Archive | October, 2015

perspective

21 Oct

What I’ve noticed lately (had reinforced lately?) is that mostly everything is just a matter of perspective.  How hard you work (in your job or just in life), how much you have (or don’t have), how good (or bad) things are…There’s always someone with more and someone with less.  You might have to look hard to find that out, but it’s always true.  Life is just a matter of perspective.

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break it down, build it back up…

I used to think I was a pretty slow runner.  Now, sometimes I feel like I might be approaching something like mediocrity.  But when I stop to really consider, I realize how impressed beginner-runner-Shme would be with present-day-runner-Shme (and how surprised, too haha).  I realize that even at my slowest, I’m still not THE slowest, that there’s always someone slower and someone faster (I mean even the elites eventually get beat by someone haha) and that even the slowest runners are still “lapping everyone sitting on the couch.”  And some days, just putting down the bag of potato chips and getting off the comfy couch is the real achievement (or maybe that’s just me…I have a serious potato chip problem…).

This weekend I ran the farthest I’ve run since Virgil.  It hasn’t even been a month since the most demanding race of my life (distance and difficulty level), but somehow I’ve felt incredibly lazy taking the time off.  On the flip side, I’ve felt incredibly justified in my lack of motivation–50 miles is a long way to go, and 50 miles on the Virgil course is pretty intense.  But for some reason I decided to register myself for Mendon 50k, back when I was having “yay I’m the greatest” moments when training was going well and I was feeling great.  So I registered for Mendon 50k thinking 6 weeks was plenty of time to recover, get in a couple of weeks of training, and then taper again (PSA: 6 weeks is NOT enough time for all three of those).  I registered anyway.  And once you are registered for a race, there’s only one thing to do: head down, grind it out.

Which became my mantra starting at about mile 7 or 8 on Sunday, all the way through to mile 17.5, my longest run since Virgil.  Loop 1 felt okay–Ron, Mike and I cruised through a quick (for me) loop, and I felt alright.  Ron left, we picked up Chris, and we carried on our merry way.  Somewhere in the middle of loop 2 of the 10k loops, I started to seriously consider calling it–my legs hurt, my hip flexors were really aching, and I was not enjoying the run (despite having a variety of great company throughout).  At one point, around maybe mile 10, Chris looked back at me and said “How you doing, chatty?”  He and Mike had been talking for most of the run, and I was doing my best to stay with the two of them, trying to stay close enough to hear their conversation, which would kind of distract me from my misery.  To be fair, I’m not always the most talkative during a run (I know, right? Me??? Not talking much??? WTF???)  But I was particularly quiet during these miles, and I got called out for it.

We finished the loop, rolled into the parking lot, Mike went home (he’d done a loop before meeting us) and I toyed with quitting.  Eric was like, “Go back out.  You need at least 1 more loop today.  Go and hike if you need to.”  And that was it.  I guess I just needed his reassurance and kick in the pants. I don’t know where I’d be without his constant encouragement and direction.  In any event, I started hiking up the road to get back on the trail, figuring I’d start the loop and could cut out if I really wanted to.  We got to the top of the water tower hill, and as we kept going, I realized that I was now committed to the third loop.  We kept going…and it was slow and blah and there was what felt like an inordinate amount of hiking.  Chris stayed with me, we talked a bunch, many times I told him to leave me and go run, he stayed anyway. I realized this is why I love trail running–because we so often stay together, even when one is stronger or faster.  I don’t know why, but I suspect it has something to do with the knowledge of the perspective–there’s always someone faster and someone slower, so you may as well just sit back and enjoy the ride with whomever you happen to be with at the time.

We finished the loop, and I realized that even though I felt really slow, it wasn’t terrible (for me).  For someone still recovering, it was actually pretty good.  And being able to mentally keep going, even though I wanted to just call it a day and go home and go back to bed…well that’s pretty important training for an ultra.  (Oh yeah, side note: All I want to do these days is sleep.  It’s becoming kind of disturbing to me…)

Monday I woke up with some pretty sore legs, which shocked me.  Talk about perspective.  There was a time when a 17.5 miler would’ve been something that I expected to make me sore.  But those days were long over [I thought].  I haven’t been sore from “just” a 17 miler in a long time.  Perspective.  Immediately after an intense 50 miler, apparently your body doesn’t handle mileage the same way.  We went to the gym (which is on the plan for Mondays), but I lifted much less than I normally would, thought I might keel over and die doing squats (my hammies are particularly jacked up right now), and did fewer repeats for all leg exercises.  Today, my legs were still sore.  I got to the group run a little early, put in 2 miles and then another 4 with the group on flat, easy trails.  They were slow, but felt pretty fantastic.  Until I stopped running.  At which point my legs reminded me that they’re tired and sore.  I was disappointed to say the least.

But even in all that disappointment, looking up at the sky, listening to the wind blowing through the leaves on the trees, hearing the leaves crunching under my feet, smelling whatever that super-sweet-smells-like-smores-to-me thing on the trails is…I realized that none of this actually matters.  What happens at Mendon is pretty irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.  What happened at any race doesn’t matter.  Work, which has been stressing me out this whole year…pretty irrelevant, too.  Things that have been bothering me, that I’ve been worrying about…they don’t really actually matter.  Being in the moment, seeing and smelling and listening to the things around me, just letting all the cool sensory moments wash over me and loving being surrounded by amazing people who do amazing things…those are the important things.  And I am thankful that trail running gives me that perspective.

quotable

lost

13 Oct

Sometimes in life, you feel hopelessly lost.  Like you don’t know where you belong anymore.  Who you are.  Who you are meant to be.  Where you are meant to go next.

