Thursday, March 22, 2018


First, a disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I make a commission for purchases made through the links in this post. These types of links are indicated by an *.

I have no intention of going into details about my first marriage, but it is a part of my personal history.

In hindsight, I can see it wouldn’t last, but at the moment, I was young and didn’t see it.

I want to share some advice I give to friends that are going through major break-ups and divorce.

It’s ok to feel hurt, shame, embarrassment, sad, happy, and/or relieved, as well as anything else you may be feeling as you go through a major break-up.

Those feelings are real.

When you get married or are in a serious long-term partnership, you create a new entity.

That entity has plans, hopes, dreams, and memories.

When you divorce, it can feel as if that entity passed away.  All those future plans are no longer to be and there will always be a pain and a sadness related to the memories. It is ok to mourn the loss of what was and what might have been without wanting to be back in that relationship.

Too Good to Leave; Too Bad to Stay*—This book was one of the best I read when I was trying to make a decision about my marriage. For me the line that had me thinking was something along the lines of, “If you could wave a magic wand and the marriage was over without drama or any of the logistics, how would you feel?” I likely got the quote wrong since I don’t own the book anymore and I sent it to a friend who needed it. (She is still married.) That statement goes along with tricks to figure out your true feelings on something, like when making a decision flip a coin and say to yourself, “Heads I leave, Tails I
stay.” Your reaction to the result of that flip is likely pretty close to how you feel.

Please don’t read this thinking I am a fan of divorce—I’m not. I’ve been married 10 years now and while it has its ups and down, if I hadn’t made the hard decision to get divorced the first time, I wouldn’t know the happiness I know today. I would have loved to avoid the pain and shame of my first marriage and divorce, but I don’t have a magic wand to do that, and it’s part of my past and part of what influenced who I am today.

If you’ve been thorough this, please share in the comments what helped you get through it or make the hard decision. Be kind.

What I'm reading

Here are a few blog posts I've enjoyed in the last week.

Running Through the Decades
Many inspirational stories of women who run and when they started. Hint: you are not too old to start.

Do The Hard Thinking
Internal thinking is something I do on many of my solo long runs. This blog has some great questions to consider.

I Wish You Would Talk To Me
Touching discussion from a Mom regarding her son starting speech therapy.

Qualitative Qualifiers... "Great accomplishment ...for a blind guy"
Communication and language intent regarding disabilities.

Monday, March 19, 2018

My Health Crisis

Disclaimer: Medical information in the article is in regards to my personal history and is not intended to diagnose or prescribe.  Consult a chiropractor or other healthcare provider regarding any opinion or recommendation with respect to your condition or symptoms.  This post contains affiliate links. I make a commission for purchases made through the links in this post. These types of links are indicated by an *.

This quote is from the book Clean Gut*. If you are curious about more details on the gut microbiome, I recommend this book. It has a great explanation that doesn't require a science degree to understand.

In my life I've had two major health "eviction notices". These are stories about them, and the choices I was offered, the choices I made, and how those choices have impacted my life.

2002-2003 - I'm unsure the exact year.

My house was under major construction, the kitchen sink was on the floor of the dining room and the best I had for a kitchen was a toaster oven, a fridge and a plastic bin of drawers. Due to this layout I would generally pick 1 food that was easy to cook and just eat that, over and over again. After a few weeks, that food would make me feel sick, so I'd pick a new food. This went on for several months.
One night at our weekly poker game with friends I cracked a joke, that I seemed to be developing food allergies monthly. A friend who happened to be a PhD Chemist(and several years older) looked at me very seriously, and said go see a doctor, that is not how things should be.

To my own surprise, I listened. At the time I was seeing a doctor at an amazing health center that had medical doctors and alternative medicine practitioners. My primary referred me to their MD that handled allergies, and that doctor handled things differently then I had seen before. He spent 45 minutes asking me about my medical history. He wasn't as much interested in the file in front of him, he wanted to me to tell him about what was going on and what had happened. He was just as interested in my symptoms and any medical treatment in my past(childhood, teen years and such) as he was with my current symptoms. He was digging to discover the root of the problem, what triggered the issues.

At the end of the medical interview, he said he suspected that I was dealing with a candida(yeast) overgrowth in my gut along with leaky gut. His suspicion was that one winter, every single time I got a head cold, I ended up on antibiotics for a sinus infection. Changing my gut flora so dramatically that my body was unable to correct it on it's own. At the same time I was anorexic. My doctor wanted to order two tests, one that my insurance would pay for and one that my insurance would not. I realize that those two diagnosis are well known these days, but this took place nearly 15 years ago.

I opted to pay for the test and did the two tests, one to measure yeast(or I'm guessing a yeast by product) in my urine and one to test for leaky gut. Many silly jokes were made as I prepared my samples and mailed my urine off to a lab for testing.

