thriver

An Epic Week!

“There’s nothing like biting off more than you can chew, and then chewing anyway.” ¬†

~Mark Burnett

Haha Story of my life!!! ūüôā

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I’m BAAACCKKK!!!! ¬†And no, I was not away on a honeymoon (Boo I wish!)… Instead I have been working my ass off; now I’m here to tell you all about it! ¬†The past few months I have been basically spending every spare second cramming for my recertification exam (the PANRE). ¬†Prepping for this exam basically involved having to relearn everything from medical school that I don’t use on a regular basis (which is A LOT given that I work in a specialized field). ¬†I was taking it a year early so that if I didn’t pass for any reason I would have time to try again; however this did absolutely nothing to make me feel better. ¬†By the time I actually took the test, I had not slept in over a week- despite taking ambien on a nightly basis. ¬†The exam itself sucked as badly as the initial certifying exam, causing me to leave the testing center with a pit in my stomach. ¬†I didn’t feel confident about the majority of my answer choices (it’s really more of “selective the least awful answer” than “select the best answer choice”). ¬†However, I just got my email confirmation this week that I PASSED!!!!!! That means no more cramming for another 11 years!!! ¬† I can’t even begin to explain the sense of relief. ¬†That was first awesome thing that happened this week. ¬†ūüėÄ

ImageBut wait! It gets better! ¬†Saturday I took my mountain bike out for a nice long 26+ mile ride which brought me well over my goal of 100 miles biked this summer! ¬†Beyond just being stoked about achieving my goal, I was thrilled that I managed the ride solo. ¬†It was my first long one without Adam AND I did it on a hilly route with lots of busy streets and intersections! ¬†This is HUGE for me! ¬†The first bike ride I took with Adam, I couldn’t even do the downhills. ¬†I was too scared. ¬†Our second bike ride was completely flat and, I was still in a panic and hyperventilating. ¬†Now, ¬†I’m riding difficult routes in trafficwithout freaking out!

Instead, every time I get on that bike I feel strong and empowered. ¬†Even Adam admitted he was impressed with the hills I plow up on my regular rides to the gym. ¬†I can’t believe how far I have come in the past few weeks. ¬†I truly feel like I have conquered a HUGE FEAR, and I am ready to take it to the next level!

Since I reached my 100 mile mark, Adam and I went bike shopping this week. ¬†It turns out I am super short even by bike standards, so we had a hard time finding a shop with any bikes in my size to test ride. ¬†It also turns out we hit the season at a bad time. ¬†All the 2013 models are basically sold out, and the 2014s won’t be available for another few weeks. ¬†This is clearly a huge bummer if you happen to be vertically challenged and looking for a bike sooner rather than later. ¬†After 3 bike shops and several phone calls, I was completely exhausted and overwhelmed.

The first bike shop had nothing in my size. ¬†The second shop was super helpful and had a few I could test ride, but would have to order the bike I wanted in a paint job I didn’t care for. ¬†The third shop had crummy service and wanted to sell me the 2012 version with a better paint scheme for almost the same price as the newer models. ¬†Luckily, REI had the bike I originally fell in love with in my size. ¬†Unluckily, they don’t have a store that they will ship it to in our state. So there I was, stuck with the dilemma of whether it was really worth paying a little extra to get the paint job I really wanted AND have to drive to another state to get it… not to mention pay another shop to have it fitted properly.

While I anguished over the decision, Adam went ahead and ordered me the one I fell Imagein love with. ¬†He said he didn’t want me to settle. ¬†He was afraid if I went with a different bike that I would be disappointed at some point that I didn’t splurge on the one I really wanted. ¬†I can’t help but think of how lucky I am to have him helping me through this process. Despite having to work that night, he shuttled me from bike shop to bike shop and was never anything but supportive about it. ¬†I’m not sure I could have been as patient as he was if the situation was reversed! ¬†He is definitely a keeper!

As far as financing this whole process, that leads me to my last big news. ¬†For the past ¬†several years I have had my first engagement ring and wedding band on consignment. ¬†I put them in a store that belongs to a family friend because I wasn’t sure what to do with them, and I didn’t want to get ripped off. ¬†To be honest, I never liked my original ring set. ¬†In fact, I thought the engagement ring was hideous. ¬†It was everything I said I didn’t want in a ring, but, of course, my ex thought he knew better than me and didn’t care what I liked or wanted. ¬†Up until now, I had never had a good idea of what to do with the money if I sold the rings. ¬†I did know it would have to be for something special. ¬†When I was trying to figure out how to afford a road bike, it just suddenly clicked.

