Dear Camp Counselors

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A letter  to the camp counselors of the past, the present, and the future.

While this letter may be specific to the camp I’ve had the pleasure of working four summers at,  I am sure much of what I write applies to most other camp counselor jobs out there. And heck, maybe this may even inspire you to work a summer at the same camp I’ve spent many summers at. I get a little emotional at the end of each summer and this is a bi-product of those emotions. So here goes nothing.

 

Dear Camp Counselor,

You are embarking on the journey of a lifetime. Many counselors have come before you. You have some big shoes to fill, but fear not, you are on your well on your way to a summer to remember. Everything you need to not only be successful, but happy in this job you already have within you. While it is always best to live and learn, I have some advice to share.

  1. This is not always an easy job, but boy is it worth it. This job has to be simultaneously one of the most challenging and easier jobs all at once. It is truly a test of our skills. It tests our ability to communicate, be responsible, mediate problems, and have fun.
  2. You will get stressed out, but don’t let the stress allow you to lose sight of the greatness at Blue Mountain Ranch (or any other youth camp). From morning hellos with Suzie (camp owner/director) and Patti (camp cook), to getting my just brushed hair messed up by Tim (director), this place is amazing. It is incredible how much you can learn from a 9 year old or even fiery, sassy 4 year old. You just have to allow yourself to come out of your shell open up to new ideas.
  3. You will make friendships that will last the test of time. I know you have heard this before but it’s an undeniable fact of this establishment. In a short window of time you will connect deeper with these people than you ever have before outside of this camp.
  4. There will be conflicts, but that’s human nature, just choose to rise above. Remember that you are part of a chain here. All links to this chain need to be strong. If one of these chain links weakens or falls apart you are no longer a part of an effective chain. When you have yourself a broke chain you have yourself a problem. You don’t want that kind of division as a staff.
  5. You will ugly cry at some point. You won’t know when, where, or sometimes even why but it will happen. It may happen expectantly, it may happen more than once. And if and when it does, you will have a whole staff waiting with open arms to support you.
  6. You will develop a lustful relationship with coffee, tea, and all things caffeine. Just go with it. You will have plenty of time to come off your caffeine problem when you return to the real world.
  7. You will find yourself busting ridiculous moves at a camp dance and think you look like an idiot and to look back and discover you’ve attracted a gaggle of idiots busting those very same ridiculous moves at you. It’s your time to shine, have fun with it, even if you think you can’t dance.
  8. Be patient. Seriously. Patience is considered a virtue for a reason. I say this because it is easy to lose sight of patience in the heat of the moment. But if you just pause, think, and reflect it will pay off.
  9. You will be foolish and think that you do not need to apply or reapply that sunscreen. You’re wrong. The truth is you needed to and will now regret it thinking otherwise. For the next few days, as you peer into the mirror you will see your reddened reflection looking back. And days later you will find yourself peeling chunks of skin from your shoulders.
  10. Be fearless. Take a risk. Take a chance. Try a new food. Instruct a new activity. Take a day off with the counselor you hardly know. Initiate a conversation with a camper you not yet have spoken to. You will be surprised by what you may learn both about yourself and others.
  11. Trust in your coworkers and the CITS (counselors in training). They are there for a reason. Sometimes it’s best to hand the torch over. It can open your horizons to fresh ideas. Delegating the leadership amongst your coworkers is the surest way to a strong team and an all-around positive experience.
  12. Remember to be a kid. Whether you are 7 or 27 it’s important to step back, be immature, and let out your uninhibited inner child.
  13. Blue Mountain Ranch will become a home to you. You will find yourself counting down the days until you can return to this place. You will find yourself doing everything in your power to make returning to Blue Mountain Ranch (or any children’s camp) a reality year after year.
  14. You may feel exhausted at times but Blue Mountain Ranch will weave its way into your stressed and exhausted heart and from then on it will always hold a special place.
  15. You will adapt an interesting fashion sense consisting of ridiculous fashion choices and questionable dirty clothes while here. This fashion sense is one in which is only appropriate under the confines of camp life.
  16. You will find yourself seated around the food box on a regular basis shoving your face with junk, even though you just waddled away from dinner stuffed to the brim.
  17. Above all else, above the Walmart trips, the showers where the water stops while you’ve got a head full of shampoo, the rained out meadow trips, and the times you’ve been fully clothes and thrown into the pool you will fall in love with this job. It will become your passion and all you talk about. Nothing compares to the fulfillment you will receive by holding a summer job as a camp counselor at Blue Mountain Ranch.

