Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Toothless

Had another tooth pulled last week.  Yucky.  It's healing reasonably well, certainly better than the last one.  It's been years since I had an extraction done and I was still a smoker back then.  Now, I have clean and happy lungs and healthier eating habits.  It makes a big difference.  Also, in talking with a friend who recently had one pulled, I discovered that penicillin seems to affect mental states.  She was on it for a week or so and said she thought that she was going crazy, so perhaps that explains the deeper than usual depression I was dealing with.  I hope to get back to running within a week or two and I'm done with antibiotics for a while, so things should ease up very soon.  Think happy, healing thoughts for me, please?!


Open wide, this will only take a minute...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Illin'



I’m not sure I can think of a way to talk about this without sounding like a whiner.  This depression is really starting to get me down, you know?  It stole any sense of pride or accomplishment I might have gotten from completing my first marathon.  How unfair is that?  I should have been so pleased/excited/happy/ proud but instead I just felt relieved that it was over.  If it weren’t for wine, crafty crap, and cats, I don’t know how I’d cope.  Depression lies to you and I know that, but it talks so loudly and it’s always so certain that I’m (pick ANY negative descriptor—I’ve said it to myself at some point).  It’s been six months now.  It’s like serving time except you have no idea how long your sentence will last.  Could start feeling better next week.  Could still be in this headspace at Christmas.  During my marathon training, I was wondering how much more depressed I would be if I weren’t running so damned much.  Well.  Turns out to be a fair amount more depressed.  I haven’t been able to run since the marathon due to physical issues of one sort or another and things are absolutely getting worse.

Of course, there are plenty of things I do that keep it from getting too bad.  I take the right vitamins and supplements, I exercise (still walking 10-20 miles per week), I try to get out of the house, I stay busy.  I’m beginning to find myself withdrawing from my friends now.  I’ve tried a few times to suggest a girl’s night, but they all have partners* who are so cool they can’t be left behind, even for one night.  (Either that, or they need some moral support to deal with being around me for an entire evening—don’t think I haven’t considered that angle.)  Being the 3rd, 5th, or 7th wheel has lost its appeal and become more of a chance to find something different to be depressed about rather than a beneficial social interaction.  I occasionally consider getting back on the online dating sites, but that feels almost like an addiction at this point.  (i.e. “I feel like crap about myself, I need some positive feedback and here’s an easy source.”) Maybe prescription drugs are the way to go, but they have such unpleasant side effects.  Hopefully I’ll heal up from this physical mess and get back to running very soon.  At least then I’ll only be kinda bummed instead of the way I feel now.


*I use the term partner because some of my friends are married and some are dating, and because I believe the terminology should be the same across the board, whether you are gay or straight, married, living together, or dating.  You are romantically involved with that person currently (and if you’re romantically involved with more than one, you have partners—simple as that).  It’s easier all around, but I doubt it will catch on since it doesn’t give anyone a social cue about the status of your romantic relationship or if your significant other (or others) happen to be the same gender as you are. Humans are so illogical.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Marathon Woman



I did it!

I actually ran an actual marathon!  More than a marathon—I ran 26.46 miles because it was a trail race and they tend to be less exact.  I still can't quite believe that I really did it.  There are pictures on Facebook, though, so it must be real. 

During my training, I covered each of the trails on the course at least twice, so I was able to put together a plan for running and hiking on race day.  The week before the race, I practiced getting up at 5 am so I wouldn't be as dopey on the big morning.  It didn't help my attitude during the week—I am definitely NOT a morning person.  But race day dawned slightly overcast (perfect for running) and I was up and making coffee by 4:45 am.  Out the door by 5:45, but my car started overheating when I was almost there.  I turned the fan up and kept rolling.  I figured if the car died, I wanted to get as close as possible before starting to walk (or trying to hitch a ride).  The car made it to the parking area at the resort (whew!) and I found someone to take my “before” picture.

A little stressed but starting to refocus
 While I was engaging in the traditional “standing in line for the porta-potty” ritual, I got a fist-bump from someone else who had run this particular race as his first marathon a couple of years previously.  My timing continued to be lucky as I only had to stand at the start line for a minute or two before the gun went off. 

Here's a link to the map of the course, if you want to see it.  The initial trail through the resort was fairly narrow and the resulting bottleneck slowed us down, but we were out on a paved road pretty quickly.  We had a little over a mile to find our pace, then we hit the park and the dirt trails.  My race plan included walking the first trail (The Trough), since it goes right up the side of the ridge, but I did run some parts of it.  What goes up must come down, so we went down Buck and Hotel, both fairly tricky trails—steep with lots of rocks, roots, twists, and turns.  I caught up with a woman who was going just a bit slower than I felt like running, so I stayed with her on Hotel and Four Gorge.  My usual technique is to try to run the first half of a race with someone who is going a little slower than me, which keeps me from wearing myself out too early.  She would get ahead of me on the uphill parts and I would catch her on the downhills.  Once we got to the flatter parts (Tuck-a-way and Enchanted Forest), I got ahead of her and stayed ahead.  I ran Little Bell and Schoolhouse without seeing anyone except a couple of guys fishing in a boat on the cove.

