…still learning

As an adult, there are some things I should have figured out by now and for some reason, these happen to be the lessons I keep repeating.  I thought I might share a few of those with you that have been ever-present for me this year.

Lesson #1: Wear sunscreen.

This one is pretty obvious.  I get that your skin is the only one you’ve got and I haven’t been very good to mine.  However, there’s a basic rule with the ownership of Irish skin that you put on sunscreen.  My people don’t tan… we burn, look like a lobster, peel and the process begins again.  (Srsly, a dime for every time I heard “you look really red.”)  I don’t know what makes me think I can “outsmart” that by avoiding the reapplication process.  Every.time.I.try.  Put it on your face, put it all over you and repeat.

Lesson #2: Don’t let money control you.

This one has kicked me in the teeth more times than I’d care to admit.  I wish I’d paid attention to the experiences I could have had with money vs the stuff I could accumulate.  This is priority number one for 2018.  If anyone invents an app that would make me have to solve an impossible math question before Amazon will let me hit “buy now”, please let me know.  I don’t want to work to pay my bills and have nothing left – I want to work to pay my bills and then do the things that are going to make memories.

Lesson #3: Don’t let someone else’s timeline be YOUR timeline.

I have seen this one not only in myself but a lot of the people around me.  It’s easy to get swept up thinking about what could/should/may have happened but that removes you from being fully present in your life as it happens.  All the energy I’ve spent comparing myself to others has really amounted to nothing more than wasted time.  It’s really been since my mid-thirties that I’ve started to embrace this feeling of going against the norm and really creating my own path.  I want to figure out what my story looks like.  Luckily, my parents have always been super supportive about all my ideas – no matter how crazy.  Remember that time I up-and-moved to Iowa, mom?

Lesson #4: Say “yes”.

After some personal setbacks and years of making excuses as to why not, I decided this year that I’d just say “yes”.  That means checking in with myself to make sure I’m not giving too much without taking some me time.  I am an introvert, after all.  I have found that I don’t usually regret saying “yes” to something after I’ve done it.  This is the best way to make friends and memories; maybe even overcome some fears in the process.  This has, by far, been the best thing I’ve done for myself.  Am I tired and fried at the end of the day?  For sure.  Do I want to sit in my pajamas with my pup and eat pizza?  You know it.  But I don’t want to string my days together having sat on the couch – I wanna liiiiive.

Lesson #5: Let people know you.

While I wasn’t necessarily raised to keep private things private, I do feel like I really struggled with letting people see the real me through college and after.  I molded myself to fit a situation instead of going in there, gangbusters, saying “this is who I am.”  I used to save private stuff for my family and friends and then project a certain image to the world.  In the last several years, that whole facade has fallen away and people truly are left with the real me.  I don’t have the energy to fake it anymore.  In the world we live in today, where real CONNECTION is scarce and mental health doesn’t get the attention it deserves, we need to stop pretending everything is okay and get a little more comfortable with being vulnerable.  It’s quite simple for me… what reason would be good enough for me to be anything but myself; for me to have any other opinion than the one I feel passionate about; to fight for anything less than what I believe in with my whole heart?

***

I heard it said about being a parent that the days are long and the years go by fast… that’s how I feel about my 30’s.  A minute ago I was turning 30 and now we’re looking down the barrel of 36.  That said, I can’t wait to keep peeling back layers and seeing who I really am and what I have to offer the world.  I can’t wait to keep choosing to make my life about what feels right to me – not what other people say is right.  I certainly hope this has been a little bit inspiring for you guys, and maybe helped some of you feel less alone.  I’m here – and I’m still learning.

 

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em·bod·i·ment

Hi friends!

