Tuesday, July 18, 2017

March and April short entries


I'm over half way through this pregnancy.  I still cry every day.  I cry myself to sleep most nights.  Not every night.  I try so hard not to cry and I hate my emotions right now.  My feelings and voices in my head lie to me all the time.  Making sense of just those two things is like swimming through honey. 

Happy things:

I'm still running, barely...but it's a run-ish.  Avg about 13:30 m/m but can maintain for 5-6 miles depending on the day.  I've been running about 15 miles a week, give or take.  That has been good for my spirit. 

I have been doing yoga.  Not very consistently.  The prenatal yoga has been frustrating as it causes me to face reality of childbirth since the lady is constantly talking about it. 

My children are happy and somehow in spite of me, thriving and doing well in school, sports and life. They are excited to have a new sibling.  I suppose I'm doing a good job of hiding my lack thereof. 

Unhappy things:

I feel like Jon and I are on two islands each struggling with our own adjustment, neither of us supporting the other one, rather simply trying to survive. 

I am struggling to get to a place of some kind of peace or calm. 

My OB doc told me about a new thing they are offering for patients in labor, nitrous oxide.  It's been offered for pain in the UK and Europe for many years now but just now making it's way to Boise.  I am starting my third trimester and so I'm trying to seriously think about how I will cope with labor again. I watched a YouTube video of a birth with an epidural.  It was so calm and no biggie.  It still doesn't convince me that I want that level of intervention.  However, trying to view just two videos of L&D with the laughing gas triggered some really crazy physiological responses.  Lots of uncontrollable crying, my heart is skipping beats, feeling like I cannot breathe and actually wheezing, feeling like I'm going to have a heart attack.  I am panicking.  This is yet three months away.  What in the world is wrong with me?  This is supposed to be a happy thing and I should be way further down the road than this. 

I have had a couple weeks now of less crying and more focused thinking.  I really thought I was making progress until I tried to watch a video.  I don't know. 

The pastor at church says that the things you cannot control are the places where God gets to show up.  I'm trying desperately to believe this.  If God really has a peace that passes all understanding, then I sure hope somehow He will extend it to me. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Mile 99

I can smell the barn.  I am visualizing very clearly now, the FINISH.  My due date is tomorrow but for some reason I had this very day in my mind as the day I would have a babe.  Mostly because of the number line it would create.  Joy was born on the 13th, Halle on the 14th, Dawson on the 15th and Dante on the 16th...doesn't it seem like this babe should be born on the 17th?  Seems entirely reasonable.  Plus this would be the ONLY babe to come before the due date.  EVERY CHILD HAS BEEN OVER DUE, but who's counting anyway.

Something happened over the weekend.  We went to the mountains on Sat (7/15) and helped one of my best friends run an aid station for a local trail race/ultra.  Those mountains hold magical times for me.  My best childhood memories are there.  My happiest days of life exist in those mountains, even at the very spot where the AS was.  It's rejuvenating.  It reminds me where I came from and who I am.  I came home Sat night with a new perspective.  I am strong and stronger than I think, stronger than I feel.  I remember that from running ultras.  I was reminded that one race, one experience does not at all dictate the next. 

No matter what happens, I will keep choosing faith. I will finish this race and at the end, my buckle is my babe.  Not something I will wear but a CHILD I am blessed to nurture, love and teach for the rest of my life.  I don't know how I got so lucky...how ironic to say that vs what I was saying back in November.  WOW!

Monday, March 6, 2017

This is going to change everything!

At the risk of sounding crazy or psychotic, I'm going to just put it out there... God has made it clear to me in the ways that only HE speaks to my spirit.... THIS IS GOING TO CHANGE EVERYTHING.  This = me choosing to have faith.  Everything = my relationship with my Creator who loves me so much. 