Don’t for a second take a moment of this life for granted. Each summer here is a gift and each summer it will become more and more difficult to make your way here. I promise that. Live it up, love every minute, and laugh as much as possible.

Much love,

A counselor of the past, present, and the future.

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Living, Learning, and Everything in Between

You know, its funny. Sometimes I get to wondering “who am I to think I am so special that random people would actually be interested in reading about me, about my life, about my complaints, and even my rants.” Its a good question to pose and for a minute I even though “why would I ever have thought blogging is a good idea, who would ever be interested in ME?!!”

Then I got to thinking, why do I read others blogs, why do I follow people’s journeys through life, why am I interested in them. There are so many reasons, but before I elaborate, I think it boils down to one simple concept: We want to relate to someone.

Whether we are in college, a foodie, a runner, a yogi, a momma, a poppa, an artist, a singer, a plain jane, or a combination of many, we want to relate to others. Thinking you’re alone in something is super disheartening, but reading about a whole entire community doing what you’re doing is an amazing feeling. It can be motivating. Whether you’re journey in whatever walk of life just began or you have been trudging on for a while, a community of support is sometimes all you need to take on the next big thing

Isn’t that amazing? While social media can be a huge distraction (and arguably other pitfalls) it also links us to a whole realm of people just like you! I follow runners and college students (and miscellaneous other blogs) from around the country the world.

I love blogging and though I have been very inconsistent, the feedback I get makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside (yes, I said that…). Sometimes just getting one comment back saying “great post” or “great read” makes all the difference in my day. Yes, its small, the gesture only took that person a very short amount of time, but it brought a smile to my face.

That brings me to why I am here and I know if you go back into my archive you will find some post that explains that, but after some months have passed my purpose has seemed to shift. I really am here, blogging because first off I love to write. I love to express myself and this is a very easy medium to do so. Next, I love the network of people and their backgrounds. These people motivate me to jump from my comfort zone. Lastly, I am hear to learn. I may share my own experiences, but I want to learn from others. Yes, from the title of this blog you can probably tell there will be quite a bit of fitness involved, but there is much to share and much to learn.

Sometimes life may be ugly, but for the most part, it really is beautiful.

As I get into my Junior year of college and my life changes a bit, I hope to be back here blogging. I hope to be writing about the challenges I am taking on and I hope that I step outside my comfort zone.

I have one last thing to add before I close. I challenge you to ask yourself why are you here? Why are you blogging and reading?

Happy Thursday!!

Poll time! Opinions wanted!

imageHello lovelies! Anyone else have a case of the Mondays? Right now I should be working on a research paper, studying for an exam, working out, and cleaning my apartment, but instead I have created my first poll! Yay…err..uhm..yeah!

In an effort to increase my followers, change my blog up, change my routine up, and post more often, I want to hear from you! Any of you. Whether you’re a runner, a boxer, a yogi, a cyclists, a heavy weight champion..you get the point! I need to hear from you so I can get better at this whole blogging thing. So, there you go, a poll! Whatever wins will be the subject of my next post.

If no one votes, then you’ll get to hear about my belly button lint. Just kidding. That’s gross. Just vote!

Happy Fitness!

Oh and stay tuned, I will soon be doing my VERY FIRST GIVEAWAY! Eeeek! Now vote!

Twenty Things.

With social media, blog post go viral all the time. A trend in the popularity of posts as of late seems to be the infamous lists depicting the “33 things to be before you’re 33,” or “20 things you must do in your 20s,” and even posts lecturing on why getting married is wrong…or right. Whatever the subject, there is probably a “how-to” list. yada yada yada..

