Its been a decade since i stepped off the wheel of life and dedicated myself to taking care of my mother.
Yes I'm a caregiver and at one point in my life the worst kind.
I was the child that stopped her bus to ride my mothers. What's wrong with that you say, well in order to take care of others we must first care for ourselves. I let myself go physically by eating away stress and putting off my dreams. Emotionally i shut down to simply an existing mode. I had given up my corporate america job and was surviving on a small self employement income. I sold my cars as i couldnt afford to keep them and walked, rode my bike or caught the bus everywhere. Make no mistake this was not glamorous. Lugging bags of groceries on and off crowded buses in hundred degee florida heat and walking two miles home wasnt fun.
I was stressed out with no support from family or friends. I saw dreams and goals slipping away while i watched my mothers memory and body deteriorate. What could i do but pray, it's what held me and saved me.
Then one day as i walked to the bus stop an inner voice spoke to me. It was a simple message, take better care of yourself. I didn't know just how much i needed to hear that. My skin was so blackened by stress and the sun i hardly recognized my dark overweight self in the mirror that morning. My eyes were dull and dark not their usaul light brown. I couldn't get over the fact i was so huge either. I was so large it broke my heart to see pictures of myself.
People don't understand that often our image of ourselves are heart felt not visually driven. Yes we see our reality in reflections but when you innately feel yourself first it causes hurt that others dont bother to probe that deep. We live in a picture perfect society. If our external appearances are pleasing then we are acceptable despite our faults.
I wasn't worried about society though i had already said to hell with what people think, it was my concern for myself that mattered most and the truth of the matter was clear I was dieing not literally but figuratively. I'd let go of life or to be more exact my dreams. I was walking down a road of sea shells and as i moved along many of my desires and goals where crushed. The pit i was in was dark and it's sides were so slippery i found it difficult to climb out. Until i heard that voice call to me.
That day instead of walking into the grocery first i walked up the street in the shopping center to the plus sized womens shop.
I entered looked around and annouced to the clerk i was tired of wearing mens jeans and tshirts just to be comfortable. I told her i would be back to buy nice feminine clothes. I did go back but it took a year! In that time i took up walking to help clear my mind. I was already walking because i had to but my new treks were personal. They were just for me because i wanted to. Not long after taking up walking i decided i wanted to run.I brought running shoes and started my own training. The plan was to do just 5ks so i would go about four miles daily besides my walking chores. I made it to a point where I was doing twelve minute miles on a run walk basis.
Thats when i went back to the store to buy some clothes. Exercising again made me feel good and the pride i used to take in my appearance returned. I brought regular clothes and cute running outfits it really felt great to look nice again. I was starting to reclaim the old me
Then i strained my knee before race season started. I wasn't running related, i turned in bed but my knee didnt, not the most exciting story but true. My times went down and and i struggled to keep up with the pack in races. I never gave up though and never will. I posted in a running group about my last race. I said whoever said that finishing last doesn't mattee as long as you Finnish lied. I meant it in a competive way. I already won they day god allowed my spirit to receive the message to get back up and do for myself again.I didnt tell those responders all that though but i thanked them for their support.
Today I'm walking the remaining events on my "run" calendar. I already know i will be last in most of them. This knee will heal the tenderness is going away slowly but it needs rest. I have to keep moving though, it will take time to recover.
As i sit here and type the knee feels so much better and it didnt bother me at all in my last outing . Still i will be giving it a rest for two weeks and see how things go.
My reaaon for running is to get my life back not for the bling I'll be missing out on while i take a break . I am hard working but will admit that sometimes i forgot to become selfish enough to love on me every once in awhile. This new found hobby is my freedom, i shared my "secret" with my mom and she is supportive. Her health is failing but i thank the lord for whatever time i have left with her. However now i make sure to take care of me too. My mother is my life, running gives me strength and God has granted me the blessing of protection The lord walks with me and uplifts me daily and that's what i mean by freedom feels like this.
Monday, September 29, 2014
Its been a decade since i stepped off the wheel of life and dedicated myself to taking care of my mother.