Do you have children?  If you do, then you can identify with me what it must be like to create something so special...to have a connection with something to precious....this is what I imagine my Creator feels for me, only more because I'm human, and my Creator is not.  Nonetheless, my Creator and I have serious trust issues that go way back to my early formative years.  In an effort to not point fingers and to take responsibility for the things that are mine to be responsible for as I am now an adult...this part of my story might seem disjointed.  At a young age one of my parents was not physically present in my life for 48 out of 52 weeks of the year.  This had a tremendous effect on me and as I got older and it seemed that God allowed that to happen to me mostly because He didn't care about me.  It only made sense then to conclude, my needs and wants were not important and if I were going to have them met, it would be by my own doing = I trust no one, I need no one and if there comes a circumstance where I need something, it is up to me to make it happen.  Obviously this is extreme language.  I was not a neglected child!  I just decided that emotionally, I wasn't going to need.  In my mind, to emotionally need something meant that I would not have what I emotionally needed and would sit in a heap of emotional pain.  This began some coping mechanisms like denying any need I had emotionally. 

I manufactured relationships in my life to provide for (what I thought were) my emotional needs.  This led to more brokenness and pain.  In Oct 2012 an event occurred in my family that resulted in me choosing to be a part of some more intense counseling.  My heart still stops beating when I allow myself to mentally go back to that night in Oct.  The counseling was not only about the surrounding circumstances of the horrific event but also about learning how to grow this very stunted emotional part of myself....this part of me that was so shut off from acknowledging that I emotionally needed ANYTHING that I now faced a self-created an inability to receive emotionally from others, including my Creator.  My counselor suggested I practice mindfulness everyday by picturing my arms held outstretched allowing in the good from others and specifically from my Creator.  In nature, on my runs I would imaging God loving me with His creations of such beauty.

I have tried in a very effortful manner to make this work in my relationships, mainly my relationships with important men in my life, i.e. my dad, the man I live with.  I have failed over and over and have come up to many walls of more emotional pain.  It's so confusing.  I have made some progress.  I am making a big effort to spend time with my dad more regularly and learn about him, let him know me and not candy coat things like I have in the past.  I want him to know the real me and I'm not going to manufacture a person that I *think* he wants me to be (in order to manipulate what I think is love out of him) which only results in a fake relationship with someone that doesn't exist (fake me)..  I have made very little progress with the man I live with.  I remain insanely guarded emotionally.  I am insistent with myself that I not manipulate out of him whatever it is that I think I need emotionally.  I refuse to be manipulative although that in an of itself is a process!  Nonetheless, in all these relationships I've been floundering.  In my day to day, there's much more pain than anything else.  I don't know what that means except I know that pain speaks.  Pain creates change. 

I saw my counselor again in August for what I thought was a very specific issue and her response took me back because it seemed like she wasn't understanding what my issue was.  She said "don't you think it's time that you stop giving the men in your life, so much power over you?".  WHOOAAA!  That came from left field.  This led into a very deep discussion of the void from childhood...we all have stuff, this is just my stuff.  This is where it turns into my responsibility.  Everyone has stuff, including me, and I'm not a victim of my stuff any longer.  Hence, the mindset I've come to believe: when I bring myself to a HARD level of physical exertion, my emotional walls of concrete begin to crack.  What if this was a portal?  A portal for my Creator to fill the void I sense with only the substance that He can provide.  Clearly I cannot go back in time to 35+ years ago and give myself what I needed emotionally.  What if I LEAN into this...lean into the HARD, lean into the hard physical work knowing my Creator is RIGHT THERE on the other side.  I now believe, my Creator who keeps on pursuing me has made a way...a way for me to experience what I needed to fill my void.  No one can go back in time and change history but this is different and even better.  I have the benefit of what history has created in me and a new appreciation of what I'm being provided when I LEAN WAY IN.  Leaning into my strong became my spouse to emotionally lean on. 

During months of training for IMTUF (spring, summer, fall of 2016) and especially afterward I had this gut feeling that I could not describe in any other way than a "gut feeling".  It was a sense I was on the verge of something big was going to happen that was going to really catapult my life in terms of these relationships.  I wasn't sure what exactly this would be or how it would manifest...not at the time. 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

A Test of Faith - 12/15/2016

Wait!  WHAT?  That's right.  I'm late.  WAIT!! WHAT??!!  How late?  Ummm... a week.  Now the fact that my bra is too tight and I gained three pounds last week for some bizarre unknown reason is making horrible sense. 

