Published November 4, 2016 by mellifera2013

Note:  If you don’t care for reading about periods, uteri, blood, feminine hygiene and the like, I suggest you skip this very long post. 

Today I’m struggling.  It’s taking all I have to not just up and leave work today.  I’ve done everything that I know how and asked every question to my gynecologist I could possibly come up with.  Yet here I am, at the mercy of my dysfunctional uterus.

I’ve been having bleeding issues for years, brought on by uterine fibroids.  I had an emergency surgery back in, I don’t know, 2008 maybe, to remove a fibroid that was the size of a butternut squash and weighed 5 pounds.  I was up to date on all my appointments.  None of my healthcare providers at the time noticed this 5 pound gourd in my abdomen until I presented at the urgent care clinic in extreme pain and fatigue.  Skipped ultrasound and went right to CT Scan that showed a large growth near my ovary.  That lead to an immediate admission to hospital, a 3AM MRI and scheduled for surgery the next day.

The MRI ruled out ovarian involvement and, hence, ovarian cancre, much to my mother’s relief.  Diagnosis was a pendunculated fibroid tumor (90+% of the time, non-cancerous) growing on the outside of my uterus, that had twisted on itself, cutting off its blood supply, causing me pain and anemia.

So that was removed and I had a good few years symptom free.  Until I started having abnormal bleeding episodes.

I had a new gynecologist at this point, who suggested I start medical control of symptoms and, if I was happy with that being controlled, we could do that indefinitely.  Basically I was prescribed the “mini pill” which is a low dose, progestin only, continuous birth control.  This worked well for a few years as well.

Until last year.  It seemed that any time I did any rigorous exercise, or twisting as involved in yoga, I’d start bleeding.  I was in the height of training for my first half marathon and it was miserable.  I almost had to back out because I was bleeding continuously and neither I, nor my coach thought it was a good idea to add further stress of a 1/2 marathon on my body.  But thanks to my gynecologist, we increased my dose of progestin and that helped, but only temporarily.

Further testing showed I had 2 more fibroids which my doctor believed was contributing to my abnormal bleeding.  Several endometrial biopsies showed no sign of cancer or endometriosis.  In March, I was faced with a decision – to have another myomectomy (fibroid removal surgery) or have a hysterectomy.  My gynecologist said I had a good chance of having another 5 or 6 years of of relief with the myomectomy and a Mirena IUD to stop my period all together.  This would bring me that much closer to menopause.  I decided to give it one last try.

I had surgery on March 15, 2016 and had the Mirena placed at the same time.  Unfortunately, ever since that day, I have been bleeding, and I had the Mirena removed in June to go back on progestin.  While the progestin lessened the bleeding, occasionally, it never really stopped.  And in August, I ended up in the emergency room hemmorhaging so badly that I was admitted overnight.  My gynecologist happened to be in the hospital that day for scheduled surgery and she came down, personally to the emergency department, when the emergency doc paged for a consult.  She told me that he had asked her in private, “how long can she (me) go on like this?”  That’s how bad it was.  I was leaving trails and puddles wherever they brought me.  It was embarrassing and devastating.  Nevermind scary.  We had now moved from inconvenience to interference with my job (I had to take 2 days off for this episode).  CT Scan in the ER showed MORE fibroids.  More fibroids have grown 5 months.  I told her right then and there, fighting back tears, “I’m so done with this.  I can’t live like this.”  She agreed and said that if I was ready, a hysterectomy was an absolutely acceptable choice in this situation.  I decided to move forward to have it done.

But before I can have this surgery, she wants me to have a 3 month course of Lupron, which is a hormone suppressor, particularly estrogen.  I have learned that this is standard practice to help shrink the fibroids, uterus, and stop bleeding to build up red blood cells lost due to anemia. I had the 3 month shot on October 3rd.

Which brings me to today.  I’m still bleeding going into the second month. I was instructed to take the progestin for the first month and I stopped it this week.  And now I feel like crap.  Maybe it’s a real period.  But I know 2 days ago I was down to very light flow or just spotting, and now I’m cramping, and having to go to the bathroom every hour to change my pad and tampon.  Yes, I’m needing to use both.

