The Singularity

Depression is like a black hole.

It’s so black you can’t see anything around you. You can’t see the love, the happiness, the light, the strength. When you fall inside, it wraps you up in a blanket and squeezes so tight you feel like you’ll never break free.

Even the thoughts are black.

“You’re weak.”

“You’re not good enough.”

“They’ll be better off without you.”

“You’re bringing everyone down.”

“There’s no point in fighting it anymore.”

Only there is a point.

It’s called life; and it’s messy and hard. It’s unpredictable and it’s amazing.

It’s suffering.

It’s embracing the suck, asking for help and getting on with it.

Relentlessly forward.

For months I was slipping deeper into the black hole; ashamed to admit I was there again.

I finally asked for help and talked about it.

Now the time for reflection and self-healing begins.

Reminder

I’ve been in a running slump. I’ve mentioned it before. I’ve only been running about once a week. I don’t know if I’m lacking motivation or what, but I just haven’t been enjoying the little bit of running I’ve been doing. That’s probably because it’s so few and far between and my muscles and joints are saying, “Woah there, honey. What are you doing to us?”

So after saying all week that I was going to go for a run today, or tomorrow, I finally made it happen. It wasn’t pretty and it was slow but I did it. 

I wore a specific race T-shirt to remind my legs that they have gone the distance and they still can. 

I just hope the next time I run isn’t another week from now.   

  

On Strength.

I know it’s been a while that I’ve written when I can’t remember what my last post was about. There’s been a lot going on, all of it good for the most part.

Daughter got her cast off and is on the mend. Most days I think she forgets about the elbow injury but she has been careful not to test it on the monkey bars (thanks in large part to the Orthopedic surgeon who told her not to go near them for a few weeks).

I’ve been a slammed at work… again.  My colleague had a family emergency quite suddenly and we’ve had to juggle her practice.  Thankfully there was a replacement doctor coming in for some vacation time so that has eased the burden this week.  I often feel I am asked to cover for my colleagues more than they cover for me and it’s been like that for years.  I work more than they do so it makes sense, I guess.  Still, it’s annoying and not likely to change unless I also reduce my hours, which isn’t going to happen anytime soon.  I nod politely and tell them I’ll do what I can but inside I can’t help but feel resentful. I know this is something that can’t continue because it will eat away at me. I just want things to be equal and I fear it’s never going to be.

Running is going well. I signed up for a 15k race and it’s coming up this weekend.  Of course I am nervous about it; I worry I’ll fall flat on my face and not finish even though I ran 18k two weeks ago, my furthest run to date.  The last 2k were very hard and I walked a lot so I know I was pushing myself but I felt I needed to in order to feel more confident about the upcoming race. I’ve been tapering since then and haven’t run more than 5-7 km and taking more rest days.  I ran 87.5 km during the month of May. My total for the year so far is 381 km.  I am not sure I’ll reach my goal of running 1000 km in 2015 but I do know that I will run a half marathon.

I also started strength training at home on the suggestion of my chiropractor and Pilates coach.  I’ve been doing upper and lower body free weights and have noticed a significant difference in my stamina already after just a month.  During my last run a few days ago, I was able to run up a very large hill without any walking.  That’s not something I could have done a month ago.  What an exhilarating feeling!  I have to say it’s also pretty cool seeing the changes in my muscles.  I already had pretty strong arms thanks to carrying toddlers around for the past 6 years almost non-stop.  My main weakness has been in my glutes so I learned how to do dead lifts and started incorporating those a couple of times a week into my routine.  Core strength is incredibly important as well and planking has helped.  My FB running group has a daily elbow plank challenge going on this month and my time has already increased by almost 25 seconds in just a week.  I’ve also been biking to and from work at least once a week as well.  I have a mountain bike, it’s pretty heavy and not terribly efficient so it’s a good workout, especially when I’m riding along the trail and have to climb the hills.

Fortis ego sum.

I am strong.

In the Zone

Yesterday I set out for a long run. Had planned 10km but with the new shoes (Asics Gel Nimbus) and better eating this week, I felt pretty good and flirted with the idea of pushing my body and going longer. I signed up for a 10km race which is happening in a few weeks so this would likely be that last long run until then. 

