It’s been a long time since I’ve been here. I’ve wanted to write several times, and when I go to do it, I pretty much freeze up because it’s been so long and I don’t even know where to start.
To accomplish anything, there has to be a beginning, right? So I guess I need to just start at the beginning, where I left last time. Even if there’s a million little things.
In January, I ran my hardest, fastest, and most satisfying marathon to date. The Wednesday before the race, I tweaked my calf during my last speed session. Luckily, it didn’t affect my race, but I spent the next two months “taking it easy” to make sure it didn’t get worse. Looking back, I didn’t do this the right way, but hindsight is always 20/20. In April, I went to Alabama to run the Grand Viduta stage race, which is 43 miles of technical trails total over three days. While I would suggest it for anyone and everyone to do this amazing, well-done race, I would not suggest it for those who didn’t train on trails very much. Because I was running on rocks and uneven surfaces, my posterior tibialis, specifically through my ankle, became irate after day 2. Because we are constantly told to “push through the pain” and I didn’t want to “quit”, I pushed through the tears and pain, and I ran on day 3. Hindsight…. I should have hiked it, not run it. That’s not the pain you push through, that’s for sure!
After weeks of not being able to run without pain, I went to my PT for dry needling. Still couldn’t run. I went for second opinion with my chiropractor, who has fixed my many ailments over the years. He confirmed what my PT said, but he also had the injury from lifting, so he understood. He said to start from zero. Start over. In my head, I screamed “NOOOOO! I can’t do that! I’m a runner!!”. I normally don’t run less than 5 miles, unless I’m in taper. But at that point, I got it. I had to start over. In July, I started run/walking, running 30 seconds at a time, quickly increasing to two minutes at a time. Then every week, I added a minute to my run portion. It was a great way to run in the hot, humid summer mornings, so I will most likely do this method next summer. During that time, my kids and I spent three weeks in Missouri and Iowa having a ton of fun with family and friends. Hubby was there for a week.
Runners with injuries that prevent them from running makes them less-than-enjoyable companions. I went through a depression during this time. Running truly brings me peace of mind, joy, happiness, time to think, and a sense of well-being that I cannot get from anything else. It’s hard to explain, but it’s the way I’m built. I had to slowly build up my time, and I was sincerely thankful for the ability to do the little I was doing. But I wasn’t always the nicest, friendliest person, and I was frustrated because I knew it, but there was nothing I could do about it. We went to the Dave Matthews Concert.
I am a youth running coach for programs I began at the elementary and middle schools my kids attend/attended. I got everything approved, websites set up, and registration open for our fall sessions. The next day, I got word I would not be able to have my middle school running program since the county **finally** added cross country to the middle school sports programs. While that was the news I was waiting for for years, I didn’t know if they would hire ME to coach it! So for a week, I didn’t know if I had a job, if I needed to add other programs, what would go on. More unneeded uncertainty.
Then I got the call they wanted me to coach for the middle school. It was awesome. Two weeks after our season started, a hurricane named Florence set her sights on Wilmington. Then my youngest son was playing with his best friend and family on one of the barrier islands, and he got a very deep cut on the bottom of his foot from an oyster shell. Six stitches. No antibiotic was prescribed. Hurricane still heading towards us. Son’s foot got infected, so off to the ER. Town shutting down. Do we stay or do we go? He was admitted for IV antibiotics for a day, hurricane a Cat 3 at that time. He got discharged from the hospital on a Wednesday, Hurricane Florence started to decrease in intensity, and we decided to stay and ride the storm out. Wilmington was a ghost town. Our windows were boarded up. We had bikes in our living room. I made my kids get their “most prized possessions” and put them in a plastic bin. It was so scary. All of it.
Hurricane Florence hit us directly as a strong Category 1 storm early on Friday morning. The eye wall was…. It’s hard to find the proper words. It was crazy. When they eye went over, we went outside, all the dogs in our neighborhood went out to do business, and we looked at the mess. We contacted our out-of-town neighbors, we quietly nodded to each other. So many trees down. Bits of leaves everywhere. Branches, flower petals, leaves everywhere. Where did nature go to hide from this monster?
For two more days, Florence crept forward, leaving us flooded and water damaged. Power was out. It was hot. We had middle-of-the-night tornadoes. It was real. Who wants to get in the powder room with your husband, two kids, and a cat? Not me. The aftermath world felt like a parallel universe. Things weren’t right. The air stunk like decay. Fish were laying on the interstate. Parallel, weird universe. We were patient. Some were not. It was a time I never want to experience again. I know that I’m grateful for my neighbors a few doors down, the help she gave my son with his foot, the friendship and quiet (and sometimes not so quiet) understanding of what we faced. Things moved on. The kids were out of school for three weeks.
Some form of normalcy began again. We started back with cross country, my son’s foot healed, and I started my elementary program, and life went on, simply displayed by the trees and flowers that bloomed from the hurricane stress. It was the same, but everything was different. But we were ok.
My running slowly came back to normal. My son turned 16 and got his license. Ask any parent how that feels, and I’m guessing nine of ten will give you the “deer in headlights” look. It’s hard to describe. We went to a Clemson game. For the first time in seven years, my youngest son wasn’t playing football in the fall. My half iron triathlon was cancelled. Our open water swim race was cancelled. I couldn’t do most of the races I had signed up for because of my injury. We went from having a slam packed full fall to barely anything. I didn’t like it.
So where am I now? I’m working, but not much, not enough for me. I need something more. So I’m looking into that and have a few thoughts in what direction I want to go. My elementary running program has 29 kids participating, which is just great. They are the next generation of runners. I have so many ideas how to make our cross country program better. It’s almost Thanksgiving.
I started a little speed work recently, and my ankle has been ok with it. I’m running up to 10 miles, and my ankle is ok. I ran a 5k last weekend, and managed 7:35 average minute miles. It’s frustrating. While I’m extremely grateful, it’s distressing to see how much hard-earned fitness I lost and how much work I have ahead of me to get back to where I was. I am confirmed for the Boston Marathon for 2019, so I’m excited to have that to train for. Big goals!!!! I qualified for the New York Marathon, and I plan to do that too, along with another little challenge I’m not quite ready to talk about.
All in all, 2018 has not been a great year for me personally. I can’t say it’s been a bad year, it’s just a year of learning, of transition, and of hope. Onward and upward seems to be the popular saying around here recently. But I’m changing it. 2018 was good. I’m so thankful. For everything, even the bad. But there is bigger, better, and more to come in 2019.