Whenever I listen to Lindsey Heins podcast “I’ll have another” she almost always inquires about how her guest met his or her significant other. No matter how much I want to hear more about running, these stories always captivate me. People love love stories! Since yesterday was my Anniversary, I’ll share mine.
There is so much to this story.... Even the very shortened version is a long one... Matt took 9 years to propose so you can probably imagine we didn't start dating just after we met. Matt is kind of a long-con artist. He still says he needed that time to figure out if he could deal with me for a long time.... (that’s just the kind of flirtatious banter we have).... but I now know it was really because he was a little too much like Peter Pan to do something mature like get married and grow up!
December 16, 2006- the day we met. I remember the date well, but not for the reason you might suspect. It was also the day I helped deliver the puppies all through the night (15th-16th)
That's right, 11 puppies. How could anyone forget that? I was scheduled to be running in the BU indoor Mini meet. I was a graduate student with an indoor season of eligibility left due to previous injury. My goal for the season was to qualify for the NCAA's in indoor. I missed it by .24 seconds the year before with a 5:02, so I wanted to break 5. This was the first race of the season though so I was hoping for 5:10 after Cross Country. With shorter races, sometimes the best way to get better at them is to just do them!
... Poor Dog Mom, Abbey, had been in labor for pretty much all of December 15th (I sympathize much more now) and finally had the first puppy around 5pm the day before the race. You don’t know how many there will be so my brother and I stayed up until 3 or 4am when we were sure they were all out and Abbey settled with her huge litter of puppies. I know I know this isn’t about the puppies (BUT WHO DOESN'T LOVE PUPPIES!?...)
Anyway, The last thing I wanted to do the next day was go run an optional race.... but I was slightly interested in one of my brothers friends that was going to be at the race, so I went. I watched him compete (I later realized that Matt and him finished one second apart... I wont say who won... I'd like to stay married! haha). I don't even think I talked to my brothers friend; I was in a particularly impatient mood because a. I was tired, b. I wanted to go be with the puppies... so while waiting on the infield for my heat I was getting a little anxious and thirsty. I waited in line to grab water (the facility was new and no personal waters allowed on the infield) Then, out of no where some guy that just finished his heat of the mile cut in front of me and grabbed water. I was pisssssssed. I am not the type of person to keep my mouth shut on injustices... even just the small ones like cutting in line... so I turned around to give this guy a piece of my mind... but that is not what happened.
Instead my eyes locked with Matthew's, and that was it. My whole world slowed down. He said “sorry”, I said “it’s okay” ... and then went to run my race (5:11). He claims he cut me on purpose, I still don’t believe him. He’s very impulsive and I think he didn’t notice the line, but whatever. Anytime he cuts a line "by accident" in grocery stores or other places I'm like "should have yelled at you that day, you've never learned" but I had already, in an instant, fallen in love (shh.... don't tell him! His ego is big enough!).
After my race we caught up again. He was the coordinator and President of a team called the Sisu Project and was giving me some information since after indoor, my college running was over. I already knew about the team because someone had already asked me to join. I was intrigued even before meeting Matt since my ex-boyfriend (Social Media makes the world so small) and I used the word Sisu on the back of our sweatshirts; I hardly knew anyone that knew what it meant. At this point, part of my motivation to join any team was to meet someone.... but also to run fast. I had already looked up the team back in September and wasn’t interested because all the guys were from State Colleges and I was too elitist for that.... and on the competitive side, only one girl, Melissa, was better than me. I did notice all the girls went to Yale, and found that to be a strange combination. I wanted to be on a fast team so I could grow. But now, after locking eyes with Matthew, I was willing to sacrifice the competitive team for “love at first sight”... I inquired about the team, and inquired about Melissa... Immediately I figured out from his body language that she must have been his ex and they just broke up. Awkward. I tried to play it cool. I took his card with the team website and his email on it and since I couldn't stop thinking about him, I emailed later in the week.... not to profess my love, but to inquire about the team. I didn't want to show all my cards!
At first the emails were all business about the team, but we slowly worked in more personal conversations. Keep in mind, this is back before Facebook (for State Colleges, anyway), and smartphones or texting, and in Matts case, before internet.... He literally only had the internet at work. So I'd email him and he would only check his email before work and during lunch. I would be embarrassingly excited to get an email from him every day and if I was lucky, twice a day. This was also before you got an email from every store you've ever purchased anything from, so it was basically a real life "You've Got Mail" since the only mail I got was from him. At least I kind of knew who I was emailing!