I’m spending a fortune on feminine hygiene products (just think, every hour – two hours tops).  I’m wrecking underwear, pajamas, pants.  I’m hesitant buying new clothes because of this.  Not to mention just feeling flat out GROSS.  I’m fatigued, feeling run down and, honestly, I think I’m starting to feel depressed.  I can’t bring myself to do anything active because I have a negative correlation with excessive bleeding.  Swimming is scary, cycling is impossible with a pad and a tampon, and running brings me too far away from a bathroom.  I’d love even leisure walk 5 miles through Winnikenni, but I’m terrified of having an accident.

I have plans to go dancing tomorrow night.  I want to go have fun.  I know there’s light at the end of this tunnel, but the “now” is what I’m struggling with.  I have 65 days left of uncertainty.  Wondering if it will be a good or bad day.  Wondering if today will finally be the day the bleeding stops or if I’ll end up back in the hospital.  Of if I’ll cough or sneeze and leave a mark on my office chair.

I just want to feel normal again.



But first…The Struggle

Published September 15, 2016 by mellifera2013

(disclaimer:  This can be considered TMI for a lot of people, particularly guys.  If you don’t like hearing about girly medical issues, I suggest you skip this entry.)

I’ve been having ongoing medical issues for over a year now.  Uterine fibroids and constant heavy menstrual cycles have had me emotionally distraught and physically drained.  It makes working out down right miserable.  After lengthy discussions with my gynecologist, I decided to try fibroid removal again (vs. hysterectomy) since my last fibroid removal bought me something like 7 years of time with zero problems.  I had laparoscopic surgery in March to have 2 fibroids removed and I had an IUD placed, which I was told would also aid my menstrual issues.  Unfortunately neither of these procedures helped.

In June I developed a bulge in my abdomen and I immediately worried I had developed a hernia.  I got in to see my gynecologist (who is also my surgeon) and she poked around and didn’t feel any organs.  She said it was probably just a pocket of fat.  Ha.  Now I have special pockets of fat.  I did discuss with her that my other symptoms had not subsided and a recent ultrasound found that 2 more fibroids had grown since surgery. We decided to remove the IUD and get back on progesterone.  So about 6 weeks go by and I’m STILL not getting any relief and I call her back.  She says, let’s stop everything for a week or two so your body can “reset” from all the hormones.  Ok.  Two days later, on a Friday morning (two weeks out from the triathlon), I end up in the emergency room at 4AM with uncontrollable nausea, vomiting and pelvic pain.

I was given IV fluids and anti-nausea and pain medication, an ultrasound and CT Scan.  CT Scan showed a lower abdominal hernia, that was only protruding fat (for fuck’s sake), and no bowel, intestine or bladder involvement.  The ER doc figured the pain was due to the hernia (exasperated by vomiting), but had no explanation for the nausea. I had the option of staying overnight for observation, but I just wanted to go home and try to sleep.  So I did.

Didn’t eat much on Saturday, and ate some soup and crackers on Sunday.  It seemed I was feeling better.  That was until 4AM on Monday when I was vomiting again and having massive bleeding.  I drove myself to the ER (not a good idea, in hindsight, because I was very weak).  I saw the same ER doctor and, upon seeing what a state I was in, he called my gynecologist, who just so happened to be in the hospital that day for scheduled surgeries (she’s based out of the Peabody office).

Again I was hooked up to fluids and anti-nausea meds.  My labs were taken as well.  My gynecologist came to see me in the ER in between surgeries.  I looked at her and told her I was DONE with all of this.  She was concerned with my level of bleeding and she admitted me for the night.  She ordered a high dose of progesterone to reduce the bleeding.  Basically to combat my crazy ass hormonal response to being off the progesterone.  She thought the nausea was being caused by whacked out hormones as well.  More anti-nausea meds (none of which made me sleepy – FAIL), and some ibuprofen and I was hunkered down for the night.  I felt so shitty I didn’t even check my phone (which is normally an extension of my arm) the whole time I was in the hospital.

My gynecologist came by my room in the morning on her way to the office to check on me.  Bleeding had gotten to a manageable state, and she decided I could go home.  But she wanted to see me the following week to discuss moving forward. She also told me that the ER doctor was pretty concerned about my apparent hemorrhaging asking her, “How long can she go like this?”  I was also scheduled to consult with general surgery regarding the hernia.

