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2 time ovarian cancer Survivor, Advocate for ovarian cancer awareness & research, Teacher of Zen Method Tai Chi, Blogger, sharing the wonderment and power of essential oils, proud fan of Cathe Friedrich's workouts, Reiki practitoner, A Course in Miracles student, paper crafter

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I Surprise Myself- Twice

After my first Teal 5K I felt really good, and so gung ho about continuing to train for another 5K. "I am a runner, I really did it!"- I said that to myself many times. I'm amazed and grateful for this body that can do so much after enduring so much abuse and cancer treatment.

 In my delirious post-first-race joy I even committed to running the St. Jude HALF MARATHON in December of 2013 with an awesome and precious online friend. She runs  quite a few races, but offered to do this HM with me at my own pace. I was so touched and just couldn't resist meeting her and running with her so I quickly agreed. It just may turn into a fabulous meeting of a group of online friends, right before my 40th birthday. Whoa, 40th... Wait...what. That can't be right. Someone check those numbers.

Moving on... 

And so I started imaging myself running a half marathon... taking it from blurry disbelief to crystal clear images....

The Monday following the Teal 5K I stood up from a kitchen chair, as I have thousands of times in my life, and my back and outer thighs lit up in fiery pain. Sciatica, my mind immediately told me. I experienced a similar sciatic event last September, remember? (I don't really expect you to remember.)

I was crushed and broken spirited. I was angry at the radiation treatments that caused that area of my body to be weakened and vulnerable. I wasn't sure I could or should run again. I was slapped in the face with the reminder that treatment may be done, but it's not 100% over. 

Then I remembered not to focus on what I didn't want- pain, suffering, misery, depression- and shifted into gratitude and filling my mind and mouth with words of healing, love and encouragement. 

My life has such amazing synchronicity. I had made a reflexology appointment for next day with Footsteps in Eden, originally to de-stress and pamper my body after the 5K. How fortuitous. It was excruciating to walk, and I couldn't drive. I'm so grateful to have a sister who could chauffeur me to this appointment. Synchronicity strikes again. 

Reflexology and Young Living's essential oils are what helped me recover and heal from last year's sciatic event, and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that combo would come through for me again. And it has! This article explains how reflexology relaxes the sciatic nerve and why it's so important. <Do you use reflexology?> 

Lynn, of Footsteps in Eden, uses Young Living Essential Oils and instinctively knew that Juniper essential oil would be helpful to my healing. She was absolutely right! Juniper was a new oil to me, and I always enjoy finding new miracles of Divine nature. A few minutes after she first rubbed a couple drops of Juniper oil into my sciatic reflex I felt my lower back release and relax. Ahhhhhh. I ordered my own bottle when I got home. 

Here's more information Juniper Essential Oil... which can also be helpful for skin conditions, improving the health of  your kidneys, relieving bladder infections, easing liver problems, varicose veins and ulcers to just name a few. 

By the end of the first session I felt majorly relieved and found myself moving a bit easier. Reflexology often has a cumulative effect, which was true in this situation for me. I faithfully applied the Juniper essential oil and rubbed my own sciatic reflex over the next few days and noticed marked improvement every morning. A miracle, truly. Last year's sciatic event caused me to 'down and out' for a couple of months. 

This past Tuesday I had another tranquil reflexology treatment and feel only a slight vague tightness in my lower back afterwards.  Today it was almost Noon before I even noticed or remembered this sciatic event. Astounding. Miracles and synchronicity at their best. 

I am in awe of God's loving healing and energy in my life, even at my darkest moments I know Light is in me and surrounding me. 

I've decided to continue to run, but I will start training from square one to rebuild my strength in my lower back and core so I can avoid another sciatic event in my future. I'm starting with walking for a few weeks, and I'm planning on reading Chi Running. I'm drawn to the 'chi' concept... but more on that in my next post. I'll escalate my half marathon training from there, and be ready for St. Jude's Half Marathon next December. (Who said that??) 

What are YOU doing next December? Want to join us?   

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Teal 5K

The beautiful and busy TEAL month of September has somehow ended already. It was an incredible month of activity and advocacy to raise awareness of ovarian cancer which left me little time to write about it. Ironically when I was blogging regularly I didn't have much of a life, and now that my life is so rich and full I haven't much time for blogging. I'm grateful for this life I've created, and am committed to blogging much more often.