Then came the results appointment. I still didn't understand much or any of this information at all, no one did. Google gave me information from websites whose validity I seriously questioned.

I remember that day, sitting across the desk from the medical doctor and him asking me over and over again. "Are you sure that you don't throw up after every meal?" The yeast positive test was high, not outlier bad test high, just high. The leaky gut test was positive as well, and also high. The thing was no I didn't throw up, I'm terrified of throwing up(as in I had to come to terms with this before I could consider having children). As for my symptoms, I had constant background nausea, it was so constant I didn't even notice it unless I picked up something heavy. What did happen is 5-8 times a day I'd have horrific diarrhea, the type that makes you shaky and sweaty. I had gotten so used to it, thought it was normal, that I could literally leave my desk, get sick in the bathroom and pull myself together to be back at my desk less than 5 minutes later. I had gotten so good at hiding it, my husband(at the time) didn't even know it was going on.

The medical doctor did the best he could in suggesting care and balancing pharmacological and alternative medicine solutions. I learned a lot about nutrition and how it was impacting my digestive system. Due to the condition of my "kitchen" and several factors in my personal life, made my ability to be compliant seem impossible. If you have ever tried to make major health improvements through major diet modification, you likely know you need support, you need the people you spend the most of your time with to believe that these changes are needed. If they don't believe it, you are not only fighting your cravings but you are also fighting your support. 15 years ago most people had never heard of the gut microbiome and many considered my diagnosis made up or outright false.

While I didn't completely correct the problem and to be honest, would likely need to stick to a very strict diet for YEARS to correct the damage. I did improve my situation. I learned to recognize the symptoms that meant I was pushing things too far. I removed a few key trigger foods from my diet.  I gave up soda to reduce my over all sugar consumption. I questioned any doctor who wanted to prescribe me antibiotics to make sure it was absolutely necessary, because I knew the side effects for me would be worse than the symptoms from sickness.


One morning I woke up with both my ankles swollen to the size of softballs. I had no injury to speak of, they were just swollen. It was painful, but I'm tough so I ignored it and went along with my life. After a few weeks, my knees were starting to hurt and I was beginning to avoid walking. Eventually I broke down and saw my medical doctor.

She ordered blood-work and scheduled a follow up a week later. A week later I was in her office, my ankles were still swollen and she said two words, Rheumatoid Arthritis(RA). She said she had them run the blood work twice and it was negative there but the symptoms were spot on and RA isn't always positive in the blood work. She looked at me very seriously and said "You are young, too young to start RA treatments, I want you to seriously consider trying PT, chiropractic or acupuncture first".  That one request leaves me with guilt, survivor guilt. I'm a chiropractor now, I know what long term treatment of RA looks like and the risks involved with the infusions that let those suffering, suffer a bit less and have a quality of life.

I chose Chiropractic, by random chance a good friend of mine mentioned that a high school classmate of hers, had just opened up a chiropractic office and he adjusted extremities. I didn't understand RA at the time, I worked in information systems, I knew how to fix computer and interact with servers. I did not understand biology. I knew I had an ankle problem and so I needed an ankle solution, right? RA isn't a joint problem, it's an autoimmune disease. My immune system was attacking my joints. I know that now, I've studied many of these topics on my path to becoming a chiropractor, but I didn't know that then.

After my first adjustment, my ankle returned to their normal size. I listened to the chiropractor talk about a different way to look at health. How the body was connected and the nervous system controlled the timing. How the central nervous system is protected inside the spinal column. That chiropractic adjustments, "cleared the noise", they "silenced the room", so that my body to recognize what it should and should not be doing. It made sense, it matched up with much that I had learned during my first crisis. I listened and I followed his care recommendations. I kept going even when the symptoms were gone. After six months all signs of RA were gone. I was even starting to see improvement in my gut issues, something I thought would never happen until I could follow the strict diet.

It wasn't until a few years ago that I really put together what happened to me. Did I have RA? Do I have RA? I'm inclined to say yes as well as, maybe to those questions. There is no test(since the blood work was negative) and it's too late now to see if the early intervention stopped the disease process. I can only imagine where I would be today if that medical doctor had not given me the choices she did. Nor do I know where I would be if the chiropractor only treated back pain and joint injuries. The major health changes didn't happen with that first adjustment, they happened over time and still do.

If anything in this post feels personal, "hits too close to home" or sounds familiar, please contact a trusted healthcare provider and don't be afraid to ask questions.

I know my friends silently question, that I get checked and adjusted by a chiropractor weekly even though I have no pain.  That I see an acupuncturist regularly, and I do not budge on my diet restrictions. For me the consequences are too big. It's not a tummy ache or unpleasant trips to the bathroom. It's chronic headaches, it's fevers, it's whole body exhaustion and body aches. It's loss of time with my husband and children.  It's closing my office for the day, being unable to help my patients experience life to its fullest. This strict diet allows my body to focus on healing and function and the chiropractic care helps the coordination of all those functions.  If I want to be healthy, I have no cheat day.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Why I run?

