Moving On From Self Doubt

Yesterday I ran the EY River Run Classic Half Marathon.

RIVER CITY 2011
This was my first ever half marathon, back in August of 2011. (above)
I had just finished nursing school, just started my dream job as an emergency RN, just got married, and was in the best shape I had ever been in up to that point. I was able to train with three friends who through running became some of my best friends.
The race kicked my butt. It was painful, it was hot, it was hard. I left feeling more accomplished than any other day in my life. Non-athletic Sarah just did something few complete. She ran a half-marathon. Running was an outlet, a way to prove to myself I was capable of anything I set my mind to.

Flash forward to July 10, 2011: it was a humid, overcast day. One of my best friends and mentors signed up, and paid the $70 just to pace me. I was full of expectations. There was no doubt in my mind I wouldn’t achieve my 6-year goal of running a half marathon in two hours and thirty minutes-just one month ago I ran a 2:34 with digestive issues.

By 8km my  mind started to collapse. I started trailing behind, loosing time. I started thinking about how stupid I was for trying to conquer such a lofty goal (4 minutes faster in less than a month). My toe went numb, and then incredible pain. I was nauseated, my hands were swollen. I started working myself up so much I couldn’t breath because I was fighting back tears.
This is pretty much how the rest of the race went. I beat myself up emotionally. “You can’t do it”, “Just quit now”, “Why did you ever think you could do this? You aren’t an athlete!”, “What a bad friend, wasting Rebecca’s time”…. and on and on it went.

I knew my goal was gone….and then a few minutes later, a PR was also gone. I basically whined, and cried on and off from 8km all the way to 20km. I was ready to pull out my debit card and call a cab. I threatened to hitch hike home. I didn’t fuel properly, because I had already given up in my head. I drank way too much water, not enough salt…and hardly any carbs. Becky wouldn’t leave me. She encouraged me. She pushed me to work harder, and she pulled back when she saw emotionally I couldn’t push harder. She tried to remind me, just ONE MONTH ago, this would be a GREAT time.

At 2:42, 3rd to last, with tears streaming down my face, I crossed the finish line.

RIVER CITY RUN 2016

Today, after almost a full 24 hours of sulking, it brings tears to my eyes. Not because I am upset with myself for the time anymore-but because I was my own enemy. My own self-though process destroyed me. The race was over in my head after it had barely just started physically.

I took my time to sulk. I am now surpassing those demons that told me I wasn’t good enough on race day. I am good enough. I am MORE than ENOUGH.

I am pulling out of the full marathon in September, not because I think I can’t do it…I know I can. I want to love running. The best part of running is the self awareness, and confidence it gives me…. I lost that somewhere in this race.

I have two more half marathons this summer, one in august and September (switched down from the full). My biggest goal being to show myself love, and the love of running again. Run for enjoyment. Run to prove to myself I am ENOUGH.

…Because I am. 🙂 On to bigger, better things. SEE YA LATER SELF DOUBT.

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Saskatchewan Marathon

Sunday was the Saskatchewan Marathon in which I was running the half marathon. Having only gotten out of a boot cast for a bad sprain two months prior, I started the day with my only goal to get close to my old PR.

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My HEART was a different story. I wanted to break 2:30 for the first time. One of my best friends was pacing the group, and I knew with her encouragement I could do it.

The first 5 km of the race was through residential area. At first I was dreading this as I find residential BORING. However the first 5 km everyone was still close together, it doubled back on itself and there were tons of people cheering. By the time we got to the river trail I thought, oh wow! Its just like starting a regular run, I just have to go a shorter distance now!

Running a 7min/km pace felt hard, but do-able. Around 12km I realized I had to use the washroom and use my inhaler, but didn’t want to stop and risk loosing my pacer. I ate two gels-pretty much forcing them down on Becky’s advice knowing I would need the energy later. By 14km, I NEEDED to stop [I was majorly regretting cutting my digestion time pre-race by half an hour]. I picked up my pace to PAST comfortably hard, hard as I could go to get to the washroom for…

SOME SPECTATOR KID TO SWIPE THE ONLY BATHROOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I couldn’t wait. I knew if my pacer passed me, I would have a really hard time getting back to her.

