Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Walk the Dinosaur

It’s been about a week since my last post I think. It’s been longer for my last run. My last run was the corporate challenge race. After the race I was sore and I knew I ran more on my leg than I should have. I had auditions that next week (hence my posting hiatus) and my schedule was all around crazy.

At auditions we had to dance and I put a little more stress on my knee and ankle than I should have.  So at PT my therapist asked me to walk on my tippy toes every time I went to walk. So while walking around the therapy room I put my arms like a little T-Rex would and pretended I was a dinosaur.

I had to walk like that the entire weekend. It helped relieve the stress on my shin but it made my foot and ankle even shakier, so I didn’t run on them. I may try to do a little run this evening because I have PT tomorrow.  Really it just showed me where my left foot was not flexible and that causes a good amount of pain on top of my foot.  So it’s frustrating and it makes me nervous for the Freihofer run this Saturday.

I don’t want to blow out my knee (I’ve done it twice before) and I don’t want my foot to hurt. I’m going to keep trying, keep trying to train. We’ll see how I feel after Saturday’s race and see how quickly I can recover. I have almost 6 weeks left before the Boilermaker. I honestly don’t know what will happen with that race. I can’t find a place to stay the night before the race so I’m a bit screwed with that and there are several emotional items tied to this race.

In other race news I may have to drop out of the Warrior Dash in August because of the show I got into. I auditioned for two musicals last week and was offered roles in both musicals. One would have challenged me vocally; the other challenged my inner dancer & showcased my comedic timing. So I took the role of Angie Sullivan (Julia’s mom) in The Wedding Singer the musical. It’s a really great group of people so it should be a whole lot of fun.  Rehearsals will start happening after work so I’ll have to adjust my running to before work.

So I’m kind of all over the place. Mixed emotions about running, mixed emotions injury, mixed emotions on some great opportunities. So really, I’m just 

All. Over. The. Place.

Monday, May 23, 2011

free app & explanation

Hey! That Nike + GPS app I use. Right now it's free for a limited time at the apple app store. You should buy it. It's cool. I like it. It's how I get cowbells during races.

Other than that. The next few days this week my focus is on my artistic passion. That's right kids - it's an audition week. So while trying to get up early to run would be a terrific thing, it's not something that i'm super excited about....especially since my knee has been sore since the race last Thursday. And running after work is on hold until Wednesday at least so I can go sing & dance my heart out with the hopes of getting into a summer/fall show.

I go to PT tomorrow and we'll see if I get told I do need fancy orthotics. If so, then it's trying to get it done ASAP so I can get back into training, and then seeing if I can get into a pool or cycling until I get me those fancy inserts.

Friday, May 20, 2011


That was my average pace. I walked a lot more than I wanted to. My shin froze up a lot and my knee is in a little pain today.  My phone had me run the entire race in 56 minutes. I walk/ran my first 5K in about 53 minutes, so this time I added a bit more distance and kept that same original time.
Workforce Challenge
I’m going to be running the same route in two weeks, so I’m hopeful that I can improve my time, or at least improve how much of it I run.
While I completed the race & I had fun with the people I was with, I was disappointed.
I was frustrated that I didn’t run a lot of the race. I know that I couldn’t but still this is how my mind works.
I celebrated the completion by meeting up with my two of my friends who are currently working on the C25K program for a beer.
It’s hard because I’m happy for all my friends who are running and being active but seeing others finish first and finish faster that are just starting to work on their running. Well it makes me feel a little inadequate. Makes me feel like I need to be better or I should be better.
I know its all hogwash. HOGWASH.
Still, it’s just hard. It’s my negative thinking and the verbal abuse that makes me strive for perfection.
I came home and I was sore. My mom and brother were saying nice things. My dad, he makes jokes. I know why he does it. I know he is frustrated that his muscle disease makes him feel weaker. I know he wishes he could do the things that his wife & kids are doing. I know what that loss of independence feels like so I get the bitterness.  But when he says things like, “just imagine how sore you’ll be after five miles.” Well, it hurts to hear that.  I answered back with an “I just ran 3.5 miles today, what did you do?” When you’ve grown up with moments like that your entire life, it makes it hard to think you are good at anything.
So while all of you out there will sing my praises, will tell me I’m awesome, that I’m doing a good job, it’s hard not to beat myself up because of the messages I get at home. You’re not good enough kid, work harder, be better. When will I be good enough? When will I be able to not listen to you and be good enough for myself?
It makes success bitter.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hey kids, it’s race day.

