9/21 Reflections

9/21 is a bittersweet day for me. It’s my best friend’s birthday, the start of autumn (my favorite time of year), and the day my dad died.  [I had the urge to erase “died” and type “passed away” because that seems more acceptable and appropriate. “Died” seems so blunt, cold, & heartless.  But it’s real and it’s the truth so I kept it.] Even the day of his death holds some sweetness because he was finally rid of his pain.

I use running as a form of therapy. It just so happens it’s a great form of exercise 😉  So naturally, on Sunday Runday (regardless of it being 9/21), I got up to run.

Results? Meh. For the 3rd straight year, 9/21 has proven to be a weak running day.

The day my dad died, I got up around 4am (I’d been sleeping in his hospital room for 3 days so I can’t really say that wake up call was painful) to tackle my 18-miler for the week.  I was training for the St. Louis Rock & Roll Marathon on 10/21.  Even though 9/21/12 was a Friday, I didn’t think it would be smart to wait until Saturday (my typical long run day) given my dad’s progress. I made it to 10 miles before I decided to quit.  I was tired, run down, my legs felt like lead, I’d heard “Sloop John B” on the way to the gym that morning.  This was one of “our songs” (sometimes I feel like he talks to me through songs on the radio…weird, but whatever).  My body convinced my mind & heart to call it quits , shower, and get back to the hospital.  My dad died 4 hours later.

On 9/21/13 I ran the Air Force Marathon in memory of my dad, an Air Force vet.  Not only was this a tribute run, but I knew it’d be a good therapy session for the dreaded 1-year mark.  My dad and I sometimes “talk” to each other when I’m out on a run.  With just me & my thoughts it’s my reflection time, my “church”. So, I talk to my dad.  Sometimes he talks back : I’ll find strength out of no where during a tough run, the trees will be exceptionally beautiful, the breeze will bring me peace,  a song comes up on my playlist at just the right time, or I feel particularly “one” with my surroundings & my body.  I can feel my dad with me.  However, on 9/21/13, I couldn’t find him anywhere.  I was running injured and he just wasn’t coming to me. I stopped running at Mile 13 and walked the rest of the way due to an injury (plica in my right knee). Even walking was painful. At Mile 17 I started sobbing.  I’m sure anyone walking/running around me thought I was crazy. I looked at my watch and it was 11am.  My dad had died exactly 1 year ago.  It turns out, he WAS with me that day, just not the way I’d planned.  I crossed that finish line and got my “BFM” (as he would say) – I ran 13.1, walked 13.1. Year 2 of a bad 9/21 run day.

Today, 9/21/14, I got up at 6am, laced up my sneaks, and headed for the treadmill. Miles 1-4 were normal, although I felt a bit fatigued.  I didn’t eat any meat yesterday so I’m blaming being nutritionally deficit (segue-way to a future post on why veganism probably isn’t for me), my legs felt tired, and I was SOAKED.  I ran inside, with AC & fans. There was no need to be drenched.  I had planned to run 8-9 miles.  I had hoped for 9 but told myself 8 would be symbolic of “finishing” the 9/21/12 18-miler. But I made it to 7.5 and had to stop.  No, I couldn’t even run another 1/2 mile. Annoying.

Next year on 9/21, I’m taking a rest day and staying in bed.  All signs suggest this is the best choice.

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Flare Culprits…

Oh dear…my apologize for going a whole MONTH without an update.  You can really tell when work grabs me by the ankles, turns me upside down, and shakes me until I can’t see straight.

So here’s a month of updates; some good, some bad.

About 1 week after traveling to DC, my body started to recover from “travel food” and my weight returned to pre-inflammation weight and the bloating was mostly no where to be found.

I discovered a coffee I can have in absolute moderation that doesn’t make me feel awful & bloated all day: Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate. I’m sure there’s really nothing special about this coffee except for how I prepare it (and dilute it, BIG time) but it works and I’m enjoying about 2-3 cups a week.

I’m still avoiding gluten, dairy, most processed food (gluten/dairy free bread & cereal have been my weakness lately), eggs, corn (where possible), nuts, seeds, onions, nightshades…

I’ve had to moderate peanut butter & almond butter.  I can tolerate it in small doses.  I love it too much to stop eating it unless my new doctor and the blood test tells me I HAVE to.

How have I been feeling lately?  Great! Until last week.  I might have forgotten I had UC and ordered Pad Thai from our favorite restaurant. Pad Thai is normally not an issue for me (and it’s gluten free!) but I even ate the peanuts. Ouch.

That same day, thinking I could eat blended veggies with no problem, I also tried a green smoothie (cucumber, celery, kale, spinach, apple, & lemon).  However, I didn’t get the smoothie *smooth* enough.  I’ve also been reading that I should have started smaller and only had a small portion of the smoothie since it can pack a punch…right to the intestines. A few weeks prior I also sampled with blending some strawberries & raspberries in a smoothie (thinking the seeds would be pulverized…not so).

I’ve also been working out A LOT more and can tell my weight’s gone up from exercise-induced inflammation. Work-related stress has also tripled in the last month.

So those are the culprits to my current flare. I have a steroid pack my gastro gave me in the spring to use if things got bad…but I’m still trying to work through this one on my own by eliminating those culprits or figuring out how to work around them.

It’s a constant game of “wait & see”. Trying to stay positive though – only 2 more weeks until my appointment with my naturopath.  Hoping she will get me back on track!