5K: The Aftermath

Run for Boston

Okay, so I ran that 5K last night. It was a “run anywhere” 5K, so I just had to submit my time and such when it was completed.

It was more difficult than my first training day, because my calf muscles were not happy – at all. This made me slow to walking pace much sooner than I had anticipated. Then, I had pain in other places. Stupid neuromuscular disorder! You are ruining my running! Oh, well.

I managed to finish anyway. (Do you hear that, stupid disease?! YOU DON’T OWN ME!)

I tracked my “run” using RunDouble. I did my 5K in about 56 minutes. Which means that I’m about on pace for a mortally wounded snail. Fine by me! I finished!

The surprising part was that by the time I was nearly done with my run, my muscles weren’t in pain any longer. In fact, if they weren’t completely out of ATP, I might have been able to run more!

Alas, they were fatigued to the point where they no longer wanted to support me, so I had to stop. πŸ™‚

This morning, I feel pretty good. No major muscle aches or anything. (We’ll see what tomorrow brings…)

So far, I’m pleased with this running thing. Pretty sure I’ll do it again soon. πŸ™‚

The Next Great Running Decision!

Well, since I totally ROCKED my first day of Couch-to-5K training, coming in at an amazing 17+ minute/mile pace…. (I have a terminal neuromuscular disorder, remember? Keep your mockery to yourself! πŸ™‚ )

When I saw this on The Facebook:
Run for Boston
I couldn’t resist the urge to register.

Which means that with just one day of training…

I’ll be running a 5K!

Because I am just that awesome… LOL!

Yet Another Prudent Decision…

In defiance of my myopathy, and because I have SPRING FEVER like crazy…

I have decided to sign up for yet another physical event.

I guess I’m a glutton for punishment or something. πŸ™‚

But this one is for a good cause.

I’m going to run in a 5K.

Run Some Mora

Run Some Mora is a charity run sponsored by St. Aloysius Catholic Church to benefit a health center in El Salvador. 100% of the proceeds go to the health center.

Entry into the 5K is $23. If you can, please consider sponsoring me for the event. Any money collected above the entry fee will go directly to the charity. If you would like to help out, you can click here to donate via PayPal.

Thanks so much! πŸ™‚

Warning: Swimfannery Ahead!

The purpose of this blog is, in part, to share the awesomeness that is my life! πŸ™‚ Well, a lot of the awesomeness isn’t places or things that I do but people.

Of course, my friends that I see and interact with every day are essential and greatly loved, but in this post, I’d like to highlight someone(s) who brighten my day, even though I’ve never met them in person (yet).

If you’ve never been to FYA, and love reading, you have GOT to click over there. Now. Go. See? It’s pretty awesome. πŸ™‚

I’ve “known” Posh for many years via her previous blog (which is no longer in existence, *sob*) and I’ve got to tell you… I would totally give her a BFF charm! In fact, I keep thinking that someday, I’ll travel down to Texas and she will introduce me to:
Champs cans,
Champs

the Schlitterbahn,
Schlitterbahn

and some tasty business!
Mac

Until that momentous day, I will continue to read their site to discover books to read and follow their adventures on the FB. πŸ™‚

Dreaming of the Schlitterbahn while watching the snow come down outside my window at work. Stupid weather!!! 😑

Dauntless: Day 2

I got up early this morning. I had issues with my computer yesterday and didn’t get to renew my library movies in time, so I finished watching the ones that I hadn’t watched yet, so that I could return them sometime after Mass or on my way to Matthias’ 1st birthday party. Another $5 library fine. *sigh* At least I support the library financially, right?

It was difficult getting around. My bruises hurt. My muscles hurt worse. I was wobbly and didn’t feel like I had any strength. At times, I felt that my legs were about to buckle underneath me. The worst part is getting up from crouching or sitting. I almost can’t do that.