A mile or so after the halfway point (on Arrowhead), I caught up to an older gentleman.  He was going to let me pass him, but I wasn't going quite fast enough.  He was less chatty than my previous race buddy, so I concentrated on running.  Sometimes he got ahead for a while but I would always catch him.  I was certain that my earlier running buddy would catch me on the long uphill (Brushy Mountain—2.5 miles of up up up starting at mile 19—yuck), but she didn't appear.  I met a college student who was running her first marathon and a woman who had come from Virginia Beach to run the race.  Eventually, I caught up with the gentleman and passed him when we started heading downhill again. I had tried a new technique going up the long hill (yes, I know you're not supposed to do that during a race, but after hiking that hill a couple of times I discovered that my muscles would shorten up during the hike so I wasn't able to run once the terrain changed).  The long uphill was a fire road, so there was plenty of room.  I occasionally turned around and hiked backward, then ran a few steps before dropping back into my steady hiking pace.  When we got to the downhill part, I was much better able to run than I had been on my training runs.  The long downhill trail (The Gauntlet) was narrow and rocky, but I ran it better than I expected.  At mile 23, I was getting really tired and a little whiney, but I pictured my running buddy's grin which always helps to keep me going forward.

I Run 4 Joshua cuz he's awesome!

Just a couple of miles of slow and steady uphill (Horsepen), one last water stop, some paved road, and some slightly confusing trails through the resort property and I was done. Twenty minutes faster than I had expected and only 10 minutes slower than my dream goal!  Though honestly, I had to pee so badly by the time I hit the finish line (no porta-potties on trail race courses!), that I look grumpy in my finish line picture and the lady who hung my medal on me told me to smile.  I flashed her a grin, then found my way to the porta-potty at last.  My regular running buddies were supposed to be at the end, but I didn't see anyone.  I grabbed some food and found the college student and my first race buddy and congratulated them. I was starting to wonder if they had closed the resort property so my friends couldn't get in, so I hiked back toward my car to find my phone.  I ran into a couple of my friends on the way.  I had finished so much earlier than expected, they were still getting into place!  We hung out at the finish line and cheered for the last couple of runners, and my buddies gave me a couple of cool gifts, including this magnet:

My friends are the coolest!
 
For the next couple of days, all I did was eat and rest and admire the slogans and drawings on my car (The Cove = Conquered).  It would have taken a serious emergency to get me to run.  It's been over a week now, so I'm hoping I can run a little this week and get back to my usual routine next week.  But holy cow, I'm a marathoner now—can you believe it?!?!

Heavy medal ;-)


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bad Poetry

Posting this feels a little like I'm barfing onto the computer screen.  I hope it's like a hairball--if I express the pain often enough, maybe I'll eventually get this mess out of my insides.  I've been trying to follow the old "fake it 'til you make it" advice, but how much longer do I have to keep faking it before I truly feel okay again?

Gone Missing

Why do I suddenly feel you?
Feel your solidity envelope me
At the same moment that I'm feeling so
Hollow.
Empty.
Alone.
How can I admit that I miss you
When I was the one who turned away?
Unhappy and trapped
By your black and white absolutes,
Now unhappy and confused
By my shifting grey haze.

Argh. I really wanted to finish that last line with "my own shifting shades of grey," but it brings to mind "Fifty Shades of Gray" which is not something I want associated with this poem.  Bleah.  Is this day over yet?

Bloody uphill climbs.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Flying Solo



I try not to talk about relationship stuff on this blog—wouldn’t want anyone distracted from the poetry, recipes, running adventures, pop psychology, and occasional funny cat stories.  Ha.  But in the aftermath of my most recent breakup, I’ve noticed something.  I hate being single.  I know I’m a grown woman and we’re supposed to learn to love ourselves and be happy with all the other types of love in our lives.  We are supposed to pamper ourselves, enjoy the chance to do whatever we feel like doing, and be happy and fulfilled alone.  Mostly, I can do that.  I’m an introvert by nature so I’m fine with my own company and I do think I’m pretty awesome most days.  I’m often selfish, so I’m good at pampering myself and prefer to be in charge of my agenda.  I love my friends and my cats and they love me back.  I stay in touch with my family via phone calls and Facebook.  So why do I get all morose just because I don’t have some doofus texting me a couple of times a day to tell me what he had for breakfast or ask me what I want to do with the evening?  Why on earth do I feel such a strong need for attention from some male person?  Argh.  Even when I know what I should be doing and what I should have learned by now, there’s still that little voice that says “I need a sweetheart and I need him RIGHT NOW.”  That little voice must be ignored.  I will use my free time to get some crafty crap completed and text my friends a little more often and maybe plan a couple of girl’s nights to distract me.  And I absolutely will not pay attention to the hot ex-boyfriend who has gotten in touch with me because I try not to make the same mistake twice.

