Domestic Abuse

Give ’em Hell

“When life pushes you over, push back harder”

Since I started training for the Ultra Beast, it’s safe to say there have been a lot of set backs.  First my shoulder, then my sister’s miscarriage, then my dad in the hospital, and now frequent extra hours at work… PLUS to top it off- I think I tweaked my back.   (I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that I can avoid the chiropracter on this one) The way things have been going, I’ve been getting stressed at times that I’m not where I should be or pushing as hard as I could be.

However, it seems like the more I push my body, the more it pushes back!  Maybe I’m not designed to work out at maximum intensity for hours a day after all!  I have been doing P90X and recently started hiking with a daypack filled with sand (probably 40lbs in total… may have overdone it the last time = back pain), but nothing I do ever seems like enough.  I’m so terrified of failing that I’m almost not enjoying the workouts.  Instead I look at what everyone else is doing and think “I should be doing more” or pushing harder.  I feel like I have to make up for only having 4 days a week to train; and I find myself feeling guilty when I take any time out to have “fun” instead of workout.

The truth is, I’m being ridiculous because there’s no reason I can’t prepare even if it is only 4 days of intense training a week.  After all, I worked the same schedule when I trained for the marathon, and I survived that.  Sure, I can’t do a pull up (yet) or climb a rope (yet!), but I do have experience with covering long distances. Not that long along, I walked for hours on end and covered a full marathon at the Relay for Life.   Maybe obstacles aren’t a strength of mine, and maybe there are a number of “elite” athletes competing in this event, but that doesn’t mean I’m not qualified.

A while ago, someone posted in the Ultra Beast group on Facebook that the Spartan HQ was intentionally letting in a bunch of under-qualified racers to increase the dropout rate and make the race look harder.  I found the comment a little offensive as I’m sure I fall into that category in this self proclaimed elite (more like elitist) athlete’s eyes.  However, I would venture to guess that anyone who would feel the need to make a comment like that is grossly underestimating the capabilities of many of the registrants.  Sure, I may not have a big name is the obstacle racing world (or anywhere else in the fitness realm for that matter!) and I may not even have been able to train as much as I have wanted. However, I do have one strength that will work in my favor- I can push though physical pain and exhaustion, and even more importantly: mental pain and exhaustion.

I spent over 5 years in an abusive relationship and have experienced betrayal by people I considered family.  I have lived through pain I thought would kill me and have come out on the other end smarter and stronger.  NO PHYSICAL PAIN COULD EVER COMPARE to the pain I endured then.  Strong people don’t just happen.  Strong people are CONDITIONED.  They live through pain no one should have to suffer, pain you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.  If I could come out of a situation like that still standing (and running my mouth… haha) then no marathon length obstacle course is going to take me out, even if I have to crawl!

There’s not much I can’t stand more than quitting.  I would rather risk seriously injuring myself than quit.  I would rather suffer and be miserable than quit.  As much as I would like to have done more physical training, at can at least take solace in the fact that I have had top notch mental conditioning.  If spending five days in a hospital with little to no sleep at a time of crisis in my family didn’t break me, and spending five years with a person who constantly tried to beat me down and make me feel like I wasn’t good enough didn’t break me then this race isn’t going to break me (at least not mentally…)

When life knocks me down, I come back stronger.  All these “curveballs”  are just going to have to serve as fuel to keep pushing because ,at this point, I don’t have time to stress about them.  Anyone who thinks I’m under-qualified or just plain crazy (probably the more likely of the two) will just have to eat their words when I work  that much harder and finish.  I WILL NOT BE DISCOURAGED.  I WILL NOT BE DEFEATED.  As long as there is breath in my lungs, I will continue to drive forward from one goal to the next.  I am a fighter.  I don’t stop when I’m tired (or discouraged!).  I stop when I’m done.  

My New Anthem.

I Need Your Help!!!!

“Beautiful people don’t just happen.”

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Alright Everyone!!!!

I need your help! I’d like to start by saying thank you for all the wonderful warmth and feedback you have left in your comments!!!  I am sorry I haven’t had a chance to reply yet, but I can assure you that I read every one.