I think the next time we saw each other was in February at the Valentine Meet. At this point we had been emailing for almost 2 months back and fourth every day. We talked about painting, music, our favorite movies, our families and upbringings, the puppies (I dropped the puppies in the emails often hoping maybe he'd ask to come see them. Every guy I know loves puppies) I felt like I knew every detail of his life (except for one...) Occasionally we talked on the phone, but cell phones had huge fees for everything, so it was either really late at night or not at all.
I went to this BU Valentine Meet knowing I'd see him there. When I arrived with my friend Louis, I scanned the whole place and didn't think he was there yet. I was freaking out just a tad. It was already a little desperate that I was there because it was a Men's only meet, the women raced on a different day... but I was with my best friend, Louis, so it was easy to justify that I was going to watch him.. until Louis got injured and now I wasn't even there to watch him... we just both went together to watch the races in general. Still, that wasn't unusual. Louis and I had gone to every race together for Cross Country too because I had no eligibility so I couldn't travel with the team. I had no car, so I was completely dependent on friends to get me to where I needed to go.... and these things are always more fun with company! (and just to clear things up (since Matt wasn't sure at first) it is completely possible to have a platonic friendship with someone of the opposite sex. Louis dated my friends, I dated his... we never even considered dating each other. )
I knew I liked Matthew through email, and I knew he liked me through email... But I was a little bit concerned that maybe I forgot what he looked like or he forgot what I looked like and that attraction wouldn't be there in person. I was also really concerned and intimidated by how polite and poetic and well spoken he was. I repeated to Louis so many times "don't let me drop the F-bomb today." I thought to myself this guy NEVER swears... His emails are all so polite... I don't think I can keep this up forever... this is never going to work.... It wasn't like I was being fake in emails, but the emails were the best version of me. As far as he knows I was a really nice bubbly girl who would never chew someone out for cutting them in line. But the reality was I'm not nice. I'm intense and aggressive, and stubborn, and direct and sarcastic... and a ton of great things, too... like insanely loyal and honest, and passionate... but nice is not a word used to describe me.
Then I saw him enter from far away and he started walking in my direction. Dear Lord don't turn red... Try not to look at him... do I wave or let him pass by me and pretend I didn't know he was here?... crap, he's looking at me... He did a quick head nod at me like I'm his "bro" and walked right by me...but before I could be embarrassed that he wasn't coming to talk to me or contemplate if the head-nod meant I was friend-zoned, I heard him start yelling "Way to Fucking Go Tommy Gun! You Fucking Killed it! Shit, Son!" (followed by aggressive high fives and man hugs)... I looked at Louis and said "yup... I'm going to marry him" .... If you couldn't guess, a fellow Sisu Project member was sitting two rows down from me and had just run a big PR... Matt was excited. He was also aggressive, and abrasive, and intense. What a relief!
We only spent a short time together at the race and Matt talked to Louis more than me... Matt could have written the movie Hitch. We continued emailing and seeing each other every few weeks at races. Louis even played wing-man inviting him for runs. They both came over my house to meet the puppies. We had a handful left. I thought for sure this would move things along. What guy doesn't love dogs? Why wont he ask me out? ...
Time passed. I was running out of email topics that weren't "are you in love with me yet?" ... I finally had the courage to invite him to the NCAA National Championship being held conveniently in Boston. Nationals was on March 8, (remember, I fell in love on December 16th). I was the last place qualifier... I barely squeezed in with a 5:03. I was hoping to get sub 5 at Nationals while he was there, but I was nursing a pretty bad back injury. I honestly wasn't sure I could finish a race of that intensity, but I was overloaded on Ibuprofen willing to try. I don't know what I was more nervous for, the biggest race of my life or the fact that I invited Matthew and I didn't have Louis as a buffer to make it less... date-like...(it was spring break). Every time I checked the stands I didn't see him... I was really nervous that he wasn't going to show at all... Even on the starting line he still wasn't there! The gun went off and I heard my name. It was my brother. Phew, at least someone came. Then in my next lap I heard Matthews voice... but my back had already started to seize up. Maybe it would have been better if he wasn't there at all! I limped to a 5:08, finishing last place. Embarrassing. I was mad. For 5 years all I thought about was Nationals, and now it was over. I spent a lot of nervous energy on this new relationship instead of on the race, I just hoped it was worth it. (spoiler alert, it was)
I was embarrassed and wanted to cry but I also didn't want him to see me cry yet. I was in so much pain from the race but was also feeling upset that he missed part of it and like maybe he didn't care much after all (I later found out how many other people tried to get to the race and just couldn't because it was one of those accidents that requires a helicopter and Boston traffic is already bad just as is... again, before Waze app, and texting). Matthew drove me to my hotel and came in to help me since I was in agony. While I took a shower he went and filled the trash bags in the hotel with ice and got extra pillows from the desk. It was really nice. I eventually found out I had a hairline fracture in my T12 and have an abnormality in my spine that contributes to a lot of my injuries due to how it alters my hip movements... so yeah, painful, I basically couldn't move from how tight everything got to protect me from pain. Not what most guys would expect coming to a hotel room, but he was a total gentleman anyway... I got to see a nurturing side of him, which was nice... and built a lot of trust... but then he went home without giving me much clarity on if we were exclusive or not.
