Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ringing in 2012

Well, I can't say I'm sad about seeing 2011 leave us. Good riddance to a bad year! Okay, maybe not all bad, 'cause even in the darkness there were rays of sunshine, and those rays continue to get brighter and brighter. And while I learned many valuable lessons in 2011, let's just say I've had enough lesson-learning for awhile.

The toe is feeling sort of okay. It's better when I tape it to the 4th toe. The bruising has now crept into the top of my foot, which helps explain why the foot was a bit swollen last night.

But I didn't let it stop me as my last run of the year consisted of 12 peaceful miles on the Elk River Trail in the beautiful Headwaters Forest. I love that place. After the first 3 miles, you climb for 2.5 miles, then get to run downhill with wild abandonment if you want to. Usually, I have that whole section to myself, but toward the end of today's downhill festivities, I came upon four walkers who were gracious enough to step aside and let me continue my dance.

I ended the year with 647.6 miles under my belt, which ain't too shabby considering I was out of the game for six months.

So as we leave 2011 behind and take our first tentative steps into 2012, I wish you and yours all the love, happiness, peace, joy, and prosperity you so richly deserve.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

And It Keeps Getting Better . . .

As I was walking through my living room this morning (walking with a purpose, I might add, as sauntering is rarely in my vocabulary), I managed to slam/jam my left little toe into our ottoman (yes, the same foot I injured back in March). In the same instance, I heard a cracking sound, although that could very well have been my brain registering what I'd just done. As I instantly fell - okay, slammed - to the floor, grabbed my foot, and yelled "OW! OW! OW!" over and over, I couldn't help but think, "Really? REALLY? Has this really happened?"

Now it's the afternoon, and my toe has swollen quite nicely and is turning a lovely shade of blackish-blue. I can finally walk without limping, but it does protest if I scrunch up my toes. Is it broken or just sprained really bad? Dunno. But I intend to test the waters on my run this evening.

And thus continues the "Fatozzig Journal of Injuries."

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Staying Hopeful

Someone suggested I try one of those straps that you place just below the knee. Don't know if it's coincidence, but I've worn it my past three runs with no knee problems. I'm almost afraid to try running without it because the pain I experienced before was so bad. I have an appointment with my ortho for a final foot looksee, so I'll ask him about the knee at the same time.

Other than this knee issue, my body seems to be bouncing back in a halfway decent manner. This past Saturday I did 11 miles out at Headwaters and had a great time! Headwaters is one of my most favorite places to run. The 2.5 mile climb after the 3-mile mark is challenging enough to get your heart pounding, but not so bad that you wonder what the heck you're doing out there, and then coming down those same 2.5 miles - Woo Hoo! Fun stuff! A downhill running delight!

I have decided against trying to get into Chuckanut up in Washington. Originally, I was going to try because I had a ticket through United Airlines that I needed to use before April 28. When I originally had to cancel my travel plans (due to the foot injury), United told me I could not get a refund, but I could use my canceled ticket toward a new flight within a one-year period of the original canceled flight. (Are you following me?) Now they're telling me that because I didn't cancel the original itinerary I can't put that ticket toward a new one, but they'll refund me my money (less a $50 refund fee). I know - What?? None of it makes sense to me, either, but so long as I get my money back, I don't care. So, instead of Chuckanut, I'll probably due a run in the Bay Area through either Pacific Coast Trail Runs or Coastal Trail Runs.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It Just Keeps Coming

On tap for yesterday's workout was 5 miles with 3-4 hill strides in the middle. The legs felt great, and the strides went as best as can be expected at this point. My left knee has felt a tad twingy over the last few days, and unfortunately, last night it decided to do the ultimate twinge and stopped me dead in my tracks around Mile 3.5 and 1.5 miles from home. May I say, OW! Freaking OW! I ended up having to power walk back home, and about .25 miles out, had to resort to sort of a squatting walk with the left leg as it hurt to fully extend the leg. I think it's just inflammation, and I think the culprit is the inserts I put in my shoes to help my low back. They're thicker at the heel, and I'm assuming my body has become so use to the lower, flatter profile of my Inov-8s that the insert has thrown things off. This stinks as using them has made a big difference in my lower back.

The knee is still puttin' on a pretty good hurt today, especially when I first get up from sitting, so I'm doing the ibu and ice thing. I'm going to lay off doing anything (except core and upper body) until at least Saturday. If the knee feels even slightly off come Friday evening, I'll postponed any running until Sunday. I keep telling mysef, "Must Not Be Stupid! Must Not Be Stupid!" It's still early enough in my base-building that not doing any running for even up to a week shouldn't set me back much.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Life . . . .

Wow! I haven’t posted anything since September 11 - almost three months. It’s not that there hasn’t been anything going on in my life, it’s just that the things that have been happening have left me worn out and needing to take a break from everything.