I slowed for a mini-tantrum. HA! My eyes were watering, I had rage inside me [yes, I know, kids can’t hold their bladders…rationally, I’m not mad….irrationally in my “IM GOING TO KILL A 6 YEAR DREAM” head I was RAGING. It was all I could do not to scream at the mother as I ran by. There were literally public bathrooms 300 meters away.] Becky caught up to me and I am sure she could tell I was defeated. She pointed out the bathrooms up ahead and I went for the sprint. I knew if she got more than 30 seconds ahead of me I wouldn’t be able to catch her.

I sprinted along the course to the public bathrooms. I went faster than ever in my life, one minute.  I sprinted back out. I saw Becky in the distance. I ran as hard as I possibly could. Possibly harder than I ever had to try to get back with her and the group. I could see her in the distance for a full 2-2.5km. She was SO close, but I was burning every ounce of extra energy I had to try and catch her. TMI alert: I was running so hard, I vomited in my mouth, and swallowed again in an attempt to KEEP GOING.

I approached the south bridge which has a slow incline. She was at the end of the bridge [thanks to a bright orange tank I could find her]. I tried as hard as I have ever tried for anything. The incline started, and I just knew, I couldn’t keep this pace any longer. I would have to push myself to try my best, and PR as close to 2:30 as I could.

I slowed my pace back to my goal pace and kept going. Within another 2-3 km my pace slowed dramatically. I was 1 minute slower per KM. I downed almost an entire pack of gel dummies desperate for energy. All of that sprinting wore me out early.

I knew that if I didn’t PR at least, I would never forgive myself for giving up.
I pressed on at 90% effort. The hardest I have ever worked in a race, EVER.
In my head I kept calculating how many minutes behind I was. FINALLY I was on the final stretch. I could see the finish line.
400 meters left, I had plenty of time to PR. Becky  ran back for me. All I could say was “I tried so hard to catch you” through tears. I was so emotional I could barely breath. I had to beg her, and a few seconds later, my husband, not to talk to me so I could at least breath and finish strong. Becky took my camel back to lighten the zone and I ran the last 300 meters at a pace around 5:28 according to my watch. If you saw me dragging it in, you probably would have thought I was a robot. I wasn’t smiling. My eyes were on the prize.

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I finished in 2:34:59. 11 whole minutes off my previous personal best. Almost 5 minutes off of the dream I had been chasing for 6 years….and while I didn’t believe I could achieve until mid race, had my heart set on.

Now, I am selfishly bummed. Im trying to be so happy with my accomplishment. I PR’d by such a large amount. I ran the hardest emotional and physical race I have ever run. I all out sprinted 2.5km…..and I can’t stop thinking about 2:30.

I could have done it. I COULD HAVE DONE IT.
The fire is inside me. Now to find a race….

PS. Don’t ask me about aid stations or any of that jazz- the only ones I really remember were at 4km and 14km[with the dang kid], but I was so zoned in and focused I can’t remember. I DO know 14km only had ONE porta potty. I know they were often, I was just trying to run my hardest and zone them out. I wore a camel back with my energy and water.