I woke up one Sunday AM with that tell tale nausea that fits only one condition.  I mentally spiraled very quickly.  A test.  That will help me see the truth.  I have an IUD.  THEY ARE 99.3% EFFECTIVE!  Not to mention, I'm 41 yrs old and have five children.  Maybe, you didn't get that part.  I'M FOURTY ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I don't want any more children.  I'm totally satisfied with the number of babes I have birthed and I love them, they are all healthy and thriving.  I am running again... a LOT!  I'm signed up for a 100K in July for crying out loud.  THIS. CAN. NOT. BE. HAPPENING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I called my doctor immediately and was greeted with her concerned tone.  I stopped by the next morning for a blood draw to check hormone levels.  I was to come in the following day for an ultrasound and doc apt.  My doctor called me personally before my visit to tell me my hormone levels were very high and she fully expected to see a pregnancy on ultrasound.  The only question was if the pregnancy was going to be in the uterus or in a fallopian tube.  Well thank god.  I still have hope.  I'm sure the pregnancy will be in a tube.  That will mean I have surgery to remove the tubal pregnancy and then she can remove every freaking reproductive organ in my body.  I drove to the doctor's office later that afternoon with a feeling of major dread.  This is just not happening right now.  It's almost Thanksgiving and I'm NOT thankful in any way, shape or form! 

"Amy?", the ultrasound tech calls me as I try to be non-existent in the waiting room fully of happily expecting mommy's.  All the fun times of an internal ultrasound....and if you've ever had one, you know what I mean with the level of awkwardness!  Nonetheless, she started the ultrasound and there was the sac including a tiny blob firmly planted IN MY FREAKING UTERUS!  My heart sunk.  She zoomed in on the little blob.  THERE WAS A HEART BEAT!!!!!!!!!!  I began to sob.  Everything I thought I was doing in my life is no longer.  I already know what this means for me.  This has to be the worst thing that has ever happened to me (or so I told myself).  She then began to measure my ovaries.  During one of the measurements I said, "Doesn't that ovary just look tired?!  I think it's just too tired to do this!"  She laughed and said "Is your husband at the bar right now?".  I didn't reply.  I don't have a husband.  That felt like a dagger even on top of everything else I was looking at.  Six weeks and one day gestation.  Due date: July 18, 2017.  My life flashed before my eyes. 

The next two weeks was spent mostly crying.  Crying on the way to work and on the way home.  Crying during lunch and crying myself to sleep.  Sometimes, even crying while I forced myself to cook food that all looked and smelled like different forms of vomit.  Crying because....well the bottom line is, I'm selfish.  I worked like a maniac over the spring and summer to lose weight and get my running game back...at least to some degree.  I didn't finish IMTUF (AGAIN!) but I had a strong performance at a 55K in July and felt strongly about my running self again.  I felt like I was getting my strong back physically, and mentally too.  Now I get to watch all of that go out the window.  I've been trying to run still....it's like running underwater.  I cannot breathe.  My HR is through the roof.  So I walk.  The other day, I walked 5.5 miles and the next day my glutes and hips were sore.  WHAT THE?!  This is my new norm....sigh......... 

Faith.  Faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit.  What in the honking heck does that mean anyway?  The only way I could sleep at night is by deducting my circumstances into what looked like a math equation.  IF, THEN.  If I am a faith person....If I'm a Jesus person...... Then, this must be a miracle.  This is a purposeful miracle that clearly was not a random act of punishment.  AND If I believe those things, then I also believe that this purposeful miracle is a gift rather than a punishment.  I don't believe my loving Creator allows life that is not FOR purpose.  And I also believe that I don't understand His ways.  This is the truth that I live by and why I would chose anything different in these moments is beside me.  I have nothing objective to put on a list of why I should believe this way.  I don't have a path of how we will fit now seven people in our already exploding 1400 sq ft home.  I don't have a clue how I will survive this emotionally and physically again.  I've said so many times in the last year that I was so glad to not be having any more children, to be finally moving on from this place.  Nonetheless, here I am.  I realized, it is by way of faith that I can believe I will be cared for, believe that this little one who has yet to be born, was created with a purpose and was not a random act of crazy circumstances.  Faith.  It's my way of living intentionally.  It is my privilege to live in faith.  ***long exhale***