ImageThe reason I took on cycling was to get into triathlons- and the reason for getting into triathlons is to ultimately (someday) do an Ironman. ¬†I could not think of a more fitting way to spend the money than purchase a vehicle to do the impossible. ¬†My ex made it a point to regularly tell me how I never wanted to do anything and couldn’t “handle any little thing”. ¬†I’m sure he would just die if he knew what I was doing with the money from his ring… or he would insist I was just doing it to spite him and take credit. lol ¬†More likely the latter.

The truth is, I am always looking for a new way to challenge myself- physically and mentally. ¬†Ever since I started hearing about the Ironman, it’s been one of those “maybe someday” goals. ¬†Now that I am getting a road bike, that “someday” goal has morphed more into a plan. ¬†Right now, I am focusing on getting comfortable on the bike. ¬†I know I need to ride a lot faster and longer, but I am confident I can get there. ¬†That will be my project for this fall. ¬†In addition, I am working on keeping my running mileage up. ¬†In fact, I did a 15+ mile run to celebrate my 26 mile bike ride on Sunday… at least that’s how far I made it before my groin acted up and I had to call Adam to rescue me from the 7 miles separating me and my car… ¬†In retrospect a 20 mile run may have been ambitious following the bike ride, but I digress…

I know what you are wondering, what about the swimming?  Well, that will be the realImage challenge because I never learned to swim properly- like the whole front crawl face-in-the-water style.  I do, however, happen to know a very good swimmer and trainer who is willing to give me some lessons, so now I have my winter goal set as well: tackle swimming.

Finally, conveniently, this spring their will be a REV 3 Half Ironman just a few hours from our house… SOOOOOO if I accomplish my biking and swimming goals (and manage to stay injury free), I plan on being there. ¬†With all Adam’s talk about family planning and baby making I feel like this is my one shot before I will have to put it off for God knows how long. ¬†THEN, should the heavens smile upon me, and I accomplish this monumental task, we will see about a full Ironman. ¬† Aside from the swimming, I think it’s TOTALLY doable… ¬†lol

So that is my epic week so far.  What makes it even better is I am still on vacation AND Adam and I are going away for the weekend to the Berkshires for some hiking and relaxation!

More than anything, I am so happy to feel like I am on the right path to something. ¬†The amount I got for the rings was exactly the amount I needed for the bike and shoes. ¬†Somehow, I just don’t feel like that’s a coincidence. ¬†If I can come from where I started both mentally and physically and even take on just the Half Ironman, I think it will be a huge accomplishment AND speak volumes to what victims of violence can accomplish when they decide to embrace life and challenge themselves. ¬†The fact that the start of my journey to the Ironman coincides with getting rid of the very last piece of my past is purely poetic to me.

I feel like this song was made for me and thivers everywhere. ūüôā

A Perfect Day

“We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves..”
-Sir Roger Bannister
 
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WARNING: Sorry Betsy, this is not the post you were hoping for!  
 
So maybe today was not a prefect day for running.  It was hot, humid, and sunny- my least favorite combo.  HOWEVER, today was pretty perfect.  Why?  Because today I ran the Petit 5K Road Race as our inaugural run for Team Thriver!
 
How could a day not be perfect when you spend it with women who have overcome so much, who choose to thrive in the face of adversity?  How could you not be joyful, grateful, and inspired by their presence?  Today these ladies set new challenges for themselves, and they all demolished their goals!  For many, it was a first to cover that distance.  The fact that they were able to do so in such brutal conditions is a true testament to their strength- inside and out.
 
When we first discussed having Team Thriver walk and run at the Petit 5 K, I wasn’t sure if Imagewe would have any ladies come other than Christine, Joanna, and I. ¬†I was elated when there were more than double that number between runners and walkers! ¬†To celebrate the occasion I had made my own Team Thriver t-shirt AND super sparkly tutu, or as I like to call it a Thriver Skirt. ¬†
 
I do believe that my festive attire drew some giggles and laughs from the group, but it also drove home the message of what Thriving is about: living life to the fullest and having fun along the way! ¬†A wise runner once told me, “How could you have a bad day in a tutu?” (after finishing the Fairfield Half in similarly hellish conditions). ¬†She makes an excellent point! How could you have a bad day in a tutu? ¬†Well, I imagine it’s darn near impossible. ¬†Tutus are fun and festive! ¬†Mine not only reminded me to have fun, but helped bring smiles to lots of other people’s faces. ¬†More importantly, it was a badge of honor for me to spread our message about Thriving after abuse. ¬†It was my chance to say, “YES it’s 90 degrees out and humid and I am in a sparkly tutu which I have every intention of rocking every inch of this race!!! Why? Because I am a THRIVER and I can do anything…even in a skirt!”
 
