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The Runs

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Socially Awkward

So, I feel really dumb. I wrote a post and published it a couple of hours ago but it was super awkward because all I did was write a bunch of stuff about sex, like personal stuff, that’s like, not appropriate at all. A friend of mine messaged me on Facebook and he’s like, “So…Suzy…” and he was super kind and gracious about it but he continued on…”I’m just curious to know what motivates you to write explicit things like that on your blog?” and Blog bless that man, he gave me a good ol’ virtual smack upside the head and I went onto my phone and deleted the post right away (thank you, Bob!!!).

I spent the next thirty seconds self-loathing because a) I’m good at it, b) I’m human and c) thirty seconds is a lot better than thirty years. After the thirty seconds was up I began to self-examine my motivation for writing that post and I think I know myself well enough to realize that I probably wrote it because I was feeling all vulnerable and exposed from the post I wrote yesterday.

It’s kinda like when I go with Andrew to big parties and I have to act all mature and classy and I feel like a drag queen dressed up in clothes I’m not comfortable in and wearing shoes I can’t necessarily walk in. It’s during those moments when Suzy can be found in the middle of the social gathering, sloshing around sangria, saying obnoxious things to the very wrong people and laughing too loud at my not even remotely funny jokes.

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When I feel vulnerable, I act like an idiot.

Do you?

 

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Make it to Me

I’ve opened up to a few close friends and family about this but just recently, with Andrew’s permission, I took it further and mentioned it on Denny’s podcast and so it feels like the natural progression would be to bring it up here on my blog.

In September 2014, Andrew got diagnosed with severe bipolar disorder and was hospitalized for some time in order to keep him safe, get him healthy, and empower us with the tools we would need to manage his diagnosis for years to come. With the help of the most incredible team of doctors, nurses, counselors, care aids, family, and close friends, and by the grace given to us by each other and by our kids, we have managed to get on the road toward healing and growth.

Working the drive thru window at Starbucks is a steep learning curve. Learning how to deal with severe bipolar disorder feels a little more like a naked trek up Mt Rainer while it’s actively pouring hot lava. We’re figuring it out as we go, with only a burn or two…hundred. But we’ll make it. A caramel machiatto and an oat fudge bar would definitely help.

When Andrew was first admitted, they told us that it’s important that he and I still go to the Sam Smith concert together (first row in the Orpheum Theatre!!!) so we did, of course, with the right medication and with instructions as to what to do if things went sideways (the doctors trusted my previous experiences with mental health and I had a lot of support). That night was both the best night of my life, and the worst. Because my Andrew wasn’t really there with me; he was somewhere inside his shell, and I couldn’t find him. I’m bawling my eyes out right now–I can’t see the keys.

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So, remember how I confessed the truth about what happened to my toe that day? Andrew was in the hospital (for the second time), my dad was in a different hospital after having a severe stroke, I was looking after all 6 kids by myself, while one of my step kids was showing up to our house with some issues I can’t mention but had to deal with (I get zero support from Andrew’s ex) and then Freddy breaks his arm at school. While I was running on the treadmill, a Sam Smith song came on, and it reminded me of the concert night, and how hard I prayed for my Andrew to pull through from the abyss of mental illness and come back to me, so I could see him, feel him, and know and remember him. I jumped off the treadmill, chest heaving with guttural sobs, I smashed my knotted fist against the deep freeze and with crazy eyes I spun around and kicked the running stroller as hard as I could and broke my foot.

I’d like to talk more about bipolar disorder but I need to tread lightly because it’s not my direct story. I feel like it’s a wise (and courageous) thing to dip my toe into the water to see how it’s received, and as we go along, if Andrew and I feel safe enough to do so, I’ll walk into the deeper waters.

I have to end this post on this because it’s gospel in the psychiatric world:

Mental illness holds no discrimination on race, age, sex, socioeconomic status, or any other sort of attribute you may name; mental illness knows no bounds.

Mental illness is not only treatable, but it happens to form the palates of the most successful, beautiful, compassionate, empathetic and authentic people that grace this planet.

