My run is over

It’s official. My run is over.

Tuesday I had an appointment with the rheumatoid doctor I waited 4 months to see. It started out a little rough. The nurse asked what tests I had done. Tests?? What? None, I replied. She said that my visit was probably a wild goose chase and they would end up sending me back to my doctor. I felt discouraged. I knew something was wrong. I mean, just this week I started having a hard time bending my toes. I am in almost constant pain. It’s more of a dull ache, but still.

Next the doctor came in. She listened to all I had to say…that I was a runner for 15 years…started having pain in my joints…having a hard time bending my toes. She did an exam. She heard my knees grind when I bent them. I can no longer bend over and touch my toes. Then there was the pain in my hands and feet. She told me I have osteoarthritis. I also have a bunion on my right foot which is a great source of my pain.

I told her that I could no longer run. The last time I ran I had a lot of back pain and a piercing stabbing pain in my ankle that would randomly come and go. She said I most likely have a bone spur on my ankle and when I would run it would pinch a nerve. The doctor said she didn’t recommend running anymore. Instead I should do low impact sports such as walking or swimming.

It’s difficult because I am sore when I get up in the morning. I’m sore if I sit too much. I can’t do any high impact exercise without a tremendous amount of pain. Even walking hurts. It just sucks. I tried walking with hand and leg weights and ended up with tendonitis in my shoulder. The doctor said I am overweight. Outside of being pregnant, I’m the heaviest I ever was. The doctor said I needed to exercise more. Yeah, I wish I could run and do everything I was able to do before. Of course I’m going to gain weight. I went from running marathons to Netflix marathons. I feel trapped in my own body. It no longer does what I want it to do anymore.

But I do feel better knowing I have arthritis. I knew something was wrong. How do you go from running to hardly being able to walk without something being wrong??

Next month Angel and Paul are running a 10k. This will be the first time I will be an observer of the sport I was once so passionate about. I am a little sad because the time I ran in races were some of the best years of my life. I felt so healthy and alive. I’ve accepted that my run is over. Recently, I donated or threw out most of my running gear. I guess it’s on to a new phase of my life whatever that will be.

I was worried (and pretty much everyone I told asked) I caused this arthritis in myself by being a long distance runner. The research says that is simply not true. You are at higher risk of developing arthritis if you are a professional athlete running 50+ miles a week which I am not. The research I found said you are more likely to develop arthritis if you are obese living a sedentary lifestyle and not as likely if you are a runner. Honestly, I don’t know why it happened to me. That’s life I guess…you just never know what’s going to happen next.

I once was a marathon runner. Now I have arthritis.

Gratitude week 119

  1. We joined a new church today.
  2. We had the pastor and his family over for a swim yesterday. They have 7 children, age 13 and under. I got my baby fix in for awhile. The kids were very excited to come over and swim, so that was positive. The pastor spent the last couple months meeting with us and getting to know us, so all in all it has been a good experience and I’m grateful for the time the pastor spent with us. It was probably around 20 hours which is the longest time I think a pastor has talked to us one-on-one.
  3. I was able to do some volunteer work for the church using some of my previous job experience. It was good to help out. It made me really miss the business we used to run. But it’s nice to know those skills still have purpose in helping others.
  4. My tattoo is fully healed. I was able to swim in the pool this week for the first time since getting the tattoo. I was able to get outside and go for a couple walks for the first time since the tattoo as well. The weather has been miserable, but it should be spring soon. Someone told me that we had the wettest March since the 1800’s. After about 2 weeks of sitting on my butt, I decided to walk around inside the house with weights. I figured doing something is better than doing nothing.
  5. I am excited to do the spring purge this week and get rid of stuff. Time to bring out the spring clothes and go through everything. I’m going to do some yard work this afternoon. I’ll be picking up branches, raking, and getting on the ladder to replace burnt out light bulbs. I’ve been itching to get out and do something after being cooped up for so long.
  6. Last Sunday we visited Arabella at her new job.
  7. This past week I ended up taking Angel to the ER. She ended up having an ocular migraine (which other people in my family have had but not me). I’m grateful I was able to help her out when she needed me.
  8. Paul’s step-dad Darryl is engaged and we were able to meet his fiancĂ©’s family when we went out for her birthday. They were very warm and welcoming.
  9. My best friend and her family came over last night to visit. Her son participated in the youth hunt and got a turkey right away in the morning which they brought over for us to sample. It’s always nice to get together with friends on a quiet weekend.
  10. I feel like I am out of survivor mode. The last several years have been such a roller coaster ride. It feels strange to have things relatively back to normal. And quite frankly, it is, well…rather boring. I have been feeling less motivated to write. Because what is there to write about?? Mundane things? In my natural state I am very structured, organized, and routine. Who wants to hear about that? Maybe it would be something new. LOL!

