It’s been a while since I last posted a page, and in that time, I’ve lost some things, and found some things. Most notably, most importantly, I lost my Dad. On July 3, 2019, my life changed forever when my Dad’s ended. He had gone in to the Cleveland Clinic in a somewhat routine (for my Dad, anyway) manner, but the outcome of this stay was very different. I don’t want to relive details. I don’t want to talk about his ending. But nothing can prepare you for it. I lost my hero. I lost a huge part of my heart. But what I found was a new appreciation for taking care of myself and a new perspective on what truly matters. One of the last things my Dad said to me was, “Take care of yourself.” This has become my mantra. My hashtag. Four words that ring in my ears every time I lace up for a run or crunch on my snow peas at lunch time. My Dad said he didn’t want to see me end up like he did (with this heart health). For 43 years, I always did whatever my Dad asked me to do, so why would I stop now?
I also lost my back last year. For a little while, anyway. One day in October of 2018, I decided to lay down on my couch. Little did I know that getting up from that couch would put me in the hospital for 3 days, out of work for about 4 weeks, and in one hell of an amount of pain. I literally could not walk from my couch to the bathroom and back without tears and a mental breakdown. While waiting for the appointment to get the shot in my back, I was on an awful combination of pain meds and a lack of sleep, which in turn had me slurring my speech and unable to find words to make sentences. It was insult to injury. But what I found during this very low point were some amazing friends to lift me up. Friends who kept my family fed through the creation of a meal train. Friends that came over to sit with me and make me laugh and help to pass the time. Laying on my couch, I learned how loved I am and how many caring people I have in my life. Hurting my back was an amazingly terrible experience that was an amazingly wonderful reminder of how blessed I am.
As a result of my back, I lost fitness. I had built it up pretty good in the time leading up to the day I decided to stand up from my couch. I had just done my second Tough Mudder a month prior and I was pretty strong. And now all of the sudden, I wasn’t able to walk, let alone run. I didn’t watch what I ate and it was Halloween time, so I laid on my couch eating fun sized chocolates. I put on weight. A terrible amount of weight. Once I felt like I could attempt to get back out on the sidewalks to run, it was an awful comeback. I wanted to go out and start from the point where I had left off, which was completely unrealistic. My legs were tired. My lungs burned. Everything hurt. My back… hurt. I was in the mindset that my fitness journey was over and I was ready to quit. My Dad’s passing and his words kicked me back in to gear. I started watching what I ate, cut way back on carbs and sugars, and dropped 30 pounds. But more importantly, I found the joy in my running again. I pray on my runs. I think about people and what they’re going through. I think about my Dad. My Mom. About Carmen. And about Jakob and Alex. I think about my kids, and my husband, and my friends, and my work. I enjoy the time to myself, reflecting and drawing strength from the incredibly strong people in my life. And I’m getting kind of good at it again. I will never set speed records and I don’t want to. But I do enjoy looking at my watch after a run to see what I’ve accomplished.
Finally, I lost some friends. But I found the confidence in myself to let that be ok. I used to worry about what people think of me. I guess I still do at some level, but I also now have the understanding that if I’m being the best person I can be and if I can go to bed at night knowing that I’m doing the best that I can, then I can’t control anyone else. I can only be who I am. I can only control what I do, how I treat people, and how I behave. I’ve learned that if people don’t like me, I’m ok with it. I like myself and that’s really the most important thing. And because I like myself, I’m going to take care of myself, too.