Sunday, January 27, 2013

Re-defining normal

I started off thinking this post would be titled 'getting back to normal'. And while it is true that I'm getting there, it's also true that normal for me has changed. It's been three months since I almost died. (Is it wrong for me to get pleasure in the shock value whenever I say those very true words? I. ALMOST. DIED.) I've spent a good span of that time pretending - even to myself on some levels - that it wasn't as bad as all that while willing myself to bounce right back to health. Well, I was wrong. It WAS a big deal. And surviving it made me appreciate all the little things I don't usually stop and notice. This week I turned forty one. FORTY. ONE. It kind of hit me at the end of the day that I might not have made it to see this birthday if it wasn't for my amazing doctor and a whole lot of luck that I didn't die while denying there was something wrong.

While I was diagnosed and started treatment on November first, I look back and with perfect hindsight know I was sick and impaired for at least a few weeks leading up to that - thanks to my denial. Once I started treatment I could tell I was getting better every day - measurably so. But, it's only been this week that I really felt like myself again and realized things were finally back to normal. I've had energy to clean my house and run around doing all the things that I need to do all week. Instead of picking and choosing the things that I thought were the most important and leaving the rest by the way side. I got my laundry done. All the way done instead of throwing a load in as an after thought every night and dealing with wrinkled clothes every morning.Most importantly, I have the energy to start training and writing again.

I have a half marathon I'm training for this summer. I'm running in honor of my amazing cousin who is fighting melanoma - again. I'm not the praying kind of person but while I'm training I'll have lots and lots of time to be thinking of her and sending positive thoughts and energy her way to aid her in her battle. I mapped out my training plan - again - and this time I've started it, too. Instead of dismissing the appointments that pop up on my phone to remind me and thinking up some rationalization about why I can't do it today. The days have returned where I wake up in the morning and one of the first thoughts I have is when I will get to run. I've resumed tracking food and making sure I'm eating the right balance of protein, carbs and good fats like my nutritionist taught me. And most importantly I've carved out time on my calendar for every single workout six days a week. Yes, truly back on my game.

And that novel I've been working on for years? The one that isn't done yet? I've got a deadline with my writer's group to submit the completed first draft in February for critique. And I've been working on it again. Thinking about it in the shower again. Scheduling time to write again. Back to normal again.

The best part of my new normal came in the form of a belated birthday surprise from my doctor. Part of the aftermath of my embolism has been daily doses of blood thinners which I have made little secret of that I hate. My initial treatment plan called for this to continue for at least six months. I had hoped to shorten that to more like three. But, when that day arrived I still didn't have a stable dose and my weekly visits to check my blood levels continued because they would be fine for a week then go back down and we'd increase my dose and start over again. This week, it was even lower and I was dejected knowing I was going to have to take an even larger dose and prolong getting off. But then my doctor came in and surprised me. Told me he'd been doing some research and talking to colleagues who specialize in clot treatments. Turns out the latest research indicates that anti-coagulation medications should only be given three months or a lifetime. Anything in between provides no greater protection against further clots and only increases other risk factors for bleeding. Surprise! No more coumadin! And the return to my diet of all the things I love and will never take for granted again - spinach, salad, kale, broccoli, asparagus. Things I always ate but never appreciated until I couldn't anymore.

My new normal includes more than appreciating my ability to eat whatever I want again. It also includes yelling less at my kids - or at least not yelling until after I explain the reasons why I'm asking them to do something or not do something. I want every moment spent with them one that would be worthy of being the last without having to have regrets if it turns out it is. And I'm living in each moment far more than I was before. Telling people exactly how I feel about them so there's no question that I love or appreciate or miss them when they are gone. Being conscious that every moment in life truly could be anyone's last thus leaving those moments where my life overlaps someone else's mean more. Thanks for reading my blog - whether I know you personally or not. I hope the contribution it makes means as much to you as your participation means to me. Here's to a fabulous year and many more ahead!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Race Archive 2012

Another aspect of my life summed up and recapped for another year.  This aspect did not live up to my overachiever, make-each-year-better expectations for myself but it is what it is.  This was a regroup and recover from injury year for me that was unfortunately cut short due to that pesky pulmonary embolism but I still accomplished almost everything I set out to do.

Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back
June 15-16, 2012
200 miles Logan to Park City
personal mileage: 13 miles
*worst Ragnar ever in record heat and first one without Hubby due to his injury - I hate running in summer heat!

Salt Lake Half Marathon & Relay
Sept 1, 2012
3-woman relay team
personal mileage: 6 miles

Big Cottonwood Canyon Half Marathon
Sept 22, 2012
*sold out before I could register :(

SoJo 5K
Oct 20, 2012
*ran this one WITH a pulmonary embolism - and still won my division! Worst three miles I've ever run in my entire life.

According to Nike+ which is still my favorite way to track my running, I ran one hundred and fifty miles this year.  And I know that many of those miles are actually walking at work since after Ragnar I didn't do much running to train for the races that I did.  Plus, I chalked up basically zero running in November and December when I was recovering from the "glad you didn't die" episode.  Compared to five hundred miles last year and three hundred the year before that, maybe I know what I gave up in order to read more in 2012 and more importantly why I went into 2012 barely able to run again after injuring myself.  I still love to run and don't need to do races or rack up the most mileage to know just how much.  As I grow older and more introspective, I have come to realize that I run for me and the way it makes me feel and not for what other people think of me when I do it.

