inflamed

I’m sick again. This time it is worse and it hasn’t gone away.

It started Wednesday morning. I woke up having to run to the bathroom. I felt nauseous too but didn’t throw up. I was tired and had to lie down to rest in the morning. By the afternoon, I had a horrible stomachache and muscle cramps. Sorry Jillian Michaels but I was cursing your name. The day before I did a new workout video, or should I say tried to. It was so difficult I could barely do it. My whole body ached. I would’ve run outside but we are back to winter in Wisconsin, so yeah.

I also blamed it on the night before. I ate chili and a fake grilled cheese sandwich for supper. I tried to keep my portions small because I am allergic to tomatoes, eggs, and baker’s yeast (bread). Plus a lot of chili beans are a no-no for my SIBO diet. My diet is so limited it is hard to eat with my family. Or maybe it was food poisoning or stomach flu, although I was the only one sick.

By the afternoon, I rated my stomach and body ache pain at a 7. I decided to take my temperature and discovered I had a fever. Everyone was freaking out because of the coronavirus and told me I needed to call the doctor. I decided to wait until the next morning because it was after office hours and maybe I would feel better the next day. Even during the night I was up every hour or two to run to the bathroom. I’m not going to lie, this has been miserable.

I called the doctor’s office and after being screened by the nurse scheduled an appointment with another doctor for later that morning. I struggled to take a shower and get dressed. I wanted to let you know how I felt at my worst but I couldn’t even sit up to do my puzzle because I was in so much pain. I couldn’t think either.

Paul has been wonderful and took me to my appointment but I would not allow him to go in with me. He is over 50 with high blood pressure and I did not want him to risk his health for mine. Outside of the clinic there was a tent set up for COVID testing. There was someone standing outside the door to the clinic in full protective gear with a clipboard who allowed me in when I told her my name. It was like I was famous getting VIP access to a club.

I entered an empty clinic, checked in, and was called back right away. Everyone at the clinic wore scrubs and a mask with a full face visor over it. It was hard at times to understand what they were saying. There were signs on the door that said dirty room or clean room. The room I went in had nothing on the door. I heard people coughing. On the way out I saw several sick and scared looking people.

I had a whole array of tests done. I was even tested for COVID although the doctor did not think I had it. They took a large cotton swab which they swirled back inside of each nostril. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but I just got my blood drawn and was more anxious about that.

It’s day three now and I’m still sick. I do feel better than I did on day 1 or day 2. Thankfully my COVID test came back negative. But several tests came back showing inflammation. The doctor now thinks I might have colitis or Crohn’s. I have all of the symptoms. So Tuesday I go in for my first colonoscopy.

I know it sounds crazy, but I probably wouldn’t have called the doctor if it wasn’t for the coronavirus. I was worried about getting other people sick. I probably would have dismissed it as the stomach flu or food poisoning like I’ve done before although no one else in my house ever gets sick. I struggled with lifelong stomach/GI issues that I brushed off as normal for me.

It seems worse this time. Maybe the SIBO and parasitic inflammation that the antibiotics killed was masking other problems. I don’t know. But hopefully next week I will get some answers. It’s hard not feeling well and not knowing what is wrong.

 

 

Trying to tri

I bought a road bike today. There is no turning back now. I have to tri.

A few weeks ago, I got together with some running/tri friends. Compared to them, I am very inexperienced as a racer. I told them of my grandiose plan of running 20 miles every weekend. They asked if I was crazy. Yes, of course. Do you want to get hurt? No, I don’t! I decided to listen to their advice and scale back a little. Between the trio of triers, they have at least 50 marathons under their belt, multiple half irons, and an iron. So their advice was very credible. 

Guess I will have more time to write, right?