Here’s an actual video I took from the front row of  “Make it to Me”  from the concert at the Orpheum, and here are the words that I prayed so hard during that time of our lives:

My mind runs away to you
With a thought I hope you’ll see
Can’t see where it’s wandered to
But I know where it wants to be

I’m waiting patiently
Though time is moving slow
I have one vacancy
And I wanted you to know that

You’re the one, designed for me
A distant stranger, that I will complete
I know you’re out there, we’re meant to be
So keep your head up, and make it to me
And make it to me

So sick of this lonely air
It seems such a waste of breath
So much that I need to share
So much to get off my chest

I’m waiting patiently
Though time is moving slow
I have one vacancy
And I wanted you to know that

You’re the one, designed for me
A distant stranger, that I will complete
I know you’re out there, we’re meant to be
So keep your head up, and make it to me

Make it to me
And make it to me
Make it to me

Have you ever felt those words so hard that it hurt? Who were they meant for? What was/is happening?

I’ve never seen Andrew as strong as he is right now, and it has taken a diagnosis like this to push him toward his own freedom. AMAZING. Grace.

Would you guys be interested in reading more about bipolar disorder? How about from the side of the caregiver? Both? I promise I’ll still get drunk and write about poo and running. 

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Holy Schnikes

The cool thing about blogging is that I am able to look back and see how much Corona I drink my training leading up to past races. So, because I have been so lackadaisical with my training for Skagit, I thought I should check back to last year to see what I was doing during the last big week before the taper, which is this week, now. Here’s the Mileage Monday post from that week here, but to summarize, I believe I logged nearly 90 miles, with my long run hitting 22 miles and my mid-week tempo run keeping in and around the 6:55 min/mile pace for 9 miles.

Last September I ran Skagit in 3:06-and change and then this past June I ran Seattle RnR in the same time, except Skagit is flat, and Seattle is hilly. So you’d think I’d be able to take some time off of last year’s Skagit time, but… I hurt my back after Seattle and I’ve dropped my mileage by about 20% and sliced off 90% of my tempo and speed workouts.

This is boring, isn’t it. This is the Prime Minister of Canada:

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Okay so anyway, given all the pros and cons leading up to where I am now, my best guess is that I could on a good day nail this son of a bitch in about 3:03. You may think 3 minutes is no thing but a chicken wing but I’m telling you, taking 3 minutes off a 3 hour marathon is excruciating. Speaking of chicken wings, I love Chris Farley, and if he was still alive, I’d vote for him to be our Prime Minister. I love him so much.

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Lora and I were supposed to run together this morning but when she headed out here she got stuck on the freeway and had to turn around, so I ran alone for 6 miles. It was SO LAME. Later on while Callum napped (I need to wake him up soon!) I hit the treadmill for the classic Hanson’s workout of 2×3 miles at 6:40 min/mile pace. I was supposed to recover for a mile between sets but I only did one 800m recovery. It was SO HOT in the garage. Kinda borderline dangerous but…..I feel a little more confident about this upcoming race.

Time for some Corona and chicken wings!

Do you ever compare training from year to year and freak out? Or does seeing the difference give you confidence?

Favourite Chris Farley movie/SNL skit or quote?

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Week in Review

Linking up with Meghan from Clean Eats Fast Feets, here is this week’s Week in Review!

A little less crazy of a week this week than last week, which was nice, and in case you don’t believe me, Callum has been practicing his documentation skills with his gift of photography:

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I especially enjoy this one, where he snuck a photo of Wendy’s car out the front “spy” window. Atta boy.

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There really wasn’t much else to do but…

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I did a bit of it myself.

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We passed our boating exam, and so I officially have my license. We got the Hotyssey hooked up with a trailer hitch and so now all we need to do is get Andrew’s license and practice our dance moves and we’re all over it.

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My auntie Heather comes down here once a year from up north and my dad brought her out for a visit. I served pie and ice cream and my sister Lori dropped off cream puffs! My dad and his sister are twins. If you feel like you want to ask me if they’re fraternal or identical, then I urge you to purchase a dictionary and a Barney DVD.

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I took Freddy, Katie and Callum to the beach and as teenagery as Freddy tried to be, he couldn’t keep his hands out of the sand. There’s just something about the ocean that pulls us in, dunks us under and brings us back up brand new.

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Ice cream helps.