10 Random Thoughts

  1. Being a bad dancer is better than being a non-dancer. No one feels joy from non-dancers. JOY is present with confident bad dancers.IMG_0004
  2. Sweating feels GOOD. Believe me. Getting my but moving lately has been a real struggle …. BUT when I get out there and run or yoga or walk, I feel mighty mighty good after. While I am no where near back to normal in this sector, I did get out for a run and one hot yoga class this week. [P.S. Costco has these amazing Addidas thermal tights for $16…and they are really great]
  3. The Jinx. Seriously. People! If you think The Making of a Murderer on Netflix is amazing…You haven’t seen anything yet. M.I.N.D.B.L.O.W.I.N.G! G and I finished this series (only 6 episodes) last weekend and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.IMG_0006
  4. MY JEEP! Old Bernie was sent to the crusher, but beautiful Walter lies in her wake. We purchased a 2016 Jeep Cherokee North Edition, with a panoramic sunroof and 4-wheel drive. I had ZERO intention of buying new but the deal we received, on top of 0% financing and the security of 5 years of extended warranty….could not pass it up. I feel like a celebrity cruising down the street in this thing. Going from the most basic car (not even power windows or locks) to this lux SUV is pretty fun. I am definitely already noticing a difference in how much fuel it takes to power the thing though-only downside. IMG_0005
  5. ROAD TRIPPING. I am starting to look at the first half of our baby-detox road trip this summer. Researching the coolest places to see/stay/etc. I am beyond excited. If you have any suggestions for Salt Lake/Grand Canyon/LA/Seattle/Vancouver/Calgary/Saskatoon driving route….COMMENT! 😉
  6. Soft Candy Canes. I discovered these bad boys too late-on the christmas clearance racks…but HOLY TAMALE…new favourite candy.IMG_0008
  7. Refreshed roots make me feel like a new woman. [the hair wash/head massage helps too.]Thank goodness for my hair dresser. [who shared with me she is pregnant for the third time with T.W.I.N.S!!! EEP!!!]IMG_0001
  8. Knitting. I can officially knit….sort of. I knit this thing. I don’t know what it is, but to me, it is a graduation to a real project. I am going to start a blanket this month. IMG_0002
  9. This. I saw it posted at work and loved it. Have a happy week.IMG_0007
  10.  Gosh that was a lot of pictures of myself. BAHAHA!

STOP IT!

I need to address something here that is very VERY very important.

If I hear one more person tell me the secret reason they have never run is because they are too self conscious…..
I have heard this sad fact from at least 5 people this month. Tiny people, less tiny people, large people. Young people, old people.

PEOPLE! You are beautiful. If you are walking, shuffling, running, darting, ANYTHING, you are doing better than the majority of north americans sitting at home on their couch.

Screw them. Screw the kids who teased you as a kid. Screw the “elites” who make you feel slow. Screw bad body image.

We are all beautiful, and doing the best you can, and running is such a joy and gift because of just that-it teaches you to love yourself, and that you are capable of so much more than you think.

So whether you are 600 LBS, or 90lbs. 10 years old, or 80 years old… Lets get moving. No one else’s opinion should ever determine our health.

(PS. Me and all my ‘running friends’ are commending you…It takes incredible strength to get out there. Starting is hard, we were all there once.)

The End.

Love, Me.

Choosing Joy

It has been a week of emotional up’s and down’s, but I am happy to say I am finding peace.

While my mind changes every.single.day as to if I want to try IVF or head straight to adoption…I have a lot of time, so I am trying to not let it stress me out.

I think it may seem like I am stuffing down my feelings in an attempt to not really deal with my emotions. That is far from reality. I am very in touch with my emotions, but I am trying to let joy be the prevailing emotion. So do I break down crying at the topic of infertility mid-run on a windy, terrifying bridge…yep? Do I let it take my whole run? Nope. I laugh about the ridiculousness of where I chose to break down, I express why I am sad…and I carry on.

Many people have asked, how are you? My most hated question. I don’t really know how I am. One minute I am sad, one minute I am happy, one minute I am planning my adoptive family. Haha. A short, “I’m Fine.” seems to be the answer lately. I am happy to talk about everything we are going through….but sometimes, at the end of a long HAPPY day, I don’t want to let sad emotions seep in. I want to choose JOY instead of sadness. I AM choosing joy…so if I don’t express my sad feelings to you, I am not trying to hide anything…I am moving on and picking happiness.

..Because? We will have a beautiful life with or without children.

So what are some things I am doing to help me CHOOSE JOY?