This tiny blog is about to play a big role in a project called The Zen Method that I am honored and excited about... but I'm getting ahead of myself.

My last post was right before Teal for a Cure, my first running/walking 5K. Last year this event, without the 5K, had 225 participants. This year with the 5K added in we had an astonishing 909 participants! It was a sea of glorious TEAL. It felt surreal being there with all those people... I felt like I missed so much of it even though I was there... overwhelming grateful to everyone who worked so hard to create and support event and for all the people who donated their money and sweat to raise awareness of ovarian cancer.

Before the Race started the cameras clicked...

My running guru for the hour, Susan. She knew when to push me and when to slow down. She rocks.

My 2 oldest Peeps, TEAL Princesses. They were so excited to be at the "Teal Walk'.

I wasn't well prepared for this Race in many ways. I started training way too late and pushed myself too hard. I didn't get much sleep for the whole month of September, especially the 2 nights before this Race. I didn't drink nearly enough water the morning of the Race, and only ate a banana. Mentally I pushed those things aside, but my body was not to be tricked. I was about out of steam and my body tried to tell me by setting my throat on fire when I woke up at 5am. 

So, I Raced unprepared, exhausted, un-hydrated (un??)... but I was determined to Race.

I ran in memory & honor of my friend, fellow Cathlete & Teal Sister who earned her teal Wings a couple days before this Race.
My new friend, and Teal Sister, Marie (pictured below) graciously and thankfully ran and walked along side me and Susan. She came from out of town to be a part of the event, and didn't know anyone. I know her mom, a graceful strong and kind woman, and so I befriended her. Marie has those same beautiful characteristics of her mom. I am honored that she stuck with me through the Race as I know she could have finished much faster if she choose to. That's what Survivors- despite the color of our ribbons- do for each other. We hang on, hang in, encourage, share... 

L- Leisa Middle- Marie R me
There were A. LOT. OF. HILLS. I heard seasoned runners call this course 'tough'. The first mile was all shady climb then it flattened out and the sun beat down on us. My running guru for the hour, Susan, was so encouraging and kind. She even made up a cheer for me to the Mickey Mouse tune' C O N N I E it's her first 5K! Yay!'. God love her. 

I didn't have time before the long walk up hill to the start line to grab my interval timer so decided to just wing it. Not so smart. So I ran as much as I could, but walked much more than I had intended. My body was exhausted and just wasn't going to be forced into a stellar performance. 

Then again, I WAS out there giving it my all ... and I'm quite proud of that. 

We hit the second water hole and I couldn't believe we were two thirds done! I had a burst of energy and thankfully we got back into shade. I pushed along... and then there was the 3 mile flag. JOY!! Susan encouraged me to run that last 0.1 of a mile- downhill- to the finish line... and we did. I ran as fast as I could and was pleasantly shocked to see 56 minutes on the timer. By some wonderful miracle I was going to finish in less than 60 minutes despite all the circumstances. 

My official time was 57:37. 

I'd love to say that I looked victorious crossing the finish line. You know, fist pumping in the air as I slide gracefully through the finish line with a bright smile on my face. That would have been a lovely story. 

Instead I crossed the finish line and threw up a little. And very ungracefully threw myself on the nearest piece of grass and collected myself. Susan got me an apple, my sister Sally (who also ran her first 5K and finished in 55 minutes!!) got me water, and a lady I didn't know fanned me. My brother in law's Uncle Steve stood by and made sure I was recovering... and I did. The apple and water helped a lot. I stretched some and rejoined the group for the event's finale. We released doves in memory of our Teal Angels, including the lovely Virginia.

If you'd like to see more pictures of the event, please LIKE the Ovarian Cancer Awareness Foundation's Facebook page

By 1pm I was sound asleep on my couch.. after a long nap and quiet evening I was proud to put on this handmade, specially made for me, bling shirt from my Florida friend Lesile. If you like her work, please LIKE her Facebook page. She will be happy to bling you up! I will wear this shirt often. Thank you, Lesile!!  


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