I’ve been cooking up some bloggy-goodness for you all and was kind of coming up empty.  I started an optimistic spring post (maybe saved for later) but it just didn’t feel right.  I think I’ve mentioned before that the way I suss out blog ideas is by paying attention to what’s happening around me.  It sounds woo-woo but it’s kind of like, what is the universe telling me?  What messages am I hearing over and over that not only helps me grow but helps me connect with you all?  I feel like it’s important for me to have something of value to say and it’s clear that you guys connect more to the vulnerable stuff (vs. blogs about my dog – seriously guys, she’s amazing but that’s cool).

I was thinking I wanted to tell you some things I’ve learned over the last few months but it seems so much bigger than just the last few months.  I’m 35-years-old (cringe) and I’m literally just starting to feel who I am as an individual.  It feels so cliche to type that, you guys, cause there is no shortage of older = wiser sayings but that’s exactly what it feels like.  I have been working on giving myself permission to be me – not some best version of me that I want to present to the world.  I know, I know… that sounds so.obvious.Ryan. but consider this: there are the labels you put on yourself and there are the labels that are put on you by the world.  It’s so easy to become the world version instead of doing the work to be an individual.  I think once you’re labeled “funny” or “nice” or “responsible” it’s easy to fall on those words to define you.  For me, those labels revoked necessity for me to dig deeper.  The best thing ever said to me – and the key that fits the lock – was “Ryan, you have agency in this.”  And I do.  And you do.

All that had been swirling around and before I had a chance to get it here, I read (and reposted) something on Instagram on Sunday that totally struck me.

credit to instagram account @queens_over_bitches

I’ve ruined so many GOOD relationships by not being straight-forward.  I’ve let people come and go in my life without letting them know what they meant to me.  I’ve held my tongue telling someone what a unicorn-of-a-human-being they are so I don’t come off weird, or needy, or desperate.  Let me issue a global apology for that.  The reason I did that is I didn’t know who I was; I didn’t know what mattered to me, and I thought someone else would come along and tell me who to be and what mattered to me.  I waited for someone – anyone – to tell me.  In some twisted way, I think it was easier for me to live my life as the person other people needed me to be than it was for me to be the person I needed me to be.

It’s taken a LONG time to get to the point where I realize how important vulnerability and connection are to me; that they’re more than just words, but an essential element to living my best life.  This is not easy work but it’s absolutely worth it.

feels (updated)

Guys, get ready to dig deep.  I’m not going to distract you with another blog about my dog – we’re going to talk about my feeeeelings.

C.S. Lewis said a thing.  And he said it far better than I ever could:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

I meant this to be a blog about how heartache is the yin to the universal yang of love.  However, in the last couple days, as I’ve kicked it around my chest its emerged looking like something different.  While I do feel like I am at a place where the heart-casket seems like the best option, I realize that isn’t who I am.  Is it exhausting and painful?  Oh.yeah. But it has never occurred to me to be any other way.  Romantic relationships, in my life, have been like a game of musical chairs and for all my efforts, the music has stopped and the chairs are full.

Let me take a short detour here – and stay with me – I promise it’s all going somewhere.

I was listening to a podcast today that got me thinking.  The subject was ‘what do you wish your grown-ups said to you when you were a kid?’  Essentially, what troubles you now that might have been saved with words back then?  You guys know, cause I’ve told you plenty of times, that my grown-ups are amazing.  In fact, my mom is always asking me if she did something to mess me up (she probably will after reading this) and the answer is always “no”.  So I asked my people two questions: 1.) how they would describe me as a kid and 2.) what the challenges were in raising me as a consequence.  They did not even skip a beat before telling me how perfect I was (my dad actually used the word angelic) and what a joy it is to have raised me.  Now, it’s not quite what I was looking for but it’s endearing that even given the opportunity, their only truth is kindness.