It was also physical therapy day. An odd twist of events occurred and allowed me to have my super crush physical therapist work with me today. Having her hands on my legs was not a bad way to have the day start and I was thankful for shaving this morning. I also like her because she is thorough. She took her time with me today and we found out that I really have some ankle issues. My usual therapist knew that I was tight and not flexible, but my old school therapist saw I was shaky and we worked on strengthening.
 I asked if there was anything I could do before my race today and she said no, and that she knew I’d be stubborn and try to complete the race but she made me promise that if it really hurt that I would walk it out to complete the race. She also recommended hard core orthotics – so that leads me into my tax law research for the day. See, there is a way to write off expenses in regards to fighting your own personal obesity. So orthotics, gym memberships, trainers, running shoes, race entry fees…all possible tax write off’s if I can get my doctor to say that it is exercise is a benefit to fighting my obesity. I’m sure there are a few other things in there too but that’s why I have to research it.
I’m a bit happier today but it’s mostly because I am excited about the race. One of my favorite things and the main reason I run with my iphone is my Nike + GPS app. See I can say that I am starting a race and it asks if I want “cheers” sent. So it posts on Facebook that I’m starting a run and every time someone likes or comments on that post it sends me some cowbell love. It is always fun running and then hearing the cowbell. Most people comment right in the beginning but others spread the love and comment several times, which is good because it’s like 45mins-1hour of running so cheers all the way through are great.
I’m going to be picking between one of my three current playlists for today’s run. I may even create a quick new playlist by splitting songs from each three. As I really want to hear Closer to the Edge today.  I’m also bringing a Sharpie marker incase our shirts are really orange (cause I’ll never wear it for anything but running) and if so then I’ll be drawing a heart on my left sleeve and writing rule #1: CARDIO on the right sleeve.
My traditional start pose picture will also be taken, even if I force a stranger to take it.

Race 1

Race 2

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I can see it all. I just can’t feel it.

While I’ve caught it before it becomes something much larger, I don’t know why I didn’t recognize it sooner. Still, I recognized it. I’m having a relapse. No wonder why running hasn’t been as enjoyable. No wonder why I haven’t wanted to really date anyone. No wonder why I haven’t sang in public. No wonder why I tell my office mate I don't feel like walking. No wonder why I’ve contacted toxic relationships again. No wonder why I am always tired. No wonder why I am always sad.

I thought about going back on medicine. It’s a painful decision because I have managed for an entire year without medicine. However, I’m seeing the signs of not being able to manage. Irritable: check. Lack of sex drive: check. No joy in things: check. Lethargy: check.  The last straw was crying in the car this morning for no apparent reason. Of course there was a reason; it’s just a silly reason, O.K. not silly because it’s an emotional reaction and those are O.K. and normal.  

When I was crying in the car the song Turning Tables sung by Gwyneth Paltrow (instead of Adele) was playing. The words “Next time I’ll be braver, I’ll be my own savior, when the thunder calls for me” helped me secure my decision. I got into work and called for an appointment. I’m going back on medicine, hopefully tomorrow.

While I am proud of myself for admitting that I need help, that I need medicine, that I caught it faster this time, that I’m prepared to fight it. I still get scared. This of course had me scour the internet with posts about being on depression medicine for life.  I just will be and maybe there will be years like the last one where I was able to go through a lot without medicine. Maybe I am back now to where I was before my accident, before Kate, before when I was taking charge of my happiness. 

I’m doing everything right. I know that.I thought about not writing about this, not putting this up. Not admitting it. However, I’ve always talked openly about my mental health. I don’t think it’s something to be ashamed of. 

It’s just a lot of emotions at once. I feel guilty not wanting to do things, yet I know when I want to push myself and when I don’t. I feel vulnerable because there is nothing I can control and I feel so exposed.(I know blogging about it exposes me more but it's really that I don't want to hide it from anyone, including myself) I feel forced to go back to various technical coping methods. Mostly, it makes me frightened of how the rest of my life will be. 

Don’t read into this, I know that it will be manageable. I know I will be able to live a life that is fantastic and filled with love. I know that I already have most of that life. It’s just hard to know you have a good life, a good family, being surrounded by love and something in your chemistry is blocking it. 

I can see it all. I just can’t feel it. And that is a hard thing to explain.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I'm not fast, I'm just persistent.

