survivor

Preparation

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”
Alexander Graham Bell

Lately, I have been doing something out of character- I haven’t been running (and it’s making me a little nutty…).  Well, that’s not completely true- I did a miserable 2.5 miles on the treadmill to test out my new paisley running shoes.  However, I have not been doing any crazy, long runs.  After the Tough Mudder -and even before- I had notice my body was getting pretty beat up.  My groin was KILLING me; and for a while, I had considered that I seriously pulled something.  When I tried to run, it was a constant struggle.  Nothing wanted to move the way it should.  My limbs were like lead.  Plus, every boot camp session involved some muscle feeling like it was going to snap.  First it was my groin, then my right glute, now I’m back to groin (thankfully, not nearly as bad).  It got me to thinking that maybe cramming in this last 20 mile run is not that important.  I mean, it’s not worth getting injured (or risking injury) when I have already prepared so much.

I have been training for months now.  It’s involved sacrificing a lot of time (and the ability to walk normally at times…).  I have logged hundreds of miles; and honestly- I don’t think that 20 mile run is going to make or break my performance.  In fact, I think it is far more likely to hinder me than help.  I know that marathon is going to be hell.  I know what it is going to feel like to have to fight through the exhaustion.  I’ve done it…okay maybe not for 26.2 miles, but you get my point.  I’ve pushed through the walls.  Mentally, I know I can do it.  I”m hopeful my body will cooperate.  I truly believe that my best bet right now is to take it easy and recharge so I’m running on a full battery when race day rolls around.

I asked Adam how many miles he ran before his first marathon, and he told me 17 or 18, which is right about where I’m at.  I have done tons of trail running, hills, gym workouts, cross training, and even did a Tough Mudder to prepare.  I have spent the last several months running and training with a weighted hydration pack to improve my strength and endurance.  I’ve primary run in vibrams to improve my form.  I am absolutely as ready as I will ever be.  All I can do at this point is try not to do anything stupid to hurt myself, put it out into the universe, and hope for the best. 🙂  Oh, and try not to drive myself crazy in the meantime while I avoid my typical form of stress relief!

As much as I know how much work I’ve put in, it’s still hard not to worry about not being able to finish.  It doesn’t mean I’m not prepared or not capable- it’s just something I have a habit of doing before any new distance or challenge.  I was terrified before my first 10K (and the subsequent 2), my first 15 K, and the Tough Mudder. I sincerely doubted my ability to complete to each- that’s right just finish, I’m not looking to set any new records here! 😉  After the fact, I was always surprised at how much worse I anticipated it would be than it actually was.  I have a feeling,however, that the marathon will be exactly as horrible as I am anticipating, but I am determined despite my anxiety and lingering doubts to get across that finish line.

The good news:CT-ALIVE  has already received it’s first donations for the Running for the Color Purple Campaign! (I will sleep soundly tonight knowing that even if this race kills me, it will not have been in vain; and my ultimate goal to make a positive impact on the world will be achieved…jk…sort of…) Plus, I am optimistic that there is plenty more to come!  I would encourage anyone to check out the CT-ALIVE page and consider making a donation to help victims of violence rebuild their lives.  I would also like to say THANK YOU to those amazing people who have already donated and to all the wonderful readers who have left comments and subscribed!

 As always, thank you for reading!  Comments and feedback are welcome and appreciated- you can also email me at runningthriver@gmail.com.  Feel free to share any information on this site, just please give credit back to this blog.

I hope everyone has a very peaceful and restful evening!

Coming Out and New Arrivals

“I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand. Henceforth will I apply ALL my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy. “
Og Mandino

After a lot of careful consideration and back and forth, I have officially come out.  Not in the Lady Gaga themed gay pride sense (although I did think the youtube video was pretty awesome- I could only wish to be that fabulous).  Rather, I have opened up about my blog to my coworkers and Facebook friends. Initially, when I started this blog, I had intended on keeping it to myself.  I wanted to provide a voice for those victims who were unable to speak up for themselves and let them know they are not alone.  I also wanted to help raise awareness about domestic violence.  While I was open with many of my coworkers about what I had been through, I found the topic of domestic abuse tends to make people uncomfortable.  Several of them knew that I had started a blog, but I had never offered to let any of them read it.  The only people in my life who had read The Running Thriver up til now were a few close family members and friends.