I met with the general surgeon days before my gynecologist.  Of course, as fate would have it, he is also the head of bariatric surgery here.  Now, for what it’s worth, I’ve been toying with the idea of weight loss surgery for YEARS.  Even more so because here I am cycling and swimming and walking/running and I’m still not losing any weight.  He shows me my CT scan and the hernia.  He had said that the pressure in my abdomen, likely due to the weight I carry up front, contributed to it, as I explained that I hadn’t done any heavy lifting or anything out of the ordinary that would have traumatically caused it.  He said that he would not want to perform a repair unless I dropped about 30 pounds.  This is for a safer surgery, and a better recovery.  And so we got talking about weight loss surgery.  Of course, knowing that I’m slightly interested now, he wants to do weight loss surgery before anything else, to make hernia repair/recovery easier, and the likely upcoming hysterectomy/recovery easier.  I agreed to have an official consult – a 4 hour meeting with their nutritionist, nurse practitioner and psychiatrist, and scheduled it for mid-October.

I then met with my gynecologist.  She tells me the general surgeon was in touch with her.  She says, “of course if you had weight loss surgery and lost a bunch of weight, surgery would be easier, but I’m really not concerned about it.”  We talked at length about a hysterectomy.  How TODAY I was feeling fine, and feeling complacent.  But we both know that my uterus is a ticking time bomb, and she said it’s up to me to decide when.  My lab results from the morning I was discharged from the hospital showed I was anemic (results weren’t in when I was discharged).  So she wants to put me on Lupron for 3 months prior to surgery.  This is to reduce the size of my fibroids and uterus, giving a chance for blood counts to go back up and make for an easier less-invasive surgery.  Now, Lupron is going to put me into a temporary chemical state of menopause.  That just sounds FABULOUS – NOT. I ask if she would repair the hernia at the same time.  She said she’d probably “throw a few stitches in there” but they have a chance of reopening.  I leave her office with lots to consider.

I think and think over the weekend what I should do.  I’m looking at at least 2 different procedures (hysterectomy and hernia repair) and possibly a 3rd (weight loss surgery).  In what order do I do this?  How does this affect my training and activity?  I’m angry because it’s like my body is fighting against me because if I work hard, I suffer ill effects.  If I start surgical interventions, I need to modify my activity levels.  It’s a real shitty place to be when you’re trying to change your life.

Then, 4 hours after finishing the triathlon (which I’ll write about soon – I promise!), I start bleeding all over again.  And I’m reminded of why I was at the doctor to begin with.  I need to have my gynecological issues resolved so I can continue being active.  Having weight loss surgery will help other things in my medical chart, but it isn’t going to help bleeding, pain and anemia.  So I emailed both my gynecologist and general surgeon letting them know my priority is to remain active and even increase my level of activity.  In my opinion, this means having hysterectomy and hernia repair before any thought of weight loss surgery.  So I asked if they can work together to do both these things in one surgery.  I don’t know if it’s medically advisable to do so, but I figured I’d ask.  I’m willing to work on weight loss for 3 months before either procedure to make a positive outcome more likely.

Now I’m just waiting to hear from them to see what they advise.  I honestly don’t want to spend a year in and out of the hospital having 3 different surgical procedures, but I’ll do what they think is best.

I’ve been waiting and suffering far too long at this point.  Something’s gotta give.

Recollections since Savannah

Published September 14, 2016 by mellifera2013

I started my athletic life as a runner.  A walker, really, with a little running sprinkled in here and there.  I did countless 5Ks, a few 5 milers, and one 10K.  Then my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.  Fast forward through 19 months of treatments, caregiving, role reversal within the family, her death, grief, family discord, stress and depression, and injury, I found myself at the start line of the 2015 Rock ‘n Roll Savannah Half Marathon.  I had signed up for this race with the intent of completing my first half marathon for my 40th birthday and raising money for lung cancer research in memory of my mother.

I wasn’t well trained for this race.  Partially because I just didn’t want to train hard.  Partially because I couldn’t get out of my own way due to the reasons stated above.  But there was an official 4 hour limit, which I thought I could do.  And, there was a 6 hour limit on the full marathon, on the same course, so I figured I could sneak in over the 4 hour mark if I needed to.

