February Challenge – Peeling the layers back

I’m not trying to be dramatic. I am honest to God lost and struggling to accept who I am. This post is a little long, I know. But I am writing this for me. This is going to be a personalized challenge but feel free to jump in because honest truth, it gets old being alone sometimes.

I know I talk a lot about my car accident. In a way, it is part of my mourning. I mourn the woman I was prior to the accident because that woman is long gone. She’s not coming back, no matter how much I wish she was.

I saw one of my concussion doctors this week. And she gave me some tough love, that I didn’t realize I needed to hear.

It’s been two years. You have made what significant progress you are going to make. Sure, you can continue getting better in small ways. But the person sitting in front of me is who you are. I didn’t know the person you were before the accident and no one else going forward will either. They will only know the person in front of them. Let go of who you were and accept who you are now.

After the visit, I sat down in my car and cried one last time, mourning the person I once was but will never again be. Then I got MAD. And mad is a much better feeling than one of self pity and feeling sorry for myself.

In a previous post, I mentioned how things are different now. And as someone who particularly doesn’t enjoy change, this has been terribly difficult on me. Some of the changes are small and more of a nuance than anything. And some are big and ugly and in my face.

Like reading.. I could read close to four or five books a month. Now I am lucky if I get one in. It takes me so long to get through the book, I hate it. Not many know this but I have a learning disability. I have worked really hard to increase fluency, comprehension, and all the other wonderful skills you use while reading. And I feel like I have lost them all. I don’t feel like I am starting over but I am no longer in the advanced reading course. With time, this is one of those skills I hope to gain back. But who knows.

The running.. I was a runner. I was training for my first marathon, ran my first half, and LOVED it! I worked out easily 5 days a week and it felt great. Now, there is this emptiness there. I have zero desire to run, to work out, to do any of it. My body is the weakest it has ever been. I hate it!! And I have no idea how to get back.

I have tried pushing myself to run when I don’t want to. (See adorable picture above ) That felt good for about 5 minutes and then I was thinking “What the hell am I dong?!?!” In other words, that was a one time run deal. So I did what any reasonable person would do, I bought a new workout watch – Garmin Viveoactive 3. Amazing watch!! I love everything about it, but it still doesn’t help motivate me.

Then there’s the job. I have committed hundreds of thousands of dollars into my career. I have two masters, a bachelors degree, and I fucking loved my job – prior to the accident. After the accident, I still have all my fancy degrees but I am not in love with my job and honestly, I don’t even know if I can keep up with the demand. This is heartbreaking!! All I have ever wanted to be is a teacher. My passion was endless, I was awesome, gifted, yada, yada. You get the point. This felt like my calling. Until it wasn’t. Until that stupid accident..

So, 2 years have past, I have lost my father-in-law, step-mom, and my niece, and I find myself asking – What the fuck am I doing?

I am completely lost and I have no idea who I am. I feel like a stranger in my own body. What I know is that I am not the same- post and pre accident don’t line up. I don’t think the same. I don’t feel the same. I can’t process at my old speed. I don’t multi-task or tune out distractions nearly as well. Indoor florescent lights will always feel too bright. I feel like my personality has switched from a type A to some other one that’s out there. I can’t do as much as I used to. I am drinking way more than I ever have. I am eating like shit. I am self medicating. None of this is pretty, it is all really scary, and it doesn’t end! This is my reality and I don’t know how to accept it.

Deep breath, I think it is safe to say I am still mad. Which brings me to my challenge.

This challenge is for 30 days and it is all about inner peace, positivity, getting healthy, and feeling in control. Over the span of 30 days, I (we?) must:


Quit the bad habits! Walk away from the drinking, self medicating, and eat at least 2 meals a day. You are not going anywhere with a foggy mind and a sluggish body.

 

Find your Smile! Find something to smile about and identify one positive thing that happened each day. Write it down and read it aloud every night. It might be difficult in the beginning and some days might be harder than others, but do it! Do it because you deserve it!

1


Find some Mental Clarity
! Try at least 5 minutes every night but 20 minutes would be great. I am going to try meditation and reading. My goal is to meditate every morning and to read 1 chapter (give or take) every night.

 

Count your Steps! True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body. Let’s face it, the two are intertwined. You can walk 20 minutes, a mile every day. Or maybe try to walk as many, if not more steps as you did the day before. Just get up and move a little.

 

Know your Self Worth! I am giving myself one month to figure this shit out. I am going to be looking into Skills/personality tests, making pros/cons list for staying in my job or going, and so on. I am going to figure out either what a former teacher can do after teaching or how to get back to being happy as a teacher.

 

This may not look like it, but there is a lot here and the next 30 days will be difficult. But I am up for the challenge, you all know I need a change. Comment below if you want to join me on this journey or with any thoughts. And Until Next Time, Happy Reading 🙂

 

First Half Marathon- Woman Rock MN

I woke up this morning not sure if I would actually be able to run. My knee was already a little sore and I couldn’t stop myself from questioning if this was a mistake. But I pushed those thoughts to the back of my head and pushed on.

HalfM7

The weather was perfect despite the threat of rain. The temperature was low to mid sixties and there wasn’t much wind. The race didn’t start off like I would have hoped. They had a silent start and when we headed to the start line, we discovered the race had started a minute early. I don’t know about you but this kind of threw things off for me. I tried not to play catch up but being at the back of the race wasn’t encouraging.

