overcome

Chafing is no fun…

“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.
Wayne Dyer

Or you could run enough miles to eat the whole package of cookies and still not feel guilty- then throw in some boot camp for good measure. ūüėČ

I debated whether to name this post “I make mud look good” or “Chafing is no fun”… and the title went to the one I felt more strongly about.

Today I went for a 3 hour run.¬† My initial goal was 15 miles, but I couldn’t figure out how to work Adam’s GPS watch and figured 3 hours would be close enough.¬† That is exactly how long I made it before my gait started to resemble a drunken sailor, and I called Adam to come rescue me.¬† I stopped at a gas station less than 2 miles from home.¬† I knew I could push myself the rest of the way, but it would be at the expense of over-doing it (again).¬† I didn’t want to risk another sideline, especially when my joints were already screaming from running on the pavement- and I knew I still had a boot camp class to make.¬† To reward him for the effort of dragging himself out of bed to get me, I bought Adam a pint of Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream (his favorite flavor) while I waited.¬† I also purchased a package of Vienna Fingers (no not the little one- the big one!), which I promptly dug into while the patrons pumping gas looked on with bewildered expressions (largely, I’m sure, owing to the fact that I was soaked and covered in mud).

I had just enough time in between my run and my evening torture session to grab some lunch with Adam.  I made it a point not to stuff myself with the hopes of decreasing the amount of workout related nausea ahead of me.  Overall the second class went well.  I only got light headed a couple times and barely had any nausea.  The work out was tough, but totally rewarding- I was especially proud to have managed the entire 60 push-ups scattered throughout the hour.  Adam was there to cheer me on and coach me through many of them, which I immensely appreciated.

So today I give myself a gold star for motivation!¬† My calves feel like jello, but my hot pink compression sleeves are due to arrive tomorrow, and I’m hoping they will help!¬† I am also hoping to get one more long run in before we leave for Cali and the NorCal Tough Mudder.

The downside of my ambitious workout- I have so much chafing on my back and chest from carrying my weighted down hydration pack that I am pretty much covered in itchy, raised, pink blotches.¬† I have scars on my collar bones from where the straps cut in; and scars, scrapes, and bruises all over my legs from all the debris and branches I get tangled in when I’m on the trails.¬† It’s all pretty sexy. ūüėČ

Not visible- my calves completely caked in mud

Thanks for reading!!! Comments and questions are always welcome.  Have a terrific evening everyone!

Another day, another 15 miles

‚ÄúThe victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting goals and achieving them. Even the most tedious chore will become endurable as you parade through each day convinced that every task, no matter how menial or boring, brings you closer to fulfilling your dreams.‚ÄĚ

Og Mandino

So the photo above pretty much sums up my view of Boot Camp ūüôā¬† Except puking is not an acceptable excuse to stop.

I survived my first session of Boot Camp- it was worse than running 18 miles!!!!!¬† I would consider myself in reasonably good shape, but that class kicked my butt.¬† I’m sure running there and back (and all the labor day pigging out) didn’t help.¬† We weren’t even halfway through before I felt like I would throw up.¬† By the time I reached the end of the first circuit, I nearly passed out.¬† I eased up until the room came back into focus and kept going.¬† It made me feel like such a wimp, until I noticed that everyone else was struggling too- including the people who had been doing it for months.¬† “Something to look forward to. Apparently it doesn’t get any easier” I thought to myself.

I wanted to quit.¬† It was torture. I reminded myself that if you don’t feel like quitting, throwing up, or passing out then you probably aren’t working hard enough anyway.¬† Then I surprised myself and not only made it through the whole class, but even the run home.

On the schedule today- a 15 mile run this morning followed by Boot Camp #2 this evening.¬† I am hoping that there is less nausea this time around. ūüėČ

One more week until California and 10 more days until my first Tough Mudder!!!!

When trails become streams…

I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.”¬†

~Author Unknown

I’m BACK!!!! It’s official!¬† Just shy of 13 miles today and only minimal IT band pain.¬† Wohoo!¬† lol¬† I’m so happy to FINALLY have gotten some mileage in.¬† Initially, Adam and I headed to Hopbrook (my favorite place to run), but it is completely under water.¬† We decided to do the Bridle Trail instead, which was slightly less damp.¬† The trail had turned into a fresh water stream in many places, which was actually pretty fun to run in.¬† Meanwhile, the small brook that typically runs along the gravel path had turned into class 5 rapids (See picture below).¬† We actually thought we heard traffic coming when we were crossing, but it turned out to be the water.¬† It was pretty impressive.

when brooks become rapids...