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One day, I stumbled on a post where someone when on to list 18 things they accomplished before they turned 18. This kind of lead to a road of inspiration. I literally grabbed a scrap piece of paper and started scribbling out this blog post. Is it genius (of course…) no. Is it . revolutionary? No. Will you rethink life? Probably not. Will it inspire you? Maybe. I like the sound of maybe, so feast your eyes upon this magnificently mediocre post.

20 Lesson I’ve Learned in my 20 years of life. I know, I know, you’re thinking “uhmmm I’m pretty sure that idea’s been coined sweetheart. JUST WAIT. It is in fact  20 lessons I have learned in my two decades upon the face of this planet BUT, it is a post about 20 things I have learned and each number on the list corresponds to a lesson I learned during that very year of my life (so 1 = 1 year old, 2 = 2 years old, 3, 4, 5, etc.). You get the point right? So shall we begin?

1. Oh one year old. I clearly have little first hand recollection of the lessons learned, but many of the milestones at this age are pretty typical. No I was not baby Einstein. I don’t remember my first wobbly moves around the house, but I do know at one I learned to crawl. I learned my parents were super awesome. I learned that crying gets me attention and that everything I could pick up should probably stuck into my mouth and tasted.

2. To draw. I know, you’re like yeah, shove a marker in a two year old’s hand and they’ll scribble over everything. But, according to  my parents I was drawing very human-like pictures at this point. They were very impressed, they mention it to this day, but they might be bias.

3. This one is heavy. At three, I learned life wasn’t forever. As I stared at my late grandmother in her casket, I got my first lesson in death. I hated cancer. I missed my ma’ma. I couldn’t understand, why her?

4. Jumping in front of tables. around tables, and in the proximity of tables in a fit of joy would not end in happiness. Blood, tears, and a hospital trip later, you better believe I stood very still near all tables.

5. I was always a social butterfly, but at five I entered kindergarten. At this age I learned that talking while the teacher was talking is a “no, no.” I realized that simply socializing could cause me to miss out on fun things…like recess. Though I knew talking got me into trouble, I just couldn’t seem to learn not to talk. My mother said my report cards were always great, but the comments always said “Michelle is a great student, but she socializes far too much.”

6. Taking a punch to face not only hurts, but is most definitely a painful way to lose those precious baby teeth (but it paid well…)

7.  At this point, I began growing out of the “talking too much in class” phase to the “kissing up gets me candy” phase. Becoming a leader meant privileges…and candy and I loved candy.

8. Hair grows back, even after awful, terrible haircuts. I also learned that doing my own homework was a good thing…my daddy was sure relieved.

9.  I discovered my competitive side. I mean, up to this point, I had always raced my brothers and such, but at nine everything was a competition. Recess was a competition. Gym class was a competition. Math class was a competition. Even lunch time was a competition.

10. Double digits was exciting. It also seemed at 10 that time took a leap. Someone turned the dial and suddenly life sped up. This is kind of when I started learning time quickly escapes you.  At this point I wanted to both grow-up, and stay a kid.

11. At eleven,  I had to make the transition from elementary school to middle school. I began to learn to speak up for myself and for my values. I learned that womanhood was just around the corner. I felt like I was grown up but reflecting back I was still just a big kid.

12. I discovered myself. As a middle school girl I suddenly became more self aware, self absorbed, and self conscious. Don’t even get me started on make-up.  Let me just say, I thought it looked good…but in reality, it was somewhat reminiscent of a raccoon.

13. Oh boys. I learned that boys are fun. Boys are heartbreak. Boys are an adventure, especially at 13. I wrote so many notes that several trees were most definitely affected. I drove my parents crazy talking on the phone for hours on end. They probably missed countless phonecalls…but at least I got to talk to all those boys…

14. Dark hair, don’t care. High school began and to this day that feels like just yesterday.  Though I’m 20, I often joke, I still feel 14. Life went in fast forward from this point on. My life was transformed , for the better. I found stability and more importantly, happiness.

15. I learned to challenge myself. No longer could I make excuses. Ownership became crucial to my path to success.

16. Sixteen. A year had past with my high school sweetie and at 16 I learned to trust. No longer bandaged from prior wounds, but healed and happy.

