April 2016 will forever be known as one of the suckiest months I’ve had in a really long time. It started out with the two back-to-back fevers and just as I was starting to feel like I could move on I got a phone call from my Dad. My stepmother had passed away. I got a flight within hours and landed in California the next afternoon to convene with the rest of the family.
Between housecleaning and memorial arrangements we all tried to stay sane. For me this means moving and being active in some form. I’d brought my running shoes but I didn’t have my head on straight to run. Plus, I still felt the after effects of the double fever so not really into slugging it out. I went on morning walks along the creeks and drives out to the beach to walk along the shoreline.
Then, when everything had calmed down I saw a window of opportunity to spend a day on the Dipsea Trail.
The strange thing about this day was that I’d dreamed about it a month earlier. I’d been thinking about a trip out to California and what activities I could do. At the top of my list was running the Dipsea Trail. It’s a gorgeous, challenging trail that starts in Mill Valley, winds through Muir Woods, over Mt Tamalpais and down to Stinson Beach. It’s gloriously filled with redwood, pine and juniper scents all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
That Sunday I’d started out early so I hit Stinson Beach at about 11.30 AM. I’d hooked a bathing suit to my belt but when I got to the ocean it was super crowded so I decided to just have something to eat and head back on the trail to do a Double Dipsea, out and back!
Going over only took two hours and fifteen minutes, walking most of the time. The way back was a bit more challenging. I was tired, it was hot and I totally was not used to trekking on a trail. Hats off to all the trail runners I know and train! It took me thirty minutes extra to make it back to Mill Valley but I was so happy to have completed 26 km on the Dipsea Trail.
I think we each mourn in a different way. I know that my way will always be to be alone in nature, communicate with whoever is out there, feeling at peace once again.
For three days I was a bundle of nerves. Zero attention span, butterflies in my stomach, working until late just to make myself drop dead tired so that when I finally went to bed I’d be out like a light. No time to contemplate anything while I lay in the dark, just deep sleep. I’d wake the next day and do it again.
Then today I decided to go for a run and it all just came together… the explanation for all this sudden craziness.
You see, I’d been sick the previous week. A low grade fever on the Wednesday had me flat out on the couch for the day. Thursday I didn’t run but Friday I went back to the pool and over the weekend I went on an easy bike ride in the sun. Monday morning I had chills again and a high fever. It’s a strain of virus that’s going around Italy right now, a sort of programmed double whammy.
When I saw 101°F on the thermometer I threw in the towel and decided no exercise until everything was clear. I ended up feeling much better the next day but stuck to my original plan, which I did for five days.
On Day Five I left the house to run an easy 5k to get moving again and see how it felt. It felt great. It was just a nice run through the neighbourhood but as the k’s clicked by I could feel my nerves calming and the butterflies dislodging and a nice calm took over my body.
That’s when I realised: this is why I run. This is why I love to move my body. After decades of running it’s become my body’s way of handling stress. And the reason I was so crazy nervous that week was because I hadn’t been moving.
Don’t get me wrong, when we get sick the first step is always going to be rest. But when the fever’s gone and the cold is settled, we need to get back moving again pronto. Softly, slowly, just enough to get those endorphins circulating and the brain waves pulsing again.
After a simple 5k run I felt like myself again. Cue: sigh of relief…
It’s the Clare 5K today!
As Up & Runners far and wide trot ’round to celebrate the life of our friend Clare, we wanted to talk a little more about ovarian cancer and its symptoms.
Throughout March, Target Ovarian Cancer is running its #StartMakingNoise campaign, to raise awareness of the symptoms:
“Ovarian cancer can be devastating. Far too many women are diagnosed too late, once the cancer has already spread, making treatment more difficult.
When a woman is diagnosed at the earliest stage, her chance of surviving ovarian cancer for five years or more doubles from just 46 per cent to more than 90 per cent.
With your support, we can get more women diagnosed sooner and save lives.”
In the spirit of #StartMakingNoise we thought we’d share some info…
Occasionally there can be other symptoms such as changes in bowel habits, extreme fatigue (feeling very tired), unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite. Any post-menopausal bleeding should always be investigated by a GP.
If you regularly experience any of these symptoms – and they are not normal for you – visit your GP. It is unlikely that your symptoms are caused by a serious problem, but it is important to get checked out.
… and for all your generous donations. We have smashed our fundraising target… woohoo!
Last week I was invited take part in my very first swim meet. I took swim lessons as a child and can still remember my Mom driving us to the pool in the San Francisco summer fog. We learned the basic strokes and how to dive off the board. I’d stay in the water so long that my feet would get cracks along the soles and I’d have to dry them off in the sun.
I was never part of a swim team or raced at meets. I started swimming again when I was 36 and wanted to race my first triathlon. To my delight I remembered how to do a swim stroke and stayed afloat quite well.
In the last twenty years training at the pool was only a means to an end – to get through the swim portion of a triathlon. Compare to the bike and run, swimming is where I perform better so you’d think that I’d have put more enthusiasm into it. But something never clicked… until last week.
The invite was for a Master’s 4 x 50 metres medley race. I enthusiastically said yes, but then realised I had no idea how to jump off a platform for the start and tumble turns made me anxious.
My team mates decided that with my zero meet experience I’d swim the freestyle leg of the medley relay. After changing into our suits and registering we were finally allowed to warm up. I took several practice starts and adjusted my goggles to cling to my eyeballs so they didn’t fall off during the dive. It worked!
When we finally raced we came in second place and my time for 50 metres was a surprising 36 seconds. I was really happy and incredulous. I had to look at the video several times to convince myself that I’d done so well.
The real magic started the next day at swim practice.
All of a sudden I paid more attention to every little detail. We have a swim coach on the deck that points out problems, but for the first time I was doing it myself. Where’s my arm entering the water? Is my forearm in position? Am I looking down or ahead? Is my kick straight?
All of the sudden I was in love with swimming.
I always tell my clients the importance of signing up for an event or race. It gives purpose to your training and places focus on where you might be able to improve. Even though many people shy away from comparing themselves to others, it can also be a moment to observe what experienced runners do and how they run. Just as I studied the others swimmer’s flip turns and diving during the meet, you can do the same at a running event. Watch the runners with good running form and study those that drag their shoes on the pavement. Or just concentrate on yourself and go with the flow of the runners.
I promise you that at your next training session you’ll have a renewed sense of purpose. You’ll look forward to training like never before. You’ll fall in love with running again… and again.
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