Saturday, May 30, 2009

The next steps

I'll be calling a psychiatrist next week. Thank you, Vickie, for offering to ask your doctor if he knows anyone good down here. I checked our insurance & it looks like there are over a dozen psychiatrists on our plan. Yes, we have insurance, & my copay is $30 for a specialist. It won't cost that much. I'm just tired of doctors and the drugstore. It was simply an excuse, I suppose.

I talked with Mark last night, showed him the test that I found online to see if I should investigate bipolar II (AKA mood swings without mania), & I scored in the "GO SEE A DOCTOR" camp. He read the list & said he's seen these signs in me for over a year.

One of the explanations on the website I found says that antidepressants can make bipolar II worse. They can cause you to cycle through moods more quickly, as quickly as DAILY mood swings. I felt like I'd been punched in the gut when I read what antidepressants can do to you if you actually have bipolar II. It's exactly what I've been going through, getting increasingly worse.

I have NOT self diagnosed myself, even though it kind of sounds like it, doesn't it. I am seeing a doctor as soon as possible. I just did the little test & am recognizing a lot of symptoms that I didn't even know were symptoms! As in, my husband asking me, "What's wrong with you?" when I felt great & happy & silly. I just thought I was feeling good when I'd make funny comments sometimes. Apparently I can be irritating, instead of funny, when I'm like that. Turns out that's a symptom--"people think you act oddly." Who knew. This happened to me in high school a lot, too. So it's not just Mark's opinion that's skewed or something.

I have to tell you, if this is indeed what's wrong with me, I feel a little freaked out. I don't know why I think it's OK to have depression but not bipolar disorder. Maybe because of all the negative connotations that come with that word. I don't know. I just know it's going to be hard to accept. Interestingly, on the "non medication" treatment list I read, one of the first is "accepting that you have the disorder." I guess that means I'm not alone in feeling this way.

Mostly I just feel relieved that I've finally figured out I need help.

I'm praying whichever doctor I work with will respect my insistence that I will not take any drugs that cause weight gain. It looks like there are one or two medications that don't, but the rest do. I'm just not going to medication weight gain land again. Ever. God willing, I won't have to.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Hormones & the medication issue

Vickie asked on my last post whatever happened with my meds. She observed that I seem to be going up & down a lot. And she's right. I am going up & down a lot. I thought rather than just posting a response to her blog, I'd write a post here b/c I want all y'alls feedback.

So here's the recent history with my meds. I had gone up to 300 mg of wellbutrin last winter when my SAD kicked in. Turns out, that's a dose that causes severe anxiety in some people, & I am one of those people. My doctor knew exactly why I was so anxious 2 months after upping my dose, & I was relieved I wasn't suffering from a more significant mental issue.

I got off the 300 mg, started lexapro, took that for a week, the anxiety went away, but then I freaked myself out by reading story after story online about people gaining weight on lexapro. And I slapped myself upside the head and went "DOH!" (my favorite Homer Simpson quote). I gain weight on lexapro. & so I asked myself, What the hell am I doing taking it again?!

So I called my doctor & spoke with the nurse & said I'm stopping the lexapro, starting wellbutrin 150 again, and they were fine with it. I didn't have any withdrawal symptoms. & I started feeling much better, pretty quickly. It didn't hurt that it was mid-March by then and the sun was showing up more & more often.

And before you suggest or ask, yes I have a SAD light. No, I do not make time to sit under it every morning in the winter. Yes, I know I need to. No, unfortunately I do not have room at my cubicle to bring it to work. Yes, I know it sounds like I'm making excuses. Yes, I will try to do better next winter & get up earlier & sit under the darn thing.

OK. Moving on.

If you've been reading me long you can probably guess from my word choices today that I'm feeling better. Much much better. Much much much better. In a mere span of 2 days.

I do track my moods & when I'm feeling bad/better, on the spreadsheet that I have been tracking everything on for the past two years--my weight, my exercise, my running miles, my periods, my moods, my family's illnesses, my family's crises, holidays, birthdays, binges, successes, new diets started or stopped, you name it, it's on my spreadsheet.

