Saturday, May 27, 2017

Spring Flings and Superheroes

May is such a busy, busy month.  I can remember, well before I had school aged kids, all the moms telling me how chaotic the last month of school before summer was.  Let me tell you......they weren't lying!  Whew!

Both of the girls had their end of the year programs and I had so much fun being the Momma in the seats.  I don't think there is anything quite like seeing your child's face light up when you walk through the door and she knows you are there to see her.  So so special.

Lily's school doesn't do a Kindergarten graduation ceremony and instead they do a music/picnic day.  Bob was out of town for Lily's performance, but I made sure to show up with camera in hand.  

The teachers gave all of us parents a 5 second window to get up close and take their picture.  I couldn't help but snap one of the whole class.  I feel like this picture represents Kindergarteners fully. Lily and the little boy in front were all about my camera.  Too cute.  

Her music was special and so much fun to watch.  After her little performance we had lunch out on the playground and it was a perfect way to spend the morning.  I got to take Lily home early too so she and I got some extra 1 on 1 time.  Holy Cow........Lily is in FIRST GRADE now!

This ball of joy was next and OH. MY. WORD. are preschool shows the BEST.  Evie has been singing this song about superheroes for the past month and I have been anxious to get the whole thing with all the words.  I think my favorite part of her practice sessions has been:

....I will defend your city, rescue a kitty......
.....I have super powers, super strength and super speed......(motions included)
.....I can be a superhero and stand up for what's right.....any day or night!

It's been a daily highlight for me.

Can't you just hear her?  They did this awesome song about their body parts and then a great song in Spanish about colors.  I am not sure there is anything more entertaining than watching a bunch of 3 year olds attempt to sing in Spanish.  

Of course, in true "my kid" fashion, at 6:30 in the evening we got the huge yawns and the eye rubbing.

Which didn't last long when she and her buddy got into a who can sing louder contest on stage.

Much like Lily, Evie is a friend to all....and a little bit of distracted trouble.  Gosh I love that child.

After Evie's show we had cookies and played with her best friend Hayden.  These 2, they are a force in this preschool.  Both Tiffany and I have ended up in the principal's office on more than one occasion this year.  AHHH second borns.

She stopped moving for one measly attempt at a photo with me.  This is really the best we got.  It's okay....It's Evie.......and I love her.

She even got snuggled by her amazing teachers too.  

As the sun slowly fell lower we ended the night and began the closing of Evie's first year of preschool.  This little girl has grown so much this year and is hands down one of the most fun and smart little kids.

It has been a busy month and I still have yet to share about their actual last days......but watching them participate with their class and their schools was such a blast of warmth to my heart.  My girls have got incredible community and their village loves them well.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Beyond IRONMAN: When the Aftermath Starts Subtracting

I am finally at a place, with some answers in hand, where I want to share some stuff.  For the past couple of months I have been relatively silent on posting much in regards to my athletics, training or pursuits.  I have got some stuff going on and I have fought against the reality that I may not be actually made out of IRON.

IRONMAN was big.  It was so big and such an all consuming focus.  When it was over it was weird.  Really weird to just be .......done.  I had a rhythm and focus.  I had a schedule and had not deviated from it for near 15 months.....and it was just over.  It was weird and hard and I didn't want to let go.  The easiest way for me to cope with the feelings I was dealing with was to instantly cling to another big goal....well 2 point in fact, qualifying for Boston and IRONMAN Boulder 2018.  I could "rest" for a little bit, but maintaining a schedule for the future races became my focus. My husband desperately asked me to stop.....not stop exercising just stop being so rigid and constantly looking forward to the next workout.  The push back was big and I was hit with the magnitude of what my family went through last year. I stepped back and just started focusing on running.  Lets just qualify for Boston, only plan 4 workouts a week and step back, sleep in and be present.   It was working........then my body started screaming.

About 2 months ago some symptoms that I have wrestled with for a while started becoming more pronounced.  As my coach started increasing my speed workouts I started seeing a bunch of breakdown in my body.  I chalked it up to mental break and didn't pay it much thought, but my body literally started screaming at me.  The worst has been my gut.  Its miserable.....all the time.  I never know what is going to sit well or what is going to cause problems.  My tummy was miserable constantly and between bloating and bathroom, I dreaded my running.  Speed and tummy trouble are the worst.  I didn't feel good.  I have wrestled with stomach issues in the past, but it was getting progressively worse.

