Well this one is a doozy. There have been a few challenges that I’ve seen in the infertility community that said to look back on all the photos and videos you took to see where you started and where you are now. Lots of crying. And lots of negative tests. And a lot of alcohol.
Having a miscarriage definitely sent me down a spiral. And I’m reminded of that by the “memories” feature that pops up on Facebook, Instagram, and even snapchat. I couldn’t even put a number on the amount of times that I had a drink in my hand. And when I had a drink in my hand, justifying why I was drinking it. Or my “favorite,” “It’s 4:30pm on a Friday. By the time I’m done with work at 5pm, the alcohol will just have hit me.” I’m sorry what? //facepalm//
Mental health is sometimes overlooked. And that goes for any aspect of life. And it really needs to stop being shameful to talk about. I missed a few baby showers while dealing with infertility and a miscarriage. Sure, I used COVID or “I’m busy” as an excuse. But baby showers can be SO tough to go to when you’re going through a rough time. It’s ok to not go. It will be hard to not feel guilty, but your mental health is more important. Please remember “I cannot make it” is a perfectly valid and okay thing to say to something you cannot or don’t want to go to. No explanation needed.
And if you are on the receiving end of hearing “I cannot make it” to whatever shebang you’re hosting, don’t make them tell you why. Obviously we can’t just tell work “Sorry I can’t make it” haha, but when it comes to extracurricular activities/hobbies or parties, “I can’t” should just be the end of it. There are so many people who are struggling with mental health for one reason or another. And the anxiety of having to tell someone you can’t go to something is a lot sometimes. You don’t want to feel like a disappointment, yet you don’t want to deal with confrontation. It’s rough.
So let’s remember to be kind to each other, and kind to ourselves. Personally, it has been really hard not only learning my boundaries, but sticking to them and putting a foot down when needed.
I encourage everyone to take some time today, even if it’s only 5-10 minutes, to step away from what you’re doing, get some fresh air, treat yourself to that special latte you’ve been wanting, go for a walk, but just take a breath.
You got this.
(And if you wanna share what you did for yourself today, let me know. I wanna hear about it. )
The last time I ran was March 17th. I wanted to try and slowly get back to running to see how my body would handle it. I was getting some pains after running. Talked to a few people (professionals, not the internet ), and made some changes to my routine. I really made sure to concentrate on a high cadence, and I did run-walk intervals. Interval running has never really been my favorite, but I did a half mile run then a minute walk, then half mile run, minute walk, ECT until I hit 2 miles. And I’m happy to report I’m not feeling the pain I was feeling before. Running definitely looks and feels different, but I’ll take what I can get.
I haven’t been able to participate in our Wednesday Breakfast Club runs, not only because I wasn’t running, but mostly bc of my nausea. I had a tiny bit this morning. Slightly there, but manageable. BUT it went away while running. Maaaaybe there’s something to that.
I was so grateful that my friends were so supportive on finding orange to wear! It was so sweet. I thank you guys from the bottom of my heart! .
I’ve been asked since I’ve opened up about my miscarriage, infertility journey, and pregnancy after loss of just what you’re “supposed to say” to someone who is going through it. The truth is that every person is different in their needs while grieving. But done places to start that are really helpful:
-“I am so sorry. This is is so unfair.”
-“Thank you for trusting me and opening up to me. I’m so sorry you’re going through this.”
-“I am here to listen whenever you need.”
-“What you’re feeling is valid and I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this.”
Things you don’t want to say:
-“At least…” Followed by literally anything. I’ve seen “At least it was early” in regards to a miscarriage or “at least you’re young and you have time.” Or “at least you can sleep in.” At least nothing. Just don’t use it.
-“Just get drunk and go on vacation. It worked for (friend/relative.)” No. That was just luck it happened to someone you know. Infertility is a medical diagnosis.
-“Just stop trying and it’ll happen.” Again no. Infertility is a medical diagnosis.
-“You’re stressing to much.” Or “just relax.” This completely invalidates someone. And this has nothing to do with their struggles.
-Do NOT compare stories. “You had a miscarriage? My friend had 5.” No. One struggle that you think is “worse” than another does not invalidate someone who is going through something else. Do not compare.
-“You’re so strong. I don’t know how I would get through it if it was me.” This is a hard one because it’s always meant with the best intentions, but I want to scream, “I have no other choice!!” Most don’t want to be told this. We just want our feelings validated and for people to listen. We literally do not have a choice but to deal with it and it’s exhausting always pretending to be ok.
Some people need to be left alone. Others want to talk. Others want to just be distracted. You don’t have to guess what someone needs. It’s ok to ask, “how can I best support you?” Most people just want a nonjudgmental ear. They want to grieve and not be given advice (unless they specifically ask). They just want to be heard. A listening ear is some of the best support you can give someone.
It really needs to be noted that grief isn’t linear. Some days you feel like you have it together and others you just don’t. I saw a perfect image a while ago about this… “People think grief shrinks over time. But really, you just grow around your grief.” And this is true for any grief. It doesn’t just apply to infertility.
Getting pregnant after being diagnosed with infertility and/or a miscarriage died not “cure” you from the trauma of a miscarriage nor does it cure you from infertility. If after we have a healthy rainbow baby, and my husband and I want to have a second, we will need to go through a fertility clinic again. We aren’t cured because I’m currently pregnant. I’m not certainly not cured from the trauma and any prenatal anxiety.
By opening up and sharing my story, it helps to throw out the stigma. I’m growing around grief. It’ll be there. But by changing the conversation and helping being awareness to a very isolating and private experience, it helps me know that someone reading this may not feel alone.
Day 2 of National Infertility Awareness Week! #NIAW
It is no secret that having support from your family and close friends is helpful in your healing process. But what about when you’re not ready to open yet? Or you don’t think anyone you personally know has gone through infertility? Or even if you do know a friend to talk to, you feel like you’re going to hurt them by bringing up old feelings and “making” them talk about something they don’t want to? Then what?