“The motherfucking zombie apocalypse is nigh, and you’re in the middle of a densely populated city. It’s 15 kilometers (9.32 miles) to the county limit, there’s not much time, and you need to get moving. DO YOU WANT TO SURVIVE?”

I ran yesterday. In the rain. It was the dreaded 1.9 miles to meltdown. I tried stretching my shin out and then walking and picking up my run again. Yet it was so tight. Once I was home I asked my brother to break out "The Stick" and to work on my shin for me. I screamed so badly, my family thought my brother was torturing me upstairs. It was one of those good hurts, where the knots and tightness were being worked out. I need to keep doing that this week, each night and keep my shins & hamstrings stretched.

I also picked up two balance board circles. I'm going to work these ankles into fully supporting me. I've got 9.32 miles to run away from Zombies. In a real zombie apocalypse I'd have to keep running or die.

I'll take all two walking breaks at work today, which will give me about two miles of walking today. Tomorrow I'm going to try walking two miles, then running two miles. Thursday I've got a race of 3.5 miles to run/walk I would like to come in at 45 minutes but I'd be happy to be under 52 minutes. I'm not fast, I'm just persistent.

My goals: To have fun. To not be the last human eaten. To not get caught up in the sport but to realize I'm taking positive steps to better myself.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fear the robot

While I am still debating running in the torrential storms that are a-brewin’, I am having other dilemmas and debates today while at work.   

It all comes down to fearing the robot. My ex-girlfriend used to constantly hear me say that I was a robot. I would often say this when I was crying. It was my manner in which I hurt myself.  I felt cold and inhuman and predictable. While she did her best to assure me that I was not a robot, a product readily available for mass consumption and assimilation, I still have those thoughts, those fears. When my life becomes a routine, when everything is scheduled, when I feel limited due to the choices I am about to make…well I feel like a robot. 

Work harder, work longer, give canned responses, commit to the job & area, put the razzmatazz on and spend so much energy on conveying a message, when friendships become scheduled. All these things make me feel non-human.  All these things make me feel exhausted. While I’ve worked on understanding being an introvert in an extrovert world, and being sensitive to others body language – these are still my weakness.

In the span of my career (and jobs) I’ve not really worked regular hours, so I always felt conditioned to be a robot. In college I worked two jobs at the same time while being a full time student. Orientation jobs over the summer were not regular hours. Graduate school was at least 60 hours a week. Working at Purdue about 70 hours a week, Envision EMI 86 hours a week, Albany Med was about 50 hours a week (towards the end it was 40 hours per week).

I was always busy at these jobs, always on the run. This job is 37.5 hours a week. 

So now I am being looked at for a new opportunity. I know I’ll take it but I have the fear of becoming the robot. I have the fear of settling, the fear of accepting the death of my dreams. 

But Hollie you can still have those dreams, you say. I looked at my list I wrote for what I want and then picked it apart trying to see what I could create here & now. I cried because I felt like I gave in and gave up. When you pick what is safe, what is known, while your heart desires adventure? 

I want to know I can do it instead of just think I can do it. I want to prove to myself that I can move somewhere and create a good life for myself. I want a wife, eventually. Right now, I just want a supportive girlfriend and I hate Albany’s lesbian scene.  That is one of the huge reasons why I don't want to stay in the Capital District of NY.

I want to know I can do it. That is what I want. And I fear the robot.

I wish it would rain down

This week is all rain, all the time. Who's got a race on Thursday, oh this girl does. Who's got to get used to running in the rain again, oh this girl.

But it's good. I used to love running in the rain. When you are running and your skin is hot then the rain hits it. It's just this feeling of release.

In other news, i'm trying to take this week one day at a time. Operative word is trying.

Yet my heart hurts and I am doing my best to protect it but by protecting it, I'm killing it.

So I'm glad it will rain down over me.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The motorcyclist’s wave

It’s the same non-verbal greeting. The head nod, the flick of a hand, seasoned saying hello to the newbie, newbie checking out how others “ride”. The specialty clothes, the road races, the packs.

The reason it’s so similar – if it was easy, everyone would do it.The secret is every can do it – it just takes work. That wave, nod, recognition is acknowledging someone's hard work.

The reward is in the freedom the ride (or run) creates. Motorcyclists have all their patch of expo’s that they’ve gone to; have war stories of breaking down in the middle of nowhere. Runners have race bibs, finisher’s medals, stories of blisters, injuries, races that they struggled through, sometimes didn’t finish.

