Saturday, May 30, 2009

We're not in Wonderland Anymore

Friday evening, I went to dinner with dad. We discussed life over the two-man band entertainment and my plateful of fries. I was debating whether to join Coach and the boys for an early morning swim and ride at Caesar Creek or go for a ride and run with Judi. Several variables were at play and i was having a hard time deciding. Then he posed it to me: "Well, what do you want to do?"

So, I awoke, packed my car and Clubber and headed home so I could meet Judi for our 10am bike. Ryan joined us as well. I arrived early. I pumped my tires. I lubed my chain. I listened to music. I was nervous. She had 50 miles planned and I hadn't been on my bike but once since I'd gotten sick...

Ryan rode into the garage. And Judi pulled in. Soon, we were headed down Rte 8. I was cautious at first, afraid I'd go too fast to start and not be able to hang on. At the 90 min turn, we'd ridden over 27 18 mph. We hopped off our bikes and peed in the weeds, ate, drank, and headed back toward home.

The weather was beautiful, a little cloud cover which provided protection from being burned. The air was cool. The headwind wasn't too bad. Back to the garage. 55 miles. 18.4 mph average. And off for a 30 min run. Nice and easy. Across the river, through the park and back.

Thank God for Judi. I needed that ride. And that run. For so many reasons.

For a few hours, I was able to forget about the last few weeks. I didn't think about being sick and weak. I didn't think about the drama. I didn't think about the pain. I thought about spinning my wheels. And the hunger pangs in my tummy and making sure i hydrate and trying to find the source of Judi's back pain, and getting up the hills and power the downhills and cutting the wind and taking pictures and laughing with friends and chatting and what I might eat for lunch.

And I gained some confidence back. A good pace for a good amount of time. I didn't lose everything I'd worked so hard for. I still have it. It's just shrouded in fear. That girl I was is still there inside. And slowly but surely, she's peeling back these layers. And she's working ehr way back to the surface.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

9 miles of music

...and my favorite lines from each song.

I’m thinking about bliss. And bliss is all dressed up and there’s no one to dance with.
- Ben Lee “Begin”

You'll never have to ask.
I'll give you my sweet grass.
I'm gonna mesmerize your ass.
- Devendra Banhardt “Lover”

I think I like today.
I think it's good.
It's something I can’t get my head around.
- Angels & Airwaves “Good Day”

I just can't seem to get it right today.
I guess I'm gonna give up
- Joe Purdy “Can’t Get it Right Today”

If I had a chance for another try, I wouldn’t change a thing.
This made me all who I am inside.
And if I could thank God that I am here and that I am alive.
And everyday I wake, I tell myself a little harmless lie:
The whole wide world is mine!
- Angels & Airwaves “Rite of Spring”

If I'm the person that you think I am; clueless chump you seem to think I am; So easily led astray; An errant dog who occasionally escapes and needs a shorter leash, then why the fuck would you want me back?!
- Ben Folds featuring Regina Spector “You Don’t Know Me”

I won't lie.
I won't sin.
Maybe I don't wanna go.
Can't you wait?
Maybe I don't wanna go.
- Box Car Racer “Letters to God”

Cause where you are is where you'll be: always wanting everything.
It's all the same- that you can't ignore
Cause all you want is just "to be more"
- Cartel “Matter of Time”

Elegant clothes, you want to be seen with her.
Under your tweeds you sweat like a teenager.
- Vampire Weekend “Ottoman”

I just wanna break you down so badly.
Well I trip over everything you say.
I just wanna break you down so badly In the worst way
- Taking Back Sunday “Make Damn Sure”

So tell me, what's the price to pay for glory?
- Finch “What it is to Burn”

Your sex is on fire
Consumed with what’s to transpire
- Kings of Leon “Sex on Fire”

Sometimes what you're after's not your fault cause happy ever after's what you’re taught.
- Takka Takka “Fever”

I'm put together beautifully;
Big wet bottle in my fist, big wet rose in my teeth.
I'm perfect piece of ass, like every Californian
- The National “All the Wine”

