A Sense of Doom

Hello from Boston. It’s been a strange sort of day. I had my semi-regular pre-race “why’d I sign up for this thing?” anxiety attack. Not a full blown attack, just the kind where I feel this impending doom of nothing less than my fear of mortality. No biggie. I know the reaction is all out of proportion — it’s something I’m working on related to my PTSD. It sucks when I’m driving alone and stupid me has been listening to the audiobook of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot, which doesn’t help matters. I swear I’m not a drama queen.


HHHalf Expo. That’s it, folks.

I made it to Boston College, collected my Hat Trick bib and race shirts, and then checked into my dorm room. The expo was a bit of a bummer. I’m not sure why I expected it to be bigger. Not that I need more running stuff. Not for the first time, I realized I am a knucklehead. I signed up for a shakeout run with Bart Yasso that I thought was tonight at 6pm around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. Well, turns out I signed up for a pre-Boston Marathon shakeout run that was the Friday before that race. So, yah. I stood up Bart Yasso.


My bumper has a boo boo :(

After this discovery, I realized I’d have time to go to the Heartbreak Hill Running Store before dinner. When I went back to my car, this guy runs up to me to let me know some woman smashed into my bumper and then took off. He got her license plate and was going to leave me a note. This Good Samaritan tried to chase after her when he realized she was making a run for it. He also gave me his phone number if I needed to contact him for a police report. I believe he was with the Runner’s World team, and I’m so grateful he stuck his neck out to help me.

While I was on the phone with my husband trying to sort out what the hell to do, the woman actually came back. I’m not sure what prompted it, but I suspect that there was a witness may have had something to do with it. I got her info and I hope it can be sorted out with her paying for the damage.

I made it to the running store and bought myself a super cute tank top. Then I went off to have dinner in Newton Centre at a place called 51 Lincoln. They had popcorn with sriracha sauce, some to-die-for polenta fries and a delicious peach shortcake with blueberry ice cream. I also had some rigatoni Bolognese but it was just ok. My husband makes the best one ever, so I’m spoiled. I’m officially stuffed.


Now I’m back in my dorm room, which happens to be larger and nicer than my son’s at Northeastern. It’s also lacking the pungent smell of the male dormitories. I’ll probably watch some movie on my iPad and turn in early. The 5k starts at 7:15, and I’ll want to be up plenty early for my race morning rituals. I’m not looking for any PRs this weekend, just a chance to enjoy running. So hopefully the sense of doom will not plague me tonight. I dream of a day when I can get to a starting line and feel relaxed. Logically, I know everything is going to be fine. It’d just be a lot more fun to not have to swim through the ick of anxiety to get there. 20140606-204635-74795037.jpg 20140606-204634-74794059.jpg

A Few Blog Changes

“Performing at the highest level is not about talent, ability, size, speed, facilities, equipment, weather conditions, or even effort. It’s about being free. Free from expectations of self and others, free from criticism, free from fear, and free from “should” and “have to.”

Excerpt From: Beecham, Stan. “Elite Minds.” iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.

Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewBook?id=688575029

For those not reading my posts in a reader, hopefully you’ve noticed that my blog is undergoing some cosmetic changes. I felt like it was time to move past the Pandora’s Box theme and more into running. I’m still going to talk about my ACoN experience because it is an intrinsic part of me and how I grow and change, but thankfully my life has grown larger than my struggles with my narcissistic mother.

I’m nearly done with the book Elite Minds and I thought the quote above summed up where I want to be pretty nicely. I’ve always consciously viewed running as an internal quest for being my best, as competing with myself to achieve that best. However, unconsciously I play the comparison game and it does a lot of harm. The upside is being aware when I get that ugly feeling and being able to acknowledge it rather than stuff it down as “bad”.

I want to post a bit more frequently, although I am debating precisely what to post. I don’t want to come off as presenting myself as any kind of expert on, well, anything. I’d like this blog to be a bit of encouragement for those embarking on their own journey of self-discovery, whether dealing with PTSD from a tough childhood, attempting to get in shape after neglecting your body for decades, living sober or trying to grow older gracefully (anyone who is an expert on the latter, please contact me immediately because I feel like I’m staring into a great big black hole on this one). I hesitate to say I want to inspire people because I give a solid side-eye to people who declare themselves inspirational. How about if I say I don’t want to discourage anyone? That I would like it if I made one person feel less alone?