 

 

The first 6-7 miles were pretty easy, but my legs got pretty tired on the way back.  I was getting tangled in a lot of the debris from the storm, and Adam was light-years ahead of me.  He kept stopping or walking to give me time to catch up, and I felt kind of bad that I was running so slow.  I know there is a faster runner inside and I am determined to release her at some point!  I kept reminding myself that no matter how slow I was running, I was moving forward and still smiling- the 2 most important things.  Overall, the run went pretty well.  I was glad to have Adam there to show me a few new side trails and keep me from over-doing it.  Plus, he makes good company; and the view running behind him is not too bad either. lol  He even took pictures for me to adorn my blog.  He is so supportive!

Initially, when I was reading about many of the other bloggers who had run their first marathon, I noticed that a lot of them had a fair number of people cheering them on.  Many of them had photos holding flowers while posing with their finisher medals.  It made me want flowers when I finish!  Then I realized that I have something even better- a boyfriend who is willing to suffer through the 26.2 mile stretch with me to help motivate me and keep me going.  How lucky am I ?!   I am sure there are other things he would have rather been doing today than running through 13 miles of mud and debris, but he knew I would appreciate it.

In related news, I am looking into joining the boot camp program at my gym.¬† It looks like a lot of cross fit type training, and I’m hoping it will help me take my conditioning to the next level.¬† I also got an email today that my foam roller and cliff bloks shipped.¬† I am pretty excited! ūüôā

running through the stream

 

 

 

made it!!!

Revelations

“Happiness is a form of courage.”

~Holbrook Jackson

"The Happy Person Inside"

As a survivor of abuse thriver, I have often tried to get in touch with “the happy person inside” me who was untouched by trauma.¬† It started with the My Avenging Angel Workshops when we had various exercises to draw this happy person out.¬† We did writing prompts and compiled letters to ourselves in the frame of that happier, unscarred person.¬† At the time, it felt so strange to write to myself in such a loving and accepting manner.¬† It was hard to love myself.¬† It was hard to stand myself.¬† I knew I was capable of being happier, more centered, and generally, more functional- I just didn’t know how to get there.

When I pictured my happy inner self, I would envision the photo above.¬† I was so fearless as a child.¬† I was vibrant.¬† My mother always told me she needed to hold me back growing up because I was ready to take on the world.¬† I lost that girl somewhere…

What I found instead was PTSD: anxiety, nightmares, hyper-vigilance, low self-esteem, and above all a NEGATIVE OUTLOOK on life.¬† I hated feeling so negative, but it followed me everywhere.¬†¬†¬† It stalked me.¬† It was on my back.¬† It kept me up at night.¬† Every time I thought I eluded it, I’d find it creeping up somewhere.¬† I couldn’t escape it.¬† I didn’t know how to stop it.¬† It was a terrible feedback loop.¬† The more negative I felt, the more I hated myself for it, which only made me feel more negative about the whole situation.¬† I was stuck in a cycle of beating myself up- overly concerned with how other people were perceiving and judging me.¬† I was withdrawn.¬† I didn’t want to spread my negativity, so I shut people out.¬† I was trapped.

In retrospect, I think my negativity served a purpose.¬† It was my armor.¬† It kept people at arm’s length where they couldn’t hurt me.¬† Being betrayed by people in my life who I had loved deeply and trusted had completely reframed my perception of the world.¬† If they could hurt me, imagine what other people might do.¬† I couldn’t handle any more hurt.¬† I couldn’t handle anything, period.¬† However, it way over-lasted it’s usefulness.¬† It kept me from myself.¬† I was surviving- just going through the motions of existing, exhausted at the thought of another day.

Today I realized a remarkable thing.¬† I am no longer working toward getting in touch with the happy person inside. I AM that happy person.¬†What a REVELATION to finally have arrived at the point I’ve been struggling to ge to for so long, and it took me until today to finally realize it.¬† I don’t know how or when it happened, but I am here.¬† I have made it through the muck and finally emerged on the other side as a smarter, stronger, and more self aware person.¬†I have taken control of my life back.¬† I feel so light, so refreshed, so OPTIMISTIC.¬† I have so many great things going for me — volunteering with CT-ALIVE, the Archangels, my blog (thank you everyone for the kind words and positive feedback), my running, fundraising… I could go on and on.

