Monday, August 23, 2010

Mission Accomplished

Back in April, my sister-in-law, Amber and I decided to start running together. We’d both been working on losing weight and getting in better shape, and one day decided to go for a run… which suddenly turned into us deciding we should train to run a race. And that’s how it all started.
Then, of course, came the preparation. And frankly, we didn’t really know how to do that. (If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that!)
So, we’ll assume you’ve read my post about the Couch to 5k program (which I just can’t say enough good things about), and I won’t go into too much detail there. Suffice to say, there is no way I could have run 5k yesterday without having prepared first, and I am so thankful for the C25K program that gave us a model to follow. It helped us reach for smaller goals on the way to our BIG goal… and helped to push us past what we probably would have pushed ourselves.
After all our prep work… Yesterday, our goal found it’s completion. RACE DAY!
Me before the race. I look so relaxed (but was NOT)
Amber and I ready to run! (and showing off our stylish, vintage numbers)
In the pack, watching the opening that honored our fallen Iowa soldiers.
This photo better captures how I was feeling…

(And no, I pretty much never realize I make these faces – my husband loves when they're caught on film)
And we’re off!
A shot from across the lake (you can see us in right about the middle of the pic)
Just after we finished mile 1.
You can see in the pic (and the one above) how in synch we are – not just our steps, but our arms, too. We didn’t even realize we did this (guess it comes from running together all the time)
Grabbing some water at the first water stop…

…and then trying to figure out how to drink and run at the same time. (I was not skilled at that)
And then we went out of the sight of the cameras for awhile, until…
…we approached the FINISH LINE!
Our finish time? 33:23. I’ll be honest – I was shocked! That’s about 2 minutes faster than we’ve been running in practice! Not only did we meet our goal of running start to finish, but we got a faster time than we thought we would. Not bad for a couple of first-timers. ;)
I can’t really explain the feeling of finishing this run. Honestly, yesterday felt pretty surreal. We finished, got some drinks, grabbed a bagel, and then Josh & I had to get our sweaty, tired kiddos home. It seemed to go by pretty quickly!

Today, it feels strange to think August 22 is already behind me. But have no fear, friends, I’m already cooking up my next goal. The goal for yesterday was to run – start to finish – no walking. Now, I think maybe I should try to improve my time, don’t you? I don’t think I’ll be WINNING races any time soon, but really, I think I’m my own toughest competitor, right now. So look for me to be running another 5k in the next couple of months.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Big Three-OH

No, no not yet! Don't rush me! But yes, the fact of the matter is that this year I'll be hitting that next big mark - 30. (in October, to be precise)

I'm not gonna lie - I get a little shiver when I think about it (and not exactly the good kind of shiver), but what I've decided is that I'm going to embrace this next birthday with open arms. I'm not going to try to hide from it.

I told my hubby all this and then decided to translate (hidden meanings don't work out all that well, so I figured I should just be direct) "I want to have a party. Not a 'same as we always do' party. I want to do it big. I only turn 30 once and I'm not going to hide from getting older. I want to ring it in right!"

This took my husband aback a little. He's not much of a party guy (ok, not at all a party guy) and he's a bit nervous about putting together said party. He asked me for ideas, but to be honest -- I haven't come up with much! So that's where you all come in.... I'd love to hear some suggestions for party ideas - themes, decor, setting, etc. Lay it on me! (I'm sure my husband will thank you!) ;)

In honor of my 30th year, here’s a couple pics of me back in the day. (I know, seriously cute, right?!)



Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Identity Crisis

Just a little bit of fun to give you all a chuckle today….

So recently, I started a new part-time job with my church as the Nursery-Preschool Director (post regarding said new job coming soon) and it’s been great! But there has been a funny thing that keeps happening… you might call it a case of mistaken identity.

Let’s back up a second…  There are a couple of services at our church, and because of that there are many people that I know their face, but not their name (and vice versa). Well, since this is the case for me, I’m sure it’s the case for others. So, I think that’s where this identity crisis gets it’s start. 

You see, my in-laws go to the same church as we do. No, not just my mother- and father-in-law, but also one sister-in-law, a brother-in-law, and yet another brother-in-law and his wife (another sister-in-law)!  And since it’s my hubby’s side of the family, we all share the same last name. (see where I’m going with this?) So, there are some people at church who know my hubby and I. Others know my parents-in-law. Still others know my brother-in-law and his wife. Some know all of us. You get the picture.

