Houston, we have a problem! – A Guest Blog Post by: Adriana Trevino

Houston, we have a problem!  2017 was going to be my year. My big moment was supposed to happen on January 15, 2017 at the Chevron Houston Marathon. My training was intense. I was even spending hours at the gym after my training run. (2-3 hours most days) I was ready to run a sub 4 marathon and possibly qualify for the Boston Marathon. But it didn’t happen. The humidity got the best of me. (About 95% that day) I was drenched in sweat by mile 1. Half way through I was still on track to run a 3:50 marathon. At mile 16 I completely fell apart. I just couldn’t keep up that pace anymore. The humidity wore me out. I had to walk some to try to cool down. Each mile was slower and slower and as I looked at my watch I saw my big dream slipping away. But I trained for so many months and knew I had to finish no matter what. At mile 22 I saw I had a shot at a PR so I sped up just a little bit. I really fought hard to finish that day. I finished and ended up with a PR too.
After that marathon I fell into a big funk. I’ve heard it is common to slip into the post marathon blues so I didn’t pay much attention to it. And then something happened my first run post marathon recovery. I was running and bam! I not only started crying but hyperventilating too. It wasn’t the first time that had ever happened either. I had a big epiphany that run. My Houston race was symbolic of what had been going on with me for months. Just as my race fell apart on that day in January, I had been falling apart for months too. I sent a text message to my husband, (adult) daughter and best friend. Told them what happened and told them I needed help (as in therapy.) I had been lying to myself for months. My struggle with depression started in the summer of 2016. Sometimes I started crying during a solo run and sometimes I would cry at home but I concealed it from my family by locking myself in the bathroom or bedroom. For whatever reason, my running friends from back then stopped running with me. I just couldn’t cope. I found myself avoiding social media, unfollowing them, and eventually unfriending them. I started feeling like I didn’t belong anywhere, like no one wanted to be around me. In my darkest moment, I even started to wonder if anyone would miss me if I were gone. I know now that I was doing everything I could to avoid facing and dealing with these feelings. The training, the hours at the gym, etc. I was basically running away from my problems. In retrospect I am glad that my race in Houston happened the way it did or I don’t think I would have opened my eyes to the dark place I was in.
I started therapy within a week after I reached out to my family and friend. My therapist used Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy to treat me. I discovered many things during my months in therapy. When I was a little girl, I almost drowned. My parents were in the midst of a divorce and instead of making sure I was okay, they started arguing and assigning blame to each other. I relived that near drowning in therapy. It was an experience that is difficult for me to describe but my therapist took me to a place I needed to go to in order to heal because I never fully dealt with that trauma. When I was growing up, my mother was not the most loving person. There was a lot of yelling in our house. Nothing I did was good enough. I was constantly criticized by her. When I was a teenager she told me that I had been nothing but a problem to her since the day I was born. That hurt and crushed me. In therapy, I talked about how deeply it affected me when my friends stopped running with me. I learned that the reason I reacted the way that I had was because of how I was treated by my mother. When I feel hurt, criticized or rejected, I walk away. It’s somewhat of a defense mechanism. I learned that for years, I blamed myself for horrible things that happened in the past but were in no way my fault.

I learned that for years I thought I needed to be forgiven for difficult decisions I made in my life but what I truly needed was to forgive myself. I learned that running had pretty much become like an addiction to me and that I just didn’t enjoy it anymore and I lost my love for it. I learned a lot of coping mechanisms to deal with life when it gets hard for me. And perhaps the most beautiful lesson I learned occurred as I walked out of my therapist’s office on my final day of therapy. On a small dry erase board in the waiting room were the handwritten words, “Believe in yourself!!! You are strong.”

Although there have been some bumps in the road since I completed therapy, I’m in a much better place. Running is different for me these days. I’m not a slave to my watch anymore. I have thrown pace out the window. I run when I want to and don’t feel like I have to run anymore. I am actually enjoying running now and run and race for fun. Running with my “runmigas” (running amigas) reminds me that slowing down just means more time for fun. I love that. It’s what my soul and sole need. There are two quotes about running that I see often. “Running is my therapy’ and “Running is cheaper than therapy.” I’m sure I have probably used them in the past myself but nowadays they both make me cringe. There is no doubt that running is therapeutic but running can not and will not fix everything. It is ok to get help if you need it.

