Let me just say, I’m so glad the owner of the design company is on vacation right now for the next two weeks because I’m going to need every moment to continue weighing the pros and cons of a career change.
I was on vacation from work for over two weeks and the longer I was away, the easier it was to think about a change. I worked on my list of questions for the new opportunity and had them at the ready in case I got the call to discuss. I was getting nervous when my phone rang because I was afraid of the idea of moving on. But now that the phone call has been postponed, and now that I’m back at work, the tables have turned a little.
Now that I’m back, it was nice to catch up with coworkers. I work with a lot of really great people.
Since it’s the new year, I’m looking forward to some of my goals for new things I’d like to achieve at work.
I’m also equally terrified of the new things I’d like to achieve at work.
I was anxious to start the year off right by trying to leave the house no later than 8am. Ok, so it was 8:04, not bad. The drive ended up being 50 minutes door-to-door. By the time I got to my desk, it was 9am on the button. I could do without this part.
And then I was greeted by a handful of the mundane “because I’m the admin” requests that really get under my skin. Why can’t I just suck it up? But I can’t help but ask myself is this what you really want to keep doing? The exciting new project opportunities always get tarnished by the mundane.
At lunch I worked on our budget, looking at our bill-paying schedule and that’s when I really think twice about staying put. Moving on would make us short more than I’d like. I’m sure we’d find a way but it would be stressful and a challenge. I’d definitely need a second job, at least for a little bit. But think of that commute you’d be giving up?
Today was the first time in almost a month that I went back to my physical therapy fitness class. It’s every Monday night and something I still desperately need to kick this sciatica to the curb. If I took a job close to home, I could say goodbye to this class. There’s no way I’d make it there in time. Is that worth giving up?
And then, at the end of class, a lady came up to me and asked how the kids enjoyed Christmas. “I’m sorry?”
I’m willing to bet that Christmas stinks for a lot of people. More than I realize. For every “perfect” family scenario seen posted someplace online, there’s many others who don’t have it that way. And sometimes I wonder if those perfect images are only the illusion of happiness, anyway. Who really has it that perfect all the time?
This year just might have been our worst year yet. I felt behind every step of the way. I happily decorated the house right after Thanksgiving, feeling ahead of the game, but the rest just fell apart. By the time we got to the 22nd, I hadn’t baked or sent any cards, not even to immediate family, and I just didn’t care anymore. Nothing felt right.
My husband was on call for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day again this year. We found out his brother-in-law was having surgery right before Christmas and his family wouldn’t be able to make it over to the house for Christmas Eve, a tradition we look forward to each year. We made the most of it by taking his mom and niece out to dinner and to give them their gifts, but it wasn’t the same. We enjoy hosting something cozy in the home, where we can play games and all be there together, laughing and having a good time.
At dinner we talked a little about my husband’s father and how this year marked the 20th year since his passing on Christmas day. I still can’t imagine what that was like and probably never will. My heart aches for all of them. When I mentioned that I’d be going to midnight mass later, my mother-in-law told us how she went to midnight mass the night before her husband passed. It was something I thought about the rest of the night, especially sitting in church alone for the third year in a row since my husband was on call and needed to go to bed early in the event of getting paged. I thought about what that must have felt like, hoping and praying for something so incredibly difficult. And then I sat there alone and thought about being alone, if something happened to either one of us, that would be it. No children to lean on. Thankfully midnight mass is probably the one that’s least attended by little ones, but the thoughts were still there. But, the choir, the mass and sermon, and the reason for being there was beautiful, which warmed my heart.
At 6:30 a.m., my husband was paged for work. Our little “just the two of us” Christmas morning would have to wait. It was me and kitty and brussels sprouts, since I decided to start cooking my share of the dinner sides while I waited for him to come home, which finally happened around noon. I was never happier to see him and to spend some time together, hoping he wouldn’t get paged again.