Or if I make you feel better about yourself because I kind of suck? Yah, I’m ok with that.

The Body Doesn’t Lie

20140327-105342.jpgI loathe drama. I grew up in a minefield of sorts, and it taught me to stir up as little trouble as possible. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with PTSD, which seems to be in remission in part because I eliminated interactions with the person who causes me the most agitation, my mother. But from time to time, I feel the fight/flight/freeze reactions when in situations that echo my childhood experiences. While no one has threatened me bodily harm lately, sometimes my body doesn’t realize that danger isn’t imminent.

For instance, with the running group coach who uses irrational yelling to try to spur his trainees on (even when we are performing as asked), I find myself getting very angry and muttering inappropriate insults under my breath. The only thing that has kept me from acting out with him has been that I recognize that the guy is insecure, especially after I caught him lying about his race performances. Being able to feel sorry for him kept my behavior at bay, but it’s also tinged my attitude about running with the group. I start every session with him feeling cagey.

I met with my new personal trainer yesterday. It was primarily an assessment session with lots of questions and a little checking out my form with some basic exercises. What the trainer noticed right away was my general tightness/restrictive motion in my back from my neck down to my lats. Earlier he had asked about my stress levels, which I said were low. After checking my form, he questioned me about stress again, saying that I was really limited in motion in those areas. He said, in his experience, that sort of restrictiveness is stress related.

20140327-105354.jpgHe’s not the first to ask me what the hell is going on with my back, shoulders and neck. I get massage therapists clucking over it all the time. It’s especially bad on my right side (I have pinched nerves as a result of all the tension, and my chiropractor is helping me work on it), and I tend to not mention it because I forget what I’m used to living with my whole life.

Yah, so I’m not he best assessor of my own state of mind. I numbed with alcohol to chill out my emotions. I avoid confrontation. My body pays the price whether I pay attention to it or not.

I honestly don’t feel super stressed at this time and don’t think there is too much unconsciously going on. But I also have my 19-year-old son home on a leave of absence from college due to his disastrous first semester at college. He’s finally got a part time job, his first, and is taking community college classes. He’s not being a jerk most of the time. I’m pretty sure drugs are not in his system because he has no access to his car. I do think he might have been smoking at work, but despite that I don’t approve, it’s not illegal for him. It’s annoying to have to drive him places, but it’s not been completely miserable. Assuming his community college grades are ok, we’ll be sending him back to his university for second summer session. He had thought he’d be changing his major from engineering to business and wanted to transfer schools, but he’s since changed his mind to stick with where he is. I think these are positive changes. I’m worried about sending him back because the kids he was partying with and feeding idiot-brained schemes with will still be there. We can hope he makes better choices, but beyond that and cutting off the gravy train if he fails again, we have little control.

20140327-155016.jpgWhat I am saying by all that is that although I am not hand-wringing and crying in my soup, I do have a pretty big stressor that I try not to think about because I can’t control his behavior. I could make things worse by hair-tearing and lecturing, but it serves no one.

The meeting with my new trainer went well. I liked him a lot. He’s a cyclist as well as a personal trainer, so he understands endurance events. He is going to start me with corrective exercises for my wonky back and core work until after the marathon, which will be when he will add weight lifting to the workouts. Until then, training will be about body weight exercises and keeping me in the best condition through peak training. I think this trainer gets it in terms of what I need as his client. He’s a bit older than me and has weathered a lot of fitness trends and sticks with the proven things that work. He’s also going to coordinate exercises with my chiropractor. I feel a little like a real athlete with my team of professionals ;)

I also liked how honest I felt I could be with the new trainer. I didn’t tell him the son story of my son, but I did tell him about my history with alcoholism and eating disorders. I think it’s a positive that I felt comfortable outing myself about those. I do generally out myself (it’s one of my ways of staying straight and accountable) about the drinking, but less so with the eating disorder. I hope that this will put us on track to a well-balanced, healthy me.

He also suggested that I get more regular therapeutic massages. He doesn’t have to tell me twice.