I invited him to my house shortly after that... still trying to leverage the two puppies we had left (that we kept for good) He came to visit and we had some pretty deep conversations like we typically did in emails. He's gotta ask me out now.... I can't remember his exact words...something only someone with the big ego, but charm to match could pull off.... "well, you're obviously my girlfriend now...." type thing. (I mean obviously... I was trying to hide some cards here, but I guess I had a bad poker face?).... and then he followed up with... "but you should know, I don't like dogs...."
So SO soooooo much more to the story... (like 9 years worth) but that is how we began dating and how I fell in love with a guy from a State College.... and how Matt learned to tolerate dogs... and to tolerate.... ME!
Hope you enjoyed! How did you and your significant other meet or start dating!?
Does your significant other run?
Leave a Comment!
I have been blogging for a really long time. I took lots of breaks in there but for a while... blogging was the thing for runners! I enjoy writing so much more than trying to caption something on instagram.... and I learned that recently. Instagram became a quick way of writing but didn't really have that therapeutic element that a blog has. Anyway, I've decided that on Thursdays I will pull up some old blog entries and put them here for you. I'll also provide the link to the original. Today I'm sharing happier (running) times when I was healthy and running fast! Injuries are exhausting, and sometimes it's painful to look back, but sometimes its encouraging. While this particular post was a time I was running really well (and still is my 8k PR), when I read back there were lots of set backs then, too... and I got through them! Thanks for sticking with me, and if you're feeling like you'll never get through this round of injuries... YOU WILL! I've done it many times before, so I know it!
November 22, 2010
This weekend was AMAZING!
It was the Philadelphia 8k, half-marathon, and marathon events... and it was also my birthday! Matthew picked me up on Friday from my parents house where I left my car, and off we went. It was a longer car ride than I remember from last year, but that was probably because I actually had a race to run so I was a little anxious about getting to the hotel and stretching out. Since I was registered as an elite runner, I didn't have to worry about picking up my number at the expo, they set it aside for me! Almost the entire week I had been making jokes about being called "elite." Philadelphia considers a runner "elite" if they can show recent proof of a time that is equivalent to or faster than the 5th place finisher the year before. However, 2009 was an unusually slow year for the Philly 8k, so I was able to get complementary entry with a time that probably will never be considered elite again-30:4x. That's as fast as I've gone for a while, what can I say? I felt pretty sure that this years race would be a significantly faster field and I would be the slowest "elite" for sure. Afterall, I hardly qualified for elite status to begin with. So I made these sarcastic jokes about being elite as a way to cope with the fact that I was likely to get my ass handed to me.
As it turns out, Philly was very good to us "elite." I felt out of place when I entered the heated tent with a handful of Kenyan runners, along with some runners traveling from Flagstaff, AZ- A hot spot for Americas top distance runners, but I played along like I actually belonged there. I saw one girl I knew from the BAA... but it didn't help my confidence too much since she has been beating me by a whole minute in 5ks that I considered great races for me this year. I felt like she wondered what I was doing in the tent. I just kept telling my legs that they needed to get it done and crack 30 today. My pr, 29:24, was a long shot... but to at least break 30 would justify my heated tent usage.
I found myself more confident once getting to the starting line. No one, except for that one girl, knew anything about me. As far as they were concerned, I was one of the fastest runners on the line. They believed it and now I had to. I decided to use a lesson from the birds, and just run as if I were part of a flock of starlings. The gun went off and I got right out. Many women were already putting a decent distance on me, but I knew I was running faster than the 6:00 minute goal pace, so I didn't worry about them, I just wanted to move as strategically and effortlessly through the flock as I could and hope that I pulled off something worthy of the free food in the "Special Guests Tent"
I hit mile 1 in 5:45 which put me in probably 9th place. Should I have freaked out and settled from there? Maybe... But I felt good so I just said "you've been here before, just hold it until you can't anymore, and then fight for it" I was running sub 18 pace, so I figured it'd get real ugly at 2.5ish. "You're elite, damn it! You've got this!" I told myself. I even heard another part of myself laugh on the inside after the thought crossed my mind. Hah! All the sarcastic jokes about being elite were now sounding serious in my head. My mind was repeating the jokes that I said so many times back to me, but the sarcastic intonation of my voice didn't exist anymore. I had actually fooled myself into thinking I belonged at the pace I was running... which was over a minute faster than my goal, and nearly 2 minutes faster than the time I posted to qualify as an elite.