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Later on that day my friend Isabelle who I’ve known since we were 5 came over with her 3 kids. Isabelle lives on the island so we don’t get to see each other very much. We had so much fun catching up that I forgot to take any pictures.

On Thursday night I dyed Katie’s hair. I meant to go lighter but I chickened out a bit, which was a good thing; the shade ended up being close to her original colour but just a bit brighter, bringing out her green eyes and her speckled freckles (she’s going to be mortified that I’m posting a pic of her in her pajamas).

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I was drawing up ideas for tattoos (Andrew and I are getting work done in October) and I felt inspired to be goofy and whip up a pic of Andrew. NOT BAD for a complete amateur, eh?

IMG_9904I dropped Katie off at a birthday party on Friday night and Freddy off at his best friend forever’s house, so I ended up working on my book. I’d take a photo but that would be incredibly awkward. Oh look! I give a huge truck full of zero fucks about being awkward.

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I got a lot of work done on my book this weekend. I’m picking up a desk for $25 off of Craigslist. Inspired by my friend Amy’s post here, I decided to be more intentional about creating a work space for myself! Slouched over on the couch doesn’t help my back much, and I’m so sick of burning my thighs with the MacBook.

Although, then I’d be missing out on some of this, so…

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Was your week last week busier than normal, the same, or a bit more restful?

Do you have any twins in your family?

My dad is a twin and my sister Tracey had fraternal twins!

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Mileage Monday

63 miles for the week!

Monday– Got up early, slapped the morning around a bit for 5 miles and got it done. Then we spent the day driving down to Whidbey Island, sitting bundled up in lawn chairs on the beach and driving home with a cranky todder.

Tuesday– I got up at 6 to meet Lora but then realized that she thought we were meeting at 8am (I texted her “8” but I meant 8 miles not 8 o’clock) so I waited a bit and by the time we left I could only fit in 5 miles so we did that and then I ran 5 miles later on while Katie played with Callum.

Wednesday– I was going to do 10 but I got to 4 and got bored so I turned around and headed home.

Thursday– 6 with Lora early this morning and 4 later on in the day in the heat! 7 min miles for the 4.

Friday– Another early 10 miles with Lora. Only a couple more weeks of being able to run with her before she can’t run in the mornings anymore.

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She’s mad at me for posting pictures of her that make her look grumpy so I took one for the team:

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Saturday– 10 miles all by myself at an ungodly hour before it got hellfire hot. I’ve been venturing onto the dyke trail even though there are bears everywhere in there. Make it quick, Mr. Fuzzy!

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Sunday– 10 miles with Lora. We were only going to do 5 to 7 miles but we felt SO GOOD when we started out that we kept going! Once we turned around at 5 miles, we figured out pretty quick why we had felt so good at the start–we had the wind at our backs heading out, and in our faces coming back. IT SUCKED.

I told Lora she looks like a BAMF and she had no idea what a BAMF was. Anyone else not know? You know what acronym I HATE? “KYS.” Kids these days use it for “fun” on Instagram and stuff. It stands for “kill yourself.” Shit like that makes me crazy.

Bears. Do they live near you? Are you afraid of them? Have you seen one in real life?

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The Finish

Leading up to the Seattle Marathon I would do speed work and tempo runs and long runs, stacking up the miles like a teenage boy collects dirty magazines; I was hot and sweaty and raring to go. Except all I had at the end of race day was a pile of messy wet clothes.

I haven’t signed up for Skagit Flats quite yet, only because my life can be so unpredictable. I do know that Kylah and Ethan are with their mom that weekend, and Katie and Freddy are with Jason, so it’s just Andrew, Callum and I. But we don’t have a babysitter because Andrew’s parents will be in Hawaii, so I will probably just need to drive down there by myself, carry all my shit on a belt of some sort and depend on teenage angst to get me through the finish line.

It shouldn’t be a problem; I’ve been cashing in on my teen years for a solid twenty.

That said, I haven’t done the speed work or tempo runs and I’ve dropped my weekly mileage from a whopping 90-100 miles per week to a respectable 60-ish. Yet? I still feel a bit achy in the joints (hello, almost 40) and when I tried to do 4 sub-7 min/miles today I nearly shit my pants; I used to do 10-plus miles at at 6:45 min/mile pace.

