Making Time

A lot of people ask me how I find time to run.  It’s simple.  I don’t find time; I make time.  Every run has to be scheduled into my day, around work and around family.  There are some days that this means getting up at 5:30 in the morning and running in temperatures colder than 20 below and others when I head out the door after 9:00pm.  I love running in the summer because, as a teacher, I have more flexibility and can schedule other activities around when I want to run.

Last Saturday, as on many Saturday mornings, I headed out for my long run before my husband and boys got up.  When I got home, things were different; I was greeted with panic by the other early riser.  “Where were you?” the littlest dude asked. “I thought you were kidnapped!”   I promised that if I left again when he was asleep that I would leave a note telling him when I would be home.

Gone runningThis weekend, I made time for my long run on Friday night as Southern Ontario faced a heat warning all weekend.  This meant that I would avoid the worst heat but would also have more time for the boys on the weekend.  On Saturday morning, with Dad and the boys still asleep, I was heading out the door for a short run, when I suddenly remembered: “I promise I’ll leave you a note or my running clock.”  I set the time for 10:15, left the clock at the bottom of the stairs and headed out the door.

When I got home, I was later than expected but things were okay.  The littlest dude saw my note, his brother was up with him and not a word about my absence was mentioned.  I was off the hook.

It is only a matter of years before this scenario will be reversed, when my sons are out at night (not morning) and I will be wondering when they’ll get home.  Right now, I’m loving these years when they are looking out for me.

 

Tender Tootsies

Over the past few years, I have run 3 marathons.  It is no coincidence that, over that same time period, I have lost 3 big toenails.

While distance runners often do lose a toenail or two or three, my most tender tootsie is really a result Chase, my 90 pound lab cross.   Five years ago, just after getting home from a ten mile run, Chase ran to me and stepped on my right foot landing primarily, you guessed it, on my big right toe.  I cringed.  My feet were already sensitive from just finishing my run but my dog aggravated them further with his weight.  For the rest of the summer, I watched the toenail turn black, lift and, eventually, fall out.  It has never been the same.  Now, during every period of building mileage, I prepare to go through the same process, resulting in feet that just don’t sport a pedicure well.

Since the beginning of June, while training for the Chicago Marathon, I’ve watched my weekly mileage increase from 20 to 40 miles a week and that same toenail become more and more purple.  It isn’t the nail itself that is the problem; it is the blood blister underneath the nail.  As the blister grows, the tissue under the nail becomes motoenail July 13re swollen, the nail begins to lift and turn whiter and the toe becomes sore to touch.

Wearing compression socks helps relieve some of the discomfort but, tonight, I wanted a more aggressive solution.  Out came the vinegar.

After sterilizing a needle and while soaking my foot in a bucket of vinegar, I gently poked the needle under the nail so that the blister popped.  A tiny bit of blood oozed out.  I did it again; a bit more blood escaped.  After the third poke, nothing came out.  I think I drained it.  I let my foot soak a little more, dried it and covered it with polysporin.

It didn’t hurt.  Honestly.  And my toe already feels better; I’m not noticing that same pressure on it when I walk.  The real test will come tomorrow morning when I put on socks again.

Many of my friends sport lovely pedicures throughout the summer.  Sometimes I think that I should too.  That way, I don’t have to look at my mess of discoloured toenails.  But I also want to see what is going on with them from one week to the next.  More realistically, though, I want my feet to show off the miles that I’ve logged while on the road to Chicago.

Things Come in Three’s

My Parents, 1965
My Parents, 1965

Life is about balance.  For me, that means juggling my life at home with work and fitness.  Sometimes, that is easy; others, it is a struggle.  This year, finding balance has been one of the biggest challenges ever.

At the end of January, all fitness activities came to a halt when I broke my jaw.  It was a running accident, a freak accident at the end of January.  I was heading out to meet my club at a local recreation centre when, on a poorly lit road,  my toe caught hold of a chunk of ice, sending me flying.  My chin hit the pavement and I broke my jaw – in four places – and had not choice but to take time off work and all fitness activities.

A few weeks later and while I was still off work, doctors discovered a large mass of cancer on my dad’s brain.  He had been living with cancer for years and had undergone a variety of treatments, the most recent being radium injections in the fall.   My brothers and I had hoped that this would destroy the cancer cells but, instead, the disease became more aggressive.   At the beginning of April, I took another leave from work as we buried my father.

The beginning of 2015 had brought me a physical and an emotional challenge.   I was grateful for my job teaching at a school close to home.  I was able to return to work both times, forget about the things that were going on in my life away from school and focus on the kids in my classes and the runners that I coach.   This only lasted for a few weeks, though.

At the end of May, my brother called me to tell me that my mother went in her sleep.  She had Alzheimer’s/Dementia and we expected that we would say good-bye to her sometime before 2016.  That day came earlier than we thought; seven weeks after our dad died, we said good-bye to our mother.

Many people believe that things come in three’s.   Myth, old wives’ tale, fact or fiction, I don’t know how much value I have in that.  But I do know that the stresses that I faced during the first part of the year – my broken jaw, the uncertainty of my parents’ health and their deaths – are gone.   For that reason, I dubbed July 1st as the start of a new year, 2015B.  It is a fresh start, a new beginning, a time for me to set some goals and go after them.

New Beginnings

IMG_0343I’m a believer in moving forward.   The past is a part of our lives; it shapes us; it makes us who we are.   While we must remember what has happened, we need to take out the positive – the good feelings, the lessons learned – to become stronger individuals and to keep moving forward.

In the next few days, I am going to take you into my past.   After all, you have to know a little about me so that you can understand where I am headed.  Then, I hope that you’ll continue to follow my journey and watch me chasing my dreams.