Make It Magical

The thing about trauma is, it can connect to so many things. For a lot of people, and for me, holidays are tough. Really tough. Even minor holidays like my town’s Summerfest. For me, it was a mix of association and anxiety at the thought of bumping into certain people. But the thing I’ve learned about holidays and other difficult occasions/places/things: they can be reframed. You can go to that place and make a new memory there; you can make new traditions; you can sort things out with a friend or therapist or coach; you can take the broken pieces and make something magical.


The night of Summerfest I passed on an opportunity to watch fireworks with friends and decided instead to go on a run, timed perfectly with the fireworks. I ran down the main street and watched the fireworks go off in the distance, breeze blowing through my hair, warm sweat on my skin, and it just felt so good to be alive—and alone, though I was surrounded by families watching the fireworks on the grass along the sidewalk. And just like that—magical.

Everything is Connected

It’s been a tough week physically— last Saturday I ran 10 miles with Haley, Sunday was off, Monday was 6 downhill miles (tried to take it slower, but didn’t go too slow/as slow as I maybe should have), then Tuesday was a speed workout. I couldn’t even do the last interval at sprint speed– I just made it a cool down lap. It was brutal. My body just wasn’t recovering. I’m sure part of that is the heat (trying to do a speed workout outside at lunchtime in 80 something degree full sun was a crummy idea), but I think another part of it was emotional.


I think I’ve been more social in the past two weeks (a lot of dates, a lot of group hangouts) than I have in a really long time, and there are a lot of emotions attached to that: a lot of stimulation even by texting a bunch of people or being in large groups of friends, triggers from past trauma, seemingly constant acceptance and/or rejection from other people… it’s exhausting. (I wonder what it would look like to compare the quality of my runs on Strava to my social calendar, haha!)


Don’t get me wrong: I’ve been enjoying dating and meeting new people, and I LOVE my friend groups right now from my neighborhood. It’s just a lot for a woman who sometimes just turns the light off and watches Netflix mid-day to decompress, or who once chose to hike in a mild snow storm JUST TO BE ALONE. Hahaha


I’ve been thinking about how hard it was for me to recover physically this week, and also some comments from friends about their own physical ailments/heaviness this week. When I am being particularly mindful about how I am feeling physically, I can usually connect it to something emotionally, and if I’m not quite sure what that is, I reference Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life, where she includes a reference chart of physical ailments and their emotional counterparts.


Here are some common ailments and their emotional counterparts:


-Throat problems: “The inability to speak up for one’s self. Swallowed anger. Stifled creativity. Refusal to change.”


-Shoulder aches: “[Shoulders] Represent our ability to carry out experiences in life joyously. We make life a burden by our attitude.”


-Stomach problems: “Dread. Fear of the new. Inability to assimilate the new.”


Note: Sometimes the connecting emotion doesn’t resonate with me, but recognizing that helps me be more aware of how I AM feeling emotionally, if that makes sense. It gives me a starting point for exploring the emotions I am feeling and how they could be connecting to how I’m physically feeling. So, check out the book because it’s SO good.


This awareness has allowed me to be more intentional about my interactions with others, better recognize and meet my wants/needs, and to try to find a bit more joy in my week/running 🙂


This morning Haley and I set out for our longest run yet: 10 miles. Last week we did 7 and it was HARD. The week before that we did 8 and it felt really hard. Both weeks we also had guests join us for our runs, which was just not our norm and may have messed with our minds a bit (even though we love them so). We decided to invite NO ONE on our run today (stay away, friends who love us! Haha!) because, we work well together! Haley and I have a similar pace. We push each other I think in different ways– she’s told me I push her in pace (today, for example, I started rapping Push It by Salt N Peppa at the last mile, and was friendly-shouting at her to spring the last quarter mile), and I know she pushes me in endurance– I would NOT have stuck to any of our long runs if I weren’t with her.


I was aware of our 10 mile run all week, obviously, and was a bit nervous for it, but I’m grateful for encouraging friends, particularly a new friend who is a runner himself, and took particular care in making sure I knew his confidence in my ability to do this run, and texting me the night before with additional encouragement. I knew he also happened to be running 10 miles this morning, just elsewhere (and according to Strava, we actually started our runs within 2 minutes of each other, which I just think is really fun. But he would have smoked me in a second! Haha!)


I woke up less worried, though. My normal pre-workout nervous stomach (which I’ve had lately, whether it’s going on even a short run or trying a new spin class, I just feel sick beforehand)– it wasn’t there. Or at least not ANYWHERE near how it usually is. And here’s why I think that is:


  1. I knew that this was only 2 miles longer than what we’ve already done, and that felt do-able. I also mentally divided the route up into basically three 5k’s. I know the trail pretty well so it felt good to even finish the first portion and know we were ⅓ of the way done, etc.
  2. I knew we could pause anytime, and we did. We paused at about 1 mile for Haley to re-tie her shoes so they fit better; just after mile 3 when my feet started to cramp, and I just took my shoes off and rubbed them out for a couple minutes; probably around mile 5 when Haley’s knee was feeling funky so we paused again to stretch; then briefly at around mile 6.5/7 to use the restroom but it was closed so we just stretched for a moment, ate a couple of Honey Stinger chews, and kept running. (According to my Garmin, our total running time was 1:35, and elapsed time was 1:42, so our pauses were maybe just a couple minutes each, if that).
  3. I know what I wanted to have with me for the half I’m training for, so I took this as a practice run for that: I wore my running belt (which I usually hate, but barely noticed it on this 10 miler vs. shorter runs) and had my cell phone and Honey Stinger chews in it, and also carried a handheld little water bottle with Nuun in it to stay well hydrated (usually I just use water but I really loved having Nuun on the run, and felt it helped me stay hydrated and feeling better than just water alone). I had the things I needed, if I needed them, and there’s some comfort in that for me.
  4. Likewise, I knew there was at least 1 water fountain right on the trail, and others in nearby parks. I knew there were multiple bathrooms along the route, which I didn’t use but still calmed a lot of (poop) fears. Haha!
  5. Haley. I just really enjoy our runs together. We talked most of the time, but had some moments of silence, and that was just fine too. Also, girl chat is real nice. And being able to be a gross runner and have it not matter (we each have our gross habits and it’s pretty hilarious).
  6. I think it was just so long that I was able to stay in the moment more than looking forward to the end of the run (which I sometimes do with shorter distances that are my usual training runs). I REALLY enjoyed running 10 miles, which is so surprising to me, but it just felt like a journey more than my usual run. And I stayed in that moment.
  7. And, like I said, encouragement from friends. So, so beneficial to know I had people who believe in me and were cheering me on.


After the half marathon in a few weeks, I don’t know if I’ll focus on shorter distances or longer distances. After some of our recent longer runs, sticking with speed work for 5k’s sounds nicer and more my thing. But after this run… I get it. I get longer distances now. I thought I could understand in theory why people liked longer (to me) runs, but after this run, I get it.


I think I’ll have a better idea of where I want to go with training a month from now 🙂