I have no idea how this marathon will go. Absolutely no idea. But having no expectations is better than low expectations, and wet messy clothes tell a hell of a better story than dry ones.

When’s your next race?

Have you ever been to Hawaii?

Am I the first running blogger that has written about semen?

 

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Boom Boom Pow

Sport psychology was one of my required courses for the completion of my kinesiology degree. I loved it. One of the lessons was about how those guys that shoot guns (tuition money well-spent; I can’t even remember the name of the sport) can control their own heart rate in a way that enables them to fire a shot between heartbeats. We were then required to take our own resting heart rates and record our numbers. Dr. Whitmarsh told us that anything in and around 70 beats per minute is normal. Mine?

37.

I didn’t write my number down because I didn’t want to waste any more of my time here on earth because at that point, I was convinced that I had 3 minutes left to live.

After I googled images of Hugh Jackman and smoked a pack of cigarettes, I pushed myself up and away from my desk, shuffled to my professor and with burning cheeks, sweat dripping down the nape of my neck, I told him my resting heart rate, but he assured me it was normal for an endurance athlete (while I worked toward my Kinesiology degree, I played on the varsity soccer team and trained for my first marathon).

This picture is from the year 1998, my sophomore year of TWU:

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I haven’t changed a whole lot…

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Since then, I’ve been pretty in tune with my heartbeats, not just because of that course but because I have an anxiety disorder and for some sick joke, anxiety preys upon the organ that keeps us the fuck alive. When I’m super stressed out, my heart will pause for what seems like an eternity and then make up for lost time with a frigging pounding through my chest feeling like I’m doing a 100m sprint. Sometimes it jolts my rib cage in such a way that it makes me cough. On top of the erratic beats, I’ve got a dump truck and the man that ate everything parked on top of my chest.

I would not be a good candidate for the sport I can’t remember.

What’s the name of the sport where they have to shoot guns? Is it Summer Olympics? Or is it a part of the Winter Olympics where they have to cross country ski, dump their shit off to the side, pick up a rifle and shoot at a target?

Do you have an arrhythmiatic heartbeat? Why? Does it ever make you cough?

 

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Touchy Subject

I know I always say that humans are created for connection, and that the root of all anxiety is separateness, blah blah. While that’s all true, the power of stillness, of isolation is, well, it’s strong. Strong like a purge. Relieving like the first breath once your face breaks through the surface water. Healing like a fasting. And then once we can fuck off like Jesus did in the desert we can finally sort our shit out and then come back to the dining table to break bread with our people.

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But after nearly forty years of wanting nothing but to fuck off in a desert, I have finally come to the point where I can admit that isolation is not that good for me. I mean, obviously within reason; I don’t think Andrew wants to sit on the bathroom counter each morning to watch me poo. We’ve got our toilet facing the mirror so I have a hard enough time watching myself do it; I can’t imagine Andrew having to suffer through it as well.

I guess I just panic, sometimes. And when I panic, I emotionally curl up into a ball and my walls go straight up like a drawbridge. During those moments, the one thing that softens my edges and draws out my heart is Andrew’s touch. All it takes is for him to reach his leg over to my side of the bed and press his foot against mine, or to pull my face into his collarbone, or to reach across Callum’s chest to hold my hand and then just like that, I unfurl.

Are you an easy hugger? Like, do you hug people like it’s no big deal or does it make you squirmy? Do you reserve hugs for a select few?

I used to hate being touched and I’d never hug anyone but once I went through therapy, I started to be way more comfortable hugging people.

Have you ever watched anyone go poo? Voluntarily or involuntarily? 

 

 

 

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Week in Review

This is going to be one giant photo dump care of Meghan from her party over at Clean Eats Fast Feets!

Okay, so whoa. SUCH a packed week. SO FULL. Andrew had Kylah and Ethan camping in the States while Callum and I hung out with Jake and got ready for Katie and Freddy’s return.

Isn’t he such a little sleeping beauty? And yes, he’s got chocolate chips stuck to his hands.