After finishing my first marathon in about six hours, I felt like a failure. I went into it with too high of expectations. I thought that I might qualify for the Boston. I got the crazy idea that if I train harder for this marathon, I will do better.  My friend said that she thought I had it in me to finish in under 4 hours if I train right. I think that might be a little too optimistic. However, with the exception of the marathon, I have been consistently finishing within the top 7 to 10% in my age category. I did my first half in 2:05 in less than ideal conditions. So maybe.

It didn’t help hurting my ankle 3 weeks before the marathon. 

It took me about two months to recover from the knee pain that happened during my first marathon. Maybe I was trying to overcompensate for an ankle that wasn’t totally healed. To be honest with you, I am a little nervous about running another marathon. Running has been going absolutely great, until this week. I have been feeling so stiff and my joints have been aching. I feel exhausted and seem to lack motivation. I have been keeping to my newly revised running schedule though. It has been a mild winter, so I was able to get outside and run a total of 24 miles this week. That’s good because my treadmill is starting to groan just as much as I am. I find running anything over 16 miles at one time to be excessively grueling. 

I guess I will have to run with it and see how my second marathon goes. 

This season I am signing up for a 5k, 10k, half, and full marathons. I am also signing up for my first tri. I am not sure how long I can keep going at this pace. I want to diversify a little so that I am able to keep exercising for the long run. The marathon will be my first race this season. Last year I spent the whole summer training. This summer I want to be like everyone else when they are not working. I want to sit on the beach, sip craft beer by the camp fire, and be out on the water. 

Oh wait, I just bought a bike. Now what did I get myself into??

My soles are worn thin

It seems I haven’t gotten too far on my travel series yet. Maybe tomorrow..

This past weekend I shared with you a dream that I had about having to run a marathon I am not ready for. I think the marathon symbolizes the second half of my life. I looked down to see that my soles on my shoes were totally worn out. The reality is that the first half of my life is over. Then I noticed that at the beginning of this marathon I was wearing shoes that fit but they were on the wrong foot. I don’t want to start the second half of my life on the wrong foot. I request a new pair of shoes, this time they fit but they are uneven. I won’t be able to run the race very long wearing these shoes. I think this is symbolic of parenting. My children will start leaving the house in a few months, things won’t be the same (uneven), and soon I will be actively taking these shoes off. The last shoe brought out is the most comfortable but it doesn’t fit yet. Ah, retirement and living without the stress of working and actively parenting. But it is going to be a long time before this shoe fits me.

I took comfort early on in the dream marathon that Gu and broccoli were at the beginning of the race. I chose to go down the path of exercise and healthy living. Not only does being an exercise fanatic ward off my depression, anxiety, and stress. It makes me think that I will live longer and healthier. Because if I really think about it, which is something that I try to avoid doing, I am terrified of death. We are not going to exist forever like we do now. Even though I have a firm faith in God, I am still absolutely terrified of my own demise. What if I am wrong? What if there is nothing out there? Forget the physical pain of taking your last breathe. What if there is only an empty void? A void like the one before our existence. I just can’t bear the emptiness of that. I want to think that I am going to see my loved ones again, even if I am wrong.

When I started this dream marathon, I saw people wander off the path before it began. I went to sleep that night worried that my neighbor in her mid 40’s was not going to make it. She did pass away during the night. She was one of the people that left the race early before it really even began for her. Another thing that I noticed was that the path looked straight and the weather was fine. I seemed to have the tools I needed to run the race but I couldn’t see very far ahead of me. I needed to figure out what shoes to wear, what my role is going to be in the second half of my life. I wanted to wait to start the marathon before I figured that out, but I ran out of time.

I suppose at this point it is pretty obvious that I was a psychology major in college. LOL

 

 

Ending the holiday season

I didn’t tell anybody this earlier, but I started the new year off on the wrong foot. We had a couple of friends over for New Year’s Eve. Everything went well and the last people left at 1:30 AM. Paul and I finally made our way to bed around 2. At 6 AM, a noise woke me up. Somewhere between 2 and 6 AM, our furnace went out. The house temp was under 50 degrees. We ended up having someone come out at the crack of dawn on new year’s day receiving holiday pay to fix it. It was a rough start. 

