Wednesday, December 29, 2010


A time long ago, my mom took me shoe shopping for prom.  Now, we all know this a very stressful time for mothers.  She has her opinion and I had mine.  She dreaded shoe shopping with me.  My feet were square, wide, and the perfect rendition of any happy hobbit.  Shoe store, after shoe store, after shoe store.  My mother was exhausted.  We finally did find shoes for the prom, but it took her days to muster up energy to go shoe shopping again.  Thanks mom.
Not much has changed since those days.  I have learned to shoe shop by myself.  I'm too embarrassed to share my hobbit feet with anyone.  It took three years to decide to have bunion surgery.  Why? Because my feet were in pain.  One by one, my beautiful pumps were collecting dust.  No longer to embrace my once happy hobbit feet.  The worst of all, after the fourth mile of running, a tingling sensation to numbness was now the new reason for Aspercream.   Years of pounding the pavement had taken it's tole on these now triangular pads.
It wasn't the actual surgery that scared me, it was the long recovery process that gave me my hesitancy to go through with it.  The first doctor I spoke with told me I wouldn't be able to run for 6 months...per foot.  WHAT?  Are you daft doctor?  A year of recovery.  I don't think so.  Not many runners would agree to that.  So, I ran away.  Never to look back.  Three years later, the pain has worsen and I had very little shoes to pick from.  Next doctor.  Dr. Goucher.  I should have seen the red flag.  Dr. G-OUCH-er.  REALLY?  Ten weeks of recovery.  Then, possibly, after ten weeks, running, but could swim.  A reluctant, "Okay."
I picked a day.  December 16.  Right after an 8-week boot camp session.  It was on.  I began to get nervous.  I spoke to many people about my fears.  The fear of a long recovery.  No boot camp for months.  A widening of my middle.  YUK!!  My boot camp instructor had great feedback.  Informing me and reminding me that I was a strong person, physically and mentally.  My recovery should be quick.  Another reluctant "Okay."  A girlfriend was part of the conversation and told me about another doctor her friend was pleased with.  A recommendation was always a good sign.  I immediately called and set an appointment.   "Dr. Walker!"  Come on, do I even need to say how this is a sign from up above?  He came into the office with bounce in his step and smile on his face.  It was immediate doctor-patient love.  He said, "two weeks with the boots, and within 6 weeks; swimming." WE HAVE A WINNER!!  Aaaahhh.  Relief.  Breathe.  The clouds have lifted and I can hear the angels singing.   He then proceeded to explain the procedure with a mention of --which, in no way, ever crossed my mind---anesthesia.  A new fear. What if I don't wake up?  Oh crap!  Never mind the healing process.  I now realize that if I wake up, the healing was no big deal.
I made the appointment.  Thursday, Dec 21.  Just a few days before Christmas.  This overwhelming fear was consuming me.  What's your problem?  You ran a marathon.  That IS painful. You survived that.  You big weeny.  WoMAN up!!  The fear engulfed me like beauty pageant hair to a toddler.  It was overwhelming.  Do I write a letter to each of my children and husband?  What post do I make on Facebook telling all my friends how much them mean to me.  Where's my will? I planned accordingly.  I shopped for Christmas presents in record time.  My children were confused.  Never has mom been so diligent in her Christmas buying.  I was always the last-minute Christmas queen. I was proud of getting it done in record time.
The weekend before surgery was here.  I had a few more shopping days before Thursday.   I would use these to wrap. It was almost here, Thursday,  December 21st.  Okay, let's just check the calendar again.  Yes, Tuesday the 21st.  TUESDAY?! AHHHHG!  So Tuesday morning arrived.  Unexpected fears are upon me.  I may die today.  I  thought if I just murmured the mantra as George Bailey did on the bridge in "It's A Wonderful Life, "I wanna live Lord, I wanna live.."  It was an irrational thought but what the heck.  I did want to live.
Things happened quickly.  The IV was inserted.  Apparently, I have wiggly veins.  The clock was ticking.  I was dying soon.  The nurses assured me I had the best anesthesiologist.  What did they know.  A series of questions followed.  "Do you have any piercings?  Metal on your clothes?  Heart palpitations? A history of kidney, diabetes?  Are you on any medications?"  Wait, no, no, no, piece of cake and really, no?   Then, "Do you have a living will?"  Gloom.  I'm dead and my family has nothing.  Now would be the time to give my husband all the passwords to the bank and savings account.  What would he dress me in.  We really should have had this talk.
So, with the IV, the beautiful hospital wear, the most gorgeous blue paper hat any woman would love to jimmy around town with, I was ready for death.  Dr. Simmons came into the room to give me the dreaded, "it will be okay, let us do the driving" speech.  "Seriously, Dr. Simmons, I'm only 5' and 107 pounds. You really don't need much.  In fact I should get a reduction in price.  You might even be paying me."  His reply, "You're not going to let me drive, are you.  Let's go."  I really am a terrible patient.   I walked the white line.  It was a clean and cold room.  A cold room in every definition of the word.  "Go ahead and climb up on the table Cynthia," the nurse said through her mask.  Dr. Simmons came over, "you're going to feel a little burning sensation..." This is it.  I looked at the nurse with the blue compassionate I go...I wanna live Lord....
