Planning and Organizing

Planning and organizing are, shall we say, not my forte. I get things done primarily by sheer force of will and the ability to stay maniacally focused on whatever I’m doing until it gets done. But I’ve never been much of a list-maker, an ahead of time things-doer, or even any sort of reasonably organized person.

But now that I’ve returned to work, all of that is going to have to change. Because I am now juggling my fitness and running commitments (and it is an important one to me – keeps me from losing my sanity), what has essentially become a full time job as a freelance marketing consultant (you can follow that link to see the bare bones website I spent about an hour on one night), and my duties as a wife and mom – all of which I am currently doing without benefit of regular child care with kids that have not yet returned to school.

You may be wondering how it came to pass that I am working without having bothered to arrange for child care first. You may want to return now to read the first paragraph about the not planning thing.

What happened was, I sort of accidentally fell into this job. I put my profile up on a freelancing site thinking it would take me a few months to find enough work to stay busy. Instead, it only took me about 10 days. I know this is not everyone’s experience and that I am actually really lucky. But the thing with freelancing is, you don’t really like to turn away work because of the fear that clients will go to someone else and then not be around when you need the work. And so you end up taking more on than you normally would.

And then you end up trying to figure out how to squeeze in your daily commitment to exercise, your personal hobbies and interests (such as this blog), talking to your kids and husband, being available for them when they need you, and other little things such as the preparation and consumption of food.

We had Hamburger Helper twice this week, and one day we had frozen Salisbury steaks and Mac and cheese (and were damn glad to have it).

All of which makes me realize that I am going to have to get a lot better about planning and preparing meals ahead of time.

And I also realize that I barely know where to start. Anyone out there got any good tips out there for juggling all this? Any good ideas for weekday meal preparation? I’m making friends with the Google on this topic but am also open to advice.

Goals With Plans

One of the things I like about running is that it gives me a chance to exercise my muscles in goal setting and planning, things that I feel I don’t do very much of as a stay at home mom type person. I do plan to clean, do laundry, etc., with the goal (possibly unachievable with two little boys in the house) of having a clean or at least presentable home – the accomplishment of which feels less like I’ve accomplished something awesome and more like all I did was keep filth and chaos at bay.

Suffice to say, it’s not the most motivating thing to just be treading water all the time. The mess and I are in a constant competition to see who will win. Usually it is the mess. I would feel worse about this but it is 4 on 1 including the cat, who as the only one that poops in a box and coughs up hair balls on the regular, makes the most disgusting messes of all.

The odds are always against me.

But running is an area of life where I can actually feel like I am somewhat in control of things. I can see and feel myself making progress. When I am not injured or having surgery, that is.

Now that my surgery and recovery are mostly behind me, I am in a goal setting phase with running again. So, what’s next? What do I want to focus on?

Well, between the ankle injury and fitness lost from recovery, I am not sure when I will feel ready to start training for longer distances. Stamina is basically gone. I think it will come back, but I also don’t want to place a lot of repetitive stress on a healing ankle. So I think I will focus on getting back to doing 5k and 10k races and work on getting faster at those distances.

I’d like to think I’ve learned something from the injuries I’ve dealt with since I started back to running over the last year, and I would say the big takeaway is that the experts are right – you cannot work on speed and distance at the same time. And since I apparently have to choose, I guess I’d rather run fast than far. I’d like to do both but it seems I have to choose one thing at a time.

My next race will be the Inspiring Hope 5k on May 10, which I will be running and walking. Gotta start somewhere I guess.

There doesn’t seem to be much that looks interesting enough to plan for until July. Starting in July I’d like to do:

Mill Creek Run of the Mill 5k – July 12
Run-a-Muk 10k – August 23
Snohomish River Run 10k – October 26

Other things might crop up, but these are the races I will plan to do. After October I will decide if I want to try moving up to the half distance or stick with 10k’s for a while longer.

Planning Ahead

I am kind of excited to have a race to look forward to, even though it is a 5k. I usually prefer the 10k distance because 5ks are over so quickly, but right now a 10k would really not be possible. So 5ks it is, for at least the next little while.

The race is the Inspiring Hope run, which is right here in my home town on May 10. That’s Mothers Day. What better way to celebrate being a mom than running off and getting all sweaty? It is cheap to enter, and I can walk to the start line from my house. Can’t really say no to any of those things.

I did the 10k at this race last year and had a lot of fun, even though at that time I was really just getting back into running. It’s a race with a great feeling of community, since a lot of people in the community come out to support the runners, and also because it being a small town race, a lot of the runners know each other.

Alert: justification ahead. Lest anyone think I’m being silly to do this so soon after being released I just want to be truthful that I will not really be running. I will walk/run it – no particular goal time, just wanting to finish and feel good at the end. It’s a starting place – a chance to celebrate feeling better and getting on with my life.