So when I took this job, it was announced to the church and all that good stuff, but I had to jump right in and hit the ground running, so I didn’t necessarily get to have a “proper introduction” with all the volunteers, etc. So MANY of them have only seen my name, and if they’ve seen my face, they haven’t connected the two. That can cause some confusion on it’s own. When you have family members sharing your last name in the same church? Even more confusion.

You all know my name: Kristy Heilman. Well, guess what my mother-in-law’s name is? Kari Heilman. Look pretty similar on paper, right?  And that is where things get sticky. See, I am a Sunday school teacher (of 2&3 year olds) and now the Nursery-Preschool Director. My mother-in-law does counseling (along with my father-in-law) and has also recently spoken at one of our church’s women's events. So, both of our names are out there… and now we’re finding some people will mix us up. Not because we look alike (in-laws, you remember) but because our names are so similar, and they don’t know our faces! So, they see us at church, read our name tag and mistake us for the other. Or answer an email from one of us thinking it’s the other. This has caused my mom-in-law and I to have a good laugh more than once! I’m thinking one of these days we may have to just go stand in front of the church and get this straight! ;)

My lovely mother-in-law…


And little ol’ me…


What? Don’t you see the resemblance?! ;)

P.S. This isn’t the first time this has happened… When my hubby was but a child, my mom-in-law and HER mom-in-law were confused at a church that they both attended! (Mom- Kari Heilman, Grandma- Karen Heilman) So, I just see this as us carrying on a family tradition, right?

Give Me a Revelation

Sometimes you can hear a song dozens of times, but then hear it during one specific moment, and it’s like you’re hearing it for the first time. That happened to me just recently with one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands.The song? Revelation by Third Day. (I’ll attach a link below for those of you who haven’t heard it before.)

I was driving along (one of the rare times I was in the car alone) and this song hit me square between the eyes…especially the chorus…

Give me a revelation
Show me what to do
'Cause I've been trying to find my way
I haven't got a clue
Tell me should I stay here
Or do I need to move
Give me a revelation
I've got nothing without you

If you’ve read some of my recent posts, you know I’ve been struggling to find my way through some personal struggles. These lyrics were exactly what I’d been thinking lately. But there’s something I don’t think I’ve been doing fervently enough -- Asking God to show me what to do. Sure, I ask periodically. But I’m not on my knees begging for Him to reveal to me when I need to move and when I need to stay.

It’s that control thing popping up for me again. It takes humility and brokenness to be able to ask that of God. And I know that I haven’t been humble enough to do it like I should. That complete surrender can be such a difficult thing for me sometimes nearly all the time. And I have no good reason to be hanging on to anything. I certainly don’t know what *I’m* doing! He does. So the chorus of this song is going to become my prayer. Because Lord knows I need a revelation.

Here is the awesome song… and below you’ll find the lyrics for the entire song.

(NOTE: If you have not listened to Third Day, give these Georgia boys a shot! One of my favorite bands of all time – LOVE these godly guys!)

My life has led me down the road that's so uncertain
Now I am left alone and I am broken
Trying to find my way
Trying to find the faith that's gone
This time I know that you are holding all the answers
I'm tired of losing hope and taking chances
On roads that never seem
To be the ones that bring me home
Give me a revelation
Show me what to do
'Cause I've been trying to find my way
I haven't got a clue
Tell me should I stay here
Or do I need to move
Give me a revelation
I've got nothing without you
I've got nothing without you
My life has led me down this path that's ever winding
Through every twist and turn, I'm always finding
That I am lost again
Tell me when this road will ever end
I don't know where I can turn
Tell me, when will I learn
Won't you show me where I need to go
Let me follow your lead
I know that it's the only way that I can get back home