However, as I have gotten more involved in the fight against domestic abuse- especially with the launching of the Running for the Color Purple Campaign- I have felt that sharing my blog is the right thing to do.  If I can’t be completely open about this big part of my life and educate the people I interact with on a daily basis than 1) how can I expect to educate anyone else, and 2) how can I encourage other victims to speak up and not be ashamed?  While I am not at all embarrassed about what I have been through, I have been a little reluctant to “spring” this information on people- in particular Adam’s family and friends.

At the end of the day, though, I care more about speaking up and raising awareness than I do about not bringing attention to myself.  Plus, I would have found it difficult to ask so many people to donate to this cause without explaining why it is so important to me.

In other news, I bought my first pair of non-vibram running shoes in a LONG TIME.  With the Diva Half and Hartford Marathon being on pavement, and my continued difficulty getting accustomed to running on pavement in my Vibrams, I figured it might be wise to hold off on a barefoot marathon for a while longer.  Adam helped me pick out a pair with more cushioning in the toe box so they would be more comfortable for my new running style.  I also got my first pair of real running socks and some pink gloves (on clearance!) for when the weather gets cooler. One week until the Diva Half and less than 3 until the Hartford Marathon!!!

My new shoes- There are even paisley on the inside!!!

On being a smarter optimist

“And maybe I’m a little smarter now than I was before for all the stupid things I’ve done. “
Herb Brooks

Before I met my abuser, I was a happy, upbeat free-spirit.  I looked at the positive in every situation, and over-looked other people’s flaws and chose to recognize their good points instead.  I was always smiling and cheerful.

After the abuse, I felt my optimism had betrayed me.  It helped me  fail to recognize cruel and self-interested behavior in people I had cared about. I had minimized their faults in favor of focusing on their better qualities.  Perhaps that is why it’s been so difficult for me to get back to my happy self.  I am afraid of overlooking the negative.  If I shrug off insults or bullying without standing up for myself then I will remain a doormat.

However, there is no reason I can’t be a happy and optimistic person and stand up for myself.  Setting boundaries doesn’t make me mean or unapproachable.  It has taken a conscious effort to accept that being optimistic may make me more vulnerable to unjust attacks, but it is the only way I’d choose to live my life.  I will not live in fear any longer.  I am breaking out of the confines of self-doubt and taking on the world (with my rosie colored glasses).  I am the only person capable of holding myself back, and I am not going to do it anymore.

I am going to finish the Tough Mudder- water tunnels, electric shock, and all.  I will finish that marathon.  I will not only finish, but will do it all with a smile on my face- because that’s just how I roll.  I will also do it with the knowledge that I am raising money for a worthy cause and inspiring other victims to move on from the confined existence of abuse.

Thanks for reading!  These posts are going to come in a flood now that I am back home with a computer.  Sorry for anyone whose inbox is about to be flooded!  As always, comments and questions are always welcome and appreciated. 🙂

Biting off more than I can chew?

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face

… we must do that which we think we cannot.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Yesterday I survived another round of Boot Camp- push-ups and all!  I was actually excited to go.  I guess that makes me a glutton for punishment.  lol Each time the drill instructor gave us a challenge, I wanted to yell “bring it on!”  Every time I was tired and wanted to quit, I reminded myself that marathon runners don’t quit, Tough Mudders don’t quit, Spartans don’t quit, and I certainly don’t quit.  When I was told to push, I pushed as hard as I could.

That being said, I woke up this morning incredibly sore.  I wanted to stay in bed, but it was the only chance I’d have this week to get in a long run.  I truly regretted not doing a better job stretching before and after our class.  In the theme of not being a quitter, I dragged myself over to the Bridle Trail and started my 17 mile run.  My legs were heavy and my body was fighting me at first, but eventually I settled, and it felt like less of an effort.  By the time I hit nine miles, I was still feeling strong and really thought I was going to get through the run unscathed.  I knocked out my first 10 miles in just over 2 hrs, which was pretty good for me given I had on my vibrams and a weighted pack.

