I’m ready to share my Studio Run App review.
You will heal. I will help.
Pain is not weakness leaving the body, and I completely, 1,000% loathe that saying, “Pain is weakness leaving the body.”
The strongest, hardest-working man I have ever known is my Father.
Until this whole Cancer thing came about, I didn’t know that in his life – his whole life, he had not taken more than a couple Advil at a time.
I saw him in pain each summer after working in the heat (he’s a mason) and being completely depleted of electrolytes and dehydrated.
Until now, my dad rarely went to the doctor because when he was sick or in any kind of pain, he just dealt with it.
All day, every day, for as far back as I can remember, my dad has worked hard each day – physical labor, with barely a peep out of him on the complaint train.
If you want my honest opinion, it’s one of his greatest strengths, but also a weakness.
I was working out one day early in January. It was a hard workout, and I almost threw up. While in the thick of it, I heard that phrase run through my thoughts, “Pain is weakness leaving the body.”
I told my mind to shut up because that was the dumbest saying ever associated with fitness. It was painful, not weak.
Shortly after that day, I spent a day at the VA with my mom and dad. It was the day in January when my dad was supposed to start chemo, but couldn’t due to dehydration. The first thing they had to do that day was to hook him up to an IV to get him hydrated. The problem was that they couldn’t find any veins. I sat with him in the room for about 4 rounds of them poking and prodding his arm with a long needle for several minutes at a time.
The look on his face was one filled with pure pain. I could hardly stand to watch it because it looked excruciatingly painful. The Ultrasound team had to be called in, and ultimately a vein was found, but the experience prior to was miserable.
I started thinking more about that awful line about pain and weakness, and now I knew for sure how horrible it really is.
It wasn’t weakness leaving my dad’s body. It was just simply pain.
The idea of connecting pain and weakness, or even pain and strength, is an odd correlation.
The pain inflicted on my dad throughout this whole journey has nothing to do with any weakness being omitted from his body. There is no weakness in my dad.
Today Dad starts his second round of chemo. Based on the first round, we know that the first several days are not good. I have zero clues about how Dad really feels because, no matter what, even at his worst, he rarely says a thing or complains.
He is incredible, and I mean that in every way possible!
On Friday of last week (last week was his chemo “off” week), this was a 2-second conversation I had with him,
Gotta keep out of the house today. – Dad
You’re not tired? – Me
Not on my good week. I gotta do shit. – Dad
He helped my uncle, went with Ryan to the dump, played cards with us on Saturday night, and even went to 8 am mass on Sunday.
And today that all changes again.
The IV will go in, and chemo will continue for the next two weeks.
Pain, but absolutely not weakness.
p.s. Amelia Boone also agrees with these thoughts.
p.s.s. Pictures + colorings compliments of Katie. She’s the best.
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If there is a topic surrounding change that you would love for me to include in this series, please just CONTACT ME.
I just finished Jess Allen’s Train Like an Athlete 6 Week Training Plan, and I promised to put together this Train Like an Athlete 6 Week Training Plan Review post for y’all.
My second Brazen Trail Race held the theme Trail Hog Survival.
Around mile 9, I overheard a guy say, “It’s just survival at this point.”
I really could not have said it better myself.
Don’t let these next two images fool you. They were taken before the race when I had no clue as to what was ahead!
Let’s set the stage for all of you who do not live out in this area of California or who have never run in the mountains and/or run in general.
The temperature that morning during the race was 103-105 degrees. Garmin told me total distance covered was 13.7 miles. The website said we would climb 1,800 feet (though a guy I know told me he recorded upwards of 2,200 feet).
Unless you’ve done a race like that, it’s hard to imagine exactly what that combination would feel like. I had zero clue because even the day before when I knew what it was going to be, I thought it wouldn’t be that big of a deal.
I had two goals for this race coming off of my first trail race ever, and that was to beat my time (since the overall climb was less) and not stop for pictures, water, food, or anything else.
Not only did I not hit either of those goals, but I was far from hitting them.
This race took me about 10 minutes more to complete, and I had to stop at the last aid station for probably a good 3-4 minutes because I needed electrolytes and some salt stat.
The race started fine….for about 2 miles, and then it all quickly went downhill. I won’t even for a minute pretend that I “have no idea why” because throughout the entire the race all I could think was, “this could have been prevented” or “there is no way this could have been prevented.”