The old normal, part 7

One of the biggest changes since the start of COVID is having an empty nest. When COVID began, I had four teenagers living in my house. Granted, two of them were foreign exchange students. Back then all my children were in school of some sort…high school, tech school, college. Now I don’t have any children at home or in school. That has been a huge change for me.

For almost 20 years of my life I had children in school. I was involved in their education. When they were little, I volunteered in their classrooms. I attended countless sporting events, field trips, concerts, conferences, and ceremonies. My weekends and a lot of week days were booked with kid stuff. My calendar was full. I was driving the kids all over the place. I was interacting with other parents. Then less than a year ago that abruptly ended. A month ago, my last child who was living with us moved out.

It’s been a big adjustment going from being needed to questioning what my purpose is now as a mother whose children are grown up and gone. It’s a strange experience having to only be responsible for me. Seeing moms wrestle in the grocery store with car seats and unruly kids makes me feel free, yet I miss it. It’s bittersweet. It’s so ingrained in me to want to take care of other people that I don’t know what to do with it now that it’s gone.

My life has changed so much in the last two years. The old normal is gone. I’m not sure where to even start. But it is a new beginning, a new season, a new chapter just waiting for me to explore. That can be exciting and fun.

The old normal, part 6

Before COVID, I spent a lot of time at the gym. I don’t even have a gym membership anymore. How things have changed.

Back in the day, I used to go to the gym three times a week for at least an hour. In the summer, I would run the streets. I did countless marathons, a half Iron, and a 50k. When I first started blogging I wrote about training for my first marathon after reading a marathon training book written by a blogger. At the time I thought I could run a marathon and I could write on a blog, and I did. I even have running in the title of my blog. Over time this blog has morphed into something more than that.

I always thought I would be a runner. I didn’t often see a lot of older runners competing in races, but when I did I thought to myself that will be me someday. Running helped me burn off a lot of my anxiety and stress. I worried a lot about becoming injured because I didn’t think I would be sane without running. I know I have posted before if I couldn’t run someone would need to check on me because I would not be okay.

Then the world changed. When COVID hit my gym closed and all the races I was planning on running got cancelled. Not long after that, I had a 10 day bout of colitis that knocked me off my feet. A month later it was hard for me just to put the laundry from the washer into the dryer. I thought I would never be able to run again. I was able to but I lost most of what was left of my endurance. Then I started to experience joint pain which made it all but impossible to run without being in pain.

I’m not sure what is wrong. It could be a number of things or it could be nothing at all. I have an appointment scheduled with a specialist in May. My doctor thought the joint pain could be related to colitis. I recently read stress and trauma can cause inflammation like I have. Or maybe I overused my joints by all my long distance running. I also saw it could be a symptom of perimenopause. Or maybe I’m getting arthritis like some of my other relatives did. I started noticing bumps on the knuckles of my fingers. But until I see the doctor I’m just guessing.

I started doing low impact workouts but I find them to be frustrating because it doesn’t feel as if I am doing anything. I had to take a step back because I just couldn’t do it anymore. I miss running, I really do but I don’t feel like I will not be okay without it anymore. I don’t need to beat the hell out of my body anymore. But I don’t want to do nothing either. I’ve gained some weight. But is it realistic to think I’ll always be able to keep a youthful figure as I age?

