It was good
I woke up that morning before the alarm went off and got ready faster than usual. I’d laid my clothes out the night before and as I forced my foot into one holiday-themed, knee-length, compression sock, I found myself grateful I had. I even made sure that I’d put them on the right feet (did you know compression socks had assigned feet?) Pulling on my insulated running tights I could already feel myself heating up and was happy I wasn’t scrambling in the early dark morning for the rest of my gear. Sports bra, base layer, tech shirt and running jacket. I pulled my hair back and put on some chapstick. Before heading downstairs I grabbed my gloves, running belt, and sport beans, gator, and ear band. I was ready for the early morning temps in Michigan. I grabbed an extra shirt, jacket, and barn boots for after the run, an insulated mug full of coffee, and a slice of toast with peanut butter. On the way out the door I also grabbed my briefcase, Eva’s bag of riding gear, and my gym boss set for 90/30 intervals. The Princess Half was only weeks away and I was planning for a 7-8 mile training run with a different training team, on a different trail. I wasn’t sure what to expect but the day was ahead of me. It was good.
At that hour, it was a quick drive across town. I easily found a friend and the 13-minute pace team. Checking in with the coach I introduced myself and told her of my distance, plan to do intervals, and intentions of floating between the 12/13 minute groups. I found I was familiar with the route and knew I could find my way back since I was going longer than most of those in my pace group. I put in my ear buds, started up the gym boss and away we went.
By 8:15 a.m. that Saturday morning things were looking good, I was looking and feeling accomplished.But I’d already made some seriously bad calls that morning, I didn’t recognize it at that time – but they would catch up with me.
- I’d decided to run despite the fact that I’d just passed a large kidney stone and knew I had more in my kidney area;
- I was trying to accelerate my (behind) training by going further than I should and jumping from 6 miles to 8.
- I’d forgotten the importance of hydration and fuel – especially on a longer run and in the cold. I neglected to bring my own source of hydration and only had one slice of peanut butter toast for fuel before heading out. (At some point I lost my sports beans.)
- I’d also disregaerded some of the side effects of the medicine I was on to help the stones pass.
- I was incredibly over booked that morning.
- 8:15 – 9:45 8 Mile Run
- 10:00 – 12:00 Church Leaders Meeting
- 1:00 – 2:00 Riding Lesson
It was an out and back route which generally makes it easier for me to pace my run. I know to slowly work my pace up then start to pick things up at the half way point.
Knowing what’s right and doing what’s right are two different things – Amen?
I went out fast, mentally calculating my pace every few minutes to determine how quickly I could get back to our starting point to and on to my next thing. I skipped the first two water stations, realizing belatedly that this was a new group and route and that I wasn’t sure when I’d find the next aid station. By the time I’d made it to the 4 mile marker I was hurting and just hit the halfway point to turn around to make the return trip. Now we were running directly into that cold winter wind.
I finished the run with just enough time to head to my car and the leadership meeting. As I pulled into the parking lot I removed my sweaty running coat and tech shirt and threw on a dry fleece over my wet base layer. I also removed my sweaty running shoes, but instead of taking off my long wet compression socks (and putting on the clean pair I’d brought) I pulled on my rubber barn boats and sprayed myself down with spray deodorant (Febreeze).
I joined the meeting (still chilled), poured myself a cup of coffee, and set my cold and slightly less smelly self next to my husband to try and warm things from the inside out. Two hours later we divided up the kids, made plans to meet at home later, and I loaded up our eldest and headed to the barn and a cold arena for her riding lessons.
We pulled into the barn and the sun was shining. I cracked up the heat and sat like a cat in my heated leather seat while Eva went in to groom the pony. I was still cold but also riding the runner’s high and sense of accomplishment from that 8 mile run. When it was time for Eva’s lesson I let myself out of the car and wrapped myself in an electric blanket her thoughtful trainer already had waiting for me. I sat there layered in a dry fleece jacket, my 3/4-length down winter coat (with hood), and the barn electric blank around me as I watched the lesson – a cup of hot tea cradled in my hands.
Good to worse
It didn’t take long for things to go south from there.
Despite the layers, hot tea, and electric blanket, I begin to shake. I knew I should go up into the heated observation room – but I also liked to be there so that Eva could see me watch her. I liked listening to her trainer and frankly think I enjoyed being around the ponies as much as they did.
I knew better. But I was also stubborn.
I don’t like to give-in to anything I see as weakness in myself.
Stubborn and prideful.