That being said, I got a lot of compliments on my attire; and, as far as I could tell, I was the only runner in a tutu. ¬†However, given the envious looks on many of the young girls faces, I don’t think I will be the only one next year. ūüėČ
 
ImageAs far as the race itself, the course was flat and went by pretty quickly given the weather conditions. ¬†There were plenty of spectators angels outside with sprinklers and hoses to cool us off and cheer us on. ¬†I hope they earned some serious brownie points in heaven today because they earned them standing outside in that heat! ¬†My gun time was not bad considering I started at the back of the pack… and seriously crunched/rolled my ankle in the first half mile (out of the blue) and had to hobble-run a little ways before I could put full weight on it. ¬†Don’t worry, I iced it as soon as I got home!
 
In truth, I wasn’t worried about my time¬†anyway. ¬†First, it was too hot and humid out to really push myself, and more importantly that wasn’t my purpose in being there. ¬†I didn’t run that race for myself. ¬†I ran that race for Team Thriver, and for all the victims of violence that the Petit Foundation helps raise money for. ¬†This race, like the Lavery/McDermott Race, was about a cause greater than myself or even our team; and there is something about races organized around a cause- especially one dear to your heart- that other runs just can’t compare with.
 
That being said, being there with Team Thriver was just icing on the cake. ¬†Those ladies knocked it out of the park! ¬†I am so proud of each and every one of them, and honored to know them. ¬†These are the women who inspire me to run on a daily basis. ¬†They are the people who keep me going when all I want is to quit and stop the pain. ¬†I push myself for them. ¬†I do it for the ones who can’t and to show the ones who can that they are capable too. ¬†Sometimes all you need is an example to realize your own potential. ¬†Once you see it’s possible and know someone who has done it, you start believing you can too. ¬†I want each of these women to see (if they haven’t already) they they can conquer any distance or obstacle they set their minds too. ¬†After all, they THRIVERS!
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The Things that Linger

The shock of any trauma, I think changes your life.

It’s more acute in the beginning and after a little time you settle back to what you were.

However it leaves an indelible mark on your psyche.
-Alex Lifeson 

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When I wrote in my blog how I am finally in a good great place and actually thriving, I completely meant it. ¬†I love the life I have built. ¬†I love the place I’m in… but that doesn’t mean that there are no effects of the abuse that still linger. ¬†Now I am not saying that I am still plagued by the horrible symptoms of PTSD. ¬†I am relieved and thrilled to say that my anxiety has dramatically lessened (basically to pre-trauma levels… let’s face it, I’ll always be high strung).

However, the one hurdle I can’t seem to get over is that nagging fear of losing control. ¬†I don’t mean in the OCD control freak sort of way (although I have that too!), but rather in a I’m too terrified to let go and have fun when snow boarding kind of way. ¬†

Ever since my trauma, I haven’t enjoyed snow boarding. ¬†Prior, I had LOVED it! It makes me a little sad that I just can’t get myself back to that place again.¬†I’m always too terrified to let go and just be in the moment. ¬†The second I start to pick up speed I panic because I’m so afraid of going fast and getting hurt. ¬†It’s as if I have lost trust in my ability to control my board.

Snow boarding was the first time I noticed this, then I tried taking up biking with Adam.  He bought me my first mountain bike, and it spent a year in the garage because I was terrified of being so high off the ground.  I had never ridden on a real bike and was not accustomed to the seat being up so high.  I also had never used a bike with gears as a child, so I was a bit overwhelmed by all the technology.

ImageThen a month or so ago I decided I didn’t want to be confined by my fear (or for Adam to have wasted his money). ¬†I took that bike out on a trail and scared the daylights out of myself. ¬†lol ¬†Adam was there with me, coaching me the whole way. ¬†I don’t think we even covered 4 miles in the course of an hour because I insisted on walking every downhill. ¬†However, I made a commitment to myself that by the end of the summer, I would have the hang of riding that bike.

Our next ride, we picked a flat, paved bike path and cranked out over 18 miles. ¬†I was practically in tears the first half trying to get through the turnstiles (or whatever you call those ridiculous things!) at the intersections and avoid all the other obstacles people on the path. ¬†By the time we turned around to head back toward the car, however, I was pedaling as fast as my little legs could carry me. ¬†The best part is that I wasn’t even tired. ¬†I think it was the high for truly looking my fear in the face. ūüôā

Since then, Adam and I have made it out on another 24+ mile bike ride. ¬†I am definitely getting more comfortably with operating the gears, and more excitingly, with riding fast. ¬†I think I even clocked over 20 miles an hour on part of our ride!¬† ¬†I have even made a new deal with myself that if I can cover 100 miles of riding by the end of the summer, that I will invest in a road bike in the fall when they go on sale… with clip in pedals and the whole nine yards! (clip-ins… YIKES!!!)