For the first six miles, I was able to find my rhythm and somewhat enjoy my run.

HalfM2

And then the knee started going, then came the rain, and hills. That’s when I split off from my running friend and switched between walking and running. I think at this point in the race, my goal was to finish without blowing my knee.

HalfM

I’m not really excited about my time but I am calling this a win. I finished the race, without killing my knee, and I wasn’t the last one running.

As I am typing this out, my knee still kind of hurts but it isn’t sharp or anything. I am worried I won’t be able to run my full marathon in early October or be able to run my 20 mile capital run in September.

HalfM1

What did I learn:

  1. I need to bring more fuel. I realized very quickly that what I brought was not enough. Luckily the race was handing out gels and I was able to take advantage. But the sugar in those things killed my stomach.
  2. Come rain or shine, the race is on. I didn’t bring anything to throw on right after the race because honestly I didn’t even think about it. Which was mistake number two because I not only cooled down surprisingly quickly, but I was wet from the rain. Not a good combination.
  3. It’s okay to walk. Seriously, it is okay! It’s not the end of the world if you have to walk.
  4. Get to the start line early! We were waiting for our other friend to join us who often runs late. Mainly this cost me mentally but it also put me behind in regards to my time.

Overall, I am glad I ran the race. The experience I am walking away with will help prepare me for my other races.

Have you ran a half marathon? I would love to hear how it went or your thoughts on mine!!

Updated Running Plan

 

I am finally making progress with my knees. I can’t believe a fall and concussion that happened back in 2010 is what has caused me so many problems with my knees/body. Years of going through physical therapy to end up back at the same spot, multiple doctors telling me I will have to give up running and live with how things are, and all the frustration and tears has brought me to this one moment- a chiropractor who was able to listen to what my previous doctors said and come up with a solution.

When I fell and hit the back of my head in 2010, the concussion I had took my nervous system that runs along my spine and scrunched it up. This caused various points along my body to stop firing. What my last physical therapist was able to do was help me un-scrunch my nervous system with three specific exercises. For my nervous system to stay lengthened, I will more than likely have to do these exercises for the rest of my life. Really, for me it’s a small price to pay to be able to run.

Except I couldn’t run. Every time I ran two to three miles, somewhere in this second mile my left knee would begin to hurt. This brought me to the chiropractor I am seeing now. He discovered because I am unable to fire certain muscles- i.e. my gluteus- I have over developed muscles in my legs that are pulling my knee in the wrong direction when I run. His solution- learn how to reactivate my muscles and then strengthen them.

I will tell you this has not been a fun or easy solution. But I am finally at the point where I get to start strengthening my muscles that were once dormant. Considering how active I am and how much I run, it surprises me how weak some of my muscles are.

 

My goal is still the same- get back to where I was before I got hurt. This is how my workout week is ideally going to look:

  • Monday: Run (Average pace)
  • Tuesday: Weights/Strengthening Exercises
  • Wednesday: Run (Fast pace)
  • Thursday: Weights/Strengthening Exercises
  • Friday: Run (Slow pace)
  • Saturday: Long run (Average to slow pace)
  • Sunday: Rest

If I need to, I can change either Tuesday or Thursday with Sunday. I am going to use this as a general guide but more importantly, I am going to listen to my body. If it needs rest, I am going to rest.

I am really excited to get to a point where running is not painful and something I have to push past. I know I still have a ways to go but I will get there!!

Hal Higdon Training Program

Turtle Running

I would never say I am a fast runner, but I enjoy running. There’s something about getting lost in your music or within the thoughts bouncing around your head that’s almost therapeutic. Which is what brought me to today. After getting sick countless times (I mean seriously, how many times can a person get sick before enough is enough), bleaching my house from top to bottom, and finally feeling recovered enough to start working out, I’ve decided to finish what I started last year. Yes, a half marathon might be a bit ambitious. But isn’t that the point of have a goal? If I’m going to set a goal, it better be worth reaching. And besides, the only way I’m ever going to receive a medal for running a race is when they hand them out to everyone. 🙂

I’ve decided to use Hal Higdons half marathon training program as a loose outline for my training. I used this last year with good success and if it wasn’t for falling on the stairs a couple weeks before my race, I would have reached my goal. I’m probably going to make some tweaks to the training plan that better fit my life and my physical fitness level. Below is a link to Hal Higdons half marathon training schedule I’m referring to.

Half Marathon Training

My Goal is to get back to where I was before I hurt my knees and became sick. Eventually this is what I want my workout schedule to look like. Tuesday and Thursday will be interchangeable with a flexible schedule.

 

  • Monday: Run (Average pace)
  • Tuesday: Weights, Swim, or Rest
  • Wednesday: Run (Fast pace)
  • Thursday: Weights, Swim, or rest
  • Friday: Run (Average pace)
  • Saturday: Cycling
  • Sunday: Long run (Average to slow pace

But I need to add miles to my legs before I can start a serious workout schedule. So unfortunately I won’t be jumping into this schedule right away. I’ll probably forces just on the running until I’m able to easily run 2-3 miles at a comfortable pace.

I hope you’ll join me on this adventure and share your insight and encouraging words.