Sunday, February 28, 2010

The run

So, I did it.

The stats:
31:29 total time
31st place out of 64 runners
2nd of 13 in my age division
16th of 39 women
Splits: 10:15, 11:03, 10:33

I am pleased about some things. I am pleased I did it. I'm pleased at my standings.

I am pleased that the size M pants I bought for the occasion turned out to be too large. :)

I am surprised at my times. I've been training at 9 minute mile pace, and had sort of expected something like that for my race. I ran/walked 3 miles on Wednesday in 28:20.

I think the largest contributing factor to the slower time was my inability to pace myself without the treadmill to do it for me. I'd planned to run outside several times before this race, but what with the mountains of snow and the tendonitis, I didn't get to it. This was the first time I'd run outside since I was 16 years old. I have no idea what a 9 minute mile actually feels like.

Next time, I will have many outside runs under my belt. I found out I don't mind running in the cold. It was just fine. I will also wear a watch next time to help me keep track of my pace every quarter mile.

The cool part? Kicking it into high gear for the last half mile.

Plus, I got a sweet shirt.

I've got my eye on another 5k at the end of April. The plan is a half marathon in Philadelphia in November. I think I'm hooked.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Have I mentioned I'm one of the cheapest people in the world? Not that I don't spend money. I do. I have a family. They need feeding from time to time. But I cringe. And I never spend money on something I intend to throw away.

That alone will guarantee that I will actually be running a 5k on Sunday. I just filled out the registration and clicked "submit". And then I called the host hotel and booked J and I a room. So we're going.

And I'm gonna do it.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Great Lent started 7 days ago. I was not ready, hadn't thought about it, and had to come to the difficult decision to wait to start it.

This is my Cheesefare Week. The last meat I ate was yesterday, a phenomenal red snapper. I find that I'm ready for this and so excited. I know that this year it's springing more out of my need to find comfort, and whether that's good enough is something I'm not sure of. But where else to find comfort than the Comforter? And how better to find him than shoulder to shoulder with all saints, living and dead, walking with Him through the last 40 days before our victory was won?

I find in Lent the nearness not just of my God, but of all the saints. They seem right here. And it sounds like madness, but my mind's eye is nearly always seeing the banners and hearing the music of the Triumphant.

There is a temptation here to use this gift we've been given and try to turn it into a bargaining chip. "God, what if I did the full fast, all of it, and threw myself at the feet of Saint Anne and promised to..." "Would you give me a child then?" "What if I proved I deserve to be a mother, somehow, by..." "I would walk 10000 miles. How about that?"

But that's not what this is for. This is about being prepared, no matter the circumstance, to be strong, and faithful, and thankful, and courageous, and ready to meet him at the cross, the tomb, and the upper room. It's not just mothers who see the face of God. The barren can find Him too.

Being a mother will not save my soul. But what I choose to do about the outcome, either way, can.

I was laying in bed yesterday afternoon in tears, the ugly kind, trying to figure out how to face the rest of my life without the dream, or the reality of children. Trying to wrap my head around a door shutting on not just pregnancy and babies, but first days of kindergarten, school plays, soccer games, homecomings, proms, weddings. Grandchildren. The loss is gargantuan. And I was asking, out loud, "How am I supposed to carry this? I don't know how to do this."

And the answer came at once, and so clearly. And I don't know the immediate source of it, but I do know who to give the credit to.

Yes you do.

And I do. I carry the trouble of today, today. I cry when I need to. I allow myself to be buoyed by hope when I can. We're only ever asked to carry each moment as it comes. Someday when I am old, I may mourn still as my friends have grandchildren. But I don't have to carry that today.

And I polish and shine the gifts I have.

I just don't want to do this. I just don't want to hear, finally, "no."

"Take this cup away from me, if you will." Does this sound familiar? The cup isn't always taken, but comfort is sent, if we will have it. Lord help me see it.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

eleventh hour

I had an LH surge yesterday. CD22. So, after a great deal of mad scrambling to get my stepkids taken care of (HUGE props to my future SIL), we actually made it to the appointment 1.5 hours away at 7:30 this morning.