The other thing missing this year was my dad. Sort of. He’s still with us, but not well. This was the first year we’d be spending our Christmas visit with him in a nursing home, and more likely it would have to be a day or two later since it’s too far of a drive to fit it all in a day. I still can’t believe it sometimes. He’s 65 years old, completely mobile, looks normal to the point that other residents think he’s a guest visiting someone else, yet his brain disease is the reason he’s there. Things haven’t always been great with him and post-divorce we did our best to maintain some sort of tradition with him. I now miss our awkward family breakfast at my sister’s house, back when we had no idea what was wrong with him. All we knew was that we had about 90 minutes to the button because he had to suddenly up and leave to go home, often taking his presents and cookies to go. We had no idea his brain was deteriorating and creating these strange social behaviors. This year, we’d be bringing gifts to him and he’d have nursing home roast beef with three table mates in the dementia unit, who either can’t speak, or can’t walk, or both.
Christmas Day, we made another attempt at being the blended family at my mom’s house, with her new husband and his kids and grandkids. It’s adjustment that we try to accept, but it hasn’t always been easy. The biggest strain being his daughter. Let’s just say she’s been down some difficult roads after making a string of not so great decisions in life. She has one child from a guy while being in the service. Another from her first husband, who we later learned was a drug addict and they split. Then she hooked up with her new guy, who she is now engaged to, but not before having two babies with him, less than a year apart. He also has three older children of his own, from his first marriage. So when they all come over, there are nine of them. It’s been fine, sometimes a little chaotic, but fine. It’s family and the right thing to do to include them. But for whatever reason this year, her fiance was set off by some stupid comment just as they were walking in the door. He started shouting and yelling for the kids to leave because he was mad. He ended up leaving half his family behind for the entire night, and halfway through the next day. She made several attempts to call him, which ended up with more yelling on the phone from one of my mom’s bedrooms. It made for a tense night and it’s moments like these that make me wonder why my husband and I are denied the blessing of children, yet for others it comes so easily and taken for granted.
So while this might have been the first Christmas in terms of me not crying during commercials featuring children, or tearing up or getting jealous of moms, while out shopping, it was in fact, the worst Christmas, ever. I can’t help but feel like if there were ever a family that needed a miracle, a blessing, something joyous, something to take the sting out of Christmas for all the various reasons I’ve described, it should be this one. THIS family.
As I continued to mull over the possibility of a career change, my friend texted to ask if I had heard from the company’s owner yet. Unfortunately, I hadn’t, but told her I had been working on a list of questions and was still considering my decision. I’ll be honest, the prospect started to excite me a little. Yeah, it would be tough and in some ways, a big risk, but it made me think a little differently about things. About how maybe it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing to pick up another job along with it or to get my own side venture going. The thought of working near home or even at home is so tempting. I went from thinking there’s no way I’d consider changing jobs, to actually thinking maybe it’s time?
I later learned the owner was leaving soon for vacation for the next couple weeks and my friend thought maybe we’d connect after. I started to wonder if maybe this opportunity wasn’t really going to happen. Maybe they feel I wouldn’t be the right fit after all. Or maybe, just maybe, this gives me more time to sort things out. Return to work next week and really weigh things out. Crunch more numbers. Really think about this.
Or maybe, and this is a long shot, but maybe it was a sign to wait. I can’t help but think that if I had some sort of miracle pregnancy, it would make my decision much easier. There would be no way I’d take a leap. I’d stay put where it felt safe for a little while. Maybe someone was looking out for me to see what happened this cycle before I made a hasty decision?
I thought about this cycle and of course it wasn’t without weird symptoms…again. I had some weird uterine type pains when I sneezed and I had a solid day of weird pulling sensations and zinging pains near my hip bones. I couldn’t help but wonder if something was finally happening. After the crappy Christmas display we witnessed (a story for another time), maybe we’d finally be blessed with some miracle. So maybe, just maybe, this two week wait for the owner to return from vacation and contact me would uncover my decision. Maybe it was being made for me and I didn’t even realize. It was a nice, warm and fuzzy thought.
At about nine minutes to midnight on NYE, I went to the bathroom to be back in time for the celebration, and there it was, slight spotting. I made it to CD22 without a single spot and there it was. Mocking me right before midnight. One last kick in the face for 2014. One more reason to feel like an idiot for ever thinking it would happen. An idiot for creating this fairy tale ending, complete with signs and unbelievable coincidences. I can’t believe I did that to myself again without even trying.
