Category Archives: Off-Topic

Please take a moment to read…

As I thought about racing this season, I kept asking myself “How I can I make this year about more than me?” and wondering how to use my racing to make a difference for others. At first I wasn’t sure what to do, but a couple of weeks ago after a workout I was sitting […]

via Something Bigger Than Me — Life is an obstacle race

A Year with Asthma

I was thinking yesterday, as I struggled to run, about how I had a goal to run a trail race next Saturday, March 11th. I won’t make that goal and it feels pretty crappy. Since completing my Spartan Beast back in October I have been struggling with workouts. I made it through my Trifecta but apparently I did not rest enough after that race. I ran a 5K the following Saturday and since that race I have felt bad. Whether it is extreme exhaustion, feeling depressed, having breathing issues, being sick with every single bug going around or just feeling awful for apparently no reason (blood test said no reason).

Last year I self-diagnosed myself with Exercise-Induced Asthma. I think I had been suffering from it for about two years but didn’t know it. Three years ago I found out I have Epstein-Barr and feel pretty awful when that flares up. Before self-diagnosing myself, the doctor said I should get a sleep test so I did and it was normal. Then the doctor said it could be Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (still a possibility) but in the end, it was asthma. A year ago things were bad. I was having attacks often and hard workouts became disastrous for sleeping. I couldn’t even catch my breath.  Just after I received my inhaler I ran a 5K trail race. Having asthma was new to me I forgot my inhaler at home.  The race started and within just a few minutes I was having issues breathing.  In the midst of attempting to breathe I missed the 5K turn and ended up running (walking) the 10K which crying for much of it because I felt so bad.

That same trail race is next week. I ran last night and struggled and decided I couldn’t register for it. Granted, I was very sick last week and hadn’t ran but it shouldn’t have been that bad. Running up any incline was very difficult. I walked for a bit and just felt dejected.

This morning I headed over to Amelia Boone’s website (professional OCR competitor). I like to read her blog and had missed her last entry from December. She wrote in length about recovering from her injury, the sadness that came with it, and wondering about her future. Now, I am in no way a professional athlete. I am not even any good for my age. But I, too, wonder what the future of working out and racing looks like for me. I am signed up for the Washington DC Sprint – that is in September. I convinced a friend to do it so I needed to hold up my end of the bargain. It is a short race and I am sure I’ll be okay for it. I hope.

I am seeing an Asthma specialist tomorrow. My wish is that she can provide me with some hope. Anything. Something. I want to get back to heavier workouts or at least be able to run continuously for more than a mile. I want to go through my day without struggling to breathe. I want to lose this stupid weight I have put on without my HIIT workouts. I’m 45. I need all the help I can get. The time between November and now has been a big blur. I can’t really pinpoint a time when I felt healthy for more than 3-4 days at a time. I find it difficult to explain to people as they can’t “see” anything wrong with me. I go to the gym and lift weights. I’ve lost a lot of strength and can no longer do a pull-up. I’m working to get all of that back.

Thankfully, through all of this, I have still been able to hike. Hiking has been one of the few things to keep me sane. There are moments when I need an extra hit of my inhaler or have to take extra breaks when climbing elevation but generally I am ok. I am dreading the spring, though, with all the pollen. I know that will cause issues unless the doctor provides me with a wonder drug. I also worry about the future of the air quality. I am anticipating summer being bad. And if the cuts to the EPA go through air quality could generally get worse over the next couple of years as pollution is no longer a concern to this administration.

I just want to feel like there is some hope. I want to feel like I can wake up someday, take a breath, and then not thinking about trying to breathe for the rest of the day. I promise I’m not whining. I just want some relief.

Fighting the Good Fight

Every day the news depresses me. I find it hard to believe that there is an idiot in the office of the President and he is willing and ready to give up public lands for drilling, development, etc. all for money.