I’ve been there. I don’t know how clear I can be on this, but that is of NO reflection of my family and friends. None. Sometimes it just takes time to open up. Even to your closest support group.
I found myself wandering around aimlessly on the internet. As much as I wanted to hate TikTok, I came across some accounts of women talking about their infertility struggles. And I felt like I could just be anonymous by sitting back and learning from them.
So I’d like to share those with you today. If you’re not ready to open up, that’s okay. You don’t have to. You don’t ever have to. But if you want to check out some other women who talk about infertility, please check them out:
There are so so many people who have experienced infertility… 7.4 million actually. 1 in 8 couples experience it. 1 in 4 couples has had a miscarriage. Someone you know, even if you don’t know what they’ve been through, I can almost guarantee that someone you know is struggling.
I’ve definitely tried to be as open about it as I can. I hope that I’ve been able to be a safe space for people who wanted to talk. I can’t tell you the people who have reached out to me – some I know and some I did not (thank you social media!).
I’ve decided to participate in the awareness this week. There’s a #NIAW challenge to do something every day. Day 1 is #ThisIsMyStory.
Because I’m not some famous content creator, I think everyone who actually follows me on here pretty much knows me in real life and knows my story. But in case anyone just randomly comes across this: I’ve had a miscarriage, then ended up at a fertility clinic, after a crap ton of tests, had a medicated cycle with an IUI and it was successful. And our little rainbow is healthy and kicking along (literally now ), and we are due early Sept thank you to Fertility Centers of Illinois and Dr. Allison Rodgers .
If anyone feels comfortable sharing their story, please do. Whether it’s your own story, or someone you know going through it.
Please know you are not alone. Together we can change the conversation. And change the narrative.
Getting older always has a certain nostalgia that comes with it. Birthdays come and birthdays go. They seem to sneak up quicker and quicker year after year. I think to myself, “It’s April already?” Every. Single. Year. It’s as though after a couple of decades on this Earth I still don’t have a concept of time. Time seems so relative. The days drag on, but the weeks fly by, and all of a sudden, I’m another year older, hopefully a little more wiser, but definitely a lot more sarcastic. I always try to think back on the year that I’ve had and reflect on that.
But this year was hard to that.
Last year, I ran 35 miles for my 35th birthday. When we had found out I was pregnant Dec 2020, I wanted to announce it after a long run because, how typical of me right? I had it all planned out in my head. I had a route with a shape as a clue. I had plans of what to wear, which was “something with baby feet on my shirt, or a ‘running for two’ saying.” I wanted to try and be cool like Taylor Swift and drop some secret Easter egg hints for the few days leading up to my race. I knew I would have been visibly showing at that point, but with COVID, I wasn’t really seeing much of anyone anyway, so keeping the pregnancy as a surprise would have been easy.
And then I miscarried.
That birthday run was the most mentally challenging run I have ever done. Yes, it would have been mentally challenging either way, as 35 miles is no small feat, but I was also carrying that heaviness with me that I was no longer pregnant. That heaviness almost caused me to give up multiple times. It’s hard to describe, you know? That pain that you feel in your body because you know something is missing. Someone is missing. It’s just lost. Forever. Knowing you can never get that back is a grief that is unfair. And it never goes away. It just becomes a new normal. The grief will always come in waves. Healing isn’t linear. I thought I was doing okay the first half of my run. But the closer and closer I had got to the end of that 35 miles, the harder it was to hold it together.
The first thing I said after finishing that run was, “I’m not running 36 miles next year. 3.6 miles sounds like a better plan.”
Well, on April 4th, 2022, my 36th birthday, I did not run that 3.6 miles. I did however have time to sit with my feelings and emotions. I’ve looked back at just how much has changed since April 4th, 2021. I quit drinking (323 days ago), I changed my last name, Ian sold his house, we adopted Lampo, we went through fertility testing, we found out Ian’s next job is in Virginia, we had an IUI done, and we found out it was successful… and that only brings us to New Years.
The amount of roller-coaster loops and highs and lows that we’ve been through just really feels like a bit of whiplash. I’ve had people ask me, “How’s it going?” or “how is pregnancy?” Or just wanting some updates. They’ve been hard to answer. How do you say, “Well this birthday I should have a baby in my arms” without sounding like you’re not grateful to be pregnant? How do you say, “I hate being pregnant” when you’ve wanted nothing more than to grow your family, and you’re so excited to have a baby, but the being pregnant part is awful? How do you respond to people who say, “Enjoy this birthday before baby comes” or “This is your last birthday before you become a mother” without responding with something rude or sarcastic about how you are a mother, even though your child isn’t earth side.
It’s hard. It’s so hard. Because the last thing I want is for people to ever tiptoe around me. I never want that. I hear a lot, “I don’t want to say the wrong thing.” But the truth is, neither do I. I don’t want to say the wrong thing. I don’t want every response to “how are you” to be something negative. “i’m sick of being pregnant,” “I’m nauseous again. I thought the second trimester was supposed to be better?” “I’m pretty tired of all these headaches.” “I hate that I can’t run. In fact, I feel a little depressed about it.” “I’m just trying to make it to the next appointment when I can see baby again to know they are okay.”
It’s a constant struggle for me, too. Where is that line of just being fully raw and transparent and honest that if stepped over becomes someone who is a whiner and complainer and a pessimist? When does someone’s bravery turn into “she just wants attention?”