Looks like 2015 will soon be starting with cycle #65. What a way to kick things off…
There has been something weighing heavily on my mind since December 12. Well, when I wasn’t consumed by the holidays, it was on my mind. And now that the holiday craze has come to an end, it’s all I can think about. I’m absolutely consumed and conflicted.
On December 12, at the end of my work day, just as I was freshening up to leave for our work holiday party, where we would recap our phenomenal year as a staff and organization, as well as celebrate a retiring member of our team, my phone rang. It was one of my design friends who I met while in school for interior design and who I still try to keep in touch with on a somewhat regular basis. I never expected the news she was about to share with me.
The design company that she interned at while we were in school and has been employed with for the past year – the same company that I did half my internship with…is hiring another full-time designer. My friend, the other staff who I spent my time interning with, and the owner all thought of me for the job. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe the timing. I was about to spend a wonderful evening with my colleagues and suddenly I felt like I was cheating on them for “flirting” with the idea of a new job.
I told my friend where I was heading and that we’d talk in more detail later and as I left the building, my head swirled. Things are finally good at work. Salary is good – more than I’ll ever make as an admin anyplace else. My boss is amazing and someone who believes in me and encourages me to step outside the boundaries of being just an assistant. I have great coworkers. And I love the organization and all it does for the community. I decided there was no way I’d even entertain the thought of leaving any further. I’d still hear my friend out but I was pretty firm about my concerns.
A few days later she invited me over for wine and pizza so we could chat. She told me all about her job and how much she loves it, how much they are growing and how consistently busy they are that they need to hire not only another designer, but office and warehouse personnel as well. My first thought was that I and the other new folks would be the first to go if things didn’t stay so busy. I was playing devil’s advocate.
We talked salary – my number one issue and reason for not pursuing design at the moment. I felt it would be awkward to ask my friend what she makes, but I’d be willing to bet my salary could be cut by as much as half of what I make now. But there’s things to factor in like: my outrageous commute each day 35+ miles there and back, plus gas, plus $85 a month to park my car – and that’s one of the cheaper lots!
We talked hours – another biggie. I used to work in retail and hospitality jobs and I actually enjoyed them. What I didn’t always enjoy was losing my evenings, weekends, and holidays. I hated that I’d have to ask an employer for permission for a Saturday off, just so I could have dinner with family for a special occasion. I’ve gotten pretty spoiled by the Monday-Friday 9to5 thing. This job would have an even later start time, yet most days I’d still be getting home at the same time, if not earlier than the commute I deal with now. I failed to mention that this new job is 10 minutes from my house – less than six miles away.
The tough part with the schedule would be the two nights they are there late – til 830. I guess that’s not a huge deal because the tradeoff is they are closed on Wednesday, so I’d be gaining a day off for appointments, errands, anything. But more likely it would end up being a day that I’d pick up a few hours at a second job because I fear I’d have to. The most difficult part of all is working Saturdays. It would be giving up a lot. Ok, so if I wrapped up the day at 5pm, I could still do dinners with the family. But I’d miss the soccer games for my niece and nephew. I’d miss going out to breakfast with hubby once in a while. And most of all, I’d miss out on the marathon training group – a group of amazing individuals who helped me do something I thought was impossible. They were my rock, my family. Even though getting up at 5am on Saturday mornings to run was downright painful – I couldn’t trade it for the world.
But what happens if I can’t fix this nagging injury/pain/problem I’ve been dealing with for the past year and a half? Am I willing to pass on a new and exciting job opportunity because I might be able to run another marathon? Could I do both? There’s so much to think about that I haven’t even scratched the surface.
What about benefits? Thankfully I’m on my husband’s insurance but what about 401K? What about vacation and sick days? I’ve been at my current job for 8.5 years and finally accruing close to four weeks vacation. Would I have to start over? Zero days until after working a year? Some places are like that, especially the smaller ones. But let’s be real here. We’ve taken a few trips over the past few years, especially when we needed an escape from infertility and ttc failure, but in the last six months or so, I sat down and took a real hard look at finances and mapped out a plan for us. We discovered that if we really put our nose the grindstone, we’d be in really good shape in about 2.5 years. It’s the first time I felt like there was a light at the end of the tunnel with paying things down, while saving a decent amount each month. With the notion of the future being “just us two,” we talk about things we’d like to do. Adventures, classes, travel, experiencing life without all the “what-ifs” that have plagued us these last 4+ years.