And what I know very well about myself is that I am severely hit by hormones when I ovulate. & again right before I start my period. The ovulation hormone swing is much much worse, & usually lasts 3-5 days. I often go from feeling completely normal to being in the pit of despair (cue the Albino from "The Princess Bride") within 24 hours. It. Sucks.

My husband asked me Wednesday what was wrong with me. He'd been asking me since Sunday if I was okay. I kept telling him I was fine. He's pretty tuned in to my emotional frequency & can tell when there's something wrong. I finally just told him Wednesday it's my hormones. He asked a question along the lines that Vickie did--do I need medicine for this?

Honestly, I don't know. I don't know what the doctor would put me on to fix it, without me gaining weight. I refuse to take any antidepressants other than wellbutrin. I know for a fact my body gains weight when I'm on anything but wellbutrin, & trust me, a 40 pound weight gain would make me depressed & hormonal 30 days a month instead of a mere 5.

I don't think I need anything resembling a bipolar disorder med. I don't go into severe highs or lows. I'm not detailing the kitchen sink when I feel good; I'm not stuck in bed immobile when I'm down. Plus, I hear those can cause weight gain too. Again, completely 100% not an option.

I have xanax for when things are unbearable. I take xanax every day when I'm hormonal. It gives me a nice mellow feeling when the kids or my husband or the cat and/or dog are driving me insane. I'm sure there is more than one mom out there who has xanax to thank for not ending up on the Evening News.

I exercise when I'm hormonal. It helps, but it is by no means a cure. I feel better during & immediately after, but the emotional malaise creeps back quickly. Exercise endorphins must have a short half-life.

I have never been an even-keel person. I've always had emotional ups & downs, even as a kid I remember being very happy some days, very sad others. My mom is an even-keel person; she wouldn't know a mood swing if it bit her in the ass. My dad, on the other hand, has a history of depression & bad moods (& good moods, where he spends money on things he can't afford, & gets depressed again--this was a common theme in my childhood). I know what even-keel looks like; I know I get my brain functionality honestly.

Perhaps I do have a touch of bipolar disorder. I don't know. And if I didn't already have (literally) tens of thousands of dollars in medical costs already for me, my husband, & my daughter, I might go to a psychologist & find out. But, for now, I'm not willing to spend the time or money. I guess you could say the pain is not great enough for me to fix it. I will, someday, perhaps work on it. It's not that I think I'm not worth it--I am. It's that I'm, well, like many people, just doing the best I can with what I have.

So, that's the long drawn out story of my hormones. I don't have an answer, other than I know the feelings are temporary, & I do the best I can to maneuver through them.

I have a sneaking suspicion I am far from alone in this hormonal disorder. & I'm wondering if it will get worse as I get older. Probably. It seems most things do.

Thank God I have this free therapy called blogging.
In specific weight-related news--Who'd have thunk it, calorie counting works. I started logging my food 2 days ago (this is day 3) & already I'm down 2.4 pounds (a lot of water weight, but still). Totally old-schooling it--paper journal & a pen & a calculator (b/c I can't add up all those numbers in my head... I was an English Lit major, you know, & I don't do numbers.)
After Vickie called me on the carpet with her wise, tough-love comment, I looked online & found some information about bipolar disorder that doesn't have mania associated with it. There's a lot to read, & I've bookmarked the page. But at first blush, it looks like Vickie could be right. Shit. I need to go see a psychiatrist. I just wrote this long post rationalizing how I didn't need to see one. Oh well. No more burying my head in the sand. As Cindy says, more will be revealed.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

When nothing satisfies you

I'm having a rough time. I think it's hormone related, but regardless of the cause, I'm in a frame of mind where I feel there's a hole that I just can't fill.

My daughter's leftover birthday cake & ice cream didn't fill it. A bowl of cereal in the middle of the night didn't fill it. A shopping spree (which I have so far avoided but am lusting after) won't fill it. Even my run in the soupy air yesterday afternoon didn't fill it.

