of that shit, if you get off your ass and run 30 seconds then you are a runner.  If all we see online, in print, or on the street/trail/track are "runners" then we, the non-traditional runners, would never leave the shadows.  Part of changing the dialogue is being seen in all aspects of running, not only our distance and sweaty face but our pace. 

I believe in you and if you seeing my big 20 min miles helps you get out there and believe in you then I will keep posting my pace.  If you ever think that you can't do it remember that pace changes based on everything: weather, terrain, mental state.  I challenge you to post your pace.  See your growth or maybe like me, you actually go backward.  No shame either way.  1 mile is 1 mile at 7 minutes, 13 minutes, 21 minutes.  Or in the case of the picture below: a marathon is 26.2 miles whether it takes 4 hours, 6, hours, 8 hours, or 20 hours.  #mypacenoshame

Saturday, July 13, 2019

It's just me - Low Self Esteem and other fun issues

I was binge watching Downton Abbey last month and I had forgotten about all of the wonderful lines that Dame Maggie Smith delivers with impeccable timing and tone.  In one episode, Isobel walks into the room and says, "It's just me." and the Dowager replies that "I always feel that greeting betrays such a lack of self worth."  

It suddenly hit me that I do that all of the time.  I say "It's just me."  I thought about it a bit and realized that in fact I lack self-worth and I'm giving others the opportunity to devalue me before anything else happens.  When someone forgets a meeting with me to runs late and apologizes, I usually say, "Oh don't worry it's just me."  In other words, I'm not worth your worry, I'm worth less than others and my time isn't as valuable. 

I've completed a doctorate and while I worked on the stupid thing, I would tell people "If I can do it then anyone can." Which is true but just because I did doesn't mean you can.  This really ticked me off once when someone who has not yet to this day finished their undergraduate degree looked at me and said, "Well if you can do then anybody can."  Like somehow I'm so slow or stupid that everyone else is better than me so obviously if I can anybody can.  The funny thing is nobody that I know that has actually ever started their doctorate has ever said anything like that to me.  The only people who have ever been like "Oh, it must not be that hard if you did it" are all people who have never gotten past the undergrad level.  

Same with the marathon.  Yes, I was slow but I finished.  Again, "Oh if you can do it then anyone can." Maybe but that doesn't mean you can.  And again, no one that has ever started a marathon has ever demeaned me for my time on the finish or anything close to that.  They always high-five and congratulate me.  People who have never lined up, yeah they pull that anyone can card.

So what does it mean that "If I can then anybody can" versus "Just because I did doesn't mean you can." Well first of all I want everyone to pursue their dreams and reach their goals.  You shining doesn't take away from my shine.  Secondly, I have accomplished tasks that put me in the 1% or even .5% of the population.  I am a fucking unicorn.  I haven't done things that are impossible if you work for them.  You can walk a marathon.  You can take 10 years to finish your dissertation.  I'm not a genius.  I am 100% of average intelligence.  I am not a thin running gazelle.  I am an overweight chunky woman.  What I have that anyone who has ever finished a marathon or dissertation has is a refusal to quit.  It takes stamina, both mental and physical for both.

If I have ever given you the impression that I am ordinary then I do apologize.  If you have ever met me and thought well she's not that special then again I'm sorry.  You need to understand that you stand and have stood in the presence of greatness.  I am extraordinary.  I am exemplary.  I am a fucking unicorn that is covered in diamonds and poops gold.  

Don't you ever dare think you can be me.  I don't give a shit if you run faster and further than me.  Please, beat my running PRs.  I want you to do well.  Don't ever tell you me that my doctorate is less than someone's from the Ivy League.  I spent less money and still get called Doctor.  Never make the mistake of thinking that because I tell you that "It's just me" means that I don't understand my own awesomeness.

Do I feel awesome?  Fuck no!  Do I walk around like those Ivy League grads with a stick up my butt forgetting that I'm a poor Mexican woman?  Fuck no!  I know I look like everyone else you know but I'm not.  As my boss told me this week, I am meant for bigger and better things than where I stand today and people where I stand today is pretty damn awesome.  I have accomplished a shit ton of stuff with half the resources and God-given talent of those around me.  

Line up at the start line and I'll be your pit crew.  I'll be your faithful cheerleader.  I'll stand in the cold, rain, wind to watch you finish your marathon if it takes you 4 hours or 20.  But don't you dare tell me you can be me.

I'll read and edit your research papers.  I'll drive you to your interviews.  I'll sit at your defense and take you for a celebration when they pronounce you Doctor.  But don't you dare tell me you can be me.