Saturday, September 27, 2014
It's always great to learn something new and that's how i found out about this event. While scrolling through a list of races i came across an odd sounding one, CaraCara. Cara what, i thought before clicking on the link. I was treated to a new site, a pretty bird with a catchy name and orange and brown coloring.
I learned that it was endangered and less than two hundred pairs are in Florida.It was losing its prized habitat to development. Dispite being on the verge of signing up for the flock of birds run in Jacksonville i knew these birds were more in need of my attention. I had to enter this race and even though it had been raining for weeks i was ready to get a little dirty. Besides it was listed as a trail run and Ive never tried an off road race, so i went for it.
I will admit discovering the event two weeks before it was to take place had me off kilter, i never rush into things. So i kept watching the Facebook page and waiting for interest to pickup. Traffic on the website never did. Then while shopping I happened to see post cards and a flyer at a local instrument store that doubles as a spoken word and music venue. The organizers were really trying to get the word out that there was to be a drum circle before the race and i thought it sounded pretty cool.
Two days before the event a final notice appeared on my news feed. I was not interested in paying an extra five bucks for race day signup especially since there was no bling involved. I hopped in the truck and made my way to a local eattery where the organizer was accepting in person registration.
I met the organizer a former runner who do to injury was not able to continue to run. She wanted to stay involved with the sport so she gave birth to this race with a good cause. I plunked down my entry fee and was given a bib and a shirt i then prayed that it wouldnt rain during the race.
Sunday, September 21, 2014
I put off running this particular event early do to a busy schedule. After a rainy Saturday i checked the calendar and realized it was the actual date for women run the D .
I hadn't gotten an outfit together. So i hopped on the computer and turned my race number into a nice personal. Im no artist but it looked pretty good printed out on a light beige parchment paper.
Of all the events i have entered virtually thus far this has been the best. The emails were informative and timely. Although i wasnt physically going to be there i enjoyed the updates on everything one needed to know for the race. They sent a link so i could find my bib number and a virtual goodie bag. I hadn't gotten one of those before. Nothing the sponsors offered appealed to me but i felt like i was really a part of this race. All of the emails helped me stay connected and ready to work for the bling but i was tired. I hadn't walked in a week to save my knee. Running was out of the question and i was bothered by the fact that going it alone is not helping to improve my abilities. Hey the show must go on so i drove to a new area to complete this walk.
I wanted to try something new becuase every race is different i figured why keep doing the same routes.
So I choose a nice little park with a small loop. I hadn't realized how small the perimeter was, looks can be deceiving. My first lap told the not so great story though. The pedometer read .37 shock and regret filled me. I wasnt in the mood to circle the park the needed amount of times to get 3.1 in. So the next trip around i found an back path that looped around the swimming pool area and circled the parking lot. It brought me back to the loop without leaving the shaded confines of the park. Bingo, i picked up about a forth of a mile and it made my laps a little more interesting.
On my second loop i was close to two miles and feeling warmed up and was able to sprint from a group of trees to a fork in the path. It was my only attempt to move faster. I think even the parks turtles were moving faster than me. I was getting it done though.
My mind stayed focused, i was not questioning myself and the course was attractive which kept me on my toes and engaged.
Yes I got in my 5k and enjoyed it. I might go back to that local park but if i do I'll run. The lake and fountains were nice and the towering boxwoods made for such a great running course.
All in all im proud of myself, this journey has not been easy and truthfully its a bit lonely. I gotten to the point that when i run my last steps to cross the finnish line i dont care who sees my arms raised in victory. I've done my thing and that's all that matters to me. Today it took 1:13 not great but it's in the books.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
Your first "official" race is supposed to be memorable. That's why i choose to enter a local race for my inaugural in person race. It's a worthy cause I'm passionate about and benefits local business. In this case the Brevard zoo joint vent with the sea turtle preservation society for a rescue facility.
I'll be honest and say i was a little bit upset that the only bling for the race was going for the top finishers and age group. Then i woke one morning to a post on facebook that you could buy a beautifull turtle finnisher medal to commemorate the event.
