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.

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.

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.

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!!!

Gratitude week 101

  1. I’m grateful to have a furnace that works. It was miserable to go three whole days without heat. I can’t imagine how people lived through Wisconsin winters without a furnace.
  2. I’m also grateful our boiler got fixed this week too after a month without heat in our hot tub and pool. Sadly, a critter got in and made a nest in it.
  3. I’m thankful that the pastor of the new church we are visiting came out to our house. He wants to meet with us every week for awhile. The only way I am able to find faith right now is through the faith of my grandma and I can see her attending this church.
  4. Yesterday we had a surprise visit for our old friend Vince (he is 87 years old). It was nice to see him and to know he is still his crazy wild lovable self.
  5. Last night we had our employee over for beer sampling, pizza, and the Bucks game. He is the last remaining employee to stay on with the new company that bought us out. We also hired him to work part-time for our seasonal company as well. It’s always great to spend time with him.
  6. With fresh snow on the ground and our house fully decorated, it is really starting to feel like Christmas. I love Christmas music. I created an eclectic playlist including pretty much every genre I could think of. I love this time of year. Next weekend we are having our family Christmas here with my mom and brothers. I am totally done Christmas shopping!
  7. Yesterday I helped my husband by hauling wood after he cut and chopped it. It felt good to do something productive.
  8. I really made a lot of progress on my book this week. Right now I am really focusing on the early childhood years, earliest memories up to the end of grade school.
  9. This afternoon we are heading out to support our local community theater by watching their newest production.
  10. I am grateful all my children are adults. None of them are attending school right now. Thankfully Arabella graduated in May! I couldn’t imagine all the hard decisions parents have to make right now. I got a little taste of it but I don’t have to handle that stress any longer.
  11. I just got the ankle weights I ordered in the mail. Since my joint pain is preventing me from running, I am hoping to walk with hand and leg weights to keep some of my strength. We’ll see how that works. I can also swim again since the pool is working. Maybe we can check out some yoga classes after the holidays. I have always had issues with relaxing, balance, and flexibility.
  12. After milk stout, cheese bread, and pizza last night, I didn’t get a stomachache. I’m grateful I am tolerating dairy better since my last blood work showed that I have low calcium now.

Gratitude week 100

  1. Wow, 100 weeks of gratitude. I guess that’s pretty good.
  2. My husband successfully completed the 30 day detox diet. I’m proud of him for cutting out alcohol, coffee, sugar, red meat, and gluten for a month. He also lost over 20 lbs.
  3. We weren’t sure if it was going to happen but my husband, daughter, and I finished the 5 mile race on Thanksgiving day. My daughter wasn’t feeling the best and it was a cold blustery snowy day but we did it. I ended up walking half of it because I was having joint pain. So I think I made the right call by making this my last race. It was a good run and I’m grateful for all the years I had fun racing.
  4. Thanksgiving! We had a fun day with family and friends. Arabella even stopped by for a little while. We played some new online games which is one of my favorite things to do when we have people over.
  5. On Friday morning Paul and I went to the Christmas tree farm and picked out two trees. I got a traditional tree and a purple glittery tree decorated with candy. We lucked out because we took the second to last purple tree. Then Angel and I spent the afternoon decorating.
  6. Alex, his girlfriend, and friend went to the U.P. (Upper Peninsula of Michigan) for the weekend for a friend’s birthday. They safely made it back home today and will probably stop by later for games.
  7. I finished designing my 2022 family calendar. I include all the best pictures of the year and it takes me over 4 hours to complete it. I’m not too excited to spend all the time designing the calendar and decorating my house for Christmas but I love how it turns out.
  8. I’m grateful for the 2 1/2 hours I spent talking to my brother Luke on the phone yesterday. I will be hosting the family Christmas party here in two weeks.
  9. Clean sheets.
  10. Pumpkin pie and Christmas cookies.
  11. I’m grateful for the start of the holiday season, Christmas music and movies.
  12. A warm fire when the furnace isn’t working.

