Running versus Life

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind and that’s not the best plan of action while training for a marathon.

For Christmas, I traveled back to the US to Boston. I was able to get 3 runs in and a strength training workout. In the meantime, I focused more time and energy seeing friends and family that I hadn’t seen in 6 months or longer. There was a wedding, winter park outings, friendsmas dinners, Christmas shopping, and chocolate martinis.

Then this past week, I returned home and I had a friend from NYC fly to France to visit and do some sight seeing. I made 3 out of 4 runs but my strength workouts fell to the wayside. The fun part about my long run this week was my friend Liz, who ran the NYC marathon in November, was able to run with me. Training and having a life and making memories are difficult to accomplish at the same time. However, I’m going to not be too hard on myself. My legs keep moving, my lungs are strong and I’m completing 75% of my workouts while allowing myself to take a few days off to spend time with friends. I think it’s a fair trade off for my mental health as well. I was able to have fun and I’ll be back on track this coming week, that’s what counts. 

Being back home, I was able to show Liz European Christmas markets, Strasbourg,  Luxembourg castles, NYE the French way and a couple days in Paris.

Don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon. Enjoy life and then get back on the horse!

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The Fit Wanderluster Expansion

Big News Alert!!

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The Fit Wanderluster has launched it’s first t-shirt and tank top business. Say What!?

My goals with this blog are to share my passions of working out and traveling while giving healthy recipes, wellness and injury prevention advice when I can with friends, family and the world. The blog is a glimpse of what it’s like inside my little bubble on this big, blue planet.ย I know I’m not the only one out there who lovesย fitness, running, and traveling. Now my passions can be shared and passed on with a visual statement that can be worn proudly to let others know your fit wandering desiresย as well.

My t-shirts are American Apparel branded and are classic, comfortable, with a vintage feel. Great for day to day wear, working out, or traveling.

 

The tanks are Next Level Brand with sporty racerback cut to keep you looking and feeling cool.

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Prices start at $23. Checkout is secure, fast and simple and all products can be shipped internationally.

Go ahead and get your Fit Wanderluster apparel today!

The Fit Wanderluster

Grief will Travel

It’s been a few weeks since my last post. The past 2 weeks I returned to the states, originally planned for a joyful and exciting homecoming, that turned quickly south with the passing of my 6 week old great-niece Lillian Taylor to angiosarcoma, an incredibly rare cancer of the blood vessel lining. The grief of especially her parents, along with grand-parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends along with a host of social media support is still something I have a hard time accepting.  

I have a difficult time suffering emotional turmoil whether it be myself or someone close. I typically try to play the role of listener and provide as much honest insight to the situation that I can by believing in the faith of a higher power and that life is sometimes out of our control. Being strong minded and seeing a silver lining, however small it can be, is just the only way I can put this crazy life into perspective. This doesn’t mean I don’t let myself feel the negativity and graveness of the situation. I get angry, with the unknown whys. I get incredibly sad to think of my niece going through the role of planned motherhood and having it suddenly taken away from her and her husband. I hurt to think of the future lost and the complete unfairness to lose an infant to a one in a million disease. I ache at the missed chance to hold that little baby and tell her I love her. 

My small silver linings, in the unbearable sadness, allows me to see the strength only a mother and father in this situation can demonstrate. I see the amount of love families can provide in the darkest times that may not be felt or heard when times are good. I see unspeakable support through the power of prayer from strangers near and far with an online community. I have hope that the doctor’s can take something away from the rarity of Lily’s sickness and put forth research into combating the disease in the future.

My time home was spent mostly with family and friends, as the homecoming should be. Of course, with the circumstances, I lost time with others that I had hoped to see and for this I ask forgiveness. However, my trip home allowed me to be a tourist in Philadelphia, go to a beach within 40 minutes of Boston and get a lobster roll, run on my old stomping grounds in Southie, drink and reminisce with friends I haven’t seen in 7 months and feel the summer sun that is so desperately needed back in Europe. 

This was a bittersweet time. There are still no words and grief will travel. 



