Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Continuing to Run

I have recovered from my whirlwind trip to Connecticut and all the travel pains that accompanied it. With the Rock n Roll unlimited race package for 2013 staring me in the face, now is not the time to lay down and say, “I’m tired.” I know running enabled me to endure a 7-hour surgery and it allowed me to do laps around the nurses’ station after my hydrocephalus subsided. My constitutionals were never long enough and I needed to go for multiple laps. I know that my running got me out of the hospital quickly (as quick as you can count 13 days) and also enabled me to do a half marathon 6 months after surgery.

Like many, there are days that are difficult to throw off the covers of the bed and get up and run. Still with these difficulties, I need to get out there and do it. The more I do it, the more I am reminded how good it feels. And the more I do it, the easier it is. (The repletion and muscle memory are key here.)

Recently, I was back at a favorite local park. I did the familiar exterior loop of 1.3 miles and saw people I met years ago when I first started running. We gave the familiar running, “I remember you wave” and continued on our personal journey.

One thing I enjoy while longer runs is what I can see. Not only did I get to run through the familiar dappled shade (Yes, there’s dappled shade in Los Angeles County) I was able to see soccer matches and children riding bikes with animal helmets. I usually find something fun to look at or admire on these runs and I’m looking forward to future runs where I can see more.

While building to longer runs is a great motivator along with my need to get back into marathon shape, I have never had such a need to get out and run as I have recently. When the alarm goes off, I’m excited for the run, and I must let that excitement carry me rather than being weighed down by negative talk of tough miles. Tough miles, struggles, anything must be endured & learned from before you can really have fun and soar.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

An Election Day Run

While building to longer runs has been a great motivator along with my need to get back into marathon shape, I have never had such a need to get out and run as I did today. Knowing that I needed to be at work by 9 and my polling location opened at 7, a morning run to my polling station to get my vote on and beat the pre-work rush was in order. My polling station is probably half a mile away from my apartment, but taking a detour on my way allowed me to get in just over two miles. It was not a long run by any means, but I learned some important things about myself… I’ve been cutting myself too much slack when it comes to morning runs. Sometimes I over-sleep and say, I can’t get miles in; it turns out I can. I knew this before and have even mused on it, but the run today was a big shake and wake you up, “hey, Lazy Bones- get up and run.” I also see that the time I waited to vote is longer than it takes me to run a mile, so I can log more distance before work.  The more time I spend running in the morning, interval runs, distance, etc, the faster I get and eventually, my pace will be steady, and I can set a PR.  Tomorrow for part of my morning routine? Three miles.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Friends Say The Darndest Things

Getting back on a training schedule remains difficult. I am past the point of excitement training for my first marathon and past the need to prove that the brain tumor has not altered my life. What remains is the phantom love of endurance running. The difficult journey is getting back to that and just laying down those first weeks of slow painful miles. My running will not improve if I don’t attack it with the same intense desire as I did when I started long distance running years ago. Soon, I won’t have a choice.

Distractions and excuses for not logging miles abound. My lack of focus on running continued when my mom came out for a recent MRI, and ended shortly after. On the way home from my MRI in San Diego, I took my mom to a friends’ housewarming. Besides showing us their wonderful first home. The husband convinced me it was a good idea to invest in the Tour Pass for the Rock n Roll Race Series for 2013. Yes, for one price, I can run as many marathons, half marathons & 5ks that are associated with the Rock n Roll Race Series.  Quick math tells you this is a good idea because entry fee for each race is nearly $100 and with four races being 300 miles or less from Los Angles, it’s money well spent. Besides the interest of cardiovascular health, nothing is a great motivator like spending money on a race. I’ve already dropped out of one race due to lack of training; I don’t intend to do it again.

Before committing to the Pass, I should have taken stock in who was advising me of the benefits of unlimited races. My friend is not just a hobbiest…. He and his wife are running a half marathon a month for 2012 and they are discussing doing 13 half marathons (13.1 miles) for 2013. I should have realized his sound advice could be problematic. But, taking a step back, it no more insane than just deciding to run a marathon. To many, setting out to run for fun already boarders on crazy, so I guess weather his advice was sound or not is a mute point since I may be a little crazy myself for loving long distance running and harboring the need to get back to running 20+ miles a week. Next stop- Pasadena Half Marathon in February, with a possible January half in Arizona thrown in.

My doctor was so pleased with my December 2011 MRI, he postponed my follow up to June and then he had to move me to September. (All this is quite a delight since in August 2011, my case was brought up for consult to the tumor board for more surgery.) We were cautiously optimistic about the September 2012 MRI, but we were not expecting the results we got. Without the benefit of big Pharma, the residual tumor that was a worry is gone! My MRI looks like God went in with a Dust Buster and cleaned that sucker up.  Now that the tumor is gone, my doctor is more adamant to track my food. I had been keeping a traditional food journal, but that was proving depressing and I felt too much like a lab rat. BUT, I have been keeping a journal on my iPhone through MyFitnessPal, which feels more trendy and less cumbersome. Recently learned to export my food and exercise journal I keep on to a document I can convert to a PDF and give to him every 3 months.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Personal Worst

There is nothing better to kick-start your drive to really buckle down to stick to a training program like going to watch an endurance race.

On the weekend of October 12, 2012, I took a redeye home to Connecticut to see my brother-in-law kick butt running his first marathon at the Hartford ING Marathon. His calmness before a major race was amazing, and I believe it is due in large part from his experience running track for a Division 1 college. Navigating some of the logistics of any big race held us up & my sister and I caught clothes as he stripped while he slowly sprinted to the start. (Mind you he can do a sub 7:00mi and my sister and I feel good if we do an 11:30.) He got to the start & ended up having to jump into the 4hr coral, which was a full hour slower than where he should have been.

My sister & I, along with my niece (in the jogging stroller) sprinted to the 5k start. The gun time was the same time as the marathon gun and despite it being less than a block away, by the time we got there, there was not a runner in sight. We were so late the volunteers were already rolling up the starting mat. They were kind enough to plug it back in so we could have the official chip time. There is nothing more demoralizing than starting a race and having to stop to ask for directions. Well, there’s almost nothing. It become more demoralizing when fast people showed up. Now, we really felt like we had gone off course. We kept going & finally found an officer that told us, “Yes, the half marathon and 5k briefly share the same course.” We continued slowly, with some trepidation until we saw another “runner.” Well, she really wasn’t expending that much energy while going up the hill.  My sister leaned over and said, “let’s pass her.” So, she, I, and baby scurried up the hill. When we continued past the crest, we saw more 5kers. We weren’t going fast, but we pushed forward. My sister and I never wanted to walk a race and we never wanted to finish last; it looked like at least finishing last was a possibility.