Peace, love, and running

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Adventures with Autism – The Beyond

If you haven’t read my initial disclaimer post about this blog series yet please go do so – here’s the link: Adventures with Autism.  Keep that post in mind as you’re reading this one because it is a bit heavy and not an easy subject for me to talk about to people outside my immediate circle of trust but I feel like it’s an important one to get out there and share.

The Beyond…

It’s a place that I enter all too often; before I can tell you about the present beyond let me tell you about the past beyond.  Almost 10 years ago I cheated death.  It’s a story I’ve given glimpses of in other posts but here’s a quick recap: I had been very ill for a very long time.  I was so sick that I ended up dropping out of graduate school at Vanderbilt University.  I was just a few weeks away from my wedding date and had been up in Massachusetts finalizing the arrangements for the big day.  After dinner one evening I went into the bathroom and came out in the emergency room.  I spent the next week in the hospital undergoing numerous tests and finally received a diagnosis to what had been ailing me for years.

About a year later I cheated death again.  This time it was a freak workplace accident.  A chemical reaction had taken place in the pump-room of the pool I worked at.  While training a new lifeguard I was hit by the chemical cloud and went into respiratory arrest.  This is the first time I remember entering the beyond.  My first time cheating death [the year before] I never really thought or realized how close to it I was but this time I had a strange awareness.  I often have vivid day dreams of that day – of being trapped inside my body – not able to speak, not able to breath – I envision myself above my partially lifeless self looking down and wishing for a different outcome.

I was in the first trimester of my pregnancy with Tedy [my son on the Autism spectrum] when that accident occurred.  No one really knew I was pregnant at the time.  A co-worker had to tell them that I was pregnant – what a way for my employees to find out huh?!  I have to constantly remind myself that there is no way to truly know the exact moment when something occurred to have given Tedy Autism.  Yet the what if is still heavily there.  The what if he died in the womb?  The what if I didn’t get into that accident?  What if…

The Beyond…

The problem with what if is that it can never truly be answered.  It is an unknown; it is part of the beyond.  Part of that other realm of knowing that painstakingly takes up too much space in my  heart and in my mind.
During my last round of therapy I utilized alternative therapy solutions since I cannot take medications; here’s a list of the alternative therapies I’ve tried:

Out of all the alternative methods, hypnotherapy was my favorite and I found it to be the most useful even after being discharged.  If you’ve read Liane Moriarty’s book The Hypnotist’s Love Story she actually does a decent job describing what hypnotherapy is like.  It helped me navigate the beyond.

The beyond…

It’s a place that no emotion can describe [it’s a complex world] – past the anger, past the tears, past it all – it’s a shut off.  If I’m not careful it can shut off to a dark world, and it too often has.  It’s ok to be in the darkness but it’s not a place to dwell very long and I often need help getting out.  Sometimes I help myself out or sometimes someone else helps me out – it’s like being in a dark room and sometimes it take more than one person to help find the light switch.  Once the light switch is found and flicked on then I can see that the beyond isn’t always a scary place, and I can navigate it; I can persevere through it.  I can continue life [though honestly I’ve told Troy many times that if I had an out card I would play it] – continuing isn’t easy but it is necessary because ultimately when I do want to play the out card I know it’s the monsters of the darkness speaking and not my true self.  Once the light switch is on I remain in the beyond because it’s necessary to just shut off, not react, but simply function, simply be; to clean up the latest mess made by Tedy without the anger or heartbreak.  The beyond can be a place of mourning and acceptance.  When people tell me “I don’t know how you do it…” I often think “I don’t know either” – the beyond helps.  The beyond is the how I do it.

