Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Looking Forward

This time of year is always important for me. It's a time for spiritual renewal, for looking back over the past year's events, and looking forward to the unopened gifts of the coming year. With the dark, cold and snow it gets quiet outside, I have the cool air and gray skies to myself, people have mostly gone indoors, and it's a time for introspection, reflection, and quiet planning for what's ahead.

Solstice is when the light returns and I always think of January 1st as the first day of spring. This year we are lucky to have a blue moon. December 31 is the second full moon this month.

Since Across the Years is not happening this year it is important to carry out my tradition, which is to run in the new year. I will miss my running companions but they will be with me in spirit, in various places around the planet, doing the same.

I'm going to spend 12 hours of the holiday being upright and moving forward into the new year. No goal for miles, just move forward for 12 hours, listen to music, meditate, and celebrate being alive, the return of the light, give thanks for all the good in my life, and give thanks for all the difficulties which have really been opportunities for change and growth.

The way I always prepare for this is to make my list of meditations for the run. Things I want to focus on, things I want to change, and always in a spirit of gratitude. I am not sure where I'll run yet, I am so used to running in circles while I do this, but I'll find the right place, with a view of the big sky and the mountains.

Anyone can join me, on their own, in any place, at any time during the two days of December 31 and January 1. Run in circles, run a straight road, trail or path, or run on a treadmill. Just go. Move from one year to the next, with the energy and motion of being alive. If you do, write me a note and tell me what you did, and more importantly, what you learned.

Happy Solstice!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Global Warming?


Scientists have determined that the global warming phenomenon is caused by all the baby boomers who have finally reached menopause.

11 miles Thursday, then 20 miles with Catharine Friday on the bike path, 3 1/2 hours and change. Stopped once for a dry bra and shirt/jacket change, plus drinks and a few shot blocks. Ran the whole way. It was 18 degrees on our way out but the sun went behind the clouds and it felt cooler by the end of the run. Or maybe we were just tired and depleted.

I have been feeling a lot better the past week, each week is an improvement over the last. I started lifting weights again last week and as much as I don't like doing it, I know it will help me rebuild the upper body strength I need to get me through the long ultras again.

I'm working on rebuilding my health in all areas of my life, since August I've been in a hole and I have now crawled out of it, trying to find my way up here on the surface. I lost my way for a while there. Now I'm out of the vortex that was taking me down and I'm taking care of my needs in the present, which is allowing me to focus ahead so I can make the necessary changes to restore my well-being.

I needed to get back to running because it is my guide and my compass. There are a couple of major changes in the works in the near future. I have to fix the parts that are broken so I can fully pursue what I want. I've had some disappointment and frustration recently that have caused quite a bit of stress and I am ready to move forward and beyond.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and getting the same results. When you have to constantly deal with insanity as the status quo, it can drive you insane.

All of this plus the stress of a sick family member, the difficulty sleeping, fatigue as a result of all this stress that throws my concentration off, along with the hormonal changes I'm going through. It's been a difficult time, but in a way it has been a gift to rearange priorities and get myself to realize I need to address things that are detrimental to my health and focus clearly on what's important.

We got a foot of snow and I took the Buffaloes out snowshoeing last Sunday. They loved it. Dennis and I are planning a trip to the Keys in May, we will relax on the beach after the race. It was 15 below earlier this week but in the coming week the temperature should hit the 50s. In Colorado it's always a surprise, from week to week.

The Fort Collins Running Club Tortoise & Hare 8K got changed to a 4K on the 6th, the morning of the Avogadro's breakfast. It was absolutely horrendous running conditions, blowing snow, a fierce wind chill, and frozen temperatures. I could feel my face freezing the whole time running in the east direction. About 20 poeple braved the cold, though, which was a nice turnout.

We've been cooking indoors more now that the weather is cold, and the girls have been enjoying the opportunity to participate, using their expertise in mashed potato tasting.

Crank up the heat and stay warm!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Bright Side of Insomnia

This morning we woke up to this...

which expedited my Keys 100 entry into the mailbox!

The past week or two things have started to improve around here. Between working part-time now, a fun Thanksgiving day with running friends, and finally getting my butt out the door for a 24.5 mile run on Sunday after Thanksgiving, I am starting to feel like there is hope again.

The one thing that has not changed, and has gotten worse, is my insomnia. I love sleep, I love to sleep, I worship sleep. A little help for my low mood, brain fog, and irritability in the form of an SSRI over the past 2 weeks has been a huge help but it has made my sleep even worse. I figure if I am going to be sleep deprived, at least I am not feeling hopeless on top of it.

I spoke with one of the pulmonologists I work with who specializes in sleep disorders. He told me that he sees lots of women around my age in his office, and really hormones are the most effective thing. I am not a sleeping pill enthusiast and that would only be a quick fix. Since hormones will not be an option for me, I will have to work around it some other way.

He gave me some ideas for improving my sleep, like not going to bed so early, not lying in bed awake if I can't go back to sleep right away, and so on. I am considering getting a set of running clothes ready and going out with the Buffaloes for a middle of the night run if all else fails.

After my 24 1/2 mile run I felt like I am going to be okay to train for a 100 in the spring. I felt great, ran steady the whole way, very little walking at all. I ran up on the hills at Horsetooth and up and down in the foothills trails, and to and from home on the bike path.

I feel like I passed through the portal and I am on the other side of something, I can see daylight again. If I can improve on my sleep that would make things look so much brighter. But I will do what I have to do, I'll work with the body I have, and I'll make it work. Maybe I can finally get the motivation to work out with weights again, in the middle of the night. Maybe I'll write a few books, train for night ultras, clean out my closet, organize my life. The possibilities are endless...