We continued to maneuver through walkers. Our guts were a little upset, but we bypassed the porta-potties. (For me, in larger part this could have been a result of my travel problems and the accompanied stress eating and feeding my mostly-vegetarian body turkey sandwiches.) We were slow, but we didn’t want a worse time.  Our end almost came when we saw a Dunkin’ Donuts and actually discussed how great a coffee and donut would be on this 47* day. We concluded that would just be giving up too easily. We finally stopped at some porta-potties that were literally in the path of the race course. We did our slow turtle run to the finish, passing walkers, cell talkers and texters. It wasn’t a great race, in fact, she and I each dubbed it as our Personal Worst. Somehow, despite our bad start, walking a little, and our extra-long stop at a porta-poty (somebody had to wait with the baby) we passed and beat 87 people! 

We had time to get back to the finish to go cheer on her husband who finished his first marathon in just over 3:19, despite cramping up at mile 22. From the leg cramps he got, it’s a miracle he was able to still do so well. It’s still too early to know if he’s going to do another marathon just yet, but from talking with him after I am reminded again why I fell in love with the sport of endurance running. Despite the fatigue and pain (and wall), reconnecting with the race makes me want to stop giving myself outs for running and "Just Do It."

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Time of My Life

Two elite students crashed my first Cha-Cha class. My instructor was struggling juggling teaching Beginner and Intermediate & I was simply struggling. The female took over the Beginners while the male took pity on me and gave me a near-private lesson. For one particular move, he told me to pretend like I was walking. I did as he commanded and then he chastised me, “you wouldn’t walk like that!” My response was simple, “I do. But, this could be why I trip on my own feet.”  This remark actually worked well and made me much more conscious of how I walk! 

With my dance experience with my Guatemalan-ex, Salsa was relatively easy. My  biggest struggle came on a Thursday when I worked a 12-hour day earlier that week. Despite having my prism glasses to help keep the double vision at bay, the further we got into the warm-up, the worse the vision. I sat down until it subsided. Still feeling crummy, I had to excuse myself and go home. According to an article published by Johns Hopkins, double vision is a common problem among children and adults who have diseases that also affect balance.

 For some later Cha-Cha classes, Nadia Eftedal herself was our instructor.  She saw I still couldn’t put everything together and she broke it down to bite size pieces that I could digest and hopefully remember. My dancing skills are not for lack of trying, I simply couldn’t get it. Growing up in a remote area of CT, dance classes weren’t prevalent, so I couldn’t build on something I learned when I was younger. YouTube wasn’t helpful; after showing the basic step once, instructors went on to more sophisticated moves. The best I could find were Dancing With the Stars videos but even without the benefit of having an instructor there to guide you, you were lost.

Which brings me to the title of the piece— I have a lot of favorite films, & “Dirty Dancing” is one of them.  Around the time of my lumbar puncture when “brain cancer” was what we weren’t talking about, I had to have what would become one in a series of MRIs. An MRI tech offered to pump music into the machine for me to help the time pass. This particular day was on the heals of Patrick Swayze’s death. “Time of my Life” came on. In the MRI I remembered I was supposed to stay still. I managed to put a cork in my emotions, but I have never before or since been filled with so much rage. Rage at what I had (at that point was mid-grade cancer) and rage that Patrick Swayze had an amazing career and here I was cut short from doing what I was designed to do. It took me a long time to get over this. I’d change the dial when the song came on. I hadn’t even watched the movie since the surgery. AND here, struggling with the Cha-Cha, the only place I knew I could turn to with specific dance moves was “Dirty Dancing.”  I cued the DVD up to the exact scene where I knew I could find Baby, Johnny, and Penny. I saw the rhythm and what their frames looked like… since the story wasn’t going for instructional dance video and it was about them, the camera didn’t focus on their feet, but I felt it. I watched other scenes and saw different styles of dance, THAT I WAS LEARNING being incorporated into the now iconic dances that Baby was doing!

I still have not watched the film in its entirety since surgery and/or enrolling in dance classes. I haven’t heard Time of My Life in its entirety. But, just taking classes has helped in my daily life with balance and posture. I have a different kind of confidence.  I don’t intended to become a professional dancer, but having this new skill is fun and I intend on building on it. Now that I have another thing crossed off my “To Do List,” what can I add to help me continue to grow?

Friday, September 28, 2012


When you have to undergo emergency brain surgery at the tender age of 30, friends and neighbors share surprising things about themselves; health secrets that are hidden from anybody outside immediate family are suddenly revealed. I felt privileged to be allowed into this area of their lives. Now, we are members of a club where we stared death in the eye and/or beat the odds to come out cleaner on the other side. The surgeries we had and the maladies we suffer are not important. What I found interesting, although not surprising, is, now, we have lists. Many call their list a bucket list, made extra popular by the Morgan Freeman, Jack Nicholson film of the same name. As much as I love and respect those two actors, I refuse to call my list a Bucket List. I am not dying any more than the next person. I have friends that call their list a “Leap List.” That does not ring true to my core either because I don’t feel like I’m taking a leap of faith to do anything on the list. I simply want TO DO. And for me, that is simply the most true name. It is “Life’s To Do List.” I always had a list running in the back of my mind like an unobtrusive program on your computer (or breathing). You don’t think about it. It’s simply there. But, shortly after my surgery, I set forth to create a list, and do it well. I researched the types of life lists people do and what they put on them. These items jogged my memory of what I wanted to do and then sparked my inner desires, and I elaborated. Soon, I had a spreadsheet. The list has been taking shape over the last year and a half.  My “to do” now has a date next to the left when the idea was conceived & a date to the right when I complete the activity or adventure.

One thing on my To DO List is to be a better dancer. I had several styles of dance on the list. When one of the Daily Deals on Living Social was ONE MONTH OF UNLIMITED DANCE CLASSES AT NADIA’S RHYTHM ROOM I jumped on it. I purchased my deal & this month, I was finally able to cash it in.