Sometimes now I run into people from my running days. I’ve been asked what race I am training for. It’s hard to admit I am much more of a walker now. For 15 years I identified as a runner. Now it’s just another area of my life I don’t know who I am anymore. But one thing I can say for sure, I can live without running. I am okay. I never thought I would be saying that. Now it’s time for something new. I’m just not sure what that is yet.

Navigating life

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t struggle with depression, anxiety, insomnia, and nightmares.

Why should I expect that to change? The likelihood of no longer struggling with these things is about as likely as me waking up one morning with schizophrenia. It’s probably not going to happen. I was thinking about these things while I laid awake the other night.

Some things have changed. I started taking medicine prescribed by my doctor to help me sleep at night. It works better than nothing. I still struggle with insomnia and nightmares. The insomnia part has improved, but the nightmares have not.

Do you ever have dreams where you are falling and you wake up before you hit the bottom? I don’t wake up anymore until I’m dead. Sounds strange, right? In the last week, I’ve had two dreams where I was shot point blank, heard the sound of gunfire, and woke up after I died in my dreams. The nightmares just seem to go on forever. In one of the nightmares I was shot while I was cleaning my house. I mean, seriously??

Then I got to thinking, people really don’t change either. Most of my childhood I believed my autistic/schizophrenic brother would become normal again. If only we could find the right doctor, the right diet, the right medication. I was waiting and hoping for this. God was going to heal my brother. I didn’t know what this was going to look like. Would he be able to suddenly read and write like me or was he going to start life over in his toddler years. I thought it was going to happen, but it never did.

When my own daughter started having mental health struggles a couple years back, I thought the same thing. If only I found the right doctor, the right medication, the right inpatient program, outpatient program, etc.. Surely an expensive residential treatment facility would do the trick. But it didn’t cure her. It didn’t take her mental illness away. She is not the same person she was before. She will never be that way again. She may decide to end her life someday and I have to accept that and love her where she is at. That’s a hard pill to swallow.

After my dad committed his crime, there was a period of time where I was under the impression that he accepted the Lord and was a changed person. I wanted so badly to believe that was true. I thought maybe he would finally be the kind of dad I always wanted. But guess what? Nothing changed.

If I pray more and have enough faith, then my anxiety will go away. I used to believe that too. Maybe something was wrong with me because when I prayed for my struggles to go away, they didn’t. I don’t believe people anymore when they tell me those kind of things. It sounds like a gimmick to me. God is bigger than that. I don’t see God in that way anymore. I think faith is a wonderful coping mechanism. But I think people do more harm than good by telling others if they do certain things then their sibling, their child, their parent, or they will not struggle anymore.

Miracles do happen, but they are truly one in a million. I’m better off accepting that the way things are will probably be the way things will always be. If I look at it that way, my life makes a lot more sense. Look at the patterns of behavior. It’s very simplistic, but for me it was a real aha moment in the middle of the night. People don’t change. They may grow and mature over time like a baby turns into an old lady. But it’s still the same person with the same strengths and weaknesses with a little more wisdom and mindfulness on how to navigate life.

The old normal, part 1

I’ve experienced a lot a change in the last 5 years. It started with the death of my mother-in-law from cancer back in February of 2017. We went through a period of grief and loss.

Within the last 5 years we went from having three (up to four with the foreign exchange students) teenagers living in our house to being empty nesters last month.

Paul and I went from running a business to selling our business that I worked at for 10 years and he for 20. For a period of time, we were retired. Then Paul started a seasonal business. He also started a new career different from both businesses. So there were several career and job changes within the last 5 years.

With the selling of our business, we experienced a socioeconomic change. We moved into a different house in a different town. Our youngest daughter changed schools. We are attending the third church within five years. New house, new neighborhood, new school, new church.

I went from being a marathon runner to not running at all. I was diagnosed with colitis and started developing health issues. I started to notice aging more than I’ve ever experienced it before in my adult life going from my early 40’s to my late 40’s. My siblings started to develop health issues.

