Tag Archives: stress

Yeah. Stuff Is Hard.

My old pal and running partner Sasha used to say that you can only do three things well. At the time, we both had small children and were training a lot for races. Her three things were running, writing, and parenting. Mine were….running, parenting, cooking, working, knitting….I might have been trying to do too many things, actually. I’m like that. It doesn’t mean I’m doing them well. It just means I “never have time” and I have too much going on.

I’ll be honest: I am having a hard time lately. Obviously, I cannot say too much here. But that is the truth.

A big part of it, I’m sure, is the damn election. As for probably every other woman out there, it’s triggering rage at the lifetime of sexism, minor assaults, etc. No need to belabor this point. At all.

And divorce. It’s hard. I’ll just leave it at that.

The cat I lost custody of* went missing for several days (one of which was cold, rainy, windy, stormy). Thankfully, she’s been found, and in other happy news, my landlord said I can get a cat, so the boys and I will start looking around for a kitty for our home. So that is very happy news.

Here’s what I’m doing:

  1. Parenting, trying to help my kids be happy and healthy and thriving during this big transition in their lives.
  2. Working (and I have an extra client right now, one I want to impress, of course, but it means the current couple of weeks are kind of a strain on me).
  3. Training for an ultramarathon (go ahead and say, “WTF are you thinking?”).
  4. Socializing and trying to recover myself and my interests (climbing, mountain biking, baking, etc.).
  5. Finishing unpacking and setting up this apartment (actually, screw that; I’m hopefully here only 10 more months and I don’t want to put much more money into this apartment or unpack anything else; we still need some rugs and some storage items, but I’m not doing much else).
  6. Figuring out what happens next regarding the divorce, where we’ll all live next year, future employment, and so on.

That is a lot. 

Honestly, fitness has fallen right out the window. I’m not going to the gym. I’m barely running. I should be doing multi-hour runs at this point. Instead, I’m trying to get sleep or get extra work-time in when I can.

And sometimes, like tonight, I just need to spend some time baking and vacuuming and then curled up on the couch watching old episodes of “House.”

So if, by Sasha’s rules, I had to pick three, it would be parenting, working, self-care/sleep. Some of that self-care involves time with friends; some of it involves baking; some of it involves time on Facebook, and I am not ashamed of that. Some days Facebook provides my only social interaction, since I work from home. Don’t judge.

Anyway. Lately things feel hard. Maybe I’m doing too much. The ultra training, much as I hate to say it, has to go. I just don’t have the time or energy for it right now, and it’s not where I should be putting my energy, and it’s becoming a stressor instead of something to look forward to. I hate to let go of it. But I need to take care of myself and conserve energy (physical and mental) right now.

So that’s where I’m at. Feel free to give me an unsolicited hug. Or ask how I am. Or tell me a joke.

*because when I found this apartment, it was “No pets allowed,” so C took the cat when we all moved in August. But now I can have a cat, YAY THANK GOD.

Limping Towards Boston — and So Excited About It

It’s almost 10 p.m. and I’m trying to quell what is best described as a feeling of rising panic. No, it’s not about the marathon. That’s a wash. Not a wash — I will be running the 119th Boston Marathon on Monday, amazingly enough, but slowly and probably in some pain and taking my sweet time about it. I was on the fence about how to approach it at this point. I’m trained, but my taper has been terrible, not enough sleep at all, too much wine, not running more than 13 miles total in the past 2.5 weeks, and now I have a gross head cold. And an achy leg.

I was thinking maybe I’d see what I can do anyway (oh hey there ego, need to get knocked down several pegs yet again?) but my tibia is throbbing after an hour of grocery shopping, so I’m just going to get to the finish line under my own steam, no matter how long it takes, and I am going to have a great time doing it.

My leg was fine for the 21-mile run on the course but, a week later, I went out for a hilly 9-miler (yeah, I don’t know if I ran much in between) and felt a stinging/burning right at the site of last fall’s stress reaction. It’s gotten worse, so it’s a big ache on the bone. I tried to go for a run over the weekend but 2 miles in stopped in tears, limping, and called my husband to pick me up.

I agreed to the MRI my doctor (a runner) suggested and waited breathlessly for the results, which showed no stress fracture or stress reaction. The area could be terribly sensitized to pain, my doctor suggested. It could be shin splints. In any case, she doesn’t see anything that would indicate that running the marathon would cause severe damage (“I mean, you could end up with a stress fracture, anyway, of course, but there’s nothing to give us any reason to expect that”). She said to take a lot of ibuprofen and try a 3-miler this weekend.

I can’t. I will simply go to the starting line instead on Monday. I know it might go badly, but I also know the endorphins will wash over me and carry me through. I have been training for this race since 2012, truth be told, after qualifying and registering for the 2013 Boston Marathon (and then tearing my soleus that January, knocking me out of training). I had to recover, qualify, and train all over again. This has been a long time coming, and I’m doing it, and I can hardly let myself believe it.

I’m also woefully unprepared as far as general marathon prep. I haven’t managed to organize a drop bag for my running club’s post-marathon hotel room. I haven’t thought about what I might have at the 30K elite water stop my running club hosts. I haven’t checked the weather, don’t know what time the bus for my wave leaves Boston Common, etc. Because it’s been so damn cold until last week, I have no idea what to wear. Shorts, right? Where are my running shorts? Which ones do I like  best? 

I keep reminding myself that just 3 weeks ago I blithely ran 21 miles on the course in a sideways wet snowstorm, gnawing on a peanut butter-slathered bagel I carried in my pocket for most of the journey, wearing a fanny pack full of candy. I felt great during and after. I will be fine. I may not be dialed in to a perfect marathon situation, but I will be fine.

I still can’t let myself think about how amazing this will be.

Oh, but the panic. I love my job and am so happy to be working again but we’re operating in a very shaky little house of cards right now with no room for error, and it’s really starting to take its toll on all of us. I’m not sure for how much longer this can continue. I feel like we don’t even have time to hire the full-time childcare that we need.

More on this later, but I really need to make some tea and get to bed.

Thanks for all your joy and support about everything. It was hard not to share with everyone the possibility that I might not run (I didn’t write about it here, but I meant to).