Today we took down our Christmas tree. I put all of the decorations back in the crawl space and dug out all of my old journals. I don’t know how quick I will go through them to be honest with you. I always have a rough time this time of year with the lack of sunlight. Even though I take massive doses of vitamin D, my thoughts and emotions tend to be dark. Just thinking about the past can bring me down on the sunniest of days….so this month might be light and fluffy like the winter snow. Talking about the winter snow, Paul and I were able to get out and cross country ski for the first time on the skis that we bought last winter. What a workout! Sure made me feel out of shape, especially since we saw a friend of ours there and he did two laps to our one. 

Yesterday I told you that we were going to one last Christmas party at my uncle’s who happens to be a clean freak. Well, I am embarassed to say that it was me this year that made a mess. That’s right. After being at the party for about a half an hour, I cracked open a bottle of beer. I took 3 sips and proceeded to spill most of the bottle everywhere. It went down my shirt with a majority of it landing on my pants and their off white carpet. I greeted relatives coming to the party looking like I peed my pants. My uncle said I could leave behind some money for the carpet cleaning. I am glad he was just kidding. Or was he? He didn’t freak out though like the story I heard of when my cousins accidently knocked over his fish tank. Other than looking like a complete idiot, the party went well.

Our staff party a couple weeks ago went great too. We took our employees to a painting class. It was so much fun. And I didn’t suck at painting. I was happy to be average. Out of the four of us that went, not one single person between the ages of 30 and 52 ever painted on a canvas before. Checked that off my bucket list and would love to do it again. 

Other than that, I have been trying to upload a video of my daughter and I singing. I haven’t been successful at that. I will probably figure it out by July. Geez. We sang our Christmas songs at the party yesterday. Every year my aunt insists that we sing. My daughter moves people to tears with her singing. She wants to spend the summer singing and performing on tour. She is auditioning to do that next month. When my cousin heard that, she was bummed out because she wanted Angel to sing at her wedding this summer. Angel just sang at my brother’s wedding a few months back. Angel and I have very similar voices, except that hers is well trained and mine is not. I used to be the one asked to sing at weddings, now it is her. When did she become better than me??? She used to ask me for advice and now she tells me what to do. I listen to her because she is right, but can’t help but feel hurt that I am no longer wanted. I am happy that she has had so many opportunities that I didn’t.

Sometimes it is hard for me to accept this whole aging thing. 

Winter fitness forecast

Last year my husband and I bought cross country skis. We thought that it would be an excellent way to enjoy exercising outside in the cold snowy winter months. Running on icy snowy roads really isn’t all that it is cracked up to be. I did end up dusting off my treadmill last week. Not because of the snow, we haven’t had enough of that for my grandma to even write flurries on her calendar if she was still living. Last week brought about cool and very windy days. Even I am not crazy enough to run outside in the cold against 40 mph winds.

Last year we bought skis and didn’t get any snow. Really? Well, it figures. In the winter months, I cut back my running down to about 18 miles per week and let Jillian Michaels kick my butt an hour a week. I don’t have any races coming up until next May. I am planning on doing another marathon. Call me vain, but I love how I look all muscular, tone, and lean when I am training for a marathon. This time of year, who cares? I mean half of the month I don’t even bother to shave. I guess there are a few benefits to living in a cold climate.

I am really counting on snow to supplement my exercise routine. We really want to go cross country skiing this year. On average where I live we get a little over 50 inches (130 cm) of snow per season. Statistically speaking, we should be able to ski unless my buying skis last year gives me another year of bad luck regarding snowfall. Imagine if I bought a snowmobile?!? Geez.