"Cynthia? Wake up!  Open your eyes Cynthia!"  "NO," I cried out.  Hey, wait a minute.  I'm ALIVE!! I'm running down Bailey Park.  "Hello Building and Loan, hello Gower's Drugstore, hello Mr. Potter!"
I tried reaching my arms out to give the nurse a great big hug.  She would have none of that.  Before I knew it, she was dressing me and wheeling me out of there to recovery.   My new temporary pumps.  They were as ugly as sin.  Uhg boots had nothing on these.  An hour of surgery and an hour of awakening and just minutes to get me checked out.  Hmmm, drive-thru healing.  But I was happy.  I made it.  I lived.  I know it sounds silly.   This unexpected fear surprised me.  It grabbed me by the mind and played havoc with my silent life.  But I tackled it.  I went ahead and had the surgery.  To run again, of course, played an important role in my decision.  It was a fear nonetheless and I conquered it.  My marathon complete.  I'm ready now.   Let the healing begin.
8 months later...and running stronger!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A time to listen.

iLast night as I was working on my site, my phone started to vibrate.   Thinking about it now, it's funny to me how we are so attached to our phones.  But, in this instance, I was so glad I had that little black box of flashing lights with a series of rhythmic sounds sitting right next to me.   I glanced over to read the caller ID.   I lit up, and without a thought, grabbed it.  It was my beautiful friend Christy.  Christy.  Tall, practical, level headed, and  a mother of four boys.  Her recent just six weeks old.  The noise of many voices in the background, "Heeeey," I said.  "Hey, I think I'm ready for a run." "Okay," I said.  Now, I instantly said okay, not only because I had not run with Christy in months and I missed her immensely, but it was the sound of the "I'm ready" in her voice.  It wasn't an "I'm ready" because the doctor said she was.  It was the "I'm ready" because there are four boys, in one van, talking all at once, asking a million questions knowing she could not formalate an answer to the first one while the next question is being asked.  The "I'm ready" because they wanted a friend to come over and then there would be FIVE boys, but then one would be busy, so maybe three boys, two if she was lucky. Whew!  Just tired thinking of it.  So, "Okay," came pretty easily.  I would do anything for a friend.  "Saturday?" A quick, "NO, tomorrow!  5:15 at the corner?"  "Okay, Okay."   She was quickly diverted with another busy mom and hung up.  I had been there many years ago.  Not with four boys at my feet but not having my own mind to myself.   I was excited to see her.
And so anticipating my evening run I went to bootcamp that morning.   Another friend of mine come up to me that morning. Maria.  Busy career minded mom.  Kids out of the house with an adoring husband with a life of luxury and leisure.  She just started bootcamp and had not exercised in a very long time. She had confided in me that she had had too much to drink the night before and wasn't giving her 100 percent.  I said, "Maria, I'm not always on my A game either, in fact, I'm pretty tired today.  Some days I can barely get here.  But I have learned, that if I just move it's better than nothing.  I also know I will have good days that will make up for the bad ones.  Just go at your own pace and keep moving.  You will be great!!"   She really was doing awesome.  Showing up and giving it her best.  I was proud of her and always did my best to tell her so.  After all, I encouraged her to go.  I felt responsible and I really did want her to succeed.  During core, it is always nice to chat with the ladies. Afterall, it's really social hour, right.  That day, it was.  It was nice.
After boot camp, I came home, fixed myself my usual eggs and spinach breakfast and started to blog.  I was so behind.  Now, knowing I was running this evening, I didn't plan on showering.  It would be a just waste of time and clothes.  So, I just started, buzz, buzz, went the phone.  Hmm, "hello."  "Hey Cynthia, this Lucy."  "LUCY!!," I cried out.  Lucy.  Cute, sweet, adorable Lucy.   We had known each other for years but never really knew each other.   She is a great runner.  We are about the same age, height and pace.  Okay, she's a bit faster...dang!!  We would see each other on the roads running.  We would stop for a brief pause, talk, and say we would call.  But somehow never did.  Just days ago, we saw each other again.  Changes in her life, changes in mine and finally we ran together and talked.  A new connection revisited.  And now she was calling again.  "Hey Luc, whatcha doin'?"  "Well, I was wondering if you wanted to go for a walk/run with me.  I have to take my dogs for a walk.  It wouldn't be far, they can't handle a long one."  SLAP went the laptop.  I was outta' here.  A cool 56 degrees.  All was needed were earmuffs, mittens, and a light jacket.  We met with a hug,  talked of our college kids, recipes, life's frustrations, and our next painting project.  Which has been the same project for me for months.  We ended at her house, I gave her a hug, and ran back home to my favorite song.  It was a wonderful impromptu 3 mile moment.  