Sorting out these feelings and emotions can be consuming. I’m in a pregnancy after loss group. And what I’ve learned is that I’m not alone. The anxiety of a pregnancy after loss is just… it’s just out of this world. It’s hard to fully encapsulate everything that you’re feeling. It’s even hard to sort out on paper. One minute I’m terrified to go to the bathroom because I have slight pressure, and the next I’m ready to look up bassinets. One minute I can’t stop crying because I’m not at viability week yet and I’m just waiting for something to go wrong, and the next I’m thinking if our child will have my eyes or Ian’s.
The one thing I’ve learned in my group is that most of us have not enjoyed our pregnancies very much. “You’ll feel better in the second trimester” just feels like a joke. I’m 18 weeks and feeling worse than my first trimester. But I’m learning that it’s okay to not enjoy being pregnant. Our bodies are literally growing another human. It’s not supposed to be easy. Our organs are rearranging themselves to make more room for the baby. The round ligament and back pain is horrendous. (Thank you child for your head being at my back.) while I know growing a baby means putting on some weight, that doesn’t make it easier. Gaining weight is hard, even when it’s supposed to happen. I have a visible bump now, so I no longer fit comfortably in my jeans or leggings that aren’t high-waisted. My skin is dry and itchy. I’m getting headaches what feels like every other day. i feel guilty because I don’t have the energy to give Lampo the attention and time that he deserves. I’m more tired than I ever have been. My emotions are ALL over the place. And I’m just absolutely sick of being nauseous. Every. Single. Day. I’ve already joked with Ian and said, “if we had a buttload of money, our second child would be through a surrogate. I’m not incubating the second one.”
Pregnancy is hard. I’ve felt so guilty for hating being pregnant. But the group I’m in is really good at reminding each other that you don’t have to enjoy being pregnant to be an amazing parents. I have to remind myself of this often.
So for my birthday this year, I decided that I’d be open and honest about how I was feeling, even if it’s just another negative update, because really, my goal with sharing isn’t for pity. I don’t want it. I just want one more person to feel less alone if they are in the worst girl gang ever with infertility and/or pregnancy after loss. And also, to finally start back with my at home workouts. I KNOW the benefits squats and lunges and such have. I’ve had my doctor’s okay since week 9.
April 4th, 2022 I spent doing 36 minutes of a workout and stretching for my 36th birthday.
And I was happy with that.
Workout: It’s pregnancy friendly, but anyone can do this, especially if you are looking for a low-impact, no jumping leg workout.
(and this should go without saying, but because there are trolls on the internet, please make sure to get your doctor’s okay if you’re pregnant. Everyone is different. And also, if you feel like telling a pregnant person they shouldn’t be working out, and you’re not their friend or doctor, just kindly keep it to yourself, thankyouverymuch. )
1 in 3 people experience PTSD after miscarriage/loss.
40-50% suffer from depression and anxiety.
Getting pregnant after loss doesn’t heal you.
Getting pregnant doesn’t replace the baby you lost.
I’ve had so many people reach out to me over the last year and a half. Some some experienced miscarriage 30 years ago, some had a pregnancy after loss and traumatic birth experience also 30 years ago. It’s not something you ever forget. It’s not something you ever get over. I’ve also spoken to numerous people who are currently TTC and dealing with infertility. It’s not talked about enough how much of an emotional roller coaster it is. Going through infertility and fertility treatments is hard. Feeling like you’re in limbo is hard. I will always be here if anyone needs to talk. Getting pregnant doesn’t make any of those feelings go away.
Pregnancy announcements are difficult for those in the TTC community. Please give yourself some grace if you need to take time to process or give yourself space. I love you, and will understand.
But here’s a summary of our fertility journey since October. It’s hard to summarize what we’ve been through since the miscarriage, and then 15 months of an emotion of roller coaster of constant disappointment every month, and then two months of poking and prodding at the fertility center before we had a medicated cycle .
It’s 4 minutes. You’re warned. I always said I would try and post the good, the bad and the ugly.
Thank you so much to our family and friends who have been the most amazing support system I could ever ask for.
I miss her. The girl I used to be last October. The person I was before the sadness would consume most of my days, leaving me to over analyze everything.
We're still the same person.
She's me. I am her. But along the way, our lives disconnected and plucked out the simpleness and innocence with complexity and experience. We're layered together, but the bright colors that once sparkled around us slowly faded into black and white.
She had a lightness about her, and she didn't even realize it. She could dance around in the golden moonlight in her bare feet, blackened from walking down the street without shoes, with a strong drink in one hand and her cell phone in the other. Capturing every smile and every wink she'd send to her future husband. She'd listen to the waves collide against the rocks.
She could run through the summer rain and feel its warmness bounce off her skin, flushed from the two glasses of her favorite red wine. Gravity wasn't pulling her down quite as hard then. She would twirl around in the kitchen in her red dress listening to the crackle of dinner cooking on the stove and her favorite songs playing in the background, and she didn't think twice about tomorrow.
She could look to the future a lot more hopeful than she does now. I don't want to tell her that it's hard to imagine anymore. I don't want to tell her that she ended up slipping on the rocks and fell straight into heartache and can't find her way out. That it's sometimes hard to breathe. Her friends and family have never left her, and have been her support system, yet she feels isolated. She feels trapped.
I don't want her to know just how jaded she's going to feel. Putting her whole heart and soul on the line for just a maybe. How tired she's going to feel. How exhausted she is from faking the smiles. But I need her to know: we're finding a strength we didn't know we had. And I really think we're going to get there.
We'll get there.
On December 21st, I miscarried at 7 weeks. I feel like a little piece of me left that day. I still logged into work. It was our anniversary. It was the week of Christmas. I didn't know what else to do. What I do know is that grief isn't linear. It hits you when you least expect it. One day you're fine, and the next you're in bed crying knowing the exact age your baby should be. For as long as I can remember, I have always advocated for awareness around not asking women "when is it your turn?" or "When are you guys going to have a baby." I was always the first to tell people how inappropriate and invasive that question is. I just never would have thought I'd be advocating for myself.