I know what they said is not entirely true.  I was a sensitive child.  Embarrassingly sensitive.  Exhaustingly sensitive.  I worried about death all the time.  I worried about war and starving children and abandoned animals.  My mom said I worried about the seals turning brown (did I read that somewhere?) and the polar bears not having enough to eat.  What she said next is what changed the course of this blog post.  She said: “you told me you loved me every five minutes. You would stop what you were doing and come to the window and through the screen you would say “love you mom”.”  Now that can’t have been easy.  I was an insecure little thing and I didn’t have the words to understand my emotions which is how I ended up having my feelings hurt very easily.  What I took from that though, is from the time I was young, I was never afraid to put my heart out there.  In fact, I was constantly giving it away.  I even used my love for others as a way to fill them up on the off-chance they were empty.

That explains.so.much. about who I am today and how I navigate the world.  My default setting is and always has been heart-forward.  It’s my gift as well as my detriment.

See?  Brought back around, as promised.

I’m not going end this on optimism because that’s not what I feel.  I’m accepting that it’s okay.  So often I try to push through the bad stuff and pretend like it’s all okay; put on a good face.  I’m learning that sometimes it’s okay to just spend time in the heaviness.  So I’m giving myself permission to do that for a bit.

**Edited for clarity: I’m worried I haven’t done a good job communicating here. I’m not waiting around, as I have done, for *someone* to come along and validate the gifts I’ve possessed since I was a little Ryan. I realize there’s a very real chance that may not happen, and that’s okay (honest). I can still be me without that. I wanted to say that I love, I have always loved, I will always love. While I’m giving myself room to be “not okay” in this season of being, I will recharge and keep doing what I do. It may just look different than I thought and that’s okay.

There. Optimism.

who are you?

“Who are you?”

What a simple question, right?  But when you take it apart and really consider it, it’s a pretty huge idea.

It seems like everything in my life right now is pointing me in the direction of digging in to that idea.  Quick aside in all seriousness: I love the phrase “digging in” so much that it might be on my headstone when I die.

I digress.

This idea grew from a conversation with my therapist, then took root when I stumbled on an Instagram post by Melissa Hartwig (the amazing, kick-ass woman behind the W30).  I found myself thinking: I want to know who I am and own who I am.  I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what it means for me to do that.  I have always owned the fact that I’m moment by moment, feelings fluid, ever-absorbing my environment, tough to pin down.  That’s not near enough of an answer for me, though.

As you know, it started with that same simple question, “who are you?” posed by my therapist.  Out of my mouth came the canned response, “I’m an auntie, a friend, a good listener, a fiercely loyal member of my family and I like to read.”  Those are all words I typically use to identify myself and she came right back by telling me that those words don’t say much about ME and who I actually am as a person.  That answer doesn’t reflect my values, my personality or what gets me out of bed in the morning.  Everyone is a daughter, auntie, uncle, mother, father, son, friend, sibling or a combination of those words.  Those are identifying words that we all fall back on and while there is likely a lot of pride attached to those words, it doesn’t really say who you are at your core.  I’m pretty sure at this point in my life I should know the answer to that question – but I don’t.  I have been so busy avoiding myself that I’ve been focused on helping those around me answer that question for themselves.

Melissa Hartwig wrapped it up in a nice little package called “self-love”, which is a concept that feels foreign to me.  She says everything in life can be taken away (preach, girl) except who we really are.  So why not OWN who we really are – not just those identifiers that are easy responses or the things about us that can be taken away in a moment?  We need to have our identity wrapped up in OURSELVES – not who we are to other people.  Do not allow outside factors to define who we are, she says, and I was completely feeling that.  I’ve often handed a partner the reins in determining who I am; my value; my identity.  I have been stuck waiting for life to happen TO me instead of me happening TO life.  I’m just now starting to grasp this concept.

After much thought and consideration, this is me, as I know me in this moment…

I am strong.  Every day I show up for my life and live it heart-forward.  Sometimes it really, really, really hurts but I’ve never been sorry for my scrapes and bruises because of the lessons I’ve learned in the process.

I am caring.  I have no off-switch in this regard.  I almost care too much.  I’m a very soft person – much too soft for this world – but I’m owning it.