In the meantime, I still have some hurdles left to get over… like holding the handle bars with a death grip and being afraid to let go or stand up and pedal. I did finally give up on clutching the brakes the whole time at least! lol ¬†

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And here is the bike I have already fallen in love with… I can’t explain it; I just feel drawn to it.

Then and Now

‚ÄúLife is painful and messed up. It gets complicated at the worst of times, and sometimes you have no idea where to go or what to do. Lots of times people just let themselves get lost, dropping into a wide open, huge abyss. But that’s why we have to keep trying. We have to push through all that hurts us, work past all our memories that are haunting us. Sometimes the things that hurt us are the things that make us strongest. A life without experience, in my opinion, is no life at all. And that’s why I tell everyone that, even when it hurts, never stop yourself from living.‚Ä̬†
‚Äē¬†Alysha Speer

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It’s approximately 3 years and 7 months since I left my abuser, yet it seems like a lifetime ago. ¬†I’m not sure when things changed so dramatically in my life since then, but they have. ¬†For starters, I had to count back to figure out how long it’s been since it happened. ¬†It’s not something that crosses my mind anymore. The anxiety and nightmares are all but gone, and something even more amazing has happened… ¬†Somewhere along the way I found myself. ¬†

I have taken some time recently to go back and read some of my early blog posts. ¬†I was so unsure of myself when I started this blog! ¬†I wanted to speak out about domestic violence and show the world that abuse can happen to anyone and it isn’t something to be ashamed of. ¬†I wanted people to see that there is life after abuse beyond just surviving. ¬†I wanted to let people know about the concept of THRIVING, even though I didn’t quite have the hang of it yet.

ImageEvery race I entered, I wasn’t sure that I could finish. ¬†I would have anxiety and not sleep beforehand. ¬†I was still terrified of failure. ¬†I was afraid of what not meeting my goals might do to my self esteem. ¬†With each victory, I set my sights on something bigger; but all the while I doubted my ability.

However, at some point I stopped worrying about failing. ¬†Maybe it was my first DNF that broke me out of it. ¬†After all, I had technically failed the issued challenge, yet I was nothing but impressed with myself that I had accomplished as much as I did. ¬†Was I disappointed? Yes, but only that I didn’t have the opportunity to finish- NOT because I didn’t think I could. ¬†In the end, I didn’t quit.¬† The course was shut down- but before it did, I had accomplished something few people could say they they have done. ¬†I took on that mountain and all it’s grueling torture and I DID NOT QUIT.¬†

Perhaps I was stronger than I realized all along. ¬†Maybe I wasn’t ready yet to take on life at the extreme pace I am capable of. ¬†Ever since my abuse, I had found myself afraid of being overwhelmed. ¬†I wouldn’t plan multiple activities in a week or too many projects at once for fear that it would be too much to handle. ¬†It’s only recently that I’ve found that I NOT ONLY can handle multiple projects and commitments at once, but I am better off for it. ¬†I have more energy and enthusiasm for life when I’m channeling all my energy into being productive. ¬†This has been especially true of my work for CT-ALIVE. ¬†It’s been completely inspiring to brainstorm and put our plans into motion. ¬†It makes me feel like my life has purpose and like I can take on anything. ¬†So instead of taking time to myself to “relax” or zone out in front of a movie at night, I’ve been working on making a difference in the world… and I can’t say I really miss the TV.

It has been as if I all of a sudden woke up one day recently and decided, “you know what, ImageI like who I am, AND I’m ok with it if other people don’t“. ¬†If someone says something negative about me, I no longer have that knee jerk reaction to defend myself. ¬†I feel like I finally have found myself, and I like the person I am today. ¬†I am secure, confident, and more relaxed, AND REMARKABLY: I’ve stopped apologizing. ¬†I am done apologizing for who I am, for having opinions, or for other people’s issues. ¬†I am keeping my head above the drama, and, for the most¬†part, doing a good job at it. ¬†I have better things to do with my time than get caught up in cattiness. ¬†I don’t want to hear negative things about other people, especially when they aren’t even present to defend themselves. ¬†I have finally found my voice, and I’m ready to use it! (For the greater good, of course)

ImageThree years ago, I was lost and broken. ¬†I was in a terrible place and suffered from crippling anxiety. ¬†Today, I stand before you not cracked or broken, but solid and resolute. ¬†There’s very little that ruffles me at this point. ¬†I have too much to be happy about! ¬†I’m focused on seeing the good in people and the beautiful things in life. ¬†I don’t have time for hate or resentment, even toward people who have wronged me in the past. ¬†If someone doesn’t appreciate me for the loyal and caring person I am, it’s his/her loss, truly. ¬† People in this world make bad decisions, and I have FINALLY learned not to take them personally. ¬†I can only control my own behavior, so that’s what I choose to focus on. ¬†

I am moving forward in a positive direction and life continues to get better… I’m pretty sure all the endorphins have had a role to play in it as well. ūüėČ ¬†It’s pretty amazing to look back and see how far I’ve come on this journey; however, I am even more excited about where I’m going!

