I have found happiness and grounding. Meet Ms Grace, a rescue Aussie /Poodle mix (with the face of a terrier). She’s 40 pounds of adorable and energy. I can’t express how untethered I’ve felt being without a dog. Then cruising Petfinder there was this adorable little face looking at me from a border collie rescue site. The foster was a favor for a friend at a shelter in Surrey, BC, where Gracie had been returned 3 times. There was concern she’d be put down due to stupid people adopting her and not wanting to deal with a high energy dog….duh…..aussie. Dumb asses going by looks alone. She’s been wonderful and easily tired out with 5-7 miles of walking a day. She is a bit bouncy and excited with transitions but amazingly trainable so far.
I was looking for a German Shepherd….Thank goodness we recognize love when we see it.

Vacation quandary

I’m heading to San Francisco for 5 days with my sister and brother in law…. Not the quandary. I love running on vacation, in different cities and forests alike. It’s a beautiful way to be connected to where I am.
Enter quandary:
This past Sunday, a quarter of a mile into my run, my ankle freaked out.  Different area as it was across the front, feeling like there was an impingement and it was painful. I’ve had it happen in the past but only for minutes, shake it out and move on. This required careful walking to get back to the car, with breaks…. Hmm, thought, after I would sit down it would do better when I got back up,  so maybe an odd jam at the bottom of the tibia?
Anyway that wasn’t my point. It was not happy the rest of the day, but I figure I pinched something and so it’s going to take a day to calm down. The next day I only had a few odd moments of instability when I would turn on my feet. Yesterday the offending foot was fabulous, so far today it’s good. Now the brain is back and forth, should I run in SF? Yes? No? Yes. No. Yes? No.
I finally decided I’d take the rest of the week off of running to make sure I didn’t push an injury, and not take my gear to SF.

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Yea, right.
I feel fine. I’m running the waterfront.
I feel more complete having my gear with me. 😊

#optoutside Friday

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It was a chilly,  bright blue day on the trail. Mt Baker always stuns me with it’s beauty and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t feel this, even after living out here for 21 years.

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Since yesterday was running, today was hiking. Unfortunately, my hike was impeded by my fear of bears. I was hiking alone, on a trail that I’d only seen 2 other hikers on (with their’s being the only other car at the trailhead),  and I’d already seen a bear on the drive up the road to the trailhead. If I hadn’t seen the cute, furry monster, I’d have thought they were all hibernating and not given a second thought. But I did see him…. Even backed my car down the road to get a second look before he ran into the bushes. I also saw eagles and trumpeter swans on the trip up but I didn’t become edgy with anxiety thinking they were stalking me on the trail.
About a mile down the trail,  after crossing some beautiful bridges…..

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And a less than stellar one….

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My mind started to play games with me and I heard a rumbling noise. I remembered to make my presence known and decided to play music on my phone. Now I just needed to figure out what kind of music bears wouldn’t like. After I decided I probably wouldn’t like it either if they didn’t, I settled on someone new I’ve been listening to, as he’s a bit confusing and might warn and befuddled the monters: Benjamin Clementine.
My foot is hurting at this point, a  mile and a half in,  and I’m not relaxing….. I’m not freaked out, I’m just not relaxing. Now that I think about it, the pain was feeding my insecurity (now I figure it out). Oh well,  I turned around in my discomfort and wandered back to the trailhead: foot not hurting as much, more relaxed on the hike out. Hmmm… It would see that my brain won this round.

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Then I heard rumbling again…. Damn it! It was my own stomach!

Gratitude to the offending foot

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You have taken me on a ride this year, yes, you certainly have. Our first half marathon where we learned the impact of running in elevation and that walking some while your heart is pounding is just fine. Our second half, 3 weeks later, back at sea level where  you discovered that you could run your half 18 minutes faster than previously thought! Long runs preparing for a full marathon, learning about the power of the mind and importance of not eating crap the night before. We also learned that some long runs require peeing in a ditch. Then the marathon brought the lesson of not giving up. Just don’t give up. It was alright to announce that I was beat at mile 16 or 17, to call for a ride home, to walk a bit, as long as I didn’t actually stop until mile 26.2. We learned that runners are some of the nicest and most supportive people around.

The hard lesson for my foot and I, was learning to cope with injury. The lesson was how truly important running had become in my life and how to move forward even when life felt adrift, lost at sea. Who was I if not a runner? I do not believe that I actually fully knew this answer before I began running a few months short of my 47th birthday.  While I learned much about myself while beginning running and while training for distance, I did not understand the true significance until I could not run. You, dear offending foot, sidelined me for 4 and a half months. You made me pay attention to my being in a way I hadn’t before. You forced me back onto the couch; a place I do not want to live out my life. Running has helped to define me as a strong woman. It has silenced the body loathing that lived in me for decades.  I say has, but it really is “had”, as the loss of running saw to it the the demons in my mind came roaring back to life. Time on the therapy couch is improving this but, damn, what a battle!

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On this Thanksgiving  I am expressing gratitude to my offending left foot. Without you, without this time off from running, I would not have seen the dark side of me, the side that still needs care and that needs love from the core of my being in order to find a full and true healing. Today I brought my body out to the trail and ran along the lakeside, calm and soothing. I challenged this body to run a bit farther, slower; forcing myself to walk the first 5 minutes of the run to warm up my plantar and peroneal tendons, caring more that my foot continues to heel, more than the number of miles or minutes I run. I worked on lovingly taking in the sensation of fatigue, and returning to the battle of the brain without giving in.

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Knock on wood 

It was a dark, cold, and windy morning. 5:45 am found me unhooking from my morning dose of light therapy, strapping on my Ghosts, and heading out to test 3 miles on the neighborhood sidewalks. The glory of being able to still run 3 non stop miles, feeling the definate body fatigue from loss of conditioning, and still move forward one clunky step at a time = great happiness. 

I’ve come to accept that my left foot may never be fully without aches and pains. It will not kill me, although it may impede distance and occasionally make me whiney. When it hurts more, as it does at this moment, I  remind myself that I am healthy and strong, readjust my stance and walk on. The visual of being brought down by this, becoming weak, living on the sofa in front of the tv, in a green hooded bathrobe, and eating my life away, just doesn’t work for me. 

So, yes, stand up straight, readjust my stride, tell the foot to shut up, and run Damn it, because that is living! 

Back on the trail 

I woke up excited this morning; I get to run with my running partner! I can see through my bedroom window that the sky is blue, the temperature is sitting at freezing, and the Northshore Trail is calling. R and I haven’t been able to run together since the week before the marathon in June. She supported me through marathon training, always running the first 13 miles of my long runs with me, and encouraging me to keep going. After injury, also post marathon, we went thru a period where she wasn’t even telling me of her weekend runs because I was so envious. Even though I was in pain every day just walking the hallway at work, I wanted to run, I wanted my source of power and strength back. Who ever thought I’d become this runner!? Being unable to run even sent me back to therapy; I was lost. Being in the quiet of my mind, unable to distract/focus myself with training was a tough place to be. I’m actively becoming unlost now, finding myself in my running shoes on the trail once again.