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I took Katie and Callum to a movie (Secret Life of Pets) and we stopped for appies beforehand at a cute little pizza place. They gave Callum a glob of dough to play with, which I thought was brilliant, but he did not. I guess he doesn’t like his hands to be that dirty.

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Callum took this photo of Katie!

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His first movie theatre experience:

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Okay and so then? We bought a boat. Yup. We have nothing to pull it with and nowhere to store it but… we bought a boat.

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We’re getting a towing package on the Hotyssey (nickname for the Honda Odyssey) this week and our boat licenses in the next day or two and then, off we go!

I bought gravity chairs for super cheap at Walmart, and Andrew found them just a leeeeetle bit comfy.

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Katie and I went on a hike and we’re pretty sure we saw a bear. No, for real. And Katie had a small run-in with some singing nettle, but we were able to celebrate our survival with some frothy drinks.

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On Friday night I had my 20th high school reunion! It was SO FUN and SO AMAZING to see all these beautiful people again! I sure missed a few people that weren’t able to make it though! Christy and I started out the night with china white shots in the bathroom because it just felt so high school.

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Doesn’t she have a great laugh? Her whole face lights up. I feel bad for getting the lady in the background but maybe her dreams of becoming a celebrity will finally come true.

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And then we got a few pictures taken with some good people. The cops showed up at Gary’s house once while Isabelle and I were barfing our guts out in the basement bathroom. Hi Gary!

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And Jon’s… well…. uhhh…. Hi Jon!

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Andrew was a champ. And a poser. <3

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It was a great night, for sure. Our friend Kristen babysat Callum for us, (thank you, Kristen!!! xoxo) and once we picked Callum up and got home, it was after midnight. We got up on Saturday morning and headed out to Vancouver to meet Gretchen and her husband Dan for lunch at the Cactus Club on the water. And then we got to meet Christina from the Athletarian, which was amazing! Both girls were in town for the SeaWheeze half marathon. That’s our 2010 Olympic torch in the background.

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Andrew and I took Callum on the train at Stanley Park and he loved it so much!

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Now it’s Sunday afternoon and I’m recovering from this morning’s 18 mile run with Lora and hopefully meeting my friend Jen who is here from Saskatchewan this afternoon sometime. It’s been a super full week with an action-packed weekend, and my social muscles are hung over AF. Although, we bought champagne when we bought the boat and haven’t had it yet, so I’ll put my feet up and recover with a glass of bubbly.

How do you handle non-stop social time? Do you ever feel like curling up into the fetal position in a dark cave afterward?

Where is the weirdest place you’ve ever done shots?

 

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Mileage Monday

I hit 63 miles for the week, with a rest day!

Monday– I took Callum out for a spin in the running stroller for 4 miles in the morning and then I ran 7 miles on the treadmill while he napped later on. I lent my Chariot out to a running friend of mine and I just got it back again! I’ve had it since Jake was born, 16 years ago!

Tuesday– I ran 10 miles while Katie held up the fort with Callum.

Wednesday– I did 4 this morning and felt my knee twinge a bit on the downhill so I turned around and came home. I ran on the treadmill later for 5 miles and put it on an incline and it was totally fine.

Thursday– 5 miles. I wanted to run longer but I can’t keep slamming out these big runs or I’ll end up having to take a day off and I WOULD RATHER DIE!!!

Friday– I haven’t been waking up as early lately, and I’m really finding it hard to fit my runs in now. I got 10 miles done in the morning but I should have got up earlier to do it so it didn’t take up as much time out of our day.

Andrew agreed to stay home with Callum so that I could go on a hike with Katie. We think we saw a bear, and Katie grabbed onto some stinging nettle, but hey. It’s always an adventure.

Saturday– NADA. Spent the day in Vancouver meeting up with Gretchen and Christina! So much fun!

Sunday– I had the opportunity to run a long one so I texted Lora to see if she’d do it with me. We got up at 6am and ran 18 miles at an 8:26 min/mile pace. It was perfect! We got back to our cars and barely even remembered running the thing. We talked the entire time! Although it was pretty difficult leaving the house with my boys sleeping so peacefully…

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Do your knees ever hurt when you’re running downhill?

Aren’t you proud of me for taking a rest day?

I actually feel worse when I take rest days; my body feels better when I keep it moving.

 

 

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