The favor I need to ask everyone has to do with my friend Kelly (from My Time Is Now).  Most of you are probably pretty familiar with her name by now (and hopefully you have also checked out here awesome blog…conveniently also located in my blogroll).  Kelly and I met through boot camp.  We bonded pretty Imagequickly and came to discover we had more in common than we ever could have imagined.  She has been an amazing friend to me, and an inspiration to those of us who know and love her.

For almost as long as I have known her, Kelly has been going through the process of extricating herself from an abusive relationship- all while dealing with her mother having cancer and trying to be the best mom and healthiest version of herself possible.  She has busted her tail at the gym and lost over half of herself, and through the process has become a whole new person.  She has worked so hard to rebuild her self esteem and reclaim her identity, and she truly deserves every happiness in life.

In case you didn’t know, she is also the girl who ran the Color Me Rad as a “trash the dress” session.  It took a significant amount of courage and strength on her part to put that dress on and run.  Going through a divorce (or any break up) is hard enough, but to go through the mental and verbal abuse she’s been through and still be able to say “THIS IS ME” and pick up and carry on is just unbelievable to me.  I WISH I had that kind of strength when I was in her position.  This girl is SO MUCH more amazing than even she realizes.

This weekend I will be doing the Relay for Life with Kelly in honor of her mom and would really like to raise some money on her behalf.  Anyone willing to donate it would be greatly appreciated.

ImageHowever, the REAL reason I have requested everyone’s help is that Kelly has been dealing with a lot of unnecessary drama recently, including some surrounding the now infamous dress trashing (some people apparently have a burning need to stir up trouble… what ever happened to behaving like an adult and minding your own business?).  I have tried to explain to Kelly that I went through some similar drama with my divorce.  Some people are just inherently threatened by strong, motivated individuals, ESPECIALLY when those individuals seem happy in times when they should be falling apart.  They feel the need to take it upon themselves to tear them down.  Bullies ARE OPPORTUNISTS and can smell vulnerability a mile away.  I know she is smart enough to realize that when people are cruel and vicious toward her it truly comes from their own misery; however, it doesn’t make it any less hurtful or exhausting.  No one wants to deal with the ugly side of people, and no one should ever have to.  I am sure that as soon as she is in a better place, those haters are going to scatter (and with any luck, hide under a rock), but right now she is still vulnerable and doesn’t have the energy to stand up and fight back that she would otherwise.

Kelly didn’t believe me when I told her how many people were inspired by her dress trashing at Color Me Rad.  I think it’s hard for her to see what a gift she has for touching other people.  What I am asking is for everyone who has a spare second to go over to her blog and show her some love.

 

Can’t Keep a Good Girl Down

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either,

for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel.

It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart.

You are here to be swallowed up.

And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near,

let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps,

wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” 

― Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum LP

Sooo life has been throwing me A LOT of curve balls recently (huge understatement); and I very well could curl up, cry about it, feel sorry for myself, and gain a ton of weight eating junk food… while hating the whole world. However, the only thing that would accomplish is self loathing, and that’s not really the lifestyle I’m going for.  Sure, MANY things have been sucking in my life recently, and there are several people who were important in my life who have hurt and let me down recently.  I’m not going to lie- it blows…  (ESPECIALLY for someone like me who has still has PTSD even on my best days and some seriously justified trust issues).

On the other hand, I am a firm believer that everything about life can’t suck all the time.  Bad things happen, but they are usually also accompanied by some good.  The problem is people get so caught up in the hurt and drama they forget to look for it and appreciate it.

Well, I am not going to allow myself to get bogged down and not appreciate the good stuff.  Break ups are hard, betrayal is hard, loss is hard, LIFE IS HARD; and it’s going to kill every one of us.  How we choose to spend our finite time on this planet is up to us.

