Monday, October 31, 2011

The agony and no ecstasy

In February, it was my back. In April, it was my neck. In July, it was my feet. Now, in October, it's my toe.

Yes, my toe, but I'm getting ahead of the story.

My mom purchased plane tickets for her, me and my sister to visit my brother, sister-in-law and niece in February. I was in such agony, I thought I'd have to cancel the night before. My lower back had not hurt that bad in years.

I made it through, barely, with Ibuprofen and muscle relaxers, came back home and saw the doc. She put me on those same drugs, and added Prednisone to the regimen. A few days later, poof! The pain was gone.

In April, I developed a stiff neck associated with stress for an event I was planning. Not unusual for me ... except that when the event was over the pain wasn't. Instead, it was escalating.

I went to the chiropractor for the first time. After an x-ray and MRI, it turns out that I have a bulging disk in my neck.

OK. That's manageable. I ran my second half marathon with a PR in May.

In July, I injured my feet. I believe the culprit was a new pair of wedge high heels (that were a size too big) I'd worn for extended hours while covering the Festival of the Bells.

This has plagued me ever since. Most days, though not horrific, the pain is noticeable.

I ran a 5K on a whim on race day earlier this month and experienced no pain as a result of that decision.

Optimism, though always keeping me going, was finally edging out the darkness and light was at the tunnel's end. I would do some very short runs and bikes to get started back up again.

On what was certain to be one of the last nice days of the year, a perfect opportunity to train, I injured my toe. I'll leave out the details, but suffice it to say it would be extremely foolish of me to stress my foot for the next two months.

All of these injuries have been breaking my triathlon-training heart. I am not using them as an excuse not to train. Indeed, I'm dying to train. My tighter slacks and race-day pictures like these remind me of that all too frequently.

Here's hoping that I can call this the Year of injury, put it in my past and call next year the Year of First-Time Marathoner and First-Time Ironman. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A nod to the past

May 1999.
I wrote a eulogy in two hours the night before my dad's funeral which was 11 years ago yesterday. He died on Oct. 17, 2000, just two weeks before his 50th birthday.

I don't spend much time commemorating or celebrating holidays, anniversaries or birthdays. They're just another day of the year to me. When I do spend time reflecting on those days, though ... well, I end up getting sad and blogging about it. :)

I found the eulogy in an old journal recently. I thought I'd share a couple interesting moments from it as I look back on a very sad time in my life 11 years ago. It's a good reminder of the anguish and fog with which those days were filled, but how I've still been able to move forward toward many good things after the biggest tragedy of my life. Thank you, Jesus.


...But then the question came to me: "What was great about my dad and how was he special to me?" All sorts of thoughts ran through my mind regarding his personality, his values and his attitudes.

He always welcomed me in or came in to a room with a lively, yet humble smile, ready to be friendly and take a sincere interest in your life.

...His death has made me realize this: I just enjoyed being in his presence.

Now, I would be remiss if in talking about Dad's life on earth, I didn't talk about his new life with Christ.

I've talked to a few people who've expressed a curiosity pertaining to Dad's salvation, and when I relayed to them that he was saved, they were so at ease.

So, be assured that today, my father is with my Father. Through his sickness, he trusted Christ. Through his death from his sickness, he is with Christ.

I went to King's Island recently, and they've just built the largest, fastest wooden roller coaster in the world. As my friend and I were standing in line waiting to ride, we couldn't help but to stand in awe of the intricate, complex structure which supported the track. It was probably more amazing to behold than the coaster was to ride.

Remembering that support structure, it reminds me of God. In some places, the foundation stood high. In some places, it stood low.

It always met the track where it was; either falling down a dip or going on a straight line high off the ground.

That's exactly what Jesus does: He meets you where you're at, but He also refuses to leave you where you're at.

Jesus met Dad on a steep, unexpected dip called terminal cancer.
Gary, David and me 10-21-11.

But they met.


I've moved on since those days. I've been happily married for nearly 10 years, have awesome step-kids, have the coolest job and remain close to my mom and the rest of my family. The Lord continues to bless me.

Not a day goes by, though, that I don't think of Joe Kiser. Some days, like today, it just bites more than others.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Saying goodbye to what would have been my first

Several months ago, I added the Columbus Marathon to my Google Calendar for Oct. 16. I was excited to add it, even typing in parentheses, "First One!"

Sadly, injuries have kept me from being able to train for it. In fact, though I have two half marathons under my belt, I wouldn't have been able to even do the half again this year. I was lucky to have squeezed out a 5K last weekend.

Admittedly, I was envious of my friends who were Tweeting their times at the various points in the race, like I had done the year before. However, it was still cool to be able to congratulate them being a member of the club, so to speak, and understanding the challenge and reward of their training.

So, as I allowed myself those few moments of sadness today looking at my calendar, I truly believe that hope springs eternal in the human breast and nowhere is that more evident in my own outlook.

Today is the first day of the rest of my adventure, and I'm already looking toward next season. I'm definitely eyeing the Flying Pig in May and the Nationwide Columbus next October. Plus, throw in a few triathlons in the mix and 2012 could be quite spectacular.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

No training, no problem

Thirty minutes before the gun went off, I decided to run a 5K.

I had been a part of the organizing committee for the Highland District Hospital Foundation's Inaugural Family Fun 5K and had no plans to run; I was going to help. A half hour before the race started, the RD said there were enough volunteers and said I could run if I'd like. The only running essentials I had on me were my running shoes and iPod (which I realized after the race started was dead).

Well, really what more do you need to run than just a pair of running shoes?

My colleague, the managing editor of The Times-Gazette, Steve Roush, decided last minute to run the race and showed up on site. It was great to see him and we agreed it would be cool to run it together.

Steve told me that it had been four years since he'd run. Having lost several pounds in recent months and owning the eliptical at the Y, he was ready to go, but planned to take it easy.

I've been dealing with some kind of feet injury since July. It's some kind of muscle issue as a result of wearing the wrong pair of new high heels for too long over a three-day period ... I believe. So, I've been taking it very easy on my feet since my last tri on July 30.

Considering everything, teaming up with Steve for the three-mile run was a perfect plan.

We kept the same pace and only walked twice (walking a few yards to sip on some water). I went a little slower than my normal pace, but it was very comfortable and allowed me to soak up the beautiful scenery even more. I felt good the whole race and my feet didn't bother me.

We finished 56 and 57 out of about 120 with an approximate time of 38 minutes.

My hamstrings, quads and abs are sore today ... so are my feet, just not in the exact spot where my pain had been. I'm hoping it's just regular muscle soreness from lack of use.

We'll see.

Of course I'm biased, but this race was awesome. The family-friendly atmosphere was a hit with parents (pony rides, bounce house, pumpkin decorating and 10 and under fun run), the backdrop of the lake was beautiful, it was well-organized, started on time and had plenty of volunteers.

I can't wait until next year.


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