According to the Savannah Morning News, this was the hottest marathon/half marathon on record for Savannah, with the temperature reaching 77 degrees and the heat index reaching 87 by 10 a.m.  While sightseeing the day before, all the locals told us that it was unusually hot for that time of year.  The average temperature in early November is low 70s.  There was 100% humidity at the start of the race at 7AM.  You couldn’t see 200 yards in front of you due to fog.


Steamy Savannah Start

I started at about 7:30AM and at 10AM they started closing down the course according to their emergency heat plan.  By that time, I had already gone through the 40oz of fluids I was carrying, while also taking advantage of water stops. It was brutal.  I was diverted, along with 8-10,000 people to go directly to finish line.  Do not pass go.  Do not collect $200.  I was mad.  Not as mad as some of the full marathoners.  But I also was really feeling like shit at this point.  We passed a bar who had employees outside giving out shot glasses of beer.  I figured, hell, I’m going to take advantage.  I was so thirsty, and the diversion made us bypass the last water station.

I did get to cross the finish line, and I did receive a medal for completing what they let me complete.


“I will NOT pass out, I will NOT pass out”

According to my Garmin, upon crossing the finish line, I completed 10 miles of the 13.1 mile course.  So close, but yet so far. I was disappointed that I didn’t get to complete this huge goal.  But honestly, had I gone another 3 miles in those conditions, I would have ended up in the hospital.  I almost passed out twice in the finish line area.  I decided to seek out the medical tent.  I needed my friend Jenn to hold me up walking over there.  I checked in, and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Nobody came to see me.  They were so inundated with sick runners.  Two people actually died that day.  Thankfully Jenn took over and grabbed wet cloths out of pools of ice they had there, and started covering me from head to toe in them.  That helped bring my temp down a lot and soon I was feeling better.  I left the med tent an hour later without ever being seen by anyone.


But I did get to party with a Paula Deen cut out at The Lady and Sons for a celebratory dinner

Fast forward to April, 2016.  The first anniversary of my mother’s death.  The first Easter I hosted the family and was tasked with making all the traditional foods.  I did this fresh out of abdominal surgery.  As part of my recovery, I needed to cross train, so I was walking, and cycling, and soon swimming.  I remembered my goal to complete the triathlon in September and decided I needed to find one to use as a training experience.  I found a super short distance triathlon in Westfield, MA in June.  It was a 300y swim, 6 mile bike, and 1 mile run.  Though this wasn’t my A race, it was my next big goal – my first triathlon.  I registered and booked a hotel (it was 2 hours from my house).


Yes, I actually placed in the Athena Division


My dad got sick the day before we were going to drive out to Westfield.  He was puking and just not feeling well.  He didn’t want to miss it, so he drove out there anyway – hours after I did.  He arrived late in the evening, while I was trying to relax and get to sleep for my early morning.  He was up sick all night.  I didn’t sleep well.  And then I got an email from the race director saying that the swim was cancelled because the lake failed water quality tests.  I was now going to do a duathlon.  Great!  Running twice!  My LEAST favorite discipline.  And my BEST discipline was cancelled.  Dad slept in, and I had nobody to help me schlep my stuff.  He got there just in time for the start – but I had to ditch my camera in transition (which was now closed) because he wasn’t there in time for me to give it to him.  So yeah, I did my first DUathlon.  But the goal was a TRIathlon.  Another goal deferred.  Another disappointment beyond my control.

So I started training for Call to Honor, which was being held in September.  I signed up for multisport group training, got more confident in my open water swim, and started getting better at hill work on the bike.  I didn’t do much running/walking because, hey, I like swimming and cycling better.  Issues that should have been rectified by the surgery I had in the spring had not gotten better, and I developed a hernia. I skipped some of the training sessions because of these issues.  Great!!

While I didn’t get much faster, I did build up a wealth of confidence and endurance.  I wasn’t walking up hills anymore with the bike.  I could swim 800 yards without stopping. When I first started swimming, I needed to stop every 25 yards.