Let’s remember, I have limited rhythm. The limited rhythm I do have is thanks in part to an ex-boyfriend who was Guatemalan and a gay college friend who taught me foundational moves of club dancing. Fast forward to December 2010- I must have surgery to remove a cerebella tumor.  Since the cerebellum is the root of movement and balance, having it disturbed from tumor and surgery presented balance and coordination challenges.

I wanted to sink my teeth in and go all out, but after over-indulging in Victoria, I quickly decided if I danced every day, I might have a small breakdown, so I decided to keep it “easy.” My first day in class was the Cha-Cha. Here too, I saw a challenge I didn’t anticipate… double vision while dancing. Not knowing what to expect, I was glad I brought my prism glasses. While most take glasses off for physical activity, I ran to my bag and put on my glasses to prevent excessive double vision. I knew this next month would present a unique challenge, but I wasn’t going to back down.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Two Weeks Travel

Totem Poles @ Stanley Park,
Vancouver, BC, Canada
I have returned from a whirlwind trip to CT, Seattle, & British Columbia. I’m not quite settling into normal… The normal I have had is not the normal I am pushing myself to shift into. I still desire to get back to running several times a week. I need to remind myself of what Sherry Lansing said during my college commencement, “you can have it all; you just can’t have it all at once.” I am certain that she was not figuring brain surgery or any kind of health set back. Set backs and bumps in the road are expected. It could be seeing Jeff, or it could be the talk of commencement speeches, but it makes me recall high school. The valedictorian was a mutual friend of Jeff & me. In her speech she told us we would have bumps in the road. She spoke of the pet goat who was neutered & on the same day of his operation, was hit by the lawnmower & his horn was cut short. Despite the goat withstanding these traumas all in an afternoon, he lived a very full & vibrant life. She encouraged us to do the same.

2-hour sunset kayak tour
I doubt the goat was concerned about shifting his paradigm to something more similar to the life he had before surgery. I know I am not the same person I was when I had surgery. Priorities have shifted- most for the better. While not fully enjoying the demand for sleep, I am making it more of a priority. Needing to stay active is also a  priority. This need is not driven fear to be fit for the next surgery. It is driven by joy & the pure ability that I can do it. I like being able to run 10 miles & I LOVE the new coordination I have because I don’t have the tumor pressing on my cerebellum.

While traveling in the Pacific Northwest, I was outside every day & walked everywhere… likely 3-5 miles a day. I never quite grasped the metric system until I took up running & because of it, I could assimilate & speak in kilometers when talking distance. The bike ride around Stanley Park was 10k (6.2 miles) & the round trip distance from my hostel to the breakwater in Victoria was roughly 5k. I probably kayaked 3k in Victoria harbor (with Kelp Reef Adventures) and my Vancouver walking tour (including a trip to Lynn Canyon) is an estimated 6k. The hike with Jeff through a path in the Cascades just outside of Seattle was 7.2 miles. I was never at a shortage of activities & even though I gained 1 lb, my clothes fit better. (I’m hoping that 1 pound is muscle, not pastry/ice cream/coffee.)

Lynn Canyon Suspension 
Bridge. Next time, Capilano
Suspension Bridge
I'm back home and it's time to get back to reality. Instead of 8-10+ hours of activity, I am 8-10+ hours behind a desk and wheel of the car.  I need to shift again and carve out time to exercise. Also, as Jeanette at Soloma Fitness has been reminding me, I need to build in activities throughout my workday, particularly because I have a stationary job. Small stretches, leg lifts, etc, will keep me in better health. Jeanette is also the reason I keep a carafe of water on my desk to drink through the day.

With the strength I have built from vacation travel and a focus on "some distance is better than no distance," consistent long distance will become normal again. (The dance classes I start next month should also add a fun cardiovascular activity while helping cross another thing on my to-do list.) 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

From The Road....

Summer is here and that means Summer Olympics, but more importantly summer hiatus. Hiatus is that time when our production office closes for a much-needed break. In the past this has meant flying to visit family, usually coupled with ample downtime in Los Angles. By downtime, I mean cleaning & organizing mixed with time with friends.  This year has been very similar, only with a slight variation… my niece was baptized (so now I’m a godmother) and I’m traveling! Once emerging from the woods after surgery & not too far after my first post-surgical half marathon, I made a TO DO LIST. I do not accept the term “bucket list,” and have actually renounced this label. A “To Do List” is so much perkier and far more accurate, especially because I am not dying any more than the next.

After spending a few short days in Connecticut, it was off to the Pacific Northwest. What originally was going to be a quick 8 day trip quickly blossomed into a full fledge adventure. The more people I spoke to, the more I was encouraged to maximize my hiatus. I spent the first 2.5 days in Seattle visiting a friend I’ve had since I was 11. I stayed with him (Jeff) and his fiancé- we walked nearly everywhere. I thought Los Angeles was fit, but those in Seattle have us beat.  Seattle has hills that rival San Francisco, & I’m told the winters are milder and a good hike is a short car drive away.

Jeff has always been a tremendous supporter of mine. Despite me being shy through all of junior high and high school, Jeff was there. Had I been brave, I would have opened up, but even opening up to friends was difficult. When I was in the hospital, Jeff was one of the first friends to reach out, show support and give me rounds of the encouragement I needed to heal.  I am so happy that even though we live in different states we have become closer, and I am no longer afraid to discuss things that friends discuss.

Lake Serene in the Cascade Mountains
When Jeff has had to travel to Los Angeles for business, he has made a point of reaching out to me & making sure we connect. I have been looking forward to being able to see him in his neighborhood. Jeff and I were on track together- and I knew that he had become an avid hiker.  I only knew about the Olympics in Washington, mainly because of the National Parks series that Ken Burns did. When I suggested a hike in the Olympics, Jeff countered with a hike in the Cascades, where we can spend more time on the trail and less time in the car.  After sleeping in and a breakfast of pastry from Bakery Nouveau, we set off for the tail head. The air was crisp and as is customary with Seattle in August, it was clear. We hiked 3.5 miles in past moss-covered trees that looked like something out of "The Dark Crystal," past a waterfall where Jeff startled a hiker so much, she screamed for a solid 2-seconds, and up numerous flights of stairs. One would think the stairs would be no big deal, but after trying to maintain balance on slick rocks crossing rivulets and having moderate double vision  (more from the amount of visual information I was trying to process and less from fatigue) while trying to keep your footing quads and glutes were aching.  Jeff, who stands nearly a foot taller than me and has more hiking experience, did not lead us at any break neck pace, & made sure we had time for water and rest our knees. Still, I thought we hustled, but it took us nearly 3 hours to reach our destination of Lake Sere. And, serene it was. We dined on turkey sandwiches on fresh baguettes, taking in the beauty of the lake and the surroundings.

