We moved my father into a retirement home today and I’m a fucking wreck.
We moved my father into a retirement home today and I’m a fucking wreck.
Tonight, somewhere, someone is dying with family by their bedside.
A cool cloth is placed on his forehead.
A mouth is wiped dry.
A hand is held.
A tear is shed.
A story is told.
I left you surrounded by your family. I was honored to have seen you one last time.
Death is an inevitable journey for us all.
I hope yours is peaceful.
This weekend I ran my 3rd half marathon race. Grossly undertrained, I might add. My longest run had been 17k a few weeks prior and I would be lucky if I got one training run in during the week. I considered switching my bib to the 10k but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Finished another half just sounds better, right?!
I had no time goal other than to finish but if I’m honest with myself I knew I wanted to finish under 3 hours and certainly under 2:50. By some miracle or more likely sheer force of stubborn will, I crossed the finish line in 2:46:58. A minute slower than my previous effort last October and almost 10 minutes slower than my debut race in 2015.
About 10km into the race the outer aspect of my left knee started talking to me.
ITB. I haven’t experience ITB pain in several years. Uh oh. Not a good sign. A sign of undertraining in my opinion and poor post run stretch and foam roller etiquette.
But really, should I have expected anything different?
Oh and I probably needed new running shoes 6 months ago.
Now, on a training run I would pause my Garmin and stretch out my hip flexors but there was no way I was stopping on course. I knew that if I stopped moving to stretch I may not get started again. So, I just took extra walk breaks after 15 km or so. Before that I was sticking pretty well to my 1 km run and 100 meter walk intervals. After 15 km it was more like run 400 m, walk 200 m and repeat.
Looking around me, though, I saw other runners struggling too. I asked if they were okay. One runner had his hamstring seize up. For another it was her ankle. Others were just walking. Eventually I found the power walker I had been chasing unconsciously for most of the race and passed her. Yes! Not gonna lie. That was pretty awesome. All told when I crossed the finish line and before they gave me my medal, I burst into emotional, cathartic tears.
I am a bad blogger.
Recently I’ve had several new followers and I feel compelled to start writing again to earn that follow-ship. Yes, I clearly just made up that word.
I have no excuse for not writing other than the fact that I work two jobs, have 3 kids and elderly parents and am currently having the life sucked out of me by all of that. But really, I shouldn’t complain. My immediate circle – my kids and my husband – are healthy and generally pretty happy, I like to think. My daughter is thrilled to be making slime to share and trade with her friends. My almost-7 year old has learned how to ride his bike with no training wheels and has started swimming lessons. And the 4.5 year old is just … well, he’s happy tumbling around and being himself.
I, however, am overwhelmed. 950 patients in my family practice, a second job at a private health care clinic which is more demanding that I thought it would be, and an elderly declining father who has be move into a retirement facility because he is “too healthy” for a government long-term-care facility but not safe enough to continue to stay at home. The decision to move him comes right before his 83rd birthday and 50th (FIFTY YEARS!) wedding anniversary. It is not how I thought we’d be celebrating.
And to top it all off, I feel like I am not present for my kids enough and when I am I am often tired, frustrated and giving them shit for being kids.
But I think I have a solution…
It’s that time of year for resolutions, those things you decide you want to change or improve about yourself over the coming year.
1. Run more and farther.
I ran a good amount in 2017, about 750 km (give or take) over the year. I had a few minor over-use injuries which isn’t new to me. I ran a half marathon and had a 10km PB (personal best) race. I joined a running team (more about that in a future post) and met a lot of extraordinary people, many of whom are survivors in one way or another and who run to stay mentally strong. They are an incredibly inclusive group of people from all walks of life who all love to run. I feel lucky to have found them.
2. Yell less at my kids.
Being a parent is hard. Being a parent who doesn’t raise her voice is exhausting. I found myself in a cycle of yelling and saw its impact on my kids, my eldest in particular. Over the past 6 weeks both my husband and I have made a huge effort to lower our voices and I know with myself in particular, not yelling is hard to do. After asking my child to do something 3 times and not having it done, the only recourse I had, it seemed, was to raise my voice. It got their attention, but in a negative way. When I started hearing how they related to each other I realized they were emulating my behavior. We sat down with all the kids one day and acknowledged the tension in the house and told them that their mommy and daddy were going to do better. We asked them for help and it seems to be working. Oh, I still find myself yelling – I’m not a saint – but it is less than it was before. I’m a work in progress.
3. Read more books, particularly non-fiction.
I surf the net less when I’m reading a novel.
4. Complete another half marathon, or two.
I’m a glutton for punishment. What can I say?
5. Write more.
Happy New Year!
I went to bed at 5am. I can’t remember the last time that happened. Probably over a decade at least.
When I woke up the only thought I had (after treating the headache) was to go for a run.
Clearly I fried a few brain cells last night. Who willingly goes out in “feels like -20C” weather to run 5km?
Only crazy people.
And I’m proud to be one.
So, my husband was finally able to get back to the Christmas shopping now that all the kids are back in school and not sick anymore.
After multiple texts back and forth about what stuffies to get the kids, being unable to locate the one we know they all wanted at the Disney store, my brilliant receptionist spent all of 10 seconds on Google and located what we needed at the Showcase store.
Ladies and gentlemen … we have PORGS!!!!
My crew is going to be so excited to open these guys!
Every year, without fail, my kids get sick around the holidays. Last year was the worst, at least for me. I ended up with what was probably a Norwalk virus on New Year’s Eve. We were with friends, without kids and I ended up in the guest bedroom for the rest of the night while my friends rang in the New Year.