I have no room for negativity in my life anymore.¬† It’s not in my nature.¬† I only have space for positive thoughts, so the negativity and I are breaking up for good.¬† I am ending our two year relationship and not looking back.¬† I’m not entertaining anymore negative thoughts.¬† I’m not letting it crawl into bed with me anymore when I’m feeling tired and vulnerable.¬† I’m not giving in to the temptation to blame my trouble on others.

The one person in life I have power to change is myself, and that is exactly what I am doing.¬† I am reevaluating and renewing the relationships in my life with a more positive outlook.¬† As a final act of closure, I left cards for my coworkers to thank them for all their support on my journey and to apologize for being distant and not myself for so long.¬† I wanted to make a commitment to them and myself to work on more positive relationships with them- the kind that involve actually opening up and showing myself.¬† Plus, I really wanted to acknowledge all the support I had received from each of them.¬† I feel like now that it is all in writing- it’s official.¬† I have let go of any negativity still lingering in the past and stepped forward into a brighter future.¬† Who knows where this road will take me, but one thing is for sure- there are good things in store!

I spent so long not knowing what to do with all that negativity.¬† I couldn’t find a way to stuff it down or shove it out of my life.¬† Today I finally found the solution- I faced it head on and threw it out the window. ūüôā

Once again, thank you for reading!  Comments and feedback are always welcome and appreciated.  Questions can be directed to runningthriver@gmail.com.

It gets harder before it gets easier…

“You have a choice. You can throw in the towel, or you can use it to wipe the sweat off of your face.
–Gatorade

borrowed from Pushinspire

This morning I was little discouraged by my marathon training…or current lack there of.¬† It’s not like I’m sitting on the couch eating potato chips, but I also haven’t logged any significant mileage in a couple weeks.¬† I desperately want to be out there running 20 miles; however, my body, unfortunately, has had other ideas. That being said, I understand all to well that injuries and setbacks are a part of running, and I’ve been extremely lucky that this is the first issue I’ve had since my return to running many months ago.

Initially, I thought running in Vibrams had cured all my running issues, and that the only limitation to my future running would be my own determination.¬† It wasn’t until recently that I found out that is not exactly the case.¬† In the defense of my VFF, I have been still using regular running shoes for pavement and gravel; so many of my longest runs have not been “barefoot”.¬† Plus, I increased my mileage way too quickly on my last long run.¬† Now that I am re-familiarized with the perils of over-training, I will return to running a wiser endurance junkie. ūüėČ

Happily, I have taken this hiatus from lengthy runs as a chance to work on some cross training and general conditioning- which is especially important now that the NorCal Tough Mudder is coming up fast.¬† I am pretty confident I will be able to finish, even if I don’t complete every obstacle successfully.¬† I am also confident about being able to complete the Diva Half Marathon.¬† What I am terrified about is my body limiting my ability to run the full marathon 2 weeks after.¬† I’m worried that running 13.1 miles on pavement is going to aggravate my IT bands, and that 2 weeks won’t be enough time to recover before the Hartford Marathon.¬† I am also scared that I won’t be able to get my mileage up any further beforehand due to my IT band issues.¬† Finally, my greatest dread is that I will continue to be plagued by the chronic knee pain and joint issues that have stifled my running for so long.¬† Now that I have tasted the freedom of running without the obstacle of chronic joint pain- I never want to go back.

The good news– since I started running in my VFF, I have have been pain free (minus the current IT band issue- which, thankfully, has been okay on the last few runs)!¬† Not just without joint pain while running- pain-free in general.¬† Before, my knee caps popped out-of-place when I walked, and I always had knee and hip pain.¬† I had it my whole life, so I didn’t know any better.¬† Now, the only pain I have is in my muscles!¬† It’s been truly liberating.¬† It’s something to remember when I feel like I’m not making enough progress.¬† I have come SO far.¬† I had dreams of running a half marathon one day, but NEVER believed a full marathon would be attainable.¬† That was something only super-fit, athletic people could¬† do in my mind- not someone with a host joint issues.¬† Besides, I had numerous ortho docs tell me all the reasons I couldn’t and shouldn’t run. I always viewed running as something I loved, but also as extremely damaging to my body.¬† Look at me now!¬† I have 4 hours of extremely slow running (without walking!) under my belt with plans for my first marathon in less than 2 months!¬† What a difference a year can make in a life. ūüôā

As an added insurance plan, I have a foam roller to stretch my IT bands in the mail… along with a new box of Clif Bloks. ūüôā¬† What a crazy journey this has been- and it isn’t even over yet!¬† Whatever happens come October I know one thing for sure- I will make it across that finish line even if I have to crawl!