Like most endurance activities with friends, it always is a time to be introspective and share things you may not necessarily share in daily life. It was comforting to talk with Jeff about the successes I’ve had and share some setbacks I’ve experienced. As Jeff has always done, he gave the encouragement and reassurance, all in the right doses… reminding me that what I’m doing to stay in shape & stay positive. Staying positive is sometimes easier said then done with the incredible residual shrinking and growing brain tumor, but getting out in nature with friends and getting the blood pumping on a run or hike is a great way to bring my mind back to being thankful and living life to the utmost fullest.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Unexpected Progress

It feels like all I’ve been doing is go to work, come home, have dinner & go to bed. It’s not a rut per se, but it has been an ugly cycle.  I have desperately been trying to shift my paradigm back to the more active always-productive Sarah.  Try as I might, I on a plateau with a massive vertical wall in front of me. I’ve searched for a finger & foot-holds. I found some, but when I would climb, but no matter how much progress I made, I lose my grip & slide back down.  People constantly grow & build on skills. When we are tested, it may feel like we’ve experienced a setback, but we’ve actually made progresses because we are a stronger individual than we were prior to gaining the new skills.

Looking back on the enormous energy I expended after surgery to do simple things like get out bed & sit in a chair or shower by myself, the me of today is proud of the me from 18 months ago. But, today, I would not be satisfied with such a mundane existence. I now look for other ways to push myself. Despite these humbling benchmarks, in the day-to-day & week-to-week of living, seeing progress is difficult.

Last week I took advantage of my office closure & had a follow-up appointment with my neurologist on Monday. She administered the standard neurological tests. We started with fine motor, then it was on to gross motor. I walked a straight line, then walked heal to toe. She followed up this malicious examination by having me walk on my tippy toes & then lean my weight on my heals & walk like that. She proclaimed since my last appointment I improved remarkably. I thought she was being kind & even joked when I wobbled on one of the tests that walking a straight line has always been tough & my friends tell me I can’t pass a sobriety test sober. She qualified her remark by noting I had better over-all balance & body control while having a more steady gate. Still thinking she was full of shit, I thanked her graciously had some girl talk about weight loss & then confirmed I my 6-month follow-up.
On Thursday, still thinking she was full of shit, I went for a bike ride. Despite having tires that were a little soft, I noted how much easier cycling was since the last time I road, (which is pushing 3 months ago). I rode to the Chandler Bike Path from my apartment & then the entire path.  (This is a round trip of 10 miles.) Like I did on my first long bike ride, I passed Buena Vista & gave a wave to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center & my caregivers there. I road to the end & & enjoyed the accomplishment as I drank my water.

On my return, I was tired & unsure if I could make it back. I figured more air was in order. I found a NAPA store with a mechanic. He did not accept my offer to purchase air; he just gave it to me. He even got fancy & took out his tire pressure gauge.  I thanked him profusely & road away. Filled with air for my tires & confidence in my heart for my accomplishments, I knew I could make it home. I’m still not setting the world on fire, but my Garmin Forerunner GPS tells me my speed has increased, & I know additional speed will come. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Non-Linear Recovery. So Be It.

Paramount's Famous Bronson Gate

I don’t know why it always comes as a surprise when I move in a linear progression with recovery then something happens and I am quickly reminded that recovery is NON-LINEAR. When I was younger and wanting to get into “The Biz,” I gorged on books and read countless examples of how one can achieve the position they want, and sometimes the position they have wasn’t what they expected. Sherry Lansing, former CEO of Paramount Pictures was an actress and even played opposite of such legends as John Wayne. She climbed her way to the top in what one may say an unconventional fashion. I loved her when I was younger, and I still respect and admire how she has paved the way for women in entertainment and what she does philanthropically. She is one of many who sidestepped their way to the top.

When I moved to Los Angeles, I interned on a one-hour drama… some of the writers took traditional routes of PA to writer’s assist to writer, then there was the writing team who started off writing video games and then turned one of those games into an animated series, and then they eventually were writing for TV shows.

Non-linear advancement is germane to the entertainment industry. Many will give you an anecdote of how to “make it” in the Entertainment Industry. Yes, there are non-linear paths in other professions, professions where one can get from point A to H, but maybe jump to I first and then eventually exit after Z. This non-linear has been my Modus operandi thus far.  If that’s the case, it’s only logical I would be drawn to an industry that has a non-traditional method of grading and advancement. If my life path and career path have been non-linear, why should my recovery be any different? In fact, I should take comfort that my recovery has been non-linear since it’s me.

This summer I am approaching my 10-year anniversary of living in Los Angeles.  During that time I’ve hocked swag (1 day) in front of a local grocery store (ironically down the road from Paramount); worked in retail; and done the traditional Hollywood entry-level position twice over, meaning I was a page AND I worked in the mailroom. From the mailroom I worked as an Admin Assist/Coordinator in the syndicated TV sales office.

Now, nearly 10 years after moving to Los Angeles, I am reminded that I have worked on two projects that were nominated for Emmys- the first being an LA Regional Emmy nomination for a PSA I co-wrote and now as an Associate Producer for Judge Joe Brown. We celebrated our hard work and nomination at the Beverly Hilton during the 39th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards this past weekend.  Everyone on the staff has a different story of how they got here. Amazingly, even though he is the host of the second highest rated court show, this is the first nomination for Judge Brown.  During our
Fancy makeup-non-
running clothes-me.

celebration, he reminded us of the victories that we have achieved during the 14 years the show has been on the air. I am blessed to work on a great show and have co-workers I can call friends. Our hard-working staff and all the other TV productions reminds me of a conversation I had with our Senior Supervising Producer (whom I was assisting at the time). When I was chomping at the bit to come back to work after surgery, my boss reminded me: “This is television production. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. We’ll be here when you get back.” It’s true. They were there then, and they are here now. They are always looking out for me as we look out for each other going through medical crises. Judge Brown has been on the air for 14 years and last night we celebrated his first nomination.  There will be a win for him soon. Just because there isn’t a statuette on his mantle this week, it shouldn’t take away from everything he’s achieved and the example he’s set. I need to take the Daytime Emmys as an example. I must stop looking at what I’m not doing with the running and start looking at everything I can do…. And am doing.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Need For Sleep Peppered With Other Things...