I hit mile 2 in 11:30. Exactly 5:45 again. It was happening very easy. At that point I had already run by Matthew and John who were keeping count for me. by mile 2 I had positioned myself in 7th about two strides behind the 6th place woman. I learned a lesson on passing from Joan Benoit Samuelson the hard way back in July. Perhaps she had learned the trick from Lance Armstrong as I have seen this move done many times in Le Tour de France. I made sure that when I passed the women in front of me that I did not give them any room to catch my back wheel. Basically, as they do in cycling, I threw on a surge to prevent any drafting. I did not want her to use my energy against me.
I hit mile 3 in 17:18... So I lost a few seconds... but just before mile 3 I had caught two other women... One of them was the BAA girl from Massachusetts that normally beats me by huge margins. Neither of them challenged me in the slightest, but I stuck with the passing strategy through out and my effort was so strong that I was not surprised to run right by them. My confidence grew tremendously when I realized I was still carrying a clip that would put me just at or just below 18 minutes in the 5k, a feat that I have not done on the roads this year. The best part about it was that I still felt really good! I was not in panic mode, and was not fading physically or mentally...
Immediately following the mile 3 mark, there is a hair pin turn that basically causes you to put the breaks on. That is where the hurting began, but only for a little while since I was accompanied by many steady men who kept the pace going. I can't remember my mile 4 split exactly, but it was low 23's. I remember watching the clock ticking in high 22's from afar, but when I finally reached the clock I forgot to actually look at it. I was just telling myself "one more mile." At this point I felt confident that I had solidified my fourth place finish. I was keeping track of the "elite" women, and knew that I had already passed most of them in their broken state and they would not be coming back. I could see third place running a strong race up ahead of me, and there was no way I was going to be able to bring her in... so I focused on time.
In my last mile I had a pack of men that I had been traveling along with. We started to pick off many other struggling men as we ran into the rising sun. I was starting to feel anxious about the finish, and was starting to lose focus. At this point I knew I had a PR, I knew I had 4th place, and part of me wanted to pack it in to avoid the pain all together... I felt myself drift off from the pack of men as my first negative thoughts crept in... but I quickly reminded myself that i was running the best road race of my life, and I could not look back with any regret. I had to keep fighting for the absolute fastest time I could run. I couldn't leave anything out there. So I surged to regain contact with the men and clung to them as we aproached a half mile to go. As we got closer and closer to the finish, our pack began to dismantle and I found myself leading the charge. I was flagged over to the left to finish in the "womens chute" with my eyes completely glued to the clock that continued to count closer and closer to 29. I knew I had it though, and that just fueled me more. The clock read 28:20 as I switched gears with under 200 meters to go. I was pleased to have even more turn over left with about 50 to go, and I finally arrived at the finish line stopping the clock at 28:51. A 33 second PR!
I wasn't the only PR of the weekend either!
Matthew and John toed the line for the half and full marathon the following morning. I could write several more paragraphs on how amazing it was to watch them both PR, but it's not necessary. Matt ran a 2:2x PR in the half marathon with 1:13:31, and John ran an 11 minute PR with 2:56:39. It was pretty amazing that we all ran in separate events, and were all fueled and motivated by one another. I knew I needed to set a tone on Saturday, and they knew they had a tough act to follow on Sunday. It was simply an amazing experience. To add to it, our close friend Dan Vassalo (who Matt was pretty happy to say he ran with and got to give a pep talk to the day before) WON the marathon! Only the second American to ever do so! It was pretty exciting!
The thing that is great about running a PR, is that it fuels you. When you know you are having one of the best races of your life, it is much easier to look beyond the pain until it ceases to exist. It just shows you how powerful your mind is, and how possible it is to overcome any obstacle... that includes the obstacles I've been tackling at work. Through running, I have continued to remind myself that even with the odds against you, anything is possible... So I will continue to use that mindset as I reevaluate my classroom struggles.
A few things to note here:
So as always, thanks for reading or stopping by! Tomorrow is my wedding Anniversary, so stay tuned for some story about how Matt and I met in the upcoming days! but today I end the post with the quote that was a banner on the top of my blog for many many years but is still applicable today.....
And, when you can’t go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward. – The Alchemist.