Please understand:
This isn't just goodbye
This is I can't stand you
- +44 “No it Isn’t”

Love is the answer at least for most of the questions in my heart,
likeWhy are we here? And where do we go?And how come it's so hard?
- Jack Johnson “Better Together”

Leaving isn't quite the same, he said to me, as running away.
If you're scared or tired of what you're scared of, well, why should you stay?
- Paul Tiernan “How to Say Goodbye”

Give me something to whisper, something to hide.
My head was stuck in the rain, the world sucked it dry,
took me to hell to make me who I am.
- Raining in Darling “Alcohol”

Anytime you want to, you can turn me into anything you want to. Any time at all.
- Phil Collins “Groovy Kind of Love”

We meet here for our dress-rehearsal to say " I wanted it this way"
Wait for the year to drown.
Spring forward, fall back down.
I'm trying not to wonder where you are
- The Weakerthans “Left & Leaving”

And this was the sweatiness that ensued.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Want and Need, Want VS Need

No, not that big O. The Shel Silverstein variety.

So, it was posed to me, what am I? The missing piece? The O? Some version of the O missing pieces? Ha ha ha...

Doc says I'm the missing piece meeting the Big O for the first time...completely incapable of understanding someone who wouldn't want or need anything from me.

And I asked, "Do you believe there is a difference between happiness and joy?". And that was thrown right back at me. Of course I do! I think happiness occurs at intermittent times that cause laughter and smiles. To me, joy is more of a constant state. That no matter how devastating an event, one who is joyful will not be dragged down, will be capable of seeing the ironic comedy involved therein. I think you feel happy. I think you experience joy.

I just looked up on my cubicle wall. The calendar is on April. It's almost June. I missed the entire month of May 2009.

The Cincinnati Fringe Festival started last night. I've been invited to tag along with a friend to venture out and see a few shows.
So far, Call Me, Incredulity and The Secrets Project interest me most...but there are lots I'd see.

On the training front, I swam on Monday. 2400. Longest yet.

I've done a lot of research in regard to my health. I'm going to make some changes to my diet to help avoid further illness. I'm coming to terms with it. Nothing else I can do. It just means I've got to start cutting out the peanut butter :( But, dairy is going to play more of a cream? :)

I had a big moment yesterday. I was tired and hungry when I got to my dad’s…and it was humid, but the breeze was blowing a bit so it didn’t feel horrible. I decided to go for a run. And take it EASY! I did. Got to the first mile in 7:50. Concentrated on easy…and kept going, to an area I’d never been before. I got back just as the lightning and thunder kicked in...and the rain poured down.

Coach had called on Monday and told me he completely understood how hard it would’ve been to watch TTT. He asked if I wanted a plan for the week, but he did advise that I simply get out and do what I WANT to do, not what I feel like I NEED to do. I took that approach yesterday and I was able to be grateful for where I am right now instead getting pissed about where I was and where I should be. This attitude only comes in glimpses, but I’m glad it comes at all.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

spheres of influence

As I was out running yesterday, a little girl, equipped in helmet and all, was riding her bike with her dad. She said hello as we crossed paths. It always takes me by surprise when a child is so friendly. It reminds me of one of my favorite moments in riding last summer...

Tom and I were cruising down Rt 8. There was a group of children, three boys and a girl, playing in a creek by the side of the road. They shouted at us as we passed and we returned greetings. And the genuine shock and joy that sprang from the girl as she exclamed "(GASP!) A GIRL!!!" made me laugh. You know, that kind of belly laugh that you just can't contain. And there was a little part of me that was proud, that thought that just maybe I let that little girl know what she suspected deep down, that we girls can do anything the boys can do. Makes me wonder where I got that idea?