I found out about the crime my dad committed. It tore up my family. Then COVID came into play and tore up whatever family unity was left. My dad will be 75 in a couple weeks and it kills me that our relationship never amounted to anything. Most of my family went from tolerating him to despising him. My mom is teeter tottering back and forth between leaving my dad and staying. She moved in with us for awhile. She is experiencing a tremendous amount of anxiety.

It’s been two years today since my youngest daughter tried to kill herself for the first time. That has been a huge struggle and change in my life, having a daughter go from quirky to being so mentally ill she might die.

Then there are the other little changes, but changes nonetheless. Losing a family pet. Buying a new car after my old car got totaled. Not to mention a global pandemic that changed everyone’s life.

I am struggling with all the change. The new me doesn’t even recognize the old me anymore. What happens now?

What happens when the pandemic ends? Do we pick up the pieces where we left off and start a new old normal?

Fortune cookie wisdom #47

The will to do, the soul to dare is yours for the taking if you prepare.

I always thought I was really good at planning and preparing for the will to do and the soul to dare. But now I think it takes much more than that.

I was planning on touring Europe. I had prepared for the trip. I had a passport. I had my airline tickets. I was ready to check that continent off my bucket list. Then COVID hit and all the preparations were for naught.

I was planning on signing up for another 50k. I picked the race I wanted to do. I was really excited because part of the course included a water crossing. I was training. I was prepared. But then COVID hit. The race was cancelled. My gym that I visited three times a week over the winter for years closed. I got hit hard ten days with colitis and haven’t been the same since. I can’t run anymore without being in a lot of pain. I couldn’t even help my daughter paint her house without having joint pain. I wasn’t prepared for that.

There is a part of me that thought my kids would stay young forever. Through many sleepless nights, I thought that. I thought that through the temper tantrums, the busy school age running, and through the tumultuous teenage years. I didn’t think about them growing up and leaving home. Somehow I found myself not prepared for that part of parenting. A part of me doesn’t even know who I am anymore since that part of me is gone.

I wasn’t prepared for aging. It’s shocking to see my hair turn gray without any hair color. My neck is starting to look like the neck of a rubber chicken. Now when I look in the mirror, I see my mother. I look like a granny; too young to crack out the cardinal sweaters but too old to dress like I am in my 30’s. I had to break down and buy bigger pants since I haven’t been able to workout like I used to. I always thought those things happened to other people, not me. I am close to 50. Why wasn’t I prepared for this?

Sometimes it’s very hard to take a good look in the mirror. I don’t want to admit my best years in health and in looks are behind me. There is not a damn thing any of us can do about it. I do feel childish in feeling insecure about it. Sometimes I don’t even know who I am anymore. I have all these crazy middle age female hormones coursing through my body making me feel like an adolescent again, but I’m not. Doesn’t seem fair. But, that’s life. Sometimes I just have to laugh it off and say oh well. I’m right where I need to be.

Ready or not, here life comes…some things you just can’t prepare for even if you have the will and soul.

Fortune cookie wisdom #46

You will always have good luck in your personal affairs.

When is this supposed to start again??

Sometimes I wonder if this is all there is. Just me waiting for the other shoe to drop stuck in an endless loop of meaningless tasks. Cleaning the house, just to watch it get dirty again. Why don’t things stay clean and orderly? Why is life so messy?

I have been on edge and out of sorts lately. There has been so much change in my life lately. I wish I could tell you that I embrace change, or like it, but I don’t. I haven’t been sleeping all that well and last night had a nightmare I was watching my cat drown.

In the mornings and at night sometimes, my cat stares out the window. I wonder if he is waiting for our dog to come back. We used to sit their together staring out that window at night waiting for the dog to come in for the night. Today I washed the remaining dog nose smudges off that same sliding glass door. He won’t be coming back. I vacuumed the rest of the pet hair from the rug he entered eternal sleep on.