I’ve been to two Pilates sessions in the past couple of weeks and got some great tips on how to loosen up my hip joints. I did a lot of dancing as a child and was always taught to “tuck in”. I suppose I never really forgot that because apparently it’s what is causing a lot of my issues. My SI joints are locked up and I am working hard to unlock them.  My instructor also suggested a few minor changes to how I run and I’ve been trying to incorporate those techniques. Overall I have been running with consciously tightening my core which in turns causes me to lock up my hip joints. That has got to change. 

So during the early stages of my run yesterday, between 3-9km, I felt amazing. I felt like I was flying and my hips felt great. I almost felt like I was meditating.  By 10km though, I started getting tired and felt the SI joint acting up. I made a few adjustments and was surprised how it actually did help ease up the discomfort. 

Before I knew it I was home and finished my longest run to date. 

 
I was also able to finally test out my two-bottle water belt. It felt a little awkward initially but I soon got used to it and was so glad to have my hands free.  I’ll definitely be using it for the race. 

  
This morning my legs certainly noticed the subtle differences I incorporated in my run. My quads are sore but in that good way. Nothing a little foam rolling won’t cure. 

Anyone who says running doesn’t work to lose weight or get fit clearly didn’t test their body. 

 

Tenacity, Determination, Discipline.

Day 19.  National Blog Posting Month.

So, I am really doing this thing.  I set out at the beginning of the month to write a post every day and I am doing it.  I’m not all that surprised though, to be honest.  Usually when I set out to do something, I do it.

I did it with running.  A year or two ago, I never, ever would have thought I’d embrace this running culture.  I recall seeing runners on the street, with their 3-4 little water bottles strapped to their back and their fancy clothes and would think, “Why would someone want to do that?”  Despite have some girlfriends who are runners (who yes, I thought were pretty nuts for running 1/2 marathons), it wasn’t something I felt I could ever do. Back when my husband and I were dating, I remember going out for a “run” with him on Saturday afternoon.  His idea of running is a very leisurely jog in the neighborhood.  I don’t think I lasted more than a few minutes, despite the fact that I had been working out regularly at the gym at the time.  There certainly wasn’t anything “fun” about it.

Then during the spring of 2012, right after my son turned 1, I remember chasing my daughter across a field and getting completely winded afterwards. So winded in fact, that I almost felt like throwing up.  It was a huge eye-opener for me.  I was ridiculously out of shape.  I wasn’t overweight, sure I had an extra 10 pounds or so from my pre-baby weight, but by no means was I “fat”.  I was just really, really de-conditioned.  So, for a few months I debated joining a gym.  I started doing some home workout DVDs but it just wasn’t enough.  Husband suggested that I start running – it’s cheap, it’s quick and I could do it right after work.  In early July, 2012, my girlfriend invited me to her “boot camp”.  I decided to go.  It was a painful 3km run and I couldn’t move for 3 days afterward, but I was hooked.

My husband was really proud of me for not only starting to run, but keeping up with it.  Though he said he wasn’t at all surprised — he has always said that I have a tremendous amount of tenacity, determination and discipline.  I suppose he is right.  After all, I decided at the age of 13 that I wanted to be a physician and nothing stood in my way of reaching that goal.

So as I get back into this running thing, I ask myself what I want to accomplish with my running.  Right before I got pregnant, I was just meters away from running 10 kilometers.  I think that is a reasonable goal to strive for, but baby steps first.  I don’t want to risk injury, nor do I want my breast milk supply to suffer.  I don’t plan on nursing past 6 months as I will be returning to work.  It will be spring when I go back and I think it would be great to be able to get my runs in right after work – it is a very convenient 5 km straight stretch from the office to home.

So, goal #1 – be able to run 5 km by March, 2013.

Goal #2 – physical (ie. respiratory) endurance.  Despite getting close to the 10 km distance, I wasn’t quite able to run a solid 10-20 minutes and that is something I would like to change.  I ran once, a year ago, for a solid 20 minutes but wasn’t able to repeat that feat.

Goal #3 – toning and weight loss.  I was in great shape when I got pregnant last winter and I would love to get back there again, which means I have about 25 lbs (yikes!!) to lose and about 12 inches in total to trim (from hips, thighs and waist).

Wow.

Seeing it in writing makes it so real and so daunting.  But you heard it here first.  I am committed to staying healthy and fitting back into those damn Guess jeans that I own.  Come hell or high water!

Guess Jeans

Tenacity.

Determination.

Discipline.

But first, I need to throw out every single piece of Hallowe’en chocolate in my house.