I had intentions of getting this one finished before the end of February but that didn’t work out. If January was a rock concert, February was more like warbling in the shower. With the new development of my heart issues I was more than a little preoccupied with research and adjustment. In my last post about it I called it my broken heart (as in I broke it) but I’ve decided against characterizing it that way. I’ve decided to call it my Renaissance Heart.
- a period of new growth or activity
- the activity, spirit, or time of great revival
- a renewal of life, vigor, or interest
- rebirth, transformation
This is more appropriate than broken, disordered, or dysfunctional because it shifts the focus to the life I will be living–that I’m choosing to live–as opposed to the one I can’t or shouldn’t live anymore. I’ll be making big changes in favor of living another 30 or 40 years with this heart. Renaissance is how I am describing the act of embracing the life on the other side of those changes. My interest in longevity has eclipsed my interest in mourning the lifestyle I’m losing. Change has been acknowledged as necessary but it’s a prompt in a new direction rather than a dead end. I’m calling this perspective the best of February’s highlight reel. I’ve come to terms with my heart’s condition. As a result of these new terms I am now entering a period of renaissance. This makes me feel empowered, which is one of my top five core desires.
My 30 Day Challenge with virtual workout partners continues. In January we did planks every day. In February we did bridges and heel raises. Rather than drop the planks at the end of January I kept them and added on the new exercises. Every day without fail, even if I have to hop off the couch when I see the group updates, or worse, get back out of bed and get them done. It makes me feel strong. And splendid.
A blog post I wrote for a running event was picked up by Women’s Running Magazine; a surprise and a delight. It was exceptionally well-received. And they used my own self-portrait with the article. This makes me feel generous and supernatural.
I ran the 15k mentioned in my recent post about post-prime PRs and then picked up my awards from the 2015 racing season. This is a big deal because there probably won’t be any more of those. I’m still a runner. I intend to stay a runner. But I am no longer a competitor, so those awards instantly became more special because they are the last ones of their kind for me. I’ll probably not place in my age group again until I’m a senior citizen and I’ll never be an Iron Woman again. But I did them both of those things with joy. I went out on a high note. I took my final bow glowing with happiness. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
And that wasn’t my only curtain call. I ran my final half marathon, also with joy. It was my 28th half marathon, closing out 15 years. My first was way back in 2001. I ran the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach, Va. My finish time was 2:45. My fastest half marathon was in Dallas in 2007. I finished in 2:03, trying like hell to break two hours. That was as close as I ever got. My last half marathon was two weeks ago in Texarkana. I finished in 2:40, ten minutes faster than the same race a year ago. From 2001 to 2003 I ran at least one half marathon each year. I took a break and then resumed the streak again in 2007. From 2007 to 2016 I ran at least one half marathon each year and most years I ran more than one. That’s over now. My PRs for the marathon and the half marathon will stand forever. That feels splendid.
I kicked caffeine. I’m a caffeine-free carbon-based life form now. And even though I’ve been cleared to indulge in caffeine again if I want to, I’ve decided I don’t want to. It’s a sleep quality thing. I wouldn’t have believed it made such a difference until I tried sleeping without it. So this is me learning and evolving and making choices in favor of wellness. Empowered again. And splendid again.
I learned how to make coffee in a French press. When The Chef uses the automatic coffee maker for regular coffee I make decaf in the French press. This way we can still have coffee together on the weekends. It may sound like a small thing, this arbitrary new skill, but these days nothing seems like a small thing to me. Togetherness matters. Rituals that comfort matter. Versatility matters. Learning continues and with it comes appreciation for opportunity and evolution. More renaissance afoot. Or in this case, acup. Feels like magic.
Over the last three weeks I’ve done hours upon hours of research on arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, cardiomyopathy, stroke, blood clots, heart failure, heart diseases, cardiac rehabilitation, heart rate training, heart monitors, heart rate monitors, homeopathic heart health, left ventricular hypertrophy, pacemakers, beta-blockers, blood thinners, cardiovascular health in general, and running under cardiac care. I’ve digested more information on these and related topics than I ever imagined I’d need to acquire. Because the best way to make informed decisions is to become informed. Empowered again. Generous toward myself, dedicating so much time and energy to my wellness, to being an active participant in my care as well as a beneficiary. A badass good patient.
You knew I would be.