I would rather focus on all the people I can still count on than the ones I can’t.  I would rather make new friends than worry about the ones who have screwed me over.  If someone does something to blatantly disrespect my feelings (on a repeated basis), then they were never worth my time in the first place.  Why waste any more energy over a person like that?  Getting angry and bitter is a huge WASTE OF TIME AND ENERGY.  I would rather spend it devouring some hills (like this morning 😉 before boot camp…. YES, I started boot camp again… with some modified exercises)

I have been through enough crap in my life and  have spent more than enough time worrying about other people and trying to please them.  Now the only people whose approval I care about are the ones who I respect.  I have plenty of friends- true friends.  I don’t need a bunch of shallow relationships at this point in my life.  I am not out to compete with anyone other than myself, and if someone is looking to start drama with me they are going to be sorely disappointed.  Try and interfere with my relationships.  Go ahead and compete with me.  I don’t care.  It’s not worth my time.  I’m secure with who I am.  I don’t need to beat you at something to feel good about myself.  Likewise, I don’t need to collect a bunch of “cool” friends to feel important.  Any friend of mine who is willing to drop me for you was never a good one to begin with, so thanks for weeding them out for me.

I spent this past weekend with multiple amazing people.  They made me laugh until I cried (there may have been a cinnamon challenge involved… get boot camper together and $hit gets crazy!).  They offered words of support even without knowing the details of what’s been going on.  They invited me into their homes expecting nothing in return.  There was no cattiness, no one-upping, no complaining- just enjoyment of each other’s company.  I hung out with new friends and old friends, and they all made me feel welcome and accepted… which is truly all anyone really wants to feel, am I right?

It was a chance to forget all the drama and remind myself that (as cheesy as it sounds) I am not an island.  I have people in my life who will love and support me no matter what happens.  I am a kind, caring, and lovable person: the type of person who will do anything for someone I care about.  If someone has a problem with me, it’s their problem.  If someone treats me badly, and I need to take a step back (or cut them out of my life completely) then it’s their loss.  I will make new friends.  I will build new relationships, and my life will go on.

*******

There are not words to express how much it meant to me to spend time with each of the individuals I did this weekend.  I am extremely grateful to all of them for not only providing a distraction from all the drama in my life right now, but also reminding me how many wonderful people there are in this world who will appreciate and accept me as I am.  In spite of everything that has and will happen to me in my life, I will continue to remind myself how truly blessed I truly am.

There are people who go through there entire lives without ever making a single true, loyal friend.   I am beyond fortunate to have many wonderful friends who care about me scattered throughout the country and in my own town.  Distance doesn’t matter when you have a true bond.  I have more support in my life than I ever could have imagined.  To each and every one of you:  THANK YOU.

Thank you for making even the worst of days bearable, for making the good days even better, and the would be boring moments beyond entertaining.  Thank you for molding me as a person and supporting me when I need it most.  I count EACH of you as a blessing in my life.

Color Me Rad

“Happiness is like a butterfly.
The more you chase it, the more it eludes you.
But if you turn your attention to other things,
It comes and sits softly on your shoulder.”
 

– Henry David Thoreau

So what does one do when life seems to be caving in and everything goes wrong?

I can tell you what this girl does:

1) Count my blessings for all the things that are going right – even if it’s just an uneventful day at work (instead of getting murdered per usual- maybe it’s true that you don’t get more than you can handle…).

2) Turn to the people who build me up most.

3) GO RUN A 5K  and GET COVERED IN COLOR!!! Duh!

Color Me Rad was an AWESOME event.  I went with a bunch of friends from boot camp ,and- despite the fact that I felt bad Adam didn’t come and wasn’t completely myself– I still managed to have a pretty good time.  It certainly didn’t hurt that it involved two of my favorite things: running and getting completely filthy. 🙂

It definitely was great to spend some time with the boot camp crew.  I have been missing them terribly… possibly even more than the actual exercise. I didn’t bring up what happened between Adam and I with them -even though his absence was brought up a few times– because I didn’t want to dampen the mood at all.  After all, the day actually belonged to Kelly who joined in at the last minute and decided to run in her wedding dress (size 16  restructured to fit her new size 4 frame) as a “trash the dress” session.  It was the perfect act of closure- as phrased by our team: “Best divorce party ever”.

I was so proud of her to be able to put that gown on and trash it publicly.  After all the ridicule she endured from her ex about exercising and getting healthy- it was the perfect act of defiance.  She is in charge of her life now, and his attempts to control and manipulate her aren’t going to work anymore! She got numerous cheers from random runners as we explained why she was wearing it, and she deserved every one.

