Miley Cyrus Gave Me a Gift

I’m not a Miley Cyrus fan. I don’t pay any attention to her really, although I do know who Hanna Montana is, or was. But last Saturday, I got a wonderful gift from her! OK, so she didn’t actually send me anything, maybe it was nothing more than a “being in the right place at the right time” sort of thing.

So here’s the mystery: What do  running uphill, Winter in Oregon, Exercise Induced Asthma, and Tendon tear recovery have to do with Miley Cyrus? Stay tuned my little chickies, and I will tell you.

Last Spring, on a training run with my Honey Badgers, we were running up what we call Cemetery Hill, for some lung splitting 45 degree hill training. Well, 45 degrees might be exaggerating, but, trust me, it was STEEP! Anyway, up we went, switchback after switchback, when all of a sudden, I heard this whistling sound coming from my heaving chest. Not knowing what it was, I kept going, but slowed way down and told my friends I would meet them at the top. Rose, a nurse, decided she was going to hang back with me. This was NOT because she too was struggling, mind you, but rather, because she didn’t want to have to keep looking back at me to evaluate at what point  the CPR should commence.

I managed to make it to the top and continue the run with no other problems, and I brushed it off as early Spring allergies. A few weeks later, on another run with Coach Jim’s Elite Runners in Training, we were running up Mt Tabor, another steep run with several switchbacks, and it happened again. THIS time, I thought it was a panic attack, so I slowed way down, calmed down, and was able to recover and continue to the top and beyond. At this point, I developed a secret fear of running up steep hills.

When the wheezing returned a few more times I actually did contact my doctor, and low and behold, I have Exercise Induced Asthma, so I now have the pleasure of carrying ONE MORE THING with me along on my training runs.


My little friend “Sniffy”

Sniffy now travels with me to every run and workout, and manages the job of keeping me breathing, thank God, so now I have no excuse for wheezing up the hills, unless of course, I am in fact, having a panic attack. (If I ever write about my Ragnar Race, I’ll tell you about the Grand Mal of panic attacks at 1 am)

Two and a half weeks ago, I started with my running come back, after a long break due to injury. I’ve been logging some short miles, and Saturday was to be my longest yet, clocking in at just over 8 miles. As it turned out, my training group was going to be running Mt Tabor. My nemesis. THE HILL. ASTHMA. PANIC ATTACK. ACHILLES TENDON TEAR. Oh God, I stressed all week about this run. I showed up at 8am and met approximately 60 other brave souls out for anywhere between 8 and 20 miles in temperatures in the low 30’s. Portland runners are just amazing-there were people in shorts that day. I had my trusty layers on and my secret weapon, hand warmers, inside my gloves.860735_10200842375000969_387207006_oWe headed out in our respective pace groups, and I plodded along the first 2 miles of warm up, with Mt Tabor looming in the foreground. At mile 2.4, the climbing starts and within less than 1.4 miles, rises 400 feet. That might not sound so bad to some people, but it is a killer to someone new or newer to running, especially if you have psyched yourself out for it every time! Being the recently rehabbed runner who doesn’t want to end up with another 11 weeks off, I took it easy up the hill, and alternated running and walking during the steep parts. I wanted to regularly “check in” with my Achilles, and Peroneus, just to make sure I wasn’t hurting it again. I managed to scale the top,and circle around the summit, catching up with my pace group half way downhill, at the bathroom stop. At this point I was victorious. I had climbed Mt Tabor, I had survived it, and my foot and ankle felt just great. The rest of the run went superbly, and for the first time in months, I felt like I was coming back.

When I got to my car and headed to my office to shower and go to work, Miley Cyrus’s song, “The Climb” came on the radio. My radio station doesn’t usually play this song, so I was thinking, “Oh please, really? Miley Cyrus????” But then I started listening to the words and I started crying in the car. Before you dismiss me as being overly sentimental and emotional, let me explain.

I returned to running for the first time in 15 years,  just 3 years ago at age 50. In late 2011, I decided to train for a half marathon, something I had never done before. By Fall of 2012, I ran 2 marathons, and other than incurring a stupid injury, felt like I had accomplished one of the most incredible things I had ever set out to achieve. Then I was sidelined. Stopped cold.

Meico foot

This is me recovering by our pool in Mexico.The swelling had gone down.

Recovery is not sweet or swift at my age. I am struggling with the comeback. Every run is a major challenge. I want to run another marathon, and I want it NOW. I obsess about the finish line. I long to run with my friends at a faster pace. I want MILES!!!! But for now, I can’t do those things. I have to take it easy and gradually build it up again. I can’t risk damaging my foot and ankle again, by doing too much, too soon.

So, when I heard this song on the radio, I thanked Miley for the gift of words. Her song is now on my ipod, which in itself is pretty funny, but I will sing it over and over again, while I journey back to 26.2.

I can almost see it
That dream I am dreaming
But there’s a voice inside my head saying
“You’ll never reach it”

Every step I’m taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking

But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose

Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb

The struggles I’m facing
The chances I’m taking
Sometimes might knock me down
But no, I’m not breaking

I may not know it
But these are the moments that
I’m gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep going
Lyrics from <a href=””></a>