Factory parts no longer under warrantee

Been pretty quiet on the blog lately, I know. I’ll rectify that situation now and give a brief update. But look out – I’m gonna be all old and talk about my health problems. Worse, I’m gonna talk about my lady parts.

The upshot is, the factory warrantee on my lady bits is about to expire. About the time I stopped posting, I started having some female problems. More specifically, I had the recurrence of some problems I had managed to keep on the back burner for the last few years.

A few years ago (2010), I had been having a lot of heavy bleeding between periods, which my doctor at the time kind of dismissed as being no big deal given that we knew I had some fairly good size fibroids. Her attitude was kind of “well, you have fibroids. Bleeding happens.”

I wasn’t satisfied with this answer though because up to that point, it hadn’t been happening to me. I knew that the fibroids had been there for years and never caused any abnormal bleeding before. Why did they suddenly start bleeding now? That didn’t seem right to me, so I asked her, how do we know everything is normal? She basically said, we don’t know, I am just making certain assumptions based on your age and general health. You don’t fit the profile for uterine cancer, but would you like me to test and make sure?

I said yes so she did an endometrial biopsy. And found that I had complex endometrial hyperplasia – which is not cancer, but can develop into cancer in some cases. She prescribed a round of progesterone and assured me that they could probably make the condition reverse and my bleeding would stop being an issue.

It didn’t work. I was referred to a gynecologist. Two more rounds of progesterone, more tests and still no improvement.

This time (early 2012) I was referred to a gynecological surgeon. The first words out of his mouth were – I think you are at high risk for this to develop into cancer given that you don’t fit the profile and aren’t responding to the usual course of action and I recommend hysterectomy.

That scared me. I had just adopted two high energy little boys and basically felt that my home situation was not under control enough to where I could consider anything that would incapacitate me for more than about 5 seconds. I wasn’t ready to take that step. So we decided to try some last ditch efforts to keep my factory parts. He prescribed megestrol, a high dose progesterone pill that is given to cancer patients to fight endometrial cancer (which I did not have, but I did have a precancerous condition so it was an appropriate treatment).

I also had to have a D&C. At the end of this, it appeared that the hyperplasia had finally been reversed and so I was able to avoid having the hysterectomy at that time. Instead, I was put on the Mirena IUD to provide a constant localized dose of progesterone in hopes that this would keep the bleeding issues at bay. Mirena actually stops periods completely, so after a few months I wasn’t supposed to be having any bleeding at all – not even my period.

It worked for a while but in early November, I had a period after not having had one for over 6 months. So once again, things were not responding as they are supposed to. And honestly, at this point I am just tired of worrying about this. Who wants to have the big C hanging over their head? I don’t have it now – and I don’t want to have it at any point in the future. I don’t really want to give things a chance to develop to that point.

So now is as good a time as any to take care of this. My life basically feels under control, I know my kids will be okay and that I will be okay, there is no reason to continue having this scary thing hanging over my head. I’m healthy and want to stay that way. So it is coming out in early March. I am just ready to be done with it.

How this ties into my running is, that since I don’t know how I will recover from the surgery, I am trying to get in as much running and exercise as possible before the big day so that I can be in as good of shape as possible beforehand. I am hoping this will make the recovery easier. It’s supposed to be laparascopic and minimally invasive, but still there will be some down time and recovery involved.

I have some goals I am working toward (partly to make myself feel better about this situation). I plan to do a half marathon at the end of January, and just did a 12k on December 15.

Some of my other plans for 2014 are on hold though – I won’t be doing the Heroes Half in April. I should be walking and maybe doing some short distance running by then, but 13 miles is right out. So running wise, I expect that I will spend most of next Spring and early Summer in recovery, and maybe if all goes really well, I can do a half sometime in the fall.

I will have to be careful though. They say you only get one chance to recover from this so I plan to take it easy and come back slowly. But until then I plan to run as much as I can, as fast as I can, until I can’t.

Because I can never just be happy

Because I can never just be happy when I have accomplished something big (like running an entire 10k at a 9:02 pace, when I seriously didn’t even think I was capable of that, for instance) I have decided that my goal pace for my next race is going to be 8:45.

So on Wednesday, I did 4x800s with the following paces:

1 mile progressive warm up (400 @ 12:00, 400 @ 11:15, 400 @ 10:30, 400 @ 9:45)
1 x 400 jog 11:45 pace
1 x 800 9:30
1 x 400 jog
1 x 800 9:00
1 x 400 jog
1 x 800 9:15
1 x 400 jog
1 x 800 8:45
1 x 400 walk

That’s 4.25 miles, and right now it is some hard effort, yo. It was pretty much my only hard effort this week, what with Halloween and half days at Max’s school and all. I also have a pretty bad cold that I am trying to overcome (I first started feeling it on Sunday morning but it apparently didn’t slow me down by much).

So next week I hope it will be back to normal and healthy again for a few weeks and I can get back to more running, weightlifting, etc.