If I took a job with a lesser salary, all of that would be put on hold. It wouldn’t be forever, but it would definitely take us longer to get there. Is that a risk I’m willing to take?
And then there’s fear. Plain old can’t, doubt, stop me in my tracks, FEAR. I have very little experience as a designer. Sure I’ve done plenty for my own house and have given advice to friends and family, but if something didn’t turn out right, I don’t have to fire myself. Would I even be able to do this? I’ve been out of the loop for a while. I graduated from the design program 2.5 years ago. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. My friend tells me that I shouldn’t worry, that they all learn from one another and I’d never have to feel stuck or afraid to ask for help. How many jobs can you say that about? And I believe her. When I interned there, it was a wonderful experience – a family business with a family feel. A group of the warmest, nicest, non-judgmental folks I’ve ever met. My friend included. It would be such fun to work with her every day and grow our friendship even more.
I also think about my side venture that I never seem to get off the ground. I’ve been wanting to open an online shop of handmade items for the home. I always thought it felt like a safe way for me to ease myself into design. I thought it would marry my art background and interior design dreams. But that’s been on hold for the past two years as well. Partly because I lost interest in a lot of things due to ttc, but I think also because I’ve become so complacent in life. Things were just…ok. There was no need to do anything more, even if that meant something I might actually enjoy. Most days, I was just drained. Go to work where I’d have an OK day, drive home for an hour, be drained and do nothing with myself. Unless I was running. Otherwise, I’d come home and daydream about how things could be.
Is that what I want to continue doing? Maybe I could finally push myself to open my shop? First, out of necessity if this new job opportunity was cinching the belt too tightly. But second, it could lead to other things. What better way to introduce home goods than through an already established designer’s showroom? She’s already doing that for some other artisans. So much to think about, numbers to crunch, compromises and decisions to make.
I think the biggest question is, do I want to keep doing what I’m doing? Is this what I want out of life? Spinning my wheels, always wondering? Do I give new opportunities at my current job a try because it’s safer? Or do I give an entirely new opportunity a try because it could be what I’m destined to do?
Twelve hours after my last post, I went to bed, woke up, morning routine, bathroom, wipe, red. Done. Just like that. After nine days of spotting and wondering and falsely hoping, it was on to cycle #64. It’s stuff like this that annoys the hell out of me. When something completely different and unexpected happens during a cycle, after I’ve made a conscious effort to stop analyzing things. This is what I hate the most. It’s like TTC and infertility never lets you leave. It keeps reeling you back in for more slaps to the face or suckerpunches to the gut. I guess this is how it will be until menopause finally waves the white flag.
So now it’s back to reality. The holiday busyness. The end of the year wrap-up at work before taking some much needed time off. And another holiday season of “just us two.” I hadn’t given that part much thought this year until this stupid cycle thing happened. It stinks. The thought of sitting at home in a quiet house, wondering how family or friends with children are spending their evening. Maybe sitting at the dining room table enjoying a meal. Maybe opening just one present before Christmas morning. Maybe playing games. I just can’t do this “empty nest” thing. Can you even call it that when the nest was never full to begin with?
Things have been so busy with work, the holidays, and life in general that I really thought I was getting better at moving along. In fact, as I head into this holiday season, I’ve yet to cry once. I don’t even pay attention to the cute baby themed holiday commercials or tune into the sad Christmas music. It was finally going good.
When I had a spare moment, I was looking up last minute travel deals in case we try to getaway after Christmas. I was daydreaming about us opening a B&B someday. I was thinking about all the fun holiday parties and things we had coming up. I was getting my head into the game at work. I was trying to get out and run, even when it was cold out. It was good.