One thing that has kept me motivated and inspired has been following other running bloggers.¬† Below I’ve listed some of my current favorites.¬† As always, thanks for reading!¬† Comments and Feedback are always welcome and appreciated (you can also email at runningthriver@gmail.com).¬† Feel free to repost any material from my blog, but please give credit back to this site. ūüôā

PushInspire

Marathon Sweetheart

The Primal Challenge

Experience Life With Me

I Run Long

Runwithdesire

Happy Trails Everyone!!!

Reflections

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family:

Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”

-Jane Howard

(Quote on my Archangels workshop folder)

“Day 3 of the Thriver Retreat and I am drained.¬† I had nightmares overnight and didn’t get much sleep.¬† I am still missing my natural rhythm of running in the morning and have had difficulty shaking off lingering negativity.¬† I should have run this morning , but it’s too late to beat myself up over it.¬† I do anyway.¬† I feel guilty for not being more upbeat.¬† I don’t want to drag down the rest of the group.¬† I need to stop doing this.¬† I need to allow myself to feel off at times.¬†”

Above is my journal entry from this morning.

I spent this weekend at an Archangel Thriver Retreat at the Guest House in lovely Chester, CT.  It was both an energizing and exhausting experience.  That is part of the reason my blog posts have been delayed and are now coming in a flood.

Naturally being an introvert, I find spending time in groups extremely tiring.¬†¬† I can’t even handle long periods with my own family without getting worn out.¬† I need alone time to recharge.¬† Don’t get me wrong.¬† I truly enjoy other people’s company.¬† I want to feel connected like every other person, but this was a little too much of a good thing.¬† By the end of Day 2 I was over-extended and overwhelmed.

The lack of sleep that night only added to my fatigue.¬† By the morning of Day 3 I felt like I had nothing left to give.¬† I was drained.¬† Breakfast was a bit a of a solemn affair.¬† I could see the exhaustion I was feeling written on the faces of some of the other women.¬†¬† This made me feel a little better, a reminder that sometimes being off is normal and not a lingering remnant of abuse.¬† We looked like we had been to battle- in many ways we had.¬†¬† The retreat had pushed each of us outside our comfort zone and forced us to confront our inner critics.¬† Survivors of abuse have particularly loud inner critics (many times taking on the voices and comments of the past abusers).¬† It’s a constant struggle to keep them quiet.¬† It was clear the fight had worn on many of us.

The morning began by “opening the circle”, a chance for the group to meditate, offer prayer, share energy, and our thoughts of what we were grateful for.¬† There were many apologies mixed in.¬† Apparently many more people were experiencing low energy than I had realized.¬† I was clearly not alone.¬† Even Susan was not herself.¬† Sharing this knowledge helped us try to shake off the negativity and embrace the day.¬† Our theme of the retreat was “Fireworks”, inspired by Katie Perry’s hit song.¬† It was the first time I had actually read the lyrics.¬† They seemed so appropriate.

We let our colors burst by writing letters to ourselves from 6 months in the future.¬† We were supposed to envision all we’d have accomplished by then.¬† It was so wonderful to hear everyone’s positive vision of the next 6 months!¬† I was the last to read mine to the group.¬† I started strong but started to tear up (as usual).¬† I congratulated myself on finishing my first half and full marathon despite doubting that I could do it, for fundraising for charity, for having a successful blog that was reaching and inspiring other women and spreading the word about domestic abuse, for using my desire to help and heal others to overcome insecurities and my inner critic, for accepting myself and others, for no longer keeping people at arms length, for letting go of the lingering notion that I “make everyone around [me] miserable” (something that still haunts me from my abuse), and for finding volunteer work that was meaningful to me.¬†¬† It was a tall order, but I’ve always been one to aim high.

