My journey towards balance and health that encompasses my mental, physical and spiritual well being continues. It is interesting to me, it takes only a second to get injured and can take years to fully recover. Last year was tough, I didn’t take care of myself, I struggled with being 15 lbs heavier and much slower than the previous year. I pushed myself hard to get back into the mountains only to find myself injured again and again. After my presi traverse FKT I found myself slowly getting weaker and weaker. I didn’t give myself time to slowly recover from the concussion and instead hammered myself into snowshoe racing shape, then forced myself to get through Cayuga quite untrained and had a hit or miss kind of year. Of course I miss being fast and feeling strong on my runs and at my races! I am only human and want to be the best I can be in all aspects of my life. Combine my struggles last year with Ryan and I both having a hard time finding jobs and things got quite stressful. I prayed every night to hit rock bottom because only then can I start to rebound. When I finally gave up after several interviews and resumes sent with no responses I landed the most amazing job I have ever had! Something felt right and I knew it was time to turn my life around.
It was a rough winter and Ryan and I barely scraped through while he pieced together work that rarely panned out and we still had bills to pay and a ridiculous amount of child support that he had to dish out to his ex. To top it off we still have to buy them clothes, toys and living expenses at our house plus we do all the driving. Broke is an understatement and I was very fortunate to have such an incredible job that pulled us through the winter. After months of discussion we both agreed it would be best for Ryan to take a chance at owning his own business and that it was time to sell our house and move to a less expensive location which would shorten my commute and bring us closer to the mountains. So we financed a ton of equipment and started advertising. We figured we would try to get Ryans business focused in the Lakes Region so his drive would be shorter. The only thing that would be longer is the drive to get the kids. Our 4 hours of driving on the weekends will become 8 hours of driving to see the girls, but to us they are worth it. Someday they will understand how much we sacrificed to have them in our lives.
This year started out great and then my weakness in my climbing quickly progressed to severe pain in my hip which stopped my running but introduced me to skate skiing. Jessica is an amazing massage therapist who ran across the country last year and understands runners and she got me running again. My chiropracter and Jessica both work to help get me aligned again. As she kept working through the layers of adhesion’s, spasms and weak muscles I began to start changing my gait and feeling better. I still wasn’t quite right and ended up in the pelvic medicine group where I learned I have endometriosis among other issues. So, they referred me to a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor physical therapy.
I felt like I opened up Pandora’s box and felt guilt for spending so much time and money on myself. Along with working with three therapists and a doctor I am working with my coach Jack. My physical therapy has become rather invasive and we found adhesion’s from my pubic bone injury and other issues that could only be treated with therapy from the inside. Talk about being embarrassed. This therapist is incredible! She makes me feel comfortable and not only works on the obvious but every time one of my caregivers fixes one issue another comes up and she tackles that one right away. We started with a back issue that progressed to a hip issue that is now a knee and calf issue that is turning into an Achilles issue. The good news is that it seems to be working its way down my body and yesterday for the first time my therapist had me laying out on the table and was thrilled that my hips finally released!
She also found that my left glute was far more developed than my right and that my hips are extremely weak so she gave me multiple exercises to practice that are so simply yet so hard. I will be seeing my massage therapist, chiropractor and physical therapist for a few more month along with the mental health therapist. It seems so selfish but also something I need. My running is not fast yet but for the first time in several years I have zero lower back pain and today I felt like my hips were loosened up. My gait is changing and my running will change. Adapting to my new body will take time and learning to rebuild atrophied muscles will take months. Running is teaching me about patience and this year I have to focus on being healthy and building up a base before trying to build up speed. Yesterday I had a rough run, today I had an incredibly enjoyable run! It will take time but I will be the runner I want to be!
As for life events last week I ran a 5k PR on a downhill course but still pulled off an 18:41 in heat, humidity and sore lungs from a sinus infection the week before. I was beyond thrilled (and wanted to die!) and it really motivated me to want to keep trying to get back to my old running self! I enjoyed having so much competition! I saw so many friends there and my father in law also celebrated his birthday (82!) by running the race! It was so much fun! Now I want to join my friends in breaking 18 minutes in the 5k distance!