Accidentally Vegan – Homemade Flour Tortillas

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Recently, I  bought a tortilla press and used it for Taco Tuesday to make homemade flour tortillas.  On my Instagram Stories I shared how to make them and had a bunch of interactions with people and requests to blog about it as well.  The whole experience took me back to this summer when I was fortunate enough to learn how to make flour tortillas from a friend. She didn’t just tell me how to make them she actually came over and we shared that experience together.

It’s been said that the heart of the home is in the kitchen and I truly believe this.  Sharing recipes is also intimate to me.  Most of my friends will tell you that I am horrible at sharing recipes though – it’s true, I cook in an unconventional way using the book as a guide and rarely sticking to it to a T.  I often make up my own recipes on the fly or have made something so many times I just know what I’m doing.  I’d rather show someone how to make something versus just handing them a sheet of paper.  Luckily my friend has the same theory when it comes to recipe sharing and she walked me through the process of making flour tortillas.  True to me though I have slightly altered the recipe and that’s what I’m going to share with you now.  Note: these tortillas are “accidentally vegan” and ridiculously delicious.  The recipe makes a dozen but I typically have to make a double or triple batch because my family enjoys them so much.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour [I typically use regular flour but you can substitute in whole wheat flour or an even 1:1 gluten-free flour]
    • + extra flour to roll dough
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil [this is where I made the adjustment – the original recipe calls for shortening and regular shortening simply doesn’t agree with my tummy]
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup (ish) warm water

Directions:

  • On medium heat pre-heat a comal or cast-iron skillet.IMG_20180129_155333.jpg
  • In a medium bowl (or larger if you’re having to double or triple your batch) mix together all dry ingredients.  You have clean hands (or at least you damn well better or else someone is gonna smack you with a chancla!) feel free to just use your hands to mix (less dishes to worry about cleaning later) IMG_20180129_155902.jpg
  • add in coconut oil (again using hands) and mix until it looks “crumbly”
  • sloooooowly add in warm water (be careful here as to not add too much water and also be careful if you’re using your hands to mix that the water isn’t too too hot) until dough forms (note: I’ve never had to use the full cup)IMG_20180129_160546.jpg
  • split dough into 12 pieces and shape into balls
  • roll or press out dough [in my opinion you should just go ahead and buy a tortilla press it’s truly worth it – trust me, once you make your own flour tortillas you’re not going to want to buy store-bought again – also, here’s a little bit from my friend’s story – she really liked her grandmother’s rolling-pin because it was small and come to find out it’s actually a sawed off broom handle]
  • IMG_20180129_161523.jpgPlace dough on skillet; once it bubbles a bit it’s time to flip and cook the other side.IMG_20180129_162022.jpg
  • Wrap tortillas in a kitchen towel
  • These are best served fresh
  • Enjoy!

Clearly my family likes these as an after school snack.  Don’t limit your tortillas to just Tuesdays and Tacos.

Adventures with Autism

I’ve decided to start a new series of blog posts called: Adventures with Autism. The idea came from some discussions I’ve been having with various people lately, and they’ve encouraged me to share our story more. From answering the simple questions or more in depth ones to the pure craziness of our everyday lives – that’s what this series will cover.

This initial post will serve as a general disclaimer for the series.

First and foremost, I am not a medical professional I’m just a mom. Always speak with you pediatrician or medical team or therapists about any concerns you may have for your child.

This is our story. Our family, our quirkiness. What works for one family or child may or may not work for another. I am not here to give anyone hope I am here to share. I know as the mother of a child with autism I’m often forwarded success stories and I typically roll my eyes at them. Good for those people but sometimes when I’m in the thick of this adventure I just can’t relate at all and the last thing I want to see is another kid with autism giving a graduation speech. My kid is non-verbal that’s where we are at right now. Sure it may change one day but we live in the moment and can’t get that far ahead of ourselves; it’s too depressing to do so.

I’m not asking for your advice. Please just let me share. Just because I share something doesn’t mean I want dozens of messages with “oh have you tried this or done that…”. It all goes back to my belief that what works for one family may or may not work for another and I’m constantly flooded with suggestions from Tedy’s team of professionals that I don’t need the extra overload from well meaning friends, family and strangers.