My husband and I also depend on snowfall for our other form of exercise, snow shoveling. We have a moderately long driveway. All our neighbors hire someone with a snowplow or have a snow blower. We argue over who gets to shovel. Seriously, this doesn’t give us many sanity points with our neighbors. Yes, we are those fitness freaks. I am so happy that my husband and I are at similar fitness levels. We have so much of the world left to actively explore.

If running doesn’t kill me, it will make me stronger!

On my way home from work this past week, I followed a drunk driver. He was weaving all over the road, in and out of the ditch almost taking out some signs, just missing mailboxes and garbage bins. I felt anger towards the man in the truck as I thought of the school bus returning the little neighborhood kids meer minutes ago. Then it hit me. I wasn’t safe either. Neither were the other bikers or runners. 

At my last doctors appointment, I was told that I was in great shape. My already low cholesterol levels dropped 50 points. My blood pressure was low. I am the epitome of health (something I always remind the doctors of when I am sick). My weight was perfect. Absolutely everything was wonderful. I attributed this to all of my running. I thought the doctor would prescribe me cigarettes, liquor, and a sedentary lifestyle. Seriously, how else is she going to make money off of me?? Injury, well yes, I suppose there could be that. 

There is no doubt that running has made me stronger and healthier. But my anxious mind also thought about how it could kill me. Here are my 50 ways to kill a runner:

1. Getting mauled by a bear, wolf, or dog. 

2. Getting struck by lightening. 

3. Getting overheated. Warm running days don’t happen that often in WI, but when they do we are not prepared for it. 

4. Freezing to death. 

5. Sweating to death. 

6. Tripping over my own feet and hitting my head on the control panel of my treadmill. 

7. Getting struck in the head by flying debris. This could happen when a truck carrying rocks goes over a bump or when someone tosses a beer bottle out the window. This happens, I see all of the crap that you throw out your window. 

8. Dehydration. 

9. Drunk drivers. I try to run in the mornings to avoid this problem.  

10. Dark trails in the woods that happen to be next to a gun range. What? That is a homicide waiting to happen. 

11. Getting hit by a stray bullet. 

12. Getting attacked by a swarm of angry birds or bees. You never know about the birds and the bees. 

13. Delivery drivers, they are always in a hurry. 

14. Now that I think about it, maybe my mail carrier. She never smiles or waves. 

15. Getting caught in white out conditions from snow and getting lost or hit by a car. 

16. Getting hit by a car. 

17. Getting hit by a car!!

18. Getting hit by a car!!!  At least you have a chance of outrunning the rapist. 

19. Getting swept away by a tornado. 

20. Did I mention flash floods?

21. Slipping on ice and bumping my head. 

22. Those service truck guys who ask for directions. 

23. Electrocution from downed power lines. 

24. Running so fast that people don’t seem to see you. 

25. Items that fall from overhanging trees. 

26. Trying to save a cat from getting hit by a car and getting hit by a car. 

27. New drivers. 

28. Old drivers. 

29. Getting hit by a train. 

30. Getting an infection from all of the chaffing. 

31. Getting West Nile, malaria, or Lyme’s Disease from bugs attracted to a sweaty stinky body. 

32. A deadly sunburn. 

33. Being scared to death by a runner that sneaks up behind you. 

34. Choking on rehydration products. 

35. The smell of stinky sweaty running clothes is enough to kill someone alone. 

36. Getting hit by a school bus due to kids distracting the driver. 

37. Training for a marathon. 

38. Infected bloody toenails 

39. Getting pneumonia from running in the rain. 

40. Running in the dark. 

41. Running barefoot and stepping on dirty needles. 

42. Idiot drivers that are texting. 

43. Women who are doing their hair or makeup while driving because they are late for work again. 

44. New parents distracted by a crying baby or the kid who snuck out of his car seat again. 

45. Is there really nothing good on the radio people who veer the direction they are changing their radio station in. 

46. Did I tell you about the wooded trails?

47. Creepy guys in white unmarked vans. 

48. People so in love they can’t keep their eyes on the road. 

49. Falling over in exhaustion. 

50. Seriously, do you know hard it was coming up with 50 ways to kill a runner???

I used to think that running would prolong my life, but now I am not so sure. 