Fortune cookie wisdom #28

Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.

Wow! Is it just me or does this seem rather sinister?

I understand how enthusiasm can spread like a wildfire. When I first started running races I was on fire for running. I was the person that posted race pictures all over social media. I had all the annoying stickers on my car to announce to the world I was a runner. I had the Half Iron, 13.1, 26.2, and the 50k. People I didn’t even know knew I ran and would strike up conversations with me about running. They saw me on the neighborhood roads. In fact when we moved people said they missed seeing me run. I was well known at the gym as well.

My enthusiasm for running was more contagious than COVID. People I didn’t know well would come up to me for advice or tell me they started running because I made it seem like so much fun. It was adventurous. I went for runs in other states. I spent the night before a marathon in a tent when we got 2 inches of rain. I ran in some challenging courses. I did races on cool stormy days, in extreme heat, in freezing cold conditions, and when conditions were ideal. There was nothing I stepped down from. I got some really cool medals and shirts. It was one of the best times of my life.

My enthusiasm for running sparked enthusiasm in other people. I didn’t have to go up to people I didn’t know well and tell them they should run. I didn’t have to explain the health benefits. I didn’t have to tell them how important it was to exercise. They saw me have fun and they wanted to have fun too.

Now I am a week away from what I think will be my last race. I remember how much fun I had. I think there is a lot of wisdom to be gained from this fortune. What you are passionate about will draw in other people. There is nothing I hate more than having people try to pressure, manipulate, and convince me to do something I am not sure I want to do. I hate the hard sell. But if you are passionate about something I am curious and want to know more.

But I’m sorry I still think this fortune cookie sounds a bit horror movie scary. I’m not sure if I like the thought of people coming for miles to watch me burn.

Fortune cookie wisdom #22

“They fail, and they alone, who have not striven.”

I wanted to let you know I pick these fortune cookies randomly from a huge pile of my favorite fortune cookies collected over the past 2 years. I say this because today’s is very similar to the one I shared yesterday. After I share them with you I recycle them. I hope fortune cookies don’t become a thing of the past as I received a comment from my blogging friend LA saying they no longer give out fortune cookies at restaurants in NYC.

I absolutely love this fortune. It basically tells us we are successful if we try. I don’t need to have a million followers to enjoy blogging and telling my story. I don’t have to write a bestselling book although that would be quite the achievement. I can only fail if I don’t try. It’s really a great way to look at things.

This morning I went out for a run. I typically go four miles three times a week. Half of it I walk and half I run. You might think that’s amazing for someone of my age (47). I do not. I spent almost the whole time thinking about running and what my goals are. Honestly I am thinking about quitting or seriously cutting back after the race at the end of the month.

I have been running for the past 15 years. I think the first race I did was a 10k. I really can’t remember. I wish I kept track and wrote things down but I wasn’t writing anything at all at that time of my life. I got pretty good at running. It was nothing for me to run 10 miles without stopping. I could finish all races up to a half marathon in the top 10% of my age group. It wasn’t unusual for me to place in small town races. I devoted a lot of my time to running to get that good. I was well known on the neighborhood streets and the gym.

But that wasn’t enough, I wanted more. It made me feel alive. It was exciting. Exercise is a great way to burn off anxiety and a wonderfully healthy coping mechanism. I started doing marathons and did a 50k. I thought maybe I would qualify for the Boston marathon but I could never manage running the whole race. But that was okay, I just enjoyed the challenge.

Over a period of almost 10 years I worked my way up to running a marathon. It took a tremendous amount of dedication. It involved waking up early on Saturday mornings. Long lunch breaks. Running long boring miles on a treadmill. Getting caught in storms. Almost getting hit by cars. Getting attacked by dogs, bugs, and birds. Feeling afraid in secluded places. City streets. Remote trails. Getting injured, blistered, and chafed. Having to go to the bathroom really bad when there wasn’t one in sight. Wearing out expensive running shoes. Sweating. Freezing. Running friends. The endless search for upbeat playlists. Trying to beat my time. Travelling. Planning around weather. Competing. I loved it all until I didn’t anymore.