Back home and warming up with a cup of tea, I sit back down to start writing again.   Buzz, buzz, buzz...again? I didn't recognize the number.  But anticipating vendors for the new business, I reached for the phone.  "Hello?"  "Hey Cynthia, it's Regina."  It came back to me.  We had had a telephone date to discuss a product and I forgot.  Regina.  I met her in North Carolina last summer during best 5k of my life.  Gorgeous, gorgeous, fitness model, entrepeneur, fitness guru, intelligent, and damn it all, just the nicest and motivating woman you could ever meet.  Sheesh!!  We talked for about two hours.  Blogging is just not in the stars today.  But becoming a rep and distributor to amazing products is.  Glory days.  I was excited.  I was diverted from blogging to new things on the net.  Like I really need to spend more time on the net.  I have a net disease.
Finally, still sweaty and sticky, it's 5 and I bundle up to meet Christy.  The temperature has dropped and it is starting to get dark.  I reach for my baseball cap with the LED lights.  I love that hat.  She must have been really excited to get out of the house, because she was pretty much at my door when I went outside.  I reached out to give her a hug. "I can't stop," she said.  "Okay," I replied.  "I have to go a whole mile without stopping." "Okay, let's go," I encouraged.  Christy is a very good runner.  I use to eat her dust.  But, of course, because of her last pregnancy, she hadn't run in a long while.  I have no doubt she will be back in the game soon.  I will have to get a leg up again.  We ran our neighborhood loop and I listened.  As we passed back by my house, my neighbor, Gladys shouted out, "Cynthia, when you come back, come and take a look at my new kitchen." "Okay."  Okay seems to be the word of the day.   We ran back to Christy's house my lights leading the way like Rudolph.  It was very dark now.   We briefly talked, she was stressed and so I pulled out a little present for her I had in my jacket.  It wasn't much.  I'm not a great gift giver, but I just wanted her to know I cared.  And I do.  I told her that she is an amazing mother.  And she really is.  I gave her a great big hug and squeezed her just bit tighter than usual.  Not only did she have a baby six weeks prior, she found out that her young 6 year old, has diabetes.  It's a lot for any new mom regardless of how many children they have.   I know that Christy will be an amazing role model and educator to us all.  I am anxious to learn all I can.  She really is inspiring.
I again ran back home looking forward to a hot shower.  Oh, but, there was Gladys.  Gladys.  Our loving neighbor who lost her husband just two short years ago.  We peek out from time to time to share our garden stories.  My stories are mostly about weeds.  She is a wise women.  So stinky and sweaty from all the day's sweat I knocked on her door.  She was happy to see me.  She showed me all her new projects and they were beautiful.  I ended up sitting with her for about 40 minutes.  It was nice conversation. 
Finally, I am at home and hubby is starting dinner.  It's been a wonderfully long day.  And now, the most amazing shower anyone could have.  With the fire blazing and glass of wine, we sit for dinner.  It's been a great day.  None of the dishes got done.  That laundry is still sitting there.  Blogging, forget it.  But the time I had with my friends this day, can never be measured.  Did I listen, yes.  Did I help, I don't know.  But I do know, I would do all over again.  Sometimes it's not about the miles we run, or the intensity of our game.  Nor the amount of sweat that makes us feel we made a change in our lives.  But, it's about the time we share with one another.  Making sacrifices for one another.  To support, encourage, and to just listen.  Because when you give, you get so much more in return!
...just thought I'd share.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

..the next step is..."Girls on the Run."

I didn’t have many role models growing up, if at all.  I was born into foster homes for approximately 8 and half years before being adopted.   I was moved around from home to home.   After being adopted, my adoptive parents divorced and I lived with my father and his new wife.  It wasn’t a very positive environment.  Not horribly bad, but could have been better.  Life was just a bit more challenging.
Not a good cycle. 
I, in no way say these things because I am bitter, angry, or sad.  On the contrary, I have always looked to the positive and, of course, to running to help me through any rough times.  And as a preteen and teenager, those can come often.  I ran quite a bit as a youngster.  It seemed to help me help myself.    I believe that it is because of running that I am so happy and have stayed on a positive course.  It helped break a negative life cycle.   No matter the situation, I can overcome any obstacle or life’s challenges through running.  Not to mention, the health of it.
I’m actually glad it all happened.  I see it as a gift to help others. I hope to introduce “that kind of happiness” to these girls.  I want to be on their side.   I would like to show them that running can bring so much positive awareness to oneself.    It can bring confidence, inner strength, independence, courage & happiness.  Also, the blessings of hard work, to preserver and endure!!  I know by being there for these girls, I am also there for myself.   It gives me a warm feeling that I can be there for children, or ANYONE!!   And one day, they will be there for some other young girl or boy.   This is a better cycle to be in.
...just thought I'de share.