Cool, warmth

It has been a warm October. The jack ‘o lanterns that the kids carved at the harvest party earlier this month turned to squash. They rotted and melted like a witch getting doused in water. I am not complaining. It has allowed me to continue with my summer isn’t over delusion a little bit longer. My grandpa would have had his birthday earlier this month. Usually right around my grandpa’s birthday, my grandma would write flurries on her calendar when the first trace of snow swirled. Her calendar was completely empty except for the word flurries. Sometimes it’s the little things that I miss the most.

I haven’t had to change my running schedule at all due to the weather. I haven’t dusted off the treadmill yet either. Running this time of year does have its challenges though. Earlier this week I ran by a farmer harvesting his corn field. He spooked out a huge rabbit and it ran straight towards me. Difficult decisions ensued for that rabbit once he noticed me. There was nowhere for him to run.

Today I had my monthly 18 mile run. The last few miles were painful and hard to endure. Every muscle was screaming at me to stop. I made it though. It took me 2 months to recover from my knee pain from the marathon. I have been running the last 2 weeks relatively pain free. This gives me hope that next spring I can sign up for another marathon and beat the crap out of myself again. Whoo hoo!

Welcome home?

On an airplane right now sits a young 13 year old girl flying from Japan with a few of her classmates to America. Her destination, my house. We will be hosting a foreign exchange student for 1 week. She doesn’t speak a lot of English and is probably nervous about the kind of family she is going to meet. I would be nervous if I was her too. Especially if she read some of my blogs from the last few weeks. Lol. 

Thankfully Jake made it home safely before her arrival. After my son and his friend tried to stop Jake from running away, Jake started his journey on the railroad tracks in the rain. He walked all night to obtain his sense of freedom as he told his friends. He walked 30 miles that night. Then he was cold, tired, and hungry and decided to turn around and head back home. Maybe the adventure of all of the survival reality shows spurred him on. Never mind the search efforts back at home. If I had to place bets on any of my son’s friends winning a survivor show, it would be Jake. He is a tough avid outdoorsman. When my son asked Jake how his sense of freedom felt, Jake replied terrible. I would suggest marathon running for Jake next time instead of running away. At least he would get a medal. I think he learned his lesson, so it is probably best not to say anything for awhile. 

Talking about running, I did get in a 12 mile run today. I had no motivation at all. It was cool and very windy. I spent half of the time running against that strong wind. At times I felt like I was running in place. That was almost enough to knock the wind out of my sails. Lol. Today I feel hungry! I haven’t felt hungry in months. I think my body wants to go into hibernation mode to put some meat on my bones for winter. 

I hope our foreign exchange student likes it here. I have always wanted to do something like this. I guess I will find out how good I am at nonverbal communication. What an adventure!

In sickness and in health

Last night I went to bed early. I am still feeling sick, stuffed up like a head cold. I overdid it last week. We got home from Texas late Wednesday night. Then on Thursday I ran 18 miles. The afternoon consisted of a staff meeting to update everyone on the conference, and the evening consisted of unpacking then packing for the wedding. Plus dishes, cleaning the house, and trying to put a dent in the laundry sitting around the house for a week. Friday was the 6 hour drive to my brother’s, Saturday was the wedding, and yesterday was the drive back home. I overdid it and now I am sick. I did run 6 miles today. What can I say, I am not good at taking it easy. Only emergencies, injury, and extreme sickness keep me from my exercise plan. 

I have a little secret to tell you. Last year on New Year’s Eve I fell asleep on the couch at 9 PM. Right after Christmas I got sick with a head cold. It took me over a month to get over it. I exercised up until I came down with a fever. Besides the marathon, one of the most grueling times I ran was right before I came down with pneumonia. By the time I got home I had a fever. It was a couple weeks after my daughter got pneumonia on my 40th birthday. 