Did I consider terminating this pregnancy?  ABSOLUTELY!  Especially when I found out I was early enough that it would be a matter of taking a pill that would cause me to miscarry.  I appreciated the fact that I had a choice and was going to allow myself to go through the process of deciding.  In the end, my feet were firmly planted in the place of allowing this babe to grow and take over my body for a short period.  I hate how I look when I'm pregnant.....in a million ways.  I hate how I feel when I'm pregnant...in a billion more ways.  I suppose that is my gift to my unborn babe....a gift of allowing something to happen in spite of how I feel....which is horrible, inside and out while a little cutie pie is formed and growing on the inside. 

So now what?  We carry on.  We met with some builders to see about remodeling and adding on to our home.  We are looking at other properties with bigger homes.  Just last night I woke up worried about a name for the child.  I chose to see the positive and focus on the fact that this is a baby.  Not a liver transplant or something catastrophic.  My attitude is critical.  What I focus on will grow....meaning, if I focus on all the things I am not doing and ways that I am temporarily limited, this is going to suck.  However, if I focus on the excitement of possibility, the good, the LIFE that is being created, there is potential for contentment and joy....that IS MY middle name after all.  : )  I am choosing day by day to get up, be grateful and live in faith that just as this babe clearly has a purpose, I do too...and it's not just giving birth....which by the way, I'm seriously considering using drugs this time.  After so many natural births, it's starting to get over rated!  I digress.....

I generally go into 100 mile (or longy long) runs with some kind of mental mantra and while this is not a 100 mile run, mentally it feels like it (exponentially so).  My mantra is: I look forward with anticipation to knowing this little cutie pot that I have not yet held in my arms.  One last time I get to experience the feeling of a cutie growing in my belly.  One more time I will go through the agony of giving birth...I choose faith and gratitude. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

It happens in the hard, lean WAY in - 09/03/2016

Jon and I went up to McCall late on Friday night.  It was nearly dark when we left Nampa...Joy safely tucked in bed with G'ma at the house to care for our precious piece of life.  We arrived exhausted from a long week of firsts, first xc meet (Jon is the coach), first week of school for kids, first week of full volleyball games, etc.  I slept in the back of the Durango with the dog.  Jon slept on the ground outside.  I didn't set an alarm but woke up about 6:45am with some light.  We got up and quickly got to work since we two summits to climb and some miles to run in between. 

In the HARD places, is where the real work happens.  I'm trying to focus on the shedding of my old self which looks more like scar tissue being broken up or like a sledge hammer breaking up concrete.  Once these things are loosened up, it gives way for water, air and sunshine that cultivates growth for a sprout that is my true thirsty self, so desperate to drink and grow.  I want to develop this growth.  This way of BEING, me being the self I was created for and meant to BE from the beginning.  This manifested on trail of the second of two HARD climbs for our run.  The climb up Snowslide (first climb) is a crazy level of hardness.  Jon was staying behind me and this was bothering me so much.  He kept saying he just wanted to go at my pace, that bugged me to an inappropriate level.  Jon is experienced on trails, stronger than any human man I've known.  Never once was he on my heels or doing anything annoying, it was just that he was behind me, potentially watching me.  This was clearly MY issue and about me, nothing that he was doing.  I was so frustrated and eventually demanded that he go in front.  I didn't want to be responsible for his training, or lack thereof.  He said "I am my own person and I can make sure I get my training needs met".  Nonetheless, he went on.  I kept asking myself what the big deal was and why couldn't I be okay with him behind me.  