I started noticing that I was  tired all the time.  I didn't and still don't sleep well at night.  I'm restless.  My pre-menstrual symptoms are awful.  Depression, anxiety, intense food cravings, fogginess and irritability.  I'm a girl, I've done this stuff for a while, but its worse.....way worse.  I am forgetting things and have complete brain cramps in conversations.  Something isn't right.  I just don't feel good.

So I decided to start with my OB Gyn.  I set an appointment and sat on her table hoping for some help. After listening to me for about 5 minutes, she casually pulled out her prescriptive pad and gave me a 3 year prescription for Prozac.......not even kidding.  No bloodwork, no tests or internal analysis, just a depression pill script and a sweet, "It's okay honey, take this and you'll feel happy again in no time."

I AM NOT A DEPRESSIVE!!!!  Don't get me wrong, if I am truly depressed, I will take it, but seriously?  I just did an IRONMAN......I am a mother of 2 young children......I am telling you my guts hurt.....and you give me a script for PROZAC?  No other investigation?  You aren't even interested in what is going on internally?  Just get my brain happy and problem solved?  

Thank God I am a smart woman who has the brains and the means to realize that is the wrong answer.  I chucked that script in the trash and got a referral to a Naturpath, MD.  I need someone to listen and do some more digging.

Over the past month I have done extensive testing and question answering including blood tests, urine tests, temperature tests and some others.  My new doctor has been thorough and practically laughed herself off her chair when I told her about the Prozac.  "You may have a lot going on internally Bethany, but you don't need Prozac!"  Thank you Jesus.

I went in for my follow up a week and a half ago and now have some answers.  The short (ha who am I kidding......this isn't going the be short) of it is that I am okay, but YES I have many internal things that I need to address.  My adrenals are very, VERY fatigued which is causing the bulk of my problems right now.  The adrenals help us manage stress on our body and when we are constantly pulling from the bucket they fatigue and cause a host of problems.  I drained them last year......and then jumped right back into high stress.  My body whispered for a while and then flat out decided to scream at me....STOP THE DRAIN BETHANY!!  My stomach is not digesting food well right now so I have proteins in my urine and could drink 120 oz of water a day and still be dehydrated.  My system simply isn't working well and its finally come time to address the stress.   We don't know if it is related solely to the adrenals, but I clearly have food sensitivities/allergies which will have to be addressed as well once we get the adrenals working a  little better.  

None of this is life threatening or athletic career ending, but the reality is body needs to rest.....and recover.......and not have to put out for a while.  How long?  I don't know, but I don't want to rush it.  The stress of having big goals looming out in front of me is stressful so I am having to take a big breath and say the thing I have been afraid to say.......I gotta put my big goals off.  Not forever, but for the foreseeable future.  

I wasn't expecting to be here right now.  In fact, I thought I would be all geared up again by now, ready to push hard to the next goal.  I'm not, but neither is my family.   It's been rather freeing to embrace it.  I can still do all the races I set out for myself this year, I just don't have to be fast and furious.  I am re learning the art of listening to my body and doing what feels right instead of what I feel I have to do.  This should be fun.......and at the end of the day none of it is worth doing if it makes me feel sick.

People keep asking me...."Did IRONMAN do this to you Bethany?"  The short answer is "no."  My dream didn't do this to me.  The longer answer is, "but it absolutely contributed to the drain," how could it not?  That was some hard stuff.   Really hard.  The biggest contributor, however, was my own expectations of myself.......the incessant need to be DOING and the fear of failure that ultimately has taxed my internals.

So, qualifying for Boston is off the table this year and will be for a while.  Another IRONMAN, while it may be in my future, won't be next year.  I need to stop and reinvest in my health and family.  Life is too short to be tired all the time and my girls will only be little for so long.

Our bodies are magnificent creations and amazing machines, built to do incredible things, but they aren't unbreakable.  I am thankful it screamed loud enough at me and that I have a wonderful support system, an amazing Coach and a Doctor who are all helping me work through the healing and letting go process.  Its time to focus my energy anew and find my inner strength again!