That was until I started spotting. On day 20. Like, the earliest I’ve ever spotted outside of maybe an ovulation type spot. I didn’t even know it was day 20 until I counted. Normally, if I’m to get a short cycle, I’ll start spotting around day 23. In a longer or more normal cycle, it might be on day 25. So I thought great, this will be an even shorter cycle than ever, meaning anovulatory or menopause or who knows. And then I went about my day.
Day 21 another spot. Not much but it was a spot.
I continued to spot the next few days. Again, not much for even a liner, but enough to be annoying. But I went about my business.
Day 24 I had a ladies outing. I actually considered taking a test but quickly asked myself WHY?!? What’s the point? I already know it wouldn’t be a positive and then I’d have to sit there with 29 other ladies sitting around me calling each other “hey, momma!” So I went about my night and enjoyed my wine without the disappointment of a negative test.
Day 25 I had a 10K to run. Of course, more spots. Maybe a touch more than before, enough that I didn’t want to deal with running and worrying about it, so I used a tampon. Ended up being not much at all and I ended up with a PR!
I thought for sure the running would bring on AF, but no.
Day 26, Day 27, spot, spot. Nothing.
Day 28 is today and more spotting. Again, nothing a liner couldn’t handle. I know my cycles fluctuate, but lately if I even make it to day 28 it’s a miracle. All day I kept praying don’t start. Please don’t start. No period. Please.
It was so weird to even think like that again because it’s been pretty pointless for 4+ years now. By the time I got to my car to leave work, I sat there and seriously contemplated buying a test on the way home. But again,why? I was not about to go to the store for one thing. A test. I was not about to have to make small talk with the cashier about my purchase. I was not going to waste good money on another test.
So then I debated the dollar store but I had no cash on me. I was not about to scrape up four quarters and like seven cents for the tax for ONE item. I was also not going to charge ONE one dollar item. All to end in the same damn way it always does.
Just when I think I’m fine. Just when I’m so busy being consumed by the life I have. Just when I begin to think about a new life plan instead of the one I wanted so badly. Just when I think the holiday season won’t be so bad this year.
It’s been one month since turning the big 4-0. I seriously don’t know where the time went. I guess that will happen when it’s the busiest year of your working career + you spent the entire summer on backyard construction projects + and threw in marathon training for good measure. I’m beat!
And I decided I want out…on the baby sites, that is. I’ll be completely honest here. I was getting tired of being part of FB groups inundating me with posts. Yes, I was that hopeful person at one time, scouring for tips and hope. But I can’t be the support system anymore. I have nothing to say to anyone still waiting. I have no advice. I’d like to say “It will happen.” But sometimes…it doesn’t. This may sound harsh, but at some point I need to live my life and move on. I just didn’t think staying was the answer. I was also tired of being a part of the fertility clinic’s page, watching people thank the very doctors that I often felt let down by. Watching the latest and greatest developments being posted, AFTER we drained our bank accounts and threw in the towel.
So I opted out of three FB groups just now. And it feels pretty damn good. Let me just say that it was not easy to do. Not because I was reluctant, but because FB was finicky. I tried clicking the dropdown to “leave group” and there was no option to do that. Just a flash of that option but as soon as I’d move my mouse there, it would disappear. It took me 10 minutes to click out of three groups. It was like I was stuck there in infertility pergatory, with FB giving me an evil muhahahahaa laugh. The more I clicked, the more I wanted out. Out. Out! OUT!!!! I finally managed to get out of two groups and the third I had to do from my phone and that took a while to register as well.
I wanted to write yesterday while this was fresh in my mind, but I just had nothing more to give.
I ran my first marathon. I’d love to say that I nailed the time I was hoping for. I’d love to say I was pain-free. But neither would be the truth. But I will do my best to describe the entire experience as best as I can recall.
I went to bed before 10pm, knowing it was at least an hour too late, but also knowing I’d lie in bed staring at the ceiling most of the night. My husband said by the time he came to bed, I didn’t stir. It was definitely after 11pm and I remember hearing him but I tried to keep my eyes closed. 4am would come quick.
When the alarm went off, for once, I got up without thinking about being painfully tired, like I did every single Saturday during training. I had everything out and ready the night before and the hour I needed before heading out the door, flew in the blink of an eye. I got to my sister’s house a few minutes late, thinking she’d kill me, but she seemed completely calm. This was her third marathon. I was a nervous wreck.