It's not an unfamiliar feeling. I've been here many many times in my life. I know I just need to wait it out & try to limit the damage I do to myself.

But the question is, how do I do that?

I've been listening to Jennifer Knapp songs on my iPod lately. She's a Christian singer, & I have 2 CD's from probably 10 years ago. (I'm not current with new music, in any genre, with the exception of American Idol.)

The past couple weeks I've run a few times with no music & just meditated & prayed. When the weather is nice & I feel good, the running prayers have been remarkable. It's amazing what happens when you don't have any TV or music or books filling your brain. That's a state I don't spend much time in.

But when I'm in a don't-wanna mood or the weather is crappy or I'm on the treadmill, I need music. So I added Jennifer Knapp's CD's to my iPod, and viola! I've got great music AND I've got prayer time.

One of her songs is called "When Nothing Satisfies You." It hit me yesterday on my muggy run that this needs to be my theme song right now. A few of the lyrics:

when it rains or it shines on this pillow of mine
i will lift up my head to the sky
so i have chance to see
where my hope has come from
know there's nothing that i can't abide

send forth Your Light Lord,
and send forth Your Truth
let them guide me to Your Holy Place
then will i go to the Altar of God
to my Joy, my Delight and my Strength

why are You so downcast o my soul?
why so disturbed within me?
put your hope in God
my Savior, my King

when nothing satisfies you
hold my hand

So there's the answer, in her lyrics.

If you've ever heard of Gwen Shamblin of the Weigh Down Workshop (one of many diet plans I have tried), you are familiar with her idea that we all have God-shaped "holes," & if we don't fill them with God, then we will fill them with other things--like food, shopping, money, sex, sleep, whatever. We fill & we fill & we fill, but we are never satisfied. Because we aren't designed to be satisfied by anything but God.

As a Christian, I can fully appreciate this idea; if you aren't a follower of God in one form or another, then you probably think this is a bunch of hooey. But I'm guessing you've still experienced that "nothing satisfies me" feeling.

Unfortunately, just because you know the answer to your problem doesn't mean everything is hunky dorey.

I'm still struggling. But at least I can name what's going on with me & try to focus on filling myself with healthy stuff instead of junk--and I'm not just referring to food.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

License Revoked

Yep, it was a crazy week. Sophie's birthday was yesterday, & we had her party on Saturday. It was at our town's children's museum & I didn't have to do a whole lot, but there was enough extra that it kept me away from my computer at night & all weekend. Plus, I just enjoyed having some "off the grid" time with the family for several days. It was nice.

But it was also not good for the scale. I gave myself a license to eat all weekend. & man am I paying for it. A 4 pound gain (which, I know, will come off quickly b/c it's mostly water weight--I can feel it in my fingers). And I haven't run since Friday. I didn't meet my 20 mile goal last week, which bums me out but I'm over it. Today starts another day to get back on the wagon. My license to eat has been revoked.

Today is busy at work, but I hope I get a chance to pop in & check on how you all are doing.

I already feel the summer-time relaxation mojo pulling me to it. I am a mere 2 1/2 weeks from vacation in St John--yes, Helen, I can't wait!

Running planned for this afternoon, probably indoors because it's rainy & muggy. But that's OK. I had a killer run on Friday on the treadmill at the gym. I think we are friends again.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Family Picture

From our "pictures in the park" session on Sunday.

I'm here, just busy

Hey guys, I'm around just swamped. Haven't had time to be a good blogging buddy lately. I peaked into some of your blogs yesterday but didn't take time to comment.

Good news is Sophie is well and is finishing 1st grade this week, and she brought home her first 100% "A+" on her spelling test yesterday. I think the ADHD meds are actually making a difference for her. Her reading skills are improving noticeably, too.

Everyone else is healthy, which is a blessing. I'm still battling a cough, which I had all last week, and as I look back I'm sort of amazed that I made myself run through feeling sort of crappy. It was one of those, "I'm not really sick but I have this nagging cough/congestion thing that makes my face hurt" deals. Just goes to show when I have my mind set, I can do just about anything.