17. Normally an uneventful birthday, but 17 was a momentous year of lessons. I got my first job. I learned not only the value of a dollar, but the payoff of hard work. I learned “If you have time for leaning, then you have time for cleaning.” Just because there were enough hours in a day to do it all, didn’t mean I could actually do it all while remaining sane. I spent my year burnt out and overextended, but I finished high school in the top 10% of my class.  Earned scholarships and paid the rest of my tuition myself.

18. Scratch offs are a slippery slope. College is stressful. Living with strangers has its ups and downs. Liberal colleges are like a ghost town during the day on weekends. My family is everything and I love them more than I thought humanly possible.

19.  I learned to push myself, even when things are rough. Even when I feel like I am smothered in stress, I learned to preserve. More importantly I got a valuable lesson in appreciation. I learned even though it is important to continue to push yourself, it is equally valuable to take a most and soak in the little things.

Also at 19, I learned that though money does mean a lot, it is absolutely not everything, nor is it happiness.

20. At twenty I have found myself inbetween. What I mean by that is I am grown up, but I am not wise. There is so much left to learn, so much life to live, and so many memories left to make. I still have no idea what I want to do with my life and that is terrifying, but I’ve learned to enjoy the ride.

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So there…twenty years of lessons. Thrilling right? What lessons have you learned? Which were the most important?

Thank you for reading!

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Out of Luck

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FIRST OFF! HI! HELLO! I am a full time student, working part time, in clubs, etc. YOU KNOW THE DEAL. I am busy, busy, busy.. But, I promise a super neat post has been drafted and will be posted soon!!

So as some of you know, I am raising money for the National Children’s Cancer Society. This organization is wonderful. They help pay the bills and provide services for those families in need.

I decided to run for Team NCCS for the GO! St. Louis Marathon in April. It is near and dear to me. As I have put a food forward to raise money for this organization, I’ve encountered some barriers. First, I got very sick and could not train for the marathon. Second, donations are slow and few.

I have learned a whole lot in this process. For one, people don’t easily part with their money as a general rule. Also, I hate soliciting the money…but it’ll be worth it. To help a family in need is most definitely worth the work.

I have committed to raise $225 despite whether I run the marathon or not. I have withdrawn from it and opted for the 5k instead so that’s a positive. Woooo! I am happy to be healthy now and on the go again. Through all of this, I have realized I need the help of the blogging community more than ever.

A donation of $10.00 goes a long ways. That’s hardly even an entree from Applebee’s. As an incentive, I will publicize your page, your posts, your blog for every donation I receive. If you have any suggestions for fundraising please do share! Thank you! 

You can donate by visiting my fundraising page.

http://www.crowdrise.com/teamnccs2014/fundraiser/michelleaiello

And so it began..

It all started with a kiss…just kidding. I am not sure what started it all, but my life dramatically changed once I got the news (oh that sounds far too dramatic for this post…before you continue I feel like I need a disclaimer about that).photo 2 (6)

Oh the joys of having blood drawn.

A week before Thanksgiving when I really started feeling ill, it wasn’t until December 5th that I got my official diagnosis, MONO. Since that diagnosis my immune system has been in overdrive, but I will get to that later in this post (I have a whole lot of catching up to do!)

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So the night before my race I laid out my stuff, but I just didn’t feel well. It was just a general blah feeling. I was achy, for no reason. My neck had been achy for about a week. I wasn’t sleeping well, but I hadn’t given it a second thought. I never read into my aches and pains. I always just assume its cause I am overworked.

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Thanksgiving day I ran my last run before growing ill. I ran it with some of my teammates from high school. It was a pretty good race given I didn’t sleep a wink the night before, I felt exhausted from head to toe, I had not done any speed work since my return to running from being injured (at the end of September), and I had mono (which I was unaware of at the time!) After my race I immediately puked (gross…right?) and I just could not get rid of that sick feeling.  Throughout the entire day I just had no appetite and no energy. If you know anything about me, NO APPETITE is strange!

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Me and the other three girls who ran with me that day! (See right).

Later that day I pulled myself together went to my Aunts house for the feast.  My younger cousins came over and I played on the floor, ran around, crawled, jumped, you name it. Usually I can do all that on top of running with NO PROBLEMS, but I just felt incredibly fatigued while also having a constant pain in my neck. That night I noticed lymph node swelling and decided off to the doctor I go!