Yeah, I let out a big cheer but when i found out it was twenty dollars i deflated. The price made a total of fifty dollars for a 5k. Good cause or not it was to rich for my blood and my run schedule. I'm running every weekend and the dollars are really starting to add up. Still i cant lie i asked and was sent the form to add it. I eventually decided against my own bling lust and just resigned myself to having the shirt.
So Saturday morning i left my house early to insure a good parking spot on beachside. I was surprised to find i wasn't early enough to get the prime spots across from the park where the race area was but i did snag a spot a few blocks away.
I was supposed to meet the ladies from one of my running groups but i couldn't find them. I happened to see one becuase she was wearing the organizations shirt and we took some pictures before the start of the race. I was in run walk mode so that was the last i saw of them as they sprinted off.
When the horn for the race went off i wondered if I'd be passed and pushed aside while walking fast. Nope, racers were more polite than those i encounter on the path that i take on my daily run.
I also found out running is like going to Walmart. You never know who you might come across amongst the people you know. I saw people i never knew where in to racing and a few i hadn't seen in ages. It was wonderful talking with them and meeting new folks as well. I was starting to see why people become addicted to the sport but the fun didnt last forever. The pace was to fast for me and instead of doing my pace i tried to keep up. That wasn't the only flaw in my game but it was the worst. Around mile one boredom set in, there should be a rule about how many turns a race can have. That course had more twist then a slivering snake. It drove me crazy and my bad knee was starting to act up to add more problems to my list of troubles.
As i entered into the second mile i wanted to leave the race. I had no joy and it felt like it was taking forever to get back to the beach. I thought why did i even bother to sign up this is no fun. If i were doing a virtual race i would have been having more fun. I question myself on why had i lost my mind and decided to take part in all these races.
That feeling didnt ease up until i neared a half mile from the finish mark. The sun was starting to shine bright enough to nullify the ocean breeze. Yet by that time i was determined to push my now throbbing knee towards home. I realized i liked widing through the neighborhood and seeing whats back there on the side streets. I saw some ocean shacks and a house wirh an entrance frame by a huge hidge it was an awesome entrance. There was a cool turtle mailbox and a great view of the ocean at sun rise. I got none of those picks i now regret. I did want the people behind me passing.
I was amused too with the high school kids holding signs and shouting encouragements to complete their required community service credits. Mostly the girls enjoyed it. I saw a few dead faced boys who would have rather been home lol. Finally my all time favorite moment of the day happened way back in the first mile. Some sneaky people tried to bring their little dog,( who was not allowed) in by pushing it in a stroller. Well the darn thing started barking its head off and when last i them they were on the side of the road in their event tops trying to quiet it down.
As i approached the finish i ran the final fourth of a mile. I wanted to pass a few people and improve my standings. I crossed alone and hoped my gapped mouth pic doesnt show up anywhere. The feeling of victiry was mine. I had decided to run again now that the whole ordeal is over. I received no bling but i broke a person best by nine minutes. That made me feel better about myself after what seemed like every senior citizen in the pack passed me. The say about run your race and compete against yourself comes to my mind. I won because i improve and now know my possibilities and limits in organized races. I now know what to work on for next year. Oh yes i shall return and medal!
Friday, September 12, 2014
Yesterday a picture was posted on the NBMA page on Facebook. An over weight woman of color in flip flops jumped into a marathon race with a group of skinny male athletes.
At first i didnt get the posting, i thought it might have been photo shopped. Frankly with my sense of humor i was going to say it was me. Upon review though she could never be me. I'm not spontaneous enough to crash a race. I'd be afraid of getting arrested or worst shown on media around the world. So to say the least i loved her free spirit but no the defiance . She decided hey what the heck Im going for it and as the saying goes, just did it. I think we all would love to have one adventurous person like her in our lives. Yes they are a little off but painting outside the box has it's place at least once in every life time.
As i looked at that woman in the picture one thing stuck out, her awful clothes. When your heavy you are basically punished by designers who insist on filling plus sized labels with bold flower prints and elastic waistband polyester pants. After a few washings you look sloppy no matter how neat and clean you really are. That's what drove me to the mens department for tshirts and jeans for years. I finally got sick of it and decided to start walking myself back to health. A woman needs to feel femine and i couldnt in mens pants.
