Mishmash.

So apparently not running is not just hard on me, but on my blog posting as well.

Um.

I’ve been doing PT now for a little more than a week, and I’ve definitely seen improvement in the pain in my knee. My ITB is still super tight, but the rest and stretching and heat and ice seems to be helping it.

Thank goodness.

I still haven’t attempted a run. I’ve been pain free since Thursday morning. And though I am completely OBSESSED with the WANTING to go out for a run, I’ve forced myself not to. Because I want to heal.

So instead I’ve been swimming. Which, truthfully, I enjoy. It’s not the elation of a good strong run, but it’s a good substitute because I can push really hard and feel the burn in my lungs and muscles. Only without the pain running has given me in the past month.

I also tried a Barre class at a local studio Sunday night. Which was NOT the dance class I thought it was.

It was about an hour of Core Hell.

Pushups. Planks. Thigh and butt and hamstring kicks. Lower ab work. Oblique work.

Now see here. The abs I have? I got them from my long runs. At the end of a run, when you’re tired, and your form is suffering, apparently THEN is when you feel the core work.

I’ve never done a plank. The last crunch I did was in high school – back when they called them situps.

I totally SUCKED at them. And they hurt. A LOT.

(Especially yesterday. Ow!)

But. I’m going back on Saturday morning. Because now it’s my personal challenge to get BETTER at this damn class.

And I have some hope that when I DO get back to running, it will be better because I’ve got a stronger core.

Or something.

Other than that? I’ve been hanging out with my kid. Who is RAPIDLY becoming my Favoritest Person Ever.

I’m not sure what happened last week, but all of a sudden, he’s starting to CREATE things with legos and sticks and other toys. He’ll line up his stuffed animals and call it a “traffic jam.” He’ll built a log loader truck out of legos (and seriously, it LOOKS like a log loader truck!)

He’s currently obsessed with airplanes, and so before bed every night I pretend I’m his copilot. And he orders Jeff to stay in the other room (in the COACH, Daddy!) while he and I go to the cockpit and fly the plane.

And he’s really starting to grasp the concept of time, too.

Like today, when he woke up and asked me where his daddy was. When I told him that Daddy was at the gym and then at work, he stopped for a minute and said:

So it’s a school day?

I mean, I know all parents think their kids are brilliant.

It’s just that my kid IS brilliant. ūüôā

Now, of course, on the flip side… the focus on play and learning means he doesn’t want to stop what he’s doing. Like ever.

Which means he doesn’t want to eat.

It also means he doesn’t want to stop and use the bathroom.

(Okay, so maybe not THAT brilliant.)

But I love watching how he gets so focused on something new and immerses himself in it. I love the obsession, the way he can be in the moment, FULLY in the moment, without really thinking.

I wish I could be like that.

Therefore I love spending time with him.

It’s a nice reminder – that sometimes it’s okay to stop thinking for a moment and just be.

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Anniversary.

I’m awful with dates. I don’t know why, but I just have some sort of mental block where I don’t connect dates to things.

I forget birthdays and holidays and anniversaries.

Within a couple days of the date, I’ll remember. But on the day of? I forget.

So this past Saturday came and went like any other weekend day.

I remembered Monday night, when I was driving home and Aaron Copeland’s piece Appalachian Spring came onto the classical channel*. Which reminds me of high school – my indoor first color guard show ended with Appalachian Spring.

Which then reminded me of living with my aunt and uncle when my parents moved to New York.

And all of a sudden, I remembered. It was a year ago my aunt died.

And I’m not sure how I feel about missing the first anniversary of my aunt’s passing.

Part of me thinks that she would want it that way. Then I wonder if I’m just justifying my inability to remember days and make myself feel better about missing an Important Date.

I suspect that she would tell me that it’s really no big deal, that she knows how busy we are, and that she’s thankful that I spent time thinking about her at all.

Because man, my aunt was awesome like that.

Growing up, she and my mother were really close. We lived in the same town, we had weekly dinners and spent all holidays together.

Since my cousin Amy was only 2 years younger than me, I was there a lot.

My aunt, to me, represented freedom. The chaos of her house contrasted sharply with my mom’s obsessively neat and clean house. I mean, Amy could keep her door shut and never put ANY of her clothes or toys away!

So when my parents moved to New York when I was a sophomore in high school, I stayed with her and my uncle for the rest of the school year. And she told me that her only rule was that I needed to be home by 10pm on weekdays and 11pm on weekends.