The Good You Do

“The good you do matters”

Hello Friends!

It’s been a while! ¬†Life has been chaotic, and crazy,¬†and wonderful!¬† ¬†My trip to Zion was AMAZING! ¬†I will need to devote a post to it at some point, but today I have more important things to discuss- things that pertain to why I started this blog in the first place.

Yesterday was a big day for me on a lot of levels.  I spent it both volunteering and running at the Lavery/McDermott 5 K Race to End Domestic Violence in Newington CT. I never could have imagined how much one small race could impact my life!  

I’m not normally big into 5ks. ¬†Oddly, I feel far more comfortable running a half marathon than a 3 mile race… ¬†Possibly, because if my time sucks at least I can still feel good about having covered that amount of distance… jk ¬†My original plan was just to go to help staff our table for CT-ALIVE; however, after watching the video above I knew I had to run. Did you watch it yet? ¬†No seriously, go back and watch it before you read the rest… I’ll wait.

I wish I had the talent to put together a youtube video and convey to the world what it’s likeImage to endure and subsequently overcome the trauma of abuse; however, now I don’t need to because this girl (Tasha) does it in a perfectly eloquent, touching, and sincere way. Her message rings loud and clear: The Good You Do Matters! ¬†It matters whether it’s big or small. There is no wrong way to make a difference, and it may just be that you are making one without ever realizing it.

Running was (and still is) such a huge part of my healing, it seemed only fitting to lace up my shoes and run that race.  I wanted to honor people like Tasha who have the courage to make a stand, as well as all the victims who never had the chance to speak up.

I went into the day with a solid sense of purpose. ¬†I wasn’t worried about my time or how fatigued my legs would be after punishing them all week (especially after the 10 miles of trail running at a brisk pace Thursday and max incline sprints on the treadmill Friday)… okay maybe I was a little worried, but I figured even if it was awful I could handle roughly 30 minutes of misery for a good cause… and obviously I would love every second of it regardless!

I have to just take a moment and say how wonderful all the staff and volunteers were at that race.  They were organized, warm, and genuinely appreciative of every person who came out to show their support.  I have done MANY races with fabulous organization and staff, but this race was special.  There was a palpable sense of purpose. People were there to celebrate the lives of two important members of their community and to make a difference in the fight to end domestic violence.  There was a great sense of commaradery from the time we arrived to set up, to the warm up (which by the way was SO MUCH FUN!!!!), through the race, and even after the finish.

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So pumped to be there!

The course itself was a very wet, hilly, trail run through lots of slushy grass fields and occasionally through calf deep water (more like waste deep on me… and oh yes I loved that too!). ¬†My legs were like lead from the start, but my race mantra was “You don’t have to have a great time to have a great time.” ¬†Instead of focusing on how uncooperative my body was being, I paid attention to the scenery and people around me. ¬†Everyone had such a great positive vibe.

That being said I was thrilled to see the finish and completely hauled ass to get through it.  I was pretty pleased with my time of 28 minutes, especially given the course was tough, my legs were shot, and I had to stop and tie my shoe at one point. lol  Mostly, I was just happy to be there and present in the moment.  

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My “I can’t believe that just happened!” face.

Then something completely unexpected happened (well, unexpected by me at least!) ¬†I was totally and utterly shocked when they announced my name for second in my age group! ¬†It was my first medal for placing in a race EVER. ¬†The only medals I’ve ever earned up to this point were for finishing. ¬†I had just been joking with the other CT-ALIVE members that my age group was to fast to have placed, and that I needed to get older to place better in races. ¬†In fact, I specifically told them that if I continued to run into my 80s I might have a chance at qualifying for Boston… or winning in my age group. lol ¬†Of course, their belief in me was not deterred, and I think they were almost more excited than I was when my name was called. ¬†Actually, I think it took several minutes for it to sink in I was in such disbelief.