  1. Planning. I am a planner. If you ask my husband he will tell you what a bond me and my schedule book have. HAHA!! I am allowing myself to plan for an immediate (2-5 year) future without children. We are planning a trip, and making goals…and I love it.
  2. Eating healthy. I got a little off track in all the infertility treatments, so getting back to eating whole foods, and storing up on nutrients is helping me feel my best.
  3. Exercise. It is amazing how cathartic running is. In many ways I can run away from everything….zone out…dig deep. In many other ways, running helps me to delve deep into myself and my soul and feel my feelings in a healthy way, and then push deep to let them go.
  4. Keeping busy. I find joy in a full schedule. I love being able to look at a week and know exactly what I need to do.
  5. Loving fully. I am trying to not let infertility to cause me to be hardened. I am trying to express my love to my husband and friends without holding back…because that is who I am, and I refuse to let infertility change that. 😉
  6. Simple Pleasures. I am forcing myself to take every day breath by breath. Smell the latte. Experience the flavours. Feel the wind on my face on the patio I am sipping the coffee. I am trying got be present, and ever amazed by the wonderful world we live in.
  7. Budgeting. Getting serious about our budget is helping me see that IVF/Adoption/Home ownership, etc. are not impossible and ARE in our future. It is also much less stressful to have a plan.
  8. Letting myself fall apart. In letting myself take 5 minutes in the moments I am sad to just feel bad for myself….I am able to deal with those emotions, and then consciously choose to move on. I am not dwelling in sadness, but I am acknowledging when it comes, and giving it a time limit.
  9. Giving to others. It is amazing how much joy can be found in helping and supporting others. I don’t mean financially. I mean really listening, caring, lending that helping hand when needed. I am trying to make this more of a part of my daily life.

Thanks for joining me on this crazy, but JOYFUL journey.
***If you find yourself free please join us to raise money for our refugee family. Beer night details if you follow this think…. https://www.facebook.com/events/799490583492942/***

Miserable Or Strong

Can I just step back for a moment and say…. WOW

I am astonished. The support my husband and I have received since publishing our journey with infertility here has been incredible. I honestly expected criticism for opening up such a personal aspect of our lives on THE INTER-WEB! (TEEHEE) Man was I ever wrong. The blog has never received so many hits. I have received HUNDREDS of sweet messages from friends, readers, co-workers, etc., all expressing their love and support. Many thanking me for sharing our journey. My heart is so full. It is incredible how lucky we are to have so many amazing, understanding and loving humans in our lives. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We feel your overwhelming love and support.

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We have started cycle #2…but I expect it to go much the same as cycle #1 so I won’t be doing a day by day diary again. That sounds incredibly boring to read. 🙂 I will tell you though that I am feeling much more stress-free this cycle. This could all change when my hormones start to whirl again, but for now, I feel good.

I have made a list of positive changes I plan to make this cycle:

1) Exercise! I was so afraid to exercise/ nauseated last cycle that I didn’t even run ONCE. This cycle I want to maintain my normal activity level to help control my emotions.

2) Meditate/Visualization. I have read extensively about how important meditation is for stress-relief as well as visualization for fertility. I am going to make a conscious effort just to set aside a few minutes every day to be in silence and clear my mind of all things negative.

3) Pray. I find it the hardest to pray in the moments I feel I need to pray the most. When my heart is aching, I can’t find the words. Luckily, I know God knows my heart. I also know we have a tremendous army of people praying FOR us. I suppose this sort of goes with #2, but I am going to purposely set aside time every day to pray and set aside all things that worry me. This bible verse has got me through many turmoils in life, I need to write it on my mirror or something.

“Do not be anxious in anything, but by prayer and petition present your requests to God. “

4) Supplements! I have been reminding G to take his supplements (there is extensive research on the effects of zinc and folic acid on sperm motility). I am also trying to take prenatal vitamins myself. They make me so NAUSEATED so I have avoided them, but Im going to make a big effort to find a way to get them in my life in a way that doesn’t make me sick. I know that they are important in those two weeks after conception when you don’t know you are pregnant yet!

5) Live life and make plans. I had no long-term plans the last month. Living like my life was on hold was incredibly difficult for me. “What if we are pregnant…What if we aren’t” It sucks. So I have just decided to starting making plans and goals for my next year of life despite what is going on with fertility treatments. HECK. Im an ER nurse. I am used to re-prioritizing constantly. IF we get pregnant, I can reprioritize my plans then.

6) Eat better. The emotional tornado/ fertility drugs had me eating a tons of carbs and bad-for-me-foods this last month. Thankfully I haven’t gained weight from it, but I haven’t been feeling my prime. Need to get back to cooking whole food meals frequently! STAT!