It’s been a tough year for my husband and me. Some who read this know the situation, the rest will have to remain in the realm of suspense as it’s not something I wish to discuss on the world wide web. But suffice to say, it’s been an extremely tough year. My foot injury in March was but a drop in the bucket catching the torrential downpour of pain - emotionally, physically, and financially.

We are, however, beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and with each passing day, the light grows larger and brighter. Part of that light is my husband finally admitting, and coming to terms with the fact, he is an alcoholic. After 24 years of both of us suffering through this disease, I cannot fully express my joy and relief at being able to say that the suffering, while not over, is being replaced by living. We still have a long, hard road ahead of us - as you know, an alcoholic is never cured, but has to work hard each day to maintain sobriety - and each of us continues to struggle as we work to put our life together back together, but he has fully embraced his sobriety, and I believe we are on the road to healing and recovery, as individuals and as a couple.

The changes that have come over my husband in the past eight months, both physically, mentally, and emotionally, are still a bit overwhelming. He’s lost close to 50 pounds, other physical manifestations from the abuse of alcohol have subsided, he is thinking clearly for the first time in years, he is finally beginning to understand he has a life worth living and it’s a good life. He’s a good man who really screwed up, but as I’ve told him a number of times, we are blessed that when he hit rock bottom, it didn’t bring about the injury or death of another person. For that, I am so very thankful to God each and every day.

When we slammed into the pit together, we came face-to-face with our faults as individuals and as a couple. Although no marriage is perfect, we had lost sight of who we were to one another and the respect that is suppose to accompany that relationship. Many people questioned why I chose to stay with my husband, but I tell you now, I have had to do just as much soul searching as he has, and I have had to hold a mirror up to my own face, as well. It takes two to tango, my friends. Rarely is the dying of a relationship solely the fault of one person.

We have friends who have chosen to walk away, but we have had just as many who have been willing to forgive, wrap us in their loving embrace, and give my husband a second chance. I don’t fault those who chose to leave, and I don’t wish them ill will. Just the opposite, I fully understand the choice they’ve made. I do, however, hope that maybe one day they will be able to forgive, even if they continue to choose to not have us in their lives.

Many have told me they admire my resilience, that the strength I have shown throughout these past eight months has been both admirable and astounding. I appreciate each and every one of those comments as they have sustained me during some very long, dark periods. On the other hand, it surprises me that people are astounded by my attitude.

When I vowed 24 years ago to love, honor, and cherish my husband for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health til death do us part, I meant it. Those weren’t simply words said by my pastor to be repeated, I . . . meant . . . them. Fortunately, I never stopped loving. Unfortunately, I stopped cherishing. Some may say it was inevitable given the circumstances. I say the circumstances were no excuse.

We are coming to terms with what happened, and we are slowly building our relationship again. It’s not unlike when we first started dating and were getting to know one another. We’ve been given something precious - a second chance at a better, more fulfilling relationship and life. We have been very blessed in so many ways, especially with regard to the people who have surrounded us. Certain individuals reading this will know I am talking about them, and without giving specific names, I say thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to each and every one of you. I will never be able to fully express how much you mean to me, to both of us, how much you are loved, and how so very grateful I have been for your support, love, and understanding.

One of the greatest blessings, however, is that these last eight months have led me back to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is true that in our darkest hours when we cry out to Him, He wraps us in His loving arms and saves us from ourselves. I spent the last 24 years pushing God out of my life. I spent the last eight months finding my way back to Him. The peace I have found in His loving embrace is like nothing I have ever experience before in my life. The blessings He has bestowed upon me, upon both of us, have been overwhelming, and each day brings new blessings. I am finding a foothold in a local church, and have been warmly accepted into this new family. My husband has indicated an interest in attending when the circumstances finally allow, and for this I am also so very grateful and thankful. It is my profound hope and prayer that we are able to begin our life anew with a relationship built not only on mutual respect and love, but also on a faith in God.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 73:26: “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

I have also returned to running. It’s close to two months since I started back, and am slowly building my mileage again. I have switched to Inov-8s for both road and trail as the wider toe box is more agreeable to my foot. I still have issues of minor swelling now and then, but I appear to be over the major hump.

As such, I’ve set some lofty goals for myself for 2012. If all goes according to plan, I will be running the Chuckanut 50k Trail in March, the Western States 3-Day Training Camp over Memorial Day Weekend in May, the Mt. Hood 50-Mile Trail Run with my friend, Kate, in July, and perhaps a final 50k or marathon in October/November. I don’t know if I’ll accomplish each goal, but I am thankful to finally be able to set them again.

As 2011 comes to a close and we prepare to enter the new year, I pray that God enriches your life with His blessings, and that 2012 brings you the joy, peace, and lasting happiness you so richly deserve.

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same…
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

- Rudyard Kipling, “If”