I wanna tell you a little of this man’s story, and why this last Peachtree Road Race was so very special to me. He doesn’t like it when we make a big deal out of his physical issues, but since this was a physical feat, I just have to. (Just one time, Dad. Because I’m so proud of you.)
He was born significantly premature in the 50’s with a brain injury resulting in limited mobility and other issues on the left side of his body. He endured braces on his legs, dozens of procedures and an extremely painful surgery on his foot and ankle to improve his mobility. His left leg is shorter and responds differently than his right causing a limp. His left arm and hand are twisted to a certain degree causing limited use. He now suffers with arthritis most severe in the joints affected by the surgery. He fractured his hip from a fall requiring surgery. He’s in his 60’s, and has always thought running wasn’t a healthy option for him.
He has always been active and health conscious, though. I remember watching him do push-ups with his good arm growing up not realizing how difficult that actually is. He has always had a “if you don’t use it you lose it” mentality, and with his condition, carrying extra bodyweight meant less mobility for him. So, I don’t ever remember him being much overweight, if any, my whole life. (I remember him talking about being overweight and having to do something about it, but I don’t actually remember that.) He walks miles and miles on the job site (he’s an engineer), and nowadays he’s keeping up with men half his age.
He has always been very supportive and interested in my running adventures. When no one else wants to hear about another race or training program, he would listen with enthusiasm. One of the races he loved to hear about the most was the Peachtree Road Race. A 10k in his hometown of Atlanta. He grew up not too far from the start line of this race, and since it started, he has always wanted to run it. But, given his mobility issues, he didn’t think he could.
Last year, when I was giving him a run down of my race, I told him he should run it. Seriously, there are people who walk it for the tshirt and the beer. He could totally do it. I offered to gift him a membership into the Atlanta Track Club and a guaranteed entry into the PRR as his Father’s Day present. All he had to do was train for it and run a qualifying race so we got a decent coral. No X coral with a 9:30am start time in the Georgia summer heat.
He could have listened to all the voices he’s heard throughout the course of his life telling him he would never be an athlete, that he would never run. He could have listened to the aches and pains he faces on a daily basis. He could have been self conscious about the way he (thinks he) looks when he runs. He has real legitimate excuses, but when it would have made all the sense in the world to say no, he said yes. He committed to the training. He pushed through the uncomfortable starting period. He read some books I gave him, and found that he loved running. He also figured out that all those voices telling him he couldn’t do it were wrong.
This man has long been my hero for so many reasons, but watching him overcome so much to accomplish this goal and run the Peachtree with me, it warranted sharing.
He is now a runner. My dad is a runner, and I can’t tell you how happy I am to be able to say that. Now when we talk about running, it goes both ways. We can both talk about our training and our races and our plans… and our injuries.
Thank you, Dad, for your example and your support. You really are my hero.
I have a Rhodesian Ridgeback, and she’s fantastic! Growing up, we rescued every dog we had except the second one. She was a pure bred Beagle named Princess, and someone stole her from us. Very sad. Our first dog was some kind of Aussie mix, but he had an unhealthy need to chase cars. He lived with three legs for a while because of his obsession, and eventually got around our defenses to meet his demise under the wheels of a car. After that, we had all kinds of dogs. One my dad spent a few weeks coaxing out of hiding. She finally gave in and let him follow her after having puppies in an old barn in the woods. We found homes for all her puppies, and she lived with us for about 8 years after that. Her name was Bear because that’s what my toddler brother thought she was when he saw her for the first time. We had another fantastic dog we rescued after someone threw her out of a moving truck. Just tossed her out going about 45-50 miles an hour. People are stupid. Anyway, she lived with my parents longer than I did, about 20 years (Chihuahua/Boston Terrier mix). We named her Cherry. We rescued a Collie trying to get into the trash behind a grocery store, scooped a little Lab mix puppy right off the interstate, and took in a Golden Retriever after her owner died. I kinda thought that’s just how you found the best dogs, really they found you.