Enter a couple of hours later as we are climbing up the Fall Creek trail (second climb) which is another ass killer of a climb.  Jon was running ahead of me and would run back to where I was a couple of times, just to say hi and then carry on.  Eventually he had stopped to give the dog water and I was in a good rhythm so I passed him.  We had just over a mile of steep climbing to do.  Because of my raw mental state (what happens with miles on end of 1000' of gain per mile) I got very upset after he and the dog caught up to me to just stay behind me.  In an exacerbated fashion, he did not understand why I couldn't be okay with him just hanging back behind.  He went ahead in a tone of being stonewalled and I felt bad knowing this was about me and my issue.  He did not return to check on me this time...I asked myself repeatedly, WHY CAN I NOT BE OKAY WITH HIM BEHIND ME?!  I nearly asked it out loud.  The answer was loud and clear.  I want Jon to think I am strong.  I want him to think good of me and I desire his acknowledgement of this.  Having him behind me on a climb is NOT showing him strength.  It's showing him my frailty.  This...THIS...is my scar tissue, concrete, old ways of being.  Giving power to the man in my life that doesn't belong to him.  Whether it's my dad, my adult son, or the man in my life, the power of knowing I am strong doesn't belong to a person.  That power should rest safely in my spirit.  Climbing is my relative weakness.  It exposes the side of me that stops for rests.  It lays raw this part of me that I don't like.  To show that side of me to the one I've given power of deciding whether or not I am strong is like a lose-lose situation.  In that brutally exposed moment of seeing the scar tissue/concrete for what it is, I began to lose my composure.  I was still heavily climbing and could not keep my breathing.  I bent over, hands on knees and had some minutes of letting myself cry at what I saw.  Finally, I stood up AND CARRIED ON!  This new idea of what I had just realized was sitting very heavy on my heart.  I knew what I had seen was true.  The extremely overwhelming idea of how I could ever change was daunting to say the least.  I crested the summit and took some pictures.  We started heading down and I began to ask my Creator, how will I ever be able to know that I'm good/strong in my weaknesses if it doesn't come from my Dad or any other man I've given said power to?  It's not going to be relative to others or dependent on any other human.  In the same way I know I'm strong enough for other things, I will learn and know in my depths that I am strong on the climb, in life, in whatever.  I will know this and grow this sprout of knowing.  Period! 

It felt exhaustive mentally to do this work. A mentor of mine says the reason people don't do this work is because it's hard.  A couple weeks ago when I visited with her she asked, "Do you know why people don't do this kind of inner work?"  I replied, "Yes I know why.  Because it's so hard."  I added, "You know why people don't run 100 miles?"  She quickly smirked and said "Yes, I do!".  I won't quit.  I won't quit on myself, I won't quit at working on myself and I won't quit at IMTUF! 



Part 1:

The vertical grounding.  Mind, Body, Soul.  Very separate entities with specific purposes.  The daily grounding and quiet reminders of where I've come from and who I was created to be.  This is my daily morning Jesus/coffee time.

Part 2:
Stabilizer: the thing you can't NOT do.  Running, physical exercise, dance, moving my body, doing HARD HARD stuff.  It's a portal.  A portal to my Creator and a way that I access a limitless cauldron of will, determination and stick-to-it-ness.  A name for the stabilizer would help.  My soul knows but in order for my physical body to recognize, I need a visual and a name.  I'm inspired to study about Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce trip from the Wallowa Valley (OR).  Chief Joseph's given native names was Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt which means Thunder rolling down mountain.  He was a leader, a peace seeker and someone who did not give up easily.  He was described as having an iron will.  I'm working on the name for my stabilizer and a picture too.  The healing power of electricity which is part of what creates thunder.  A lightening bolt may represent the vertical grounding part 1).  I can LEAN into this because it's stronger and bigger than myself.  It is not intimidated by my insatiable needs...the ones that reach deeper than what is ever seen by others, the needs that are known in the deep.  I don't rely on it to do work that I need to do, I lean on it while I do the work. 

Part 3:
Mindset.  The mindset is the path.  The path of where I'm headed and who I am going to be.  The plain, simple, old-school me.  The me that my soul and spirit remember but have been given reasons to not BE.  The me that loves pure beauty that only nature can offer.  The me that hates AC and microwaves.  The part of me that wants to do it the hard way, wants the rugged, tough and tired path.  It's worth it.  The peace that comes from this mindset and path of life, is insurmountable.   

