Monday, February 8, 2016

Hello, it's me.....

My last post was on July 7, 2015 and well, a lot of life has happened since then.  At the end of last year I wanted to write a "end of year" recap but just couldn't bring myself to do it.   Last year was a year of struggle, a lot of patience, a lot of doctor's visits, a lot of medical bills and a lot of questioning what the heck am I doing.  To give a brief recap on my absence...

May 2015 - My back issues reached their peak

June 2015 - Went through 4 doctors looking for answers.  2 of those doctor's told me I'd never run long distance again.

July 2015- Rehab.  No running.  No anything other than rehab.  (doctors orders)

August 2015 - Rehab.  Swimming only.

September 2015 - Swimming with a few short runs (only 1-2 miles) sprinkled in.

October 2015 - Swimming and increasing my running just a tad

November 2015 - Got to run a 5K!  Wahoo.

December 2015 - Finally started to establish a regular running routine but then....dodged two cancer scares. Did I mention I saw A LOT of doctor's???  This is something that I wasn't going to post because well, it's personal, however I hope it serves as awareness to others to pay attention to what is going on in your body.  Genetics do not work in my favor in the health department so I have to be extra cautious.  Through a CT scan of my GI Tract  (to diagnose the first issue.  Not cancer, but something i'll have forever) a second issue was uncovered and they detected two masses, one in each breast.  One I knew was there because I found it through a self exam 6 years ago.  (Do your exams ladies!)   Luckily, it was biopsied and found to be a Fibroadenoma, a non-cancerous tumor.  The second one was news to me and obviously it startled me because it could not be felt.  Long story short, I go through the process again of a mammogram and sonogram and by the grace of God it too was a fibroadenoma.  During that scan it was uncovered that I actually have 6 of those bad boys just hanging around and yet only one can be felt.  THIS is why you cannot rely solely on self exams.  

On a lighter note, in the middle of December we took a family trip to Disney World which was a blast!  While there was no running, we did manage to walk over 10 miles each day.  

 and this.....

You guys, Disney World is exhausting.  I've run marathons and my feet have never hurt like that before.  Upon returning from Disney I caught what can only be described as the least magical cold/sinus infection I have ever had.  It lasted for two solid weeks and I was in complete and total misery all through the holidays.  Needless to say that the second half of December there was no running.

January 4, 2016 - Brandon took Eddie to the vet because we thought his labored breathing was due to his teeth hurting him and he needed a cleaning (the usual for Ed).  A heart murmur was detected so they did an x-ray where they found a large mass that was attached to his little lung and taking up about 75% of his chest cavity.

January 6, 2016 - We had a sonogram done to confirm that it was indeed a tumor (not a cyst) and had it biopsied. 

January 8, 2016 - Our worst fears were confirmed, Eddie had cancer.  Terminal cancer that was going to spread like a wildfire.

January 17, 2016 -  Eddie mustered up the energy to go on a long slow walk,  sunbathed in the back yard, ate a Whataburger pattie with cheese and french fries for lunch (first meal he had eaten in days) and then from the comfort of our own home surrounded by love, we had to send the bravest dog I ever knew over the rainbow bridge.  Hearts = shattered.  

Needless to say, 2016 did not start off any better than 2015.  To be honest January is a big blur filled with lots of tears, sleepless nights and learning a new normal with a little bit of running thrown in here and there.  

While Brandon and I have been put through the ringer over the last several months, we feel overwhelmingly blessed to have each other.  The hard times are a true test of a marriage, and I can say that we passed those tests with flying colors.  We have each other, our other pups,  Eddie in our hearts, and a roof over our heads...that's all you can ask for.    

So here we are.  February 2016.   Brandon got offered an entry into the Dallas Hot Chocolate 15K so I figured if he was going to be up early making the drive to Dallas, I might as well sign up and make the trek too.  I knew I wouldn't be sufficiently trained but to be frank, I didn't give a damn.  After the last several months I was more than willing to throw caution to the wind and just do something that I knew would make me happy.  I had done a couple of long-ish runs so I knew I could wing it at a comfortable pace.  

Race day was cold, cloudy but not windy.  We hopped on the train to Fair Park, ran into a few friends waiting inside, and then made our way to the starting corrals.  As I was standing in the starting corrals I was a little nervous because honestly, I had no idea how this was going to go.  It's a weird thing to explain, but after taking so much time off, the starting line is really terrifying because of all the doubts running through your head.  The race started and we were off!    The first mile of a big race is always a mess while trying to get around tons of other runners in order to find your rhythm.  I came up on the 10:30 pacer and after about a mile, I realized she was pacing closer to 10:15.  The pace felt good so I just stuck with it.  After mile 5 I really wanted to push my pace but instead I told myself to just hang steady and run a solid race.  I went into that race expecting a 10:45ish pace and having to stop and walk after about mile 7.  Well, much to my surprise I finished the race with a comfortable 10:15 pace and felt great!  NO walking and could have run further if I had to.  Luckily I didn't have to and instead I got to eat chocolate ;)  It was a far cry from a PR for me but I was pleased as punch.
The only downside to the race was it got wayyyyy colder towards the end!  So sitting in a sweaty sports bra out in the cold while waiting for the train was loads of fun.  Fellas, you just don't understand the struggle.  Once back to our car we found our way to brunch and celebratory beer!  Getting to race again with Brandon lifted my spirits in a way that was SO needed.  My birthday is this Friday and it was definitely the best birthday gift I could have given myself.

I'm hopeful to get to run the Dallas Rock n Roll Half in March, followed by the Fairview Half in April.  However my main focus is re-building my fitness from the inside out.  Starting with implementing the breathing techniques I'm learning from the book The Oxygen Advantage, and we will be doing Vo2 Max testing later this month.  I'm really excited to put "31" behind me and welcome in the year of "32" on Friday! 

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