I am dedicated, loyal and determined.  I was once told that I only work under pressure but I think a more correct statement reflecting who I am now is that I work hard despite pressure.  I have shown myself again and again that I can keep my eyes down and continue moving through something till there’s nowhere left to go.  Looking back on where I’ve been, I can see the little rest stops where I might have veered off and taken another path – or more likely should have – but I know that my loyalty is often in the driver’s seat, so we go on.

I am open-minded (and open-hearted).  It’s not too often that I take a hard line about anything.  I’m very malleable in that I listen to other perspectives and give them time to work in me.  Outside opinions often help me get to the heart of my feelings (like this blog post) so I always try to stay open for the wisdom to come.

I am always working to be a healthier version of myself.  This is both at face value and metaphorically.  I don’t strive for perfection I strive for healthy.  I don’t always get it right and sometimes I have to stop what I’m doing, turn around, and go back.  My ultimate goal is to be healthy from the inside out.

I am curious.  I have a SERIOUS thirst for knowledge of all the things.  I like to know the reason behind human motivations and it’s not unusual for my friends, family and really any acquaintance to be met with probing questions from me in an attempt to understand them better.  I speak in feelings and understand emotion.

***

It’s hard work, figuring out who I am and what I’m about.  This isn’t where the notion ends for me – I’ll keep digging and refining.  I would just encourage you, friends, to really think about who you are at your core… after you’ve gotten past all the easy responses, what are you left with?

hello. it’s me. (have i used that title already?)

As many of you who know me IRL have likely surmised, and to confirm those of you who know me virtually, things have not been great on this side of the screen.  It’s nothing to worry about, just stress levels in the consistently-higher-than-usual category.  Being a person is really HARD sometimes.  Plus, it doesn’t help that I’ve been binging some pretty depressing stuff lately – looking at you ’13 Reasons Why’ and ‘Big Little Lies’ – and have been reading a lot of non-fiction (mostly about this).  I’ve also been trying to practice some self-care and have been learning a lot of *new* things about myself.  We already know when I have nothing good to say and don’t want to talk about myself, I say nothing.  I’ve been lost in my own thoughts and as I have mentioned many times, these feelings lead me to shut down from pretty much everything.  I get “over myself” really quickly because I feel like I have all the tools to “fix” whatever might be broken inside of me.  Exhibit A: I spend so much time in my own mind – analyzing all the things.  Exhibit B: I don’t like drawing any attention to myself.  I become a less-effervescent person which then makes me feel bad so I hide out even more.  Talking about silly things when my life is basically consumed with serious always feels disingenuous to both you and me.  So if you’re still out there: I’m sorry.   Someday, maybe when I’m out of the woods I’m in, we can talk about it.

Until then, let me talk about some of the more non-serious happenings in a little internets roundup of things I’m really feeling right now.

  • I am currently feeling the Bulletproof way of life.  I’m curious about bio-hacking myself mostly because I do feel like good health starts at the cellular level.  There is a prevalence of stimuli in our world today and I like to buck the trend of our just-take-a-pill society.  Pretty soon I’m going to take the plunge and rock my own Bulletproof coffee.  First, I need to get through the book.
  • In a similar vein as the above, I got both myself and my gorgeous sister some of these Mala prayer beads.  It’s something physical to channel my intention to.  The Malas represent certain qualities based on the stone they are made with.  My sister’s is made of Volcanic Stone meant to channel strength and clarity; and mine is made of Labradorite and Malaysian jade meant to channel our spiritual counterparts.
  • Trying to be an adult and get on a budget.  Ugh.
  • Oh!  I became a Rodan + Fields consultant because I believe in the power of good skincare.  And I’m obsessed with skincare so that says a lot.  If you’re equally obsessed, we should chat.
  • You guys.  The Marco Polo app is amaze.  It helps me stay connected to my family without the hassle of having to hang on the phone with FaceTime.  It’s like if FT and texting (my favorite) had a baby, it would be Marco Polo.  The videos stay in a thread like texting so I can go back and watch videos of Avery on replay.
  • Lastly, podcasts.  Almost as much variety as television right now.  I devoured S-Town and man was it DARK but it made me feel things.  Also, I’m going through withdrawal from Accused, Undisclosed S1 & S2, Up & Vanished (now that it’s mostly “solved”)… but true crime is really something that keeps me engaged and able to listen and still get my work done.