The thing is, I couldn’t care less that it wasn’t my best race performance, or that it was a tiny race without a bunch of elite athletes. ¬†I LOVED that race. ¬†I loved everything about it (aside from maybe the steep hill that went on forever in the beginning.. jk). ¬†Furthermore, if that is the only medal I ever earn for placing in my age group then I will still be a happy girl because it meant that much for it to happen at that race on that day. ¬†

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The moral of my story is that Tasha is right. The good you do matters, even if you don’t think it’s enough or even realize it helps. ¬†So, maybe just maybe this blog matters too. ¬†Maybe it’s making a difference for someone somewhere who just needs that little nudge to get out and live life to the fullest. ¬†Maybe there’s someone who needs to hear that I’ve been there too, and it’s going to be ok… In fact, it’s going to be better than okay. ¬†It’s going to be as AMAZING AS YOU WANT IT TO BE, as long as you’re willing to work for it.

My deepest thank you to all the staff, volunteers, and organizers of the Lavery/McDermott 5K for a truly amazing experience. ¬†Thank you to Tasha for your indescribably wonderful video. ¬†I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I watched it, cried through it, or forced encouraged someone else to watch it. Thank you all for making a difference in my life, and reminding that I can make a difference in other peoples’ lives too. ¬†I will carry that day with me always and treasure the memories (and the medal) forever.¬†

Until next year,

Jenny

Can’t Keep a Good Girl Down

‚ÄúLife 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.‚Ä̬†

‚Äē¬†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 ūüėČ 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.

Kreativ Blogger Award

“I feel a very unusual sensation – if it is not indigestion, I think it must be gratitude.”

~ Benjamin Disraeli

In a surprising twist of fate, I have kindly been nominated for the Kreativ Blogger Award by Momarock, a fellow female runner and bad ass. ¬†Be sure to stop by her blog and say hi. ūüôā

I would like to truly thank Momarock not only for the nomination, but also her excellent blog which I thoroughly enjoy reading.  After all, we all know what a fan I am of other women who enjoy running and kicking ass.

As with every nomination, there are some rules which are as follows:

  1. You must thank the person who has given you the award. (check)
  2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog. (check)
  3. Link the person who has nominated you for the award. (check)
  4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
  5. Nominate 7 other Kreativ Bloggers.
  6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
  7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs to let them know they have been nominated.

Ok 7 things about myself:

1) I have developed a strange adult onset phobia of bicycle riding which I fully intend to get over so I can eventually compete in a triathlon. ¬†I never remember being up that high in the air as a child! (I also need to learn to swim properly, but having one out of 3 down isn’t bad, right?)

2) I LOVE shoes, but hate wearing them.  In fact, if I could walk around barefoot all day, I would.

3)  I have lived in the state of CT my whole life.  Never even left for college.

4) I have made up for never living outside of CT by traveling. ¬†So far I have been to the Philippines, Ecuador, Bermuda, Mexico, Barbados, Dominica, St. Thomas, Ireland, Puerto Rico, Egypt (and yes, I rode a camel) and Aruba… I have also traveled a bit around the US.

5) If I could live anywhere else in the US, I’d pick Colorado.

6)  I have studied Spanish, French, Italian, and Latin, but the only language I can speak fluently is English.

7)  If I had to choose a different career I would either be a personal trainer or a life coach.

Okay, now for the fun part! Nominations!!!!

There are so many great blogs I follow. ¬†It’s definitely hard to choose!!!! ¬†Since I have had the honor of nominating some of my blog buddies for other awards in the past, I tried to pick some of the newer blogs I’ve been following.

In no particular order:

1) Soles of a Mom– I find this blog to be full of positive energy and always find something inspiring to read.

2) The Everyday Warrior– Why? Because she’s AWESOME!!!! and someone I can totally relate to. ¬†She is also running a Tough Mudder and raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project, so head over there and show her some support!

3) Fabulous 50’s– Because she truly is FABULOUS and so is her blog. ¬†I especially love her travel photos!!!!

4) Feminist Figure Girl- What can I say? I’m a feminist at heart. ¬†This blog is totally worth reading.

5) Conchsaladesque- This lady has been through some recent heartache, but continues to face each day with strength and gratitude.  Her posts are always thoughtful and insightful.

6) Manbicep– All I can say is you have to read it.

7)  Run. Dog. Cat. Me.- If for no other reason (and there are others) then because this post totally cracked me up.

Posttraumatic Growth

“What we choose changes us.
Who we love transforms us.
How we create reshapes us.
What we do remakes us.”
— Dr. Eugene Callender

It's not always about getting just your body healthy!

I hate the “word” PTSD.¬† I hate the whole concept.¬† I don’t like feeling labeled.¬† I have a hard time accepting that it now part of my life and an even harder time accepting that it is part of who I am.¬† It makes me feel damaged- like there’s something wrong with me that can’t be fixed.¬† I can’t stand how my mood fluctuates when I’m tired (like instant PMS!); and as much as I love working out- I sometimes resent the fact that I have to in order to just feel normal instead of an anxious, moody mess.¬† Not that I come off that way to other people.¬† It’s funny how incongruent your thoughts and feelings can be with your actions at times.

