My Sedentary Summer…

It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted – mainly because I had to feel more optimistic about the outcome of this post…

Anyway, you know that saying, “People plan and God laughs.”? Well, I’m pretty sure He was bent over in FULL guffaw, whilst hands on His own knees so as not to fall over at my paltry attempt to “make the most” of my midwestern summer.

Many a Chicago runner eagerly await the first and then final signs that Spring/Summer is/are here. We buy new shoes, fresh workout wear, dig the sport sunglasses out, relish Daylight Savings, maybe download a new “track my route”-type app or get a new GPS. Yet, the real inner-mojo comes from plotting those runs: Fartleks, sprints, two-a-days (my personal favorate), easy-pace and, of course, reconnecting with our running group (for those of us that bailed in the cold and dark that is Jan-April!).

Just go on ahead and throw me right into that category. My return to the outdoors, with goals of speed, time alone, breaking in new shoes, and rediscovering my City on foot is also greatly anticipated by my family as well. Every Spring brings about the usual questions from my daughters: “How far are you running today?”, “Did you see anybody you know?”, “Did you see any deer yet?”, “Can I ride my bike along with you? I promise NOT to talk the WHOLE time.” My own exuberance replies with, “5!”, “Yes!”, “No!”, “Sure!” – for it is EARRRRRRRLY in the season so my runner’s high exists even before I’ve hit the pavement. Even the hubby is excited that, once again, if I am crabby and stressed, he can banish me to the outdoors – assured I will return still relishing the solitude…

You can, then, imagine my shock and panic when you take a look at what my plan was vs my reality. Quite simply, “The Plan”, was to begin a two-a-day run program starting in June to increase my per-mile-pace (a nice alternative to my loathing speed intervals, Fartlek’s, etc to accomplish the same goal). Having done this the past 4 years, I know that by August I would be down to about an 8:17/mile. That is fast for me and looks a l’il like this:


What actually happened was:

  • June 1 – Achilles tendonitis appears outta nowhere
  • June 2-17 – No running; visit to sports med Dr.; cross training both indoor and outdoor cycling; 2x/wk physical therapy; being a “good girl”.
  • June 18-23 – vaycay with power walks in lieu of usual running
  • June 24 – hubby and I go with the SIL to “Adults Only”-night at a roller rink and I break my wrist 38 minutes in; trip to ER w/discharge referral for trauma surgeon to set the wrist (dominant hand) PERFECTLY.

2015-06-26 11.07.05

  • July 1 – 2nd surgery; cast, 4 pins (no plate or incision!) to be removed 8 weeks later
  • July 2 – fly home alone w/daughters
  • July 7 – meet local orthopedic surgeon;
  • July 7 – Parting words from ortho doc after asking if there was anything I couldn’t do: “Yes. No sweating.”, Husband reply, “Dude, you’re killin’ me. She’s gotta workout – or it’s gonna be bad for me.”, ortho doc reply, “If she gets an infection, it’s gonna be bad for me.” My reply: silently crying…

After the shock and awe factors wore off me and people dared to ask what I was most afraid of, I said, “Total body atrophy.”

Sometimes you just need an “altitude” adjustment….

Most who know me well enough are familiar with my frequently saying “I can ‘glass-half-full’ most anything.” In doing so, I have long been aware of the benefits that physical activity affords me physically, emotionally, spiritually, and nutritionally. Running, specifically, is my go-to activity of choice (and a frequently suggested request of my daughters and husband) when I need a quick “attitude” adjustment…

And (I know you should not start sentences this way but this is a blog so…) while I know one cannot out run the stress of work, life, family, relationships, etc., I know that sometimes you need to press “pause” or hit the “reset” button. The benefits to one personally, and therefore those around you, when you take the time to restore, rejuvenate, and replenish yourself are oft not sought out in the names of guilt, indulgence, over-booked, and probably worst – selfish. And 🙂 while this is not something I struggle with personally, I have consulted and worked with more women who seem determined to leave themselves depleted in the name selflessness. When did it become an admirable quality to give so much that there is nothing left of or for yourself??

As I was running this morning (a l’il birthday gift to myself), I wondered if this was a generational thing. Did my mom take time to take care of herself so she was a better person, wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend? You betcha! I had to think about it a bit but then came back the memories of weekends “away” (’cause I learned they were only at the Holiday Inn in Milwaukee) with my dad, or Bible study retreats to one of the homes of her friends in Michigan or Wisconsin. I will ask her but I am certain she fled without a backward glance at the stress she left behind AND that absence made her heart grow fonder and she stronger, her mind clearer, and her heart more peaceful.

So (I know…), after having spent a week in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado co-coaching a fitness trip with my friend Kathy Kent, I realized just how much I needed this “altitude” adjustment. Personally, I was spent by the time the trip arrived. I was crabby, exhausted, shouty, and irritable – despite my daily workouts – which had also become less enjoyable. Professionally I felt a bit fragmented as in one weeks time I would pursue two separate passions which seemed to complement each other but were somehow not yet fitting together as well as I thought they should. Nutritionally I was feeling “blah” as the “joy of cooking” has always been a bit of a foreign experience to me that felt more like HTML code after starting a family meant pressure on me to cook both nutritious and yummy food. Spiritually, my relationship with God was starting to feel less authentic and natural and more “checklisty”.

Fast-forward to now, after a week spent being intentionally active and nutritionally sound “at altitude”, rounded out by a few days in Denver with more amazing women at The Scoop with CAbi, and things are definitely still looking up!  Whether on vacation, traveling for working, moving through the 9-to-5 grind, chauffeuring kids to camp/practice/lessons/sleepovers/etc, being intentional about “Fitting F.I.T.T. In”™ needs to take the lead more often than it does not. Whether it is for an “altitude adjustment” or not, learning how to establish and incorporate your health and fitness routine through the seasons of life can be a tremendous gift to yourself and those you care for. Not only will you be fit, healthy, and strong physically, but you may just find that this helps you to feel free to just BE.