For a girl who had a limited social life because her parents “didn’t like” for her to go out? The freedom was dizzying.

I loved every moment of living in her house.

And Judy was always feeding us. That was how she showed her love. Always, if you showed up at her house unannounced, there was plenty of food to go around.

She once had enough food to feed the football team one night, when my cousin brought them all home. Completely unannounced.

I’m not even kidding.

It became the joke – whenever we visited them on vacation, we’d go out to dinner, then come back and she’d “fix us a snack.” Literally as soon as we got home. Even though we were all stuffed from dinner.

But the thing is:

Some of my favorite memories of her were in the kitchen – she wearing her apron and bustling around the cramped space, me sitting at the kitchen table.

It was there I told her that I STILL felt guilty about Amy’s suicide, even 10 years after it happened. And how I felt like I should have done more.

It was in that kitchen where she looked up from the chopping or stirring or bustling she was doing at the time, and she told me that they had found Amy’s diary after her death. And in every journal entry Amy wrote that she wanted to die.

Every day. Every entry.

It was in that kitchen where she told me that she was so angry with Amy for making other people feel like it was THEIR fault when it was something Amy wanted. And that it wasn’t my fault, not at all.

There was so much more I wish I had told her.

I wish we had TALKED more.

Like the day she and I spent at the beach on the Cape, reading, just the two of us a number of years ago. Where I so very much wanted to tell her that Jeff and I were having problems trying to have a baby. But again, I didn’t want to burden her with our fear, when she had gone through so much. So I didn’t say anything.

I wish I had told her how much she meant to me.

I wish I had told her how much she anchored me in my childhood, knowing that I had a my godmother, another mother, who loved me because I was me and didn’t try to make me into someone else.

I survived my childhood, in part, because of her love. And I got through Amy’s suicide mostly because of her love.

She was one of my favorite people in my family.

And even though I forgot to remember the date, the ache of her passing isn’t any less.

Nor my love for her.

_______________

* Yes, I’m a classical music nerd. I love listening to it on the way home from work; it brings me to my center and calms me down. And in the case of Appalachian Spring, it reminds me of times past.

Illiotibial Band Friction Syndrome.

Met with a physical therapist this morning, who confirmed what Dr. Google told me last week.

Illiotibial band friction syndrome is essentially a tendonitis of the band on the side of your thigh – the tendon that connects your hip to the tibia.¬† It’s caused by overuse, mostly in runners – so much so that it’s also known as “runner’s knee.”

That’s what I have.

The good news is that mine is relatively mild. I had NO pain last week, and this week the worst of the pain was on Tuesday after my failed run. It’s pretty much faded at this point, too.

So the PT told me that maybe my ITBS was mild enough that I’d have to abstain from running for a couple of weeks, instead of months.

Weeks.

[Bracing self]

Okay,¬† so I overdid. All I did from May to October was RUN. I didn’t stretch. I didn’t do strength training. I just ran, because it’s what I only had time for.

Well. That’s what I told myself, anyway.

Except that apparently it was sort of like the running equivalent of eating only brownies for a month. And now I’m paying for it.

Irony: I run my first marathon in October, all in the hopes of showing how far I’ve come since LAST November. It’s awesome. And then I get injured.

And now I likely won’t run at all THIS November. You know, when I could actually USE it.

Ha.

The thing is, I HAVE come really a long way from last year. I hit rock bottom in the winter, and have been climbing up out of it since then.

If this happened last May? I’d probably be a neurotic mess. And maybe, okay, yeah, I AM a bit of a neurotic mess right now.

But I haven’t run nearly at all in the past three weeks, and I haven’t killed anyone yet.

That’s pretty good, right?

Anyway. The plan.

I won’t even THINK about running for a couple of weeks. I’m thinking December before I even attempt a run.

In the next two weeks, I’ll do physical therapy twice a week and a daily regimen of heat, stretching, exercise, then ice.

I will also keep doing yoga twice or three times a week, and swim for the other two days.

I have a plan and a treatment schedule. And maybe I’ll only be out for a couple of weeks.

I can handle it.

I think.

It Didn’t.

A mile into this morning’s run, I knew I wasn’t going to make the 4 miles. My knee was tight and hot.

Two miles in, I was walking – and in tears.

I spent six months focused on training so that I could finish a marathon.

And I did.

But I can’t run now, when I need it the most. This month, of all months.