Yesterday I watched a documentary called “Beyond Belief” which followed the story of two 9/11 widows who decided to turn their grief into productivity and created a charity to raise money for Afghan widows.¬† (Part of their fundraising included a biking from ground zero back to their homes in Boston- a 3 day and well over 200 mile trip) Their goal was to help foster healing and understanding, as they truly felt connected to these women despite the cultural differences and different sides in the war.¬† The statistics mentioned in the film about the number of widows in Afghanistan is beyond shocking, it’s downright tragic.¬† The circumstances these women live in are so dire.¬† They have no money, no education or way to create a source of income, and are unable to feed themselves or their children.¬† Yet, (much like the 9/11 widows) they are incredibly strong and grateful for what little they do have.¬† In the film, they discuss the concept of posttraumatic growth while describing these women- which, unbeknownst to me, is actually a real, studied phenomenon (If it’s on Wikipedia, so it must be real- right?)

Wikipedia defines it as follows:

Posttraumatic growth refers to positive psychological change experienced as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life circumstances [1]. These sets of circumstances represent significant challenges to the adaptive resources of the individual, and pose significant challenges to individuals’ way of understanding the world and their place in it [1]. Posttraumatic growth is not simply a return to baseline from a period of suffering; instead it is an experience of improvement that for some persons is deeply profound.

I have to confess, I like the concept of posttraumatic growth FAR better than PTSD ūüėȬ† I would MUCH rather focus on growth (who wouldn’t?).¬† I mean, let’s be realistic here.¬† What are the real odds that I ever would have started this blog, set up a charity campaign, run a whole marathon, joined a board of a nonprofit, and become an advocate for other women and victims of abuse- if it had not been for the phenomenal growth I experienced as a direct result of¬† trauma?¬† I am a better person now than I was before the abuse- annoying PTSD symptoms or not.¬† I know the depth of my strength.¬† I know who am I, what I want, and where I am going. I know my resolve and determination are stronger than any doubt that I or anyone else could muster.¬† Most importantly, I am putting my energy into helping other people heal and creating a positive impact in the world.¬† Not to say that I would not have strived to make the world a better place without the “postraumatic growth”, but I don’t think it would be with the same level of passion, committment, unflinching determination.

All that being said, I’ve decided it’s time to pull out my running shoes for some actual racing and fundraising, so I’ve signed up for the Colchester Half Marathon at the end of February.¬† ūüôā

Oh It Hurts so Good!

“Clear your mind of can‚Äôt.”

-Samuel Johnson

I got my butt kicked (again) tonight… and I loved every second of it

It’s funny how I can feel my mood start to dip when I get tired.¬† Yesterday I got called in to work the overnight shift because someone had called out (yup, I missed boot camp- TRAGIC!) Luckily I had already worked out once that morning, but didn’t get a chance to nap before going in due to the short notice.¬† I slept a couple hours when I got home this morning; but I could tell I was still dragging.¬† It’s funny how my anxiety/PTSD has a way of rearing it’s ugly head when I’m even a little sleep deprived.¬† For example, today I ordered broccoli pizza.¬† I specifically picked a new restaurant because I wanted white broccoli pizza (ricotta, garlic, etc), which our typical place doesn’t offer.¬† Well, they showed up with a regular pizza with broccoli on it, and I kid you not– it almost ruined my day.¬† I think this is partially because I was starving, but even at the time I thought it was RIDICULOUS to be so upset over a pizza.¬† Besides, the sent me a new one when I called, so I got a whole pizza for free which should have made me happy.¬† Instead, I was in a bit of a funk the rest of the day….

Until boot camp.¬† Boot camp always lifts my spirits.¬† It’s the perfect combination of exercise and meeting up with friends. ūüôā¬† It’s about conquering challenges and¬† instantly makes you feel good about yourself (if you survive the workout ;)).¬† Tonight we did intervals of exercises with the goal of going as hard as possible.¬† By the time we got through to end of each round, my quads and calves were outright refusing to function.¬† I attempted to just focus on my breathing and keep pushing.¬† It was definitely rough, but I knew I couldn’t stop.

1) Mike would have totally called me out, and I am secretly (or not so secretly) terrified of him (jk…sort of)

2) I knew everyone else was suffering as much as I was- probably even more in the case of the new people!– and I didn’t want to cheat.

3) I HATE giving up.¬† It’s just not an option for me.