The following was originally intended to be edited & posted by May 31, but work and life being what they are, here I am a week later revising and posting…

I am being better about sleep. It is still emotionally difficult not being able to function so effortlessly on less than 8 hours of sleep than I used to. While there is frustration that I’m “losing” hours to be productive, the surgery has not only required me to sleep more, the lack of tumor has enabled me to sleep. The other side effect in the new paradigm of more sleep is that the dynamic of friendships has shifted.  I know I cannot short my sleep and I have loving friends that remind me to sleep. Others still do not understand that even though I am 1.5 years post surgery, my body can no longer withstand consecutive days of 6-7 hours of sleep. Believe me, given my druthers, I’d rather be out creating or running or doing something… ANYTHING other than sleeping.

Sleep though, is necessary. It’s not just me who requires it because of surgery; it’s necessary for everyone. Sleep keeps cortisol levels down to assist with weight loss & if one wants assistance with this OR to train for a marathon or other race, muscles require sleep to repair themselves. If I’m going to be able to set a PR, my muscles must function at their best. For longevity, I must make sure that I maintain the instrument of my body if I want to run and/or continue with all my passions. That said, I’ve been able to start & stick to my training schedule. After have several false starts to my training, I have realized that for this particular go-round of training, I need to look at it on a two-week basis. Two weeks allows me to re-evaluate my success and failure. This is good on two-fold (no-pun intended), the production calendar for the show (JUDGE JOE BROWN) is every two weeks, meaning, one of those weeks, I have to be at work early because we’re taping and getting my run in will be difficult…. The other is because a more flexible training schedule will allow me to ease up or push myself more. I have the basic schedule laid out, but having the leniency is something my soul needs for the 2012 Hartford ING Half-Marathon.

While I have the half-marathon in October and various physical challenges I want to undertake this year, the need to run and lose weight also has a touch of vanity. 1. Swimsuit season. I’m probably one of the only California girls that HATES the beach, but when most of your friends love it and are beach ready, it behooves one to at least work to be comfortable, even if you’re not going to wear a string bikini. The 2nd and for me more fun reason is Emmys. Yes, JUDGE JOE BROWN the show I am an Associate Producer for has been nominated for a daytime Emmy.  This means Emmy after party where a nice dress is required.  Pictures of the dress will follow. Pictures of me in a swimsuit will not!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

More Sleep

Audrey Hepburrn in the
Parmount classic,
Breakfast at Tiffany's.

This weekend my kitchen calendar bares markings that it has never had. In giant black permanent marker Saturday & Sunday are blocked off for “SLEEP.” Yes, I had normal weekend stuff to do like grocery shopping and laundry, but when it came to a “should I do this activity” or an “I’m not maximizing these 48 hours away from the office,” I looked at my calendar and saw SLEEP was scheduled. And, who is one to argue with the calendar? Seeing my scheduled sleep gave me permission to just relax and just take in the breaths of life. I did what my friend, Rachel, has been after me to do since surgery- Sleep until I wake up and when I wake up, roll over and go back to sleep. I took the “wash, rinse, repeat” advice. Sunday I didn’t get up until after 11, which for me is much later than what I allow myself…

Truth be told, now that I have clarity of vision and purpose… (both physically from the tumor removal and spiritually from standing over the abyss) I admit that I have even more drive to excel, to be my very best, and to pack as many moments, memories, and opportunities into my waking moments. (And apparently, I’m packing as any words into a sentence as possible too) I can’t help the need to be do-doing. Without the do-do, I have always felt like I wasn’t pushing hard enough to break through.

After suffering a small break-down Saturday from working on a screenplay about my experience of life post brain surgery and watching a trailer for THE VOW and another one for 50/50, the PTSD reared it’s ugly head. I felt anxiety while grocery shopping and panic gripped me when I walked across the parking lot. My sister reminded me that I need to breath, and stop the do-doing. Stop trying so hard to always be busy working on my career or trying to prove something. (I have been trying to prove something since I was a child, so the concept of not trying is as abstract as string theory.) I need to just be okay with the quiet. (I never have been.) She reiterated that when the sad moments come, it’s okay. Having to readjust my focus or at least be okay with the idea of having PTSD and then accepting and allowing myself to experience the grief and anxiety is equally okay. I shouldn’t limit myself from seeing things that may/may not trigger sorrow. I don’t want to live in the anxiety and I don’t want to really hold on to the events of December 2010. But, it is part of my history, and a year and half isn’t that much time to readjust oneself.  If I quietly mention to of grief wafting into my conscious mind, they too let their guard down too and show their fear from December 2010. None of us are the same.  Our worlds are forever altered.

So, going forward- I have the PTSD hypnosis MP3 created by Brennan Smith, CHt, more sleep, more honesty with grief and fear and certainly MORE RUNNING! 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Running as a Barometer

I should be putting my brain in a box
and allowing it to power down
while I get restorative sleep.

Apparently, I’m at it again. Pushing myself too much & trying too hard to cram in as much as I can into a day. Consequently, I’m not focusing enough on sleep. I’m having fun, but the lack of sleep makes me hit the snooze in the morning and fumble through my catalogue of excuses why I can’t run in the morning. Usually, the excuses are valid- I NEED SLEEP. I’ve already shortchanged myself by staying out too late on a school night and to function efficiently at work, I need to capture as many winks as I can without being late to work.  

The drought of less sleep was short.  I had one brief date with a guy in February. In late March, after my hypnotherapy sessions with Brennan Smith to relieve my PTSD, I did what has become my bigger modus operandi - live with enthusiasm. We had several dates a week & they often took us past my bed time. The dates had deep conversation and we were sharing our joys and passions as we explored LA together. He knew I was a runner, and I knew he wasn’t particularly fond of the sport and smoked on occasion. Nonetheless, when he wanted to support me on the Nike Women’s 10k and we found out he would have to buy a bib to enter the Paramount Pictures lot, I invited him to join me. (I thought it may be fun as he loved movies and I used to work at Paramount.) This was ill-advised. I had intended to run with my female friends, but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings by telling him “stay home” when he was making an effort to come out and see me.  This was particularly hammered into my head by one male friend who insisted I had to honor the new guy’s wishes and allow him to support me. With no training and only grim determination, this guy ran his very first 10k with me. He completed the 6.2 miles and several hours after the race, he cracked like a nut.   