Was it having brothers and playing in creeks and building camps in the woods? Was it shooting baskets better than their friends? Was it running with the boys during cross country practice? Was it when dad took us hiking on the Appalachian Trail and making it longer than Matt? Playing wiffle ball, kick ball, tag in the side yard all summer long as a kid?Or was it something long before that? Something I don't even remember? Was it watching the Ironman Championships on TV and seeing the women dominating or reding Iron Will as a teen or all those articles in Runner's World about how women have a greater advantage as distance increases because, well, dammit, we're tough as nails...and our pain threshold seems to outweigh those of our male counterparts?

Maybe it was a combination of all these things? Whatever it was, I'm grateful. And I'm honored to have so many women in my life that believe the same. And to know that many of the men in my life hold the same perspective.

This morning, I went out for my first ride since before getting sick. I rode with my dad and his buddy, Gary. And we didn't go all that far, about 20 miles. It's flat up here at dad's. And I led the whole way. And it felt good to be out there again. To sweat under that helmet. To feel the wind and concentrate on my pedal stroke. To be down in aero. To churn, to spin. And to get off the bike and packit up and change shoes all before they even got back to the driveway. And then to go into a transition run...and have dad join me for that too. His first ever brick. I think he gained some respect for that. And I'm nowhere near where I was a month ago, but I'll be back....cause I've had some great influences in my life to help me hold hope and believe I can. And i will.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Right where?

May today there be peace within you. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing that you are a child of God. Let His presence settle into your bones,and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, and to bask in the sun. It is there for each and every one of you.

Ok, so, today, I didn't really trust God that I was right where I was supposed to be...I was in Portsmouth, OH, watching some teammates race. In a race in which I was supposed to compete. Actually, it's a series of races. Four of them, over three days. And I went for the first one on Friday evening. And everyone rocked it out and I was really excited to be there to cheer them all on. And then, when everyone was finished and it was time to split, I just couldn't hack it. I'm selfish. And I'm weak. And I bawled my eyes out all the way to the hotel. There were only two cars when I arrived. Sweet salvation! Time alone in a hotel room with Busken cookies.

It was still early, so I decided to go for a run. It was short and fast and fairly uneventful. Upon return to the hotel. YUP!!! Full parking lot. Full of Triple T jerseys and bikes and gear and race excitement. I ate a cookie. And took some Tylenol and watched the last half of Rumor Has It... and hated life.

And I woke up still hating life. And Judi called. It was just time for me to go home and be with my family and enjoy the long weekend and relax. Selfish? Fine. Not racing and not having him there racing with me and sleeping a bed alone in a room we booked together. It's just too raw.

So, I drove home on Rte52. Wow. Talk about some small podunk towns! I passed every car I came upon. It was actually kinda fun. And I stopped at the gym on the way home. Took out some agression on the ERG at full resistance for a half hour. And then a swim.

Came home to dad and Marie and dad's buddy. there were words had through text and angry and hate. and pain and tears. and dad hugged me. And then they left for parties and the ball game.

I decided to go for a run. 7 miles. Good pace. No iPod. There's something so refreshing and reviving and raw about running for me. It restores me.

And then I played with the pups in the yard. And watching Clubber can revive a dead man's soul.

Now I'm sitting in front of the TV, watching Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist. I only picked it because Chris and I saw it being filmed as we were walking through NYC. But it's got some good music in it. And I'm a fan of Michael Cera. I'm going to trust God that I'm right where I'm supposed to be right now. And looking back on this morning, maybe that phone call was exactly what I needed. Maybe that was exactly where I needed to be, late for the race so I still had phone service so I could receive that call...and get back here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New digs, fresh legs and the silver lining

Forgone race entry fees: $280
Medical and prescription co-pays: $1,234
Non-refundable deposit on summer beach house: $1,600
Getting out before the d-bag put me 6 feet under: PRICELESS


The lease on my current place is up at the end of the month and it just so happens that it's time for me to live alone. Without question. As noted above, I was supposed to be going to the beach for the summer, but that is no longer the case. I searched on Craigslist all morning Tuesday and found a perfect spot. Just so happens it was the first place I called. And it's amazing! Historic and full of character. Ten frikin' windows! Two bedrooms. A spacious lavatory. A mile to the gym. Blocks to the levee. And the landlord, well, she used to be a competitive cyclist!