I watched a new motorcycle rider today. I always watch female riders. Because she was wearing sneakers  I shouted out AT GATT (all the gear, all the time) but I still watched. One foot was flat to the ground at stops; distance left between her and the car in front of her when stopping wasn’t enough to escape a backend crash. Then I saw her actually ride, her balance wobbled back and forth and I couldn’t help but wonder if I did that too when I would ride. I know that I’ve been off a motorcycle for two seasons, so I’m sure I would be wobbly picking up the 750 again.

I watch other runners run, usually when driving past them, sometimes when they run past me or in front of me. Sometimes I see their stride in time with my music, other times I see foot flopping, and legs that kick out to the side. I usually wonder if I kick out to the side or what my particular runner's wobble looks like.

At physical therapy the other morning my therapist watched me run. It’s still the flexibility in my left foot that is making my leg & arch tired which leads to bad form peter.  I’ve got to work up my calf muscles and do lots of toe raises on the stairs to build up my calf to support the full forefront running. My right foot kicks off the way it should but my left foot tires out and doesn’t follow through it just flops & stops.

In other news, I finally beat week 6 of Couch to 10K. I’m moving onto week 7 on Saturday because my legs are really tight and I’ve got to spend some time stretching.  The longer runs of an hour plus my stretching before & after and making my workouts approach 1.5 hours. While it’s worth it there are times when right after work it doesn’t fit into my schedule. I’m just not read to do the early mornings yet. I know I will eventually have to in order to get used to early race times and to beat the heat. This weekend I am going over to Parish, NY. On the way home I may stop in Utica, I may actually stay overnight there. If I do, then I am going to try and run a little bit on the boilermaker race route, or try to drive the route so I can see it all.

Also, next week is my first race. I don’t have any other goals besides put the race bib on and cross the finish line, and look like a fool. I really have all those things accomplished already. It’s a night race next week so if people want to come out after work and cheer me on that would be awesome. Ya know, signs like “zombies are chasing you” – things like that motivate me. Zombieland rule #1: CARDIO.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

enjoy the silence?

last night the weather was beautiful. i stretched. put on my shoes. got to the park and started running. while the tempo of the new playlist is meant to help me, i think it might be too much for me. in reality i think a lot of what i feel right now is too much for me.

D., tells me that I'm still getting out there, i am still fighting. That's a good thing but what happens when you aren't connected with that fight.

Last night I got to hear more messages about body size and body image. While I'm still going to fight it and put my powerful voice down for the judgement, i still feel it.

I still feel it. The way I look in my head and the way I look in real life are two different images.

Last night I was also in a room full of people who know me and love me and i felt so alone and disconnected. In the readings I've caught online the past week there was talk about how others see a more realistic version of you than you do. Other people see this amazing person. I see someone who is average or below average. There are moments when I know i'm awesome, I get that. I just wish I had that right now.

Monday, May 9, 2011

mini breakout

i've been absent. it's going to happen from time to time. While this blog is a project and it's something I know a few people look forward to reading, at times well i've just got nothing to say.

I was home from work Thursday & Friday due to some sickness. I really do think it was all of the overwhelming events that occurred last week that my body just told me to slow down. Since it's not second nature to listen to my body, it had to get a little sick in order for me to listen. I slept a lot and drank a lot of Gatorade.

Saturday I was feeling better and I had a party I was throwing at the house so I needed to get back into the swing of social life. I got up that morning and laced up my new running shoes and decided to go for my run. Week 6 of the Couch to 10K program is kicking my butt. I've had to repeat each run at least twice to actually make it through. Now that I am paying attention to the timing of my foot falls well my little heart and my little lungs are saying "hold on, we need to catch up to your legs." So my distance traveled has shrunk and my stomach and vomit tolerance are being pushed. (I haven't tossed cookies yet but it's been almost at least twice)

Also because my shoes were new I got a little blister from where my sock & orthopedic insert met. So today while at work I am one sock & shoe on, one sock & shoe off. I've got a run this evening and then I'm meeting up with good souls to learn what the Fall musical for Homemade Theater is.

It's also going to potentially be the first time anyone uses the random shower room that is in my office building.

So that's all I've got today kids because I'm hanging on and hanging in there.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What do you want to do with your life?

I want to dance.

So I read this article “Let go of Fear by Stopping the Stories in your head”. The reason it means so much to me is because it’s a skill I’m in need of working on. I have a hard time letting go out in public. I imagine so many judgment’s so quickly that I am paralyzed with fear. It’s happened twice while out on the town with the little Tiny Dancer. 

