Well, last week might go down as one of the longest. I am pretty impressed with the way I held everything together. Unfortunately, at some point, you become a bit of a veteran of handling trips to a hospital with a parent while balancing life’s other priorities. With my husband traveling all week, the help of some friends getting my kids where they needed to be allowed everything to go pretty smoothly. The biggest stress, by far, was the uncertainty of what steps I should be taking and decisions I couldn’t quite make because I didn’t have enough information. My dad’s health was so up and down this week but we ultimately made the decision to explore hospice care for him. Through a few small miracles, we were able to get him a bed at a beautiful hospice home on the grounds of the Mayo Hospital in Phoenix – which is very close to my home. I can be over there with him in a matter of minutes. It is very likely that he will rebound enough to leave there but, for right now, it is a very good place to be.
I am trying very hard to make a little time for taking care of myself. I have been able to incorporate a tiny bit of exercise into all of this. Sometimes I feel a bit guilty but I’m sure I would have used that same amount of time to just sit down and feed my face and watch TV. Everyone needs a small outlet several times a week at least, even under trying circumstances. I really have no appetite at all and nothing in the hospital cafeteria looks appealing. I have been packing Greek yogurt, protein bars and Optifast for my trips to the hospital and that has worked out pretty well. In fact, I have my dad hooked now on my favorite bar. I’m really glad that I still am doing the mile-a-day streak because that is somewhat forcing me to go exercise every single day. This would totally be one of those times in my life when I let exercise drop off my radar. I shouldn’t feel guilty if I did, either, because this is pretty serious stuff but I am learning that I can actually keep a healthy lifestyle and deal with a crisis simultaneously. In fact, it probably is helping me keep my sanity and I have had an overall sense of peace in the chaos.
So, with that, I went ahead and followed through on running my first ever “Virtual 5K” on Saturday – the 2nd annual Runs For Cookies Virtual 5K. A virtual 5K is just a race that you can sign up for online and then usually post the results when you finish. It is just a fun way to make a commitment to running a certain distance on a certain day with runners all over. There was even a racing bib that you could download and wear on your run. I would have done that if I wasn’t so busy – I completely forgot about it until after I finished the run. This particular race is hosted by Katie Foster, the co-captain of my SoCal Ragnar team and the writer of the Runs for Cookies blog, the one that helped me find out about the From Fat to Finish Line team from 2013 but also shares a lot of other good information and thoughts about running, weight maintenance, etc. Katie started the virtual 5K last year to celebrate her birthday and since she had so much positive response, she did it again this year. I thought that distance would be a good follow-up from the half marathon and that actually signing up for something would encourage me to get back out there, little did I know what a crazy week I would be having post-half marathon.
I’m trying very hard to also attend and support my kids in their activities throughout all of this and my son had his middle school flag football tournament festival Saturday morning. He had to be at the hosting high school at 7:30 AM but play did not start until 8AM. I decided to take my running gear with me and find a place to run beforehand (I’m getting SO good at sneaking in runs whenever I can!) After dropping him off, I finally found a parking place and decided to just head out from the lot and see what I could find as far as a place to run. I was not very familiar with the neighborhoods in this part of town but the major street that the school was on pretty much dead-ended into the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. Except for what looked like a pretty steep hill to get to the end of the road, it looked like the perfect way to get started. First I changed my Garmin from miles to kilometers since I was running a 5K. I know I could have just done 3.11 miles but I wanted to change the display – I always think in terms of miles but kilometers are shorter and it was more gratifying to see the numbers increase faster. So I took off and settled in pretty well. I was just going to take it easy since it was a hill and it was my first real run after the big one. I was not out to PR. Well, unfortunately I must have been out of practice and/or messed with my Garmin a bit too much because I was at least 1/4 mile up the road when I realized I never actually started my Garmin. In my insistence to not care about my pace, I also didn’t notice that the mileage was not increasing either. Ugh. This was not a huge deal except that I was already going to be somewhat late for my son’s games and this was only going to set me back because I knew anal me was going to want to see “5K” on my Garmin, therefore taking more time.
It was such a beautiful morning. I was just wearing a long sleeve t-shirt and thin running pants. Anyone else would be in a tank top and shorts most likely. I got to the end of the road and the start of the trail-head and took a few pictures. I wanted to stay on the pavement but hopefully will get back to that area, now that I know where it is, to explore a bit more off-road.
I got to run downhill for the rest of the run and it felt great. My legs have completely healed from the strain of the downhill on the half marathon and have probably strengthened a bit because of it. I added some more kilometers to finish out the 5K by weaving in and out of the neighborhoods south of the high school. They are older but nice homes built at the foothills of the mountain preserve. Beautiful views all around.
I ran back to the high school, through the football stadium parking lot, just in time to see my son playing in the last play of his first game (they were shortened games). Ooops. Mommy guilt. Again. It is so hard to take care of ourselves and be there for our kids. I am better at just letting that go. I would be there for the rest of the day’s games. My time was 35:33 which is not great, but considering I wasn’t even trying to run fast and it is still 5 minutes faster than my last timed 5K early in my weight loss journey, I’ll take it!
So, here is a little photo collage I posted while waiting for my son to play his next game. I will post the rest of the results on Katie’s “finisher’s form” of her website and add this to her Facebook page – although I did already put it on Instagram and wish her a happy birthday. I’m not sure if I’m at the point where I would want to celebrate my birthday by doing a long run, but I’m getting there. That seems to be a popular thing to do amongst my running friends. Maybe someday. It was a great way to get back out there though. I was worried about my motivation to keep on running and training after the Rock n’ Roll half marathon. I will definitely admit it has slipped, but I’ve also been thrown some curveballs. I just need to stay in the game.