I started a post yesterday and didn’t finish it. I had a hard time writing something positive. I had seen a clip where some guy with the name of Lars Larson asked Spicer “when are we going to start cutting down the forests…” and stop paying to fight forest fires. Spicer’s answer wasn’t, “No. We don’t want to do that.” It was, (and I paraphrase), “Well when the proper people are in place we will see what makes sense.” I cried on the spot.

This is what we are up against. At least those of us who recognize that National Parks and public lands are beautiful and meant to be preserved. President Roosevelt knew what he was doing when he decided to create National Parks. How can one not look at the Rockies and be wowed by their majesty? How can you see the Grand Canyon and not want it to be there forever?

Even in my “small” Shenandoahs I stand atop Hawksbill – the highest point – and am wowed by the views. I want to always preserve it and keep it pristine. It is one of the reasons I take as many photos as I can – to share them with others so that they can appreciate their beauty.

There are many organizations fighting this fight. And they can count on me. I don’t know what the future holds but it looks bleak. I have considered other countries and started looking into what it might take to move. This is not exactly feasible for me at the moment but I want to be ready. I am scared and if I’m scared as a privileged white chick I can’t imagine what my Muslim, minority, or immigrant friends are feeling. Everyone keeps saying, “He’ll get impeached.” but if the GOP is so intent on favoring them, I’m afraid it won’t be possible and we could be stuck with him for 8 years.

Anyway… if you read this, you must love the outdoors. You must have an interest in our National Parks. If so, GET INVOLVED. Do NOT let them take our land. Stand up for nature, environment, climate change. Be an advocate and do not sit back and let it happen. There are waterfalls out there for me to photograph. My kids need to see the Grand Canyon. I need to hike Yosemite. You can be sure I’ll be doing what I can to make sure all that happens.

Smokers and Nature

Let me get this out of the way right now: I hate smoking. I hate the smell. I hate it when I have to walk through it. I hate how someone smells after they smoke. I could go on but you get the drift. I understand it is everyone’s right to ruin their lungs and pass secondhand smoke on to everyone else. I used to teach salsa dancing every week in a club with smoking. I truly believe that the smoke was one of the factors in the asthma I suffer from today.

I love nature. Mountains. Streams. Trees. Animals and birds. All of it. I can’t get enough of it. And I don’t understand why smokers don’t. I see the remains of them in nature all of the time. Just last week when I hiked to Raven Rocks Overlook there on the ground was a cigarette butt. My first thought was how hard was it for them to hike to that point because it had to have been taxing on the lungs. It isn’t an easy hike. My second thought was, “JERK!” Ok. So you feel the need to sit and view nature’s beauty by having a cigarette. It relaxes you? It calms you? But then you have to leave your trash there? I don’t get it.

Earlier this summer my son and I went tubing at Shenandoah River State Park. There were only 5 of us who went on the trip. There were No Smoking signs everywhere in the park. It is a “Carry In – Carry Out” park. That means no trash. Yet one of the men going tubing was smoking. He had to smoke on the way to the transport vehicle which meant my son and I had to walk through it. I found it very rude. I was also annoyed that the guy that was going to drive us didn’t speak up and ask him to 1) put it out and 2) take his cigarette trash with him. He didn’t. He threw it on the ground. My son didn’t want me to make a fuss so I didn’t. But I was annoyed.

I have family members that smoke. I have friends who smoke. I don’t hate them. I hate the habit. I hate that it makes people leave trash everywhere because they are either too lazy or too inconvenienced to put their butts in the appropriate places. Go ahead. Smoke in your car. Do not throw your butt out the window. I have seen many land and still be lit. I’m sure this practice has been the cause of more than one forest fire.

I don’t see many speaking up against this. But I am. Even though not one soul reads this blog I am still saying something in case it gets found via Google. Stop smoking in nature! Or if you do, take your cigarette trash with you OUT of the park, trail, hike, rocks, etc.

There is no purpose to going out and enjoying nature just to trash it with cigarettes. Be responsible, please! And don’t even get me started on beer bottles….