“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
Its Tuesday, so now that I’m back on Instagram, you know what that means.... side by side pictures displaying a person on the left who was slow or sad or over weight, and a new version of that same person who is fast, and happy, and skinny. These are the images that the algorhythm shows us because they are extremely popular. We can’t help it! Success stories are addicting and make us all feel good and remind us that it is possible! But behind every success story, there are lots of failures.
My “story” in particular this year (and last) has been failure after failure after failure... but just because I don’t have a visual representation of my transformation doesn’t mean it’s not happening! I am in a constant state of evaluation and change (which is why I prefer “transforming Tuesday” since it never really stops). What I have always loved so much about running is the purity and simplicity of it. There’s no judgement involved (usually!... that year Alison Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh tied for third was unusual). No one to determine a fair play or to award points based on artistry. A runner couldn’t lose a race for their hair style or how they smiled like a figure skater can. A runner can’t lose a championship because a referee calls a foul or a penalty flag is thrown. Being from the sports dynasty, New England, it’s exhausting to hear that sports teams only won because of X, Y, Z... and I’ve always been so glad that when you win a race, generally, nothing is questioned-you’re the champion. When you run a certain time, that’s the time. We can talk about the depth of competition, humidity, wind, or course elevation factors; but in general, what you achieve is quantifiable and that’s IT.
For me, my place, my time; these things were so largely tied to my identity for as long as I could remember. If I am not performing at a certain level, who am I? Since I started running very competitively at such a young age (12), I didn’t really have the maturity to see running as a separate part of me. With each injury across the 20+ years I learn how to unravel that deep correlation I made; I’m only successful if I can do this goal.
(note-Ive been transforming on the inside, not the outside (but to be honest, on the outside too! It was a long Easter season and I loved me ALLLL the Cadbury eggs!)
There’s always been two parts to my why. One part has been the external: to show others what I can do. That has evolved over time. At first it was very much from an angry adolescent “I’ll prove it to you” sort of place. Then a more ego driven version of that- once I proved I was the best* I challenged people to come after me. But now I mostly just want to be able to show my girls what I can do so they can later believe what they can do.
(* The best mostly meant that I won my district. I loved to won districts. This was before I had the internet and I had to use the newspaper as my only source to find out who else was out there.)
Then theres the Part Two of my why, the internal, how I feel when I run. This cosmic connection with the ground that I get. Feeling the roots and rocks under my feet. Listening to the gravel, the sloshing through puddles. I love to feel my heart beating hard enough that I can’t hear anything else... sometimes It feels like there’s not enough space for my lungs and heart in my chest. I love to memorize the way the sun bursts through the trees and how sometimes you can actually see the rays coming through the clouds. I love how hills look impossible from far away, but then you get to the top and realize it’s not that bad.... and yes, (sometimes more than anything else) I love to run in the snow. Wish I could make it melt as soon as I’m “over it”, but sometimes the snow is so magical! Especially when you can see your breath and it gets stuck to your lashes and your cheeks have turned every shade of red.... I could go on... but I think you get it... (this is why I don’t wear headphones)
For the majority of my running career I’ve let Part 1 be the driving force of my why (like Joy in Inside Out- always taking control over everything) but throughout this injury process, Part 2 has had to find a voice and take control. I’m in a place where I’m trying to find a good balance between the two. I don’t want to let go of my competitive goals completely, but this process has transformed me in a way that I am have to make piece with those things being put to rest so I can salvage some of my why. I couldn’t see how much I loved running because I was blinded by my love for running fast times and the validation that comes along with that. I am by no means prepared to stop competing and going for PRs, but I realize that is not sustainable and running for pure love is. I have to center my goals around something I can control and PRs are not that.
I have no image to represent my transformation, but here is an image of my current status. I am transforming physically, yes. My foot can’t seem to heal while I’m on it all day so I’m taking more extreme measures. But more important than this is the emotional transformation taking place. Don’t be fooled, all those side by side comparisons were made possible by the silent internal transformations. If you’re struggling right now, I hear you, I see you, you are not alone. THIS is the hard work and the results will follow
COMMENT BELOW: tell me about a transformation you’re going through or have been through that couldn’t be captured by side by side comparisons.
I’m trying to move more towards blogging so your comments are appreciated!
Thanks for checking out my latest post! Im already feeling ... meh... about being back on Instagram, mostly because my foot is still hurting and I don’t really want to post another picture and try to caption the essence of it all. Again, my Instagram has been primarily about my training and balancing that with real life... but I’m not really training, so why am I on there? What do I post? Or do I try to train so I can post and hope for the best?