Thanks for reading and be well, friends.

my earring

Today I lost one of my most favorite possessions: one of my Tiffany pearl earrings.  I lost it in that way in which I (barring a miracle) will never see it again – not just misplaced it.  Guys, I love these earrings.  If you look at almost any picture of me at any point in the last six or so years, you’ll see me wearing them.  They class up any outfit and they don’t make my sensitive        ears go all weird cause they’re made of cheap metal like most of my other earrings.  They’re pretty much my I’ll-die-in-these earrings.

After I realized I lost it, searched frantically for it and realized it was gone, I started thinking about it.  While I was certainly upset, I didn’t cry about it and I certainly didn’t let it ruin my day.  I’m not pleased that I’ll have to buy another pair but I realized that it’s just stuff.  It wasn’t an irreplaceable heirloom I’d lost.  I definitely have plenty more important things in my life to be upset about that the pearl earring just didn’t seem like something to lose my head over.  It’s just “stuff”.

That’s not to say I wouldn’t be upset if it hadn’t been something else I’d lost – my Tiffany floating diamond necklace, my grandmother’s class ring, my dad’s wedding ring – but those things are irreplaceable to me.

RIP pearl earrings.

mornings.

Morning is definitely my time.  It’s the time of day I’m most creative and productive; my mind is the most open to receiving ideas and making plans.  My mom has forever gotten up before the sun and had her morning coffee, in the dark, and called it her quiet time.  It’s a chance to think all the thoughts that need thinking, to organize her day, to consider the days and tasks to come.  I love the idea of quiet time but the execution is where I falter.  It’s truly a shame that I love sleep too much to actually take advantage of it before heading in to start my actual job at 7:30 am.

Nevertheless, I start every day feeling like Gwyneth Paltrow.  Why GP?  To me, she is the pinnacle of all the things: mother, entrepreneur, brand, woman.  Some people choose Beyonce – who is also incredibly fierce – GP just aligns more with things I could actually accomplish (my dance moves are outdated and I’m not really the Queen of anything).  In the morning, I feel like there really is nothing I can’t do.  Write a cookbook?  Okay.  Three?  Sure.  Workout for two hours?  Easy.  Organize my home and life?  Done.  Start a successful business and brand?  Pssshhh…I got this.

I’m writing this blog because of the things that happen the rest of the day.  Throughout the reminder of the day I’m met with little obstacles meant to diminish my GP-ness.  These are things as simple as doughnuts in the next cube and as complex as laziness or lack of motivation.  Each obstacle I meet, I make the active decision to let it defeat me or not.  Though, until now, I didn’t really think of it in those terms because I didn’t really think of it at all.  Now it’s all I think about.

I’m going to try to work with the potential and promise I feel in the mornings because it seems a shame to waste it.  Even now, there are sticky notes all over my desk; lists I’ve made in my Moleskine (with sticky notes on those lists); there are blog ideas and lofty dreams being dreamed in my head; there are mental vacations being planned and dinner ideas floating around.  I think that’s how my creative side works: ideas will meander in my brain, waiting to be found and focused on. Waiting to be brought to fruition.  Who knows, maybe I’ll even start waking up earlier to make my lists over some coffee?

thoughts on caucusing, etc.