My daughter and I weren’t the only ones who got pneumonia last summer. My son got it as well. We took a family vacation with some good friends to a remote resort in Minnesota that their family owns. Our friends took our son with their boys. By the time we traveled the 6 hours on dirt roads to get there, my friend told me my son was sick. He had a fever of 105.8 on a Sunday night. We took freeze pops to cool him down. It was horrible. Thankfully Paul asked the dr in advance if we could call in a prescription for antibiotics if we needed it. He felt better in a couple of days. 

On a whole different topic altogether…. I am really worried about my son’s friend. He ran away from home tonight. He told my son and another friend his plans on the way home from school. They tried to stop him. He also grabbed a couple of knives and has a couple hundred dollars on him that he saved up. It is dark and raining. He has been gone over 4 hours now. His mother called several times frantic wondering if we had any more clues of his whereabouts. We are concerned that he may harm himself. If you are the praying type, please keep him in your prayers. I am hoping and praying for the best. 

Even my imagination runs

I took a couple of days off unintentionally, scrapped another blog idea, and just ended up being very busy on a “light” weekend. I ran 12 miles Saturday, stopped in for awhile at a church event, and then spent 4 hours moving stuff out of my grandma’s house. I have learned a few things, like not to run 12 miles and lift boxes for 4 hours. I did sleep good that night! Sunday ushered in the last sailboat ride for the season. The weather was perfect. 

Saturday’s run was average although something strange happened. There were 2 young guys (20’s) in a truck with a trailer behind it. They were at a stop sign when I ran by. The driver was checking me out. Then a half mile later they drove by me again and pulled to the side of the road a mile ahead. This worried me a little. Even though I run on the “busy” roads, it is still pretty rural and no one was around. How could I protect myself from 2 young muscular men if they meant harm? I imagined sinister conversation. “Let’s go get that runner and tie her up in the back of the trailer.” I was praying that they saw my gray hair. After 9 miles, I was a sitting duck. They ended up driving away before I got to them. Pffwhew. Maybe they were lost. Last night my friend was telling me how she was the only woman doing the trap shoot league. It was then that I decided that I want to add learning how to use a gun to my bucket list. I briefly announced my day dreams of running with a gun holstered to my hip or in the back of my running bra fighting off wild animals and predatory men. My husband said I would probably end up shooting myself. Sometimes my imagination runs wild too. 

I am still having some knee pain while running. I feel sore all over and my endurance has been pretty crappy lately. I started taking glucosamine chondroitin like my active brother who had the 2 knee surgeries. Also, like my dog. But if I start blogging about digging a hole to China or escaping my yard to get to my neighbor’s caged rabbits like my dog did while under the influence of this drug please let me know before it is too late. I have been wearing my brace. The only other thing it said to do is lose weight. I don’t even think my doctor would recommend that. I am probably now at the point of being underweight. People are now saying wow you lost a lot of weight. Are you ok? Even though I burn a lot of calories, I am not usually hungry. When I am really stressed, my body tells me not to eat. I could go all day without really noticing that I didn’t eat. Yesterday I ate too much and my acid reflux let me know. I associated eating with pain as a child. For months I barely ate. My parents threatened to take me to the doctor then. I wish they did. 

It has been almost a year since I have been diagnosed with acid reflux. Looking back, I knew I had it since childhood. The burning pain when I ate. The dentist asking me if I had acid reflux because it looked like acid was wearing down my teeth on one side probably from sleeping on that side. Of course it makes sense now. I have been taking Prilosec now for months supplementing it with liquid antacid and close to the max dosage of Tums. What happens when this no longer works? I mean really. My stress levels probably aren’t going down in the next 5 years. Even running is starting to be stressful. Maybe it is time to revisit my bucket list to add some just for fun items to it. Or book that winter trip to Florida.