Maybe it’s the joint experience of absolute misery (have I mentioned how much I hate intervals?)¬† that has the group so bonded, but there’s definitely a tight-knit support system- which is a¬† real comfort when you’re struggling!

In the past, I would have stayed home and avoided people if I felt my mood dipping.¬† However, now I know better and use that as even further motivation to drag myself to the gym, for a run, or to boot camp.¬† I’m glad I have gotten to a point with my PTSD symptoms that I can feel them coming on, recognize the source, and do something about it. I am pretty certain that I will never get rid of my symptoms completely, but at least I have gotten better at coping with and managing them.¬† Everyone has his or her own battle or struggles in life, and I certainly could have worse problems to deal with.¬† Instead of focusing on how much happier or healthier I could be, I remind myself of how blessed and lucky I am to have not only survived everything I’ve been through, but overcome it.

Sorry I’m so late actually posting this! It took me forever to edit. I hope it’s finally in English!

100 Push-ups

“Victory is won not in miles but in inches.

Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more.‚ÄĚ

Louis L’Amour

Today I did 100 push-ups IN A ROW!…well…sort of in a row.¬† There were brief rest periods, but that was only because my arms were turning to jello.¬† None-the-less, breaks or not, 100 push-ups is a milestone worth celebrating in my book!¬† Why? Because I celebrate the small victories in life- and this month in particular, I need all the small victories I can get.

So far, I have not written much to acknowledge Domestic Violence Awareness Month (I did however, write a post about Breast Cancer Awareness– somewhat ironically).¬† Perhaps I’ve been avoiding it.¬† I have faced it head-on in terms of charity work and running a half and full marathon to raise awareness.¬† Yet, somehow I haven’t taken any time to focus on it here.

October is a difficult month for me.¬† My wedding was October 21st.¬† The day was traumatic, and the two months that followed were even worse as the abuse continued to escalate.¬† Despite the fact that I currently have a happy and productive life -with an amazing network of friends, family, and even work out buddies– when October rolls around I feel more stressed, anxious, and above all sad.¬† As content as I am with my life, I can’t help but feel a sense of loss.¬† I’m still grieving for the na√Įve part of myself that was rudely awakened to just how cruel and vile some people can be.¬† I didn’t choose to become a different person; it was forced upon me.¬† While I don’t regret what I’ve been through, I do (at times) feel cheated that my view of the world was shattered in such a base and senseless fashion.

Perhaps it wasn’t a great idea to schedule my marathon tapering and recovery in the midst of a time when I need running therapy the most; however, I truly believe running the full, grueling 26.2 miles of the marathon was an appropriate tribute to the other victims of abuse.¬† It was a testament to ability of the mind and spirit to endure suffering and overcome a seemingly insurmountable distance.¬† Running in October gave the races extra significance, as well as added motivation for me to finish.

All that being said, my first post-marathon run on Monday was AWFUL.¬† I had been itching to go all week and thought I had enough time to recover (I know, being sick all week probably shouldn’t count as recovery time!).¬† Unfortunately, my body didn’t agree.¬† My knees were bugging me from step number one, and my legs felt like lead. It was the marathon all over again!¬† I couldn’t believe I was still having issues (and, no, I shouldn’t have been surprised).¬† I tried to enjoy Penny’s company instead of being frustrated.¬† She wasn’t paying any attention to my internal struggles. Instead, she spent her time rolling in every muddy puddle she could find until she finally emerged looking (and smelling) like the swamp thing.¬† Once sufficiently covered in mud, leaves, and-who-knows-what else she would return back to running up ahead and beckoning for me to chase after her. We ran and hiked for about an hour; and then, much to her chagrin, I brought her home and gave her a bath.¬† At boot camp that night, I continued to drag and felt crummy.¬† I was feeling sick and frustrated with my body for being achy and uncooperative.¬† Given that I am still feeling under the weather, I was somewhat dreading going back tonight.¬† I didn’t want to go through another work out unable to do my best.¬† I HATE being held back for any reason- sick, injured, etc.

That is why I am EXTRA happy to have FINALLY had a good work out day. LOL¬† I didn’t even have any knee trouble- despite all the running.¬† We did sprints with 100 reps of 10 different exercises in between (YES- Another infamous 1000 rep workout).¬† The exercises included jumping jacks, one-handed mountain climbers (that’s right one-handed, because we are hard-core!), crunches, skaters, power jacks, crab toe touches, low plank obliques, heismans, power jumps (I may hate these more than psuh-ups),¬† and then finally PUSH-UPS.¬† It was not that long ago that I couldn’t manage ONE real push-up (NO “girlie” push-ups allowed at boot camp!). Today I did 100.¬† Take that PTSD October stress!!!!¬† I am going to own you this time around!

rolling in the mud