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Posts Tagged ‘tired’

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Last summer I wrote a post about the constant vigil I feel I must keep when Brooke is out and about in the world.  The setting of the post was a local pool where I would sit half listening to the moms who were completely unaware of where their child was or what their child was doing while I would watch my little one weave her way through the seascape.  That constant need to watch her was rooted in her autism, knowing that her attempts to interact with other kids or adults would most likely be met with ignorance or, at best, misunderstanding.  I would stand vigil so that I could readily jump in to facilitate interaction.

Toward the end of the summer, I began to loosen up a bit.  Brooke still had difficulty initiating easy conversation, but her swimming skills had become stronger and quite honestly, her social skills were showing some improvement.  I finally was reaching a point where I could look someone in the eye from time to time while having a conversation with them or watch Katie while she performed some kind of diving trick.

I was finally able to take a breath.

***

A little over a month ago, Brooke was diagnosed with Atypical Rolandic Epilepsy.  Had she been diagnosed with Typical Epilepsy there would have been a clear path to take: anti-convulsive medication.  Jess has done an artistic job describing the difference in Brooke’s diagnosis comparing a typical diagnosis to a raging fire and Brooke’s diagnosis to popping embers – her seizures are more like epileptic spikes, not enough to warrant medication, but still there, still burning, still able at some point, in a non-specific future, to develop into an all out blaze.

What is the prescription for Atypical Rolandic Seizures?

Vigilance.

Vigilance?

That means she cannot be near or in water or on any structure unattended because at any point an ember to pop and catch fire.  The likelihood of this happening? Slim.  This parent’s willingness to take that risk while she swims at the pool or takes tub?  None.  And I can’t depend on a lifeguard because she could simply seize and sink.

***

So much for taking a breath.

***

So if you see me at the pool this summer and it seems like I’m ignoring you or only half listening to you, please don’t take offense, but I am.

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So this Sunday I am running the Boston Run To Remember Half Marathon. It will be my second time running it and my third half marathon overall. So far, in my short racing career, every race has produced a PR. 8 races, 8 PR’s. Granted, some of those PR’s were because I was running a particular distance for the first time.

I am afraid that the streak will come to an end this Sunday. In order to keep the streak alive, I need to run a 1:33:13 or better. If you had asked me last week whether I thought that was achievable, I would have bravely answered in the affirmative, however, now that I have a few runs under my belt since taking two weeks off, I am a little more doubtful.

As wonderful as it has been to be back on the road and running, I have definitely noticed a drop in efficiency. It is taking more energy to go the same distance and despite working hard to maintain cardio health through the elliptical and swimming, the combination of  two weeks of rehab and a four week taper (see Boston and Providence) may have proven to be too much.  I have read that it takes four weeks for a well conditioned runner to lose their fitness level.  Unfortunately for me, I feel like I may be 2 weeks over.

Running this week has felt great mentally, but has been a grind physically.  Even today’s 5 miler was hard to get through.  The wife asked me earlier this week if I was still planning on running this Sunday.  I nearly scoffed at her saying, “of course I’m going to run!”

But she had a point.

Maybe it isn’t so wise to jump right back into a longer distance after taking some time off.  After a 20 mile race and 2 marathons over the course of 5 weeks, I convinced myself that a half-marathon was a short distance.

It’s not.

Bottom line for me is that I will make how I run on Sunday a race time decision, and then continue to make adjustments throughout the race.  If there is nothing else that running has taught me, it’s to do a self-check every few miles or so, no matter what kind of physical condition you’re in.

Before I went out for my run this afternoon, I told myself that instead of shooting for a PR this weekend, maybe I should be aiming for an RR (Race Record).  Last year I ran a respectable 1:40:47 (though it turned out someone took a wrong turn and the course ended up being 12.95 miles).  If I beat that, if I could keep a 1:3-:– handle, I’d be pretty happy.

But after today’s run, a tough 5 miles in what felt like tremendous heat, I’m feeling like I’ll be lucky if I finish.

It all comes down to efficiency.  How efficient is my body with the energy stores it has?

This Sunday, we’re gonna find out.

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This post has nothing to do with running. Well, maybe in the metaphorical sense, but anyway…

I was at the grocery store yesterday, working my way through the aisles when I happened upon the baby section. You know the one with the diapers, baby shampoo, formula and baby food. Every time I walk down that aisle, I rejoice and celebrate the day I bought my last package of diapers for my kids. It is a good feeling.

As I mosied down the aisle, I noticed this guy standing in front of the babyfood and formula section. He had to be somewhere around my age, prematurely grey, left hand holding a scribbled list, right hand on his forehead.

I thought to myself, I know that look.

It was the look of sheer exhaustion. I thought, That’s the look I have after running a marathon.

But then the past came flooding back to me in a very intense wave. No, that wasn’t the look I have after a marathon. This was a look of a man who had just run a marathon everyday, for the last 60, maybe 90 days. I suddenly remembered that feeling during those first few months of parenthood when a solid night’s sleep is nothing more than a wish or a fantasy. THAT is exhaustion.

I am going to carry the image of this stranger in my head the next time I am running a marathon and remind myself that exhaustion is simply a matter of degree. When I feel myself fading at mile 23 or 24, I hope I will remember to think of that guy and find a way to push myself harder – find that reserve we use during those first few months of parenthood.

I gave him a reassuring smile as I passed him. I think he was too tired to understand what it meant. I hope he eventually gets a decent night’s sleep because 10 minutes later when I passed the aisle again, he was still standing there with the same confused, tired look on his face.

I am convinced that if you have endured those early months of parenthood, you are capable of running a marathon.

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Okay, so maybe I was able to find a way to bring all back to running…

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