Same goal for this week--20 miles. Yesterday I only got in 2.33 miles. I'm hoping it will be like the football team who goes for the two-point conversion--it will make the winning difference by the end of the game. We are having great weather this week, and I should get a solid run in this afternoon. The next couple days are going to be sunny, but getting hotter.

My weight is holding steady. Clothes are fitting well. I'm not losing, but I'm still feeling content with myself. It's nice. I got a great bathing suit top for our trip to St John & and am waiting for a pair of boardshorts to arrive to go with it. The shorts will provide much better coverage for my behind. We are going to spend half our days in our suits--I want to be comfortable. We are a mere 3 1/2 weeks away from vacation.

I'll write more meaningful blather later this week. Hope you are all enjoying your early summer days.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

4.5 mile slog

I did it. 20.02 miles this week. 5 running days in a row. I've not done that much running consecutively before. & I'm not sure I'll do it again--the 5 days without rest, that is. My goal was, as I said yesterday, to run 20 miles this week, & I'm notorious for doing no workouts on the weekends. So I figured I better get 'er done Mon-Fri.

But it was tough yesterday. It was really hot & humid, so that didn't help. But I couldn't help but wonder if I struggled so much because I was just plain tired of running.

I made myself stick with it. I had to walk a lot just to keep myself moving. I wasn't sore and nothing hurt (thank God), so that wasn't the problem. I just couldn't mentally get myself into making my legs run (there's that 90% mental thing).

It took me 61 minutes to do 4.5 miles, which is a crazy slow pace for me. I finally found a tiny groove after about 40 minutes (hello endorphins!), and the last mile & a half weren't pure torture. A big grey cloud blew in & brought sprinkles & wind toward the end of the run, & that helped too.

Regardless, I met my goal. And I weighed 152.8 this morning. And the kids spent the night at my mom's last night. And I had a fun night with DH & our Friday night group friends last night. And I'm having a peaceful morning by myself for a few hours while DH is at the gym (taking TWO classes--he's doing so well).

I'm basking in this good stuff right now. Ahhhhhh.

Friday, May 15, 2009

20 is on the horizon

Has it really been since Tuesday that I last posted? I guess I'm already on summer time.

I've run 4 days so far this week for a total of 15.52 miles (not that I count it down to the inch or anything). So tonight I need to run 4.48 miles & I'll hit my goal of running 20 miles this week. I'll probably round up to 4.5, just for fits & giggles.

To put this 20 mile thing in perspective, I've run four 20 mile weeks since I started running back in April 2007. One of those weeks was the Evansville half marathon, so really it's been three non-race weeks that I've run 20 miles.

So a consistent 20 mile week is a big goal for me. And it's an important part of getting ready to train for next year's marathon.

And maybe, if I keep saying it often enough & telling enough people about my plans for April 2010, the marathon will actually happen.

They say running is 90% mental. I'm working on the mental part by cementing the idea of "I will run a marathon" not "I might run a marathon."

The other 10% is physical (personally, I think physical preparation is a lot more than 10% of long distance running, but I'm just using these percentages for argument's sake).

The physical part for me started back on April 2, 2007, when I logged my first "walk/run" of 2.11 miles at 191.4 pounds.

It's hard to believe what a difference two years can make.

Happy weekend, bloggers!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Content, but not giving up

Even though I declared last Friday that I'm done obsessing about my fat pockets & have decided to be happy with my body as it is, it doesn't mean I'm done trying to make it look it's best. Does that make any sense at all?

I know my body looks better in my clothes when I weigh about 5-8 pounds less than I do now. And I know my body runs better when I weight about 5-8 pounds less than I do now.

My body still has all the same "flaws" of saddle bags, belly pooch, & thunder thighs with less weight on it, and if I looked at myself naked at 155 pounds vs 145 pounds, I'd probably have a tough time telling which was which weight. It gets smaller, but the shape doesn't change.

I see my next step on this health journey as focusing on getting stronger, faster, & fitter. & fitting into the clothes I own now for the rest of my life. I don't need to wear size 6 pants. I don't need to wear size small workout shorts. I just need to feel comfy in what I have now.