The procedure itself went well. The swimmies are swimming. And so we hope.

But what with it being a Sunday and nobody being in the entire building besides us and the nurse, we had a good long time to chat through our situation.

J's number of moving swimmers today was at 2.5 million. They want, at minimum, 5 million. But all you need, really, is 1 to make it. So not impossible, but not good.

But then we started talking about "the next step". Basically, you can be on the kind of meds I've been on (Clomid and Femara) for 12 ovulatory cycles safely. After that, they start to worry about long term damage to the ovaries. This was our eleventh cycle. We have one more left after this.

Then, we'd be looking at superovulation meds, which operate directly on the ovaries and essentially guarantee ovulation and known timing of ovulation. It takes the body out of nature's hands and puts it in the doc's. We'd then pair it with the same IUI method we've been using. You can do this indefinitely without any known side effects. Aside from the $2000/month that it would cost, the main problem is that it won't help if there are problems on the daddy's side.

There are problems. First, there's the overall number of motile sperm. That's way low. But we also learned today that morphology is a major problem. As in, only 3% of the motile sperm are properly shaped. So, we have 3% of half the ideal number for a successful IUI. What's that? Someone else do the math and tell me. What's 3% of 50%?

With male problems like that, IVF is the only viable option, short of just sort of winging it and hoping for the best. First, that costs about $10,000 at the outset (can that possibly be right?!?), plus another 2 grand for every "frozen" implantation thereafter. Second, what if we end up with, say, 8 viable embryos?

All I can say today is that I'm aching. There is a very real chance that next month is the last chance.

And all I'm going to say right now is "please".

Friday, February 19, 2010

the acceptable time

It's been a rough week. I have been frustrated, and sad, and frustrated, and feeling so very alone. My body has frustrated me, my husband has frustrated me, etc etc, blah blah blah. But it's also been a good week, looking back. Externally at least. I have been and done, mostly, what I want to be and do.

Yesterday I was the sort of stepmom I want to be. After school, I helped one with her homework while chitchatting with the other. Then, I built a block tower with the redhead while chitchatting with his sister. Then, she and I made brownies in Christmas molds, which delighted her. And me. Now I have brownies to eat. Both kids were bathed, the kitchen was cleaned, a delicious dinner was made, the kitchen was cleaned again, and both kids were tucked in bed on time. Both were skipping and singing on their way. Happy kids are the "A" on the day's report card.

I'm not sure why this is, but it always seems to be times when I'm lowest that I seem to be the most patient and able to focus on the needs of other people around me. I'm really not sure how that works out. But I'm grateful.

Last night was an anniversary for me. Eight years ago, something particularly negative occurred in my life. It wasn't out of the blue, though it was unexpected. And I won't be daft and say that everything was fine before it. I wasn't fine. But let's use this image: it was the wrecking ball that eventually brought down an already decaying building.

But today, I'm sort of thankful for it. Not that I'd sign up for a repeat. But consider. I'll say all the traditional things that people say when they come through something ugly: I learned who I am, I learned who my friends are, etc etc. All true. I also learned what mercy isn't and what justice isn't and what forgiveness is.

Mercy isn't about sparing hardship. It's the voice that calls us through it. Justice isn't about vengeance. Vengeance is something different, though it has its place in one hand of justice. Justice is about giving to each what they are owed. No less, and no more. Justice and mercy must walk hand in hand. They are not themselves without each other. They must speak to each other if they are to speak to us. Neither weakens the other. They are fire and steel. They heal. They cleanse. Without them, we stay sick and dirty.

Forgiveness springs out of the heart of both. Forgiveness must be honest. It must say, "this harm was done." It may not say of a harm that it was not done. It must not diminish the harm. It must not inflate the harm. Forgiveness must look the harm in the eye, hold it in the palm of its hand, and put it away. Forgiveness looks forward to the day that the putting-away can be completed. Forgiveness feels pity, real pity, for both the harmer and the harmed.