I also gave myself the task of organizing a road race as a fundraiser for CT-ALIVE.¬† It will be my first attempt at organizing any event, period.¬† I don’t know anything about how to host a road race, but I will very shortly!¬† It gave me a pit in my stomach on the ride home, and then I reminded myself that 1) I won’t be doing it alone, 2) even if I fail or it doesn’t work these women will support me and encourage me to keep trying, and 3) it will be COMPLETELY AMAZING if we actually pull it off!¬† After all, my goal is to help other victims and speak out, and this will be a terrific opportunity to not only spread the word about domestic abuse, but also about THRIVING.

As worn and exhausted as I returned home today, I was equally inspired!  I LOVE these women.  I have never experienced such unconditional support and understanding from a group, many of whom are practically strangers.  It is such a profoundly incredible  feeling to belong to such an empowered and optimistic network of women.

Here is another terrific music video that one of the beautiful ladies at the retreat shared: “I Love Me Better Than That” by Shirley Murdock

What is a Thriver?

“Sisterhood is many things. It’s a warm smile on a cold and rainy day, a friendly hug, a cheerful hello…¬†It’s all that a good and lasting friendship is, only better. It’s treasured. It’s sacred. It’s knowing that there will always be someone there for you. It’s dreams shared, and goals achieved. It’s counting on others and being counted on. It is real.”

This post dedicated to all my Archangel Sisters.  I love each and every one of you!

This morning I was charged with the task of defining¬†what “thriver” means to me.¬† I compiled a list of the first words that came to mind: self knowing, embracing life, living to the fullest, empowered, open, secure, unbroken, girl power, liberated, and vibrant.¬† It was a good start.¬†¬† However, truly grasping the essence of¬†thriving is not something that can be¬†broken down and explained on paper.¬† It’s something that needs to be felt.¬†

The most wonderful thing happens when you attend the My Avenging Angel Workshops and follow-up sessions.  You become part of a sisterhood: a loving, accepting, flaw embracing community of women committed to improving not only their own lives, but also the lives of others.  That is where the thriver energy emanates.  It comes from each and every woman. 

The Angels are a diverse group-¬†coming in every shape, size, age, color, and religion- a reminder that domestic violence does not discriminate.¬† Yet, we do not dwell on our past.¬† Instead, we celebrate the beauty of our differences¬†and bond over a common experience.¬† Surprisingly, it’s not the trauma or past suffering that brings us together.¬† It is the desire¬†to bring about change- in ourselves and¬†in the world that binds us.¬† Together, we see a future filled with limitless possibilities.¬† In each of us there is¬†hope, faith, and the courage to embark on a journey to a more fruitful and fulfilling¬†life.¬† We give each other strength.¬† Our ties cross town and state lines across this country.¬† We are feminism at its best-¬†an abuser’s worst nightmare!¬† Are motto: “Living well is the best revenge”.¬†

Being a thriver¬†is more than becoming a self-aware, self-loving individual.¬† It is about belonging and becoming part of a community.¬† The community is necessary to impact other lives.¬† It’s the sense of sisterhood that helps to empower us.¬† I could not imagine what a difficult journey it would be, or¬†it even being possible to thrive¬†without a strong support network.¬† No one individual¬†is¬†self-sufficient¬†enough not to need a shoulder to cry or lean on during hard times.¬†¬†A house is only as good as the foundation it is built¬†upon,¬†and¬†the individual is no different.¬† You are¬†only as solid as¬†your base.¬† In this respect I have been very lucky (not only to have the Angels, but also the unconditional love of my amazing family, friends,¬†and boyfriend who always back me 100%¬†– equally in success and failure).

I am so grateful to belong to such an awe-inspiring group of women.  Each is a blessing in a my life, a window to the possibilities of how the future could be.  I am fortunate to not only have such a tremendous family (both by blood and bond), but to be part of one.  Knowing that I play a role helping and healing others is more healing and empowering than anything I could achieve on my own.

If you reside¬†in or near Connecticut and are interested¬†in moving beyond survivor to thriver¬†please visit Susan Omilian’s website for more information on the FREE My Avenging Angels Workshops.¬† You can also email me at runningthriver@gmail.com.

If you do not live near Connecticut and are still interested in joining the Thriver community, check out the Thriver Workbook.  In it you will find many of the exercises Susan uses in her workshops.  You can also check out The Thriverzone.

As always, thank you for reading!¬† Please feel free to share any of the information here if you know someone who can benefit from it (just give credit back to the site please ūüôā ) Comments and feedback are always welcome and appreciated.¬† Good luck in your Thriver Journey!!!