Michelle Obama said it best: "When we share our stories, we are reminded of the humanity within each other. And when we take the time to understand each other's stories, we become more forgiving, more empathetic, and more inclusive." I can't pretend like I have it all together. I don't. Most days it's hard to get out of bed. The hard truth is that I stopped drinking because I fell into a very dark place of trying to hide behind the drunkenness to not feel anything. I didn't want to. The pain was too much. I didn't want to face the reality that something I had zero control over happened to me. And there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop it. It changed my life. Just as two pink lines change your life, having the two pink lines fade into one will forever change your life, too. And then month after month after month you hope to see two, yet you only get one. The rug gets ripped out from under you time and time again, but you keep getting back onto the emotional roller coaster. Holding onto that "what if this month is our month" feeling.
I've built more relationships with people by being open about my struggles than I ever could have pretending like I had it all together. I don't share our story for sympathy. I share because someone is out there struggling. They might feel alone. I need them to know they are not not. I had a very hard time opening up about this, but it's just too much to handle sometimes.
There's so much more I want to say on this topic, but for now I will just leave you with this: Be kind. Stop asking people what their "next step" is in their lives and start just asking people, "hey how are YOU." Right now. In this current phase of your life. And take the time to listen. Without judgement. Without unsolicited advice. Without trying to one-up them with a statement starting with "well, at least..."
Today is my first day released back into the wild. And by “into the wild” I mean, I can get my own groceries and go into a restaurant to get my own pick up instead of requesting “no contact delivery.” That is my extent of going anywhere for now. And can I say, coincidence that today is National Margarita Day??
I celebrated by kicking my own ass before work with a workout that my friend Angie sent me over the past weekend. I’m glad I didn’t attempt it earlier than today, though. Because of my drained energy levels, I wouldn’t have gotten near the workout I did today which would have led to frustration that I couldn’t keep up with anything. I already cried during yoga last week when I couldn’t do down dog because of my sinus congestion which lead to a throbbing headache if my head was lower than my heart. I didn’t need to add to any frustrations by trying some workout I wasn’t ready for. So thank goodness for waiting. And lemme tell ya what… that was NOT easy! Squats, lunges, and burpees galore. The set up of the video was refreshing because you’re not getting talked at. At all. There’s music and a video inset in the corner of what’s coming next. If you’d like a new cardio workout to try, I highly recommend trying Growingannanas “30 MIN CALORIE KILLER HIIT Workout – Full body Cardio, No Equipment, No Repeat.” While doing 30 mins of squats and lunges was difficult, the cardio part of it was a little harder than usual.
I felt winded while doing this workout, but this was a tough workout. I should make note that my HR spiked to 152 multiple times during the workout. This is well within the normal range for me so I wasn’t all that worried, but still something I plan to keep track of. I need to go back and look at the other HIIT workouts to see where I was getting during those so I have some sort of reference.
I am curious to see how sore my legs will be tomorrow! But the real question now is how tired I will be later. I have noticed that I didn’t really feel all that affected during my workouts, but it’s later that I’m just completely wiped. I’m having trouble concentrating for longer periods on time at work, and I’m getting way more tired than I usually am. And for reference, I am notorious for standing at my desk for 6 hours before I realize what time it is, and I had zero trouble concentrating. I never really felt like I needed a break. But now, it’s like 2 hours, and I need to walk away. It’s frustrating not being able to just snap back to where I was and doing all the thing I’m used to doing.
23 Feb – tuesday
Ian and I stayed up late playing Risk last night, so now I feel like today won’t be a good judge of my tiredness. Especially because yesterday was National Margarita Day, so we definitely partook in that… more than once. And alcohol always disrupts my sleep. But today is the last day on the booze train, and I am back to my no drinking streak. I went almost 3 months without drinking and ended it around Christmas, so it’s time to stop drinking again.
My legs didn’t really feel too sore. I mean, I could tell that I worked out, but it wasn’t a “I need to use the sink to stand up from the toilet” kind of sore. I am not going to lie, it is always disappointing not getting sore after a workout, but then I know it is a good indication to switch up what I’m doing and/or add some weight to it.
Today was also my first run back post-COVID! I couldn’t resist waiting to run until over lunch, though instead of the morning. 40 degrees! In Wisconsin! In February? Say what what?! It was sunny and I was feelin great. My plan was to do somewhere between 2-3 miles without a pace in mind and no real goal in mind other than to just see how I felt and go for it. And that I did! I didn’t even really notice my pace until I was at 2.8 miles when I felt a little heavy in the lungs and my HR was elevated to 189. Oops. I went back to check previous runs at that pace. I was keeping somewhere between 140-150 average for the run with a spike or two up to 160. So to see 189 I knew it was a bit high. Now that could be because of COVID. It could be because I took some time off running. It could be because of who knows what else. While I’m not going to worry about it yet, it’s just all things I need to actually document out otherwise I will forget. Thank god for Strava/Garmin right? So easy to just go back and look. Speaking of looking back at data, I did also go back and find some HIIT workouts that I was doing and my HR was right on par. Yesterday it was 152, and previously it’s been between 150-156, so that made me feel better, but, again, not to sound redundant, still something I’m keeping track of… hence the entire reason for this blog this week. 🙂
As the day went on, I could feel my glutes and hips feel a little sore. Finally! Yay! My quads though didn’t really feel much, but I have been so used to using weights, so I’m not surprised that they weren’t sore by only using body weight. I need to look into heavier weights, but, thanks quarantine, everything is out or WAY too expensive. So I can use my measly two 5 lb and two 10 lb weights, and then I can get creative with whatever heavy items we have in the house. Maybe I’ll just go borrow a toddler.
