The S word

So it’s been awhile. I turned 30. There were holidays. A wedding. Craziness at work.

Notice what’s missing?

Yeah.

Working out.

www.footsurgeryatlas.com

My foot/ankle situation hasn’t gotten better. In fact, it’s gotten worse.

On February 22, I will be having a lateral ankle ligament reconstruction surgery. It is as crazy as it sounds. If you are crazy like me, you will already have googled what this is. I’ll make it easy for you. Here’s a link to a step-by-step photo gallery of the surgery. Oh, and here’s video.

“Surgery involves making an incision on the side of the ankle to allow the surgeon to clearly see the torn tendons/ligaments and perform surgical repair. ” (Source: Ortho Foot and Ankle Center)

Basically, the surgery involves cutting ligaments in half, overlapping them, and sewing them back together. My surgeon is also going in to clean out the ankle joint and will remove the spurs.

I have three weeks to get my affairs in order – prep everything at work so that my coworkers can cover for me for however long I’m out of work and figure out what I need to bring to my parents’ house, where I’ll be staying during recovery.

I know I’m going to go crazy during recovery. I will need things to keep me busy. I figure I’ll sleep quite a bit the first few days, but after that, I will probably do a lot of knitting, crocheting, iPad gaming, documentary watching and reading. (So if you’re interested in one of my hats, place your orders soon!)

And, if you’re in the MKE area, please feel free to come visit. I will go stir crazy. And I’ve heard I’m fun when I’m on painkillers.

 

The marathon that wasn’t

I has a sad.

Remember when I said I wasn’t running the Lakefront Marathon (or Madison Mini or Brewers Mini) anymore?

Well, back in August I didn’t realize just how hard this weekend would be for me. I thought that, after two months of knowing the marathon wasn’t going to happen, that I would be over it by now. But this wave of emotion took me by surprise. I mean, I knew this weekend would be bittersweet for me, but I’ve missed races before due to injury and figured I would have a twinge of pain, but would be able to get through it without much thought.

So much energy and hope was focused on training for and running this race. I know it would have been hard. I know it would have been painful. I know it would have taken me FOREVER to finish. And I do realize it would have been even harder if my training stopped later than it did. I am lucky that I was taken out of training before the major marathon build-ups began (more than 13.1 miles). That fact doesn’t make this weekend any easier though.

Today was the race expo – one of my favorite things about big races. I love looking at all the gear, trying samples of different products, and experiencing all the excitement from having all those runners in one room. Everyone is happy – nervous – excited.

I experienced none of that.

In all, my first marathon race expo lasted less than 5 minutes. Here’s how it went:

  • Park car
  • Limp to MSOE’s Kern Center (expo location)
  • Get race packet
  • Limp to car
  • Cry
  • Head home

Throw in a teary call to my mom and you have my first marathon experience.

I’m not supposed to be on my feet for extended periods of time. Doctor’s orders are for me to be sitting or elevating my foot whenever possible. I may be off crutches, but I’m still not out of the woods. My doctor said right now it is critical I not do anything that could send me backwards again. Both he, my mom and a couple of close friends have told me NOT to head out to cheer for the race tomorrow (for my physical and mental well-being).

But some of my dearest friends are racing tomorrow. I want to be out there to support them. I want to show them all the love they’ve shown me.  I want to be out along the course to cheer for my friends who are racing for PRs. I just don’t know if I’m strong enough to do so. I hope they’ll understand if I don’t make it out. I’m trying to mend a broken heart, and a fucked up ankle.

Peaceful Warrior

Sweet baby Paxton ended his battle with cancer Monday morning. I cannot begin to understand or imagine the pain this family is going through. What I do know is that this family needs to feel our love right now more than ever. Even if you don’t know John or Danna or their families, please help them honor this sweet, peaceful little boy.

Please join us Saturday for a tribute to our Peaceful Warrior. Paxton has touched so many hearts in his short life. On, Saturday, we will pay tribute to this sweet baby boy.

Many of you have prayed, offered words of encouragement, contributed to his medical care fund, shared his story here and elsewhere, even though you may have never met the Andrews family. They would like to meet all of you. They would like to thank you. They want to be strangers no more.