7) Reward myself. I have A LOT of appointments, pelvic ultrasounds, blood work, shots, pills, etc. I am going to start doing small things to make these things more enjoyable. Treated myself to a rice-milk earl grey latte today after a pelvic ultrasound and it was WONDERFUL.

8) Depend fiercely on my husband. He will tell you-I like to be very independent. ESPECIALLY when I am hurting. I don’t like to let anyone TOO close for fear of falling apart. If this experience has taught me anything, it is that he is my biggest fan, my number one supporter, and I chose an incredible man to spend my life with. I continue to strive to be soft with him, and to let him care for and protect me as much as he can. I also strive to protect his heart when I can. 🙂

9) Start again. It is okay to grieve, but at some point we need to pick ourselves up and move along. To gain hope again. I am going to start to hope again. I know how much it could hurt in the end…but what kind of life are we living if it is always full of fear?

10) Grace. You don’t get to pick your struggles in life, but you DO get to pick how you react to what is thrown your way.

“We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same. ” -Carlos Castenada

Thanks for following in our journey and continuing to support us.

Have a happy week!

A Day In The Life

Woke up today at 6am and then rested in bed for about 15 minutes before getting up for my long run, feeling relatively rested after 7.5hrs of sleep (I usually need 9). I ate a banana and about 4 or 5 baby dill pickles along with two glasses of water. Filled up my fuel belt with another two cups of water and some dates.

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Headed out for a slightly epic run with one of my besties, Grey Robin. I call it epic because I was pushed beyond what I thought was my physical limit as well as my mental limit at this point. We setting out to hit 18km, at what I thought would be my average pace of 7:45-8:25….typically long runs are mostly in the 8 minute or more mark. After 1km, GR took my garmin away from me as I was already starting to obsess over my pace. She directed me to just take it easy and go with how I felt [she should really get certified as a run coach, she really knows how to encourage and inspire]. Fabulous. We took a route on our normal trail but much further south in a part I haven’t been. It was beautiful and slightly hilly dirt trails. At 5km, I was surprised to find out I was only at 37 minutes (40 minutes is my norm. lately) and feeling great. Around where I thought was about 8 or 9km I started trying to push myself a little harder because I thought I might be slowing down, telling Becky I would like to hit 10km in less than 1:18 (norm. is 1:20 lately). She giggled a bit as I was huffing and puffing and fretting about slowing down and told me that I only had 900M to go until 10KM giving me enough time to actually WALK and still hit 1:18. I rolled past 10KM at 1:14!!!! I was actually running at a 7:05 and 7:07 pace for the 9 and 10th KM. WAHOOOOO!!! I couldn’t breath, and tears were welling in my eyes. I am so much stronger than I think I am. We continued along the dirt river-side trails for the last 8KM which were definitely tough mentally. I literally felt like crawling into the grass and going to sleep. Grey Robin pushed me and pushed me and LITERALLY…EVEN PHYSICALLY PUSHED ME and got me to the end in 2:21:53! Major Success. Even if I run 8:15 minute KM’s for the last three on race day, I will PR by about a minute. I seriously have no idea what I would do without GR’s constant support!!=) Through the run I only ate about 3 dates and 3 cups of water. 

After the run I had 25 minutes until church started so I made a mad dash for a cold shower and got ready to arrive at church about 10 minutes late, iced coffee, pickles and a banana in hand. After service the hubbie and I headed home for some relaxation and lunch. We ate leftover lo mein and watermelon. I had 3 glasses of water also.

We spent the afternoon watching episodes of The Mindy Project, which the hubbie is still catching up on while I stretched and foam rolled- seriously painful.

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Around 2:30 we settled in for an afternoon nap as we were both beat. I sleep for about an hour and a half. Woke up, hung around the house, wasted time on the internet snacking on some potato chips and finally decided upon sushi for dinner. [Oh and treated my running chafe while drinking a cherry dr. pepper]

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Now we are just spending the evening at home relaxing/watching TV and probably having an early-ish bedtime! Our simple, boring sunday in a nutshell, and I loved it!