Monday, July 18, 2011

When it rains it pours

Sometimes I do not get my life. It's odd. I do get and understand that when you are happy, confident, and loving to yourself, well people notice.

It's nice to be noticed. it's still weird though too.

The other day in my email the notice came that the official Boilermaker photos were in. I never order official race photos. Yet, this time I did. There was a good photo where I didn't look gross but I looked like a runner. A photo where I was running while laughing & smiling. Then there were photos from the finish hill where Joel ran with me. I got a collage of four photos.

I was proud (and still am) of what I accomplished that day. Hell, that entire week, weekend, and following week. I know I am a fighter and I know how to push my limits and survive them.

When I got into Oswego for the wedding, I also got my phone conversation with Champ. It is easier knowing she is still reachable. Time differences are still something to get used to. It will also take some getting used to being a constant part of someone's life from a distance. I am excited for her; seeing someone you care about right on the verge of a great adventure... It's where my developmental theory loving student affairs self just smiles and knows when people have to go through their journey's  and challenges to get to "the other inside" of themselves.

I stated on my facebook,
"Spent the last 48 hours being reminded of love & friendships. It was an excellent reminder. In fact, it was just what I needed."
 I know who I am. I know who I love. I don't know what will come of any of it but I know I am not afraid of this. I know I am lucky. I know those who receive my love are lucky.

My life is odd and when it rains, it pours.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

We're still fighting it

Only Boilermaker Injury
I am not one to believe in Karma. I am however one to believe in negative energy and that if you promote negativity, more negative things happen; which is the case this week.

After the Boilermaker, I went into blister care 101. It was the only amount of physical pain that I was in. While I did the steps of sterilize the needle, poke & drain, Neosporin & bandage, witch hazel and air at night, my skin still cracked. So I have a lot of new baby skin on my foot. It’s painful.

That is not where my negativity comes from.  It comes from waiting. It comes from feeling just the tiny bit empty because something is missing, more like someone. If you know me, you know my tattoo and you know I don’t believe in something being missing, I believe in ebb & flow.   In the long run, this is just the ebb. When in an ebb my thoughts go dark and it is sometimes hard to get out of them.

I don’t depend on people. I just don’t. It takes a lot for me to ask for help and I have gotten better at it over the years.  Still, I’ve had this person who I talked to about everything and really the distance would be OK if we just talked. It’s the silence that is killing me. I know it’s needed for re-adjustment there and here.  It’s just the feeling like you’ve lost someone, someone important.

I also have a hard time pretending. I used to pretend all through high school that everything was great. When people asked “how are you doing?”, I’d say fine, great, super but I was really miserable. I’ve always given the advice to sit with what you are feeling. Well for the past four days I’ve felt angry, sad, hurt and numb. My friends are great because they check in with me. My cast mates are great because they try to get me to laugh.

Still, everyone sees it, this sadness behind my eyes.... 

I’ve been trying to get my blistered skin back into shape so I can start running three days a week again. This morning at the doctors my diastolic blood pressure (pressure while the heart is relaxed) was 20 points higher than normal.  I need my stress to go down and I need my physical activity to get back to normal.  I know it will help with my anger and it will keep me away from "bad things" ;alcohol, fast driving, food binging, and hitting things.  My anger management skills are being tested daily and when my schedule or things I’ve been looking forward to just fall through, well I start to unravel. 

So since plans fell through,  I’ll go to the batting cages today and just hit something with a bat. Each ball gets labeled with an emotion (or sometimes a person). I’m supposed to say it when I hit it. Often small children at the batting cages are scared of me. I say it makes for a teachable moment.

I have come a really far way from who I was, a not confident, obese, depressed girl who waited around for life to happen to her. I get scared when I revert back to that. It takes a lot to fight it. But I’m still fighting it.

This weekend I’ll go back to Oswego, for my college roommates wedding! 

I just want an Oswego sunset or a trip to the water behind Johnson (or Breitbeck Park) I’ll be around fraternity brothers and good friends. I’ll be Dapper Dan in his best summer suit and bow-tie. I’ll still be a little damaged and sad but I’ll be fighting it.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Boiler Up!

15K race recap

We left for Utica on Saturday afternoon. Prior to our departure I was a huge bitch to everyone in my path. My family knows when I am stressed out to just stay out of my way. Well, everyone but my father knows this. He just decides to ask questions I’ve already given answers to right when I am desperately searching for something I need to pack.

We got en route and drove right to the packet pick up at the race expo. Our clan we were staying with at the hotel was running late so a plan of photo id pictures sent via text message to us allowed us to pick up everyone elses bib’s & goodie bags.