The shaking was now uncontrollable and I felt myself at the same time grow strangely tired. I shook harder and harder and just wanted to close my eyes. I couldn’t get warm enough, and suddenly felt both nauseous and lightheaded. Eva’s lesson was over and I knew I was not in a position to drive us both home.
I excused myself, asked the trainer to keep an eye on Eva and headed up the stairs to the heated observation deck. I called Rob, still shaking with my teeth literally chattering. He was on his way but it was going to be a minute – almost 30 of them since he would have to head that way from home. By this point I was scared. I wondered if one of my kidney stones had become lodged and if I was septic (that had happened once before.) Should I call an ambulance – or was I just cold and dehydrated? I called my father-in-law, a fireman and medic. I told him how I was feeling – he suggested an ambulance given how far away the Weatherman was. (Again, I was stubborn – and I knew an ambulance would freak my daughter out.) I spoke with my friend – a doctor. She encouraged me to go in and get checked out. Meanwhile, another mom sat with me and helped me to focus on my breathing and encouraged me to drink water as we waited.
I hate feeling or appearing weak. Especially in front of others. (There’s that pride again.)
I spent the next several hours from early afternoon till just past bedtime hanging out in the Emergency Room, waiting not so patiently as they ran one test after another while simultaneously pumping fluids into me from two hanging IV bags. Have you ever tried to take off a sweaty high impact sports bra while hooked to an IV for purposes of getting a chest X-ray? The sweet technician knew I wasn’t kidding when I said cutting it off wasn’t an option.
I had scans and X-rays and blood draw after blood draw. I was tested for everything from influenza and RSV to high CPK levels. A few numbers came back elevated – but not inconsistent with having run 8 miles that morning. There were some smaller kidney stones but nothing was blocked, I did appear to be dehydrated and certainly not removing my sweaty running clothes after my run didn’t help things. There were other results that led to suggestions about why I might produce so many kidney stones but all in all I appeared to be fine.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good . . .By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing and so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
(Genesis 1|31 – 2|2-3)
My friend, in that truth-telling kind of way she has with me, said: “I think your body is exhausted. Running is good and serving is good but you’ve been pushing yourself for months, and even if your mind can and wants to do it all your body cannot.” (I’m paraphrasing.)
This is the kind of friend that shows up in the flu-infested ER late in the evening with lunch/dinner because you haven’t eaten much beyond your 1 slice of peanut butter toast. This is the friend who sits on your bed, parked in the hallway overflow, and has honest conversations about how you’re not doing a good job with resting. As a physician and working mother of two (now-grown) girls she might know a few things.God created us with a body that has limits; a body that needs rest. Click To Tweet
I wish I knew why I struggle so greatly with the concept of rest when God provides such a clear example and instruction of its significance and necessity in my life. If I know that I am not greater than my creator, why do I struggle so much with acknowledging and honoring the need for rest in my life? If I do not see it as weakness in my God, why do I do so in myself?
I know I’ve blogged about rest and boundaries on more than one occasion. And, you have no idea how I wish this lesson wasn’t on repeat. It’s embarrassing.
I wonder if the issue is that while I know the lesson to be true, pridefully I’d like to think that it doesn’t apply to me. Somehow and for some reason, I’m immune in my own mind.I keep buying into the lie that Wonder Woman really does exist, that the persona is a possibility. #LiesWomenBelieve Click To Tweet
God wired me to love learning and challenges – I approach everything with the intention of giving 100%. There is no halfway, or down-shifting in my natural approach to life. And, there are a gazillion things I’d like to try and do. There is much good that can come when we’re wired like this; but, as I am learning there are also a lot of “not so good” things too.
In this season, I am focused on praying and listening to God and my body. I want to learn to decipher the warning signs and symptoms for when my body and mind are on overload or beginning to fail. As a runner I understand all the implications and factors for pacing my race; and yet somehow, pacing my life is an area of great struggle for me.
In addition to more prayer and listening, I am going to spend a lot of time reading. I love to read – but reading requires more stillness on my part and so it’s no surprise I’ve gotten away from it the last couple of years. Reading demands I sit long enough to allow myself to actually get into the book and this means setting aside mentally all the things calling for my attention. This week I dived into a book that has been sitting on my shelf for over a year, but certainly called out to me after my weekend. It is, Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace & Purpose In a World of Crazy by Alli Worthington, Executive Director of Propel Women, wife and mother of five sons. I told a friend the other day that this book was just slaying me – it is packed with truth that resonates from deep within me.
I can’t help but wonder if this lesson is on repeat because it’s one so common with women and demands a more complex response than simply encouraging each other to say “no”. I love this quote by Christine Caine from the Forward of Breaking Busy.