It broke down (literally) as such with 5 main things….
I’m proud of the finish, although it was a tortoise pace for me, and not for reasons you might expect. I’m proud because of that tortoise pace.
The ambulance had to come, and I saw people on stretchers. I saw a man on the side of the trail (over 1/2 a mile from the aid station) who was in very bad shape and had to wait for medics to get it. Ryan told me people were dry heaving at the finish line. Others collapsed upon finishing or had to be rushed off for quick medical attention.
I could have run faster, but it would not have necessarily been better or stronger because it would have taken me out of anything physical for quite some time.
My health has been so great for such a long time now that I didn’t want to put myself in a position to ruin all the hard work I’ve done for a race like that where it was more survival than setting PR’s.
Shortly after the race, a guy I know messaged me, “Well I really hope that you don’t let this one race discourage you from any of the Ultras.”
Nope. Not stopping. Not even for a moment did I think I’d never do one again. In fact, I got home and within 24 hours had signed up for the next…..Goonies on October 21 with a 13.1-mile course and gain of 2,734 feet. With less than 7 weeks to go, I’ve got a lot of training (and sleeping and eating!) to do. The training strategy for these next 7 weeks includes more overall weekly mileage, at least one day a week on a trail or hill somewhere (or at the very least a hard running, not walking, session on the treadmill), a full day of legs, and WOD’s to fill in the gaps.
Did I mention how much I love, love, love trail running? Even in the awful heat, and even though I have to refer to this race as the Trail Hog Survival race, I had so many moments out there saying, “Thank you, God. Thank you for all the beauty in nature you have created.”
Because it really is something incredible.
Where are my trail running friends at?! Have you ever a run a race in heat like this? How do you structure your weekly workouts? What has made the biggest difference for you in getting better, faster, and stronger on the trails?
Here it goes….why are we blaming fitness for infertility?
I wasn’t sure I wanted to have this conversation, but after reading yet another article on the topic this past weekend, I couldn’t help myself, and since infertility is part of this blog, I felt like another viewpoint should be shared.
Last week I got my female monthly friend on cycle day 28. Yes, exactly on that day. It has been this way, now, for about 6-7 years. I never skip a beat. Every single month she arrives somewhere between day 27-31, and more often than not exactly on day 28.
Now that we got that out of the way, here it goes….
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Recently, someone I respect and love dearly sent me this article, “Fitness Made Me Infertile.” She prefaced it by saying that she had gone back and forth with whether or not to share it with me. She did not want to overstep, but said that because she knows I always read both sides of all things parenting, food, fitness, etc, she wanted to share in case I was interested.
I wrote back to her, and even though I’m sure I shared far too much than she maybe cared to have me explain, it was a great exercise for me to think critically about all angles.
I began by telling her that many stories like this are starting to come out now, and I believe they started once my friend Tina bravely came out with her own story that went viral. You can read it here. Tina stopped everything cold turkey – all the running, ate all the things, and then BOOM – got one period and during that cycle she got pregnant. You can read about that here.
In a nutshell, for 9 years Tina didn’t get a period and was an elite runner. She made a lifestyle change and instantly got pregnant. So the proof was in the pudding, the results, right?
But hold on.
In another article (the one that was sent to me), the writer states, “I’ve been facing this fight for 9 months now and my battle is not yet over.” During these 9 months, she has done, “No exercise. Minimum of 2,500 calories a day. Rinse and repeat.” Ehhhh….so maybe the proof isn’t in the pudding?
Or then again, maybe it is. There is yet another side.
Finally, I stumbled across this article, “Can You Be Too Fit to Be Fertile?” In fact, I actually know (at least of) the girl, Ashley, who wrote it. In her post, she writes that she “reduced her high-intensity workouts in half, increased body fat and dietary fat intake, and became a believer in Eastern medicine.” She states, “My story is unique, because I didn’t have to give up fitness to get better. I just had to make enough lifestyle changes to put my body on the road to recovery — and in the process, I learned an entirely new, hormonally healthy way to live, which I’ll maintain moving forward, especially after welcoming my first baby boy later this year.”
So there you go. Ashley is also proof, well, kind of sort of maybe…..because did you see? She didn’t have to give up fitness altogether to get better. She made lifestyle changes, which ultimately says that perhaps maybe it wasn’t solely fitness that caused her infertility.
Three different article headlines which say (in a nutshell) fitness causes infertility.