I think everyone in our group had an awesome time.  We were definitely as colorful on the outside as we are on the inside by the time we finished.  It was just a great chance for everyone to just cut loose and enjoy each other’s company.  We came to have fun, and even the ridiculous traffic on the way there wasn’t going to get in our way (we found ways to entertain ourselves… a few cars full of boot campers- it wasn’t too tough lol)

After the race, a bunch us went out for some Mexican and margaritas (my first in a long time  SO YUMMY!!!) …. and no, we did not clean up first.  I’m not sure that the staff knew what to make of us. All the silliness- possibly induced by the combination of alcohol, dehydration, and our general childish behavior when we get together- was exactly what I needed.  Sometimes you need to act like a 5 year old to cope with being an adult… 😉

Dropped off the Face of the Earth?

“You win some, you lose some, and some get rained out, but you gotta suit up for them all. “
– J. Askenberg

Just in case any one has been wondering (or worried), no I have not dropped off the face of the earth… or stopped training.  Life has simply gotten chaotic, and given the choice between getting in a blog post and getting in a workout- I’m going to pick the workout every time.  Don’t be offended! I still love you all. 🙂

SOOOO here’s a quick summary of life post Tough Mudder:

  • Went to the chiropractor who, instead of scolding me for running, asked how it was and told me how he’s always wanted to do one.  Unlike me, he hasn’t because he’s afraid of getting injured and missing work.  I think he should stick with that plan until my shoulder is all healed.
  • Did some light training so as not to further aggravate my shoulder in the week after the Tough Mudder.  This included some running and [stationary] biking (love pedaling around in circles!!!! not really… but at least it gives me time to read) because that’s pretty much all that I’m allowed to do.
  • Celebrated Mother’s Day, and found out my sister was pregnant- SUPER EXCITING
  • Got a message from my sister the following day after her doctor’s appointment that it was twins and they were expecting a miscarriage.
  • Spent time off from work with my sister who was understandably devastated. I brought her important grieving tools- Ben & Jerry’s, chocolate candy and cookies, and tissues with aloe.  She told me thanks for making sure she would still look pregnant even if she wasn’t any longer.
  • Found out my Ultra Beast training/lifting buddy had ditched me for my cooler boot camp friends (who he met after I invited him to do the Tough Mudder with us).  This is likely partly do to him feeling responsible for injuring my shoulder and partly because they are shiny and new (plus I can’t compete with single women).  After initially being hurt about the fact our friendship has pretty much fallen to the wayside now that he is over his break up and in better shape- I’ve decided that I will just use this as further motivation to train harder and kick his ass in September…. jk…maybe
  • Worked some crazy off shifts at work
  • Attended my brother’s graduation for his master’s degree- SUPER PROUD OF HIM!!!
  • Started some light weight lifting because my shoulder felt “normal” for several days, and I can’t help but push it… I used really light weight to be on the safe side.
  • Spent several days putting together a graduation party for my brother
  • Did a little more light lifting and some trail running (where my legs felt like lead… maybe from the 20 miles on the bike and lifting the day before…)
  • Felt elated that my shoulder is still behaving despite the fact that I haven’t exactly been 😉
  • Spent an afternoon on the boat with Adam and some friends- including my girl Kelly.  I was a very good girl and didn’t attempt any skiing or knee boarding… even though it was killing me not to!  Still managed to have a good time anyway. 🙂
  • Finally had my family over to celebrate my brother’s graduation yesterday and ate WAY too much.

That pretty much brings us up to the present.

I also went to Home Depot this past week and picked up some sand bags for a very exciting home craft project.  All I need to do now is pick up some colorful duct tape…. more on that to come.

Today my plan is to maybe get a run in and hit the gym later depending on how my shoulder is feeling.  I am REALLY trying not to over due it.  I don’t want any further setbacks!  However, now that it is feeling better it’s really hard not to want to push it- especially with the Spartan Ultra Beast coming up!  For now I am trying to sit tight as best as possible and remind myself that I still have plenty of time to train (even if I don’t completely believe it).