I'm still resting and recovering. Coaches orders.
This weekend is the American Triple T. I'm registered. I won't be competing, but I will be attending. I will be cheering on my friends; the participating members of Cincy Express. A nice long weekend watching others suffer. I've never done this. And I quite look forward to it.

So, while resting, I've been spending some time in Hamilton, at my dad's. He's visiting my brother in Galveston, so it's quiet. It's peaceful up there. Half a mile to the river bank and a bike/run path. His yard is like a miniature zoo. There's a pond and birds and benches and cobblestone. I find it impossible to sit there and not feel God. Clubber is having a good time as well.

I went for a run along the river Monday evening. A woman pushing a stroller stopped me and asked how much I have to run to look this way. Ha! That was the nicest thing a stranger had said to me in a long time. My run was just ok. My legs were feeling a little sluggish. I was tired.

Wednesday morning, I awoke and went for a run along the same path. It was cool outside. It was different so early in the morning. Only a few walkers. The path winds through a park, a wildlife observatory area, an old field, woods, and ends at another park. My legs were churning beneath me. They were on auto-pilot, moving without effort on my part. I finished 11 miles in just under 85 minutes. I felt strong again. And all I wanted to do was lie down for a nap, but work was calling. And so I went.

And today is a new day. And there is always a silver lining. As a good friend of mine always says, "Hey, it could be worse. You could be on fire."

Saturday, May 16, 2009

When life hands you lemons...

...sometimes you just want to turn around and pelt those lemons back in life's face. But life keeps moving forward and you never get the opportunity.

I got up this morning and talked on the phone with a friend. Then I met with a friend. And we talked. And then I talked on the phone with another friend. And then I went to a late lunch with a friend, where I saw two other great friends. And it occurred to me how blessed I am. My spirit was lifted by the comraderie.

And so I tried the swim again. Nice and easy. Methodical. A million thoughts through my mind and with them, a million different emotions. Joy with hearing Tom refer to me as one of his two favorite girls, comfort in seeing Meg's smile, relief in regaining some hope, pain hearing His voice say "I had sex with her", anger at myself for trusting once again, heartache in learning of the lies, compassion in listening to Judi on the phone, pleasure in the friendship I now have with Barbie, love in the life I've been granted...

I was only going to swim 1500, but I felt good. I wanted to go beyond what I did yesterday. Baby steps. And before I knew it, 2000 was up. Watch read 29:16. Not blazing fast, but good enough. for now.

And I came home to my favorite little girl in the world, the one little creature who is always happy to see me, no matter how foul my mood. And just her little smile, made me smile :)

Friday, May 15, 2009

chance encounters

So, I awoke today with some hope. It's Friday. I get to wear jeans to work. That always makes me feel better! I also got some news that made me chuckle some.

I got to work and realized I have my appetite back. My round of meds is up, so I guess the nausea side affect is over. I haven't eaten a full meal in over two weeks...and suddenly, my tummy could feel it! I spent lunch at Cock & Bull with Rob and Courtney. And more than the club wrap and fries, I enjoyed seeing the love that resides between them. They're both so giddy about one another. It's real. And it's undeniable. And it was reassuring. And so nice to be in their company.

Back to work and personal drama. And attempting to hash some things out, resolve inner turmoil, recover from some deep wounds.

And home after work to walk the pup, where I decided it was time to try the swim. I gathered my gear and headed down to Urban and the damn 20 m pool (wtf? seriously, why?). I took one of my scheduled swim workouts from earlier this week. Started out with a 600 wu. It took about 400 to start feeling ok in the water. I hadn't been in the water in over two weeks. Then, 4x200 on 3:00. I made the first three, and felt so spent. My energy is still waning. I skipped the next straight 800 and went for the 8x100 on 1:30. Yeah, I made two of those and called it a day. It sucked. I feel defeated. I'm starting back at one. Coach said not to worry about HR and just get the time in, but i can't even do that. This must be what it feels like to be a beginner. Can't say I like it much. But, this is where I am. I must accept this. What's the alternative?