I have mixed feelings about the outcome. I know this was a very difficult undertaking even if you are trained as I remember how tough my first 5 miles were. On the other hand, the race was a catalyst. I learned in short order some ugly things that may have taken me months to learn otherwise. Letting go of this guy was difficult as he had so many admirable qualities but after my surgery, I do not feel the desire to love a man into being the man my heart believes he can be. Will I be making future suitors run with me? Absolutely. It was a fluke the above mentioned gentleman ran a 10k with me so early into our dating. I will be easing future men into the sport by introducing them to my running group. Do future men I date need to run? No. In fact, in early email correspondence, I mentioned to one I hoped to share my love of the sport & on our first coffee date he told me in no uncertain terms that he would not run. At least he stood up to me & was self aware of himself to know this. He quickly followed it up that he cycles.
The world famous Bronson Gate.
Where an actor named Charles
Buchinski  changed his name...

I will not be using a running shoe as my glass slipper, but an interest in athletics is a must. I’ve come too far to backslide. I must focus on my health, sleep and the Hartford ING half marathon that is about 24 weeks away. There is no time to doddle.

Post Script - It seems a shame not to mention all the great things that I was able to reminisce about while being back on the Paramount since during my tenure I gave two hour tours and was also a mail carrier.  But, we never know what we're going to take away from any experience. I'm sure there will be more races and visits to the Paramount lot where I can wax fondly of my time there.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Breakthrough

Life is getting better. The challenges still vary and sometimes come out of left field. Some of the most difficult days are a result of days where I’ve felt great and skimped on sleep to work on creative projects. It’s tough because after surgery, I’ve been inspired to write more stories, try new genres of writing, & pick up my sword and go on crusades for funding for medical research. My friends have called me out on my lack of sleep, especially when they see I’ve written something and posted it on Face Book past my bedtime. Yes, they’ve given me a bedtime. They’ve allocated time to get ready, fall asleep and have time to get 8 hours so I can get up and get my morning runs in.

But, as I stated earlier, things are getting better, meaning anxiety in parking lots and the fear of touch are dissipating. My session with Brennan helped tremendously. The same weekend I had my session, I went out with friends and had a date. I did not feel a supreme need to punch someone despite the fact I was in a crowd. Interestingly, while my date and I were walking to the Santa Monica Pier (a tourist hot spot) a self-indulgent woman ran me over with her runaway baby stroller and proceeded to run over other victims. The woman behind me hollered, “I wish that was me; I would’ve hit her.” I chuckled to myself, and while moderately irked, I did not feel the need to retaliate. The new me (which is more like the pre-surgery me) felt even better when my date walked me back to my car.  I did not feel wary of being touched by him. In fact when he hugged me, I was able to judge him harshly with the quality of hug he gave.  (It was terrible.)

One of the many good things about Certified Hypnotherapist (CHt), Brennan Smith, is that he records our sessions so I am able to listen and reinforce the groundwork he laid.  I gave myself room to breath and assess the progress I made between our session two weeks ago and the following days. Since our sessions build on what was learned before, I needed to experience life to make the proper assessment.  Before Brennan and I were going to reconvene and discuss the progress, I had my 2nd date with a different fellow. I thought it would be prudent to listen to our session again before the date so the trust principles could be reinforced.  Date two was different than the first date we had in mid-February since I owned the anxiety I was experiencing. I was still resistant to sitting too close since I didn’t want to engage in handholding. I was more receptive to the idea, which is fortunate because as the date was winding down, he commented on an email I had sent him earlier (which contains a link to my blog in the signature). He quietly prodded, “I see you have a blog.” And as I was kicking myself for not being more careful in my email communication, he put out his hand. My friends and I have debated how much of the blog this man has read and if he saw my recent post of being resistant to hand holding.  Weather he read that post or not, my truth is that I’m getting over my anxiety of touch and that I’m still recovering from surgery.  I took a deep breath and took his hand and then told him about my surgery & some of the challenges that have come out of it.  He has not run away— We’re planning a hike for our 4th date.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Another Side Effect of Brain Surgery: PTSD

It turns out recovery from brain surgery is difficult. Like everything in my life so far, it has been non-linear.  I’ve passed the traditional benchmarks like leaving the ICU; laps around the neuro-floor and ultimately being discharged.  These successes lead to full days at work; 2 completed half marathons; weight gain/weight loss; a promotion at work and jumping back into the dating pool. Despite a backslide here and there I was able to throw up my grappling hook and get to the next level. I know I will be able to look back on this chapter and be proud of getting over it and through it, but day-to-day it is rather unsavory.

This latest hurdle started slowly. During the summer, I became more vigilant while crossing the street. I figured this was normal and actually good since there were times prior to my brain tumor diagnosis when people had to grab my arm to stop me from crossing the street in front of an oncoming vehicle. My vigilance crossing the road persisted, but it wasn’t alarmist. I was feeling strong, healthy, & confident with how well I was recovering and with my promotion at work. In the fall of 2011 it seemed appropriate to try dating again. I had a second date with a charming fellow in late November.  It was on a day of one of those LA Fall rainstorms and even though we walked arm-in-arm under a tiny umbrella, at dinner when he complemented me on my ring, I did not give my hand for him to “inspect” the ring more. Even though I had enjoyed the date & his company, I didn’t feel comfortable with the small gesture of giving him my hand. I didn’t think too much about that day until this past weekend when I was walking next to my mom (who had come out for a visit), I jumped out of my skin when she put her arm around me while we were walking down a road. I shrieked and ran to the other side of the road.

Upon quick consideration, I realized that even though I threw myself back into dating, the idea of holding a young man’s hand is far too intimate. I have gone on dates and given hugs, but the skin-to-skin contact of hand to hand is something I can’t fathom doing.

With a little research this quirky and hyper-vigilant behavior is “normal” and is actually PTSD. I never would have thought I could acquire a disorder that seems to be reserved only for the brave men and women who have served our country. The PTSD does not have to occur right after the incident, but it can be triggered after the event. I’ve even read of brain surgery patients experiencing PTSD 20 years after their surgery. The symptoms result when a traumatic event causes an over-reactive adrenaline response, and the response can make the individual hyper-responsive to future fearful situations. A Wikipedia article says “PTSD is believed to be caused by experiencing any of a wide range of events which produces intense negative feelings of "fear, helplessness or horror" in the observer or participant…” It elaborates that being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness can also be a catalyst for bringing on PTSD.  The article is quite informative and worth reading it in its entirety.