Guys.  A long, long time ago, in high school Civics class we learned about voting.  Mr. Marozzi could not have been more clear that it was important as an 18 year old to go to the polls and cast your vote.  It was effectively step number one to becoming an adult and claiming my place in the world.  It was with passion that I happily declared my chosen candidate to anyone with ears.  That first year, I went to my polling location not knowing much beyond what my parents had told me and proudly made it official.

I’m not sure I’ve voted since then.  Somehow, for me, politics became something I didn’t want to shout about from the rooftops.  Over the years, it had morphed into something that I identified with being a free American to something that I should keep secret and be ashamed about.  People – strangers even – are apt to point fingers that if you voted for so-and-so you’re part of the country’s problem.  No choice ever seemed good enough when the truth of the matter is, aren’t we all just choosing the best that we can?

Things began to change this year for me when I *finally* took the last step toward Iowa residency by actually getting an Iowa driver’s license (I held onto that Ohio license as long as I possibly could – as a sort of bastion of my former Ohio-ness preferring to live in that fluid visitor status.  I took pride pointing out my dates of birth every time I was carded because the cashier didn’t know how to read my pretty pink foreign license, and I relished in the “Oh, you’re from Ohio?” question.  Now I’m just another Iowan. Blending in.)  When I was filling out my licensing paperwork, I was asked if I wanted to be registered to vote.  Despite the drawback of jury duty, it was something I realized I wanted to do.  It is more than simply my civic duty, casting my vote in this election is something I want to be part of.

Before moving to Iowa, I don’t really know if I knew what the caucus was.  Dave told me I would see what it was all about in 2016 – how media from all over the United States converge on our tiny little city in our flyover state.  And now here we are, in 2016, and I am EMBRACING this caucus business.  He wasn’t kidding.  The Today show was broadcasting live from West End Salvage this morning; Tom Brokaw was at Scenic Route this week (the very location I’m blogging from today); there are candidates and staffers all over this city; there are motorcades and blocked off roads and people outside hotels holding up signs for their candidate.  This is nothing short of inspiring.  All these young people with hope for change in our country, paying attention to our tax dollars and healthcare and government spending and military budgets and treatment for Vets.  It’s suddenly become the thing to do – to vote.  And here in Des Moines, in the lovely state of Iowa, it’s all around me.

The decision of who to caucus for feels overwhelming.  Like it’s the most important decision I have made in a while.  It’s not even a real vote yet, Ryan.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m a woman, or I’m a tax-payer, or an American citizen but I’m taking this quite seriously.  I implore you, dear reader, to go and cast your vote when it’s time.  It’s one of the most important things we can do.  Yes, the outcome isn’t always what we imagined it to be but it’s worth it to go declare your name and declare your decision on who will effectively have the most influence over our lives for the next four years (if not more).

delight.

Back when it was still summer outside, Dave and I took a trip to the farmer’s market (as we often do). That particular day, amongst the veggie vendors and bread bakers, there was a man doing tricks for the crowd. He was juggling and sword swallowing in time to some rather cliché sounding French music. He was there, on a sweltering hot day, in his tattered black pants, tank top, tiny leather shoes and hair slicked back in a little pony, performing for passers-by. He drew quite the crowd. Watching him juggle was initially what stopped me but it wasn’t his act that transfixed me – it was the look on his face as he was performing. It was nothing short of pure, unfiltered joy in what he was doing. For that reason, we stood there watching him for fifteen minutes. I could have watched him all day.

Since then, I haven’t been able to shake the idea of that sort of raw, pure joy. Even now, I can’t recall a time in recent memory when I’ve experienced such visible joy – inwardly or outwardly. It seems like everything from my yoga practice to the books I’m reading lately have reflected this attitude. This week in one of my yoga classes, we dedicated our practice to gratefulness. The instructor read a quote that was something along the lines of “Gratefulness is seeing what’s there instead of noticing what’s not.” Through that, I’ve finally been able to shake loose a bit of a working idea; something to bring to you to talk about.

I want to talk about delight.