And then there I was, knee deep in Stiles Pond in Wave 5 (Women 40-49) ready to take on my first triathlon

Up next… Race Report  – A Call to Honor Triathlon



Where I’ve been (a pre-race report)

Published November 10, 2015 by mellifera2013

I haven’t written in a very long time.  It’s not that I’ve had nothing to say, but I’ve been very unmotivated to do so.  I don’t know if this is a re-start, or just the need to get something out on paper in this moment, but I feel the need to share.

During the height of my mother’s illness, with my 40th birthday fast approaching, I decided that I needed to do something for myself to mark this milestone birthday.  I decided that I wanted to run a half marathon, and that I wanted to go on a vacation to do it.  I started researching marathons near my birth date and found the Rock N Roll Savannah Half and Full Marathon on November 7th.  It was one week after my 40th birthday.  I had friends who were living in Savannah.  There was a registration special going on for $49 only until midnight.  The stars seemed to have aligned, but I spent hours going back and forth over whether or not I should pursue this.  My coach assured me that I could be ready for a half marathon in 11 months.  I bit the bullet and registered.

The year leading up to this race really was a whirlwind.  We lost mom on April 29th.  I lost 14 pounds in the 2 weeks that she was in the hospital.  I didn’t think it was possible, but I was more of a caregiver to my family after my mother had passed, than I was when I was actually caring for her.  I again put myself on the backburner (a running theme in my life), and used all my energy on everyone else.  I did continue to run during this time but not with any real focus or commitment.  I was dealing with members of my family who were not adjusting well to the loss of my mother, which created more challenges for us all. I gained the 14 pounds back, plus another 10.

I can’t even say I’ve had an opportunity to grieve the loss of my mother because of the turmoil that has been going on.  However, there is a distinct possibility that I did the majority of my grieving while mom was still here.  Who knows?  I’m contemplating seeing a therapist.  Maybe they’ll help me figure it out.

So, to keep me motivated to train for this half marathon, I hooked up with LungStrong, which is a local non-profit that provides funding for lung cancer research at Massachusetts General Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  I decided that I wanted to raise money for research and that I wanted that money to be used locally.  I set a goal of $100 per mile ($1310), set up an online fundraising web page, Melissa’s 13.1 to Support LungStrong, and, I’m happy to report, I’ve raised over $1400 to date.

I started to add mileage to my training, and, got up to a 9 mile run/walk on the Windham rail trail.  That ended up being my final long run before the half marathon – Three weeks before  the race.  It proved to be a disaster.  I had no idea how long it took me (because I couldn’t find my garmin).  I started having terrible back and hip pain.  I have uterine fibroids (fiberous non-cancerous tumors on my uterus) that can cause abnormal bleeding , which I’ve been managing with medication.  However, the stress of running  long distances can (and did) cause problems.  Problems severe enough that my coach advised me that if bleeding issues weren’t resolved by the next week (2 weeks before race) she was advising me to not attempt to race.  I was only concerned with the logistics of running for 4 hours with this issue.  She, very smartly, reminded me of the high chance of anemia and the stress that would put on my body even before I started.  I was frustrated.  She was right.  Thankfully, it resolved itself within the week.

As a side note, I decided not to see my OB/GYN to address this issue.  This is mainly because she told me that this was a possibility, and to keep running as long as I am comfortable doing so.  She also told me that once I can’t control my symptoms medically anymore, the next step is surgery, and there was no way in hell I was going to schedule any surgery before this race. 

Three days after that long run, I attempted to go to track.  We were running 1000s (meters).  Before I could even complete my first 1000, I got a sharp pain in my right hip – very similar to what happened 2 years before on my left hip.  I walked for the remaining 45 minutes of track, feeling a pulling sensation the whole time.

I saw my orthopedist two days later, who confirmed IT band syndrome resulting in bursitis.  She understood I was going to attempt a half marathon in three weeks and she pushed me to get into PT immediately and that if I didn’t see any improvement in a week and a half, she was going to do a cortisone shot.  I didn’t want ANY of that, so I made an appointment with the PT who treated me previously.

