Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Fit2Run "Keep Running Stay Healthy" Virtual Races

I wasn't registered for any spring races when the news of cancellations started coming in, so I wasn't personally upset by the news. I was a little surprised when the big names canceled, and I felt for my friends who had trained for races that got called, but I didn't really have a stake in the game.

With spring races looking more and more unlikely and cabin fever setting in, virtual races are making a comeback. I've run a few; they never get me super motivated to race (I tend to run them for their cause more than anything else), but when you're stuck inside and working from home, any excuse to get out the door is a good one.
This is still shocking to me - hearing of this postponement was the moment I realized how serious Covid-19 is.
I am really lucky that I live where I do. Around 7:15 each night, the golf course ranger comes by and picks up the flag in our backyard (we live right behind a green), and that's when I know the course is closed. That gives me about 40 minutes to venture out and get some exercise in.

We're social distancing and avoiding the world, so fresh air and movement are more important than ever.
I was excited when Matt sent me information about Fit2Run's Keep Running Stay Healthy race options. This week, you can select pretty much any distance to run and be part of a fun, free, virtual event.
There is also a "pick your own distance" option.
The races are free but there are still a variety of perks, including coupons, medals, and the chance to win running gear. I created a team (Surf 'n Turf back at it!) for me and Matt, then got out there Tuesday and completed a 5k.
Still glad I went!
The nice thing about virtual races is that if you don't like your first result, you can try again. I got some pretty bad side stitches early on and had to take a couple walk breaks, so I may stow this run and go again later this week. (And maybe someday I'll learn that a bowl of cereal before a run is a bad idea, even given two hours to digest.)
If you're looking for some motivation or a way to change up your daily exercise, sign up! Given what's going on in the world, I think a virtual race is a great way to get yourself out the door and give your mind something else to think about for awhile.


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Spring Break and Beyond

As a lifelong hypochondriac and anxious person, you can bet that I am taking "social distancing" seriously. This week I'm on break, and next week we are moving to "distance learning" for our students. While classroom teachers will be working from home, I will probably be expected to be one of a handful of people on campus.

As of this afternoon, Florida schools are closed until at least April 15, so I don't need to worry about that particular issue at this moment. Phew!

This whole thing honestly makes me really nervous. When I had the regular old flu in January, I could hardly breathe and needed medical intervention (in the form of a Solumedrol shot, nothing extreme). I am really worried about the impact Covid-19 could have on me because of my asthma.

As things are changing daily as far as quarantines and lockdowns go, I'm not going to think too hard on that quite yet. For now, I have canceled the one outing I had planned for break -- Flamingo Yoga at the Wonder Gardens -- and am instead spending my time indoors and avoiding people.
I made my last grocery trip earlier today and even our "weird" vegan foods were running low. The shelves were completely bare of eggs, potatoes, fruits, soap, medication, paper products, and bread. This concerns me. There are people who can't afford to stock up. And really, who knows when grocery stores will get their next shipments in of some of this stuff? 

I'm mostly spending my days catching up on YouTube, trash TV, and reading, and I'm still going on solo runs and doing some at-home workouts. Have I mentioned I've been playing the Sims, too, because why not?
Part of my current reading list.

I'm also trying, desperately, not to online shop myself into bankruptcy while eating all the food I just bought.

Basically, I am used to staying in the house and avoiding people, so right now I feel pretty okay about it. We'll see how I feel next week when work resumes.

I hope you are all staying calm, making smart decisions, and thinking of others. We need social solidarity (at a distance) more than ever right now.


Thursday, March 12, 2020

My Story on Run This World with Nicole DeBoom

Trigger Warning: General discussion of depression, self-harm, and disordered eating.

It's been awhile since I've written anything about my history with self-harm, and it's probably been even longer since I've just come out and said it so bluntly: I have a history with self-harm.

I'd say, too, that I have a present with self-harm, in the sense that I sometimes still think about it. Like I told Nicole when she interviewed me for her podcast, I liken self-harm to being an addict. My grandpa, an ex-smoker, once told me he didn't consider himself a recovered smoker; he considered himself a smoker who hadn't lit up in 40 years. To me, self-harm feels very much the same.
I've buried the lede a bit there, but give me a second.

It has been nearly 15 years since I last hurt myself. It's been about 11 since I engaged in dangerous disordered eating habits. But those things will always be a part of me. They played a role in making me who I am - which is a person who has overcome those things and feels stronger and more confident for having done so.

I wanted to speak with honesty and sincerity, and I hope I have. I hope my story sheds some light on what depression can look like for young women (or at least, for this young woman) and on how finding a healthy, joyful coping mechanism can be truly life-saving.

Trigger Warning: Nicole reached out to me with the specific hopes of talking about my experience with depression, self-harm, and disordered eating, and for a little over an hour, that's exactly what we did. I never go into gruesome detail, speaking instead in euphemisms and generalities, but if you're not in a place to listen to that kind of subject matter, definitely skip this episode of the podcast.

If you listen, I hope you'll be open-minded and understanding. It was hard to put myself out there in this way, although Nicole was such a wonderful host that the conversation really felt natural from the start. The topic is hard, though. Revisiting that dark mindset is hard. Sharing this part of myself makes me feel vulnerable, but it also makes me feel powerful.

I went through this. It's a part of me. I'm still here, and I'm stronger than ever.

If you'd like to listen, here is the the Sound Cloud link. You can also listen on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

You can also read Nicole's blog and listen to the podcast on the Skirt Sports website.

Click for the full article.
I feel lucky that I am here to share this story. If any of this resonates, I hope it helps to know that you're not alone.

If you're struggling with depression, this link will take you to a variety of helplines.

Finally, I'd like to thank Nicole for giving me this opportunity to share, for wanting to hear my story, and for being such an amazing listener.


Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Just a Little Retrospective

I opened Facebook the other morning to see this memory:
How has it actually been two years since I finished physical therapy and ran my first race since my diagnosis with compartment syndrome? Like with most major life events, this both feels like too much and too little time.

It feels like just yesterday that I was getting ready for surgery, filled with despair and hope all at once. It feels like eons ago that I was testing my "new legs" and crying from sheer relief and joy over being able to run more than two miles without experiencing crippling pain.

These days, I live in a weird headspace where I think about my compartment syndrome daily, but always in passing. Sometimes I'll check in on my scars or consider my calves when they feel a bit tired on a run, but it's all become an afterthought. I rarely worry I feel symptoms coming back - that paranoia has gone.

Actually, the thing I think about most is how my legs have changed shape since surgery. My ankles are less defined because the fascia that once gave my calves and ankles clear separation has been released; one leg has a small lump where the muscle seems to "pool" and the other just seems a little more stocky than it once was.

I actually hope that starting calf-targeted exercises (which I finally feel I can do without throwing myself into a mental storm over whether I'm going to relapse) will help diminish these effects. And anyway, I'm probably the only one who notices anything different.

In short, I am still so grateful for an accurate diagnosis, a surgeon who believed me, and the ability to keep doing what I love. At this point I thought I'd be more interested in training for big races again, but I've realized that what drove me to many of my racing accomplishments was a bit of Keeping Up with the Joneses, and for now I'm just happy to do what I want to do, run when I want to run, and appreciate every moment I can get out of it.