Buh bye, 2016

This has been quite the year. It wasn’t terrible. There are still a few days left, so I won’t tempt fate by saying anything too final about it. I am at least a little distressed by many of the celebrities that we lost. I found a few disappointments through the end of the year that  left me with a less than favorable review of the year.

January saw the struggle to get my teenager’s mental health care in order. We weren’t done with hospital bills or doctor visits by a long shot. We managed to find a useful combination of prescription drugs and deal with some other aspects of the illness. She’s been exposed to an opinion that one medication is harmful  due to people like comedians saying bad things about it. Which makes it easy for her to believe that the medication is not responsible for the positive change. The thought process isn’t unusual in someone with bipolar disorder, but I wish people wouldn’t try to demonize certain medications for mental illness.  Additionally, her cognitive dysfunction makes communication challenging at times. There are many times where the message gets lost simply because there is too much trying to read between the lines or translate a hidden meaning where one doesn’t exist. Add to it just parenting a teenager, and it is constantly challenging. We’ve managed to get better control of her Crohn’s disease through some medication changes as well. That still hasn’t fully been adjusted to the perfect level, but she isn’t suffering as much as when it first surfaced. She has started to be able to gain weight, so there’s the positive in that. I’m really hoping that my efforts in raising money for Crohn’s will also increase awareness. She definitely has encountered some people who think the disease means she simply uses the bathroom more often and that’s a very minimal and ignorant way to view something much more serious. It wouldn’t be so disheartening if people wouldn’t make comments on her social media accounts that refer to Crohn’s as something that isn’t a real illness.

I spent a lot of time running this year. It may have helped keep my head above water in some pretty tough times. I was part of a training program during almost every month of the year. The start of the year, I tried to run at least 1 mile per day. I adjusted the goal to run or walk. Then, I got physically ill and unable to leave my bed for a few days. I didn’t immediately accept that it was over and intended to restart the running streak. I didn’t go back to trying to run or walk a mile per day. I mentored a winter/spring group for a 10k race while training for a half marathon. The 10k was a great experience. The people I got to know and the race itself were memorable. The half marathon was unforgettable because it was not pleasant and I may have actually had real tears in my eyes near the end of the race. I know that running is supposed to be fun and that if I’m not having fun, I need to pause. That was my second half marathon and now I’ve run 5 half marathons because the other 3 that I ran this year. I had no intention of any long breaks from running, but there’s that saying about man making plans and God laughing at them. My injured ankle is no longer swollen. It hurts from time to time. I often feel like I need to loosen it up and rotate my foot around a bit. The pleurisy I had finally abated enough for me to move normally and experience minimal pain. The relief was of course after 2 days of the pain being intense and unrelenting. I typically won’t complain if I’m hurting, but I considered crying a couple of times from the sharp pain and inability to move or even sit still without feeling it. It was a dash of holiday spirit and a bunch of stubbornness that pulled me through.

This Monday evening, I finally hopped on the elliptical and went for a 25 minute workout. I up the estimate of how long I’m going to work out by 5 minutes to leave a ‘warm up’ time, so I said I was going to do 20, but set the machine for 25. The first few minutes, I almost got teary eyed thinking about how it was such a big deal that I was doing cardio and I wasn’t swimming. After a few minutes, I got itchy from sweating and remembered how the itching used to be so much more frequent when I started working out regularly. I pushed myself to finish the entire 25 minutes, then I did my hip workout and stretches. I was energized by it and I was so happy to finally get a workout in after the back to back [to back] misfortunes and illnesses. I was actually able to move furniture around and clean under it for the first time since I’d hurt my ankle. It might not seem like a big deal, but I was ecstatic to actually sweep and mop the most used parts of the house.


My first workout since early November. Elliptical for 25 min and some Eminem to keep me going. (And my cleavage because I said so)

I plan to run tonight. I’m nervous. I wish I could go during the day while there’s still light out, but all three kids are on break and my husband works, so I’ll have to settle for trying out a reflective jacket I still haven’t gotten to wear that I bought in October. Ok, I’m kind of excited to try it out. I might even run further than just around the block if I’m not hurting.