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Couch to 5k

So, outside of all the recent struggles, I have been working on some other things, as well. On the forefront, is working toward running my first 5k. It goes along with helping me reach my weight loss goal, but it’s a separate goal for me. I was losing weight, but being skinnier doesn’t automatically put you in better shape (can you believe it?!) So, I knew I needed to be working out regularly, but I wanted to have some kind of goal to strive for. After going for a run with my sister-in-law, Amber, one evening, it hit me – and we decided we wanted to run a 5k together – RUN it, not run/walk it, RUN it. So, we started looking up local races and decided on the Iowa Remembrance Run. It was a cause we love, and the date worked for us – August 22.
So we started out just running as much as we could, but we didn’t exactly have a game plan for how we were going to work up to running 5k (that’s 3.1 miles, btw) Then, one day while researching the subject, I found something called the ‘Couch to 5k’ program. Jackpot! Not only is the program very similar to one my physical therapist told me about last summer (that would be after I messed up my knee the last time I tried training to run a raceyeah, I didn’t know what I was doing), but there was also more than one app for my iPhone that would help along the way – SCORE! So we started working on that program. It takes you from not being able to run at all, to running 5k in 9 weeks. We’ve stretched it out a little farther than that (we felt like we needed a little more work), but now we’re nearly to the end!
In fact, we’re now just 18 days away from our 5k! The progress we’ve made is amazing. At the beginning, we could hardly run 30 seconds to a minute without feeling like we were going to die… and now? We’re going 25 minutes straight!  Granted, we still need to add another 5 to 7 minutes to get us up to running the whole 5k, but we’re so close! And the sense of accomplishment is amazing! Some days are better than others, of course. Some days I feel like I’m dying (especially those last couple minutes of a run), but even on the tough days, after I’m done it’s such an amazing feeling! The “runner’s high” is no myth! 
So I’m still pluggin’ along. Still working toward my goal. And when I do it (and I will) I’ll have RUN a 5k before my 30th birthday. (yes, 30…this year…but that’s a whole other post!)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Far and Away (part 2)

So, the process of getting off the meds began. I didn’t notice anything different at first. And even when I did notice things, I didn’t connect it with the medication. Really, I’d never gone off my medication the right way before. The right way would be talking to your doctor and weaning off slowly. The wrong way? Cold turkey. And that was the only way I’d gone off the meds before. (usually by accident) The type of medication I was on was an SSRI (a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor). The reason going cold turkey is a bad idea? Withdrawal. I’d experienced the withdrawal symptoms in full force before, but this time I thought because I was weaning off slowly I wouldn’t experience withdrawal. Turns out, I was way off. Looking back, I can see that I was experiencing some mild withdrawal early on. I felt scattered, like I couldn’t focus. Some mild anxiety. Nothing huge, which I guess is why I didn’t connect it to going off the meds.
The real trouble started after I’d taken my final dose. A couple days later I started feeling “shocks” in my face. Dizziness. Nausea. I thought I was just tired or maybe getting sick. So, I put my symptoms in Google (the go-to place for info, naturally) and when I saw “vertigo” pop up, it all clicked. I wasn’t getting sick. I was going through withdrawal. The reason it suddenly made sense for me is that vertigo was one of the withdrawal symptoms that had been the worst for me in the past. And once it clicked, it dawned on me that all the symptoms I was having were not symptoms of some mysterious illness – they were withdrawal symptoms. Vertigo, nausea, fatigue, feeling “scatter-brained” (for lack of a better term), feeling ‘on-edge’, and ‘face shocks’ or what some call ‘brain zaps’ (probably the most disconcerting).
Well, I’ll try not to bore you with all the details there, but suffice to say, I was feeling pretty miserable. I had been so excited to take my final dose, to be done with that specific medication. Then when the withdrawal hit me so hard, I was beyond discouraged. I tried not to think it was proof I couldn’t handle it. I decided I just had to make it through the withdrawal. I was going to have to tough it out. I knew if I told my doctor about the symptoms I was having, she would put me back on meds and wean me off even slower. I didn’t want to do that. Call me impatient (it’s ok, it’s true), but I wanted to be over it sooner, rather than later. So, I decided to find a way to cope (and my awesome hubby supported me).
That was about two months ago. The initial withdrawal symptoms have subsided. What’s left in their wake is just me, or what I suspect is me, without meds. The anxiety and depression I’ve dealt with for years have not disappeared. But it’s not the debilitating anxiety and depression that put me on meds in the first place. As I alluded to in my last post, I’ve had a handful of times in my life when the medication was a necessity. I wasn’t able to function. I believe God used the medication as a tool to bring me out of that. But as I also said in my last post, I’m not in one of those times now, and I’ve been hanging on to this medication as a security blanket. I can’t deny that I fear experiencing one of those times again. But God’s brought me out of every single one. And so, I try to remember, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
I’m not exactly sure how to explain how I’m feeling these days. I’m on edge a lot. I feel almost constantly stressed, even when I’m in a situation that should be relaxing. I also still struggle with feeling “scattered” sometimes, having a hard time focusing. So, I’m trying to find new ways to cope with all that. First realization? I’m not very good at it. The biggest thing I’m working on (minute by minute) is giving up control to God. I have a tendency to try to hold on and fight for control. And (big shocker here) I’m never good at it. I usually make things worse for myself. I also have a natural tendency to worry, and that seems to be amplified these days. Mostly, I worry about what other people will think of me. (something that I know in my head isn’t worth worrying about, but can’t seem to stop myself from doing) So, I spend a lot of my time trying to relax, calm down, and not worry. Sounds pretty normal on the surface, and it is to a point. But it’s intensified to the point that it makes some days incredibly difficult.
So, I can’t deny that things have been, and still are, tough. But what I can tell you is God is so good and so faithful. He’s my Shelter and Strong Tower. He’s given me a husband who is beyond understanding and patient. He’s given me two boys who can make me smile, even in the midst of tears. And He continues to teach me so much through all this. Things I’d like to keep sharing with you here. So, we’ll ‘talk’ soon. ;)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7