D. had called when we were there and while we were picking up other bibs she managed to find me. We figured out the actual math and it was 3 years since we had seen each other. While picking up bib’s Paul asked if there was any spots that opened up so he could run the race. While he went off to do that D, her dad, & I went through the goodie bag line. I was picking up goodie bags for five people, when I hear “Ms. Miller!” Pam from Oswego jumped out and gave me a huge hug. She and I haven’t seen each other in 10 years. We talked quickly and then I exited the line and asked D. if she saw what just happened. I told her it was Pam. She said, “Pam from Oswego?” and I said “yep, I think I'm a little more nauseous now, then being worried about the race.” Pam was my first girlfriend and truly I haven’t seen her in over 10 years. She looked exactly the same, she looked good, and the hug was solid & true - reflecting on it now, I’m glad I ran into her.

D. & her dad left and I caught up with my brother. We made our way to the hotel and passed out everyone’s bibs & stuff. Then we headed to Lombardo’s and the pre race feast began. I got to eat everything that I had avoided for the week. Pizza, french fries, some antipasti and a huge Arnold Palmer.

Dinner was spent asking questions like what if I have to go to the bathroom while running? How do I take the water cups & drinks and run (pinch the cup) and pointers like take the ice and stick it down your bra.

After dinner we all just relaxed. The other gang played some frisbee outside. I got to have a nice conversation with Champ. Then we went to bed.

I had paul set his alarm in case mine didn’t work. Good thing too, because mine didn’t work. We woke up at 5:40 got dressed and were out of the hotel by 6am to drop off Steve at the 5K start line. Then we went and parked at the finish line and took the shuttles to the start. This was the first race where I had to do that. It was just pure insanity. Highly organized but still pure insanity. I was intimidated by runners who were more fit than I was. One kid was running it barefoot. I saw D. in the start corral, we hugged, I told her I loved her and hoped to see her at the end. We got to the start line corral and Ed suggested we just wait. It was good too because from the race start gun to when I crossed the start line was a good ten minutes. During this time my Champ texted and said she was at the start. It filled me with so much love to see her there.

I started the race at the back of the pack. Ed, Paul & Kate all are faster runners than I am, so they put some distance between us in the first mile. I’m not going to lie. The first mile was the hardest. I saw the pack her further away from me, I felt i was running too fast, my side was cramping. I felt lame for having to walk within the first mile. A race official saw me and told me to drink a lot of water, smile and just have fun.

The one thing I must say is the city of Utica fucking rocks. All along the race route the people were so great. So many smiles, high fives, Popsicle stops, ice stations all that were just spectator provided. The race was so well organized and there was music and entertainment the entire route.

My nike+ app was going and I had it give me time updates instead of mileage updates so I never knew where I was in mileage until I saw race signs and clocks. After I past the 5K distance I knew the mile 4 hill was coming up. I walked that bitch. I was perfectly fine with walking it. It was also at that time that we heard the winner ran the race in 43 minutes. I was just on mile 4 at that time. Downhill, I ran the whole way. I turned the corner and then was onto mile 5.  I’ve never run past 4.5 miles in all of my training. I just ran 5 miles. I was half way through with the race.

I approached the 6th mile & 10K distance at a rate that I never imagined. 1 hour 38 minutes. When I passed the 10K marker I thought OK Hollie, this is where you said you’d at least be happy with yourself but seriously it’s just one more 5K. Mile 7 is another incline I needed to walk it. I was still walk/running but I needed to walk the hill. All along the route little kids were clamoring to hand me my waters, EMS were checking in with me to see if I was doing OK. I was in a race with two men in their 70’s and one power walker in her early 40’s.

Mile 8 I rounded the corner to the factory and was like WHAT THE FUCK, there’s no shade like you said there would be son. My battery on my phone crapped out and I had to run the rest of the race with no music. No music, dead legs, and swelling hands were all piling up on me. Then like a vision from and oasis there was Joel coming towards me. He handed me his water bottle and showed me how to power walk to make my arms pull me forward and do the work for me. I kept walking and he jumped out and got me a cherry snow cone from the people on the side of the race. It felt good & cold and I was so hot that it was awesome. The whole way getting to mile 9 people kept saying it’s all downhill, or it’s almost finished. We got past mile 9 and Joel said OK, it’s .3 of a mile, that’s like 6 city blocks. I picked up my feet and trotted down the hill. Joel left me and told me it was all me across the finish line. As I approached there was Champ on the right cheering out my name.

I crossed the finish line and Ed congratulated me on finishing my first Boilermaker. A race official came up to me and said this was your first time? I replied yes. She said thank you for running and congratulations and I’d like to shake your hand. So she did.

I finished the race with a net time of 2:34:46

From there was was getting to the post race party. I needed salt very badly. I had stopped at all 20 water stations, so I was hydrated but I lost so much salt through my sweat that my fingers were swollen and I couldn’t make fists without my hands shaking. We found Paul, I drank a beer, and then we ate our lunches in the sun. Champ suggested I get a massage before we left and she went and signed me up for one. It was one of the greatest things. While walking back to the cars we stopped in the Saranac gift shop for some discounted brews but we lost Steve in the crowd.

My legs were OK but my feet had blisters so it was hard to walk. We got back to the truck and I got my bag and Paul drove Champ & I to her car. We stopped at the first rest area and ran into my brother there. I got the best chocolate milkshake and pretzels i’ve ever eaten. Champ had to run back in after and she ran into Joel.