And I do, but there's not much room to spare.

So the work is far from finished. I've got a marathon to run in less than 12 months. I've got a bathing suit to wear for 12 hours a day for a week, starting on June 13. And I'm content with the body God gave me, but not ready to call 155 my end all, be all weight.

I haven't weighed since last week. I'm trying to use how my clothes fit and how I feel when I run as a guide to how I'm doing. Don't get me wrong, I'm still going to weigh myself, just being less obsessive about it...although, now that I think about it, I wouldn't have to weigh myself, would I? Hmm, going to have to noodle on this one. It might be an interesting experiment--although I'm not sure I'm quite ready to go there...yet.

Today, my skirt is a little snug. So I need to reign in my evening food consumption, which has gotten ridiculous the past few nights (thank you, PMS). & I'm kicking my running back into high gear too. Today I'm planning a 6 mile run. My goal is to run 20 mile weeks consistently for the next 6 months so I'll be better prepared for marathon training. I'm hoping the extra cardio will help my clothes fit better, too.

I like having non-scale goals for a change. It feels damn good.

Friday, May 08, 2009

A lesson from Kirstie Alley

So last Thursday I had to get new tires for my car. Apparently running on next to zero tread on your tires is a dangerous thing. Thankfully I have a husband who notices these things, because I was clueless.

Anyway, I'm sitting at the Saturn dealership at 4 p.m., just in time for Oprah. I never get to watch Oprah. I was excited I was the only one waiting so I could control the T.V. remote.

Lucky for me Oprah didn't have any sob stories on last Thursday. She had Kirstie Alley on, talking about weight loss & weight gain. Stuff I actually wanted to watch.

And watch I did. I couldn't tear myself away, it was so much like watching a train wreck. Which is pretty much what Ms. Alley is.

If you saw it, you know what I'm talking about. If you didn't, well, you won't be surprised to learn that upon quitting Jennie Craig & putting her gym equipment in her garage & not exercising or weighing herself for 18 months, she gained all her weight back, and then some.

I won't go off on how obvious it is that when you stop doing what you did to lose weight you are going to gain it all back. Instead I'll share the lesson I learned from this show, even though it's probably not the lesson Oprah intended.

Oprah put up Valerie Bertenelli's recent magazine cover in a bikini, on a big screen behind the yellow couch. Ms. Alley basically said she won't feel good about herself until she looks like the newest Jenny Craig spokesperson. & she expects to get into that kind of shape in 6 months. & she won't be happy until she can wear a bikini on a magazine cover, too. She bemoaned her hips & thighs, said if only she could have pictures taken from her shoulders up & her knees down. Even when she was skinny as the JC spokesperson, she still hated her hips & thighs. She was never good enough.

And it hit me like the weight of those 4 new tires--I am exactly the same way. I still whine about my hips & thighs. I still think I'm not good enough, not in bikini shape, not as thin as the next girl, not in the right clothing size. I still have hopes that I'll look better 6 weeks or 6 months from now. I always want more, am not satisfied with what I am now.

Until I saw how sad it looks on a woman. I felt so sorry for Ms. Alley. Couldn't she see how gorgeous she looked? Couldn't she see how strong she was? Couldn't she see that what she was doing is what she needed to keep doing & she would be just fine? She didn't have to be perfect. She just had to stick with it and find happiness with where she was. Kirstie Alley will never look like Valerie Bertenelli. & she should be freaking fine with that.

So, I resolved on that half marathon weekend that I would no longer be like Kirstie Alley. I will no longer complain about my weight, my body, my looks. I am happy with where I am. My hips & my thighs are strong & carried me 13.1 miles across that finish line. My size 8 jeans look great on me. My 34D's are sexy. My tummy pooch declares that YES, I'm a mommy.

Thank you, Kirstie Alley, for opening my eyes. I will still run, I will still eat right, I will still seek out a healthy lifestyle. But I will no longer be the woman other women look at & roll their eyes with "why can't she see herself for who she really is?"