My husband isn’t really an animal person. We didn’t have any pets until well after our kids were out of diapers. Mostly because we lived in an apartment that didn’t allow pets, then the babies came before we moved to our own house. I knew all the puppy stuff would be on me, and I wasn’t wiping human butts and cleaning up doggie poop at the same time. When we decided it was time to get a dog, he was super hesitant to rescue one. So, we talked to breeders, and found a Ridgeback puppy that was the cutest thing. She had been rejected by her original buyers because there was something wrong with her toe (ended up needing an amputation), and we got her at a discount. I called her my discount puppy until the amputation cost hit. She is now the most expensive animal I have ever owned, and I had horses growing up. 😉
Every dollar was worth it, though. I’m not exaggerating when I say she’s fantastic. She doesn’t chew furniture. She doesn’t have accidents in the house. She’s pretty chill unless you’re visiting for the first time or you’re the FedEx guy. Her only vices are food and trimming toe nails. The food thing is mostly the breed. We were warned. And, I can’t really blame her for her issues with her feet. She went through a lot with her toe. She’s my shadow most days, following me around, laying at my feet. I could not imagine our lives without her. She’s my favorite child. 😉
I really need to get one of those nanny cams to watch her when we’re not home because she does the craziest things. She can open a bottle — soda, chocolate milk, anything personal size that she’s not supposed to have — without destroying it, hold it with her paws and lick the contents out with her super long anteater tongue. We had to change the door knobs on our closets and pantry from oblong to sphere because she figured out how to open them. She can crawl into and wrap herself in a blanket like a taco. Cutest thing ever. She can jump higher than my head. She likes to close doors. She will walk into a room, turn around and close the door. We have to make sure we close the doors of rooms we don’t want her to get trapped in before we leave because this is such a problem. I think this is partially due to her love to make music with door stops. We have removed or replaced the springy annoying things because of her obsession. And, there are days I swear she knows exactly what I’m saying, like she speaks English.
One day recently, she faked an injury. I guess she decided she had been stuck in the house and neighborhood for too long and wanted to take a ride. I woke up, got the kids up, and was going about my morning routine. When I went to feed her, she limped to her bowl with her head down. After she ate, I asked her to come to me. She limped over and sat down. She limped when my husband called her. She limped when my daughter called her. It was her foot with the amputation. I was concerned, but couldn’t figure out what she could have done to it over night. She sleeps by my bed, and as far as I know, she was there all night. I took the kids to school, and when I came back, it was worse. She wouldn’t get up off the couch to greet me. She wasn’t following me around. It was SO weird. I called the vet and took her in. The very second we entered the clinic, the limp was gone. She was jumping and twisting, something she does when she greets people. It’s a little like her tail and her face want to reach you at the same time, and she moves toward you in a twisty sideways motion. I decided to leave her with them to see if after she calmed down from all the excitement, the limp would return and they could examine her better. It never came back. Because she was weight bearing and showed no distress in her excitement, they decided it couldn’t be serious like a break or anything and I should just watch her to see if it continued at home. I decided she was a little stinker who faked an injury to get out of the house.
Some days I’m not sure who is smarter, her or me, but I know she probably loves me more than I could ever love her. That’s just how dogs are. That does’t mean I won’t be giving her a run for her money, though, even when she faked injuries for a very expensive ride to the vet.
Before Christmas, I was in the kitchen — working on dinner or the dishes or any number of other never-ending tasks I feebly attempt to accomplish every day, my husband was in the living room, and my daughter was bouncing back and forth between us. The conversation went something like this.
“Mom, Dad wanted me to ask you what you want for Christmas, but I’m not supposed to tell you he sent me to ask you.”
Laughing a little as I reply. “Ok. Our secret. Hmm. How about a spotlessly clean and organized house.”
She leaves the kitchen and comes back. “He said to ask again.”
“How about a week off. I don’t have to drive, cook, grocery shop, laundry or laying out clothes, etc. How about that?”
This time she comes back shaking her head. “What do you really want for Christmas?”
“How about everybody eats what I want to eat for a week?”
She didn’t even go relay the message this time. She just looked at me, arms crossed shaking her head, “Eww. For real, Mom.”
I think I asked for a new Swell and a Starbucks gift card which she happily reported, and I’m pretty sure my favorite present was a new Garmin watch. So, the hubs didn’t fail at his gift giving task.
My main requests, however, were not within the realm of possibility, at least not in this stage of life. It’s funny how that works, right? As you get older, the things you want aren’t really things. You find yourself chasing a feeling or a state of being over something shiny and new. I just wanted to relax, to wholly decompress and let go, which to be honest, even if my husband had been able to grant any of those requests, I would still be stressed. I would stress out about whether everything is getting done right and/or feel guilty that I had checked out.
Anyway, that last request, the one she poo pooed before even relaying it, that’s the one I think I would love the most. I am most definitely a food agnostic. I don’t believe there is one right way to eat, but I do believe there are certain principles in eating that are universally good for all humans. It’s really hard to get kids to eat that way. It may be even harder to get my husband to eat that way. I would love not having to stress about pleasing everyone’s personal taste on top of trying to make a meal healthy. That one stress is probably one of the biggest stresses in my life. If everyone would just eat what I eat, I wouldn’t have to worry about it.