This year, the little one (4 years old), developed a high fever (39.5C or 104.5F) that lasted the better part of 6 days. Eventually we took him to his doctor for a throat swab but it was negative for strep. Husband got a small dose of it for 2 days and I got a head cold that lasted 3 days. After a week, the boy’s fever broke and he went back to school, none the worse for wear.
Then his older brother (6.5 years old) came down with a fever. For another 6 days, my husband (the stay-at-home parent) had to deal with a sick kid who was home from school for a week.
Meanwhile, the eldest, was beside herself.
“How come the boys got to stay home from school?”
“It’s not fair!”
“When will I get sick? I want to stay home for a week too!”
Well, my dear; be careful what you wish for.
The same day the 6.5 year old’s fever broke, his older sister started shivering and complained of a headache. Honestly, I thought she was faking it. But then I felt her forehead.
Here we go again.
On the bright side, she should be just fine for Christmas. However, I have no idea how husband is going to finish our Christmas shopping with another sick kid at home.
Today marks the one year anniversary the death – the murder – of my classmate and friend. She was a victim of intimate partner violence. I’m wearing the purple pin today, the same one I wore at her funeral.
There hasn’t been a single day in the past 365 days that I have not thought of her. Her death was a shattering blow to my little world. I have been lucky, I suppose, not to have yet experienced a sudden, unexpected death in my circle, let alone, a murder. The world has since felt cruel and unfair and unjust. When my youngest son smiles, giggles or cries, I think of her youngest. My heart breaks into a million little pieces thinking about that little boy who is the same age as mine and is now growing up without his mother. When I look at my 9 year old daughter and how she is growing and changing, I think of her two girls, aged 13 and 9 and my heart breaks a little more.
I’ve attended the preliminary hearing of the man accused of killing her and seeing him makes my skin crawl, my blood boil and the rage I feel is unlike anything I have felt before. Her immediate family cannot attend as they are witnesses, so I try to go when I can. It is a painfully slow process and I wish it would go faster. We all need some closure. Sadly with the state of our justice system, that closure will not (has not) come quickly.
I have read accounts of the families of victims of murder eventually being able to forgive the killers. They are stronger than I can ever be. I will never forgive that man for what he did to my friend, to his children. But I know that anger and rage is unhealthy and can eat away at me so I try to keep it buried and I run it off when I can.
She enjoyed running. She would find the time to comment on my posts about running on social media and every now and then a memory will pop up and I’ll see a comment from her. I can’t lie, it helps ease the pain in one sense, but re-ignites the rage in another. I honestly don’t know how her family is coping, I know they have to push forward for the children, but I wish they didn’t have to. No one deserves this kind of living hell. No one.
I don’t think I’ll ever quite get over this loss. I wish I understood why it has affected me so much. We hadn’t physically seen each other since graduation but with social media, I knew enough about her and “followed her” that I felt we were still connected. She reached out to me a few times when she moved back to the city and we were pregnant at the same time, but we never found the time to reconnect in person. I think I will always, always regret that. I do know that I need to forgive myself for that. There was nothing I could have done or said, had I known about her situation, that her closest, trusted friends and family, hadn’t done or said already.
I’m mad at her too. God, it feels awful to say it, but it’s true. Why did you stay with him? Why didn’t you run away when he hit you the first time? Why didn’t you listen to your friends and family then? It could have been all so different. You might still be alive today.
Last weekend, I ran a little race in my hometown along with 25,000 other people. I ran this one before, back in 2015. It was a half-marathon.
My training cycle took a huge nosedive in August when I ran too much while on vacation at the cottage. When I returned to running in the city, my legs were very mad at me. The nagging shin splints returned and I had to take a big break. I ran only once a week for the last month before the race. I was petrified that I wouldn’t be able to finish, let alone finish it standing up.
The longest training run was 16 km and I did that 3 weeks before the big day. My friend who is a triathlete told me that it was better to be 10% under-trained than 1% overt-rained. She ended up being right.
Race day arrived and I was a nervous wreck. I arrive on course early to support a new friend of mine as he completed his 5th (of 6) marathons of the weekend (that story is for another post). See, I joined this running team last spring, supporting someone who raises money and awareness for childhood survivors of sexual abuse and trauma. Through this team I have met a group of remarkable people all who like to run. Most of them run a hell of a lot faster than me, but they are an inspiring group of people and I am lucky to have found them.
I ran with one of these new friends for my half marathon. He was running the marathon and didn’t want to go out too fast, so I asked him if he wanted to run my pace with me and he did. We had a fantastic time. It was so nice to run with someone and be distracted from the fact I was trying to run 21.1 km.
In the end, I ran a good race and I felt great. Sure, my hips started getting tight at 9 km and the balls of my feet starting aching around 17 km. All of that was expected. Nothing actually hurt too badly, so I knew I could finish it.
I ran it for me – to challenge my mind, body and spirit. I didn’t beat my previous time but I knew I wouldn’t.
I was almost in tears when I finished. I just wanted to cross the finish line standing up and I did.
I ran for my dad. He has prostate cancer, and the previous week we got word that his radiation treatment worked and he was cancer free. I raised $500 for Prostate Cancer Canada prior to the race.
I ran for my classmate, colleague and friend who was murdered last year by her husband. I wear the purple armband that I wore at her funeral. I will wear it for every race until her murderer is convicted. My friend was a runner. She always supported my running on social media. I ran for her because she can’t run anymore.
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