24 FEB – WedneSDAY
I woke up wanting more sleep. As per usual lately. We even went to bed early, and I kept to my word of no booze. I wanted to get up and do my usual Wed workout. Well as usual as I can with a modified running schedule, so I shouldn’t say *usual.* But I planned to do abs/arms this morning, but I just couldn’t bring myself to get up and do it. I laid in bed not wanting to get up, but I knew I needed to get going and log into work. I decided to do a 15-min yoga session. It was the perfect length to get my body moving and wake my muscles up without much effort put into it.
The brain fog seems a bit significant. It’s frustrating to feel out of focus. It’s not something I’m used to feeling. I can typically sit down and do a task because I’m supposed to and it doesn’t feel like a chore. But lately I’ve felt like I had to force myself to get things done. I don’t normally have to read things multiple times to grasp a simple concept.
Because of this brain fog, I planned to try and take strategic breaks at work. I know I know, we are allowed breaks during the day. This isn’t me trying to justify why I’m taking a break, it’s just more so noting this because I never took them. I never needed them. But today, I knew I had a conference call (for 2 hours eep) so I took the walk just before that. I walked to the grocery store since we needed a few things, and then walked home. Ended up with 1.75 miles. It felt good to get up and stretch my legs, which are no longer sore. Ha. Short-lived soreness, but I do like how quickly I can recover.
The one thing I think that has really helped me while not able to run is continuing to do yoga and low-intensity weight workouts at home. I’m definitely grateful that I didn’t have to be hospitalized. I wasn’t completely knocked out with a fever and flu-like symptoms. I didn’t have Tom Hanks level of tiredness. I had COVID days through work that I could have taken, but I didn’t. I work from home. I was up and about and would have been antsy throughout the day if I took those days. So I choose to work. I didn’t put in any OT like I usually do, but that’s not a requirement of my job. I do it because I enjoy my job and have a workaholic personality, which is an entirely different blog post topic I could talk about. But I digress.
I did a half hour of yoga after work. I was looking for a balancing series to start practicing working on my balance more for a bit of a challenge. The session I found with “Yoga With Adriene” was a great flow, but not quite what I was looking for. There was really only one balancing pose. It is a good reminder though that I still have the energy to even think about doing a yoga session and have the strength to get through all the vinyasas. Slow and steady back into a routine. Something is better than nothing, right?
25 FEB – thurSDAY
Oh hello Thursday. Friday Jr you. Well today was tough. I planned to meet up with my friend Sherri to run before work. 0630 start time. Should be great right? WRONG. I woke up with a near migraine and felt like I wanted to throw up. Unfortunately, headaches are a pretty common thing for me, but not as many as I had this week. I felt so guilty needing to cancel. I should have known better that my energy levels in the morning are just lacking. It’s such a struggle to get going. After Ian went to work, I ended up going back to sleep for an hour and not logging into work until 0830 again. It’s a weird feeling being as tired as I am all day. I don’t want to make plans to run with people in the morning now. At least not for a little bit. I hate cancelling. But I also know I don’t need to try and push it.
I chatted with three of my friends who had COVID and are also runners. They said it took upwards of 4-6 weeks to really feel back to normal. I won’t name drop since I respect privacy and I didn’t ask them if I could mention names. I am not happy that they have had to deal with COVID, but I am happy that I have people to discuss these things with. I’m well aware that anecdotal stories are not evidence of anything, but just hearing stories from my trusted friends make me feel less stressed about the tiredness. It makes me less worried about what is happening with my body, and it gives me hope that this will fade eventually. It may be a long month or so, but it should get better before I know it.
Advise I got:
Friend 1: “For two months, I was upset all the time. Luckily I could bike. But I love running and everyone was progressing around me. And I just felt bad physically and mentally. It gets better! Be patient. Don’t push yourself too hard. And don’t be mad at yourself.”
Friend 2: “I completely understand. It did eventually come around for me. The tiredness lasted about a month and then I had to build my endurance back up. It took 1.5-2 months to feel like myself again. Get the rest you need so that you get back to the usual!”
Friend 3: “The tiredness was just ridiculous. We did not have the energy to do squat… The problem now is building back up. My lungs took a beating. I still have to use an inhaler because of COVID.”
I mustered up some energy to go for a run over lunch. It wasn’t as sunny as Tuesday, but the fresh air felt nice. My legs felt a little heavy, but my lungs felt great. The one thing I feel is a little different than my friends is that I’m able to run the same pace for my 5Ks that I did before. I know at least two of them came back at slower paces before they were able to work back up. And who knows, maybe my longer runs will be that way, but I’ve only done two runs since and both were 5Ks. My 5K today, I dialed the pace back a tad from Tues to watch my HR, and surprisingly enough, my HR was just fine. It stayed at an average of 155 for a 9:47 pace. I was honestly surprised. I really expected to see a spike like I did on Tuesday, but I didn’t. I don’t have energy in the morning, but by afternoon I do. I suppose time will tell. But for now, I am going to continue to run unless my lungs feel off. Then it will be an immediate pause.
I was feeling great tiredness wise until after work. I had an ASL class to go to at 1830, but I ended up falling asleep on the couch after work for an hour and a half, so I missed class. Oops.
26 FEB – friDAY
Happy Friday! Even though I took an 1.5 hour nap yesterday, I still ended up going to bed at 2100. I get up at 0530 with Ian when he goes to work, but I ended up laying in bed trying to fall back asleep for an hour. I’ve never slept so much in my life, but I am not fighting it. It know I need it. I probably sound like a broken record this week with all the “i’m tired” and “i’m tired of being tired” thoughts. And if you’ve read this far into the long all blog post, I’m sure you are tired of hearing it too. Ha.