I got a indefinite diagnosis and an antibiotic (that I had an allergic reaction to) and ended up back at the doctor four days later. Got blood tests and an anti-inflammatory and found out I had mono. About a week later I traveled across state to stay with my parents for the holidays (winter break, wooooo). I was so tired, visibly fatigued, depressed I couldn’t exercise, and spent my days laying around.photo 3 (5)

At least I had a pretty tree to look at while I sulked in my sickness? Right?

I felt like I hit rock bottom. It could not get any worse. I was incredibly sick and incredibly bummed. My whole lifestyle just halted and suddenly I was not that busy student. I wasn’t working, going to class, running, cleaning. I wasn’t me. I just had to remember it would get better.

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I hung out with a few friends and came down with a bad cold. It took me a week to shake it, then I came down with another. That persisted for another week. Then I lost my voice. I had laryngitis for 9 days and tons of chest congestion and guess what, New Years Eve my butt was back at the doctor.  Got put on a nasal spray, two weeks of an antibiotic, and mucinex.

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My little home remedy to congestion. Lemon and honey green tea with you guessed it, lemon, honey…oh and mint leaves! You didn’t see that one coming did you?

Here I am a week later and I still can’t shake the exhaustion, neck pain, and drainage.  I even have a stomach bug now. I am just wondering, what could be next?! Thankfully I got a flu shot, or I would probably have that too!! This has been a long and bumpy road, but I am just itching to get back to running. 

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One night, I really was feeling low and then the next morning I get a text from my best friend telling me to take a look out on my porch. She had went out her way for me and let me tell you, I cried a few tears of joy. She is just the sweetest, most selfless young women I have ever met. Despite all the stress in her life she made time and effort to make me feel better and for that I am infinitely thankful (getting teared up just thinking about it).

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Speaking of good deeds…Santa (my mother), left me some surprises when I wasn’t feeling too hot. She had a cold and a sinus infection herself, yet she put her needs aside to help me. It is just unbelievable how selfless some people are. I honestly think had it not been for some of those people the past two months, I’d still be extremely ill.

It was a bittersweet situation, and still is, I had to withdraw from the marathon I was going to run (but I am still fundraising for team NCCS and you can donate by clicking here). I had to cease strenuous exercise in its entirety, and I had to lay around. NON-STOP. Now that doesn’t sound too great when I put it that way, but just wait!

I got to see my friends, which I never do when I am in town. I usually work my break away, run when I am free, and sleep when I’m not doing either of those things. Without running and working I had time for movie nights and hanging out. Though I was extremely exhausted, it was nice to catch up.

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I was forced to lay around during the holidays and thus more time with my family! I was forced to lay around during one of the coldest winters on record in this area, and thus not get in that winter running rut. I was forced to get off my diet during a time of goodies, so I indulged for once. I was forced to do many things I would not have choose to do otherwise and many of these things were refreshing. Fotor0107211811

Just a few of the goodies I may or may not have (most definitely) stuffed in my face from time to time.

In addition, I was forced to take it easy simultaneously with my winter break. It was a huge blessing in disguise. I am always on the go and finally I got to set up post and put my feet up. I can’t remember the last time I was able to do that. All these things resulting as an effect of being sick ended up going from negatives to postives. This winter break was going to be horrible (in my mind), but surprisingly it was one of the most satisfying ones I can remember.

Speaking of winter break, it coincides with winter —who would have thought? If you aren’t from the midwest, you should be aware, winter is a very cold and snowy time. The weather is not exactly the most pleasant conditions for training. I get out there 6 days a week (given good health) and tough it out. This winter; however, I get an actual excuse to stay inside…without the guilt of simply skipping a run (though I still feel guilty…)

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That is about a foot of snow outside and a windchill of -33…so not running in that doesn’t exactly hurt my feelings.

Had this all happened during Spring semester when I lacked the time to rest and the weather was beautiful, you better believe I’d still be very, very ill (plus I wouldn’t have my momma to take care of me).

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Not related to what I am talking about, but look how pretty it was! 

