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Hi new Loop! I had fallen out of the Loop for the last year or so. Its been a long year. Plus I haven't been running. But the energy of this new space is exciting and I'm hoping I'll keep coming back to read and post regularly(-ish). This year has been...rough. The biggest thing was last November my dad was diagnosed with cancer. I spent about 5 months driving 40 minutes to the hospital almost every day to see him. I'll spare everyone the details but he quickly got worse and died in March. That was much faster than any of us expected and it was really hard to watch my dad go through everything before he passed. And just not something I was prepared to go through in my late 20s. Since then I've been learning about how grief affects me, so that's something. Grief is hard and confusing. But for some good news, I got married in May! That was fun, except when it started pouring right before what was supposed to be an outdoor ceremony. But it still turned out just fine. Also Charlie just forced himself in to the guys photos because he's just one of the guys obviously. It is my favorite. We went on a low-key honeymoon and then I really started getting back into working. I was lucky enough to do minimal work when my dad was sick. I could not concentrate on grad school and my boss and advisor were very nice about it. This has definitely pushed back when I'll probably finish my PhD but that's ok. This summer I had a few good months of working on my getting my first first-author paper out (its still not out though). Lately work has not been going great but just gotta push through and hope things get a little better soon I guess. My mental and physical health have also not been great. I'm working on it. Been going to talk therapy and been seeing doctors trying to figure out the physical part. Doctors appointments can be quite frustrating but I won't go into that. So that's the main things. Oh plus my dog Charlie tore his second (out of two) ACL and had knee surgery almost a year to the day after the same surgery on the other knee last year. Really weird coincidence. So the recovery added some stress that is finally dissipating since he is getting closer to healed each day. And he is all out of knees to tear so fingers crossed he won't need another surgery for a long time. And so my running partner has been sidelined since July. I've tried to start running again a few times but each time the runs were mostly horrible, being pretty out of shape and having extremely tight calf muscles. I stopped each time after a handful of runs when my foot would start feeling too tight, since PF is what stopped my running way back in the summer of 2015. I've been keeping up with my stretches and exercises and rolling my feet recently trying to keep that at bay! Last week I went to the running store in town and got new shoes. I liked them better than the new version of the shoes I had been wearing. Since then I've done a whole 2 runs (well run/walks with lots of walking!) So I've got a good streak going . But the best part is that my legs have not felt nearly as tight with these new shoes! Could be extra stretching too but I also have worn the shoes for a few of my daily dog walks and my calves are much less tight walking the hills around my house! I am liking these shoes! My plans are hopeful but flexible. In the last 2 years I've done I think three 5K's, not all-out by any means. My last big run was the slog that was the 50K at Bandera. That feels like so long ago. I miss doing stuff like that. I would love to be able go slog in the Texas mud for hours right now. My run on Saturday was in perfect fall weather, 50-some degrees, bright blue sky, and it went well. Afterward I was standing in my backyard and it seemed like so many beautiful fall days in years past when I would be running 20 miles to train for a marathon, or getting up before the sun to go run a trail race. I want to get back there. Or as close to that as I can get. I'm not exactly the same person I was when I joined the Loop. Running brings me joy but will probably not be as big a part of my identity as it used to be. I'll see where my body and my schedule takes me. Maybe I'll only have it in me to run short distances and I'm hoping that after so long away I'll be able to appreciate being able to do that much. But who knows maybe I could fit in running a half or farther. I'll just have to wait and see!