The problem is, being heavy doesn't always come from gluttony in a pure form. We eat our troubles away in many situations to mask other problems. Besides the old fashion story of simply over eatting, we gain from stress too. Sometimes medicines and other health problems contribute.
Im a caregiver with a bad knee. Once i found my way back to recovering from this trauma i decided to give running a chance. Even in my younger "trim" days i hated races but everything in it's time i suppose. The memory of going shopping one day and seeing a whopper of a woman looking back at me as i passed a mirror was the straw that broke the camels back for me. My heart broke looking at her and still does.
Yes i love and respect myself but i need to take care of me too. Deciding to putmyself first and being unselfish enough to understand what that means was difficult. I was hell bent on doing the right thing for my family and totally stepped off the road called my life. That act was not and never will be substainable to any human.One must live a rich life not material wise but spiritually. I had to rediscover me and dance in the sun again. In other words start taking better care of me.
To the sister in the picture thank you. You reminded me that i used to follow my dreams and revel in an occasional whim. The older I've gotten the less i find the desire to do that. I realize that that's what gives life its kick. I get it now, just because I cut the salt out of my daily routine doesn't mean i have to give up the spice. Today i vow to just find my joy wherever it maybe, the heck with what people may think i just need to do me
Sunday, September 7, 2014
I woke up stiff this morning but put some menthol rub on my knee. This body wasn't in the mood for a walk, stroll or run but i got dressed and went out anyway.
I decided to knock off my usaul three miles by walking to the store. Imagine my surprise to find the mileage did not pan out. So i did what anyone doing mile work does. I walked in circles around the parking lot and in the store.
I took a few pictures at my nemis dunkin donut so i could remember why i have to move and then continued to the market. Unfortunately for me the shopping center had a few eatteries to entice me. Im not a fan of pizza hut but i got a little hungry when i saw their new pizza.
I walked this race as a second half of a double header 5k Saturday September 6th. Despite resting five minutes between 'races" It was the hardest three miles of my life.
With an aggravated knee injury keeping me from run/walking and combat boots to support my arches it was a struggle. I could barely move had to give myself a prep talk and sing an inspirational song. Okay Sly and the family Stones "you can make it if you try" is not gospel but it helped.
I discovered something about today too. I am an impatient runner, had no idea of this. During training all i wanted to do was finish and build enough stamina to run three miles.
Yet as i walked all i could think about was how slow i was moving. I wanted to run but was afraid the knee would revolt. So i envisioned myself running while i walked (strange i know ) . Worst i wore a digital pedometer and watched it every chance i got. That was a big mistake, it made every step feel like an hour long journey. By mile four i was frustrated and the dogs were getting tired. I was in shape though i had more miles in me but the ajusted walking style was murdering my feet. At that point i wanted it all to be over.
Then i remembered the walk was about cancer. I found it ironic that i signed up for two races this weekend that were in support of the fight against cancers. It made my stuggle seem trivial so glad i can give a voice to the cause. I wished i could have just relaxed enough to enjoy the ride.
all I i could think of was all summer long i looked forward to race season and then this injury happened.
Im making lemonade of the situation right now. At this time i may be over weight but Iam able to get out and stay active so i wont push to hard and throw my body out of wack. I want to stay fit and avoid injuries.
One thing i know for sure is cancer is no joke and life goes by way to fast. I m not taking this ride on planet earth lightly. I walked this race in solidarity with those that can't because they are battling a cancer.
Saturday, September 6, 2014
I tried to register for BGRs walk before you run but it was soldout.
So the next best thing was to sign up for the sweat with your sole event. Its a big weekend for the blackgirls run organization. There's an expo,workshops and the races of course.
There were two distances 15k and 5k. Thankfully i picked the 5k since i pushed myself to hard while training and aggravated my bad knee.
I had trouble bending it without straining so i decided to walk. I got out the hiking books to help my sagging arches and aid over compensating. They did the trick to as i have no foot problems to mention.