I am the product of luck, opportunity, ambition, DNA, failure, and grit.  I am amazing.  I am exemplary.  I am extraordinary.   

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Wayne's World Marathon - Party time? Excellent?

I finished the Wayne's World Marathon with an official time of 8:03:09.  I was targeting finishing in less than 8 hours and almost did it.  According to my Nike Run Club app, I was under 8 hours but that is because Nike stops when you stop so I "lost" about 10 minutes at the fuel table/water station.  I'm good with it.  I was not last!  I actually passed up 2 people who had been about 12 minutes ahead of me.  My last loop was difficult and satisfying. 

I have found that with each long run/new distance I have a transition point.  I have a bit of a breakdown or major breakdown.  Much like transitioning during childbirth, I am different and maybe a slightly better me afterward.  At Hell's Hills it was about mile 13 or so.  At Wayne's World, it was mile 22 or so.  I was running on the bridge for the 8th time knowing I had to do it one more time and I just couldn't.  Brandon Flower's Crossfire was playing and I was crying.  I wanted to quit but I knew I had really come too far to stop now.  I wasn't sure if I started the last loop I could finish it but I also knew I would regret it for the rest of my life if I stopped.  I was in pain in all realms: physical, mental, spiritual.  As I walked into the water station I was still in transition.  DH took my water pack but snapped my phone belt which just about ended my day.  Now he didn't break it.  He just undid the snap because it was my water pack.  I was tired, transitioning, and oh yeah facing 3 more miles.  I was not rational in that moment. 

My last loop once I got going became an amazing growth experience.  I run 30/30 intervals; however, I spent a few miles just walking and ignoring my intervals.  See if I stuck to them I would have finished well under 8 hours but I digress.  I took off from the water station running.  I ran for about 2 minutes convinced that if I stopped running I would just stop maybe even die, transition time is a bitch, people.  After 2 minutes, I realized there was no way I could run the next 3 miles without walking some so I made a deal with myself, for the last loop I would stick to the intervals and if I drop dead at the finish then it was just meant to be that way.  As I passed things, I would amp myself up with the thought, "I never have to fucking see this again!" 

I could feel myself get stronger with each step.  I could feel the finish.  I could feel the accomplishment of a goal. I just had to push a little bit longer.  I caught up to 2 people.  I was, in theory, going to finish with them but I was just feeling my pace so I just kept going.  I ran straight into DH's arm and had my tears of victory.  Then the pit crew came into view.  They had been taking care of me for over 8 hours.  They shoved, lovingly and expertly, soda, pickle juice, bananas, and just about anything else a good water station has in my face and hands.  They gave me high fives.  They gave me hugs.  They gave me knowing looks that said, "Next time you'll do even better and yes there will be a next time." 

I can't say enough good things about Running the Distance, LLC.  The race was wonderful.  The description on the race site was spot on.  The volunteers cheered us on by name.  They create a community around the race.  I was a little sad to not be running the next day with them.  I will be back to run with them.  Maybe I'll run the actual triple someday and not just Wayne's World. 

So was Wayne's World a partytime excellent marathon?  I would say so.  Well I give it excellent.  Was it a partytime?  Considering it was the closest to a birthday I have had in years, I'll give it a partytime too.  Yes, it was partytime, excellent!

Monday, June 3, 2019

Happy Birthday to me! 40 & a Marathoner

So you read that correctly, I turned 40 recently.  On that day to celebrate, I ran my 1st marathon.  Technically, I ran it before I turned 40 since I finished before my birth time!

My journey to the marathon was not easy.  Actually, the marathon itself wasn't exactly easy either.  In 12 months, I went from running 5k to completing a marathon and it was all because of cancer, my dad's cancer.

I've written before about my want/need to run away from the whole situation.  I call it the summer of suck but it started back in March of 2018 really.  I wanted to be a good person and stay at a job that I felt called to do but completely burned out on.  They say when the holy spirit is speaking to you, it will move anything and everything to get you to listen.  I never listen in a timely manner!

I wonder what I would be doing had I listen when everything started to turn.  What if I had stepped away when I first felt it instead of fighting the current?  No one can say for sure, but I'm pretty sure that I would not be on this side of 40 as a marathoner.

I could make the long list of clues but it is a pretty painful and personal list.  I will say that I have lost a lot since March 2018.  I lost a lot of sleep.  I cried a lot of tears.  I swallowed my pride a lot.  I nearly blew up my marriage.  I blew up my career.  I faced the possible loss of my dad and my youngest daughter.