It’s not the end of the world. I know this. All things equal, this is a minor injury to my knee which rest will most definitely cure. I can swim and do yoga in the meantime.

Gah.

 

 

 

 

Confession.

I first started running seriously two years ago to lose weight. My friend D, who had run a half marathon, told me that if she could do it, anyone could.

So in November 2009, I had enough of being overweight and unhappy. I signed up for weight watchers online… and signed up for a half marathon in Middlebury, VT.

The fear of having to run 13.1 miles consecutively is what got me out of bed during that winter. I was terrified of the distance, scared I wouldn’t be able to do it.

Then I ran 13.1 miles. And I wanted to better my time, so when I got home, I signed up for ANOTHER half. In Summer 2010, I ran something like 15 races. And in October 2010, I ran another half marathon.

I had a rough fall and winter with running last year. In November last year, I lost a lot. A (very) early pregnancy and my godmother suddenly to heart disease.

In retrospect, I can say that I was probably depressed last winter. But I just couldn’t get out of bed to run. It was too hard.

Signing up for the Marine Corps Marathon on Mother’s Day this past year kick started my running again. Because, again, there was the panic that I would have to run 26.2 miles consecutively and I wasn’t certain I could.

(To be honest, I’m STILL gobsmacked that I ran 26.2 miles all at once. I really DID that?)

Over the past few months, though, running has become something more to me. It’s my therapy, a way for me to work out my anger and fear. It’s a way for my OCD chick to feel like she has SOME control over her life, because the older I get the more I realize just how little control we DO have over things.

Running, for me, is the great emotional equalizer.

It’s a way for me to celebrate the strength of my body and my mind while acknowledging that there’s a lot of shit that scares me.

And so, these past two weeks since the Marine Corps Marathon, where I haven’t been able to run, are KILLING me.

(Because seriously? It’s only been TWO WEEKS. It feels like eons. Ages. Millennia. Billions of trillions of lightyears.)

I’m living the old adage that you know what you’ve lost only when it’s gone.

I didn’t realize just how much running helped me cope with my worries. I didn’t realize just how many worries I HAD until I couldn’t run anymore.

I mean, really, I sat and read the ENTIRE Grand Jury report on Jerry Sandusky. And then I spent the night tossing and turning, planning in great detail what I would have done if Victim 2 had been my son Lucky. (And I’ll tell you, castration was part of the plan.)

Clearly I have issues.

But I’ll tell you something. I went to my running coach last week, who promptly dug into my hips, noting that they were really tight (OMFG that hurt), which was causing pressure on my ITB and therefore knee. I went away with stretching and self-massage homework, which I have done religiously.

I even went to two Bikram Yoga classes this weekend in the hopes that I can loosen up the tight in my legs so that I can run again.

I have not had any knee pain since last Tuesday when I tried to run. My ITB has loosened up quite a bit from the foam rolling and stretching.

So.

I will be attempting a 4 mile run tomorrow.

Please, please, PLEASE let it go okay.

I really, really need it.

Perspectives.

Mea Culpa.

As some readers pointed out on yesterday’s post, I had my¬†facts wrong.

Fact: Jerry Sandusky retired from Penn State in 1999, but retained all access to the facilities for his work with Second Mile. Therefore in 2002, he had no real authorization over Sandusky.

Also fact: in 2002, when Joe Paterno learned in 2002 that his then-assistant Jerry Sandusky had been seen sexually assaulting a child in the football team’s showers, he directed the witness to go to the athletic director, and the police were never contacted.

________________________

I am not a journalist. I’m just a mom and a blogger.

But I do like to approach blogging THOUGHTFULLY. Yesterday’s post was from the gut, a product of a sleepless night of worrying how I was going to protect my completely sports-obsessed son from people like Jerry Sandusky. I didn’t write the post for me… I wanted to share it.¬†So I shared my post with¬†my friends¬†on Facebook. Who then shared with their friends. And so on and so forth.

Wow.

The internet is a really big place, as it turns out.

So I’ve spent the past 24 hours looking at this from a bunch of different perspectives. Because it is my responsibility, as a blogger, to understand that there are perspectives out there which differ from my own.

So.

From the Penn State student perspective, there’s a LOT of media sensationalizing. Joe Pa looks like a convenient scapegoat; there were a NUMBER of people that dropped the ball, including Mike McQueary, Tim Curley, and Gary Shultz. That’s true.

From Joe Paterno’s perspective, he had no authority over Sandusky, and he reported¬†what he knew to¬†his boss¬†as soon as he heard about it. Maybe he didn’t KNOW how far it had gone, maybe he should have done more. But maybe he didn’t know.