Am I saying 2016 was a bad year? Not really bad. I was sick more times than I have been in quite a few years. I had 2 really long bouts with mystery illnesses that seemed to last longer for me than anyone else who was sick around the same time. I actually drank enough to get a hangover, which at my age is far fewer drinks than ‘back in the day.’  I had an injury that sidelined me from my first marathon. Of course the injury didn’t happen until I’d trained 16 weeks and ran all but one of my training runs. I had a very sick oldest child and my two younger children to care for. My husband was needed on business trips to Atlanta and Tempe a few times, so I was left to my own devices at home with all of the offspring and my fat little puggle dog.

In 2016, I also managed to mentor 3 running groups (5k, 10k, half marathon), participate in a training program for a full marathon, run a bunch of races where I had a great time, and spend time with friends and family. My husband and I grew closer and we stood together through the toughest times and supported one another through it all. My kids really are all wild, but loveable. They know right from wrong and I try to set a good example. I’m human and I make mistakes just like anyone else. That isn’t unique to this year or any other. I’m still alive and kicking. I managed to keep my kids and dog alive. I managed to keep myself alive.

2017 will see me running my first marathon, I hope. I’ll be running in Chicago in October and I’ll be fundraising throughout the year for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). I’m missing out on the first training session of the year to make a full recovery, but I’ll be back at it soon enough. I run because I can, and never because I have to. I get to run tonight. I get to run a marathon this coming year. I get to run again and that is why I’m looking forward to the coming year. Not because I’m ready to escape the present year. I feel like I’ve really changed a lot in this past 12 months and I like me a little more than I did before.

Fundraising link here: Mom Jenn Goal of 26.2

Do you have goals for 2017? Was 2016 memorable for you?

I love feedback, everyone! Please reach out to me if you have any questions or comments. Or use this as a way to have a conversation with your friends! Happy and Prosperous New Year!!!!


Still Planning 26.2

I spent 16 weeks training for a marathon this summer/autumn. I ran in scorching heat ad pouring rain, I had some digestive issues, and then I injured myself [while not running]  two days before my big debut. An injury bad enough to get scratched on race day and cheer on my pals from the sidelines. That was fun, but I still need to do a marathon.

I’ve remained optimistic about finishing a marathon. Not really, friends. I’ve often worried that this injury and/or the time off will alter my running ability to the point that I won’t be able to run. My ankle was injured on November 3rd, so it isn’t fully healed. The good news is that I can start trying to run on it. If only I hadn’t gotten some sort of respiratory infection that led to a pneumonia diagnosis leading to pleurisy, I would be out running in this frigid weather to get my groove back. I’m so happy to not be constantly coughing from the pneumonia, but the pleurisy is painful. I feel as if I lost a jousting match and had the lance ends removed from poking out so nobody could see that it was more than a flesh wound. No idea why I would be jousting, but that’s not really the point here. It’s that I want to run and things keep getting in my way that I seriously can’t just ignore or work around to get in my exercise. At least when it was just my ankle, I could go swim at the gym. For some reason, I feel they’d frown upon me coughing my brains out or clutching my chest while doing cardio.

So, I have time to rest (not really my thing) and I have time to think. Last weekend, I spoke to my running buddy Jane over coffee. She told me about her plans for running in the coming year and I explained some of mine. I told her that I didn’t think I would be recovered enough to plan training in January for an April marathon and that I didn’t want to train in the winter to run in what could potentially warmer race day conditions. I am good at regulating when I’m cold. I have a hard time cooling down once I’m hot. She told me about her plans to run in the Chicago Marathon this October and how she’s going to raise money for diabetes for her entry. I went home and I started to research what I would do for my own marathon. My only plans for the coming year were really to recover and then train for a marathon, but I hadn’t put a lot of thought into anything different from the one I’d missed this year. The more I researched, I realized I could fund raise for entry. The day I saw my friends posting their acceptance letters into Chicago, I decided I needed to actually go through with it and plan to run that marathon. I have a teenager with Crohn’s disease, so I checked up on the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). They have a team that runs Chicago! It was like I was meant to do it this way. I contacted CCFA for the info and was signed up within the day.