Maybe this is the post-race melancholy that everyone says happens after you finish a big goal race.

Maybe this is me when I haven’t run any major mileage in a month+ (except for that one day I ran 50 miles ha).

Maybe this is just the stress of a new, really-important-for-me-professionally school year.

More likely this is just me overthinking things, which is kind of how I roll.

Lately, all I can think about is baby stuff.  We are still on a break.  We’ve been since mid-this-summer when we were pretty much forced to after 2-3 months (I lost count and refuse to waste any more precious mental energy on failed cycles and sadness) straight of nightly stomach shots…for ultimately no real reason other than some “cool” bruises and a whole lot of heartbreak.  It was time to let my body recover before we tried again for our “lucky cycle.”  Luck seems to have evaded us for over 5 years now.  I’m not very optimistic anymore, so the “lucky cycle” is kind of a sarcastic joke at this point.  Our doctor told us we could start trying again in the fall…but we can’t.  Because I have to take so much time off from work to go to the doctor every single cycle (and it’s all “come in right now” based on my blood work the night before, so it’s un-plan-able)–I can’t.  It’s my tenure year–I can’t.  I have a new principal to prove myself to–I can’t.  I feel like I can’t take the time off, especially not for another roll of the dice, one that will almost definitely not work.  And I am so incredibly angry and frustrated by that that it brings tears to my eyes when I think about it too much.  Because “normal” people would just decide to try again and *yay* have all of the fun of trying to have a baby.  But we can’t.  We have to schedule doctor visits, blood work, medication.  We have to have things shoved inside me, undergo humiliating visits, deal with pain and stress.  We can’t “just try.”  So we wait and try not to think about how unfair life is and focus on the good things (and there are so many of them in our lives).  But it still sucks to know you want something and may never get that something, to watch it slip further and further away all the time.  I always dreamed of being the young mom of 3-5 awesome kids.  Now I wonder if I’ll ever be a mom, of even one kid.
Realizing all of this (again) two weeks ago, I sobbed in the shower.  I couldn’t stop.  I haven’t fallen apart over this in so long. I thought I was “over it.”  But the sobbing was a good release, and I felt much better.  Sometimes you just need to cry it all out until you’re too tired to cry anymore.

yup

I am so proud and so happy of what I’ve done the past few months.  50 miles is an amazing accomplishment built over months of training, physical and mental training.  I know I can do 50 faster next time. I know I can do the training.  I want to keep getting better, faster than I was the last time.  So maybe this is my “place.”  Maybe I’m not “meant to be” a mom (P.S. this is one of the worst, most devastating things you can say to your infertile friends).  Maybe I’m just “meant to be” a runner, have my little niche within #TrailsRoc, have fun adventures in the woods.

But then I wonder if this, this running, is just a replacement.

When you read about ultra runners, so many of them are addicts of some kind.  They replace their “harmful” addictions with running.  So maybe that’s what I’m doing.  I can’t get pregnant.  So I’ll just run a lot of miles instead.  I can’t do something important like create and raise a child…so I’ll run a lot of miles, break my body apart that way, give my mind something else to occupy it…something that, at least up til now, I’ve been relatively successful at.  Because success (even at this relatively low level) feels a whole hell of a lot better than all the medical failures we’ve experienced the past few years.

Lately I feel lost–like I don’t have a place.  Like the people who have been “my people” aren’t anymore.  Because I’m not a mom.  I may never be a mom.  So I don’t fit with the “moms,” some of whom have made that abundantly clear to me, in case I haven’t been able to figure it out on my own.  I’m figuring out how to navigate this world of infertility-while-everyone-around-me-gets-to-be-a-mom on my own while everyone else drifts away…not many other people seem to want to be a part of it (and I can’t say I blame them–it’s kind of a shitty place to be).  Sometimes I try to justify it–they don’t know what to say to me because I’m drowning in sorrow while they are trying to decide if the sacrifices of motherhood are actually “worth it.”  It just adds to the grief of this entire thing, and at this point I can’t add any more grief to my plate.  I’m also not a non-mom by choice.  I don’t NOT want kids.  I don’t dislike kids.  I love them.  So I don’t fit there.  I’m not too young to be a mom anymore–that excuse has come and gone.  But I’m not so old that I’ve already mothered and my babies are just “grown” now.  I don’t fit anywhere.  I’m some weird, in-between that I didn’t pick, that I would never have picked, that I would never wish on anyone.

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And so I’m lost.  And I run.  And running helps me to feel lost, but in a different way.  In a good way.  Lost in the “Oh look, I’ve just spent 4 hours in the woods and didn’t realize it’s time for lunch” kind of way.  Lost in the “for an hour on Tuesday night, I am caring for people and that’s all that matters” kind of way.  Lost in the “look at this amazing scenery–you are so much smaller than anything else in the world–just be as good as you can possibly be and try to make the world a little bit better while you’re here” kind of way.  And that…that is a lost that isn’t bad.  It isn’t bad at all…