Blessings of a Gully-washer

Enormous rainstorms, the gully-washers that cause flash flood warnings, often bring hail and the threat of tornadoes to the Eastern Plains of Colorado, but fog – dense, mysterious, morning fog – is a rare result of dangerous storms. A gully-washer brewed up just over our home last night. The rain pummeled the ground hard and fast causing the water to runoff rather than soak into the dirt road that dissects our property. Without the deterrent of a muddy road, a walk in the cool morning air was made all the more inviting by the heavy fog that had rolled in overnight. Years ago, I walked and ran in fog so thick that one could see the water droplets flow by on a gentle breeze. Fog of this nature was a frequent occurrence in Virginia, but it is such a rarity in Colorado where fog is usually accompanied by freezing temperatures and biting winds. Quiet, spring fog is an unusual blessing.

Soon my daughter will be moving to Virginia and leaving behind the aired climate she has always known. Today’s foggy sunrise provided a wonderful way to introduce her to the joys of running in fog so thick that a well-known road becomes a mystical path into the unknown.

 

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Patriots’ Day

If prior to today, I was aware of Patriots’ Day then I must have blocked it from my mind. However, the moment I mentioned to my husband that Patriots’ Day is on April 19, he immediately said that was the date of the Oklahoma City Bombing, eighteen years ago. He was in Turkey on TDY, I was in Colorado feeling very anxious for his safety until it was determined that it was an act of home-grown not foreign-born terrorism. Of course, words can’t even describe how we both felt when Columbine occurred just a few years later. We had small children by then, and Columbine was not far from my husband’s childhood home. It was too real.

You would think that the middle of April would stand out in my mind for something other than taxes, but honestly I just don’t remember from year to year how our worlds were shaken in April. Unlike 9/11, the date just never stuck, at least not for me. While my world had been rocked, it hadn’t been disrupted like in 2001.

But now the Patriots’ Day will be stuck in my mind, and not as a day celebrating a crusade for independence. For the longest time the Boston Marathon had been a dream of my mom’s. Every year when it was held, especially in the years since she passed away, I would smile and remember the summers in the late-70s when she logged hundreds of miles preparing for qualifier races. She eventually made it to New York and we ran that race together, but life got in the way of Boston.

It is strange how the mind deals with tragic events, sometimes keeping the moments clear and focused , while other times blurring the details and dates. Yet, in either case, when a new tragedy occurs the emotions come flooding to the surface, overwhelming the senses.

Patriots’ Day will no longer just be a day on the calendar, and the Boston Marathon will no longer just be a race. It is my prayer that our nation will rise again and take back our day – refuse to surrender it to those wishing to bring us down.

It is also my prayer that all those who have been directly affected by the tragedies, past and present, will find peace and feel the support of their nation behind them.

Saith Me… Understanding Your Opponent

Understanding your opponent is vital, misunderstanding your opponent is detrimental to success. Information inaccurately sourced or evaluated can lead to great struggle and strife; can lead to confusion and defeat. Avoid quick assessment or popular belief, dig deeper and be prepared to admire your opponent even as you prepare to defeat them.

 

Run, Walk and Hobble to Success

 

Obstacles, physical and physiological, can’t always be planned for in advance. Sometimes it takes running, walking, and hobbling to make it to the finish line. The speed in which we finish the race is never as important as the obstacles we tackle on the journey. If we overcome the obstacles, we have success. If we have enjoyed the journey, we have won.

Hitting the Wall and Climbing Over It

It was bound to happen.  A spring and summer of taking back my life through many small steps and a few big ones was bound to bring on a full blown fibromyalgia attack.  College reunions, exercise programs, teenagers planning for college, a husband’s ever present military commitment, and of course registering for my first Master’s Degree courses, it’s a lot for three months. Oh yeah, and I found a new dentist after a couple really bad dental experiences (big stress).  So, I was not surprised when the pain began taking over every evening around 6pm.  Fortunately most evenings were spent laughing through The Big Bang Theory marathons.  While laughing didn’t ease the pain, only distracted me, it did relax me enough so I was able to sleep well each night.

Each morning I woke up and continued with my exercise program, making slow progress, but progress none-the-less.  Then the fatigue arrived, coupled with a persistent low-grade migraine.  Multiple naps became my daily salvation and keep me on track.   I was still able to function, just had to pare back some of my daily expectations.  No problem, I was doing well at managing my condition by making small adjustments each day rather than throwing in the towel.

The stress of dental work should never be underestimated, especially if one has had a terrible dental experience in the past, let alone two such experiences.  So as Monday afternoon approached, and my low-grade migraine threatened to escalate, I finally broke down and took one of my last resort pain pills; a preemptive strike, but a wise one.  My new dentist is an angel!  Between her compassionate nature and the pain pill, my migraine behaved, even while my fatigue escalated.  That evening, despite my best efforts, the queasiness arrived in full force.

I was glad I had exercised Monday morning; it afforded me a rest day Tuesday.  The queasiness persisted, so I rested and prayed for a better Wednesday.  Sometimes you have to facilitate the answers to your own prayers, today was that kind of day.

Fibromyalgia when at its worst (for me at least), mimics flu like symptoms: fever-like aches, chills, upset stomach, and oddly a desire to eat constantly only to then feel more ill afterward. These symptoms were the bane of my existence for nearly a decade before I finally understood them.   They represent my wall, the great obstacle standing between me and my goals.  Today I hit that wall, and then I climbed over it.

When common sense said, “Sleep until the queasiness wears off,” I laced on my shoes instead.  It wasn’t a long walk by most people’s standards, just a mile. A mile in the wind, a mile with a sick stomach, a mile with a prickling forehead, but a mile representing my success, my desire to overcome.

Guess what?  It worked. I feel no worse for wear, but slightly better. Plus I know there is always this afternoon for a nap.  In the past couple of years I have learned light exercise reduces the pain associated with fibromyalgia, now I understand that unlike with a real flu, light exercise won’t make me feel worse, but will make the day feel more accomplished.

I am now in uncharted territory, with one wall crossed.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring, maybe new walls, but I can feel my confidence returning.  I feel as if my days of sitting at the base of a tall wall, tears of frustration running down my cheeks, are behind me. If need be I will cry as I climb over, but climb I will.

Fun Equals Pain

Today I discovered a new twist on the idea that “fun” equals “pain”.

Today’s fun – a two mile walk with two spurts of running added in because I felt too good to run just once.

While this was a major accomplishment for me, the feelings of joy diminished greatly a few hours later when to my agony, my right foot unceremoniously cramped.

Due to the morning’s joyful running, I am now denied another joy – walking barefoot around my house.  While massage, and later ice, offered relief to my poor foot, only the wearing of shoes provides for limp free walking.

When I was young and much healthier than today, I would have bemoaned such an annoying injury.  Today I have learned to celebrate my “battle wound” with ice cream and a good ole’ sappy movie.