SUPERWOMEN WILD THING
“I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself, a small bird will fall frozen dead from a bough, without ever having felt sorry for itself.” D.H.Lawrence
I first laid eyes on this quote when I was about 16 years old in high school. Health problems started to occur, accidents, and challenges. My hopes and dreams were instilled in my heart and if I didn’t let anything get in my way, it wouldn’t. Fast forward to today, 6 surgeries later or so.. I find myself struggling to keep up with the world as most people do at the age of 37 and with at least one child. Those hopes and dreams get harder and harder to achieve, life gets in the way, you start listening to all the negative talk others have to say, but determined, you dig deep, popping your head up above water for one more breath. After all, you aren’t superwomen, you are human.
Although I’m flattered some people think I am superwomen, I am only human. I encounter the same challenges as many of you do, health problems, mom and wife struggles, injuries, DNF’S in my races…you name it. My faith gets tested, I lose friends, clients and I wonder if I’m doing what I should be doing, what God put me on this earth to do, and if I can possibly continue doing it! I can be forgetful (a lot of you too have thyroid problems and know exactly what I’m talking about “brain fog”), cold, stubborn, and downright exhausted.
But then, I go to my “spot”. You know, that one place you can go to hash it out, dwell on it, meditate, and even maybe hear from God? That spot for me is the mountains, the trails, the woods and more specifically the Steamboat area. If you don’t have a “spot”, you should really consider finding one. Then spend some time there when you can or even when you can’t, make the time, it will make you and your overflow more positive. It will help you see clearer, bridge the gaps between you and your goals, and most importantly reflect on your self-worth. AND YOU DO HAVE SELF WORTH.
So where is this coming from?! Well, let’s go back a few months to the New Year. On January 3rd 2019, I had my 6th surgery, a thyroid removal and parathyroid gland repositioning. As some of you know, I’ve struggled with thyroid disease my whole life (although I didn’t know it or wasn’t diagnosed with hoshimotos until I was 32) and then more recently finding that I also have graves disease. The combination is a roller coaster ride you do not want to be on, and controlling it with medicine is not even really doable. Yes, I do suggest those with thyroid issues try to be very diligent with their nutrition specifically gluten, dairy and soy free! It helps and helped me somewhat. Ultimately after a few miscarriages, the doc and I decided it was time for my thyroid to come out. With my thyroid gone the docs thought it would be more easily controlled just on one medication, although I would have to take that medication daily for the rest of my life (Synthroid).
I woke up from surgery and immediately felt a difference. Even through the extreme pain of my parathyroid gland being moved and stitched into what feels like the side of my damn esophagus, my head felt 30lbs lighter! Within a few days I really felt great! But then, it tanked. I could hardly get out of bed most days (despite 3 dogs barking at me and my kid kicking me), my face was so puffy, my brain was so foggy again, and I started a downward spiral of depression, hopelessness, and fear. Fear that I wouldn’t bounce back from this, fear that I couldn’t keep coaching, running, or even being able to take care of my kid! I begged, yelled (no really.. I tried to stay calm but.. eh.. only human right 😊 ), with the doctor. This wasn’t working it had been a few months, my levels were so so so low.. tsh at 11 (so this is high it’s supposed to be 0-2 not more than 4 but with tsh high levels really mean you are very very low low low energy etc).. she increased me a touch, and I used the mind over matter technique. Just push through, drink more caffeine and sleep more (because the 12 hours a night I was sleeping just wasn’t enough).
I kept fighting through my workouts, training for Istria 100, hopeful the small dosage increase would be the trick since the doctor was so confident it would be. I got through my workouts, although they were much slower than ever, I told myself it was the snow, mud and rain. Then a few days before I left for Croatia, I get news, my TSH is even higher, my a/g levels (heart, lung, organ function are now in the red zone)…really I thought?! And once again, the doc calls with a SLIGHT medication increase. At this point I’m furious…how would one think a slight increase would make that much of an improvement especially if it’s continuing to move in the wrong direction and especially if I’m feeling like BEEEEEP!?
Well let’s hope the increase would get me though Croatia’s 100 miles of rugged, rolling hills terrain. What else could I do but think positive?
After 2 long plane rides, shuttles and walking to our first hotel at 1 am throwing our suitcases over highway barriers, Anna and I finally arrived in Umag, Croatia.
Sitting on the hard bed at Hotel Melia’ (nice place but hard beds 😊) I screech, “NO WAY, No freaking way!” Anna asks me what’s wrong and I’m stunned. “This has to be a joke,” I say. My email stated that I never took a drug test and that I could not run Istria 100 the next day. It turns out, one of the companies the race works with provides a pool of clean athletes for race directors to choose from, however…they do so by springing this on them with only one email notification. I fired an email back with my concerns and confusion. The guy on the other end responded immediately, stating that I hadn’t taken the drug test they required and that they had sent me an email back in January to notify me of it. Really? I thought. So of course I went back to my emails to see how I could have possibly missed this and surely there must be some mistake and certainly this was joke because why wouldn’t a company like this give you an actual phone call?! Nope yeah, it was there, went right to my junk email due to it’s foreign language contents (at first I thought I put it there but it automatically filtered because even this first words were: Dear Sir or Madam.. and then went on in French or something.. ) so UNFAIR!. .
And although I could have felt sorry for myself, I was pissed and there was no way I trained as hard as I did and took 2.5 days to get there not to race! Determined, I contacted the race directors and officials immediately to see what could be done. I was relieved when they contacted back saying I could use one of the labs in the area in the morning of the race to get tested. However, I would not hear back until 1am which lab, where to go, or what I needed. Furthermore, I would not know the directions until a few hours after that and what time I would need to wake in order to make it. Therefore, I did not sleep but a few hours before the race ☹ ..but who needs sleep!?