I can see clearly now. And I'm content with what I see.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

More Half Marathon Pics

I guess it's the "let's relive the half" week around here. I got these pictures from Jen, the girl in the red shirt at dinner. She's who I ran the most fab 4 miles of my life with. The other friend in the orange shirt is Mary. Kate & I were giddy in finding out we both run in Asics. We were just plain giddy before the race, anyway. Good times, good times.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Well apparently...

I'm not alone in my "let down" feelings after the race Saturday. Several of you feel the same way about big events. & I talked with Kate today, and she didn't feel any more appreciated than I did even though her family was at home when she left the hotel. In fact, she had to go home & clean her house after running 13.1 miles! I think I'd prefer my 4 hour drive to cleaning house.

So the lessons here are:

If you feel like you're alone, stop & remember to share your feelings with someone. You are so not alone.

Only runners understand runners. Seriously. If you have a family who supports you & throws parades in your honor when you finish a big race, thank your lucky stars. Because most of us may have families who adore us, but just don't get the running thing.

Blogging friends are the best friends a gal could ask for. Really, thank you all for your kind support through all of my drama. :) If I had oodles of money I'd pay for you all to fly to Chicago's BlogHer conference this summer so we could meet face to face. (I can't promise anything, but if we have the time & money & there are still rooms available, I'm hoping to go this year. Any of you in?)

(Annimal, I have been using Advair for a month. I'm guessing it's not enough, though. & yep, I hit the albuterol 30ish minutes before the race & at 4 miles & 8 miles. I meet with my doctor on Friday so hopefully he can help me with a new plan of medication. Thanks for all your advice & info!)

Here are a couple pictures from race day, before with Kate, after with my finishers medal. (There were oodles of running skirts this year. Skirts are it, baby.)

Monday, May 04, 2009

Indy Half Marathon 2009

The best way I can describe my experience with this Half Marathon is through a movie scene.

In When Harry Met Sally, after Harry & Sally finally sleep together, Harry leaves after an uncomfortable early morning with Sally, & they both call Jess & Marie to confess that "they did it." Marie & Jess ask "how was it?" Harry & Sally say "the during part was good, but then I guess it wasn't."

That was my run on Saturday.

Everything leading up to the race was great. I had a nice drive up, listening to a book on tape. The weather was cooperative--no rain to drive through. The traffic was non eventful. I got to the hotel in downtown Indianapolis with no problems.

My niece in law Kate & her two friends met me around 5:00 p.m. EST, & we did the Expo to pick up our packets and race loot. Then we were off to a window booth seat at Buca di Beppo. Dinner was delicious. We were plenty carbed up & ready for bed at 10 p.m.

I slept fitfully, but that's pretty typical for me before a race. I was up at 5:30 a.m. (4:30 my time), but didn't feel overly tired. We all got ready & headed down to the corrals just past 7 a.m.

The weather was perfect. Could not have been more perfect. It had rained the night before, but by morning the clouds were nothing more than sunblock. It was in the upper 40s/low 50s to start the race. The sun didn't come out until my last mile, so it never got hot. And there was no wind. Perfect running weather.

I ran the first 4 miles with Kate's friend Jen, who's pace is evenly matched to mine (even though she finished 13 minutes before I did). They were probably the best 4 miles I've ever run. Relaxed, cheerful, determined, & with a comrade.

At mile 4 I needed a Gu & an inhaler hit. Jen was feeling strong so she kept going. I sprinted to catch up to her after I finished my walk break, & I did catch her but at the expense of 3-4 minutes of 8/8:30 miles, which just about killed me. I had to walk again after that, & then I just resigned myself that I wasn't going to get to run with her any longer since she was pretty far ahead of me. I put on my iPod & put my head down & ran a steady pace.

The Indy 500 race track is where it started to get tough. By the time you are done with the track it's between mile 8 and 9. I was starting to have trouble breathing, & had to do a Gu also, so I walked after the track for a few minutes. The inhaler & Gu helped get some energy back, & I did well through mile 10.