Over the weekend I went for a great hike with my steppies! These kids are so darn cute and I can’t believe how big they are getting! I don’t want them to grow up too fast, looking at pictures from two years ago made me get teared up. They were so little! My baby girls are growing up too fast!
We had a great weekend with the girls and are looking forward to spending next weekend with them! Life is about finding balance and I have a long way to go. We are moving, working, training, raising a family, paying the bills and trying to stay calm and happy. Some days are tougher than others but each day brings us closer to our dreams and our goals. Both of us are taking the time to take care of ourselves so that we can be good role models for the kids and be healthy for a long time. We dug a pretty deep hole and are slowly climbing out of it! Every day a new light shines upon us and I know that taking the time to appreciate the little things in life are what matter the most.
Let me finish with this:
The hardest part about getting older is realizing that nothing lasts forever. When we are young we feel like there is so much time and we are consumed with the future. From the moment we can talk people ask us what we want to be when we grow up and then the wheels start turning. Then there is television, background noise, mom and dad rushing us out the door to go to school and then they hustle out of the house to get to work. It’s a mad dash to get the kids from school and get them to their game, event, etc. Dinner ends up being in the car and by the time everyone gets home its showers, tooth brushing and flossing and then off to bed. We wake up and do it all over again.
Weekends come and we rush off to be busy again. Phones are dinging like crazy with text messages, emails, skyping, facebook, etc. The kids see us juggling our lives, struggling to pay the bills, saving for braces, for college tuitions, saving for retirement, always looking toward the future. We have lost touch of how to live in the moment. We do not allow our minds to be quiet, or even to allow us to take a break. We are busy, tired and we are stressed and we don’t even take the time to take care of ourselves.
Today I saw a 17 year old kid in my chair. He was tired, stressed and not taking care of himself. He had high blood pressure and said he didn’t even have time to brush his teeth every day and flossing…well that wasn’t happening either. I asked him how he could be so busy and he said he has to leave at 6:30 am to be at school and then he also works three jobs. He likes making money and he is trying to decide if he wants to go to college or just keep working. He doesn’t even have the time to think about what he wants to do with his life. I looked in his eyes and I saw myself at 17. I worked several jobs, I was busy and I wanted to make money.
My heart ached for the kid and it got me thinking. Why do we allow ourselves to live this way? A few years ago I realized that nothing lasts forever. Loved ones die, dreams come to life and then fade away, the best moments of your life pass by and you are constantly going up and down with the good and the bad. Growing up taught me to stop thinking about my future so much. The truth is I am slowly working my way closer to death, I will not last forever and my time is running out.
Money comes, money goes. We make money to spend money. I look back and I spent money on some pretty stupid stuff, things that don’t matter and things I don’t even remember buying until I see it lying in a bin somewhere in the basement. But my memories, those stay with me every second that passes. I have learned to take a few minutes each day to enjoy the beauty of a sunrise, the smell of a flower, the feeling of the sand between my toes and even embrace the things that make me sad. These moments have become memories for me.
I disappear during my lunch break at work to do something for myself. Sometimes I hit the gym, sometimes I fall asleep in my car or on the docks, some days I dip my toes in the water, no matter what it is I take that hour to live in the moment. It makes a difference and makes me feel better about how I spend my time.
It makes me sad when I look around at how we are always in a rush and I am often guilty of it too. But look at your life, look at what you are teaching your kids and look at what really matters. Your kids can pay for their own college, your retirement fund can grow nicely if you live simply, your memories will last longer than that piece of junk you bought, and the time you spend to take care of yourself will allow you to truly live your life. Your health matters…physically, emotionally and spiritually. Take some time to think about where you are right now. What do you see, what do you smell, what do you hear?
I don’t have the answer to finding that perfect balance and it is hard to live stress free in such a crazy world. For now I am starting by taking time each day to take care of myself by eating well, exercising and finding time to meditate. It is helping me to find more peace and to enjoy my life one minute at a time instead of always looking into the future. Of course I will still dream, still save for my retirement and plan ahead but I will also take the time each day to fully appreciate what I do have and the beautiful gifts around me