In the meantime, my coach had me cross training on the bike and elliptical machine to mimic running as my long runs on the weekend.  During the week, I rested.   PT was aggressive because I didn’t have a lot of time.  I noticed improvement almost immediately.  I completed my last long workout (4 hours in the gym – 2 hours elliptical and 2 hours bike) and I felt, for the first time, that I could really do this and physically feel good doing it.

I got to run 2 miles on October 31 during a Halloween race.  I did better than I thought I would.  It was the first time I ran in almost 3 weeks, and it would be the last time I ran before the race.

Coming up, the Rock N Roll Savannah Half Marathon Race Report…

Race Report – Somerville Jingle Bell Run

Published December 15, 2014 by mellifera2013

December 14, 2014


The Somerville Jingle Bell Run is a fun holiday themed race through the streets surrounding Davis Square in Somerville, MA.  90% of the 5000 runners and walkers at this race are decked out in some sort of holiday wear.  From menorah hats, to teams of friends dressed as the entire nativity, to people in contraptions made to look like speed boats pulling santa on skis, and inflatable reindeer heads – the priority of the day is FUN.



I arrived early with Lin and David to find parking and pick up our packets.  We were so early that we were able to drive up to the Senior Center, pick up our and our friends’ packets, and drive and park within a block of the start line.

My running club is always well represented at this race, and this year was no different. We met up with our MVS friends for a photo opportunity and then set out to find Marcy and Karen, two friends we met through an online fitness challenge group who were also running this morning for a meet and greet and photo op.

Merrimack Valley Striders

Merrimack Valley Striders

Karen, Lin, Melissa & Marcy from Coach Jenny's Holiday Challenge

Karen, Lin, Melissa & Marcy from Coach Jenny’s Holiday Challenge











Soon Bonnie and Joanne arrived and we lined up at the start line.

Bonnie & Joanne

Bonnie & Joanne

I didn’t think I’d PR today (too much partying the day before) and so I didn’t even put that in my mind. My goal today was to maintain a steady pace because I have a problem with starting out too fast and having nothing left at the end of the race.  So I set my music to a pace that I thought I could maintain for 50 minutes, which turned out to be 140 BPM (I use an app called TrailMix Pro).

About ½ mile into this race, I felt like I was losing my skirt.  I was wearing a skirt with spandex attached shorts over spandex bicycling pants.  So I kept pulling the skirt up and kept going.  Then at mile 1 I was getting uncomfortable.  Something was twisted and didn’t feel right.  I pulled at my pants and noticed the waist had twisted 180 degrees.  So I’m sticking my hands down my skirt trying to fix this problem.  The poor people behind me!  I fixed the pants and noticed the skirt/shorts were twisted 180 degrees in the opposite direction!  I kept fiddling with this for about ¼ mile until I said screw it.  I wasn’t going to set fire to my thighs for a 5K or for vanity.  I didn’t give a crap if I was running and flopping around in shiny spandex pants with nothing to cover up.

I stopped on the side of Powder House Boulevard and dropped trou.  Granted, I did have a base layer on, but I had no shame here.  I was dropping my phone, hopping around trying to get my huge shoes out of the legs of the shorts.  I was wasting precious time here!

I had immediate relief and got back into my pace.

This course is hilly.  There are several short but steep hills that I apparently forgot from last year (and this spring when I ran the same course for a St. Patty’s Day race).  In keeping with my goal of staying consistent, I was very pleased with myself for running several hills and not going crazy on the downhills.  In the end, I felt good and strong.  And I felt that way during the entire race.

Unfortunately, I didn’t save my data when I stopped my garmin, so I have no idea what my splits were but I looked at my watch one time during the race and it showed I was moving at a 15:55 avg pace and I was happy with that.

I made a course PR of 47 seconds, and feel confident that I’ll be picking up speed in the next few months once I start track.



Sigh of Relief

Published December 5, 2014 by mellifera2013

I finally feel like I can take a breath in the midst of my mother’s cancer treatment. In the last 7 months, mom has undergone brain surgery, brain radiation, 5 rounds of combo drug chemotherapy and 1 round of maintenance chemotherapy.

She recently had a chest scan that showed that treatment is working (things are shrinking and maintaining) and yesterday she had a brain scan that showed her surgery site has remained stable and the 2 lesions that they knew about are even smaller than the last scan in September and there are no new lesions on her brain.