By the next mile, I was not feeling so hot.  Another mile in,  my IT bands were SCREAMING.  I panicked for a minute, but kept pushing.  Then my body came to a grinding halt.  I tried to force myself to run, but the pain was searing up my legs.  I couldn’t get back into a rhythm.  I couldn’t even walk straight.  I still had over 5 miles to go- a very long distance to walk.  I figured I would walk a bit and see if it got better- no luck.  Then I got the brilliant idea to pull my compression sleeves over my knees, which worked like a charm!  Then next five miles weren’t easy, but at least were doable.

By the time I got to the end of the trail, the GPS was whining flashing that it’s battery was low.  I thought it was very nervy for it to be complaining when I was doing all the work and still had to keep going. 😉  At the same time, I was a little proud of myself for outlasting it.  In the aftermath, I have to admit I am having a bit of trouble moving- especially up and down stairs.  Adam has been getting quite a chuckle watching me limp around.  He assures me this is normal.  I was hoping to make-up tomorrow evening’s Boot Camp class in the morning, but now I’m not sure 1) if I’ll be able to move by then, and 2) if it’s even a good idea.  I have not really been good with taking rest days, and now I’m paying for it.  Another lesson learned!

17.19 miles in 3:45!

Getting muddy...again! And sporting my awesome hot pink compression sleeves!

Just in case anyone needs a laugh, I read this post a while back from a HILARIOUS blogger- the Bloggess.  It’s about a metal chicken.  It made me literally laugh out loud because I could absolutely see my mom and myself doing this.  Then yesterday my mom and I were at the Home Goods store, and look what I found!  I immediately took a photo (see below) with my iPhone and sent it to my sister with the following message “Look, it’s even on sale!!! Lol I think mom needs one!”  She replied “No, I don’t think so,” but I’m sure my mom would have loved it and totally appreciated the humor in the situation.

That’s all for now!  Tomorrow we are California bound. 🙂  My next post will likely be the race recap, so everyone have a wonderful weekend!!!

On the Edge

“We all have a comfort zone where everything feels safe and familiar. We tend to not want to venture beyond it, however if we allow ourselves to stay there we will not be challenged, experience personal growth, or learn new and exciting things. In other words, we would stagnate.”

It’s taken me a little while to get to posting.  Besides the usual being super busy, I just wasn’t sure what to write about.  I have been really on-edge lately, and that has really been bugging me.  Wednesday we leave for California and my first Tough Mudder.  As excited as I am about getting away and finishing my first obstacle race, I am also equally stressed.   I have been pushing myself way outside my comfort zone recently, and this will be another HUGE step.  I know I can finish, but I am terrified of a few of the obstacles- specifically the electric shock and under water tunnels.  Being underwater makes me claustrophobic.  I even hyper-ventilate when I snorkel.  I am a little worried that going into a dark tunnel, underwater is going to give me a panic attack.  On the bright side, I know that Adam will be there to look out for me; and that is a huge relief!  Just knowing he’s there gives me that little boost to push myself a little firther than I would have otherwise.

It is so easy for me to get frustrated with myself for being worn out and stressed, while completely overlooking all the progress I have made recently.  I have been more social- spending time not only with my own friends, but with Adam’s.  I have let my guard down and really enjoyed the company of new people in my life.  I also have tried knee boarding for the first time, and even picked it up quickly!  I didn’t think about falling or hurting myself; I just went for it.  Adam and his friends were all impressed- they told told me I looked like a professional. lol  I think that was a little gracious.  They were also all very supportive of my marathon training. It meant a lot to me, since a few of them are marathon and obstacle race veterans!

