It’s been a while and there were a lot of bumps in my road, let’s just call it confetti. The old saying that sometimes something that seems really bad is a blessing is disguise turned out to be true! I had been feeling weak since last summer when climbing hills and that continued to turn into hip pain on and off and then pain on my hikes and run, then it was killing me at the snowshoe race in Canada and finally on a run of Mount Waumbek I was reduced to tears as I finished the run. I was in so much pain that I swore I had a stress fracture in my hip. I was able to squeeze in a fun photo shoot with Philbrick Photography but was in pain the whole time and it was ridiculously cold too! It is always a pleasure to work with Jay and Vickie, they are incredible at what they do!
Trying to get an appointment with the doctor was a nightmare and I had to wait 3 weeks. So, I turned to my chiropractor who kind of helped but could not make it better and finally a massage therapist who happened to also be the woman that ran across the country last year self supported. I was so excited to meet this total badass and see if she could help me feel better. I hadn’t been able to sleep because of the pain, had to halt my training and could barely get through a work day or a drive in the car, but…somehow I could skate ski. So, out of desperation to maintain fitness I took a positive approach to my injury and skied every chance I got and hit the gym consistently. Those two activities did not hurt.
I took lessons, I totally sucked but there was something so fun about learning to skate ski! I went during lunch, I went after work, I went on the weekends and was racking up 30+ miles a week on the skis! I was getting strong! The kids had a hard time understanding why I couldn’t give them the rowdy horsey rides they usually get when they are over (they hop on my back and I thrash and jump around, they love it!) We did convince them to sleep in the tent in the yard one night when it was -5 degrees and they had so much fun and Ryan and I were a bit squished but it was still fun!
I felt like the world was against me. I have spent the last two years suffering from my concussion which I am feeling about 90-95% better from and then this. I cried at night and wondered if I would ever be able to even walk in the mountains again. Mountains have been my serenity, my escape, my passion for so many years. I don’t really care how I get up them, I just need to be in them. I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up again, totally not my style but it is sometimes part of the process of accepting things not going your way. I had severe sciatica and constant pain all the way down into my feet, but somehow I could still ski without pain.
I had my hair colored, I rocked pretty flowers in my hair and focused on my skiing and the challenge of learning how to do it. I skied at so many different places and it was really fun to slowly start getting the hang of it and then one day while at Waterville Valley it finally clicked and I didn’t want winter to end! I could glide, my pace got faster and I was no longer a beginner. I was able to get my heart pounding and my breathing labored, skiing was finally a workout!
I stayed happy and overcame my sadness. I missed running but I had a lot to be happy for. I have great friends, the most amazing job in the world with the best coworkers and boss ever, I was still able to get outside and have fun, I had a supportive husband and my sweet little Jack puppy! I was so sad that he could not join me on my skiing adventures and that I didn’t have anyone to ski with so I was solo for 4 weeks. I went to a painting class and painted a cool picture and I got caught up on some reading. I also finally got to see Jessica for a massage.
In horrible pain and praying she would give me some relief I met her at the massage studio. She had a huge smile and the room was full of relaxing smells and some fractal therapy on the ceiling to help relax me. She started by feeling my muscles and found a few areas that seemed to be locked up. In between asking her about her running she also educated me on my body and what was going on. I had a spasm in my upper back that pulled my hip out of alignment which in turn caused me to completely stop using some of my muscles (explained the weakness on hills) that caused others to tighten up and finally put pressure on my sciatic nerve..essentially paralyzing me in pain. I left with zero pain and a follow up appointment the next week.
Completely thrilled and skeptical I emailed my coach Jack to tell him to start training me slowly. He gave me some treadmill runs and the day I ran one mile I cried tears of joy. For the first time in weeks I felt like my mountains weren’t taken from me anymore and that there was a chance my running season could still happen! A week passed by and I was running 4 miles a day on the treadmill and skiing about 30 miles a week. I started feeling so strong, stronger than ever before! I cancelled my doctor appointment and scheduled three massages.
Well, March 7 came and I decided to give a hike of the Franconia Ridge a try. Ryans racing team would be coming up and I was hoping to be well enough to join them. My plan was to bail at the halfway mark. They were strong and a lot of fun to be with! I really enjoyed spending time with everyone! We got a nice dinner together and then the next day I went for an awesome skate ski adventure! I felt so strong and so happy! My body was working the way it should be!