I have been cautiously optimistic through thanksgiving. My motto being, “don’t freak out until there’s something to freak out about” though I did freak out in that first shocking month. I didn’t know if mom would be here for Christmas. I cancelled a booked vacation for January because I thought the worst. And before thanksgiving she started dropping final wishes hints. I know it’s just her way of dealing with feelings I can’t possibly understand. But man, living like the world is going crumble around you at any minute is exhausting. It’s really unnecessary.

Today I feel relieved. At least for now. Now we can celebrate Christmas knowing that for today, right now, mom’s as healthy as she can be. I don’t have to force myself to see the positive. We’re living it today. She’s had to scale back a bit, but she’s back driving, Christmas shopping, going to breakfast, doing laundry, being “normal”. I know that, especially for mom, things aren’t all sunshine and roses.  I know that what was “normal” last year is not “normal” now.  But I try very hard to encourage my family to enjoy life. Enjoy each other. Do fun things. And we had a bit of that on Thanksgiving. It was like we were “normal” again.

Mom and Me on Thanksgiving morning 2014

Mom and Me on Thanksgiving morning 2014


Mom and Dad, Thanksgiving 2014

Mom and Dad, Thanksgiving 2014

Mom and Auntie Tina Thanksgiving 2014

Mom and Auntie Tina Thanksgiving 2014

My niece, Lilly, brother Brian, and me, Thanksgiving 2014

My niece, Lilly, brother Brian, and me, Thanksgiving 2014

Me and SIL, Christine, Thanksgiving 2014

Me and SIL, Christine, Thanksgiving 2014

Me and my brother, Jeremy, Thanksgiving 2014

Me and my brother, Jeremy, Thanksgiving 2014


525,600 Minutes (How do you Measure a Year?)

Published December 2, 2014 by mellifera2013

I met with my coach, Deanna, last night to develop a training plan for the year leading up to my first half marathon in November, 2015.

We talked a bit about how I’ve come to this point in my running career, and how making a decision this far out is probably the best thing I can do, because I’ll have 4 “seasons”, if you will, of training periods with different foci.  Deanna said that I really shouldn’t try to work on speed and distance at the same time, so this approach to training “seasons” will help to avoid injury and burnout.

So I’m hitting the ground running.  I don’t have the finalized plan yet, but basically from now until February I’m doing “base” training.  The month of December is focused on remaining active at my current level.  Basically, I just need to “survive” the holidays.  January and February we will introduce strength training 2 days per week and work on running at my current pace for longer durations during my runs.

In March and April we will work on speed.  This will hopefully increase my pace a bit so I can roll that into the next “base” training season focusing on distance.

That is what would be considered the actual half marathon training.  Starting in May I will gradually increase my long run distances.  Most plans I’ve read are for 12-14 weeks.  We have about 18 weeks with which to play, and still have a decent taper period.  This makes me feel better because I’ve never fit into any cookie-cutter mold in this running world.  I’ll have time to dial back to recover, if needed.  And if I need to swap to the Bay State Half Marathon, I’ll have time to adjust a couple of weeks to be able to do that.

We talked about the fact that there is no reason why I couldn’t go out tomorrow and run/walk 13.1 miles.  It wouldn’t be fast, and it wouldn’t be pretty.  But there’s no doubt I could cover that distance.  I’m just not prepared for it to be “fun” – yet.  So knowing that I can do the distance is half the battle.  Now it’s just a matter of doing it WELL and injury-free.  Deanna said she wants me to do this feeling great upon crossing the finish line.  I can feel like hell the next day, but I shouldn’t feel like hell, slogging along during the race.

The more I look at it, the more it seems like Savannah is a good choice for me.  The bulk of my training will be in the summer and the average temperature in Savannah the first week in November was 71 degrees.  I’m already thinking of what I’m going to wear!  I’d love to rock an MVS singlet that fits properly by then.

I’m also thinking of using this half marathon as a fundraiser for a lung cancer charity in honor of my mom.  I’m in the process of “vetting” organizations right now.   Then I can think of fun ways to raise some money.

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Self-improvement blog for overweight individuals with articles on weight loss, getting healthy, physical fitness, running, recipes, meal plans, chasing values and crushing goals.