Though I don’t want to wish sickness on anyone, I’ve learned a lot about myself and coping through of all this. For one, I am not invincible. My immune system is just a mess right now. I have also learned to seek out the good in a not so great situation. Sure I have a lot to learn and I am still bitter, but overall, it was strangely refreshing. I am ALWAYS on the go, and for two months I have been forced to focus on ME. I’ve learned, I really don’t do much of that on a day-to-day basis and that my readers, is A PROBLEM.

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My little brother and I prior to attending the annual family Christmas Eve party. I know I don’t look sick there, but trust me, putting make-up on was a grueling task. Who would have thought?

So through all of this the holidays came. They were tiring (that’s the theme of this post…so redundant, but exhaustion and mono go hand in hand). I baked for hours and it was rough! I helped clean and decorate. I just pushed myself too much…and then the day after Christmas I had a fever and no voice. GO FIGURE. Nonetheless, the holidays were very enjoyable.

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Santa was super good to me, too good actually. I received more gifts than I could have imagined. Not only did I receive gifts, but then there were joint gifts that my family gifted my boyfriend and I.  There are two gift bags and a crock pot not pictured here, and that was only from my parents…err…uhm…Santa. photo 4 (2)

My boyfriends parents bought me something I would never buy myself unless I found it clearanced and then had a coupon (I am a super-duper bargain hunter, all my running clothes are at least 80% off).

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I also finally received my prize that I won from a giveaway from Blisters and Black Toenails. That was a Christmas present in itself and I am super excited to try out the products I received. I am super-mega excited that the shoelaces I won also match the hat my boyfriend’s parents (practically in-laws) gifted me. Eeeeek. Now I just need to get well so I can use everything!!

Dang, that was a mouth full. I have been missing in action for quite a while now so this was just a regurgitation of my life. In my mind I felt it was necessary in order to appropriately proceed on with my blogging. If you are still reading, pat yourself on the back, take a deep breath, and prepare yourself because I am not done yet!

So now that I am getting closer to being well, I am throwing around training plans. It’s very hard. I am pretty much starting from scratch. I am pleased that despite some indulgences, I have lost weight ( I mentally counted my calories even though I tried not to). I am tempted to draft up a rough one week fitness test type plan. I would record my workouts, how I feel, heart rate, and soreness. At the end of the week I was thinking I would have a better idea of how to proceed as far as a long term plan goes. IF YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FEEL FREE TO SHARE…please!!!

Until then its time for my hometown to thaw out because I have a feeling if I go outside right now, I am going to look a whole lot like my furry friend here.

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I feel so bad for the poor thing. I let him out to go potty and he just turned around and stared at the front door like “you want me to do my business out here?”

Just a few days remain of my Christmas break and I am just trying to relax as much as possible before returning to my apartment. I am not looking forward to checking back into reality (well I am, but at the same time is 20 too young to retire?) I have had it too nice. Time to hit the ground running (well, not literally yet). This coming Monday I return to classes and work. I’ll be working 16 hours a week, going to class 17 hours a week, and trying to gauge whether or not I am well enough to workout on top of it all.

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Oh the struggle. I think the worst thing about returning to school is the one mile walk in the cold I will have to make to and from class everyday. With all the money I have had to spend lately…I really need to return to work.

Life Happens

HELLO! No, no I did not disappear…I mean technically I did, but I am back (at least for now). So boy are things crazy. Since I went missing I was nominated for the Liebster Award and I never got around to that post so I plan to do that one…only a month or so late. I ran my first 5k post injury and won! Then I ran my 2nd 5k on Thanksgiving, didn’t win but did DAMN good. I ran about 10 seconds faster at that one. Not a personal record, but close to the range I want to be in. After Thanksgiving, things went downhill a little.

I came home for my Thanksgiving break from college about a week before the holiday. I’d noticed I was exhausted…literally ALL. THE. TIME. The day I came home, it was freezing outside. I decided to run about 8 miles while my family was out. I ran, the first 4 were great and them my pace slowed…and when I say slowed, I mean by over a minute.

It slowed DRAMATICALLY. I hit the wall like I’d never hit it before. I decided to look back at my average pace for the runs about a week prior and I noticed the same trend. I didn’t think much of the fatigue, thought maybe it was related to diet.

