Sunday, June 23, 2013

How Running Has Changed Me (and helped me maintain my stress)

These last 2.5 months have been incredibly hard and I’m glad as heck they are done.

Hubby got transferred to New Orleans in April and I stayed in the ATL with the boys to finish up school. I now have a new found respect for single parents and military spouses. Single parenting sucks! I found solace in running. Knowing that each footstep I took was bringing me closer to June 1, our move date. As therapeutic my running was it was also bittersweet. Knowing that these were my last two months running the streets of my neighborhood. I found myself on those streets. I started walking and pulling my boys (a combined weight of 80+ pounds) in a wagon to prepare for my hysterectomy. Post surgery, I started walking. My walking moved to wogging. I bought my first pair of running shoes and decided to give this running thing a try. I fell in love. I lost twenty pounds. I found my confidence. I found my strength. I grew up. I conquered 5k, I crushed 10k, I ran my first 13.1 and I pulverized 15 miles! 

In my last week before the move, my family back home in Seattle called to tell me that my Gram was in the hospital and she had 24 hours left to live. My Gram was my best friend in college. We were roommates, foot twins and shouldered each other through the grief of my PopPop’s passing. She had been battling lung cancer for over six years. (She never smoked a day in her life.) She had 24 hours to live and I was 3,000 miles away. I have never felt so crushed and so helpless in my life. Thankfully I was able to face time with her for over an hour at 1:00 in the morning ATL time. I was able to see her, smile at her and tell her that I love her. I only wish that I could have given her a hug. She was tired and in pain, but I was not able to see that she was dying. After our chat, she took a turn for the worse and died 14 hours later. I find comfort in knowing that she is no longer in pain and that she is with PopPop. My last words to her were asking her to give PopPop a hug from me and telling her I love her. Her last words to me were telling me what an honor it is to be my Grandma and goodbye.

Goodbye. It’s so final.

She passed on a Tuesday, the movers came to box up our house on Thursday and they loaded the truck on Friday. I don’t know how I made it through that week; probably because of the flask of Jim Beam that I kept in my purse. We left the ATL on Saturday morning and started our drive to NOLA. We only made it as far as Montgomery, AL when the transmission on my car blew. All I could do is laugh. After everything that I had been through: single parent for two months, my Gram dying, moving and then the transmission blows. Long story short: AAA towed the car to a garage, they don’t work on transmissions, hubby took a taxi to the airport, finally found a rental car, drove back to the garage in said rental car, the nice assistant manager offered to lock up my car in the garage over night, we drive the remaining miles to NOLA and eventually fall asleep in hubby’s corporate apartment. The next morning (Sunday), I attempt to have AAA tow my car to a garage that works on transmissions. Epic fail. You can’t have a car towed to a closed garage without being present. We end up spending moocho dinero to have the car towed from Montgomery all the way to NOLA. We meet the tow truck at a transmission shop and drop the key. We spend the next few days lounging around the apartment, trying to catch our breath. Wednesday, the moving truck arrives. They unload and I start unpacking frantically so I can turn around and pack suitcases for the boys and myself.

Thursday morning at 6:50 am, the boys and I hop a plane to Seattle for Gram’s memorial. If given the chance, I would have bailed on this last minute trip due to the large amount of stress I was carrying. We made it safely to Seattle and I collapse. Gram’s memorial was nice but incredibly hard. I was glad to be able to attend and see her friends. I was relieved that I had the opportunity to run on my brother’s treadmill for five miles before the service.

We enjoyed 1.5 weeks visiting with family that we hadn't seen in years.

The day before Father’s Day, my baby brother, mom, the boys and I hiked up to the ice caves. My mom fractured her ankle just as we were starting the descent. She went one way and her ankle went another. I learned how to basket carry someone with a fracture. It isn’t easy work whilst hiking down a mountain!

I spent my last few days in Seattle deep cleaning my parent’s house and babysitting “Gimpy” as I now call her. She finally gained the rest and strength she needed as I was leaving. Phew!

The boys and I are back in NOLA, a happily united family. Glad to be with hubby and looking forward to possibly going for a run tomorrow morning. I really wouldn’t advise any of the above happening to any of you (as if you can control it!) and I especially wouldn’t advise all of the above happening to you at one time. I am thankful for the ability to run. I am thankful for my family. I say I love you to my family each time we say goodbye. You never know if it is your last goodbye.

Next month I start my marathon training. Right now I plan to run as I feel: maintain my base, sanity control and getting used to the humidity down here. I’ll keep y’all posted as I ease into 100%+ humidity running whilst training for the Full Mary. I can’t wait!!!

It’s a great day for running y’all!