So I dry off and drive home. I pass the Levee and see an old boyf walking along. He was a heroin addict that pawned my shit for dope. (Do I know how to pick 'em or what?!) Anyway, all that's gone and forgiven. All I really ever wanted was for him to get clean. And I had tried and tried and tried to help. Methadone clinics, detox centers, home detox, 12-step meetings....and it wasn't until I accepted the fact that I could not save him, now or ever, that I let go. It was sooo hard for me. But guess what? Yup! He got clean. So, he's shuffling along, shirt tucked in, smoking a cigarette with that familiar bored look on his face. I shout his name out my window. He looks around...and sees me...and the biggest, warmest smile crosses his face. It kinda made my day. There aren't any feelings there anymore, but it was so good to see him smile because for so long, all he had was despair. And all I wanted to see was that smile again.

Funny how I never seem to get the things I want at the time I want them.

See a pattern here?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

i'mmmm baaaack.

I've had so much time off training with being so sick for so long that I didn't really see much sense in posting. I've had a million thoughts run through my head and a million reasons to write, but I hesitated...and never followed through.

I am back to running. I'm not able to swim or bike just yet. And my runs are short (an hour at most), relatively speaking. And slow. But I still gain peace in running. In being alone. In sweating. In feeling my heart beat. I've run with more pent up emotion this last week than I've probably ever had. But for an hour or less, I have an outlet.

My life has not been threatened by illness, but it is significantly altered. It's something, that once again, has been an impetus to make me take a step back and really look at things that matter in life. It's made me have such gratitude for those that love and care about me. It makes me grateful for what my body is capable of doing. It's made me realize that for a while, I took those abilities for granted. I pushed and demanding more and more from my body. I didn't take enough time to cherish it. I won't do that anymore.

My eyes have been opened to some very simple truths in life. I always have believed that everything happens for a reason. I know I don't always understand why the bad things happen, like people getting cancer or the loss of a small child. Mostly, I can somehow see the blessing that resides in the catastrophic. Now I can see that, sometimes, God's very blessing is allowing something bad to happen to prevent something worse from happening.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Friday, May 8, 2009

It's Friday!

Thank you all for your well wishes, kind words and support. It really means so much. I'm doing much better, physically, today.

Mom and I had a heated exchange this afternoon. Seems like everyone has an opinion on how I should be dealing with this. And when I don't choose their suggested path, I get wrath. And I have a lot of misdirected anger myself right now. It's taken a toll on mom to sit and watch me in so much pain, to be the only one to actually witness the severity of the physical pain. Her emotions are raw, as are mine. And tempers were flying and tears were on bith sides.

So, I decided to go for a run. I'd only eaten a banana and half a bagel and these meds have my tummy all jacked. I can tolerate a bit of physical pain for a good dose of mental relief. That time out on the road was the most peace I've had in over a week.

Coach had given each of us an exercise - visualize how we would race to beat him, as a competitor. I hadn't given it much thought until I was out there running. Everyone else had responded to the assignment. I was the slacker in class. Coach even suggested how he's beat me...and it's all mental. So much of racing comes down to the mental aspect. I'm not too familiar with how coach or these other athletes race, but I know me. I know that, for me, to panic in the water is self-destruction. I know that if I allow myself to get too discouraged with how much ground I'm losing on the bike, I'm setting myself up for failure. And I also know that on the run, simply faking a smile can actually bring about a real smile...and simply acting as if I'm feeling good and racing comfortable, even if i'm hurtin' like hell can discourage someone who really is hurtin like hell.

It's a good thing to think about - how you're going to handle the competition. Visualization strategies have always worked well for me, moreso in running than in triathlon, but tri is so new to me still...