I went to the 8:15 am Mass at St. A’s, got a mocha and breakfast and came home to finish watching my movies. I dropped them off at the library before it opened and went to Matthias’s party. It was fun, although I knew few people there and took over 500 pictures. πŸ™‚ James had asked if I would take some.

After the party, I stop at the grocery store. I have been out of milk. It’s really all I wanted, but I pick up some soup and things for the week. I lean over the cart as I shop. Still in pain, still unsteady on my feet.

I come home, have something little to eat and sit in the back bedroom. I’m chilly. I read a little, then nap. When I wake up, I start to stand and nearly fall over. Still not back to normal. Every step hurts. I go to my bed and crawl under the feather blanket, shoes still on and fall asleep again. As I fall asleep, I think about this muscle fatigue. I can’t seem to shake it. It’s been a whole day and a lot of sleep since then. I wonder if this is just another aspect of the disease progression. I haven’t really considered what that would look like.

What if I don’t “get back to normal”? What if I stay just like this? Or if it keeps getting worse until I can no longer stand and move? I think I would be a little scared, if I could imagine it. But I can’t, really. I suppose I’ll deal with that when the time comes. And God will give me grace when I need it.

So, I’m not afraid. I’m stubborn, happy, joyful, competitive, and I love my life. Dauntless, yet another day.

Dauntless: Day 1

It’s interesting, isn’t it? The way what we read influences our moods, our thoughts, and our actions? I think our tendency is to think that what we read doesn’t really affect us, and to a certain extent we can learn to distance ourselves from media and view it objectively.

But what about the books that we do not hold at a distance? What about those books that we allow ourselves to become immersed in? I think they can color the way we view the world. Which is what is so great about them, and also why we need to be diligent about controlling what media we expose ourselves to. No matter how old you are, you are constantly forming yourself. Make sure you are forming yourself into the person that you’d like to be, instead of drifting tumbleweed-style into someone you never envisioned.

Why do I bring this up now?

I think it is because of the way a book I finished reading this weekend affected me.

The book that I have been reading (well, listening to on my commute via the wonders of Audible), is “Divergent,” by Veronica Roth. It is one of those ubiquitous dystopian YA fiction novels. I love it, because I relate so much to Tris.

If you haven’t read this book and want to, you may want to stop reading now. I’m probably going to have a bunch of spoilers in here, in order to explain how and why this book has affected me in the way that it has.

She lives in some future Chicago, where the society is broken down into 5 Factions, each with it’s own idea of what trait is most needed for a stable society. There is the Erudite (knowledge), Amity (friendship/kindness), Candor (truth), Abnegation (self-denial) and Dauntless (courage/bravery). So, at some point, these evolved to fight the evils of the world: ignorance, cruelty, deceit, selfishness and cowardice. In the world, when you turn 17, you take an aptitude test to help you discern what Faction you fit in best with. This aptitude test doesn’t decide for you, however. You can always pick whichever Faction you want. It sounds kind of idyllic, right?

Well. Not so fast.

First, currently (in book time), there is friction between the Factions, and pride in one’s Faction has morphed into something vaguely xenophobic and hostile. Before they choose, the kids grow up going to the same school, but they do not often interact in any substantial way with children of the other Factions.

Second, there is a saying that they have – “Faction before blood” – and this is taken quite seriously. Once you choose a Faction, there is no going back. If you choose a Faction other than the one in which you were raised, you effectively reject your family.

Third, once you choose your Faction, they have to choose you. If you don’t pass their Initiation, you become Factionless, or essentially homeless, with no way to support yourself.

Our protagonist, Tris, was born into Abnegation and eventually chooses Dauntless. The book consists mostly of the tests and training that she undergoes while in Initiation for Dauntless, the fearless Faction, which provides security and soldiers for the society.

This speaks to me, because I feel that I underwent an “Abnegation to Dauntless” transfer myself after high school when I joined the Navy.

Anyone who has been through any kind of formation experience can attest to the profound ways in which it changes a person. Boot camp and Navy life in general has been very formative for me. It has been years now since I have been in the Navy, but I don’t think you will ever get the Navy out of me. In a way, I will be a soldier forever. It has changed me.