I went for my next massage and Jessica just kept making me better! She is incredible! I think I am going to see her for maintenance just like I see the chiropractor. I beat the crap out of my body with the amount of exercising I do and it is really important for me to keep everything working right. So, the excellent news is that I am running again and moving better than I ever have! I can’t wait to see how this season ends up! I am choosing to run happy and train even happier!
With a new outlook and attitude I have been running again and making sure I am happy! It has been so wonderful getting back out on the trails and sharing adventures with friends and my little Jack puppy! I have some seriously lofty plans for this year and speed isn’t my goal, but instead being as strong as I possibly can.
Ryan and I have been having fun with the kids and sharing our love of the outdoors with them. It is so much fun to watch them learn and grow! It has been a brutally cold winter so hiking didn’t happen like we hoped but now that the days will be warmer we are planning to get them back out on the trails! We had the opportunity to watch some maple syrup being made and the girls played with the goats and bunnies at our friends house. I never saw syrup being made but I will never forget that amazing smell coming from the vats of sap being boiled down!
Now that I am running again I am focused on my training. Balance is the key to this year. Working full time, being a step mom, having two hours of commuting a day and finding time to train, eat and shower…oh and sleep becomes a juggling act. Some days the sleep doesn’t happen for as many hours as I hoped and some days the runs are split up or shortened but I am trying my best. Ryan and I have been taking turns running when we have the kids, one of us runs in the morning, the other in the afternoon. They get upset and don’t understand why we run on the weekends, Ryan put it perfectly and told them that adults need to play too. They seemed to understand that. We are hoping to move closer to my job within the next year which will save me 6+ hours a week of driving and land us a home IN the White Mountains! We will be able to run the mountains right from our house! Talk about a dream come true!
I had a great visit with my mom and sister in CT and was so excited to see my baby nephew Jarek! The kid is really cute! He makes so many funny faces and I wanted to just take him home with me! I wish my family all lived in New Hampshire, I miss them so much.
This past weekend was incredible! I had a great week of running, skiing and hitting the gym. I was able to join Nate and Ryan on their man run Saturday which was an absolute blast! We ran up the 19 mile brook trail, ran all the WIldcats and then turned around and did all the Carters before turning around and coming down the Carter Dome trail and back to the 19 mile brook trail. It was 20 fabulous miles in snowshoes on a beautiful day in the mountains! We enjoyed a great dinner at the Gypsy Cafe where I ate to my hearts content! The forecast was pretty aggressive for today so we slept in. I slept 12 hours and then had a lazy morning of making pancakes and doing some house chores. Then Ryan ran with me on snowmobile trails to Evans Mountain. It was cold, windy and perfect running conditions! It was such a blast! We wore screw shoes and fueled on Maple Syrup. In my quest to eliminate performance enhancing supplements and chemical from my diet I am seeking natural ways to fuel. I eat too much candy on the trail and question the chemicals in gels. I have been using whole milk yogurt for recovery and making my breakfast, lunch and snacks from scratch. Ryan usually makes dinner and it is full of flavor and variety as well as really healthy!
I think life is always about learning, trial and error and change. As I always felt, happiness needs to come first. As part of my employment at the dental office we were given a book to read that really was fun and reminded me that I may not always be able to control what is happening in my life but what I do have control over is choosing my attitude. If you have time pick up a copy of the book FISH and read it. I think my two favorite parts are about Playing and Choosing your attitude. My boss strives to follow the list of ideas in the book which explains why my job is the best in the world! When someone treats me so well it makes me want to put 150% into my day at work. What is even cooler is the ideas in this book can be used in any situation, so the next time you are starting to feel like you don’t have a choice remember this:
YOU CAN ALWAYS CHOOSE YOUR ATTITUDE!
A huge Thank You to my amazing and supportive sponsors: La Sportiva, UltrAspire, Choucas Hats, JULBO USA and Dion Snowshoes. Thank you to my coach Jack, my husband Ryan who loves me, my Jack puppy for making me smile so much on my runs and to all my friends for always being there for me! Sparkle on!