What a Month

I feel like I’m a hypochondriac lately. It went from having a sinus infection for the first time in my life to a broken rib and now a 3 day fever. When’s it gonna give? Could they all be related? Am I pushing too hard by having a giant mid-life career change, major move and training for 26.2 miles?

I like to think I’ve handled my career and move quite well. I’ve become known to the Luxembourg community as a sports massage therapist with having repeat customers and asked to add on an additional day in March. I have become quite familiar with my surroundings and environment, which I contribute to running, and feel confident enough to do basic errands as needed without fear of my communication barrier. I’ve been food prepping for a majority of the week nights and following my marathon and cross training program without pushing too extremes and which is something my body has been used too since 2006. I take rest days and meditate with yoga.

  
All I can guess and relate my symptoms too are possibly the weather, seasonal affective disorder and increase in alcohol (my friend, Dorothy, did come to visit this weekend and we made the most of it). And I only have control over one of these potential causes.

  
I’m just gonna put this out there…NORTH EAST FRANCE WEATHER SUCKS. I mean North East US weather isn’t particularly phenomenal either. I’ve trained for 3 Boston Marathons in Boston from Thanksgiving to April. If you want to learn how not to get hit by a car or snowplow while peering around a snowbank in 10F weather with a negative windchill while testing your balance on untreated icy sidewalks, this is it. But Boston can have blue sky’s and sunny days in winter, amidst all the aforementioned descriptions. Days may be shorter but those winter sunny days were something I appreciated. Plus, while yes winter may seem to be the longest season, Boston gets all 4 glorious changes in season which makes living there great for several reasons that I’ll let you decide.

 

Almost exactly 1 year ago in Boston

 
Now, living in North East France (to be fair I’ve only lived here since December) while at times has been mild (40-50F) is to put it simply gray and raw. I would estimate it has been sunny 4-5 total days since living here. And when the sun does pop out, expect that rain is probably only an hour or two behind. It’s unpredictable. And although the weather is not frigid, the wind blows at least 10-22mph daily bringing the windchill down sometimes 20 degrees. Rain, it always freaking rains. I mean it’s not always a torrential downpour but it’s usually a mist. So raw, damp, gray and wind makes for just about as miserable Boston weather training. With having experience on this matter, I really think this year’s training, weather and sickness wise, has been worst.

 

This is just depressing

 
In regards to cutting back on my training, I’ve taken advice from Runner’s World, who did an interview with Dr. Nieman in 2005 about running with a fever. At the time he headed the Appalachian State University Human Performance Laboratory and had also run 58 marathons and ultras. He used the “neck rule”. Symptoms below the neck (chest cold, bronchial infection, body ache) require time off, while symptoms above the neck (runny nose, stuffiness, sneezing) don’t pose a risk to runners continuing exercise. So, this week my focus is trying to stay optimistic and being smart about my recovery.

  

Holy Freaking Crap

So, I quit my job, left Boston and moved to Metz, France (north-east near Germany and Luxembourg). Well, it wasn’t quite as simple as that but in a way, it was.

First things first, I moved because of love. Second, I don’t speak French (yet) so I can’t work in France nor can I because I obtained a long stay Visa. Third, I do have a job, self-employed, as a masseur where I rent space in a Chiropractor Clinic in Luxembourg called LuxChiro that is English speaking only. So fate seems to be on my side. 

I had a going away brunch with work, a birthday party in NYC, a going away party in Southie with 40+ friends and families, a day trip to Portland, ME and a Chinese food party to watch the Pats with my closest friends all before I left. I truly felt special and loved.

I sold and gave away most possessions, packed 3 bags and a backpack with only 10 pairs of shoes and some winter clothes.

  
My 2 cats were also supposed to come. To export a pet isn’t totally hard but it is costly and timely. They are required to be micro-chipped prior (which they were when I got them from the shelter), get a rabies shot 21 days before entering the country and get a health clearance form from USDA vet that has to be overnight shipped and endorsed by APHIS, no more than 10 days before entering the country. Unfortunately, I never received the endorsement because the vet accidentally put the date of the micro-chip to the date I got the health certificate and I didn’t find this out until the day I was going to fly. I was fortunate enough to have my dad accept them in his home but it breaks my heart that they aren’t with me.