I have some idea of the trajectory I was on on February 18, 2002, and I know that had that event not happened, the person I am today would not recognize, understand, or probably even be able to converse with the person I would have become.

I easily could have married him. Thank God for making that impossible.

Lent started Monday. I've been reading The Lenten Spring as part of that journey. I realized only a week or two ago that Lent was already almost here, and knew I wasn't ready to start the Fast on time. I'm preparing this week and will start next. I'm ready and excited.

Lent is called "the acceptable time". I'm interested in finding out more about that.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian

O Lord and Master of my life
take from me the spirit of sloth
lust of power
and idle talk.

But give rather the spirit of chastity,
and love to thy servant.

Yea, O Lord and King
grant me to see my own errors
and not to judge my brother;
for Thou art blessed unto the ages of ages.


Monday, February 15, 2010


So today I ran 2.5 miles in 22:30. That's a little better than before - it's a steady 9 minute mile pace. Not awesome, really, but consistent.

I can live with that.

What I'm bumming about is the increasing pain in my left ankle. I first really "noticed it" on Friday, and it made my 2 mile run that day incredibly difficult. It hurt all weekend, more each day, while at work. Today, I finished my 2.5 mile run, went to shower, and my ankle is all swollen. 10 hours have passed and it's still swollen, tender to the touch, and uncomfortable to walk on. I've been doing some reading and it's sounding like tendonitis. I'm seriously bumming about it. Practical solutions? Elevation, ice, rest, better shoes, and perhaps a trip to the doc if it doesn't improve in the next couple days.

I just don't want this to be taken away right now.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The status of a Facebook friend...

"I am trying to teach my mind to bear the long, slow growth of the fields, and to sing of its passing while it waits." -Wendell Berry

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Guess what?!

I ran two miles. All in a row. Without stopping. In 18:20. Not awesome, but HEY NOW I've never run that far all in a row without stopping or dying before in my life. So ha.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A few countdowns

Approximately 4 hours until I call in to work and see if they really need me to dig my car out of a snow drift and drive on unplowed roads to come in and stand around for a few hours, making nearly nothing, before driving back home on said unplowed roads and park in the snowdrift from whence I uselessly came.

19 days til my first 5k. :) I haven't registered, but that's neither here nor there. I'm registered in my mind and I'm starting to suspect that I might actually be ready to run 3.1 miles in 19 days. I'm scheduled to run 2 miles (all in a row - I know) tomorrow and I'm sure I can do that. I decided at the beginning of this running thing that I would be able to run that 5k at the end of February. I don't think I actually believed it though. As I've seen the change in my body, I've seen a change in myself. Again. :) I think it's cool how human beings are mind-body-spirit composites and I think it's cool how tinkering with any one of the three will create changes in the other two. I think I take myself a little more seriously, and a little less seriously, all at once. I'm in awe of my thighs, which are trimtrimtrim! and frustrated with my knees, which aren't cooperating. But I'm realizing that the good and the less good work together quite well. And it's, well, good. :)

And I can do it. I can run that sucker. Which means that someday, I'll be able to run farther. And hey, maybe I'm stronger than I thought.

Approximately 8 days til IUI attempt #2. I'm ready. I'm ready for the roller coaster. The up, the down, the up, the down, and the unknown. I'm not afraid of the suspense and the suffering therein this time. It's mercy. Each time is different, and I'm thankful for the present calm. I didn't know 26 months ago that I was starting a race, and I don't know now where the "finish" line is. But I'm pretty stinking sure I can make it. I'm pretty stinking sure that there are more rough days ahead, but I'm pretty stinking sure that I'll get through them. (running makes you stinky, haha)

Courage today, see? Thankfully, that's all that's expected of us. I'm not being asked today to carry tomorrow. I'm thankful for that and I'm thankful that today I can see that.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

neither here nor there

I'm neither here nor there on the artist; I am definitely not "there" with the video (ick); but how 'bout this for a new theme song? :)