Let’s surround this family with love on Saturday, and show Paxton that even in his short time here with us, that he was loved by his entire community, his own Army of Love.

I hope to see your beautiful faces on Saturday.

Arrangements for a tribute service have been made. It will be held Saturday, July 7, 2012 at Alverno College Rotunda and Conference Center. Visitors are asked to use the main entrance on 43rd Street in Milwaukee, and park in the ramp. Visitation will be held from 12 to 3 p.m., and a memorial service from 3-4 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Paxton’s Angel Network (https://www.wepay.com/donations/paxton-s-angel-network). While our angel has joined the choir in heaven, the aftermath of his battle still remains, and there are other families who continue to fight cancer. Once the medical bills have been taken care of, Paxton’s parents will listen for the quiet whispers of his heart, and do his will for charity here on earth, in honor of Paxton’s quiet strength.

Rest now, little angel.

Team Paxton

Stuff

I’ve been on a weird emotional roller coaster lately. And not in a good way.

I’m still adjusting to the changes in my diet and how they are affecting my overall being – physically and emotionally.

Then there’s some other things that have happened that make me go, “Hmmpf. I don’t get it. I don’t know what I did, but apparently I fscked up or something. It would have been nice to know. So, you know, I can make sure I don’t mess up again.”

Oh well. I’ll have a good cry about it later. And then snuggle with Beep.

 

Good fortune

When I got home tonight, I found a 1-800-flowers box. I was confused, but opened it up. Inside I found this giant chinese takeout box.

Inside that box was this:

 

A giant fucking fortune cookie.

I opened the cookie and inside was this fortune:

Good luck on Saturday! I believe in you! Thank you so much for always being so supportive and encouraging. Sending positive thoughts, glitter and ponies…xoxo Tracey

I have the best friends ever. And no, you can’t have them.

 

Breaking the code

There are some things that go without saying.

  • Never ask a woman what she weighs (unless you’re a doctor, trainer or health professional)
  • Never ask a woman “of a certain age” what that age is
  • Never ask a woman if it’s that time of the month
  • Never ask a woman if she’s gained weight

Apparently, this needs to get added to the list:

  • Never ask a woman when she’s due

On Saturday, I had to swing by Target to pick up a few things before heading to an fair where I was selling some of my art. I quickly grabbed what I needed and headed to the checkout line (you know, after grabbing a venti soy latte from the Target Starbucks).

When I got to the checkout lane and placed my items on the conveyor belt, the cashier (who, mind you, I would estimate to be at least 50 lbs. heavier than me) asked me when I was due.

“I’m sorry, what?” I replied.

“When are you due?” she asked again.

Cue the stabby hate.

I looked at her, with a don’t-mess-with-me-bitch-or-I-will-cut-you look on my face. “I’m not pregnant,” I said, shaking my head as I swiped my debit card. Her eyes got wide and she clasped her hands over her mouth in horror.

The look on her face? Priceless.

The look on my face? Bitchy.

That look was enough to make her feel like shit for an entire century.

I don’t think this whole incident would have made me feel as bad as it did if it weren’t for the next thing she said.

“If it makes you feel any better, I get asked that question all the time,” she said.

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

I ran to my car and started crying. And then I got mad that this made me so upset. I have been working SO hard to lose weight. In the past three weeks nearly a dozen people have asked me if I’ve lost weight, saying I look a lot thinner, especially in my waist. Truth is, I haven’t really lost weight recently… the weight has just redistributed itself. I have a more defined waist (and I think my chest is smaller), but it seems as though it all went to my gut. So I’ve been a bit self conscious about my lower abdomen, especially when I stand next to pregnant friends.

I just wish I could have gone back and told her off.

“Bitch, you just broke the fat girl code. We kicked you off the island. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. You are the weakest link. Goodbye.”

Ragnar Chicago Relay: Recapping Leg #25

This shall forever be known as the leg where Amy almost died.

I ran this leg on about 20 minutes of sleep. Yeah you read that right. 20.minutes.of.sleep. I was able to rest but only got about 20 minutes of actual sleep.

For the record, I do not recommend running 4 miles on 20 minutes of sleep when you have already ran 9 miles in the past 18 hours.