But, just like Tris, it is hard to parse out what is innate in my nature (as I have had some of these personality traits since birth) and what has been formed in me by my Initiation into Navy life. That just made it all the more interesting to me to see the way she struggles with these questions and ponders how much Dauntless was in her all along, and how much Initiation has colored her perspective.

The first thing I noticed as I read the book was how the tone of my day changed. The more immersed I was into her experiences of being beaten, fighting, competition, dealing with physical pain, and learning combat … the more I was reminded of my own formation in these areas. It brought back that soldiering mindset, such that I would leave my car in the morning and see things in a different light.

Some things that the book highlights which I have noticed in myself are an efficiency in action, a tendency to ignore pain in order to get the mission accomplished, a particular sense of brotherhood with my fellow military members, a healthy dose of competition, and a certain degree of recklessness.

Sorry to ruin it for you, but for all of you who have seen me as “quiet”, “sweet”, or “shy” … I am not really that. I just contain it well.

Usually.

Mostly.

But as the title of this blog, Paroxysm of Giggles, implies, there are times when it all comes erupting out of me. And then people tend to be shocked.

Bwahahahaha! (<— This is the real me.)

Back to how this book affected my weekend. Two things to keep in mind. First, I have a neuromuscular disorder. Second, I am very mission-oriented. Okay, so a friend asked if people would help her move into her new house and I agreed to do this. I was on the team at the new house, getting everything clean and ready for the movers. So, for hours I was washing walls. (The bottoms of the walls, her mother-in-law was on a step-stool and did all the tops). It's a big house and has a LOT of walls! πŸ™‚ We didn't end up getting everything washed, but we got the vast majority of the walls, most of the closets, and two bathrooms done.

Toward the end of the day (about 3 or 4 pm), we were basically done and the movers were bringing things in from the old house. Since I hadn't had any cardiac issues so far, I had kept working and working and working…. I wasn't in pain and I wasn't getting out of breath. So what happened was really quite curious to me.

My muscles just stopped working. Like they just didn't have enough energy to do anything else.

When it happened, I was on the floor in the hallway between the kitchen and the formal dining room/living room. I had been washing the bottom of the walls there and was sitting on the floor to do so. It had been my habit to, more or less, sit on the floor and scoot around the rooms. It was easier here, as it was a tile floor, rather than carpet. Although I wasn't in pain, I noticed that my leg muscles were not working right. I couldn't use them very well to help scoot myself down the hallway. Then, I noticed my arm muscles getting fatigued.

I kept washing the walls.

It got to the point that I was moving down the hallway using the side of one foot and my fingertips. That's all I had left!

AND I KEPT GOING! Just like Mickey in the Sorcerer's Apprentice. My friend noticed and saw how ridiculous this was and told me to stop. And so I did.

After I finished washing the hallway.

Pain might have made me stop after a while. Cardiac arrhythmias might have made me stop. But this? What was this anyway? I found it all rather humorous, actually. I couldn't move my legs. I mean I really couldn't move them. I couldn't get up, so I just sat on the floor for a while.

Eventually, I got up and was able to stand and walk, although a little shaky.

I was supposed to go to a Whirly Ball game in the evening, and thought I had missed it. But when I got to my car and got cell service again, I saw that I could make it there and be just a few minutes late, instead of hours late. So I went.

If you've never played Whirly Ball before, essentially you are in a bumper car and have a plastic lacrosse-type net. You try to get the plastic wiffle ball into a goal (about basketball height from the ground). There are two teams. Each game is timed for 13 minutes, so you can get 4 games in before the end of the hour (you rent the court by the hour). I had missed the first game, but was able to play the other 3 games – about 45 minutes.