So, I'm attempting to use this same strategy in life right now. I know my own strengths and weaknesses and I need to play them. I know that if I focus on the troubles, I will lose sight of all the blessings. I need to stay focus and not get overly discouraged.

So, I came home and gave mom a big hug and took a shower (yeah, second actual "shower" in 10 days though I've been in the tub many many times) and put on jeans instead of sweats. And mom went to the store so we can cook together tonight. And until she gets home, i'm gonna rest up and take a nap in my jeans :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

mourning morning

Morning used to be my favorite time of the day. It was a time when the world was peaceful and quiet and I could train alone and know that most were still deep in slumber in warm beds. It was a time when I could run and watch the sun begin to show it's beauty to the world and the sky would streak fushia and lavender with it's arrival. It was a time when I could clear my mind of the cobwebs and breathe fresh air and be grateful for all the love in my life.

Now, morning is the most painful part of the day. It's when I rouse from a few hours sleep and the Percocet has worn off and simply rolling over makes me moan in pain. The getting out of bed and waddling to the bathroom are dreadful. It's when I shake and writhe with the simplest of tasks and mom has to hold me for comfort. It's the time when I nearly faint each day from attempting daily tasks. It's when the reality of the entire situation hits me like a ton of bricks. It's when it's quiet that I think. And I'm unable to fathom the depth of the lies and deceit from someone I loved. It's when I want nothing more to run. It's when I try to stretch my legs because they ache and throb from inactivity. It's when I want my life back and I wish I could wake up from this horrible nightmare or simply never wake again.

But I don't have a choice. Unfortunately, this is my life and unfortunately, I continue to wake up every morning. And unfortunately, this tops al the other horrible things I've been through - divorce and jail time and kidney infections and gut-wrenching heartache.

A good friend of mine likes to remind me that "this too shall pass". This is a man with whom I share a strange relationship. We both have our issues and we both use one another for a sounding board. Our relationship is not, and never has been, a physically intimate one. I can count the number of times we've hugged on one hand. But this man has been the most positively influential man in my life, with the exception of my dad. No matter what my mind wants me to believe or what I'm going through or how I feel, he always believes in me. He always lets me know I'm worthy, that I'm smart and funny and attractive and talented and that I deserve to be treated with respect and love and kindness. He reminds me things when my memory lapses. His words are the ones that stick with me when hard times hit. He's the kind of person that lets you know there is a God...and that everything happens for a reason. He's a man I can laugh with and cry to and listen to and give advice and none of it has an ulterior motive. It's truly unadulterated love and understanding and compassion. These are the things I have to be grateful for when the hard times hit. I put a magnet on his cubicle one day that reads
Whether or not it is clear to you, the universe is unfolding exactly as it should.

And we both refer to this in times of trouble. Right now, I'm really hanging on to that.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It's all OK...

I've been forced to the sidelines for a time, so I haven't posted. I'm not able to train or work or eat much or sleep without aid and I'm not sure when life will resume some type of regularity...but I know that time is coming.

The past week has been very difficult physically and emotionally. So many nights I've cried myself to sleep or awoken in the middle of the night to have a meltdown. I've been in pain that makes me convulse and faint and cry and those close to me have had to watch...and worry.

But I'm on the mend, physically. And my heart is also healing.

Fortunately, God puts some really special people in your life and you don't always know the purpose behind these meetings...but sometimes that purpose is what gets you through a hard day or a life crisis.

Today, I got a call from Judi and I wasn't in the best state of mind and I didn't want to answer, but the words she spoke gave me hope. The things of which she reminded were imperative. The suggestions she gave put a smile on my face and thoughts in my mind.

And things began to turn around. And I know that everything is going to be ok. I know that changes must be made. I know that the right thing to do is often the hardest thing to do (which I learned from another one of those very special people whom I'll blog about tomorrow). And I know that I have to rest and allow my body to heal, but I also have to pick myself up and move on and allow my heart to heal too.

The healing has begun. And it's all ok...