On that Thursday I came home I noticed a spot on my neck, it hurt a whole lot. Every time I swallowed it felt like a lump in my throat. I thought it was a strain. Didn’t think much of it, went to sleep. The next day I had the WORST stiff neck I’ve ever had. Again, thought it was related to running or exercising. Then came Thanksgiving. I raced a 5k, finished in about 23:35, and just puked all over the finish. THAT. NEVER. HAPPENS. I didn’t let it bother me, but as the holiday progressed and I helped with the festivities, played with the kids, I just had no energy. I went to bed at 8:00pm (which is a rare thing as a full time student with a part time job). I knew something was wrong.

The next morning I told my mother, she gave me the usual speech about how I should have went to the doctor earlier, ya de ya. At this point the whole right side of my body was in pain. My glands were swollen, my head was throbbing, walking through the store left me struggling for breath. It was the strangest thing. I had to go to work so I went to the Health Care Clinic and was prescribed an antibiotic. I was told if symptoms didn’t subside by the time my prescription was up I needed to see my doctor.

So I went to work. Standing on my feet for hours, going in and out of the walk in freezer, and having to keep a smile on my face was one of the hardest things to do.

I had hope. I figured I was on my way to feeling better. Little did I know I wasn’t. My train to return back home was that Sunday. My mother told me if I wasn’t feeling any better on Sunday I should go to Urgent Care in the morning. I didn’t listen. I figured it was the third day of antibiotics, I should let them do their job. So Monday, I wake up, no energy my face is puffy on the right side, everything ached, and my right breast was enlarged. I almost winced when I saw my mother’s name pop up on the phone. I answered and embraced for the “I told you so speech.” She was right…and darn it she is ALWAYS right.

I went to the doctor the next morning. I skipped my second class of the day and walked my butt to the clinic. I felt like death. Immediately this doctor new something was wrong. She guessed it was mono. They drew blood and today I officially found out the results… drum roll please…

It’s mono.

So what does that mean. That means I can’t run for at least a month..and marathon training was SUPPOSED to start this past Monday. That means not high intensity or high impact physical activity – what it life? – and not collision sports. I cannot bike to class out of risk of falling and rupturing my spleen. I can’t take tylenol or share drinks with family…blah blah blah. But all I really could focus on was I CAN’T RUN. I CAN’T RUN. I CAN’T RUN.

After months of being injured and yearning to run, I finally get back on my feet only to be knocked right back off them. The doctor said, the ONLY medicine is rest…plus a prescription anti-inflammatory they gave for the swelling and pain. That’s about 6 of the 18 weeks of my marathon training spent RESTING. No elliptical, no stairmaster. I can walk. I can stationary bike, but not high intensity. I can swim…but again nothing too strenuous.

Thankfully my job at school is an office job. I should be able to maintain my routine with classes and work, though my fast food job over Christmas break is going to be another story..

I also opted to take two of classes online in order to allow me more time to REST. I will still be doing the course work, but in the comfort of my my own apartment.

In turn, seeing that I will be home for a month and I am positive my mother is going to force me to rest, I have resigned from my marathon. I will instead be running the 5k that weekend. I know I can train for the 5k, I could even PR. I have goals for my marathon and with the possibility of being sick 6 weeks all the way to 6 months, a marathon is just not going to work. I will instead run my first marathon in October. I already have one picked out. It’s sad, but health comes first. One positive to running a marathon in October is the bulk of my training will be in the warmer months. I will be a counselor in Colorado and thus the weather will be great and it’ll be high altitude training.

HOPEFULLY I HAVE NOT LOST YOU. IF YOU ARE STILL READING I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE AN ANNOUNCEMENT. Though I will no longer be running the marathon, I will however still be raising money for the NATIONAL CHILDREN’S CANCER SOCIETY. Please consider a donation. I have $200 left to raise. Make it a Holiday Charity donation, or make a donation in someones honor. Your donation of as little as $10.00 could make one child’s Christmas just a little better. This is the season of giving after all!  You can donate by following this link right here.

Thank you! I hope all is well in the blogging world. If you have any advice for me, I would very much so appreciate it at this time! Thank you!!