The problem is that I eat weird food.
I made a makeshift version of huevos rancheros for lunch one day (pictured above). My daughter looked at it while I was preparing it. It was pretty much just beans, sautéed salsa veggies and cheese over a tortilla. I hadn’t put the avocados, egg, hot sauce or sour cream on top yet, although I don’t know that that would have changed her reaction much. She looked at it and told me it looked like dog food with cheese on top.
Of course, this child doesn’t eat cheese, anything with tomatoes in it (including pizza), eggs, oatmeal, any kind of bean, anything green except green beans and sweet peas, etc. The list is exhausting. She won’t eat tacos or sandwiches. What do you feed a kid who doesn’t eat tacos or sandwiches? How did I grow this child inside me and she not like tacos? Was she switched at birth?
My middle child was allergic to Milk, Soy, Corn and Eggs for the first decade of his life. It was easier to feed him than her. Incidentally, he’s my best eater now. I think because he spent so much of his life being told he couldn’t have things, now he’ll eat ANYTHING.
My oldest is pretty adventurous, but he’s not big on some of the easiest things I cook. He likes fancy. So, he’s disappointed often.
I’ve thought about meal or menu planning services, but inevitably, I get to looking and can’t find a plan that has meals my family will eat. I mentioned before that I’ll eat anything. Anything except eggplant, shellfish and sea buckthorn. So, I’d be good with pretty much any of it. The rest of the people in my house, not so much.
I plan and prep and go through the week, but it never fails that someone will complain about what I made and how I made it. Then there are the nights that we’re too busy, and we just get takeout. That’s when my middle guy asks me when I’m gonna cook again because he likes my food better than whatever we picked up. Cue the melting heart, but I can’t win.
I like my “dog food with cheese on top.” Some day, that’s all I’ll have to worry about, right? What I’m gonna eat. My husband can fend for himself at that point because I’m not catering to an adult picky eater for the rest of my life.
Some day, they’ll come home all grown up, and I’ll cook each of them all their favorite foods without complaint because I’ll want them to want to be home with me, right? But, right now, I just need to get through the week without throwing up my hands and telling them to just go fix a bowl of cereal.
So, my knee hurts. (Doc) Hubs says tendinitis. No running, cycling, squatting, etc. for at least a few days. Well, great then. What am I gonna do now?
Yesterday, I did an all upper body weight lifting session. Usually, I do short, heavy, full body sessions on non running days. It was horrible, but I kinda hate weight lifting. So, that’s really not anything new except that I feel like squatting does more for me than dumbbell curls. I mean, I don’t run with my arms, and everybody knows it’s your butt that makes or breaks the way you look in a swim suit, not your arms. Not that that really matters because I spend my pool days with tons of kids and other moms. Nobody cares what my butt looks like in my swim suit as long as it’s properly covered.
Incidentally, my favorite thing to do in a swim suit is to actually swim, like for a really long time, and that works with my knee issue. That’s not an option for me right now because of our end of the year schedule. I can’t go swim laps with a 9 year old in tow. At least not at the pools open right now. I’ll be able to at our neighborhood pool once it opens. But, then I’ll have the kids and the moms and the sun screen, goggle fixing, toy retrieving, floatie blowing up duties to attend to.
Anyway, today I decided to try this fascial conditioning program on one of the apps I use. I read the book Natural Born Heroes by Christopher McDougall (good read), and I’ve been fascinated by anything ‘fascial’ since (I just noticed the spelling of fascinated and fascial are similarly spelled but not even close to meaning the same thing). So, I decided to try this program while I’m not running. I mean, it’s like yoga. I’ve done yoga. How hard can it be? Ha.
I am now reconsidering my actual level of fitness. First off, the program is taught by a tattooed former military guy who can bend himself into a pretzel. I was distracted a little by the tattoos. Tattoos on muscles are awesome, but I, for real, was trying to make out what they were, wondering about the stories behind them. Not really paying all that much attention thinking I can just follow along and figure it out. Then I was out of breath, my muscles were burning, and I had to modify the modification. It wasn’t cardio. It looked simple enough for my kids to do it, but I was struggling. I ended the video in dandasana (sitting on the floor with my knees crossed) drinking my water and watching him finish the exercises.