Obviously the latter isn’t my answer, but to be honest, it took getting off instagram to remind myself to not let it dictate any decisions I make. I haven’t been training but I HAVE been running... sort of as a way to self assess and figure out what to do next.. and sort of because I'm a stubborn idiot and think I can "beat this" while still running. I said I’d get back on track with weekly recaps, so even though none of this feels right for a specific instagram post, I can certainly fit it all in a blog! Here we go!
Lets go back to the weeks of training I did leading up to the decision to drop the marathon and right through when I stopped posting on Instagram. I was still on strava, so some of you follow me there and know I took time off. Here’s my progression of Mileage (or digression?....)
Feb 4- Feb 10: 36.6 miles. I had some pain, as usual, saw a massage therapist who told me I needed 3 days off, so I listened.
Feb 11-Feb 17: 52.7 miles with a rolling 7 of 64 from previous Wednesday to the Wednesday of this week. Peak mileage.
Feb. 18- Feb 24: 23.2 miles. I got a sinus infection really bad... and pink eye... and was just terribly sick.
Feb. 25- Mar. 3: 16.1 miles. Still sick but felt hopeful that the time off healed my injury. Spoiler alert: it didn’t.
March 4- March 10: 12.3 gave up Instagram and decided enough is enough: time to heal.
March 11-17: 0 miles
March 18-24: 3 miles, purchased a night splint for plantar fasciitis, it was definately helping!
March 25-31: 0 miles running, but i was walking now.
April 4-7: 14 miles of combined walking and running.
April 8-14: 14.5 miles of mostly running but still some walking. Confusing signals from my foot. During runs it hurts mostly in the beginning, hurts pretty bad after, doesn’t hurt at all when I wake up the next day. Then on days I don’t run it hurts way worse the next day. Is running helping or hurting? I have no clue.
Brings me to this week:
MONDAY: In general, Monday is my off day. I often have staff meetings so it’s not usually a good day to run, but in this case it was the marathon so I stood on my feet and cheered like crazy. I felt good all day. No foot pain whatsoever from the run the previous day. I was super inspired and optimistic and all about changing my plans to make sure I fit in a BQ this summer.
Tuesday: 5 miles. I was supposed to do 4 today and 5 the following day but Matt and I went to the rail trail and I took advantage of the soft surface and nice weather and did the 5 miles today. I felt great... and surprisingly fit! I just loved the weather and the dirt under my feet! Trails are my jam!
Wednesday: Off. My foot felt okay when I woke up but I wanted it to keep feeling okay, so I took today off. I went totally crazy cleaning and organizing the kids rooms and donating all their old toys... wow, it felt good. Again, since I can only remove so much physical stress in my life, I’m trying to remove emotional stuff. I haven’t just been tackling my debt, but also my clutter!
Thursday: 4 miles, 2 in deep trails. God I loved every second of the trails. I felt so alive and no foot pain until I returned to the road. Ugh! I felt so good I thought about maybe forgetting the roads and doing the mountain and trail series just to train in the trails and increase ankle stability. Maybe the trails could physically and emotionally heal me! But then the pain on the roads made me pissed off and confused.
Friday: off My foot felt pretty good! But since it still hurt a bit during the previous days run, I wasn’t sure I was ready for back to back runs yet... so I just played Easter bunny and finished cleaning and uselessly posting on Poshmark. I’m donating May 1st, so if there’s anything you want, let me know! The black Calvin Klein dress would love a new home! (Also the shoes!). I don't have expensive taste, but you never know who might like something!
Saturday: 3.1 miles This was a turning point for me and how I’ve been approaching all of this. I went to watch Matt race in his alumni race, and my brother raced too. Matt has a mile PR of 4:19, but on this day he ran a 5:03 and I couldn’t be more proud. It was exactly what I needed to witness to adjust my own thinking. I keep feeling like I’m losing part of my identity when I feel the aging of my body happening with these injuries. I hate slowing down so I keep rushing the healing process. I know I’m capable of an OTQ under current US standards, but I feel like I’m racing against time. Could I do it when I’m in my 40s or close to it? Can I have another kid and still do it? Or the biggest question, what will the 2024 standard be? (No doubt after IAAF changes US will change in some capacity.) Matt had FUN at his race. It was slow for him but a good performance for where he’s at right now. The race was called the “has-been-alumni-Mile” which was obviously just a funny title that welcomed all fitness levels, but even though Matt was well off his best time, I don’t see him as a has-been at all. I see him gradually adjusting to new life demands, and I truly think when he’s 40 you’ll see him in the New Balance indoor games for Masters... but if not, I know he's still going to give it his all at whatever level he can.