I did absolutely everything wrong prior to this run. I didn’t hydrate properly. I didn’t eat much. By 2am, we were exhausted and the thought of eating anything made me want to throw up. I knew I’d be relying on muscle memory and mental strength to pull this run off.

I got the slap bracelet from Marty and headed off in the misty fog for my final 4 miles through the City of Racine. The roads were quiet (it was 5 a.m. on a Saturday, after all) and I only encountered a handful of other Ragnar runners during this leg of the race. Most of the runners who did pass me looked about as good as I felt, which isn’t saying much. I saw (and did) much more walking on this leg of the race than any other. We were all running on empty. My legs felt like cement blocks. I had to will my legs to move. I walked more during this leg than the previous two legs combined, but I was still able to beat my pace goal for the race (and my recent half mary PR pace).

The course took us past the zoo and along the lakefront. I can’t tell you want a relief it was to see Lake Michigan! Yay! I’m almost done! I’m going to die! Wooot!

I couldn’t even tell you half the things I thought about during this run. I don’t remember. It was an out of body experience.

When I finished and passed off the bracelet to Matt J. I stopped dead in my tracks and bent over to catch my breath and stretch my hamstrings. Jordan H. put out his hand to give me a high five and I think I said something like, “I’m sorry, I can’t touch you right now.”

I couldn’t move. I needed to build up the mental strength to walk to the van. Tracey G. and Rochelle told me I looked so pale that they were afraid I was going to pass out or throw up.

I walked down the hill towards the van and made my dad take a picture of me. I have yet to see this photo, but I can assure you that it won’t be pretty. But it will probably be a favorite of all my race photos.

I got to the van and fell face first into the first row of seats (we had a 15-passenger van for the 6 of us plus driver). I passed out in that seat for at least an hour. I don’t really remember much. I know I told Tracey G. that I wasn’t able to move to send her off on her next leg and I also missed her passing things off to Anthony M Van H. for his last leg. At some point, the team stopped at McDonalds for some breakfast and I was able to talk long enough to ask my dad for a Sausage McMuffin with egg. He gave it to me and I ate it from my face in the seat position. I’m completely serious. I only turned my face far enough to eat the sandwich and only used my right had to open the package and feed myself. I was that exhausted.

The food helped revive me from my runner’s coma and I came to enough to wrap a blanket around me and cheer on Anthony M Van H. when he finished his final leg and passed things off to Jordan H. I was back to (almost) normal to see Rochelle off and meet up with the rest of our team at the final major exchange in Zion, Illinois.

Start Time: 5:10 am
Goal pace: 16min/mile
Splits: 15:17, 16:35, 15:47, 12:46 (.85mi 15:05 pace)
Average pace: 15:42
Total time: 1:00:23
Finish time: 6:10 am

Total distance: 12.82mi
Total time: 3:13:06
Average pace: 15:03
Goal pace: 16:00

Note: Read the rest of my Ragnar Journey here.

Note #2: This post will be updated with photos as soon as I can steal them from my dad!

Dear Emily

Well, the time has come, and I’m one sentence into this and already sobbing. You bitch.

I guess I just don’t know how to say goodbye to my best friend. I know, I know, there’s that bullshit line “It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later.” But it is a goodbye. It’s a goodbye to a woman I’ve known she she was a fetus. It’s goodbye to the baby I fed a bottle to while watching Sesame Street. It’s goodbye to the person who knows me better than anyone else in this world. It’s goodbye to the one person who can simultaneously piss me off one second and make me hug her the next. It’s goodbye to my sister, my roommate, my best friend. Things will never be the same again. We’re growing up. Well, at least you are. I’m not quite ready for that just yet.

We’ve been through so many ups and downs over the years. We played dolls, Barbies and made crafty messes around the house. You might not remember this, but one time I threw a book you wanted to look at across our bedroom. It hit you in the face and you had a nose bleed. Oops.

You used to be that bratty little sister who always copied me or just didn’t understand my life because you were so young. You were the little sister who wrote funny stories like “My brother sits on me and it hurts,” or, “I’ve got the goosebumbs.” You will ALWAYS be 8-years-old in my mind. ALWAYS. And I will never let you live down the time you tried to school me and Andy with your geographical prowess, “It’s Nova Scot-tia, DUH!”