This may have been complicated by the fact that I ate half a bag of animal crackers (not the individual size) with strawberry milk and chocolate (it was dark chocolate, so that’s not totally bad, right?) just before the workout. Don’t judge me. It’s May. May is a black hole in my universe. It sucks all sanity, sleep and nutrition out into the abyss leaving me crazy, exhausted and either hungry or on a sugar binge. I looked fantastic in my swimsuit on Spring break in April. This Summer, yeah, I’m just gonna have to get used to letting it all hang out. Literally.
You can’t skip the cardio while eating like a giant 5 year old and keep the bikini body. Life doesn’t work that way, at least not after having kids.
I’ll be doing the next video tomorrow because I need exercise AND I refuse to be beaten by something that looks so simple. Maybe I’ll be more springy and mobile once I finish the program, OR maybe I’ll be back to running in a week and just quietly forget this ever even happened. Here’s hoping.
Runner’s World recently published an article entitled, Running puts everyone in a better mood. But for some of us, our miles are key to managing depression and anxiety. Mouthful, right? Oh, but it was good. While reading it, I found myself nodding in agreement and feeling validated to know that there is science that backs up what I, and apparently many other runners, know to be true for themselves, running is an effective treatment for depression and anxiety.
I haven’t been diagnosed officially or had medication prescribed for me, mostly because my anxiety and depression don’t incapacitate me, although they have in the past, and the anxiety I experience about seeing a doctor outweighs any desire to seek treatment. I am also not gonna take medication every day unless I need it to not die. Being married to a doctor who likes to say I need medication when we argue is about the closest to a medical diagnosis I’ve ever received. 😜 He does agree with me, though, (even when we’re not arguing) about the depression and anxiety as well as how running helps me.
I love the way Mr. Douglas describes his form of depression in this article, because that’s me. “Life often feels like waiting out a series of not-horrible, not-fun obligations. Things sometimes seem so pointless that I watch myself not caring that I don’t care.” Running makes me care — not the anxious freaking out kind of over caring that I tend to do when my anxiety takes over, but the productive connected to the world around me kind of caring. Not numb but not over stimulated, a good run can even everything out for me, and I honestly believe that’s why I love and crave it so much. I need it like an addict needs their drug. It IS my drug.
I’ve been blessed with many talents that provide outlets for me. I’m an artist, musician, and a writer. I have many wonderful non-judgmental people in my life that I can turn to when I need to vent. I have options, but running is the most effective treatment. It’s the best option out of them all.
When I hear people say I’m crazy because I run, I always want to respond. “No. I run because I’m crazy.”
I guess it’s like the eternal chicken and egg question, but either way, we’re connected now, and I’m not going back. I can’t. I will run for life because I have to run to feel alive.
Do you ever wonder about your perception of yourself? Is it accurate? Do you see yourself better than others do? Or worse?
Me? Well, I’m confused. It is not uncommon for someone I have recently spent time getting to know to comment that I’m not how they thought I would be when they met me. I usually just chock that up to the fact that I’m a slow warmer (takes me a while to warm up to people and feel comfortable around them generally). More often than not it’s a positive thing they’re trying to say. They think I’m funnier or more fun than they thought I would be. They think I’m smarter and more articulate than they thought I would be. Etc. I’ll usually comment that my inside doesn’t match my outside, and I wonder just what kind of vibes I give off upon first meeting. I mean, do I look like a boring idiot? Should I change my hair? Anyway, the point being people usually tell me things about me that are good things. Most people are kind and don’t want to hurt people on purpose. So, I think this has a lot to do with that, but most people aren’t gonna make that junk up, either.
What do I think of myself? I’m generally pretty confident in who I am at this point of my life, at least in the aspect of accepting myself so I can grow. If I were to describe myself, though, I would tell you I’m socially awkward, weird, OCD, anxious, incapable of telling a joke (in person), ditzy, plain, slow, weak. I could go on. Negative first because those are the things up front and center in my mind because I want to work on them.
I’m almost always surprised when I hear someone compliment me or comment on me in a positive way. Even if it’s something I know I just aced.
I recently participated in a local 5k. I got a PR, and generally crushed it without much intentional training. I signed up just a couple weeks before the race, right before the T-shirt cut off date. Still, crushing it for me isn’t really all that fast, at least not in my mind. Someone I met at the gym I go to asked me about it when I saw her next. She said she saw me at the start line and decided she would try to keep up with me. Keeping me in sight was her goal. Me. I was shocked at her comment ALL day and obviously it left a big enough impression to be writing about it now.