Completely stressed from the morning’s events, I boarded the bus to the start line (another 2 hour drive), patiently waiting to hear if I could actually run the race or not. I do NOT dope, my only hesitation lied in that I just had my thyroid removed a few months ago and of course the thyroid is responsible for like EVERYTHING and knowing things weren’t functioning right before I left it made me nervous. My levels were fine, I passed and I could race. Now I would use the little bit of bus time to try to rest before the start.
The weather was less than ideal. Although I’m kind of sick that way and like it 😊 The gun went off and so did we, winding our way through the woods and over wet, slippery rocks. My energy wasn’t quite there, but I fought the funk. Running my way over the mountains and through the sideways blowing snow, darkness fell upon us. Using my black diamond head lamp, a name and light I’ve always trusted, it would not disappoint, until… it did. It shut off, blacked out, did NOT WORK, and I took a hard fall over the technical terrain. That was weird I thought, and then it happened again, this time descending a muddy, rocky, rooted mountain, I took another hard fall this time hearing some popping in my lower leg/ankle. I pulled out my Black Diamond ion (although not that powerful very light and a great back up light).. it too did not seem to be working well, EVEN THOUGH I CHANGED THE BATTERIES RIGHT BEFORE (ironically, I also brought a 3rd light which worked at home in the states just fine but for some reason did not work once I got there).
I held the ion in my hand because the light was so dim the closer I got it to the ground to see my steps the better. Cruising into the aid station, I realized that as I was tumbling down the muddy mountain side, I actually passed second place female (although I didn’t recognize her because she had poles and was with a male pacer…two things you cannot have at RRR 100 in the states and two things I admire not having!). I quickly changed out my batteries again, consumed some chicken broth and was on my way… boom! LIGHTS OUT AGAIN! This was ridiculous. I did not fall this time, yet was able to get my one head lamp to work on the blue light setting (which obviously sucked in snowy, white out, muddy conditions but it was something!). Further up the road I would fall again, but that fall did something that would knock the ion on to high beam and I was able to proceed with that. Unfortunately, damage had already been done with my lower leg, just as I passed the first-place female, we hit a downhill and I took a face plant in the rocks. My ankle and fibula would take the grunt of it again and this time I could not get it back to functioning. I used my “tool” (graston wave tool that works awesome), I used rocks…but from what I could tell, my fibula head slipped out of place. I tried jamming it back in, it seemed to kind of work but only be halfway “in”. I could go uphill, but downhill was completely intolerable and it just kept giving out. I was so disappointed. I did not come this far to only run half of the race! So, I trudged on, dragging my leg along as I pathetically walked.
One by one the ladies would pass me. Anna was the 4th, I was so excited for her and didn’t doubt for a second that she couldn’t win this thing. I tried to encourage her but the cold air would cause damage to her lungs that wouldn’t be resolved until she got treatment back in the states. My night and day would end at Buzet, the 55 mile mark. Not what I expected at all. By that point I was convinced I probably had some stress fractures in the lower leg too and that would be highly probable when I got home as well since I was doing okay, but when I tried to walk or especially run, by fibula head, ankle, and foot would throb so bad later on it would keep me up at night. Despite seeing my chiropractor immediately when I got home for him to put the fibula head back in its place and adjust anything else. As much pain as I was in, I stilled enjoyed the time I had on the trails there and of course with my friend and client, Anna. Life is certainly about adventures and what you make of them, so as soon as I healed, I was off to the next one, but not without doubt again.
The week I got home, I was hit with some rough calls and emails that once again had me questioning what I should be doing. It would be so easy to just give it all up. Give up my business, coaching clients and friends, running with them and creating community, but I wouldn’t and I won’t, unless I feel God is telling me too. He’s not. At least from what I can gather. I received and overwhelming amount of support and love from numerous clients, new clients, new friends, new supporters as well as all those who are not only my clients, but who have become my true friends. Accepting me for my imperfect ways, understanding that I too have challenges, make mistakes, and that I am not superwomen. I’m so grateful and blessed for the opportunities that God has given me, ESPECIALLY the opportunity to create a supportive running community, hell, really just an extension of my family. I love you guys #RUGGEDRUNNERS!
God would again support my effort in racing. I finished 2nd place this past weekend at Quad Rock 50 mile, just finishing up healing from the Croatia adventure. And although it was a last minute decision to actually run the race, I was so grateful I did because (from what she tells me), I helped Nicci get to the finish line after 3 years of trying. Major congrats to her for never giving up, not on herself, me, or the race (also a shout out to Melissa Hoskins who joined in at the 25 mile distance and made it look easy). Thanks to the Jasso's for bringing the boys down (by boys I mean they have 4 boys- Amy is a superhero!) to support us fellow Rugged Runners as well! Funny how if you just stop for a second and listen, you can sometimes get an overwhelming feeling to do something that just maybe God telling you to do it!
So what now? I’m excited to be seeing a new sports doctor tomorrow who will be over seeing my endocrinology stuff so I can better live life! From there I am supposed to ride Bailey 100 mtb mid June, but regrettably, I may have to skip that one. I will be trying to hammer down and get my wheels going to aid rugged runner Anna Hailey on her journey to obtain an Olympic Trials Marathon time. My main focus will be on Leadville 100 mtb in the fall as well as RRR 100 once again 😊 Ultimately, just health, balance, peace and happiness in whatever way I feel that is possible.. and that is typically with other Rugged Runners, Wyatt, Maya and of course my 3 furry babies!