Tonight I have Boot Camp Session #3, and tomorrow the plan is for a 17 mile run (GPS watch permitting).  I have my new hot pink compression sleeves to try out.  🙂  I am hoping to squeeze in a morning Boot Camp Session before we fly out Wednesday too!  Saturday will be the first of the three big races milestones (Tough Mudder, Diva Half Marathon, and Hartford Marathon) I have planned for the fall.  I feel like everything is starting to happen so quickly now!!!  I am looking forward to getting through all of it and taking a much need break. lol

As far as my missing tapeworm post- it was about how all this training has turned me into the “hungry catepillar” (complete with picture!) and what a chore eating all day has become.  I am always hungry!  If I don’t eat every 2 hours, I get light-headed and my stomach growls loudly like it has a mind of its own.  Training and eating have taken over my life!!! I don’t even want to look at food anymore.  There’s no fun in eating.   It’s become a challenge to shovel in protein wherever I can get it, as frequently as possible; because despite stuffing my face all day everyday, I still seem to be losing weight.  lol

Anyway, there are far worse things I could be plagued with than binge eating and still losing pounds.  I hope everyone takes a step outside his/her comfort zone this week!!!  Thank you for reading!  Questions and comments are always welcome. 🙂

Here's the proof!

Another day, another 15 miles

“The 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.”

Og Mandino

So the photo above pretty much sums up my view of Boot Camp 🙂  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. 😉

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

Boot Camp…Day 1

 

“You only ever grow as a human being if you’re outside your comfort zone.”
– Percy Cerutty

I’m about to head out to my first boot camp session.    I am terrified, but excited to be taking another step toward achieving my goals.  🙂

I’m also exhausted and I haven’t even left yet! I can’t wait to get back to work to recover from my busy weekend! lol (you would be amused too if you knew what my work day is like…)

Wish me luck everyone.  Because I’m a true badass, I think I’m going to run there and back. 🙂

 

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! 🙂

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. 🙂

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

Home Sweet Home

“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.

Maya Angelou

I was SO happy to wake up in my own bed this morning. I love my house!  I had the color scheme picked before I ever even moved in.  Every room is bright, tranquil, and happy- even the couch is a cheerful blue.  It has a beachy cottage feel, and is just the right size to be cozy with lots of natural light.  I love that the sun rises and the same side of the house as my bedroom and shines into the windows in the morning, filling the room with a warm glow.

This morning I woke up energized and refreshed.  I was happy to be catching up on my blogging, something that always gives me a sense of accomplishment despite being completely draining at times. I started the day by taking care of my girls (dogs not children), who are beyond thrilled to have me home.  Lucy, in particular, has been wiggling from head to toe in excitement- it never gets old to see it on a bulldog. lol  Once they were settled (and by settled I mean fed and running around like maniacs) I put them outside to burn off some energy while I got down to business.

I have been slacking in the conditioning department, so I popped in “Personal Training with Jackie” and let the torture commence.  I HATE her workout.  No matter how many times I do it, I still struggle.  I’d say it’s because there’s so much upper body, but really it’s just a lot of everything.  She crams an unbelievable amount of hard work into those 30 minutes!  Normally, I avoid upper body work like the plague; but I need to push myself.  That Tough Mudder is coming up fast, and I’ll be attempting to keep up with a marine!  Plus, I have to do strength training and conditioning to be able to run without injuring myself, and I am extremely committed to knocking out those 26.2 miles in October.

My muscles were shaking through almost the whole routine, and I was drenched in sweat.  I was a little annoyed with myself for having lost ground, but remembered that I am still getting over being sick.  I had to pause the dvd a few times and take a breather but made it through to the end.  Afterward, it took a little while to be able to lift my arms.  I may head out for a run later and take advantage of the gorgeous weather, but am glad to have at least gotten one workout done today.

On the agenda for the rest of the day: making dinner for my family and Adam’s arrival home. 🙂  He and his best friend were in Colorado this past week for the Pikes Peak Ascent.  I’m so proud of him.  This was his third time running it.  He’s being trying to encourage me to do it with him next year, but the idea of running 13.1 miles up steep terrain in high altitude doesn’t appeal to me in any way, shape, or form.  Maybe someday…  I’ve learned to never say never with him. 😉  He has a way of motivating me to push my limits.  It’s so refreshing to date someone who encourages my dreams and instead of being threatened by them.  He really is my hero.