It has been at least a year since I've sat down at my home iMac to compose an entry for my Blog. I just hadn't felt the need. A quick update from my iPhone is about all I've been doing recently-if even that. For some reason today that changed. Maybe it is because I'm turning 49 this month. Maybe it is because Tyler turned 22 today. Maybe it is because this month marks 9 years since I began this blog. Wow. Time has flown. Heck, Topaz will be 12 on Thursday! December is a big month around here.
I look back at this year and all I can say say is shit, it has been tough as hell. I have never said those words about a prior year before. I have always said how wonderful the past year was, I list my goals met, my goals for the future, how marvelous the year was. Not this time. It just wasn't. Not that I expect every year to be unicorns and rainbows. I have always felt blessed and thankful for the low stress, non harried life I live. That life wasn't so this year. This puts me in a very uncomfortable place-once that I am not accustomed to nor familiar with.
-I suppose it begins with menopause. I went directly into menopause three years ago next month when I had a total radical hysterectomy for the prevention of ovarian cancer which runs rampant in my family. (I will be putting a blog post together all about running and hysterectomy. It is one of the most hit topics on my blog..and I don't have many of those posts here). Everything is different. My body, my hormones, my moods, me. I am not using hormone therapy. I'm hot flashing not stop, I'm riding waves of emotion, sometimes high anxiety and hysteria. If I had been able to ease into menopause without surgery my symptoms wouldn't be as difficult to manage. Hey, it beats cancer, I keep telling myself. Yes, yes it does!
-Of course the death of my mother made for a horrifying year. She passed last November and it has really been a struggle for me. Duh. The pain is just as raw now as it was last year at this time. Last year at this time it may have been a bit easier..as I was just numb, not able to feel it as I am now.
-Big Life Changes. Tyler moved out three years ago and Troy will be heading off to the college in August. I'm beyond excited and proud of him..but you know, big changes.
-Fracturing my ankle in July really threw me for a loop. I didn't let the damn thing heal and foolishly began Superior 100-I can say foolishly, since I then broke the fractured ankle during this race. Had I not, and finished, I wouldn't say it was foolish.
The recovery has been difficult. Running as much as I do, with as many miles and races I have put in over the past 10 years of ultrarunning-I knew it was bound to happen. I always wondered what would happen to me physically - emotionally - mentally - if I were injured. I now know. Here this is 'only' a broken ankle..what if something happened where I could never run again? I would deal the best I could.
With an MD and orthopedic surgeons telling me I wouldn't run again I had to think about that scenario.
I wondered if I'd pick up my old friend alcohol again. I didn't think so..but with the depression I was feeling, who knows? Thankfully, I did not.
Running replaced drinking for me. I didn't want to drink again. Although I didn't want to drink again I was surprised at how often the thoughts came to me. Not thoughts of planning my next drink, but memories of past drunks. Past life. Many times I woke up, thinking I was drunk, reliving the dream I had just had. Crazy. I didn't want to go there again.
But I didn't drink. I held it together the best I could. I cried. I screamed while walking through the woods. I held Topaz tight. I pretend everything is OK. It's the best I can do.
Addiction. I replaced alcohol and tobacco with running. I then found while I wasn't running I was consuming copious amounts of sugar. Another addiction. Not that I didn't know this would happen, It's always just under the surface.
No running, depression, menopause + eating sugar = weight gain. Sure, I've been lifting and CrossFit, it isn't the same..physically or emotionally.
A few weeks ago I ran my first 5 mile run. I cried almost the whole way. I was so thrilled. You know, it isn't 'just' about running. Running encompasses so much for me. It is so much more, but running started it. Running helped me to become the person who I wanted to be. The person who I didn't think I could become. Running has allowed me to feel alive. Running has kept me sober for 17 years.
I look around my desk and see all of the medals, plaques, 100 mile buckles. Yes, I've obtained quite a few. Here is a sampling. There are many more. Each one is more than an award for a finish. Each one means so much more. Each one has a story. A story about me. Maybe I haven't been sitting here for a while because I didn't want to look. I didn't want to look at what I had been missing. Where I've been. The work and dedication I put in. I didn't want to face how much I missed running. How much I missed myself.
Today Topaz and I went out for an 8 mile snowshoe run at Lake Maria. I was -11F, -25 WC. I smiled the whole way. I thought about next year. I thought about what it will be. I celebrated that I have made it through this year. The best that I can.
Tomorrow I'm running the 25K Donut Run. 16 miles, 5 stops at local bakeries. There is a 5 mile and 10 mile version, too. I've run 8 this week, will try 10 and see if 16 is in the ankle. It will be -30WC, -15F. I think it will be The Hot Coffee Run. Hot Coffee at every Bakery. Nice!
This sat in my draft for a day. Hence the mismatched title :D