I recently posted a video on my social media called My Fit Friend vs Mewhere a very fit woman is balancing on a board on a foam roller while rotating a weight plate around in front of her. One of those balance plus coordination plus strength things that few people can master. Then there was a shot of a less fit woman attempting the same thing, slipping off the roller and the board flipping up to hit her inner thigh. I posted it laughing because I saw myself as the less fit woman. A friend of mine, one of those amazing people who is able to be honest with me in a positive and growth inspiring way, texted me to say, “you know you’re the fit friend, right?” I stared at her text wondering who she really meant to send it to. Then she said, “you’re the fit friend, dummy.” I’m the fit friend? Nuh uh. I’m the forever chasing fit friend.
The inside most definitely doesn’t match the outside. My inner perception vs reality. I set goals, chase them, and crush them without much fan fare because by the time I achieve them, I already have a new goal ready to chase. I don’t think that’s a bad trait to have, but maybe I should allow myself to see the progress for what it is. Maybe I should allow myself to be the fit friend. I catalog negative traits and work toward changing them because I want to grow and be better than I was yesterday, but maybe I should allow myself to feel more proud of the positive traits, especially if they used to be negative. Maybe I should put a few of those positive traits up front and center in my personal description of myself.
Bottom line of this rambling post: if you see or think something positive about someone, tell them. Even if they seem like they must hear it all the time, your voice might be an incredible source of encouragement and strength they need to fight their internal negative voice. AND, Try accepting those positive comments about yourself as truth. Try seeing yourself a little more like the people who love you see you. They’re not lying.
I go to one of those chain gyms with hour long classes that rotate through stations. It’s a GOOD workout doing things I’m not likely to make myself do on my own. I like to run, stupid long and slow. I like to swim, also stupid long and slow. Most other activities are done in an effort to help me do those things better. OR to look better in my jeans. 😉
I enjoy the program at this gym for my cross training. I feel fitter than I ever have, and I PRd my last race. So, I would say it’s awesome! The nature of the gym and the times I go, it’s mostly women who populate the classes.
When I talk about it, I will sometimes hear from men, or women relaying info from some of the men in their lives, that it looks like a great workout, but they’re not gonna workout with a bunch of women. There were lots more men when I was a member of a crossfit gym, and they had no problem working out with women. But, I get it. It’s cool with me. I just have to say, I always cringe inside when I hear that.
Why? For real. Is it because they don’t see how it would be challenging enough for them because, if a bunch of women do it, then it must be easy? Pink weights and stuff. Are they intimidated that one of these women might show them up? Are they worried about getting distracted? Do they think it’s just one big gossip session? Are they just not comfortable with it? I really would like to know.
Then today happened. I went to workout at a different time than usual. Different location, different coach, different patrons. The workout was awesomely hard. The coach was great. There were several men in the class, which was cool. Until it wasn’t.
You rotate through stations using a number, sharing the station with one or two other people. So, one is on the treadmill while another is on the rower or weight station, etc. I shared the station with a man, a man with large feet who must have worn his shoes to do yard work yesterday because there was grass and dirt all over the foot plates on the rower and all over the floor underneath. Because his feet were big, I had to adjust the plates and straps every time I got on the rower. Grass and dirt sticking to my sweaty hands. Grass and dirt on MY shoes now. I even found grass in the cup holder of my car after I left because it was sticking to me. Gross.
I worked out next to a guy who spread out into my space doing his own thing, setting his things on my station, acting like I could just move over.
Grassy shoe guy got lots more grass and dirt all over the treadmill we were sharing as well as the floor around our weight station. He left his used wipes and his card (to record times) on the treadmill. It looked like he was there with his wife or S.O. which made me wonder, did she notice the disaster he was leaving behind? Does she care? I mean if she lives with him, I’m sure she’s used to it. I don’t know about the guy with no sense of personal space. I couldn’t tell what he was doing much less who he was with.
Then I decided I was glad more men don’t workout with my “bunch of women”. If you can’t handle common gym courtesy, you can stick to your “manly” workouts and stay away from mine.
I know women can be just as gross, but it hasn’t happened to me at the gym before. I’ve never had to consider asking any one of them if they could at least wipe off the mess they left before moving on to the next station. The one or two men who join the “bunch of women” I usually workout with have more common courtesy, and I love them for it.
I bet the guys I encountered today are the kind that don’t wipe down or rerack their weights after lifting, IF they even lift. I bet they blast their own music and hog equipment like no one else exists. Sigh.
My PSA of the day, don’t be that guy (or girl). Train dirty. Be clean.
I will happily rejoin my regularly scheduled gym programming very soon, and think twice about switching times and locations again.