The car ride home with her was so nice. We knew it would be the last moments we’d have together before she left. Our goodbye at my house was hard. I honestly miss her already. She kept smiling at me and told me how proud of me she was. I still love the fact she woke up ass early and drove an hour and a half and had her own crazy misadventures to see me in this race.

I got inside and my mom started to help me with my blisters. My left foot is OK but my right foot had a blister the side of a silver dollar. I took a three hour nap. Our parents went and got food for Paul & I and then my mom and I watched Life as We Know It. It was good and I didn’t have to think (like in all Katherine Heigl) movies. However, there was a scene where her character drives as fast as she can to the airport. That’s when I cried. There is a huge part of me that wants to do that tomorrow but I'm in training from 10am-2pm and her flight is at 3pm. So I’m just going to take tomorrow easy. I’m going to let myself feel everything that I feel tomorrow.

So what’s the next race? Silks & Satins 5K in Saratoga State Park in about two weeks. I have the rest of July before I make my decision but the next big race may be The Walt Disney World Half Marathon in January. I’d start training for it in August. I’m pretty settled on doing it but I just want to let myself come down from my runner’s high.

Race Day 

The above link should let you track me during the race. While I'm writing this ahead of race day, I can predict that I'm really nervous.(it's also posting my split times on my Facebook & Twitter @Holliemiller)

I'll try to be using my Nike + so people can cheer me on through Facebook but i don't know how long my phone battery will last during the race.

Goals for the day are to go as far as I can without injury. Miracles include actually finishing Mile 4, Mile 7, and the entire race.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

This little broadcast shows you how insane i am.

my heart literally ached with pain when i realized how many hills there are.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Two is less than three

Hydration Station
There has been a wave of panic that has washed over me and my friend D. as we found out that the original race allotment time of three hours is now only two hours.

I would have to run & keep my 13 minute mile pace through the entire race to make it even close to two hours. Did I mention it's supposed to be hot and humid Sunday?

I've been prepping all week for the race. I've stayed away from alcohol, have stuck to one caffeinated beverage a day, and have stayed mostly healthy with my food choices.I wanted to be very hydrated before the race. I know it will help. It will make stopping at all the water stations easier because I'll just be working on replacing what I'm loosing in the race.

Race Route
In looking at the route I know the tough part of the race is in the first four miles. Take a look at the difference in elevation for miles 2.5 through 4. It's going to be awesome right?


So yes, I'm scared shitless. Dragon told me even if I don't make the time that I can finish out the race on the sidewalk. My podiatrist begged me to not injure myself. I'm more concerned with heat stroke. I wish it was today's weather for the race because it would be perfect.

So one last thing. I am pretty sure you'll be able to track me while I'm running.

Then if you go to sign up for live runner tracking. I'm U50517LAB but you can search for me by name too. It won't track me after 10:00 am but by 11am I should be posting my results from my timer on Facebook & twitter.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Can't is a dirty four lettered word

I want to say that I can't do it. That I can't take it. I want to say these things. It is taking all my energy to concentrate on my breathing so I don't have another panic attack. It is taking all my energy to not say "I can't".

What is causing such panic you may ask?
1. A 2nd round interview for an amazing opportunity.
2. The fact that every hour outside of work is scheduled for this week.
3. The emails from The Boilermaker people - all week long.
4. The fact that I'm taking on 9.3 miles without as much training as I wanted.
5. Trying to spend as much time with someone I love before she leaves.
6. That I am so confused about all the emotions that have been shaken up this last week.
7. That I haven't run on my inserts yet because the doctor won't clear me to run until the 7th.
8. The idea of failing during the race.
9. The worry of being alone, or more so lonely.
10. Getting this new job and leaving everything, start new, and try to succeed.

So what do I do?

My release of running is making me scared. I can't drink this week. I'll be dancing for 3 hours a night Tuesday - Thursday. I am tired of crying. I am nervous about admitting so many things and I don't want to do this alone. I need support - to help me survive.

I think about the interview and I know that I will be alright. That they will either like the answers I give or they won't. That my writing sample will be well written or it won't. I think about the last things I will say. They will be well received or they won't. I think about the race and know that it will be extremely tough and that I will finish or I won't. I think about moving forward with my life and if it's what I want. I have no control and that kills me. I can't focus. Things race too quickly in my head and heart and then I can't breathe. So much of what I've learned since 2004 and being diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder has been how to accept not knowing. How to breathe and work through and create a plan.

Today my office mate helped me. He created my plan, the next 30 hours will be focused on dancing & my interview. After that I can pick the next thing to focus on. It however is damn hard. I am thankful for Lil Pup being in town Thursday. Thankful for Clarabell Casablanca just letting me cry on her couch and then realize that a beer needed to be put in my hand. Thankful for D. being just as freaked out by The Boilermaker as I am and knowing we'll both get through it.

I want to not say can't and it is so hard but this is who I am. I have survived so much. So much. So can't is a dirty four lettered word, and I my friends am a lady.