“You have crunchy muscles…”

“A determined soul will do more with a rusty monkey wrench than a loafer will accomplish with all the tools in a machine shop.”

-Robert Hughes

I may be injured, but I am not yet defeated!!!!

First, (and most important!) thank you everyone for your comments and words of encouragement! I truly appreciate all the support!!!!!

I did go to see the sports guru chiropractor on Monday, and I’m pretty sure I’M IN LOVE WITH HIM!  (He had me at “Do you do crossfit?”).  Don’t worry, Adam knows, and he’s ok with it. Truthfully, I would have given this man my first born to take that pain away!!!!

IT band humor 🙂

But seriously, he actually listened to what I had to say and then spent time explaining how we were going to fix it. That’s right- he said it’s fixable, AND I should be back to 100% within 6 weeks (no promises, but I’ll take it).  After a quick exam- where he pointed out just how much range of motion I had lost compared to my noninjured side (thanks Ortho for not even checking… you totally suck btw)- he had me use a heating pad and hooked me up to some electric-stim (yippy my fav! not really, but it wasn’t that bad).  

Then he came back and busted up all the scar tissue around my shoulder so I could move.  He warned me several times that it would be really unconfortable, BUT IT FELT AMAZING!!!  It was INSTANT RELIEF!  Maybe not 100% relief, but it was a billion times better than when I walked in.  He popped almost ever knot in my neck and shoulder, and there were definitely a lot of snap-crackle-pop noises going on.  He pointed out that my  “muscles are crunchy” (from all the scar tissue) and that “crunchy” is not a “normal” state for muscles.  I told him he was LIKE A FOAM ROLLER FOR MY SHOULDER (which was obviously the utmost compliment coming from a runner with IT band issues). He just laughed at me and said “sort of.”  He was so personable and down to earth…. gushing… I know.

Think of a goal and commit to it!

THEN he said the three most beautiful words I’ve ever heard from  a man: “You can run.”  So now I have clearance for running and the elliptical. He thought it might actually help maintain the movement I’ve regained.  Plus, he thought there was still a chance I could do the Tough Mudder!  He said start easy “Don’t go crazy and run like 5 miles. Start with a half mile and see how you feel.”   I had to fight to keep quiet, but in my head I was thinking “5 miles is an EASY RUN. Half a mile is BARELY EVEN A WARM UP.  What a tease!”.  I did just under 2 miles at an easy pace when I got home and figured that was a fair compromise.  My shoulder felt fine, so I was pretty excited.  I racked up the rest of my mileage on the bike and then got a ride home from the gym.

Since then I have been destroying the bike at the gym (21 miles on Friday!) and doing some light running and cardio on the elliptical and stair climber.  The more time I spend on the bike, the more I’ve been convincing myself that I can totally get over my fear of cycling and learn to swim.  G-Dawg and Adam have graciously offered to help coach me and teach me the ropes.  They both want to do an Iron Man next year, and I think I may just set that as my next goal.  Of course, I have lots to do in the meantime…. like learning how to swim and cycle… haha

Oh and get my shoulder fixed up…and survive Pike’s Peak… and the Ultra Beast. Looks like I have my work cut out for me!  I’ve never been one to do anything half assed though, so of course I’d set my sights on training for the ultimate triathlon instead of a sprint to ease in! lol

I’m sure this all probably sounds a little crazy coming from someone recovering from an injury; however, am I am not that type of person who believes in limiting myself.  I have already spent too much of my life restricted by what doctors and other people said I couldn’t or shouldn’t do.  I spent over 5 years with a man who tried (rather unsuccessfully in the end) to control my life, and there IS NO WAY anyone is going to put any limits or restrictions on me now!  I am a driven, goal oriented person.  If I am not challenging myself, then I simply don’t feel like I’m living.  Pushing myself is when I’m most authentic and HAPPY.  IT is what makes me feel like I am THRIVING. So if I decide that I am going to run a marathon, up a mountain, or through 26.2 miles of obstacles- you can bet it’s going to take nothing short of an act of God to keep me from that goal. Period. 🙂