Oncw again I did see the same fast walking lady, this time she lapped me but didn't speak. Thank goodness i left my pride at home because everyone lapped me even a dog!
I'd say it was a good start to a busy day although hotter than i would like but then i started out late at 7:30am. One of the things that threw me was my persparation I dont usally sweat heavily but today i was pouring a watarfall. I felt my mouth dry a little and wondered if i was dehydrated. Another walker saw i was working hard and I got a word of encouragement from her.Another walker snapped the picture of my home made bib for me so yes it was a good day . I know it was lame but i really wanted to have one. This race was the first one i ever signed up for so it was supposed to be special. I looked forward to it and visualized it during training. Only i thought i would run it. I ll take this victory though after all i made sure to keep going even when i had to slow to a crawl. The knee held up and i was glad of that but it was my first of two 5ks of the day and i was concerned about the second.
The digital pedometer i brought the day before came in handy too as i was in no condition to keep track of miles. They can be off by a bit but this one was on the money.
Friday, September 5, 2014
My bad knee has been bothering me since Tuesday and it couldn't have started to act up at a worst time. I decided it wasnt putting a damper on my 5k schedule though.
So today i shook off the disappointment of the promise organizers made that if i signed up more than a week before the race my race bib would be here before the event date. I ended up hitting the road without it.
Despite being stiff i made my way down the street. The first thing i see on the trek are tree trimmers and I thought, oh no there goes my shade.
Monday, September 1, 2014
I left the house late this morning and i ended up paying the price for procrastinating. At a little after 8am it was already humid out but thankfully the sky was overcast and there was plenty of shade from the large oak trees lining my path.
I knew right away it was going to be a tough day. My first mishap was forgetting to note the time i began the walk what a big mistake. Seems odd that my beloved but departed Motorola phone had a stopwatch feature but my much newer adriod doesn't. I could care less about most apps they can be used as spying devices. Alright so is my phone but i disabled gps and i know Facebook is tracking almost everything about me. I just find myself sick of being forced into technology that hungers for information on my habits and where i go. Dont get me wrong i like the idea of apps some of them are really cool but not the ones that get in my business. I dont want my route mapped i only want to monitor and keep my time. I would like one watch that can do that without me having a fear of trying to reset it if something happens. Who has not been in that position with a new gadget.
While thinking about the simplicity i want for my life i looked around and realized that not many people were out. Then I spotted a couple crossing over to my side of the street and then take off running. Normally i try to use fast moving targets ahead of me as a pull. If they are moving quickly, I'm moving faster to keep them in sight. This was not the case today. I had no umpth, not even a spark. These feet of mine remained flat and weighted like lead. I had no bounce and as the pair faded in the distance the universe told me today was not a keeping up with the jones kind of day. So i focused on the idea of finnishing the walk even though i just started it.
My spirit wanted to move, this body said okay but negative energy was saying the heck with it lets go home. I decided to rebuke those bad vibes and go for it. Thats when the second foley happened.I wasnt paying attention as i crossed the street and entered the part of my run i nicknamed gateway. Its the begining of my run segment and sets the rhythm of the days course. I was walking in the middle of a narrow side street while my mind was involved in cheering on this body to move. I didn't noticed what danger i put myself in. Thank goodness i turned in time to see a pickup in position to take me out. Luckily the driver saw my confused circle as i stood startled in the middle of the road like future road kill. He rolled down his window and wished me a blessed day, i sure needed it.
I always run in the road on side streets to save my bad knees. The concrete would have long since done me in if i stayed on the pavement . Guess i need to stay focused.
The rest of the morning wasnt to bad. I got in a few run burst but failed to make a twenty minute mile. It was devastating, i had a twenty six minute ser at mile one followed by a twenty seven. On a good note my last mile was twenty two. A far cry from the PR twelve minute but I'll take it. I almost felt over heated so i really didnt push that hard.The Gatorade i was carrying wasnt going down easy.
Im also thinking of changing my shoes too. I noticed my times vary depending on the brand. Today i had in cheap filas, they matched but aren't good for anything.