We drove downtown but probably should have left sooner because we got caught in traffic due to blocked roads. It started feeling stressful. Turn by turn, we’d try a new route to find parking, and it would be blocked. With the race starting at 7am and it was 6:20, we started to feel panicked. Eventually we found our way to an open lot, but there wasn’t enough time to find the training group to see familiar faces that we trained with for the last five months. It was the kind of calming thing I needed, being a newbie, but it wasn’t meant to be.
My sister and I parted ways to our respective corrals. Even though I was surrounded by thousands of people, I suddenly felt alone. Thankfully, I eventually connected with my training buddy who lined up with me. This was the first time I decided to wear a “throw-away” shirt so I could be warm at the start. It was one of my long-sleeve race t-shirts. My friend watched me take it off and set it on a railing. I told her it happened to be the shirt from my 5k PR, so I guess it was sort of a rite of passage letting it go.
In the minutes before the start of the race, I thought about all sorts of things. Did I have enough songs? Should I have carefully constructed a playlist, or is the shuffle method I decided on, the way to go? Did I eat enough? Did I eat the right things on the right days? Did I drink enough fluids? Did I pack enough fuel? Can I do this? I can’t believe I’m here for a marathon. A FULL freaking marathon! I remember hearing my friend tell me how she likes to approach the race (this was her 4th), but I don’t really remember the words. I felt like I was in the ozone.
And then we were off. The first two miles feel like you’re doing nothing but dodging people to get what feels like a somewhat normal stride. It takes a while. My pace was slowish. Sometimes I’d find a clearing and lose my friend, sometimes she’d find an opening and I was bottle-necked. But we both knew that we wouldn’t always be side by side and that was fine. I thought it was nice that she was sort of looking out for me when she could.
The next two miles were quicker. Maybe too quick. I started thinking maybe it was too fast, so by mile 5, I slowed. But in the sixth mile, I must have sped up again, wanting a good 10k time. Miles 9 and 10 were fast and by miles 11 and 12, I felt some tweakiness with my knee. That familiar ache from my IT band was starting to flare. I thought maybe I’d stop and readjust my knee band. I was getting closer and closer to the halfway point so I waited. I wanted a good half time and ended up with my average time from my half-marathon experiences. Probably not a good idea for a first time full.
And then it happened.
My knee went out. Like completely gave out. I hobbled over to the side and eventually lost my running buddy. I don’t think she even realized and I’d never ask her to hang back anyway. I did some IT stretches. I cursed. I wanted to cry. Then I set out again, could run for a minute or two, and then spaghetti knee. I’d hobble to the side and repeat. I couldn’t believe this. I couldn’t believe all this training. All these people who were so proud, waiting for me, had no idea I was about to fail. I begged and pleaded with God to let me have this. Let me finish.
For the next two miles, I hobbled along, with a few nice runners stopping to ask if I was alright and if I wanted them to jog along with me. I wanted to cry because I thought that was so nice of them. Complete strangers wanting to help. This is why I love runners. Just before mile marker 15, there was an aid station so I stopped to see them. The physical therapist was an absolute godsend. She kept digging her thumbs in, using ice and working the tight areas where the IT band was messing with my knee. It hurt like a bitch but I said do what it takes to fix it and asked if she could find the magic spot to reapply my knee strap. At this point I sent a text to my husband, telling him what was going on and how defeated I felt. And I threw a status update on FB, expressing my defeat. The physical therapy team all asked if I wanted to continue the race, while asking me to fill out a form. I turned and saw two young runners, both with ice strapped to their knees and was told they dropped out. I couldn’t. I just couldn’t quit. They marked my bib with what I call a “boo-boo report” noting MM15 and sent me on my way.