I keep making errors in the process of healing because I feel like I have to swing for the fences, like I have to accomplish everything in one swoop... and when you do that sometimes you knock it out of the park... but most often you strike out. I keep striking out! It sucks! I didn’t intend on writing this baseball (softball) analogy, but... here we are... when I was younger, I played serious ball. At one point I even had the opportunity to play on a traveling team. I was the catcher (skinniest one in history probably! (Jk)), and I suuuucked at bat. Since I was fast my coach always made me bunt and then I’d steal the bases each pitch... and if that catcher dropped anything you better believe I was stealing home, too. There were times I could get all the way around the diamond before the teammate who batted after me hit a fair ball. I never hit a homerun or even a double... but I could still make it happen one base at a time. It’s hard to have patience and wait for the right time to move, but I have to... and honestly, if I don’t accomplish the big goals I want to, there’s still a lot more to this sport, and Matt showed me a bit of that.
Sunday: off My foot hurt. Not terribly, but bad enough that I can see I’m going to crash and burn if I try to run another marathon cycle this way. At this point I just want the pain gone, and I have to forget everything else. I’m just trying to enjoy this beautiful life I have. It's frustrating to run in pain but more frustrating to live in pain. I need to take some more serious measures to get this fixed. I always heard people talking about Plantar Faciitis, but until you experience how crippling and frustrating it can be across all areas of life, you can't understand. I just want my life back!
I've invested in a bunch of things that are definitely helping in the in between periods of just walking around. I've posted links below if you are interested! I will hopefully continue to blog twice a week but at the very least a Sunday recap... even if it's recapping all the non-running I"m doing. Running is NOT the hard part, it's resting that is. So even though I am back on track with blogging... don't expect track workouts any time soon!
It's Good Friday today, technically Lent is over, so I popped back on Instagram to do a quick scan and clean things up a bit-- but I haven't publicly returned. When I popped back on briefly I was flooded with some feelings and thoughts that I wanted to get down before I welcomed all these strangers back into my life. This break has been very eye opening and refreshing... It's made me realize the power social media has- both good and bad. So while not all of my lessons will apply to you, I do encourage you to take a break and learn some of these lessons first hand and also learn your own personal lessons as well!
1. People Don't Care About You
This is one that I've known for a long time. I fortunately learned this lesson really early. When I was in High School I was obsessed with getting my name announced on the intercom every single time I won a race or set a record or was mentioned in the newspaper. I started this sport being told by the Headmaster of the school that I'd have a hard time making the Varsity XC team because they were "one of the best"... so I used to keep track of every single time he has to announce my name. Our team was 73-0 for the 4 years I was there (and the year immediately after and immediately before) we never lost. It started to get hard to "top" myself so I felt this immense pressure. When I had to defend a big title for the third time I stressed so much until I realized no one actually cared that I defended it last year - NO ONE ACTUALLY CARES... all that matters is that you care about whatever it is you are documenting or doing.... and you can do that without daily validation!
2. People DO Actually Care
The great paradox here is that although, for the most part, no one really cares PEOPLE DO STILL CARE! When I went back on Instagram I had messages from dozens of people wondering where I was or missing me. As mentioned in a previous blog, people found me on facebook, I found people on facebook. My strava requests went up, hits on my blog went up, I have real phone numbers of many of the people I follow on Instagram now, and we text like normal long distance friends... But here's the thing, The people that care are the ones that will support you with or without running. People that feel a connection to YOU not what you have or (in my case) have not, accomplished. Thanks to those of you who reached out! It really means a lot!
3. All Social Media is not Equal
I keep my facebook and my instagram pretty different. My facebook is primarily posts of my kids and family things with a few running posts here and there... and pretty much every person I'm friends with on facebook I have met in real life (with a few exceptions). My Instagram is pretty much the exact opposite. I'm primarily posting running content with a few family posts sprinkled in. When I got off Instagram I was on facebook more often for sure... and although I can certainly use a purge of Social Media all together, it felt good to be on facebook again... I felt like my family posts were more important. My actual family is on facebook... my actual friends are on facebook... being on facebook felt nothing like being on Instagram. I think it is important to keep a place in your life that is just reserved for those that care about All of you. Strangers don't need to know more just because they want to know more. It's okay to accept someone on strava but not let them be your friend on facebook... or follow someone on twitter but not really care about more than their wit. Compartmentalizing aspects of my life on Social Media helps keep things more clear.