Yesterday my daughter and her fiancĂ© bought a house. This weekend she will be moving out. It is bittersweet. I got used to her living here for the last year and a half. I know it is time for her to move on with her own life and she is happy. But that somehow doesn’t make it easier right now. I’m not sure what will happen next. This will be the first time my husband and I have been alone since we had kids.

I know I should view this as an opportunity for growth. But it really doesn’t feel like that right now.

So here I’ll be waiting for the good luck….

Fortune cookie wisdom #41

As a cure for worry, work is better than whiskey.

As someone who is a worrier warrior, I can say that work is a better cure than whiskey. It also leaves you with money in your pocket. Plus you have to admit being a workaholic is a lot more admirable than being an alcoholic.

Back before we sold our business, I really threw myself into work. Honestly, looking back I don’t know how I did it. How did I work full-time, raise a family, train for marathons, and keep a clean house?

I was happy at work when it was busy. Slow days left me with too much time to think. Super busy days added to my list of worries.

I love to keep busy. I love having tasks to complete. Is that so bad? Every day I have a plan. Every week I have a rough plan for the following week. I live my life through routine, structure, and planning. Spontaneity drives me absolutely bonkers. You might think my rigidity sounds a tad bit boring, but I can assure you it is not. Although I am a structure freak, I am also totally neurotic which makes me fun. As proof, no one has ever called me boring. I’m not really sure why.

Now I no longer work full-time, train for marathons, or raise kids. You might wonder if I miss it. No, not really. Now I’ve got whiskey. Okay, okay I am just kidding. It’s been an adjustment, but change is not always a bad thing. I’ve had to learn to cope with my anxiety without being a workaholic. I’ve had to learn to slow down and take better care of me. I can’t always outrun my demons.

There still never seems to be a shortage of things to do. Maybe now I’ve become the project, a work in progress.

Goals for the new year

To be honest, I haven’t done New Year’s resolutions in years. But every couple of months I try to come up with some bucket list goals and check my progress on making them happen.

Today I decided to go back to my first blog post in May of 2015. I wrote a list of goals. Here they are:

  1. Write something that gets published. I’ve wanted to write a memoir for the longest time. I am currently working on the second edition of my book. I hope to complete it in 2022.
  2. Run a marathon. I wrote I ran 18 miles that day without stopping. I am totally jealous of myself! Since then I’ve run multiple marathons and a 50K. I just stopped running after doing it for 15 years. Now I want to focus on stretching and yoga. I mean, I haven’t started yet but I want to try to at least maintain if not gain some flexibility. I have been having joint pain and stiffness but I still want to remain active as much as I am able to.
  3. Travel to all the continents. I haven’t gotten too far on this. I did check off Asia since then. If it wasn’t for COVID, I would’ve checked off Europe and Africa too. Instead I have been trying to visit all 50 states. So far I’ve checked off 39 states. I visited 8 states in 2021 and plan on adding another 5 in 2022.
  4. Read the Bible in a year.
  5. Be a lead singer in a band. I still think this would be fun, but I don’t want to do this as much as I did before. It sounds like a lot of work.
  6. Drink green beer on St. Patrick’s Day. That one was pretty easy.
  7. Get a tattoo. I got my first tattoo this year of an anchor. I am planning on getting my second tattoo in 2022.

I have some other new goals for 2022. I would like to be more bad ass. Ha ha ha. Actually I want to get my motorcycle license. I picture myself on something loud blaring my rock music as I drive down country roads on sunny summer days.

I would like to get half way done with the remodeling project on our garage apartment. I also have a list of home renovation projects. I would like to cross off half of my list this next year on house projects as well.

I also want to continue growing and working on my self-improvement projects. I want to be more accepting of myself as I age. I have always been a go, go, go person. It’s hard to adjust to being a go, go, go slow person. This coming year will be the first full year that all of my children are adults and out of school. I no longer have parenting commitments. I want some time to just be responsible for me. I want 5 years of not being responsible for others. I will not take on any long term foreign exchange students, foster children, or new pets. I will also keep working on the relationships that are important to me.

That’s about it. See ya next year!

Have a happy, happy new year!!!