________________________

I don’t know.

No matter how I think about it, I can’t rid myself of the unease whenever I think of the people who didn’t do anything to help that poor 10 year old boy back in 2002.

Apparently I can really only see through my own worldview, the lenses of my own experience.

I see a 10 year old boy abused by a guy who took advantage of his position of power. And I see a bunch of other guys that did NOTHING to stop him.

And because they didn’t stop him, I see more victims, and more pain, and more abuse.

This isn’t about football . (Though I will confess that in my more illogical moments, I have acknowledged a thought that I do not want my son to play football.)

It’s about doing the right thing, and making sure that you are aware of others and your impact of actions – or nonactions, as this case shows – on someone else. It’s taking RESPONSIBILITY and helping people who aren’t in a position to help themselves.

There were a number of people who could have helped that kid; and no one stepped up. Maybe they didn’t really know. But I have a really hard time imagining that’s the truth. I think they DID know, and they were too afraid of challenging the status quo. So they let a little boy who deserved SO MUCH MORE fall along the wayside.

And it breaks my heart.

So maybe I DID generalize in my last post. Maybe the facts will show that Joe Pa didn’t know the extent of the abuse, and he was scapegoated, and should have been able to finish out his tenure at Penn State without being sacked.¬†Maybe the students of Penn State are¬†RIGHT to protest his firing, because it wasn’t the right decision. Maybe McQueary should have gone instead.

But at the end of the day, all I’m left with is the fact that those men – all of them – were in a position of power. Where it should have been their responsibility to help that little boy. And for reasons unknown, no one did anything.

And that’s not okay in my book.

An Open Letter.

Dear Penn State Students:

It’s hard for me to admit¬†that I’m removed from my college years. Because honestly, in my head, I was an undergrad maybe 5 years¬†ago.

In real life, okay, yeah, it was 15.

But. In college, I was pretty involved with the athletic department at my college. You don’t play in one of the best marching bands in the country without¬†being into the football team. We were no Penn State – just a little Division 1-AA team – but that didn’t bother us.¬†We showed up at 7am on the practice fields on Saturday mornings, we sat in the stands and played our fight song, we partied after the games.

And we rallied. We rallied against the administration when they wanted to raise our annual student fees. We staged sit ins.

We raged against the machine; fought for our own empowerment, free speech, the power to CHOOSE the lives we wanted to live.

Thing is.

I’ve been following the story about Jerry Sandusky and what he did to countless young boys. And I’ve read about Joe Paterno’s limited involvement in the case. His non action.

And I GET that he’s had 46 years at Penn State and countless winning seasons. He’s coached generations of students. He’s a lynchpin at Penn State.

But¬† I have to admit, when I¬†read a story like this, I can’t really understand.

Because. Back in 2002, Joe Paterno got a call from a graduate assistant, who actually witnessed Jerry Sandusky having anal intercourse with a 10 year old boy.

And Joe didn’t fire Jerry Sandusky. He didn’t even report it to the POLICE. He, instead, called his boss, and reported that someone had reported that Jerry was “fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to¬†a boy.”

Because, you know, it makes it less of a crime.

His inaction? Made it so that more boys were abused.

At the very best, he turned a blind eye to a man who hurt a lot of people.

At the very worst, he aided and abetted a predator.

I know it’s hard to imagine that the administration at Penn State is doing the right thing here by firing him instead of letting him retire at the end of the season. They are the Bad Guys, the folks who want to charge you more money and enforce rules over how you live your life while at the university. I get it.

But too, I know this.

There will be a day, in the not-too-distant future. Where you’ll remember your college days as if it were only a couple of years ago. And you’ll read some news story about a guy who abused kids somewhere else, and where someone who had the power to stop him did nothing.

And you’ll go into your own kid’s room – the one who’s completely sports-obsessed. And you’ll kiss his cheek while he sleeps and feel a deep-seated rage against a person who takes advantage of a child. Because, as you watch your son sleep, you realize you have the capacity to kill someone who would hurt him.

And you’ll leave his room, and start a halting conversation with your spouse about age-appropriate ways to teach your kid how to ask for help when someone he trusts does something which makes him uncomfortable.

And your heart will break when you think of the other little boys who were not so lucky.

And then you’ll think back to the rioting you did in support of Joe Paterno back when you were in college.

And you’ll finally understand.