I am very competitive. πŸ™‚ And I like zooming around. My aim was not too good with the lacrosse thing, but I was excellent (I think, anyway) at defense and rebounding. πŸ™‚ I spent most of my time zooming around at high speeds trying to be in the best place to grab the ball so I could pass it to a teammate. And if all else failed, I would smash into someone else to try and defeat their ability to score or pass.

There's this metal stick that you use to drive the bumper cars and it sits between your legs. Well, remember that I have some serious muscle fatigue going on and I like to hit other bumper cars? Yeah. So that metal stick often got away from me and would smack into one leg or the other. WHAP! WHAP! I'm not kidding; I have some serious bruises from that!

We went out to a bar/restaurant after the game [MY TEAM WON!]. While I was at the restaurant – have you ever had a charley horse? – all of the muscles in my right arm spasmed and contracted. I gasped in pain audibly and clutched my arm to my body as it distorted from the cramp. OUCH! The muscle contraction faded after a minute, but I had some paralysis for another minute or so. Even after, my muscles felt odd and I had to rub them a bit.

My bruises were painful and my muscles were fatigued, so I sort of wobbled to my car and into my house at the end of the night.

What a fun night! πŸ™‚

Cheeseburger!

Against all reasoning … this Monday looks to be a good day so far! πŸ™‚

The sun is out and it is fairly warm. What is even better is that as I walked in to work this morning, I got to hear a symphony of chickadees singing! πŸ™‚ I have heard them since I was a little girl, and they always sing of spring.

Chickadee

Aren’t they cute?! They are small little things, and it’s hard to grab a picture of them. [The above photo isn’t mine, but if you click on it, it will take you to the photographer’s page.]

Their spring song is distinctive and many people (including myself) think that it sounds like the bird is saying “cheeseburger”. Click on this link and scroll down to Typical Song to hear what I mean. πŸ™‚

Bibliophiles Anonymous

I don’t go to the library often, but when I do I check out 18 items at once!

I definitely have a problem. I have no sense of moderation when it comes to media. LOL! I can’t help it! I keep seeing all kinds of things that I want to read or watch…

I got to the library late today, as the Friends’ Used Book Store is only open from 10 – 1 pm. It’s probably a good thing that I only had a couple minutes to look, as I only found one book, and so only spent $1. The book that I bought was “The Power and The Glory,” by Graham Greene. It was recommended to me by Dad Riccardo, and has been on my Amazon wishlist for a while now.

While I did take home 19 items, I do have to return 18 of them, and took 2 bags of books with me to donate to the library. I got rid of over 30 books! I don’t really part with my books easily, but am trying to get onboard with the concept of decluttering my house. There are so many books that I’d like to read, and probably won’t get around to, there’s no point in hanging on to books that I really don’t desire to read (again).

And, of course, there’s no trip to the library without… paying the library fine. Inevitably, I will return some books late and incur a penalty. And since I almost never have cash on me, this prevents me from returning to the library for a long period of time. Which probably contributes to me checking out way too many items when I do go. Which probably causes me to return books late. It’s a vicious cycle, but ultimately, I think it benefits the library. After all, they are getting my fine money every time, right? πŸ™‚

So, now I have 1 week to watch 5 movies, and 3 weeks to read 13 books. Totally doable, yes? πŸ™‚

You Can Tell It’s Spring

There’s just this buzz in the air. Maybe it’s the fact that the weather is warming up, or maybe it’s because I’m getting over a cold, but I want to DO STUFF! Physical stuff.

Silly. I know. I still have a mitochondrial myopathy and my stamina is somewhere between 15 and 30 seconds. But still!

Plus, people around me are signing up for things like the Swampfoot 4 Mile and Tough Mudder! Oh, how I want to be able to do those things! I don’t think that the Tough Mudder is a realistic possibility for me, at least not this year. But maybe, maybe I can eke out the Swampfoot???

Tough Mudder!
Doesn’t this look FUN??!!!!! πŸ˜€

I’ll have to train for it and I know that I’ll have to walk a lot and skip past some of the obstacles, but right now, just *trying* (and, okay, getting really muddy is kind of appealing too!) will be a nice thing!