You know what that means? Yes you do. I’m collecting money with a $2000 goal for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America as part of my entry into the Bank of America Chicago Marathon 40th Anniversary. I will be running my first marathon after fundraising for a worthy cause. I’ll give you my link and probably insert the link into all of my entries until race day. I’ve done my homework on this charity and I am excited to help them educate people and to eradicate inflammatory bowel disease. So, join me on my new journey, will you?  I’ll be healthy soon enough and then I’ll be doing a few different exercises to improve my overall strength to make my running better. Then, I’ll be training for my first marathon!

Thank you for reading! I hope that I’m reaching people that need to see encouragement or just someone you find you relate to. Please let me know if there are topics you’d like to see covered. I love feedback and comments. My fundraising link is:  http://online.ccfa.org/goto/MomJennGoal262






What else could…nevermind

I refuse to ask the question, “What else could go wrong?” It’s like tempting bad things to go ahead and happen. I guess that is a an odd way to think when I assert that things are more random and less purposeful than people like to believe.

What are you talking about, Jenn? Well, I haven’t been running. This isn’t really that big of a surprise considering I hurt my ankle pretty badly right before I was to run my first marathon about a month ago. Things are healing and it actually looks like my other foot now, which is progress. I haven’t been working out at all,though. I’ve lost a few pounds on the scale, though. I’ve been sick and hating it.

Two weeks ago, I felt fine. By the start of the following week, I was not fine anymore. I was weak and my body ached. I had trouble doing my day to day chores. My body was aching and the joints in both of my legs and feet felt like they were rusted and stuck. I started coughing and just didn’t feel like myself. My husband was taking care of me and I needed to be well enough to host Thanksgiving. I wound up leaning mostly on him for everything assuming I was going to feel better the very next day each day. The Monday after Thanksgiving saw me still not getting much sleep, so Tuesday I saw a ‘doc in the box’ at a pharmacy. She diagnosed me with pneumonia and possibly infections in both ears, gave me an antibiotic, and encouraged me to follow up with my family physician.

I’m still coughing like crazy, but I can actually hear without feeling like I have something wrapped around my head. I called my family physician, who said I need to tough it out for a few more weeks and I’ll feel better.

I am not patient. I was ready to start taking walks to prepare for my return to running. I don’t even know what to do with myself when I can’t be active. I miss my running friends. I feel a little like life is taking a crap on me lately. I know things could be worse, but they could also be better. It just seems like a little much all at once. Not to mention this is the season where it just starts to feel more gloomy.

It’s hard not to think about the unpredictable nature of life. The fact is that any little thing could alter the plans you’ve made and interrupt your goals. Something literally microscopic can force you to reevaluate things you thought were all within your control. There’s no telling when or if the controls will be relinquished back to you at any point.

I want to feel better. One day, I want to go out and run. I want to finish a freaking marathon still. Right now, I just want to have a restful night of sleep and a day where I don’t feel exhausted from the few things I do at the start of the day. Those things I want to do seem so much further out of reach than they did a month ago. Before I tripped and fell and before I was fighting off some microscopic body invader, I was so much more sure that it was possible. I’m pretty much mad that I’m sick with some sort of mystery bug that will likely hang around awhile longer while I anxiously await my chance to run. While I also try to believe that nothing else will get in the way of me getting back to my fitness journey, I can’t help but think of the possibilities of my next bump in the road.

Do you find it hard to entertain yourself when you have to ‘relax’? Have you ever felt depressed when you’re sidelined with an injury and/or illness? Have you started setting running/fitness goals for 2017 so they’re ready?