But why are we blaming fitness for infertility?
Do you want the truth?
I loved all three articles because I can find brutal honesty, real life, and the truth sprinkled throughout the words written.
And yet, I hated all three because I felt sad for every single “fit” woman who is reading these articles and feeling shame, guilt, disgust, or any other negative emotion about herself when the truth of the matter is that it’s pretty hard to pinpoint the one thing.
I know women who are….
After I received the initial article that was sent to me, I wrote back to her stating….
I thought about all of this for quite some time when Tina Muir told me she was pregnant. It made zero sense to me (how she got pregnant so quickly) because, if you want to know the truth, for most of my life I struggled with all the things the article discussed. It’s not really a huge secret. I allude to it here and there, but the year before Ryan and I got married it hit an all-time high, and for 9 months I also lost my period. So I stopped doing so much, ate more, gained weight, had ZERO abs (especially when I was doing IVF) and even then, it didn’t matter. Like the girl in the article, I was then also diagnosed with SIBO and other things. I was my own demise. And I stayed with those awful thoughts of being my own demise for a few years until Samarah came along.
Some days I think (and have told Ryan on numerous occasions), “Maybe I should just sit around, eat all the things, and stop working out.” But for me, it just doesn’t make sense. I don’t eat all the things (because of gluten), but I eat a lot, and never have forbidden foods (except for the things that don’t make me feel well) anymore.
That said, I cannot, for the life of me stop working out when it’s something I actually love, eat to support (um, hello, just ask my husband what we eat on a daily basis and most especially post-races), and get my period on a 28-30 day cycle. And oh, by the way, I’m still in TOTAL SIBO remission.
Here’s the deal, friends…..deep down, I will always believe that my past could have led to the inability to conceive. But I don’t, we don’t, and doctor’s sure as heck don’t, know that for sure. The IVF doctor I worked with never once mentioned “fitness” was my cause. In fact, to this day I work with both gut and hormonal functional medicine doctors and neither have ever alluded to “fitness” as my cause either.
Women are out there right now who don’t (yet) have their Samarah, Isaiah, and Amiya happy endings and they are reading that fitness causes infertility and plagued with guilt when the whole truth of the matter is that fitness might not be the thing making them infertile. On the flip side, a lack of fitness or healthy lifestyle might also not be the thing making them infertile either.
I remember an episode of Sex and the City when shortly after Charlotte (finally) got pregnant after trying for so long, she stopped running. She was afraid that running would cause her to miscarry, so even though she loved running dearly, she stopped…..until her friends helped her understand that running was not going to be the thing that would make or break the pregnancy.
I have never forgotten that and what I want you to know is that if you are “infertile” and “fit,” but you’re engaged in healthy relationships – with yourself, your husband/partner, friends, and food (it all matters) – then you don’t have to feel like fitness is the thing. You don’t have to feel like the way you are living your life is the reason.
Now that we have our babies, it makes no sense to do anything other than live life. I am fit. I am “infertile.” But I feel happy, healthy, and blessed beyond anything my wildest dreams were made of.
Please make note: I am not in any way, shape, or form alluding to the idea that over training, under eating, and engaging in poor relationships as a whole aren’t major factors in infertility. You know if you are over training, under eating, and engaging in poor relationships, and my hope for you is that change is imminent. This post was for those of you who enjoy working out, are “fit,” but eat sanely, get a period, and have beautiful relationships with yourself, your husband/partner, friends, and food.
Have a bucket list? Don’t yet, but want to make one? You must add, “Hiking Yosemite” to that list.
Before Christmas last year, I decided I was going to make 2017 the year of being unafraid. In that blog post I mentioned, “I have been afraid of heights my entire life, so we are entering the lottery to hike Half Dome.” We convinced my brother, JJ, to enter the lottery with us as well. We all got pretty excited about the possibility, and for Christmas, he bought me this book, One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome.
I entered us in the lottery when the time period opened up, and shortly after the cutoff (on March 31, 2017), we got an email saying that we were not selected in the lottery.
Like a stab to the heart.
I messaged my brother to tell him the news. He thought I was joking…..”ha ha, good one, punked, right?”
But no, I was not joking. Of all the dates we gave as options (all of which, by the way, were during the week so we would have a greater chance of getting selected), we did not get selected.
This tells you, and told us one main thing – it’s a huge feat to accomplish Yosemite’s Half Dome, but maybe even more than that, hiking Yosemite is highly sought after.