How does this manifest into a finish at IMTUF.  I'm not exactly sure yet.  Maybe it doesn't matter, but I have a deep seeded feeling that it's the deal breaker or rather the deal sealer.  Prior to my BigHorn 100 finish in 2012, I knew I would finish.  I was solid in that no matter how horrible I felt, there was just nothing short of a fracture in my femur that would stop me.  I have tried to figure out what got my mind in that place and get there again.  Somehow, it's resurrected...that mind set.  Like a phoenix.  I'm excited.  I'm ready to explode with desire and drive. 

Three weeks from tonight I will be running all night.....the "thing" that sets 100 milers apart from all other ultras.  The over night component.  I will run my race.  I will focus on what I need and not where I am in comparison to others.  I may come in DFL but it matters not.  What matters to my spirit is that I finish.  The end.  I will conjure my iron will that hasn't quit on my life and is just getting started.  The call of the mountains is so strong in me.  The mountains offer limitless opportunities for HARD...the portal. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

100 mile re-entry test #1

First of all, going into this race I already had my sights set on a future race.  I was using Beaverhead to do kind of a litmus test if you will.  Beaverhead is a 55K that is in high country and took place on 7/9/2016.  It starts at a low elevation of 7500' (ish) and climbs to over 10K' a couple of times.  I've run a couple races that go into the 9000's and had a few breathing issues but nothing that was a race ending for me.  I have not been eating wheat since the first of May.  It's had some mixed results... I've had NO GI issues on any runs, I wheeze a lot less and I just plain feel better.  During and post-race I had no wheezing AT ALL.  That is a miracle.  I always have wheezing the night after long runs and a tight chest the next day.  I didn't have either of those.  WHOA!!! 

Things that went right:
  • Altra Superiors were awesome.  No issues at all. 
  • I felt so bad and had such a hard time with the 4 miles of bonk-ville that I was fighting the DNF demon like crazy.  I still can't believe I won.  I thought of a recent book I just read and other people I know who influence me.  In the end, I decided that I would take care of myself when I reached the AS and give myself like 5-7 min to get cals in.  That I would carry on and no bonk would cost me my race. 
  • No blister issues.  No clothing problems, I had arm sleeves and a tank top with my jacket in my pack which I did eventually put on when it started raining.  It was so hot I actually took the jacket off and ran in the rain. 
  • baggie for my phone. I loved listening to music when needing to concentrate on the "what".
  • I realize that I don't want to talk or hear anything when I'm in a hard working section when I'm needing to remember my "why". 
  • I drank a lot of water... and stayed hydrated which may have very well saved my race.
  • ZERO wheezing during the race or even after.
  • A fellow runner friend had an elevation profile that I did not have but was wishing for prior to race start.  She randomly offered me a copy just before race start to which I was immediately so grateful.  I pulled that out so many times.  It felt like my woobie!

Things I need to work on:
  • eating MORE and not bonking.  ***this is a long race deal breaker***
  • I was searching in my bag on the way to the start for my clippers that I swear I packed.  I never found them.  My toe nails really needed to be cut.  They paid the price with at least my one big toe and one pinky toe nails due to big blood blisters underneath.  I hate when that happens.  My other big toe nail may go to.  This is normally not a problem for me. 
  • Focus on executing MY race.  PERIOD.
  • My mindset during the race.  I had a lot of fear going into this race.  I could tell that I was getting low on calories before I even hit the first AS.  In the first six miles, I ate two things in my pack and I didn't have an endless supply of food volume to eat like that all day.  I was fearful that I wouldn't have the fuel I needed at the AS.  So I skimped and that was a bad decision made only in fear.  Fear of bonking (happened), fear of quitting/wanting to quit (happened...didn't quit but wanted to)...just generally fearing focus.  My focus needs to be on keeping my body fueled so that my mind makes it do what I want it to do!
  • I need to figure out a lot more food options.  The only thing that got me even feeling a little better was soda.  The last three AS were nothing but soda-fests.  I had food too but had at least 8-12oz of soda at each AS. 
I have a LOT of work to do before I am ready for a 100 miler but I'm going to give it my all.  IMTUF I'm coming back to claim my finish from 2012. 

Random: some people have said to me "it's good to see you're back".  I don't feel like that's quite accurate yet.  I have a LOT more training and prep to do.