I'll be writing a post on lessons learned along the 26.2 miles of the Wayne's World marathon.  But for those of you who have been reading this barely legible scribble for the last 10 years, I figured you would at least like to know that I did, in fact, accomplish my goal to finish a marathon before I turned 40!

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. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Beauty is in the eye of beholder and their programming

Between issues of safety (thanks, Trumpers) and being in an HBCU (historically Black college/university), I have been contemplating my "look."  I have noticed many of my non-White friends looking a bit "Whiter" these days but being at a place that promotes people of color to embrace their natural selves and beauty, I feel like my outward aesthetic needs work.

Things this post is not meant to do:
1: Be judgey.  Dude totally do you.  You have your reasons for why you present as you do.  If you like it then rock it.
2: Tell you how to look.  Do you.
3: Determine my final look.  It, as everything, evolves

So what is bothering me with my look? 

Well, I'm turning 40 this year and blessing and curse is that I don't look my age.  I usually get pegged somewhere between 30-35.  I'm in a profession were being older is equaled with experience and knowledge.  Librarianship is a greying profession and while there are plenty of young librarians out there, most aren't directing an academic library like I am.  I have 10+ years in the field of library and education but my "look" doesn't not necessarily show that.  So I do try to look a little older.  I stopped coloring my hair.  Not only do my gray/silver streaks promote the idea that I am older; it also cost me less time and money to maintain than if I keep on coloring it.  I've noticed so many Latinas with naturally dark hair going blonde, like their entire head not just streaks.  I got some blonde highlights a couple years back and I hated them!  I wanted to cut them out I hated them so much.  They were super well done.  My husband paid mega-bucks for me to have an amazing salon experience and I hated those highlights with a passion.  Why hate them?  I felt so fake.  I would look in the mirror and that person just wasn't me.  So the idea of turning my entire head blonde sounds like a good way to end up shaving my head.  I'm not sure about keeping my gray.  I had been doing a bright red and really loved it but again it makes me look younger.  Jury is still out on this one.

So again I don't really look like I'm turning 40 in May.  I have some fine lines but nothing major.  What I don't do is use base/foundation at all.  I wear lipstick to work or if I go out.  I wear some black eyeliner and that's pretty much it.  I look around and see people posting pictures of eyeshadow palettes.  People doing something called contouring.  I don't have any idea why someone needs so many eyeshadow colors and why change the shape of your face like daily?  I understand for performance or a special night out but daily?  Fuck that.  My face it okay.  I get lots of complements on my skin so I don't foresee a change to my makeup routine as of yet.  Red lips, black eyeliner for the day, remove with coconut oil, start the day with almond oil.

Everywhere I look I see women and men with their nails done up.  The guys tend to wear clear polish but they look good.  Like, my nails are weak AF!  They break if I type too hard.  In theory a cover of shellac might help.  I love having red polish on but I smudge it and chip it almost immediately so it feels like a waste of time.  I don't want to wear fake nails because I don't want long nails.  I like mine short so that I can work.  I've had the nail stuff put on, minus the tips, to help keep my nails looking good but that is a commitment.  Going in for a fill every 2 weeks, I just don't have time.  I would love to turn this into a thing I do but I don't really see it happening.

It is winter so so far toes are under cover.  I do like to have color on my toe nails.  It makes me feel pretty.  I usually see women of color with designs and such but this is the only time DH steps in.  He hates designs on toes.  I don't care enough to fight him on it so classic red it usually is.  I like to take Gymgirl for mom/daughter mani/pedis so maybe we can bring that back.

Overall you just read a whole lot of nothing!  Final thought, do you. 

Monday, February 4, 2019

Conscious Uncoupling

After over 20 years together, Dr. Wheatless Mama and ASCIS have decided to consciously uncouple themselves.  Dr. Wheatless was just a young newbie member of the cross country team when she met ASCIS.  They quickly became inseparable.  However in the last few years, between Dr. Wheatless's changing shoe needs and ASCIS changing models and changes in quality, it became apparent to both that their relationship needed to end.

In order to quell rumors, founded or unfounded, Dr. Wheatless would like to state that she is dating other shoes and is currently getting serious with Hoka One One.  This is still a very new relationship and Brooks is also a serious contender for Dr. Wheatless's feet and racing needs.  As always, Dr. Wheatless will keep you abreast of any changes as she continues to train for the Hells Hills 25k Trail Race in April.  Dr. Wheatless would also like to thank the staff of Brown's Shoe Fit in Lufkin, Tx for helping her see just how necessary the change in shoe company had become and highly recommend everyone get fitted at their local running shoe store.