The work day felt normal at least. Brain fog still a little there, but it’s also Friday. I feel like that’s normal. I decided that I wasn’t going to make a set time for running tomorrow. Whenever I got up and felt like going, I would. Less expectation of myself and that way I wouldn’t be disappointed. So I had no real bed time to make since I didn’t need to set an alarm to get up.
I have been working more on getting a strong core. It has helped so much with back pain and just feeling stronger. So I put on a 30 min yoga for core and booty that I found through Yoga With Adriene. And then I wanted to try another “balancing” series, so I did another 58 minutes after that. I do really need to start scrolling through videos before I do them. I have been disappointed with the ones that are labeled as “balancing” yoga lately. The one I did was great if you wanted to do a lot of vinyasa, but not so great if you were looking for balancing poses. There were a few, but not many. But in any case, I got in just about an hour and a half of yoga and didn’t really feel winded or anything afterwards. So that was a plus!
27 FEB – saturDAY
It felt really great to just sleep in and not wake up to an alarm clock. It’s been a rough week mentally and being able to just chill was the mental break I think I needed. Ian and I had a slow morning, made breakfast, then he read while I did some writing (catching up on this blog post actually). And then we decided around noon to go out for a run.
It was the run I needed. It was such a beautiful day out. 42 degrees. Barely windy. Ian was smart and had on a long sleeve and shorts. I had on leggings and a long sleeve shirt, which ended up coming off at mile 2. The sun on my skin gave me such energy. Ian was such a good sport and followed the crazy CityStrides path that I had created. We were talking during our run about how neither one of us have ever had a partner that we could run with and it was really nice to be able to do that together. I enjoyed having him on my run.
I do miss my running buddies though. I didn’t want to make any set plans with anyone because cancelling is something that just eats away at me and makes me feel super guilty. They knew I wasn’t making plans with them for this reason, and while I’m sure they would have understood, I just didn’t want to bare that guilt. But we will see what next week brings.
28 FEB – sunDAY
Sunday was a great recovery day. We spent the day in Oak Creek for Baylee’s birthday (which was yesterday, as she reminded us. Ha!) We made strawberry cupcakes from scratch, with a dairy-free buttercream strawberry frosting. Making dairy-free frosting was hard! But my sister cannot have dairy so I always try and find good recipes. We made a bit of a mess in the kitchen, but the girls had fun. (Here is the recipe we followed. We did not make it gluten free, so we used regular flour, but we did make it dairy free.) We picked up lunch from Kopps and brought it back to their house to hang out some more. It was good to see the kiddos since we weren’t able to because of COVID quarantines. But we were there nearly all day.
We got home close to 5, and I wanted to get some yoga in, so I found a core strengthening one I hadn’t tried yet. 40 mins and I swear it was ALL ABS. Highly recommend. (If curious, it’s another Yoga With Adriene session. Here.)
I have to say, that I’m really seeing the benefits of yoga. It’s helping flexibility. It’s aiding in my recovery. It’s helping grow some baby abs. There in there! And it’s something that I’ve really started to look forward to doing. I started doing yoga twice a week, then moved to doing two longer yoga sessions (at least 30 mins) twice a week plus doing short sessions (10-15 mins) after each run. And now I’m doing yoga just about every day. There are so many different kinds of yoga that are all free on YouTube, so there’s no real reason not to. I can get a slow relaxing restorative yoga, a workout vinyasa type yoga, a short “wake up” 10 min yoga before work, a meditative yoga… literally anything. There are some videos I keep coming back to, but I try and find new ones each week. I’m slowly seeing progress in flexibility, and definitely seeing progress in stamina during vinyasa.
There are a few things that I am working towards this year for yoga: I want to get in crow and be able to do a headstand. I’m a little afraid of being upside down, but it’s something I’m working on.
I made it nearly a year without getting COVID, but here I am sitting on my couch during my last day of quarantine since testing positive. The last ten days somehow whizzed by even though we have been unable to go anywhere. It wasn’t that I *didn’t* want to tell anyone that we got COVID. I just didn’t really put in on blast right away. No special reason other than the fact I had no idea what to expect. I’ve had friends with COVID who all reacted differently. I wasn’t really prepared for how tired I was going to be. I’m a person who can fully function and be just fine on 5-6 hours of sleep without any naps, but I have been getting 9-10 hours of sleep the entire last week, with even a few days that I took a nap! It was very out of the ordinary for me.
How did I know to go get tested?
This started last Wed night. Ian and I were sitting on the couch eating i cream straight out of the pint container. We had two kinds out. I made a face saying how the one was super sweet. Ian looked at me all wide-eyed and said he couldn’t tell. I told him joking about not being able to taste right now wasn’t funny…. he wasn’t joking. Thursday morning, he was eating breakfast and said he was unable to taste his toast. So he went right away to get tested. Sure enough. He was positive. At this point, I didn’t have any symptoms. But since he was positive, my chances were pretty high. Thurs night, I developed a little bit of a cough and felt more tired than usual. So Friday afternoon, I went to get tested and it was positive. Now, I’ve heard varying responses on the rapid test and it’s accuracy. If I didn’t get any more symptoms, I was going to get tested again. But as the weekend approached, the cough was more prevalent, I was excessively tired, and kept waking up with headaches, I just assumed the test was correct, especially because Ian lost his sense of taste and smell. And that symptom is pretty telling. So I never went back to get tested. I didn’t think I needed to. It seemed pretty obvious at this point. Both Saturday and Sunday I tried to do some yoga, but I felt like I had a head cold, so down dog and child’s pose was not fun. It made my head feel like it was going to pound out of skull. So I opted to do yoga that kept my head above my heart.
Monday I did yoga for abs and helped Ian shovel. My head was slowly feeling better, but I didn’t attempt any poses that would make any blood rush to my head. Tuesday I did more yoga along with an arm workout. These are work outs that I have done before and I could tell I was struggling a little bit with energy getting through them. I also made sure to keep an eye on my heart rate. I had gone down the internet black hole and read way too much about how even elite competitive athletes were taking time off because even with mild symptoms or being asymptomatic, they were showing lung damage.