Monday, August 2, 2010

Far and Away

Apologies are in order. (if, of course, you’ve even noticed there’s been a lapse in my posting). I guess I took an unintentional hiatus from the blogging word. (not to say I wasn’t reading them – I just wasn’t writing them). To those of you who did notice – I’m sorry. Life’s been a little crazy and I let myself get caught up in… well, pretty much in feeling sorry for myself. That’s probably the simplest way to put it.
The truth is, a lot has happened in the last couple of months, and much of it I didn’t feel comfortable sharing here. And so, when I thought about blogging, I guess I felt a little insincere, because I wasn’t sharing everything - just some things that I thought people would want to hear about (again, that’s assuming you read this at all!) 
That all seems a bit cryptic, but I assure you, I’m done with not sharing.
I want to say, “lately God’s been working on me” but the truth of the matter is, He is always working on me. That’s something I’m insanely thankful for – He’s not finished with me yet. I’m a work in progress. (PRAISE the Lord! ‘Cause if this was the finished product – oi!) So, here comes the part where you may decide to never read this blog again. Or, what I’m hoping instead, is you’ll know someone else who can relate to what I’m about to share – and you’ll tell them about it. Because that’s part of what’s been going on in my heart – God’s challenging me to stop hiding, to stop wallowing in self-pity, and to instead, try to help and/or encourage someone else. ‘Cause guess what… it’s not about me. (shocker, right?!)
To keep this post from being TOO long, I’ll start off with some of the most recent developments… and we’ll work backwards, as needed. ;)
Recently, I stopped taking a medication I’d taken for a long time. Years, in fact. (Don’t worry, it was with my doctor’s approval and guidance.)  The medication was an anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication.
**Insert disclaimer here that this is NOT a “medication is bad”  rant or a “you need to get free of your meds” rant**
This medication is one that saved me, quite literally, on more than one occasion in my life. But what I came to realize was… I wasn’t in one of those times anymore. And, the fact of the matter was, I was still taking it more out of fear of what I’d be like without it than anything else.  And while I realized these things, and knew God was asking me to step out in faith and give it up… I resisted. I resisted for probably a solid month before I even bothered to talk to my doctor about it. And after I talked to her, I even continued to put off the ‘weaning’ process.
My explanation? Fear. That’s it. I have no other explanation than I was afraid. This medication had become my security blanket. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to give it up. It was more that I was afraid that I couldn’t.
In the end, I did start that weaning process. And not long after that is when I stopped blogging. Because things didn’t go quite as smoothly as I thought they would. I guess I’d say I unintentionally went into some sort of hiding. Not that I stayed home and literally hid. Instead, I tried to hide the fact that anything was wrong at all. Because I thought if I said something was wrong, that was just proof that I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t give up the meds.
Turns out, it wasn’t as black and white as I wanted to think.

(to be continued…)