Ok, so I’ve been thinking about this blog post for a while. I’ve written it, edited it and revised it in my head at least 6 times (and usually between the hours of 12-2am). My birthday was this past Friday and well, I’m now another year older…
Whenever my birthday rolls around I try to reflect on the past year – in my personal life, my business, mistakes I’ve made and things I’ve done right.
Last year on my birthday I told myself this would be “the” year for me. I was in Cleveland (by myself) for my birthday…and well, I could have never expected the year I’ve had.
I lost friends, I gained friends.
I saw one of my dearest friends get married (and she’s pregnant now too).
Lots of friends have had babies and lots more are expecting them now
I’ve made mistakes but I’ve learned from them…I truly believe there is a learning process to every pain or disappointment we go through.
But for me, the biggest change is I have a life again. I know many of you who will see this know about my migraine “journey” and what I’ve been through. While some of you don’t know the extent, it was an 18 year battle for me (and truly I believe it was a battle to get through this and somehow I came out on top). Yes, I spent my birthday last year in Cleveland – but receiving Botox treatments in my temples, only the start of what would soon be my migraine surgery (if you are wondering, the surgeon is Dr. Bahman Guyuron at the American Migraine Center).
A surgery that saved my life.
I truly don’t like to think of where my life was going, how bad things had gotten for me, for my husband, and for our family. I know the daily toll it took on every aspect of my life.
And now I have it back.
And I told myself that I would make the most of it, and never take for granted waking up feeling GOOD and strong instead of in constant pain, just wishing for the day to end so I can hopefully sleep for a few hours without some level of pain.
I had my surgery on March 15 and I was set to run a 1/2 marathon the day before. It was to be my first 1/2 – having only started running in October 2009. Seriously…I never ran more than 1/2 a mile (at most) prior to last October. And while I couldn’t (for obvious reasons) run that 1/2 – I told myself I had to do more that spring to get myself back into running.
I had my first post-surgery run 3 weeks after surgery. It was short but good and I knew I would be fine.
I then tried to find any race I could to get me back into things – but in the south we don’t have a lot of summer running races (good thing). But what I did find was the Ramblin’ Rose series. A super-sprint triathlon, an all-women series. I registered for the Raleigh race which was only 8 weeks post-op for me.
I was hooked. While the weather was HORRIBLE that day (I didn’t even get to swim, I did the duathlon) – I knew I had to do this again. So….that’s where it all goes from there.
I’ve raced in 3 states this year – Wisconsin, S. Carolina and of course, N. Carolina. By mid-December 2010 – I will have completed 10 races in 12 months.
I completed the entire Ramblin’ Rose series (5 races: Raleigh, Rock Hill (S. Carolina), Winston-Salem, Charlotte and Chapel Hill), I’ve run 2 5Ks (Oshkosh, WI and Chapel Hill), 4K trail race (Pumpkin Run), a 7 mile upcoming trail run in early December and of course, my 1/2 marathon just completed yesterday (serious thanks to the incredible Fleet Feet training program, our awesome trainer Natalie and my very wonderful running partner, Penny Noell).
I can honestly tell you, out of all of those races – the one that meant the most to me was the shortest – my little 4K trail run…because I did it with Madi. And I’ll never forget us starting out, talking, running, having the most amazing time together. Her telling me it was “awesome” and the “best day ever” for her (granted she says that about a lot of fun things). But really, it was knowing I COULD do it, and be fine. Knowing that a year ago, I wouldn’t have even considered anything like what I’ve done this year.
And I’m not special. I’m not super-human. I don’t have these powers that make me balance 75 things at once. I just appreciate everything and every day I have now. I see my seriously amazing husband and appreciate and love him more than I ever have. He has done so much, been so patient when I was sick…he is truly remarkable (and now of course he is the most supportive partner I could have ever asked for). I appreciate every giggle, laugh, gleam, scream and squeal that comes out of the girls. I love that I can finally be that strong person for them, what I’ve always wanted to be. They took care of me a lot when I was battling my migraines, and finally I can fully care and love them like I should and will.
So if you get through this, thank you. I know I can be a bit wordy and have a tendency to go on and on. But seriously…know that if I can run a 1/2 marathon, truly anyone can. You just have to want it bad enough.
Thank you everyone for all your support and love and kindness through this past year. I can promise you this next year for me is set to be even better!