It wasn’t until you were an upperclassman in high school that we got close again. We could talk about boys, the stupid things I was doing in college and the stupid things you were doing in high school. Then there was that dark and dreary time in your late teens/early twenties. You know what I’m talking about. We lost touch, and it was one of the hardest times of my life. I thought I had lost you forever. And then, then you came back to us. You came back to me.

We started a new chapter as roommates in quite possibly the coolest flat on the east side. We spent the first night in our new home drinking margaritas in my bed while watching FRIENDS on my computer. You finally got to experience those crazy college years most of us get out of our systems when we’re 20.

We had rotisserie chicken. Remember? You don’t? Let me remind you.

We made that house our home. We’d cuddle up on the couch under blankets because we were too cheap to turn the heat above 58. We’d hold hands and giggle while watching GLEE. We’d strategize about how we’d kick ass at “The Amazing Race” (Which, BTW, we WILL win someday. We just have to audition first).

We would yell at each other, going from one sentence of “Fuck you” to the next “I love you.” It’s the kind of relationship only sisters could have.

We’ve had so many amazing times over the last two years. Here are some pictures to remind you of some of my favorites.

And now, you’re leaving. You’re moving on to the next big chapter in your life. A new city, a new home, a new state. I couldn’t be happier for you whilst simultaneously wanting to do everything in my power to get you to stay.

Who am I going to have spontaneous dance parties in the living room with? Who’s going to be there at home to give me a high five when I come back from a run? Who’s going to make tacos and burp unabashedly? Who else could I run a 5k with, only to get lost and make our own?

What’s Beep going to do when she can’t hide out on your comfy bed, or snuggle with Auntie Em on the couch?

I don’t know how to say goodbye, or how to tell you just what you mean to me. If you could see me now, you’d probably make fun of me for the ugly cry I got going on. I know I would if the roles were reversed.

Don’t be a stranger. I will answer your phone calls. I promise. And you know how much I hate to talk on the phone. But I will answer your call anytime, any day.

I fucking love you, you stupid bitch. I’m gonna miss your face. But then, I’ll look at that ugly ass picture of you and your hamster from when you were 8. And I’ll laugh. Actually, I’ll probably snort-laugh. Cuz that’s how I roll.

Love,
Amy

PS. This. Oh and this.

PPS. There’s still frosting on the passenger’s side door and seat from when you dropped your goodbye cake last weekend. Feel free to clean it up before you go.

 

Read It: Published on the dailymile blog!

While you’re waiting for my race recap from this weekend (I started writing it yesterday, hope to finish it soon!), you should check out this blog post I wrote for dailymile. I’ve been a member of dailymile since January 2010, and as you might recall, I blogged that dailymile as one of the social media platforms that saved my life.

The blog post, Running alone while in a group, describes my struggles with being slow, running solo and how dailymile makes me feel like I’m not running alone anymore.

I’m just excited I was able to also include photos of all my running besties and FitMKE peeps in the article!

What are you waiting for? Head over to the dailymile blog and read my post – now!

 

I need to learn how to share

I need to learn how to share.

Yes, I’m an adult and I know how to share just about everything in my life. But there’s something I have a hard time sharing.

Running.

This may sound odd, coming from someone who has a huge group of running friends – many of whom she MET through running. Even stranger to hear from someone who joined Team Challenge to train to run two half marathons… who went to practice every Sunday for months to go running/walking with others.

Yes, I have a REALLY hard time sharing my running time with others… besides Beep of course. She can run with me anytime.

Why do I have such a hard time sharing running with others?

Perhaps it’s that over the course of the last year, I’ve become accustomed to solo running. I’m not fast enough to run with my running besties. Well, I’ll meet for a group run, run with them for a minute and then my huffing and puffing slows my pace down to something more comfortable. Or, I’d join them on my bike on their long marathon-training runs.

I think this all started last summer when I was training for the Napa to Sonoma half marathon with Team Challenge. I was a run/walker. I aligned myself with the walkers, as I mostly walked, especially on the long “run” days. I didn’t really consider myself a runner. I could run for an eighth or quarter mile at a time, followed by quite a bit of walking. My body and my lungs weren’t ready for consistent running.