I also try not to talk too much about my cat.  There are plenty of reasons that I’m crazy—there’s no need for one more.  But do you remember how I said I was volunteering at the animal shelter?  Almost every time I volunteered, I’d fall in love with one of the cats.  The next week, that cat would be gone—adopted.  Eventually, that adoption streak had to end.  I noticed one cat who had been there longer than most of the others.  Bailey was sweet and liked to be petted, but always looked miserable and sick.  He crouched in the bottom of his bed as if someone were pressing down on him.  I told him that he’d have to sit up and look friendly in order to find a forever home. 

One day, I introduced my (now former) boyfriend to him and of course, he just had to find out the cat’s story.  (After I heard the story about Titan, who was found with a rope around his neck, I’d stopped asking.)  Turns out this little guy had been taken from a hoarder 2 years previously, when he was a kitten.  He had been there longer than any other cat.  He’d been part of a bonded pair and had been adopted out briefly when he was less than a year old.  The person returned him but refused to return his sister.  He was a staff favorite, but they knew he’d have to find the right household if he was going to have a real forever home.  Well.  I wanted to take him home before I heard the story.  After all that, I was determined.  He came home with me a couple of weeks later.

Had to brush my teeth in the kitchen that morning!


He lived in my teeny-tiny bathroom for a few days.  One morning, he was curled up in the sink so I figured he was ready for more exploring.  I let him into my craft room where he promptly disappeared, was found, disappeared again, got found again, then disappeared once more.  I rearranged the room to limit the hiding places and he got comfy in his bed under a clothes rack.  He explores the room late at night and has started coming out to see me when I stop in to pet him and feed him.  He’s still terribly nervous but finally beginning to show signs of relaxing.  It’s been amazing to watch and it makes me smile just to think about it.  In the last couple of days, he has begun to walk around the room a bit even when I am in there with him.  This gives me hope for his future.  Sure, he may never be gregarious, but he may come close to normal.  Bella hasn’t met him yet, but she knows he’s in there somewhere.  Let’s hope the little diva is as sanguine about him joining the household as Bailey and I have been.
Bailey up and walking around, even with a spectator!


Friday, February 14, 2014

Work It

Perhaps what I really need is a job where I work in Australia during their summer, then come back to the U.S. for our summer...  

It is my sun.  MINE! muahahahahahahahaha!

No more winter, no more S.A.D., lots more playing outside after dinner.  Sounds like a good gig, donchya think?!



Monday, January 27, 2014

Critters



First Bunch of Critters:  Viruses.  There is some sort of cold/flu virus going around our area.  The symptoms aren’t particularly horrible but it leaves you feeling completely exhausted.  I was sick for at least 2 weeks, home from work for one of those weeks, and I’m still feeling pretty wimpy.  It thawed enough on Sunday for me to at least try to do some trail running, but it was more of a hike interspersed with a bit of jogging.  Baby steps.  Yuck.

Second Bunch of Critters:  Brain Chemicals.  Part of being sick and exhausted was an inability to ignore my seasonal depression.  My favorite technique for dealing with SAD is to simply be completely unaware of the depression.  I cruise along like a blindfolded tightrope walker, getting things done in spite of the yawning abyss below.  “Don’t look down” is my motto from January until May.  However, any real drain on my energy (see First Bunch of Critters above) makes it tough to maintain my forward momentum.  I’ve had a few really unpleasant days lately, but at least I got a decent poem out of it:

Just Before the Dawn
Lying awake
With a mouthful of the unsaid.
No tears, just a grey heart
And a vague wish for sleep
In the deep charcoal
Of 0dark:30

Yeesh.  Hey, don’t let that get you down—it’s just the winter blues, okay?  C’mon Spring!!

Third Bunch of Critters:  Adoptable Dogs and Cats.  In December, I started volunteering at a local no-kill shelter.  I had to skip a couple of weekends because of the bleeping virus, but I’m back on track now.  So far, the cats I have most wished to adopt have been adopted by someone else.  Bella is always relieved to hear that bit of news.  Since she is “allergic” to dogs, I won’t even consider adopting any of them.  I managed to talk a couple of friends into walking dogs with me on Sundays, just to get the poor critters out of the kennels (and some of them need real help learning to walk on a leash).  It’s not always fun or convenient, but I love playing/cuddling/giving treats after the work is over.  Doing this distracts me from my own whining.  It’s so comforting to see the cats settling down to happy naps once the cages are clean and fresh or to watch a dog relax into the back seat of the car after a good walk in the woods.

In looking for a poem that I’ve always used as inspiration for getting out of my own head, I found this blog post.  Go read it—it’s pretty short so I’m sure you have time.  It includes the poem as well as a couple of very good ideas:


  • PTSD and depression can be tackled without medication, but not without reaching out to others...
  • Happiness always follows a good deed, if only for a moment, but that's how we live anyway--moment to moment one day at a time.


“Do something for somebody, quick!”