See, she has no problem dancing it out – (I refer to the blog post titled Everybody Dance Now by Dorothy Snarker)  Now, Tiny Dancer can actually dance – like honest to goodness dance. Me, I can do a mean box step and can perform the community musical theater tradition of “movement, not dancing”. It is however that notion of dancing for joy, as a form of expression that I would love to just be able to do.

Last night while seeing Hair, at the end they encourage folks to run up on stage and join them. I looked at her and knew that she would be itching to go. I however was plagued with fear. When I think about it now I think, what was the worst thing that could happen? Trip running up those stairs – Hollie you ran up those stairs and did power lunges in those aisles just this past December. So I said to her “I know you want to get up there, so go, don’t worry about me.”

See, I’m a HSP& an INFJ

So the emotional space I’ve had to contend with the past 24 hours and the loud noises and strobe lights in the second act, well all those things combined together make me start to panic. So I had to talk to myself, close my eyes and say “You are OK, you are safe”. I dislike that I let fear over ride my life. I could see Tiny Dancer on stage along with other local musical theater friends and I very well could have gotten up there. I stopped myself.  

It happened at a local coffeehouse too, where the musicians that were performing invited everyone to dance to the music. While I was working out my leg that had fallen asleep, I couldn’t help but see all these people dancing for pure joy and how I just didn’t know how to do that, that I was too afraid to do that.  My friend, she understands my limitations that I am trying to work through, she is responsive to my anxiety issues. Instead of dragging me up & into something, I think she sees that I will get there in time, when I feel safe.

It’s the same fear that paralyzes my ability to succeed. I know it’s something I want, know it’s something I am capable of, something I know how to do. Yet, I am scared of the emotion. I am scared of being joyful. I am scared of that light inside that radiates when I understand what being happy is. The bright spot for me is at least I am not running away this time. Saying I can’t or don't deserve to have it all. I just need practice. I need patience. I need to keep trying.

Monday, May 2, 2011

beating a dead horse

I finally completed day 1 of week 6 in my couch to 10 K program. I had to repeat it three times before I made my way through the whole thing. A 5 minutes warm up, then run 3 minutes, and walk 2 minutes - repeat that 13 times, then a 5 minute cool down. That's a total of 73 minutes. it's the longest workout in the program and I had been dreading it the entire time.

With that 73 minutes I logged 5 miles. A few others things happened too.

I got my "in the zone gaze" down again. I explain it like this. Some people while in a desert hallucinate that they see water. I have a running image. I pick a focal point and I place that image there. I end up having tunnel vision and I don't see anything else. I keep my head up and my focus right on that point. Then I think about what that image means to me. It's validation, it's strength, it's knowing that someone believes in me.

I also felt the affect of forefoot running. I felt like I was going to fall over all the time but I didn't. When I trusted it, running felt easier. I was astonished on how after 5 miles my legs did not feel like lead. It was awesome.

I had a new play list too. I worked on downloading everything (cheaper than the itunes play list) of a 2.8 hour long play list where the songs were from 140 BPM to 180 BPM.

All of these things are great and I should feel a sense of accomplishment and I do. Yet, I couldn't get motivated to run yesterday. I also felt really fat yesterday even though my jeans were falling off of me. Mostly, I feel fat when I don't like myself. When I get angry at the decisions I make. Food can sometimes become a punishment. I ate a huge meal at 3pm and I didn't eat again until 9:30 at night and it was ice cream (which the being in the company of my favorite band made it totally worth it)

I knew what I wanted to do yesterday and I compromised again.  I wanted a small lunch, to run my run, and then to go up to see Wildwoodstock. I worked a conference over the weekend too, so I don't feel like I had any down time. I went from work conference on Friday to running, to dinner & sleeping at my friends house. Work conference Saturday, to an hour nap, to dinner & friends birthday, to being hungover, to lunch with my brother, to Wildwoodstock, to Stewarts, to Rotterdam. I want to get away and I really don't have the free time to do it, as the next three weekends are booked.

I'm hoping that I get some breakthrough, some thing that shakes me out of this funk that I am in. I shouldn't be sad and I am sad. I just play the part of not being sad really well. November is my season for SAD not May. It is bothering me that I feel no control over my emotions. It's another hope that as I put my first race bib on for the season that I'll get excited and that excitement will carry me from month to month, that I just need a little reminder on why I run.