I've also learned this year that after the hype is over and I've done a race once (or more) that I need different goals to keep myself motivated.  Hubby and I are skipping Ragnars entirely in 2013 and I'm biting off a little more achievable goals for myself.  The only goal on the horizon is a half marathon six months from now with plenty of time to prepare slowly so no more injuries!  2013 will be a year of improving my overall health and doing as much running as I can.  It won't be hard to improve after the crazy year 2012 was, that's for certain.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Book List Archive 2012

It's that time again!  Time for me to recap my year reflecting on how crazy my goals are for myself while comparing them from year to year to show what progress I'm making on being the best overachiever I know how to be.  Last year I was bragging about how brilliant I was at combining running with audio books so I could *double* my reading.  The total for 2011 was a whopping eighteen books.  Hold onto your hats, people.  2012 saw over double the number of the previous year. 
  • Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides (the prose of this book still haunts me with its beauty)
  • The History of Love, Nicole Krauss (book club)
  • Letters for Emily, Camron Wright (book club)
  • Bullet, Laurell K. Hamilton
  • Uglies, Scott Westerfeld (book club)
  • The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern (my pick for book club)
  • The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins (re-read for hubby on a road trip because of the movie)
  • Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins (re-read because hubby insisted - I made him read the third himself because I hated it so much the first time)
  • Towers of Midnight - Wheel of Time #13, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (20 years later the series still isn't finished)
  • Following Atticus, Tom Ryan
  • Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen (book club)
  • Defending Jacob, William Landay (book club)
  • Dies the Fire, S. M. Stirling
  • One For The Money, Janet Evanovich
  • Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand (book club)
  • The Ice Limit, Lincoln Child & Douglas Preston
  • Are you there Vodka? It's me, Chelsea, Chelsea Handler
  • Hit List, Laurell K. Hamilton
  • Variant, Robison Wells
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs
  • On the Island, Tracy Garvis-Greaves
  • A Princess of Mars, Edgar Rice Burroughs (another road trip read to hubby)
  • The Gods of Mars, Edgar Rice Burroughs (had to find out what else happened!)
  • Calico Joe, John Grisham (book club)
  • 11/22/63, Stephen King
  • The Age of Miracles, Karen Thompson Walker
  • The Hollow City, Dan wells
  • Divine Misdemeanors, Laurell K. Hamilton
  • The Chaperone, Laura Moriarty
  • The Wind Through the Keyhole - Dark Tower 4.5, Stephen King
  • Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver
  • Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
  • 50 Shades of Gray, E. L. James (so wish this one wasn't on the list!)
  • Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card (book club)
  • 50 Shades Darker, E. L. James (another waste of reading time I fully regret!)
  • The Maze Runner, James Dashner (book club)
  • Stranger In A Strange Land, Robert Heinlein
  • Legion, Brandon Sanderson
  • Hate List, Jennifer Brown (book club)
  • Lucifer's Hammer, Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
  • The New New Rules: How Everyone But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass, Bill Maher
  • Radical Frugality, Nic Adams (work book club)
  • Area 51, Bob Mayer
  • Orchids For Lila, September Roberts (my friend from my "other" book club's first published work!)
  • One Second After, William Forstchen
Yes, you counted them right... (wait, you didn't count them?  Well I did of course!) That's forty five books in a year.  When two years ago all I could muster was a book club book a month and that was stretching it.  I read a grip of science fiction and remembered exactly why I love that genre so much.  I wasted far too much time on the oh-so-popular drivel otherwise known as 50-Shades.  I discovered I really like character/situation stories like Before I Fall, On the Island, Hate List and Defending Jacob that make you think about what you would do if you found yourself in an unusual situation.  I got to visit Mid World with my favorite Stephen King characters of all time even though I thought he was done writing their stories.  I found I am definitely NOT a Jane Austen fan.  My two favorites for the year were Middlesex and Gone Girl for far different reasons.  And, I'm looking forward to the conclusion of The Wheel of Time just as much now that it's here as I was twelve years ago when I first started reading the series.

How the hell did I read more than double the amount of books this year than I did last?  I have no idea except we took two long road trips that accounted for four of them and a couple of them were short and frivolous audio books that only took a couple of hours.  I don't know how I'll top this year but we'll see what next year brings when it is all said and done.  Here's to another year of happy reading ahead regardless!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Pause for a Winter Respite

I have not abandoned my blog... although it must appear as though I have, right?  No, I merely went on a twelve-day vacation.  TWELVE!  There is no better time to go to warm and sunny California than when Utah has single digit temperatures in early January.  I believe I am a genius for devising this plan and my family agrees right now.  Evidenced by the unanimous vote that Christmas TRIPS are better than Christmas GIFTS in the future.  I'll be back with tales of my life once I've unpacked and dealt with the post-vacation bomb that has gone off in my house.  You know the bomb I'm talking about - where everything you took and acquired on vacation gets toted in from the car and gets dropped in the living room.  Yeah, that happened yesterday.  And today my inbox at work had 799 unread emails waiting for me.  Sometimes I wonder if going on vacation is worth it.  And then I remember sitting on the beach with my sunglasses and a good book with my toes in the wet sand, or running on that same beach.  Hell yes, it was worth it!