After work yesterday, I went out and bought a glut of exercise stuff. Like a yoga mat, balance ball, jump rope, and tension band. I got this all at Five Below, so these things (plus a few extras) were all less than $40! Score! I also got a Jillian Michaels workout video from Amazon (it was free!), the 30 Day Shred.

It’s now about 25 hours after my first Jillian workout and I’m not really sore. Perhaps a little around the serratus anterior muscles, but I think that may be due more to the stretching that I did on my own after the workout. And I feel pretty good this morning. A little nauseated, but I’m used to that at this point.

I’m looking forward to my next workout this evening! And hopefully, a Swampfoot at the end of the summer! πŸ™‚ I’ll be tracking my progress both here and through the highly-scientific calculations of my Wii Fit (LOL!). So, tune in and keep me motivated! πŸ™‚

God’s Affection

It’s one of those things which happens right on the edge of sleep, when you are most vulnerable. For me, this is probably when I am most accessible to God. When I am least likely to discount an experience as something coming purely from my imagination.

And also why I am writing this as soon as I awake from my nap, so as not to lose it to the “greater wisdom” of the day.

After Catechism, I came home and had dinner while watching part of a movie. When it was over, I went into my prayer room and sat in my comfy chair for a bit. I was thinking a bit of the movie, about these two people who loved each other so much that each was willing to give everything for the other. And I started to think about the relationships in my life and in the lives of those of my friends.

I became acutely aware of the fact that I am single. There is no one who loves me “best”. I am not first in anyone’s life. Sure, I am loved by friends, and I have some close friends, but I am no one’s #1. They have spouses or others who hold that position in their hearts. I wonder if I have ever really been first for anyone? If I have, it has not been for long.

I begin to really weep. For me, but not only for me. Also, for all the other people in the world who are not first in anyone’s heart. Isn’t that our deepest desire? To be fiercely loved?

I think of God. He is supposed to love us all with this fierceness, right? Right?

But then again, Jesus loved John in a way in which He did not love the other disciples, yes? Aren’t we told of some primacy in His affection for John, the beloved disciple?

I think of how I am lonely here, in my singleness. I have no one here who puts me first. I think of what Heaven might be like. And I weep. For if Jesus can have greater love for one of his disciples, what are the chances of Him loving *me* like that? I mean, sure, God loves us all in the sense that He wants what is best for us, but what about this fierce love that we crave so much?

Will I not be First for You, Lord?

And as I weep, I ask Him to explain it to me. To tell me what love is. To let me know how His love for me works. Not the mechanics of it, but how He can love each of us, so that no one is left in Heaven, standing on the sidelines, looking at how He loves others just a little more….

How did the other disciples feel, seeing Him love John as He did? What about Bartholomew? What do their relationships look like now, when they are all with Him in Heaven?

And so, while crying myself to sleep, I continue to ask Him to explain this all to me.

I wake up, a few hours later. I am no longer sad, but my question resonates in my mind:

Will I not be First for You, Lord?

Then, He flips the question back on me:

Will I not be First for you?

And I understand this as His cry to each one of us. He wants to be First in each of our affections. But for the vast majority of us, this is not the case. At least, not for long.

And I see an image of each of us weeping, He and I, our heads down and an arm outstretched towards the other, desperately seeking the heart of the other. But, as yet, separate.

And as I sit here, recounting this experience — one which I know will be all too easy to discount in the light of day, but one which I also know is one which is *not* to be discounted — I think about the nature of that love which we so desire. What kind of love is it that we want? What is it that I am looking for in my life?

I want that one person who will put me first above all others. Well, that’s not completely accurate, is it? Is it? It’s not really that I want to be loved *more* or that I want anyone else to be loved *less*…

I just want to be loved completely. To be grabbed and held on to. For someone to love me so much, that they would give everything, just for me. That they would die, just for me.

Well now. That kind of sounds familiar.