To be very clear here, it was very explicitly stated that there have not been enough studies done on this to know if exercising during COVID is making lung damage worse, or if they already had lung damage because of COVID. Because there isn’t enough data on it, it’s been suggested to not elevate your heart rate during the next few weeks after testing positive. I’d much rather err on the side of caution. What’s it going to harm if it’s wrong and I didn’t need to chill? Nothing. It doesn’t nothing by me being cautious. But if it’s right… well, I think you know where I’m going with that one. So I have opted to not run or do any cardio heavy HIIT workouts. I’ve watched my HR the entire time to make sure it says low.
Wednesday I did my regular leg workout. I lifted heavier weights this time around since I wasn’t running. Thursday and Friday brought on more yoga. I was actually a little disappointed that my legs weren’t sore. Ha. My head was feeling much better and that head cold feeling was near gone, but I still had a cough. I wasn’t coughing through the night, though so I chalked that up to a huge win. Saturday we went for a mile walk. And then today I did an hour of core vinyasa and then deep cleaned the house – which took me near 3 hours (cleaning, organizing, and laundry). I noticed that I coughed more after a bit of exercise, so that is something that I will be keeping an eye on.
So what’s next?
Taking it slow is my plan. I already pushed my birthday run back. The best part about training for yourself and not for a race is that I can change the date if needed. I don’t HAVE to be done with my training at a certain point. It is nice to not have that pressure. I left off with this schedule:
Mon – Off
Tues – 7 miles
Wed – 5 miles
Thurs – 7 miles
Fri – Off
Sat – 26.2 miles
Sun – 10 miles
I tested positive on the Friday of this week, so while I did my Tues -Thurs runs, I did not get to the weekend. It has been suggested to not come back to 100% right out of the gate. So I’m going to come back at 25%, check in with myself over the weekend, and if I feel good, I’ll bump it up to 50%, do another check in, and then 75%, then finally back up to 100%. But it’s going to be a few weeks of a fluid training schedule. There’s no need to push it. So my plan this coming week:
Mon – Off
Tues – 3 miles
Wed – Off
Thurs – 3 miles
Fri – Off
Sat – 6 miles
Sun – Off
And if my lungs feel like I can handle an increase, then the following week it will be:
Mon – Off
Tues – 3 miles
Wed – 3 miles
Thurs – 3 miles
Fri – Off
Sat – 13.1 miles
Sun – Off
While it’s frustrating that only 10 days ago, I was supposed to be running a marathon, I know that it will come back quickly. I just need to ease back into it and be honest with myself about how I am feeling. The positive of needing to move my run from April 3rd to mid-May is that the chances of it being nicer weather is going to be higher, so that will make me happy for my bike support and anyone running with me will not have to run in the snow. 🙂
Today is the first day that I feel a little more like myself. I’m glad that I’ve kept moving and didn’t just bed rest myself. I had mild symptoms. I could breathe. I wasn’t pushing anything. I focused on what I *could* do. And yoga was one thing that was keeping me going.
I made a goal for myself to be able to do crow pose this year along with more balancing poses that I can hold for longer than a nanosecond. 😀
Two weeks ago, I wasn’t able to do this pose, and now I can hold it long enough to get a photo of it. It’s a lot harder than it looks! Yoga win for the week! Now I just really need to focus on crow pose…. and not being afraid of a handstand.
I’m looking forward to getting back to normal, and I’ll definitely keep an update on my progress and any symptoms that still may be lingering about.
It’s that time of year when everyone reflects on the year and talks about how they are going to improve themselves the upcoming year: going to the gym more, working out, being a better person… whatever that may be.
I’ve never really been one to make resolutions in January. If I have a goal I’m thinking about, I don’t wait. Whatever month I am in, I just think about a plan of execution and go for it. Rarely is it in January. That is not to say that everyone who makes resolutions in January is doing it wrong. There is no wrong way to make goals. 🙂 I do however end up reflecting a lot in January. Part of that is because everyone else is. I see people doing recaps of the the year and seeing their own reflections of their lives so I end up getting reflective myself.
2020 threw us all for a loop. There isn’t one person who posted on January 1, 2020 that could have predicted what 2020 was going to bring. We posted about goals. We posted about our travel plans. We posted about all the things that we wanted to do in 2020… But surprise to us all, that didn’t happen. The inner battles we all fought and kept quiet will stick with us until we mentally deal with what we went through. Our human emotions are complicated and complex. While we know deep down that 2020 brought on external factors that kept us from doing what we wanted it, it’s still really hard mentally to accept the fact that we set out to do something and couldn’t. Even though we know there was nothing that we could do about it. We still blame ourselves. (At least I know I do.)
And it doesn’t matter to what extend that goes. A small goal and a large goal are relative. Whether it’s eating healthy, working out more, traveling to X amount of countries, trying to be a more patient person, stopping/cutting down on drinking alcohol, reading X amount of books, saving money, making your bed every day… what is a small goal to one may be a large goal to another. Regardless, not hitting a goal of whatever size, quite frankly, sucks. No one likes making a goal and not hitting it. We all needed to adapt in some way, shape, or form this year.
As we were living through 2020, it may have seemed like the worst year we could have ever lived through, but I’m going to try to choose to remember the good. Key word: try.
I started of New Years at my sister and BIL’s house with news that she was pregnant with their third. Wednesday morning breakfast club runs were in full swing, and I even started 5am weight training workouts at Westosha on Thursdays. Monday nights I was signed up for a run/yoga class at the Y which helped with my interval training.