Now that I know why I’m acting like a freak, I can own it and correct it. Unlike the “you must have more brain surgery” scare I had in June 2011, I will not let this consume me or derail me. I’m getting over a cold, but once I get through that I can add more running back to my daily life & continue to eat right.  Unlike ignoring my neurological symptoms of my brain tumor, I have told people & I’m telling you. I’ve also reached out to my Certified Hypnotherapist, Brennan Smith to set up a session.  I’ve worked with Brennan for nearly 8 years and besides my minister, he’s one of the people my family asked to see me on the eve of my brain surgery. The future is bright and this too shall pass. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Surviving my 6th Half Marathon

Early Morning @ The Beginning of
the Inaugural Rock n Roll Pasadena
Half Marathon, February 19, 2012
Pick your saying- I can put another notch in my lipstick cases… punch another hole in my belt… or I can simply say that I successfully completed my 6th half marathon. It feels good, except when it didn’t. From mile 10 on, I hurt. I’ve had more painful races, like mile 11 in Malibu where it was downhill or Long Beach 2011 where I got a DNF (did not finish), and my ego was severely bruised. My first race back after surgery was painful, but pride wouldn’t let me stop. I didn’t get the time I wanted here, but I did better than what I thought I would do. I told everyone I wanted a sub 3-hour race but secretly harbored a need for something closer to 2:45:00 (which is my typical time for hilly races).  I ended up earning a 2:46:07.

Despite being a race in Pasadena, CA the course wasn’t too hilly. Of course it had hills as most races do, but this race could have been more grueling as is characteristic of other races in Pasadena. Maybe, I was better trained for it, maybe the unexpected mental prep I had from running with the Pasadena Pacers several years ago along some of the same streets continued to serve me.  Several days after the race, I am experiencing that runner’s remorse and high. Remorse for not pushing myself more and the high of lemme do it again- I know I can go faster.

As I’m writing this, I know I am and have committed another error in training- I haven’t done my “shakeout run.” I know my muscles would be cranky during this, but it is something you just need to push through after a race (or any long run). I’ve been focusing on sleep.  Am I sleeping enough? NO, there is no time and why should I sleep when I have stories to write or friends to see and an apartment to organize. But, the difficulty of needing to do everything now is normal and my friends who have had brain surgery experience a similar insatiable need to do it all now. This is a whole other story and apparently will plague me for years to come.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Much Debated Taper

I’m wading through that grey area of the taper.  My 7th half-marathon (the Inaugural Rock n Roll Pasadena Half Marathon) is mere days away. There are several schools of thought out on this, and with each runner you speak with, you can get a different answer of the best way to enter into a half marathon. I’ve had races where I do a two week taper, and others where I just train through… meaning I do 10 miles the week before my half, then the half, then do 10 miles the following week, then 15 the week after that. Nothing is perfect. Nothing is correct. Even when you’re on a training schedule life comes up and sometimes it’s difficult to stay on schedule. I haven’t met a single runner who hasn’t had to repeat a week or adjust their schedule because life threw them a curve. I’m told that one can gut through 13.1, but as my half in October showed, gutting through a half marathon to potentially risk injury, is something I’m not prepared to do. While humbling, by repeating weeks, you’ve likely amassed enough weekly mileage to successful complete a half-marathon and be able to walk the next day.

Still requiring more sleep than I am prepared to admit, I have pushed myself during the week and on Saturdays, that I crash on Sunday. This week has been no exception. This work week, I’m sleeping and sleeping.  (Meaning I’m sleeping past 6 so I don’t have time to get my run in.) I’m not thrilled, but apparently, my body has decided to throw the training schedule out the window to stock up on the necessary sleep. Besides logging the necessary miles, nutrition and sleep are the other two important commodities that one needs to have a successful race. With the excitement of the race, sleep the day before does not come easily, so this is stocking up on pre-race sleep is important. One must remember that while balancing sleep, you need to keep running. The distance of daily runs is less and again there is debate on how much running one should do before a race. I have friends that continue to cross-train before a race and others that just do one little run the day prior to a race.

No two races are the same, even if they’re the same course… there’s always a different amount of training and/or nutrition before lining your toes up to the start.  While I haven’t stayed on my training schedule day for day, I’ve managed to log about 20 miles a week and added cross-training in. (This is something I didn’t do with my previous training schedules.) My longest run was 9 miles. (The shortest training distance I had prior to a half.) While it may not be pretty, I know I can gut through the next 4.1.  My priorities have shifted. I know I will not PR on this race, but I know one day that I can re-focus on setting a PR. This race is my first race that I have after my promotion, and while I’m not using the promotion as an excuse, it changed training. Everyone has something that throws a monkey-wrench into training- snow, a new baby, new house, health scare… Nothing is perfect and we cannot hold ourselves up to Dean Karnazes or Kara Goucher and expect to be the same. We can only do our best with the talents that we’ve been given and with the time we have.  

Saturday, February 4, 2012

It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint

For a moment, I am going to take a small detour from the primary concept of this blog. Yes, this is a blog about running, but it’s also a blog about recovery and getting back emotionally and spiritually into marathon shape. 

That said, I had no idea that I took a major emotional and psychological detour in my recovery. While meeting with my supervising producer to discuss my progress at work; what I could do better; and how to put myself on a trajectory for supreme success, she looked at me, and blew a kiss and then dealt my ego a crippling blow. It took me a moment to recovery and I almost felt the need to tap out. But, after she told me everything I was doing wrong, (and what I could do to improve) she looked at me and simply stated, “I get it. We all know that there is a limit to our lives and that the clock is running. Last year, it became extra apparent for you. But, you’re living your life like you can’t live it fast enough.”

WOW. What a realization.  I had no idea that I had become so manic and so driven to reclaim my life and get to where I want and need to be. In July 2010, I left a desk-job and boss I love so I could work in television production full-time. My original position, I was still a desk jockey, but knew that I wanted to work towards being an associate producer. Brain surgery less than six months after taking a career jump, put my life and job on hold and I perceived that it set me back. I’ve struggled and worked hard to get back to where I was. Sleeping 8-10 hours a night was unconscionable in my mind and after the first hump of not consistently needing 10, I pushed myself to sleep less, and then sleep less than 8 so I could maintain the same productivity I enjoyed years prior to surgery. The problem with this (more than adding in morning runs) is two-fold: 1. My body is still healing & now that I’m running more, it needs to have restorative sleep so that muscles can mend and function properly. 2. Most people need 8 hours of sleep and there is no shame in requiring it.
"Let your light so shine before men, that they
may see your good works, and glorify your Father 
who is in heaven' Matthew 5:16

My supervisor is right; I do feel like I’m playing catch-up. I have two options now, I could judge myself based off my peers (which is easy since you always want to be as good as the people you work with), but I think the I’ll take advice of a friend, just strive to be the best that I can be that is within my capabilities.