When I'm asked why I run, I often start with answering the unasked question, why did I start running? Because why I run today, is a very different answer as to why I started to run.
OK, I may need to work on my jump shot.

Science may have proven that exercise is good for mental health, I now understand that answer on a personal level. I'm a happier and calmer person when I run regularly. There have been evenings my husband has shooed me out the door to go running just because I was too cranky or frazzled.

Running for me is a challenge. I was never a distance runner. When I played sports I was goalie. No one cared how slow the goalie ran a mile. The sense of accomplishment when I finish a race, especially when I set a personal record, or a personal best time, is immense.

I run to be a good example to my children. Children learn from watching, and "do as I say not as I do", never works. If I want my children to have good exercise habits in life I need to demonstrate good exercises habits for them to copy. Just like eating vegetables, they are always on our table at dinnertime, and we all seem to fight over the last stalk of broccoli. My children see me sticking to my training plan even when I'd rather stay inside to drink tea. They were there when I came in last(19th place) at the small 10k. They saw everyone cheer me on, and how I handled being last. What better way to teach them about losing, then for them to see me lose.

"Mom remember that time when you came in last?"

Monday, March 12, 2018

Week 9 Starts, Quick Update in Pictures!

My husband kindly hung my map up on the wall and I've been coloring it in nearly weekly. I suspect once the weather improves I'll start exploring even more. Sunday I found a road of new houses that isn't even on this map.

Marathon Training update in spreadsheet format.
Green = Done!
Blue = Done + 1 pr more miles;
Yellow = Less than planned miles
Red = Did not do

Last weeks training was hard for me. I was riding the struggle bus, then we had horrible weather and I simply did not want to leave the house. I did do a 50 minute Tae bo video in my living room followed by Minecraft yoga with my sons. Thank you Cosmic Kids! 

I've missed my strength training classes for the last 2 weeks, because of "reasons", which generally fluctuate between snow days, vacation days, and children with mild fevers. I've continued to do some stuff at home but no where near the same intensity as at the gym. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Hampton Half Review

TLDR: I beat my last(first) half marathon time by 39 minutes! It was windy but that didn't bother me. I splashed my way through puddles, got hit by a wave and had a fantastic time. My husband was amazing and supportive at the race.

I got a new PR at the Hampton Half. I was 39 minutes faster than my previous half marathon! The weather and the race itself was an adventure.

On Friday before the race, the north east was hit with a Nor'easter. While it wasn't cold enough for snow the coastal flooding was impressive and destructive. Every few hours there would be a new update on the flooding at Hampton Beach, the very roads I was planning to run on Sunday. Loco explained the conditions quite well is this post event write-up.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Looking Forward to Fall Races

I'm watching many of my running friends announce that they've won the lottery! The lottery being getting a bib for the NYC marathon or the Mt. Washington race. Just like the Boston Marathon those races have more runners interested than there are spots available for runners. To control the amount of runners, instead of having a qualifying time, they have a lottery. For a week or so the lottery is open to enter, and on a certain day they select who gets to enter the race. The Marine Corp Marathon opens it's lottery soon.

With all that I started to think about Fall races. I want to avoid what happened last year after my half, where I ran once and then didn't run regularly again for months. For me, running is not simply a fun exercise hobby, it is an important part of my mental and physical health.

Accurate depiction of my exercising over the summer of 2017.

The problem is do I sign up for another full marathon before I have run one? Expecting that I will want to run one again. Or do I sign up for a half marathon? Which I could easily stay trained for, and avoid any additional training. Unless I wanted to improve my pace. Or do I get lazy for a month or so after my marathon? The likely solution is to sign up for a marathon, that has a half option that way I can switch down to the half if I need to.  Or do I do something completely different?

The weekend of September 29th/30th has a bunch of races that appeal to me.

NH Marathon because NH.

Smuttynose Half Marathon many of my friends have done this one and I know many will do it this year.

Clearance DeMar Marathon Leaves! 6 hours of leaf peeping at a speed safe enough to appreciate.

Go Ruck Light in Boston - Not a marathon or a half, a different kind of challenge. Different type of training as well and likely more expensive due to need for equipment.

If I expand my search from there, the list grows and this is only focusing on New England. My race bucket list keeps growing as I learn about more and more races.

Another alternative is to keep running and instead of half and full marathons in the fall, start working on my speed to get that sub 70min 10k I wrote down as a goal. Or go for The Hamster Wheel race and add an Ultra sticker to my car.

Next year I will be entering the lottery to run Mt. Washington and likely try and complete the mountain goat races to guarantee entry for 2020.