February we had our KRC winter party and drank a bit much and danced the night away like there wasn’t a care in the world. I was consistently going to my nieces swimming classes Wed nights. I loved seeing their progress. I also started going to vinyasa hot yoga regularly and fell in love with the practice.
In march, I went with a friend to get her first tattoo. I went to my first ever swing dancing lesson in Milwaukee. And then in the middle of the month, we went on lockdown. It was then that I started a snapchat streak with my coworker Lisa. We joked that we should do it until we were back into the office again… (As of 1/15/21, we are on day 295). Joke’s on us right?
April brought on my 34th birthday. And while celebrated physically alone, it was my first zoom party. We had about 30 people in and out of zoom meetings… a bunch of us got waaaaasted. And thankfully no one had to drive home. It was an experience I never thought that I would have. Lizzie ran her first marathon, which we socially-distanced and supported her by driving on her route and waving. I also started my house buying journey.
May brought warmer weather and the first time I could see Ian in 2 months (since he was locked on base since March). We spend every day together for 2 weeks before he had to go back to base for lockdown for another month. While I was sad to see him go, I was just grateful for the time that we had. Along with the availability of online communication. I had also video chatted more people than I ever thought I would. I was able to reconnect with friends.
June was when I finally found a house that got an accepted offer. It was quite the journey, (I had put in offers 2 times and lost before getting this one accepted), so it was a huge weight off my shoulders to finally find something that I was excited to call home. June was also when I found out that my sister DeAnna was pregnant. Volleyball league was still going on despite COVID, but it was outside and I welcomed it. My nephew Jonah was born on June 21st.
July was Melissa’s first marathon, and I was so happy to be a part of running that distance with her and planning a surprise finish line. I was also grateful during this time for everyone who donated boxes so I could pack up my apartment life and get ready for homeowner life.
August brought on some interesting challenges. I needed to move out of my apartment at the end of July, but my house wouldn’t be done getting repainted for a few weeks. Ian was ever so grateful to let me stay with him and it was during that time that we realized we wanted to live together. My nephew Grayson was born on Aug 3rd. I also ran my first ultra on Aug 7th. There are no words to describe how thankful I am for the support I received during my run and my training. I had people hop in and out to run with me, or just to drive by and honk, but Lizzie biked the entire 50K with me and Melissa biked the last 20 mi. I value these friendships so much. A week later, Richard ran 50 miles and I was his bike support for 30 miles of it. I realized how much I enjoyed doing bike support!
Ah September. My least favorite month (even pre-COVID), but this time around, it was also one of favorite months. Least favorite just because it is a crazy work month, but my favorite for so many reasons. Ian and I officially officially moved in together, and I was able to surprise him for his 30th birthday with his family and best friend who came out from Cali here to Wisco. It’s the best surprise I’ve pulled off yet. And to top it off, I was able to celebrate one of my best friends Melissa finish her first ultra. Lizzie was a champ again and rode her bike for the full 35 miles. And I was able to help make her laugh the last few miles of her race. It made me sooo happy to see her accomplish that.
October was another long month with long work hours, but I still got in a few socially distance nights with some wine and friends. October was also when I decided to run 35 miles for my 35th birthday in April. I needed something to keep me going during the winter. I didn’t want to rely on a race to keep e motivated when 2021 may still have cancelled races due to COVID. So doing it on my own terms felt like my best (and more fun) option.
November I finally got to see Sokhon after lord knows how long… over a year? I’m not even sure. Too long that’s for certain. But I was happy she got to see the house!
December was a bit more of an emotional roller coaster that I would have liked, but the holidays made it better. Ian and I celebrated our one year together. We got a real tree. I may have nearly had a heart-attack while watching him climb on our roof to put up Christmas lights, but they looked so pretty.
Funny enough, after I wrote this entire blog above the separator line the first week of January, I told myself that I would finish it up and get it posted and make sure to start posting regularly. Somehow it’s January 15th, and I hadn’t finished it so here we go.
New year, same me. I still can’t keep to my blog schedule, but I’m keeping to my running schedule. Progress, right?
I need to look back at 2020 and not think how much it sucked that so many things I wanted to do were cancelled. Three trips: Montana for a half marathon with Kristy in June, a Trail Sisters retreat in Colorado in August, and Georgia for my ultra in September. And so many other things cancelled: girls night, wine and pasta nights, just hanging out at Captain Mike’s for a beer after a long day in the office, time spent with family, birthdays and weddings missed, not being able to go to my mom’s doctors appointments that she had to go alone for, not getting up to Door County, no mini-weekend adventures… and the list goes on.
I was still able to get outside. I got to run safely with my friends (even if we were on the opposite sides of the street). I video chatted more often than I ever thought I would, which actually helped my fear of being on camera. I was really able to connect with more friends on a deeper level because we were all going through nearly the same thing. I learned more about myself. I may not have read any books like I planned to, but I did learn what not to do with weight training.
Circling back to what I said earlier in my post, “While we know deep down that 2020 brought on external factors that kept us from doing what we wanted it, it’s still really hard mentally to accept the fact that we set out to do something and couldn’t. Even though we know there was nothing that we could do about it. We still blame ourselves. (At least I know I do.)” (yes I quoted myself.) I feel like I’m still working through a lot of 2020. I’d like to not carry that over into 2021, but it’s hard not to. We are what we experience. And we take those experiences with us. I just need to be able to get to the point of “Okay. I’m good. I am mentally ready to just tuck 2020 into bed and leave it alone.” I know I’ll get there, and I have enough friends who will run with me to keep me focused. Running has been such a great outlet for me since 2015, but most specifically, through 2020.
So with that… cheers to 2021 and the hopes that I will maybe, for once, keep an actual good log of my ultra training progress. I’m already at 22 miles tomorrow so we’ll probably have one more longer update to “catch up.” And then we can just hope for smooth sailing from there.