Tag Archives: reality

Santa Hustle Cedar Point and Did Not Finish… coming to terms

568 So… today was the Cedar Point version of the Santa Hustle. I looked forward to this race for months. It is ON THE LAKE, how awesome is that. Okay, it isn’t quite the feeling of Disney, but hey, what is? I knew I was going to dress up for the race. I was determined to make it memorable.

It was memorable.

We got there 30 minutes before the race.  There was a HUGE line for the porta potties.  In retrospect, I should have been clued in, but hot off of the last race being the Disney half (almost a year ago now) I really didn’t think too much about it.

I should have.  I should have waited in the line and gone to the bathroom.  Turned out, the next porta potty I saw was between mile 4 and mile 5.  By then I was sick from having to so SO bad.  I puked twice and ended up finding my own place to go.  I’m not proud of that fact, but it is what it is.  NEXT year I will know better and plan better.

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It was neat. They split the starting herd in two for the half. The two sections were released about 3 minutes apart. It gave the elite a good head start and spread out the runners.

The first nearly three miles is in the park. It’s a neat experience being in the park when it is the off season. The rides are in various states of disassembly. Cars are off of the coasters. The train is shrink wrapped. The park is buttoned up for the winter. The only non-runners in the park are the photographers and the volunteers handing out M&Ms, cookies and water. I would not recommend M&Ms next year. Entirely too many of them ended up being left in the glasses all through the rest of the park

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I was very surprised to see that there weren’t many glovies or hats or any other clothes really littering the course. In Austin the first three miles had discarded clothes. People in Ohio realize the necessity of yummy warm clothes. I got three sets of arm warmers at the hustle store… they are amazing and I will wear them the rest of the whole winter to work.

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By the time I exited the park I had thrown up once, shed my turtle neck (that I left with bear when I found him at the gate taking pictures). It is not pretty to have to go that bad and not have ANYWHERE to go. I was on “my time” (I was keeping the pace that I usually find myself keeping) but I was very much not feeling the way I needed to be feeling to finish this race strong. I wasn’t feeling like I should to finish this race at all.

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I have to admit that I wasn’t thrilled when I saw bear taking this picture. This was probably my lowest. I called him from mile 6.25 in tears. I hit my wall. I was at the lowest I think I have ever been in a race. I was not feeling good. I was still holding my time. I was not quite last. I was keeping up with the people I was near. I passed a few. I was passed by more. I was not last. I was not in a good place. I realized at that point that I needed to not be stupid and hurt myself more just to finish. I realized I could cut SO many corners and cross the finish line and appear to have a personal best and get the bling. I realized that I could push on and try to finish (I was STILL… even after puking, going to the bathroom in a dumpster and falling completely apart… I was STILL right about on MY time). I realized that I didn’t need to do that.

Halves are my race.
I let myself down? Probably
Am I mortified by this race? Oh hell yeah
Am I going to do race again? DAMN Straight. I’m going to sign up (soon) for the Cleveland Towpath Half in April… or maybe the Cleveland half marathon. I will sign up with squirrel girl so she can ‘race’ with me (and I can watch her disappear into the distance with pride).
It was too soon after surgery. I wasn’t ready

DFL (Dead Freaking Last) is better than DNF (Did Not Finish)… except that sometimes it is better to listen to your body when it starts to shut down on you and suck it up. Sometimes Did Not Finish is what needs to be.

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Reality Bytes

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My second week post-op work from home is quickly coming to an end. Tuesday I saw my surgeon and he released me to go back to work on Monday. By Christmas I will be allowed to lift more than 10 pounds. I have a 22 pound turkey to make for Thanksgiving. This may be interesting.

I’m nearly to the end of my Red and Green and White paper chain scarf. It’s long enough to wear, but I would like another three or four links before it’s long enough for me to really like it. I wore it to my infusion yesterday and I got compliments on it! In my head, they were just being polite, but I accepted them. They made me smile.

When I was going to the infusion center on main campus, it was located right outside the Rheumatology department. I don’t know if that was by design or accidentally. But that’s where it was. It was just there. Safe. Kind of sterile to look at. Technologically awesome. Great people. But it was by the Rheumy’s office.

It’s easy to kid yourself about the infusion center when it’s where you can connect it to your illusions. The curtains create individual little rooms where you can hide with your infusion, enjoy some juice and crackers with the poison of your (your doctor’s) choice. Very illusion inducing. You’re just there and while there are people also there, they are just there too.

Yesterday, going to my new infusion center, my reality caught up to me.

The man next to me was having issues with his chemotherapy and was trying to decide if it was time to have a port put in to make his infusions easier to deal with. Fewer pokes and sticks. His wife was busy looking up the alternatives (gotta love smart phones), which ports would be most effective and most comfortable for him.

The woman in the chair on the other side of me was getting her poison with blood. She had a lot of trouble with her IV and they had to call in one of the surgical nurses to run hers. Hers was very painful. I tried to distract her while they were getting her set up. Her partner took their little girls for a walk so they didn’t have to watch. She is tied to her chair for two hours ever three months.

The woman with the awesome piercings across the room was there for about the same amount of time as me. She was neat. I hope she’s there again. I would like to get to know her.

On the counter under the TV there was a pile of neck pillows that someone had home-made and dropped off. There is a box of Teddygrams and a box of soda crackers. There is a fridge full of juices and Gatorade and diet soda. There is a box full of hats and scarves that people have made and dropped off. Most were fleece. One hat was crocheted in the most interesting colors. It called to me from across the room. It became mine. The pattern makes the colors look like puzzle pieces.

Reality, yesterday some, more this morning, kind of snuck up on me and took my breath away. I KNOW all about the drugs I take. I know what they are for. I know what they do. I know that without them life gets to be really nasty for me.

I don’t feel so alone somehow having sat through everyone else’s reality.  I’m really glad I switched.  I feel, somehow, more like I’m part of some weird ass community.

Sometimes, though, realizing that I will be going there probably for the rest of my life to poison my body… that I will be taking my chemotherapy drugs forever… that I will be tricking my body into behaving nearly the way that normal people’s bodies behave… it all caught up to me. I can’t say that I have cancer, because for me it’s not cancer, but I have to let places know that I’m taking chemotherapy drugs because they are what they are.

The hat came home with me. It’s a little scratchy… the yarn is kind of stiff. I’m going to try fabric softener… It wanted to come home with me to remind me of my reality. This morning I’m enjoying coffee and I’m thinking I might take a break from my computer to go take a long hot bath.

I am glad that I’m not yet to the point where I scare people with the way my hands look. I’m glad that I ‘only’ hurt as much as I hurt. Mostly I’m glad that I learned that I need to treasure every second because you never know when it will be your last.