It seems like such a simple word, such a simple idea. For me, it’s puppies or Jeni’s ice cream or watching my niece discover the world. It’s traveling and exploring and feeling inspired and listening to Adele. “Feeling all the feels” is probably a good layman’s definition for the word itself. As I was considering it the last few weeks, I came to a much simpler conclusion. This life is something to find delight in. It’s nothing short of a miracle that we wake up every day, that we get to take part in this Divine plan, that we breathe in oxygen and convert it to the energy that powers our bodies moment to moment. Yet, it’s so easy to take our eyes off that simple miracle and get caught up in the mundane. I get up, go to work, come home, talk about my day, eat dinner, watch some TV then go to sleep to do it all again tomorrow. Surely there’s an opportunity in there to delight in something; to be thankful for one thing; to be grateful for a moment. But I keep missing it.

In all “life manuals” we’re instructed to find the thing that makes our hearts happy and do it. As though it’s the simplest thing in the world. And for some people it probably is. In my own head, it’s this Mt Olympus that seems to keep growing ahead of me that I dare not even start the climb. On CBS Sunday Morning this week they were airing a piece about The Piano Guys. Four dudes who, in their time away from their family, make music. Watching them reminded me of the guy doing tricks here in DSM; there was that same look of pure joy on their faces and it’s because they’re doing something they love. They have figured out what makes their hearts happy. I’m going to resist the urge to solve my own problem here and really just leave it open. I need to consider this idea of delight and take it with me. I invite you all to find it along with me.

it’s complicated

In all the relationships I’ve had in my life, there have been a few I’d classify as “complicated” at some point or another.  The one relationship in my life that stands out as being the.most.complicated is my relationship with running.  You guys remember this post.  It’s always been a give and take, a start and a stop, a renewed dedication.  It’s always been the one thing I could go back to and even though I always had to start over (ugh), it was the one thing I always knew I could do.

So this spring I started training to run the DSM Half with my sister.  I was a little behind the training schedule and hadn’t been running as consistently as I should have… till about three weeks ago.  But even when I started getting serious about training, things weren’t gel-ing for me.  My shoes weren’t great, I had no energy, running 1 mile was hard (let alone 4).  I did some tweaking last week just in time to run 6 miles on Sunday.  Which I did – kicking and screaming and in the time that it takes most people to complete a half marathon.  But I did it, and it was over, and I felt awesome after.

Till yesterday.  I had pain in my right foot that wasn’t there previously.  Of all the ailments that have ever plagued me in my running life, foot pain was never one of them so this was different.  I went out this morning (after FINALLY finding an awesome trail around the corner from home) even though my foot hurt.  I walked to warm up and started out with an easy pace.  I even have a mantra from my sister that I remind myself of when I’m just getting warmed up: “it’s my pace” in my head over and over.  Pain interrupted my mantra.  I didn’t even make it a full mile before I turned around and headed back to the car.

Flash forward four hours.  After meeting with the sports medicine doctor at the walk-in clinic… I have a stress fracture.  Which means my half-marathon dreams are over since I have to wear this stupid boot for four weeks.

Here’s the real rub for me: I want to be in control over when I do and don’t run.  I went on a serious hiatus after I moved to Iowa – we’re talking two years – but that was my choice.  I don’t like to NOT have the option to run for any other reason than I choose not to.  I drove home trying to get used to the idea that I wouldn’t be running a half, I wouldn’t even be allowed to run; I’d have to start all over again in four weeks with one dumpy mile.  In short, running never looked so good till she’s gone.

This boot is already annoying and I have to take it on and off every time I drive.  This is going to be a long and disappointing four weeks.  It kind of doesn’t feel like I really have to do this.  I’m reminded the moment I take my boot off and walk around and it starts to hurt again.  I guess this is for real.  Maybe next time I won’t take it for granted that I’m healthy enough to run.  I think that has to be the silver lining here… right?