It's not a coincidence that things started to get really rough at mile 10. 10 miles was my longest training run for this race. Any time you run a distance past your training mileage (in my experience anyway), the extra distance is extra tough. I did run a better 10 miles during this race than my training run--the race results show me at 1:52:46, and my training run was around 2 hours & 10 minutes.

It took me almost 38 minutes to run the last 3.1 miles. My official race time was 2:30:02.

I sprinted at the finish line, & when I did the asthma gripped my lungs tightly & said "no way, uh uh, you aren't getting away with that one." I immediately started wheezing & struggling to breathe, & for the first time actually felt pain in my lungs when I tried to breathe (thank goodness the inhaler brought quick relief). This, mingled with the achyness in my legs & feet and the overwhelming sense a person gets after running a long distance, brought me to tears.

It's a long walk from the finish line through all the post-race stations: medals, water, cookies, fruits, chips, pictures. And I had time to pull myself together before I met the other three girls. I called Mark to let him know I'd finished (he wasn't home, though, so I left a message) and called my mom to make sure the kids were okay (they were, but she was up to her eyeballs in kids so she didn't really have time to talk).

After hanging out & comparing our dissatisfaction with our finishing times (seriously? are runners ever happy with how they finish a race?), we all headed back to the Westin to shower & go home to our respective families. I was the last to shower since I was driving home & didn't have anyone to meet me right away.

And this, dear friends, who have stuck with me through this indulgent whine fest, is where I lose it.

I didn't have anyone to meet me right away.

While I was waiting for my turn to shower, Mark called me back; he'd been at the gym working out that morning. I'm sure he congratulated me enthusiastically, but honestly, I was so tired & my brain wasn't fully functioning yet, I barely remember our conversation.

What I do remember is how Kate had 4 congratulatory phone conversations with her family members while in the hotel room. And how Jen's family saw her cross the finish line and were in the hotel afterwards taking pictures of her. And Mary's husband and kids were driving the car around to the front of the hotel to pick her up. They were all off to Derby parties that afternoon.

I was off to the mall to have a solitary lunch & a 4 hour drive home. By myself.

And here's the rub.

I told Jill how excited I was to be able to do something BY MYSELF. Running affords me the pleasure of ME TIME, it's true. I love being able to get away from it all & do something just for me. Getting out of town & not having anyone slow me down was a big deal (my husband is notorious for not leaving on time). I loved the girls' night we had on Friday before the race.

But I learned a huge lesson with this race. After you do something you've spent months planning for & training for & thinking about & dreaming about, you want the people you love with you to celebrate your accomplishments. You want to be hugged, congratulated, made to glow with their approval & awe. And you want this to happen soon after the accomplishment. Not hours & hours later after a painful drive home of 5 hours instead of 4 hours because you had to stop so many times just to keep yourself awake & from cramping up too badly.

By the time I was home & my mom brought the kids home, my run was old news. It was on to the kids' needs, the hubs' needs, the house's needs. Life, it seems, moves on even when you run 13.1 miles in 2 and a half hours.

Sunday I posted my results on Facebook & got an immediate hit of WE LOVE YOU & ARE PROUD OF YOU. Several times, actually. I love the love from Facebook. I didn't have it in me to post this yesterday--I was exhausted & didn't even get a shower on Sunday--but I know you guys will show me the love, too.

I know all this. I know I'm lucky beyond measure & I need to get over myself. And I have.

The during part was awesome. But then it wasn't.

When Harry Met Sally has a happy ending, of course, & I've got a happy ending too. I feel good about finishing my third half. Yes, it was my slowest half of the three, but I'm (almost) over it. I know the why's of the pace. I can work to improve. That's what runners do, after all.

And more than anything, I'm thankful I learned this lesson now, instead of next year when I try to run a full marathon. I may have to drag all of you with me to Nashville next April and we can have a big party afterwards so I don't have to check into the mental ward from marathon let down.

Yep, Nashville. Country Music Marathon. April 2010. A runner's gotta have a goal. Nashville's mine.