I prayed. I started praying Our Fathers and Hail Marys. Mumbling to myself. Sometimes I’d finish a prayer and other times I’d be distracted and have to start over. I found moments where I was calm again. When I’d feel a tweak, I’d pray. Miles 15, 16 and 17 were slow. I’d lost a lot of time at the aid station and was nervous about pushing it, plus it was a hilly stretch. Miles 18, 19, and 20 got better. It was a nice part of the course, very residential, with tons of people out on their lawns cheering the runners. It was here that I started to get a boost. A little girl holding a sign, read my name off my bib, telling me to “go!” I started to cry. At that same moment, a perfectly timed song from my shuffle playlist came up. The emotions finally hit me. I was going to do this.
The spectators were amazing. Especially through that residential area. They camped out with fresh sliced fruit and bowls of grapes for the runners. Pushing us on with signs that had the most inspirational quotes I’ve ever seen. I could barely hold back the tears. At some point during mile 20, another one of the best songs from my random playlist came on, right when I needed it. It literally took my breath away.
Earlier in the week, my husband’s grandfather passed away. I had asked my husband to pick a mile to dedicate to him. He selected 21 after the 21-gun salute they had at the funeral. I was there, about to start mile 21, the furthest I’d ever gone, so I sent him a quick text, which was the first he’d heard back from me after learning I was hurt. He started informing everyone I was still in the race. From that point on, it was like he was right there with me, “talking” me through via texts. After I finished mile 21, I told him 22 would be for my grandpa. Then he suggested mile 23 for his dad and 24 for mine. It really helped to dedicate miles to family members – some still with us, some not.
I kept praying, especially when I felt the pain creeping in again. Or when I started feeling fatigue from the temps that kept creeping up and up the longer I was out on the course. Mile 25 I found myself thinking it’s only two more miles, but I was so drained. I walked. Walked a little bit more. As I was getting closer to finishing, I can recall people talking to me from the side of the road. Encouraging me. Using my name. Strangers cheering for me. Again, I sort of heard them, and all I could do was nod my head. Then I’d run some more and nod. Mile 26 put me right near the stadium finish. I could hear the music and the crowds. I knew my family was there still waiting, well over an hour after my sister’s finish. She had sent me a text saying the weather SUCKED for running but “you got this!”
I prayed some more. Out loud. Didn’t care who heard me. Our Father, who art in heaven. Hail Mary, full of grace. Over and over until I rounded the last corner before the opening to the stadium. Then I started saying out loud to myself, “oh my God. Oh my God. I’m here.” It took my breath away to see the final stretch, lined with flags blowing in the breeze. I finally felt like air. I ran the final stretch and crossed the finish line. It was unbelievable. I just finished a MARATHON.
I honestly don’t know how I did it, as hurt and defeated as I was. I really don’t.
I’m not fast. I wanted to finish in 5 hours, but I finished in 5:35 and some change. While I wish it was better, I still did it. I really did it.
Later that day, I decided to post how I really felt. Not just about the day, but something that would sum up the journey I’ve been through, especially with ttc – when running was the only thing that got me through. If I wouldn’t be successful in pregnancy, I wanted to complete a marathon of a different kind. Running gives you a lot of time to think, so when I posted a pic of my medal, I left it with this:
I’ve learned that there are some pretty amazing things in life I can control. For the things I can’t, I chose to not let them break me. That’s all I wanted to prove today.
Thank God that last month’s cycle was a shorter one, which as I had hoped, shifted this one up by almost a week. This means that when I run my very first-ever marathon on Saturday, I won’t have to worry about a horrible, raging, crampy period getting in the way. The thought of trying to wedge several tampons alongside pretzel sticks and fuel chews into an already packed pouch on my belt was troubling.
Yes, it’s another period and while I say that I don’t count anymore, that’s true. Sort of. I really don’t sit and count days anymore. Hubs has a better sense of what day it is than I do! I log day one into my FF app and don’t really check it until I start spotting before the next cycle. I mainly do this to have a record of if/when my cycle lengths start changing. Other than that, it’s just about noting the cycle number. I don’t know that I will ever be able to stop that. Every month the number ticks up by one and while it’s sad, I try not to think much about it any more. Trying to move on to new things.
It’s been quite busy lately, so at some point I’ll hopefully have the time to sit and write more posts and decide where to go from here, but until then, I have more counting and numbers to think about. Five days until I log 26 more numbers. Oh, and a .2 – can’t forget the .2