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We told my brother to still book his flight and come out. We would hike Yosemite – some piece of it – for Ryan’s birthday on Friday, July 28.
We left around 7 am that morning without much of a plan. The only thing we knew was that we would have about 5-6 hours to hike, and we wanted to climb as much as possible during that time.
Upon arriving (just a couple hours later – we are literally 1-3 hours from every single incredible thing California has to offer!) we made a pit stop to ask advice on what trail to do.
Based on what we were looking for and the time we had available, Glacier Point is what they recommended. Both Ryan and JJ had looked that hike up prior to going, and it was one they were interested in any way.
According to the National Park website for Yosemite, Glacier Point is a strenuous hike. Now that we have completed it, I will say that would be 100% correct.
We did the Four Mile Trail, which is 4.8 miles (7.7 km) one-way. The park says each way takes approximately 3 to 4 hours to complete. As I mentioned, we did it in about 2-2.5 hours each way.
The climb is around 3k feet in elevation, and even though that’s “only” the amount of elevation I climbed at the Bear Creek Half Marathon last weekend, the 3k climb to Glacier Point was much more intense. Why? Because we climbed that much in less than half the distance of the half marathon.
Essentially, once you start the incline climb at Glacier Point, you are going straight up for most of the walk. The heart rate gets ridiculous but with the increase in heart rate and elevation also comes the increase in stunning views.
We climbed and climbed, and did switchbacks galore (which is the worst part for me – in both hiking, trail running, and driving), but eventually, we made it to the first main stop and lookout point.
And it was stunning.
By this time, we were all pretty tired already, but had come so far and could not wait to hit the top.
So we kept on going.
During that last hike to the top, a man stopped us and said, “Hey, I don’t want to alarm you guys, but right ahead, on your right is a Rattlesnake. He doesn’t seem vicious, but wanted to let you know he’s there.”
Heart. Stop. Immediately.
There it was, my #1 fear. JJ looked at me and smiled.
We kept going, but a few steps ahead and it had already retrieved to a hole because these 2 kids were trying to get at it. (I mean, for real? It’s a Rattlesnake! Why on God’s green Earth do you want to try to see and entertain it? I. Just. Can’t.) Anyways, JJ dropped a Google marker on his phone so we would know the spot when we came back down the hill. We never did see it, and funny thing – just like the Bear Creek Trail Race last weekend – you don’t actually need to mark where a Rattlesnake is at. Truth is – they are everywhere. These places we seek adventure are their homes. Onwards….)
Shortly before reaching the top, we all started craving weird foods and drinks. We were hungry and thirsty like crazy. Go figure! I wanted soda (yes, seriously – I have a soda like quarter to never, but my body needed fizz), and that was not normal. They wanted tons of trail mix.
And then it happened. We reached the top!
At the top of Glacier Point, there is a store and tourist area (if you don’t want to hike it, you can take a bus up to see the views). We grabbed food and drinks, then went to sit and enjoy every last thing about the views.
Pictures can never do these views justice. During our hike, I commented on this aspect to Ryan and JJ. I told them that that’s why I could never be a landscape photographer. While I feel like people and food photography can be very descriptive and depictive, I never feel like images from views like this are able to tell the full story. It’s just impossible.
I sat up there, overlooking what seemed like the world and all I could think was,
God made everything so incredible, so beautiful, but my fear has hindered me from enjoying creation for years.
And then of course, “Now I get it. This is just the beginning.” (Side note: If you read Brazen Trail Racing, I felt this same thing all over again.)
Eventually, we hiked back down. If you want the truth, the hike down is far worse than the hike up. It’s steep, and it was the downhill, not uphill, that left my legs aching like crazy the rest of the night.
Once we reached the bottom, we enjoyed our walk back to the car. JJ had gotten a water filter, so he tested that out.
Ryan took pictures of me so he could get this man in the background to highlight the true beauty of hiking Yosemite 🙂
And when it was over, all I could think was, “When can we do it again?!”
If we had more time (or the next time we go), I think we’ll do The Panorama Trail, which provides a close-up view of Illilouette Fall and panoramic views of eastern Yosemite Valley before joining the Mist or John Muir Trails down past Vernal and Nevada Falls. That hike is about double what we did – 8.5 miles one-way.
Finally, I thought I’d share a few practical things for hiking Yosemite.
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