Goodbye my beloved ASCIS.  I will miss you but honestly it was you and you had to go.  (Picture above is from my senior year of high school and 3rd pair of ASICS.)

Thursday, January 17, 2019

#MealtimeMiles - Lunch runs

So this week, I have been committed to moving a mile during my lunch break.  It occured to me that if I would walk/run/move a mile during my lunch break each day that I would have moved 5 miles each week.  Now part of the motivation comes from Run the Year 2019.  For RTY, you commit to move 2019 miles.  Now some people run that many miles.  I'm not there yet.  For me, the goal is to move 2019 miles, walk, run, crawl if I have to but move.

Why bother?  So it is not about losing weight.  I do have plenty to lbs to lose but I am a point in my life that I know the scale does not reflect my worth, hotness, or health.  I want to be healthy.  There are skinny people with ideal BMI that can't run a mile!  There are obese people who finish ultra marathons so yeah, the scale is a lier if you are measuring health.

As a goal oriented person moving 2019 miles gives me a goal.  Now according to RTY, I would need to move an average of 11,000 steps or about 5.5 miles a day to get 2, 019 miles this year.  I"m not there yet.  I am part of a team and while the other two members only record runs, I'm recording everything.  It is important to me that I see my number growing and if I only count runs than I know I'll abandon the whole thing.

Right now I'm getting a mealtime mile each day, with a goal of 6,000 steps each day.  Now that should translate to 3 miles a day but Samsung Health says that for me it is only about 2.5 miles.  What the hell?  Anyways, not important, the point is to move.  In theory if I move more than my weight should come down with it.  I am not going to change my diet.  Being gluten-free, plus the allergies in my family, are hard enough.  I have started bringing 10 boiled eggs to work with me on Monday.  They are my emergency breakfast/lunch/snack eggs.  Unless I have a mealtime meeting, I am not allowing myself to go out for a quick bite.  Thankfully I really like eggs and love egg salad.  I think this will help me save money and eat healthier too.

Will any of these change stick?  I'm not sure.  Will anything about me change?  I'm not sure about that either but I like the challenge.  This week so far, I've hit my steps before leaving work each day.  Twice, I've gone out for 30 min runs, which have gotten me just over 2 miles per run.  I haven't stepped on the scale or done measurements but I feel good, with a bit more energy.  I have also noticed that my left ankle hurts so I"m not sure about tomorrow's mile but we'll see.  Surely I can crawl a mile!

So join me.  Get in your mealtime mile!  Move a mile and then eat that Whataburger!  Just commit to moving.  We can't wish our way to health.  Who knows maybe by the end of the year, I'll be able to walk up a flight of stairs and not be breathing so hard at the top that I want to die!

FYI: This picture is from the one and only time I ran a half-mary distance.  Still haven't run a half-mary race and that is totally cool!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

When your heart still misses your soulsister

So today I was scrolling Facebook, taking a mental break between tasks and I saw a post about Bikini Kill reuniting for a tour.  Now I'm not a huge Bikini Kill fan and I never claimed to be so don't start with the hold poser bs.  But I do love Kathleen Hanna and my former bestie soulsister loved them.  We bonded over Kathleen's bio movie back on one of my birthdays.

So back to the post.  So I saw the post and my 1st thought was "Oh yeah, I can't wait to tell Soulsister and even take SwornEnemy." Now obvious I used their real names in my mind but I don't do that here.  Then I was hit with a wave of sadness.  The quick stab of "they don't speak to you anymore." It was not until that moment that I remembered they were gone out of my life.  Like I knew it but for half a second, I didn't, if that makes sense.

Soulsister has been on my mind off and on for the last year anyway.  Something about 2018 being so crappy and lonely that made me really long for the days when I had a person.  For upwards of two years Soulsister was the one person who cheered me on and literally the only person who congratulated me when I got the news I got into my doctoral program.  A fellow introvert and wife of a recovering alcoholic, she knew me in and out.  I like to think that maybe we could be friends again later on but who knows.

The point is that I guess despite my best efforts to forgot people, I knew do.  I pray for them.  Think about them.  Have wonderful conversations with a version of them that lives in my mind.  (We introverts have lots of "conversations that we will never actually have.)  So Bikini Kill is having a reunion tour, maybe DH will go with me.