4. I'm a Phone Addict
Hello, My name is Caitlyn, and I am an addict. I'm just like all of you, addicted to my phone. Not social media, not validation; my phone. I don't feel badly about it- the people who create these apps design them to be addictive and like any addiction, it can take you away from other, more important things. So, I tried to turn the tables a bit. I downloaded apps that would benefit me. Whenever I had this urge to go on my phone I had to be able to make it productive. I have been on a mission to fix all my debt and improve my credit score with Credit Karma. I've been using Mint to organize my budget. I used to be obsessed with it but then I made a few huge errors and got too depressed about it to deal. My number one stress in my life is my debt and financial situation. I've done just about everything I can to fix my Plantar Facsiitis and it's not gone. So instead of trying to find internal, neuromuscular imbalances, I've been fixing the stress outside my body. I set up appointments with retirement people, and with the benefits office to get a better understanding of what I have going for me. I have been craving that phone usage so bad, so instead of going to social media I went to (big breath!!!.........) My student loan account and other places I have debt. I paid off 3 credit cards, consolidated debt into one spot so it stops confusing the shit out of me. and also I have some medical bills that I've organized and will be able to settle in one big swoop this upcoming month when I get three paychecks in a month instead of just two! (yesss! love these months!) I also threw out and donated like everything in my closet. I signed up forPoshmark- no luck yet- if you're interested I'm just trying to get rid of stuff. Best offer! Man, that place is crazier than instagram. No way can I stay on there! If it's not gone by May, I'm donating all of it! I even downloaded this Marriage Counseling app. Matt and I by no means need counseling, we were actually trialing it to see what we thought for a friend, but we really liked it! We work opposite hours often and barely get a chance to communicate with two kids and running and full time work... We've really enjoyed the applasting... so we've been using it. I highly recommend it! You get to click around on your phone and take quizzes that can actually help you in the long run. A phone addicts DREAM! But yes, I am addicted to my phone.
5. I Lived instead of just Narrated
In order to maintain relevance on Instagram, you need to be posting content. Most of my content has been anything but good since I'm constantly injured. I would find myself thinking throughout the day "how am I going to put this into words?" I would actually spend many of my runs thinking about the mood and the picture and the caption. I would miss living in the moment I was in by narrating the moment I was in. I've listened to Ryan Hall on three different podcasts now and resonate so much with so many of the messages from the book Run the Mile You're In. I can't wait to get myself a copy! (right after I pay all those medical bills and put some clothes in my closet that actually fit me).
6. I Like Writing
On the flip side of the narrating, I like to write. I craved writing. but I don't always want to write about my run or exactly how it went. I have deeper longer thoughts than that... and quite frankly I don't really care who reads! Its just good practice for me to put things down. Instagram started as a way of doing that that was a little quicker than a formal blogpost, but then the messages became more about the people following me and less about me.... I tried to keep things really authentic, but my thoughts were changed a little by the audience and by what I thought would be more popular. Lets face it, my injury story isn't something that deserves reposts and reshares (not yet at least)... so always trying to find a way to make it relevant or appeal to the masses was not my favorite thing to write. I think I prefer to stick to the blog- I figure the people who take the extra step to click and read instead of just scroll are the people in lesson number 2, that care regardless of how inspiring or how much mass appeal the post has. Who actually still following if I fail... which... I will... and I do.. ALL.THE.TIME. It's exhausting to try to post something people might like especially out of something that I don't even like! FU injury!
7. The World Keeps Spinning
I wasn't on Instagram, but guess what, I still ran. The Boston Marathon still happened, I was still there, I still felt really amazing when the snow melted and I could hit the trails and I still felt really crummy when I woke up with pain after a day on my feet where I thought I was finally better. I'm still doing drills to get better, I'm still feeling motivated, I still have a coach, I still have running goals, I still am stuck in this love/hate paradox- Trying to find balance. I don't need to document it for it to happen. If tree falls in the woods an no one is there to hear it it does make a sound. You don't need to be there for something to happen. The world keeps spinning on.
As a whole, I guess I didn't learn anything new, but relearned a lot... and also just changed my habits a bit in a way that has been more freeing and enjoyable for me. The hardest part of being off instagram wasn't missing people engaging with me, it was missing engaging with others and seeing all of your updates. I'm just dying for all the Boston updates right now... better go log in and read! I am hoping to blog more and instagram less. Back to a weekly recap of my runs on Sunday and maybe a bonus post in the middle of the week.
Welcome to my blog! I've been blogging for a long time on various platforms. My intention has never been to reach the masses, but rather to give myself a chance to reflect and journal. I feel it at least challenges me to be somewhat coherent, however you can expect ramblings and grammatical incorrectness here!
I've recently been diagnosed with CECS and fPAES and had it treated with BOTOX of all things... So I suspect to see more and more people looking for answers with that in the future and hope to continue blogging so there will be easy to access follow-ups as that was helpful for me.