Cold and hungry (ALWAYS) …

In the midst of the chilliest winter I can EVER remember in California and during a time when I am expecting more from myself physically, I have come up with a new and accurate way of describing my whole being.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you aren’t ALWAYS cold and hungry!!!

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Happily miserable …

This evening I started hill training again. I ran 7 miles and the first four were at a park near our home. The hills aren’t huge there but there are a lot of them and some of them seem to drag on forever. My first four miles were pretty decent. I wasn’t totally defeated. Yay! But the next three miles were a special kind of ugly. Gaggy ugly. Ew. And my legs are really feeling it right now. I hurt! But you know what? I didn’t care! I am excited to run with a new purpose. It has set my soul on fire and I am LOVING IT … um … despite how horribly awful I feel at the moment. HA!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are happily miserable!!!

Hell hath no fury like a runner disappointed in themselves …

I did my long run yesterday … and it was horrific. I was looking forward to it and had no reservations about getting it done, but it got ugly. REAL UGLY.

The first six miles were fine. Completely uneventful. But by mile 8 I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me. The miles that followed were even worse. The word NASTY describes it about as good as “ice cube” describes an iceberg. Yep, it was THAT BAD. It was honestly one of the toughest training runs I’ve ever had. Don’t get me wrong I have experienced these awful miles before. Some runs just SUCK. And this one SUCKED HUGE.

But as much as I loathe these trying runs, I have also grown to appreciate them. Not at the time, of course! At the time I’m too wrapped up in the misery to see anything good. I wonder why I continue to subject myself to the disappointment. I wonder if my body was ever meant for distance. I berate myself with all sorts of negatives! The appreciation I have for tough runs comes later when I realize that I can suffer greatly and still somehow manage to survive. There is something in this realization that gives me strength. Knowing that I can push myself mind, body and soul is empowering. It’s hell, but it’s empowering!

Thankfully by the next day, the memory of my terrible run fades and I begin to think about my next long run. One that I envision will be better. WAY BETTER. The best part of this is that my mind believes it’s possible. Somehow my feelings of defeat morph into determination. FIERCE determination! And it gets me back out there, HAPPILY, week after grueling training week. To try to explain this roller coaster of emotions and self-inflicted physical torment sounds insane even to me. But I guess that’s why they say runners are crazy, HA!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you can’t wait to do it all over again!!!

Up and at it at undead hours …

I woke up at 4 a.m. today. I was WIDE awake but I decided to stay in bed until it was an acceptable hour to run. I’ve mentioned before that my neighborhood wakes fairly early. I am often the first one out there, but it’s usually within a few minutes of running that “Good Mornings” are exchanged with neighbors who are also out starting their day. Four in the morning, however, is pushing it. As understanding and supportive my neighbors may be of my running and training, no one wants their light sensors triggered and dogs barking that early. Unless of course it was a real threat of vampires and werewolves in the area, HA!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are up and at it at undead hours!!!

A survivor (times 2) …

One year ago today I woke up early and headed for the gym. I did some speed-work and clocked my fastest 1/4 mile (7:13). Not to shabby! I went home and continued on with my typical morning routine. Then I headed to my dental cleaning. This would be that last time I would feel like myself for months.

Later that day I would find myself in an ER with symptoms I was all to familiar with. I was sick. And despite the fact that no one believed me I knew my body. I had meningitis. Again.

Today is the one year anniversary of my second round of meningitis. Still with so many questions left unanswered. That alone is a demon I must face every day. I have become obsessed with Facebook memories. Trying to find some clue as to how I got so sick so fast. Again. There is nothing there. Nothing. I finished a week of 100,000 logged on my Fitbit. I mention twitchy legs, crazy fast speed-work and a rest weekend. It was to be a well deserved break from my training that was going better than I ever could have hoped for. I was strong and healthy. Race ready. There was nothing in those memories that would indicate that I would become so sick in just mere hours. How can anyone’s brain be that swollen and they not show any signs or symptoms?!?! It’s baffling. Utterly.

There are days that I still feel like a ticking time-tomb. I’m not sure if that feeling will ever go away. The memory of this experience and the fall-out afterward will always be unsettling. The “unknowns” are worrisome at best. But I refuse to cave into fear and let it immobilize me. Life is too precious for that. I thought battling meningitis once was bad enough. Twice, just seems insulting. But I truly believe that life gives us lessons for reasons. Reasons we might not ever understand. And THAT gives me my peace. Trust me, I can easily focus on all the things that this illness has robbed me of. How disruptive it was to, not just my life, but my family’s and friends’ lives as well. I can resent the fact that I still don’t feel like myself and that I fear it happening all over again. I can focus on the anger I feel when I see my precious kids worrying about my smallest of ailments. Children shouldn’t have to worry like that! OH, if meningitis was a person I would have punched it in the throat long ago!

Anyway, as I see it I have two options. I can choose the road paved with anxiety, fear and bitterness … OR … I can be thankful that I even had a road in the first place.

Let’s face it, life is not always easy. Crap happens through no fault of our own. But life can still be beautiful. I’d be lying if I said this illness hasn’t changed me. It has. I am not the same woman who woke up on this day a year ago. I am, for better or worse, the Jennifer I was supposed to be on this day and in this moment. Meningitis helped shaped me. And I’m OK with that. I am an ever-evolving woman who accepts that change and defeat and pain are an acceptable way to form me into the woman I am meant to be. Meningitis was a pit stop. OK fine, TWO. But it wasn’t my final destination. God and the universe clearly are not done with me yet and that’s good … because I still have dreams. And as long as I have breath, scared or not, I will chase them.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are a survivor (times 2)!!!