  
Now I’m here in Metz. Without a car, Julien is at work, I can’t speak the language, I went for a run and got lost because I don’t have cellphone service yet. But it’s all good. It’s a new, exciting, adventure and I would never progress in life if I let fear rule me. 

I had a dream last night, or maybe a hallucination due to jet lag, but I was looking up to bare trees and the seasons and weather kept changing but each were related to the emotions I’ve been feeling since I knew I would move. It went something like this:

  
Winter

Dreary, Sad, Fearful, Anxious

Who in their right mind would leave “home”? What if I don’t learn to speak French?   Where will I get a pizza after 8pm? When will I go “home” again? Why leave a good thing in Boston? How will I make money?

  
Spring

Optimism, Growth, Potential 

Who is responsible for self-empowerment? What is so wrong with being happy? Where else can I visit? Why wouldn’t I believe in love? How come I didn’t think of doing this sooner?

  
Summer

Promise, Enthusiasm, Acceptance

Who else can I inspire? What is my self-fulfilling purpose? Where will my next adventure take me? Why was I afraid? How will I push myself next?

  
Fall

Closure, Peaceful, Calm

Who can I help next? What an experience?! Where will our next home be? Why isn’t everyone chasing their dreams? How is it possible I once treasured objects more than people or memories?

Fit Club

I can’t help but want to help people. Either from physical pain or improving their health. And I am living proof that the Beachbody programs and Shakeology really do work! All you need is a little motivation to start and dedication to follow through.

This is why I have started a Fit Wanderlusters Fit Club. I created this group to get friends and friends of friends in Boston back outside and beach ready. This is a weekly meet up that involves testing out the different Beachbody programs available on demand. The group is there to motivate and enjoy Spring together!

Our first Fit Club was a success having met up at the Esplande and even having strangers curious and interested in what we were doing. The success led to a second request this week. We will be meeting tonight at 5pm at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park in the North End. All are welcome, just bring workout gear, towel and water.

We will be planning on weekly meet ups at different locations around Boston. For more information follow me on Facebook

Justice

Today the accused marathon bomber has been found guilty on 30 counts. 

I refuse to acknowledge him or his counterpart by name. They should not have names as they do not have a humane bone in their being.

I still pray for the victims, families, and city. It’s so close to the 2 year mark and time manages to allow for healing, but everyday I can still recall exactly how I felt the moment I crossed the finish line 39 seconds before the first bomb went off. 

People have asked me if I’ve been paying attention to the trial. Honestly, no I haven’t. These animals ruined a beautiful 65 degree sunny, momentous, and historical day in Boston. They created chaos, fear, confusion. They hurt, injured, and killed. The nightmares of what I saw and heard terrorized me daily for months following. I became obsessed with the capture. I was 1 mile from the Watertown shootout. I had to seek therapy. I lost my clarity and purpose. I suffered from survivors guilt. I couldn’t work, eat, sleep. I didn’t want to run, I didn’t want to be around large crowds, I didn’t want to hear fireworks.  I lost my sense of control and I lost my mind. So no, I didn’t watch, read, or talk much about the trial. 

Weeks went by and I could return back to work. Months went by and I started treating some of the victims in physical therapy. This was a mental game for me. Who was I to feel terribly sick over the tragedy being less than 100 yards away, when innocent people lost limbs, hearing, suffered concussions and whiplash, have scars to remind them daily how one second a life can be completely changed, families who can’t watch their children grow up because a monster decided he could destroy that opportunity? I continued to suffer a guilty feeling. 

Almost a year passed and I began to allow myself to accept my fear. I thought I would never participate in another marathon again, but decided it was time for me to move on. The Boston Athletic Association opened up the field to the 2014 Boston Marathon to a few selected applicants who were directly impacted by the bombings. I was selected, I knew this was the start to my healing.

I ran and I finished in 4:30:45 and I cried. A sense of relief washed over me. I was back. I had control of my mind and body again and established that no one or thing has any right to take my sense of being.

So today is a moment of remembrance and honoring the victims and first responders because justice has been met. I choose to be happy.