Then the pandemic hit. The 50k race I was planning to compete in got cancelled. My gym closed. Cold wintry weather. But the worst thing that happened was having colitis. I was incredibly sick for 10 days. I was so weak for a month after I could barely even walk. I had a hard time putting the clothes from the wash machine into the dryer without feeling exhausted. It was in that sweeping moment that I lost everything I painstakingly built over the previous ten plus years. I lost almost all of my stamina and endurance. I never was able to get it back which frustrated me. Running just reminds me of what I once had.

Now I have to face that my run might be over. My best days are behind me. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of the old and let something new begin. Part of me feels like a failure for giving up. But I am probably the only one that feels this way about me. I’ve always wanted to keep active my whole life. I achieved that goal. Now might be a great time to try other things I’m interested in like yoga or martial arts. When all else fails I’ll probably be the old lady that walks around the block a few times…

I can only fail if I don’t try, right??

Fortune cookie wisdom #21

“You will conquer obstacles to achieve success.”

It’s been over two years since I shared my little nuggets of fortune cookie wisdom with you. I feel life has finally settled down enough to give you a little of the light and fluffy that I promised months ago and didn’t deliver on.

I’ve always had a fascination with fortune cookies, not necessarily because I believe every word is true, but because they are interesting. It seems like my husband always gets the over the top wonderful ones, so if I ever share one of those, it’s probably his. For example, the last time my husband and I got fortune cookies I got an unmemorable recyclable fortune. My husband cracked open his cookie and inside were 3 fortunes (three!!!) telling him how wonderful he is. True story.

When I was a teenager I got a fortune cookie without a fortune. What did that mean? That I didn’t have a future? Yet here I am. I think it is extremely rare to not receive a fortune and not in a lucky way. Just like it is rare to receive 3 fortunes in one cookie. Paul is so lucky. After all, he does have me.

But back to the cookie, it does seem like success is sweeter if you have to overcome a lot to achieve it. Would you rather be given something or have to work hard to achieve success? It just doesn’t seem to mean much if life is too easy. It would be boring without something to strive for.

The words conquer, obstacles, and achieve mean a lot to me. For the longest time, I found this in running. I started with a 10k and ended with a 50k. I achieved a lot of medals. I still run and have shared the love of running with my daughter Angel. We are going to run a 5 mile race along with my husband later this month. It almost means more now watching Angel reach her goals.

Time changes people. I don’t want piles of medals anymore. I want to write a bestseller. I want to run a successful business. I want to grow as a person. I want a stronger marriage. I want to travel the world. There are a lot of obstacles in the way of achieving success in these areas. But I still want to try…

You can’t get to the top of the mountain without starting to climb. I have conquered obstacles to achieve success and I don’t want to stop now even if I have to start all over.

Gratitude week 95

  1. Paul and I went to a Halloween party last night and were able to reconnect with some friends we haven’t seen since before COVID.
  2. Paul and I had a nice evening going out to eat with Angel and Dan at an Indian restaurant.
  3. My best friend was forced to get vaccinated or lose her job of 30+ years. She has some health problems and is afraid to get the shot at this time. Thankfully her exemption was approved.
  4. I got new glasses and I can see the fine print again.
  5. We took our last sail of the season taking our boat from the marina to her winter home.
  6. The weather was warm enough to do some winterizing projects.
  7. Angel has been working really hard on running. I just signed us up for a 5 mile race on Thanksgiving day. I’m grateful to share one of my favorite hobbies with my daughter.
  8. I finally feel like I have some direction for my book. I want to write about being a sibling, daughter, and mother of people who have mental health struggles. I want to write one book, not several books. For the longest time I wasn’t sure what to do.
  9. I’m grateful for all of the kind comments and support over this last week of writing. It’s been a really hard month with everything going on with Arabella.