Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Let Them Be Children

I used to be "that" parent. You know, the one that pushed their children to be involved in an activity, because it was my passion. I read more and more about the psychology of motivation, and what drives us to be passionate. It doesn't have to be sports, it can be anything. Passion is a force that drives us to be involved in an activity that feeds our soul.
I love being active. I of course, want my children to have that love as well. I want to watch them run amongst the trees, playing on the dirt course, floating across pine needles. I want them to feel the fresh air through their hair. I want them to love the way the tree bark feels across the tips of their fingers. I would spend all day playing in the woods if I could.
The thing is, that's me...not them. I have had a hard time accepting that my children may not love my passion. Madison is a perfect example. Since 5th grade, she has tried her hand at running several times. And, she hates it. Every. Single. Time. It became quite apparent to me last year, when she was in the 7th grade, that I would have to bite my tongue. I knew that Madison kept signing up for such activities to not only make me proud, but to be like me.
So, last year when she came home nearly in tears telling me that she hated track, I knew I couldn't push her. I looked at her, and said, "All I ever want for my kids is to be the best they can be. I don't care if it's track, singing, stamp collecting, or just have to give it 110%." In all honesty, Madison had given track her best. Because of this, I did something I don't normally do. I allowed her to quit. It turned out to be one of the best things I could do for Madison.
I set her free to be herself, an individual. Not a carbon copy of myself. She completed an application for Leadership Academy, and was accepted. She tried out for Show Choir, and made it in. I had given her permission to find her niche, HER passion.
Madison has never responded well to my tough love approach. She immediately shuts down when I push. I always thought being competitive would click with her one day. I believed the more I pushed, and the more I involved her in my world of running, that she would become engulfed in my same passion. That's not how it works, she had to find what made her tick.
Madison offers a peacefulness to the world. Since she has found what she loves, she is full of happiness and radiates joy. When she smiles, it reminds me of a younger me, but better. Her heart is always in the right place. I couldn't be prouder of my daughter for not running.
Halle and CJ both find joy on the dirt single track. They both want to be fast. I am trying to teach them endurance. Part of the joy for me is watching their faces light up when they hit a distance PR, or find a snail on the trail and "rescue" the shelled slug. It's sharing the beauty of the journey with them that makes my heart radiate with pride. No ribbon, medal, or podium can replace that kind of pride.
All I can ever hope for my children is to find their happy place and never give up on that passion. Passion is what keeps the fire alive in us. It makes us want to be the best version of ourselves. That's all I can really hope to instill in my children.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Is Age REALLY Just a Number?

"You know, you're getting older and you just won't recover as fast." Words said to me after seeing my GP several months ago. I looked at him like he was crazy. I know I did, because I was thinking just that. I am very in tune with my body. What it's capable of, what it's NOT capable of, when something is "off" versus just aging. I sat in my doctor's office with tear filled eyes, " I know something is wrong." I told him, "I'm just not myself."
So for a good part of June and all of July I spent most of my time at doctor appointments, or a lab. Blood tests, lab work, follow-ups...all showing I was in normal ranges. Still, I was miserable.
For months I struggled with sleep. I'd wake in hot sweats, or I would feel anxious, tossing and turning all night. My recovery was non existent. I would run 6 miles and feel like I could lay down and sleep immediately after, I would ache for up to 4 days after a run. I was lifting 3 or 4 days a week with 5 days of running, I managed to gain 11 pounds. (My diet wasn't an issue.) My brain was foggy, and my memory was on paid leave somewhere.
I was slowly becoming depressed. I was not capable of running in the woods, I was lacking that connection that grounds me. All of my workouts were showing zero results, my ability actually was on the decline.
I had been researching all of my symptoms, and lab results. Researching them for endurance athletes, not for "normal" people is where I found my answers. At my next appointment I explained to my doctor that my hormone ranges were way out of whack for a female endurance athlete. I showed him all of my data. He agreed it was time for me to see a specialist for hormone replacement therapy. HALLELUJAH!
A week later I found myself meeting with my HRT doctor. She. Was. Amazing. She did all of the same labs that I had had done prior at my GP's office, she knew right away I was off by insane amounts. Talking with someone who understands the impact of hormones on the body made all of the difference. She connected all of my symptoms, including the depression and anxiety, and her answers didn't include medicating me.
What's the causality you may ask? Simple. I am pre menopausal. Yep, at 35 years old. There is no cut and dry answer to why my body chose this route. The human body is full of wonder, and is capable of turning on us at any time it desires. Years of eating disorders, pushing my body to extremes, asking so much of it and never really respecting it until I crashed. My my body had a plan to force change.
The change is working. I chose pellet therapy, it works naturally with the body and is not synthetic. It  has been three weeks since my first treatment,  I am starting to feel the changes. My energy is coming back. My sleep patterns are better. My workouts are not laying me up for days. My brain is starting to cooperate. So far so good, right?
 I keep asking myself is age REALLY just a number? Can we fight the process of aging with supplements, diet, exercise? The answer is yes. But inevitably, age will catch up. That's not a bad thing, and it doesn't mean you or I are old. It means we are progressing. It means our bodies know what needs to be done, we just have to listen.
I share my experiences in hopes that I will help someone else who is struggling. Hormone imbalance is no joke, it has extreme side effects. The answer is not the same for all of us, I just hope to shed some light on the subject. Being an endurance athlete does not put you in the "normal" ranges. Our bodies are used for extended periods of time, under extreme conditions...nothing about us is normal really. It took me doing my own researching to find the true answers to my body's questions, paired with persistence.
You are only given one body to live in...respect it, love it, and nourish it.