Now that I finally consider myself a runner, I have a hard time sharing this with anyone else. It’s like my private Amy time. I’m alone with God’s creation (outside) or trying to lose myself in the music on my iPod on the treadmill at the gym. Don’t even think about talking to me when I’m on the treadmill. Yes, guy at Bally’s who is crushing on me, I’m talking to you. There is nothing attractive about a 250-pound woman running on a treadmill. EVERYTHING is bouncing. Well maybe that’s what you’re liking, but I can assure you I do not feel pretty. So quit trying to get my number while I’m running.

I have an anxious nervous feeling in my chest when I think about actually running WITH someone. What if they’re faster than me? What if they get frustrated when I have to stop to walk? What if they don’t consider this a workout? What if I look ridiculous? What if I fail? What if they get frustrated that I don’t talk when I run? That I don’t want to talk because it will take up precious air that I could use to bust through my lungs on this run?

I’m sure my friends wouldn’t feel this way when running with me, but it’s always in the back of my mind.

I’ve gone to the gym for a treadmill running date with Annie… but for some reason that was different. We could each go at our own comfortable pace and it wasn’t a big deal. I think I was more comfortable with this too because she’s seen me at my very worst as my Team Challenge coach.

But then a friend, Katie, asked me to meet her for a run at the gym a couple of weeks ago. She wanted to try out the track at the gym. She’s new to running so I agreed. I warned her repeatedly that I was slow and took regular walking breaks. She didn’t care. She was excited to go with someone else, as she doesn’t have a lot of friends in the running community. We warmed up with a walk and I kept track of laps with my Garmin. I felt the need to apologize whenever I had to stop to walk, but she was amazing and would stop to walk a lap or two with me. One time I told her to continue running if she felt up to it and so she did one extra lap while I walked. Overall, I had my fastest time for a 3mi run on this workout with her. It was fun but I still felt awkward. I don’t know why, I just left feeling like a fool.

You see, when you’re out on your own… no one knows how long you’ve been running when you take a walk break. No one knows how far your run is. No one knows but you. But when you run with someone, there’s this feeling like I need to make sure I keep up so they don’t think I’m a loser. Maybe it’s just me, but this is a huge insecurity for me. I’m slightly tearing up as I write this and the fact that I’m tearing up makes me sad.

Yesterday I met up with one of my best friends, Rachel, who wanted to join me for my walk/run. She was so sweet and said, “Now, we will go at your pace. Whatever you want to do. I’ll go with you.” This was amazing. But, even though I was with someone I’ve known for almost 9 years, who knows more about me than most people, who knows my struggle with weight issues and fitness… Even with her I felt nervous about running. That and the fact that I forgot my inhaler at home had me saying, “You know, we’re walking at a pretty fast clip today. Let’s just keep walking fast and not run.”

Why did I do that?

Why?

Rachel, of all people, wouldn’t have judged me. But in the back of my mind, I was worried that she would. And so I settled for a fast walk instead of my prescribed walk/run.

By about mile 3 (of the 4.65 we did)… I was feeling guilty. But I also didn’t want to be all “hey, lets runnnnn” so I continued on the fast walk til we returned to her house.

I drove home, disappointed in myself for not even trying a run with her.

I picked up some lunch and headed home. I cuddled with Beep and watched some HGTV and fell asleep for a little afternoon nap.

When I woke up the intense guilt was ridiculous. I felt GUILTY for not RUNNING. There was really no physical reason for me not to run- except for the fear that I would have an asthma attack without my inhaler.

So, I got Beep’s leash and went out for a mile. We averaged 14:15 on the run that was just over a mile.
If my earlier morning “run” had been a good workout, I don’t see how I would have been able to so easily run just a few hours later.

I obviously have some issues I need to work out with this whole running solo business. Races are different… people are running with you but they’re really not. I just have never had to rely on anyone but myself on my runs and maybe that’s why I am so possessive of my precious running miles. Maybe I just can’t stand the thought of starting a run with a friend and then having to tell them to run on ahead… Maybe I need to just get over myself. Maybe I need to go back to therapy.

I don’t know the answers. I just know that I need to learn how to share.