Why not? As the days dragged on, the question was why? And why don’t I just quit. I felt like I needed to finish this and I did!
But why did I start doing this anyway? Well, it is a really long story but I will try to hit the high points. Go back in time with me about 10 years. June 2004, my mother dies of cancer. Awful. No other way to describe it. One week later, I suffered a miscarriage at 11 weeks. Awful. Again. Seriously. Ugh. I have a 14 month old beautiful baby boy so life must go on, right? Nine months later, I give birth to my daughter, named after my mom. During all this time, my motherly instinct kicks into high gear. I must mother my own children and because my own mother is gone, I have the strong desire to mother my siblings. I can’t help myself. I just can’t stop. I must mother everyone around me. So sorry to all my co-workers who really don’t need or want me to mother them. I. Can’t. Help. Myself.
Life continues at a crazy busy pace. My youngest sister finds herself living in paradise AKA Hawaii. And, she is pregnant with her first baby. I was lucky enough to be able to go to Hawaii to be with her and be the first member of the family to meet thebeautiful baby boy. What an emotional experience that was. While I was not in the delivery room for the birth, I spent the days leading up to the birth helping my sister and her husband get the house ready for the impending arrival. When she went into labor, I was at her side helping her through the pain. I was so glad I could be there. It felt like I was in exactly the right place at the right time. Leaving a few days later was one of the hardest things I have ever done. But, I came back to KY and continued my crazy life. Two years later, I am standing in a mammogram room getting ready to get my first mammogram. My phone dings with a text message. The x-ray tech tells me to go ahead and check. My sister is being admitted to the hospital to give birth to baby #2. This time they are living in KY and they live just a few miles from me. The x-ray tech was just as excited as I was and we hurried the mammogram along so I could get to the hospital once again. I was exactly where I needed to be. Beautiful baby girl is born and she is perfect.
One week later, I am sitting in the ob/gyn office waiting for my yearly exam. I am sitting and waiting for the nurse practitioner to come in and see me. She walks in and sits down, puts her hand on mine and says “how are you?” And she meant it. I burst into tears. And I could not stop. I could not even explain why I was crying. The nurse practitioner just sat that with her hand on mine. Waiting. I cried. When I stopped, she said, “what can I do?” and I burst into tears again. More waiting, more crying. After I calmed down, she took my blood pressure and explained that I was not allowed to go home and that I needed to go directly to the emergency room across the street. My blood pressure was so high that she was afraid I was going to have a stroke. After I begged her she agreed to let me go see my primary care physician, immediately and she sat there while I made an appointment for that day.
By the time I got time I got to my primary care physician I had calmed down but my blood pressure had not. After talking with my doctor, he said I had to go on blood pressure medication immediately. He made me make an appointment with a therapist. I went the next day. After talking through the events of the week with the therapist, I came to the conclusion that the nurse practitioner asking me how I was doing was the first time anyone had asked me that question in a very long time. I had been so busy being strong for everyone, taking care of everyone, mothering everyone that I had not taken a moment for myself. And, I had gotten extremely out of shape and weighed about 50 pounds more than I should. I had been so busy taking care of everyone else that I had not taken care of myself.
After taking a few days off of work, taking my medication as directed, I returned to the primary care physician, my blood pressure had returned to normal levels. And the doctor encouraged me to take it easy and focus on myself. Ha, that was not going to happen. It was mid-October. The holidays were approaching. Gifts had to be purchased, parties planned, food cooked and I had to do it all.
After the holidays died down, I had time to think about the last few months and reflect (with the encouragement of my family) and I realized I needed to focus on my health. I have never been good at keeping New Year’s resolutions. I was great at making them, bad at keeping them. But this time, I was going to do it. I renewed my membership to the gym, got out my workout clothes and started walking on the treadmill. I took it slow. I monitored my heart rate and just walked. I paid attention to what I was putting in my body. I made a goal that I would exercise and eat a healthy diet and in six months I would go back to the doctor and determine if my weight and unhealthy eating were causing my high blood pressure or was I a victim of my family history of hypertension. It was slow going. I even gave up for a while. But slowly, I made progress. I felt better. I looked better. I was getting better. Then, the end of the school year push began. The kids had projects at school, work was crazy, I was involved in the hiring process for a new principal at my children’s school and working out fell away. I was still eating a healthy diet but the exercise just did not happen. Great. I was slipping back down the slope. I had to stop the slide.
Looming in the horizon was a 5k race hosted by my church. I had run it a few times. That was going to be my new beginning. So, on May 31st, I ran a 5k. It was not pretty. But, I ran it. I finished it. And, I felt great. The next morning I woke up super sore. But, I thought, hey, maybe I will run again today. That was June 1st. I ran/walked about 4 miles and felt happy. It was after that run on June 1st that I came up with the idea of running every day in June-Jogging June. I was inspired by my older sister who ran every day in November. I could do this. So, I did. Every day. I ran. I refused to make excuses. I ran early in the morning. I ran later in the evening. I ran after work. I ran in the rain. I ran in the blazing sun. I ran. Some days I only ran a mile. Some days more. I chose different places to run so I would not get bored. And I decided to share on Facebook. Why? Well, I needed to be accountable to someone. So, I chose to be accountable to everyone. And it worked. The motivation I received from the facebook community was amazing. It was exactly what I needed. I felt like I could not let anyone down. And, as I ran and got stronger, I began to set some goals. The Bluegrass 10,000 was on July 4th. 6.2 miles. I could totally do it. Maybe. Yikes. But, with the help of my sister, I trained and made a good plan and stuck to it. Everyday. Now, running every day is not advisable by any trainer or health professional but I needed to do this. I could do this. I did it. I ran each and every day for the entire month of June (plus that last day in May). 31 days in a row. I ran.
89 miles. Over 16 hours of running. I did it.
I go back to the doctor in 6 weeks. I think he will be proud. Will I be able to stop taking my blood pressure medication? Maybe. But, if I can’t, it is not because I have not made a change. I have taken time out for myself. Am I still mothering people? Absolutely. Do I still do too much for people. Absolutely. Do I get that sometimes I need to do for myself. Absolutely.
I ran every day in June. Will I stop running? Maybe I won’t run tomorrow but I will run. What if I can’t run the whole 10K on Friday? What If I have to walk? I don’t care. Because July 4, 2014 will be my own Independence Day.