I’ll tell you the what, the moment I accepted I was acting manic and living my life with the fast-forward button jammed on, it allowed me to take a step back to breathe, accept and love what I currently have.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Thursday Post on Last Saturday's Run

Work has been... shall we say, nuts.  Copyediting the blog post I wrote Saturday took longer than normal. I hope you enjoy...

Even though I get to “sleep in” and get up at 6:30 on days of my long run, I was having second thoughts of driving 20 miles to The Dock (aka Dock 52) to meet my friends and throw down some miles. This had been a particularly long week at work and getting mid-week runs in were 2 miles on the few days I did run. My half-marathon is 5 weeks away and while lying in bed, it seemed like I should just keep mounting the excuses of why I shouldn’t go…
  • I’ll never help me set a PR at my half. 
  • The half will hurt regardless if I go or don’t.
  •  I hate hills. (The half that half is full of them.)
There are so many ways of talking yourself of running or being your best.  The problem is that when we talk ourselves out of being our best and putting our necks on the line (to be our best) we are shortchanging ourselves and those close to us.  Naturally, in the early hours of the morning, the logic of what it means to ignore one’s greatness did not enter into my conscious mind. I knew that if I didn’t mount the courage to throw back the blankets and get out there and run, I would be kicking myself how I wasted the morning. I did not think about the perils of not stepping into my essence and the greatness that I am designed with. I threw back the covers for the simple and aching need to get out and run. (Seeing friends was a huge factor too.)

Sickness and volunteer obligations waylaid my friends, but I met two new members of the running group and we shared a mile and conversation together. It was just the three of us and since they were considerably faster than me so I suggested that they do the workout they need to do and we’d see each other along the bike path at some point. When they took off, I settled in and just ran… And somehow at my pre-operative pace.  Five of these miles were just me and my thoughts…

Despite my rough week at work and an anticipated rough week in the days ahead, none of that mattered as I laid miles behind me and just had miles ahead to think. As much as I love running with people, the solitude of long distance running is a terrific way to work out a myriad of things.  And even though I…
  • Was hesitant to lace up my sneakers
  •  Considered turning my car around when I didn’t see the rest of my running friends at the dock
I was supremely grateful that I dug my heals in and kick-started my Saturday with 6 miles. Just me and the road. As fatigue from the previous week melted away, all I had to think about
  • My to-do list
  • Sing random phrases of songs that came and went with the breeze
My training schedule no longer mattered. I was just running to see what I could see.

This is where I’ve been wanting to get to. I cannot ignore my training schedule since it exists to get me to my half-marathon, enjoying the runs and running for the love of running is something I’ve been craving to get back to after the rough summer. Now, I that I have a finger-hold on this desire, I need to keep moving forward and remember my desire on the days I don’t want to get up and run. I must keep my momentum so I can get back to where I can just run 10 miles (or so) for the sake of it. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Resolutions Are Not For Me

The New Year brings the question, “What is your resolution?” I’m inclined to say, “F* that." Resolutions, it seems have set us up for failure. If they work for you great, but too often we think of resolutions as a wish. It is my firm belief that this is why the San Diego Marathon is so popular— it is 18 weeks after New Year’s Day…. The length of most training schedules. If a resolution helps one begin an active lifestyle, I am not going to fault anyone, but I think we need to think of small shifts if we really wish to make an internal and lasting change. A resolution is often so big and grandiose that we either lack the ability to accomplish it or once accomplished we have a one and done attitude.

I do not want to be a one and done with anything I do.  Often I find myself speaking in terms of “my first marathon.” To date, IT’S MY ONLY MARATHON. Did I want to die at mile 20? Sure, but I want to do another one… I just put doing a marathon on my post surgery “Life’s To Do List,” but I didn’t make a resolution to do it. I want so much more, and I’m convinced that many want more for themselves too. We put so much weight and importance in the resolution, it offers little grace to fail and have setbacks.

The New Year shouldn’t be our only time for rebirth and reinvention. We have the ability to reinvent ourselves and/or tweak ourselves at anytime. We can engineer and design our lives for the greater good- We were designed to be perfect and even though we may have flaws in our own eyes, we are still perfect in the eyes of God, our Father.

When people ask me if I have made any resolutions, I simply say, “no.” This “no” is followed by an elaborate list of goals I set in motion for myself to accomplish in 2012. Included in the list is to lose the “tumor weight” and to run two half-marathons. Despite setbacks of being sick after Thanksgiving and indulging in revelry during the holidays, I reignited my training schedule for the February 19 half marathon upon returning to California after the holidays.

Last Saturday my running buddy and I had our first run it what seems like forever. We pushed each other for speed and distance. I am truly indebted to him. I have been lacking speed and we just kept going- jabbering at each other the whole way. Sunday, I cross-trained riding my bike. This is a HUGE accomplishment. I feel like I can say now that I am more of a runner because I CORSS TRAIN.  It wasn’t far, and I can run a heck of a lot faster, but considering I couldn’t ride my damn bike a year ago, to be able to ride 3 miles in the neighborhood felt good.

I wasn't able to find a picture of the
Chandler Blvd in my neighborhood...
Here is another well-known Chandler.
I feel like I’m finally getting a handle on my new position at work and I was able to throw down 4 miles before heading to the office. I wasn’t a huge fan of the route I chose and some portions were precarious to run on. I did run past my neurosurgeon’s office. As much of a joke as it was the first time I ran past his office… psychologically it is the tip of the hat I crave while on my mid-distance runs. Without his steady hand and care I would not be thriving as well as I am.

Resolutions? No, they’re not for me. I have to think in terms of backdating to race day… backdating to shoot day  (for my short). I haven’t resolved to do anything. I simply have goals and a to-do list I need to accomplish.  Two roads diverged in a wood. I took the one without resolutions, and that has made all the difference.