This is a judgement free zone. As a writer on this matter I expect to be able to express myself and share my story without judgement. I will give the same amount of respect to you if you choose to share with me on this subject matter. It’s not always pretty and is often very dark. I regularly seek counseling and encourage other parents to do so as well. It is not easy being a caregiver it is very important to take care of your own health and well-being especially when it comes to mental health.

Enjoy – it’s ok to experience a full range of emotions with this series. You will likely inappropriately laugh and that’s fine because I’m probably laughing too. I may curse and cry before the laughter but it’s there as well.

Thank you for reading this disclaimer. I will make sure it’s regularly pinned to other posts in the series. If there’s a topic you’d like to see me cover or something you’ve wanted to ask just let me know.

Double Digits Day! A Letter to Sophia

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Somehow this beautiful baby girl is now 10 years old…I blinked…she’s in double digits.

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Happy Double Digits Day Sophia [THE] Rose.  Ten years ago you made me a mom.  I remember having a game plan, a birthing plan,  for an all natural/no meds birth.  Alas you had plans of your own.  I ended up saying yes to an induction because you had been hanging out for a number of weeks at 4cm [you’ll learn what that means one day].  Your dad and I brought Curb Your Enthusiasm DVDs to watch while I was in labor (which everyone said would be at least 24 hours) and everything on the list that new parents are supposed to bring.  Labor started out fine but then about a couple of hours before you were born mommy got anxious (I had only been laboring for about 5 hours at that point by the way), broke down, and had an epidural.  It’s a good thing I did because you still weren’t exactly ready to join this world,  but we wanted to see you so badly so we had to assist you out.  The nurses and doctors had feared that your umbilical cord was wrapped around your neck and quickly used a special “vacuum” to finish getting you out since your heart rate plummeted.  You came out sunny-side up with your hand in front of your face – they say “Wednesday’s child is full of woe” and my you were a drama queen at birth.  That first labor and delivery was my toughest the other four would be much smoother and I learned the first of many lessons as a new mother.  You were an amazing baby; nothing like the books or classes had said – except that you didn’t nurse so well; but I mostly blame myself for that.  You told me today that the quote of the day from 365 Days of Wonder is the Assyrian proverb — “There is no shame in not knowing.  The shame lies in not finding out.” That’s exactly how I feel about our breastfeeding relationship; my shame comes from not having asked a lactation consultant for advice.  Then when you were just over a month old I became ill with severe bronchitis; I was placed on a steroid to help clear it up.  Little did I know then that I had other serious underlying medical problems going on and when you were just over two months old I was rushed to the hospital while we were visiting Massachusetts; I would spend the next week undergoing many tests – there would be no more breastfeeding you.  Me being the perfect mother went out the window.  I’ll write more about those days another time but this post is about you.  This post is about the joy that you brought to your Great-Grandmothers [Nana Baronie] life in those days.  You were just a little baby but when you would sit with her and look at her and look all around her kitchen she would say things like “this girl is going to get up and make me a cup of tea” and “this girl is an old soul – she’s here to tell us something” she nicknamed you her “Dolly” she adored you – sadly she would pass away before your first birthday but I can still hear her spirit in you whenever you speak.  You are an old soul – you are wise beyond your years – you always have been.

You’re no longer a baby, you’re officially a tween.  Double Digits…when I got emotional today and talked about how you were growing up you hugged me and told me “Mom, I’ll love you no matter how old I am” – that simple statement is so full – that’s just who you are.  You live up to your name, Sophia – wisdom.  Not only are you a straight A student in school you are a straight A student in life.  You work hard to achieve your goals.  You do more than most 10-year-old kids probably should.  You don’t ever complain about doing the laundry or helping with your brothers and sister – though you do adamantly tell me that you will NOT be changing any diapers!  You continually amaze me.  I am so proud of you Sophia [THE] Rose and love you very much.  Cheers to 10 my dear.

Love,
Mom

Here are some words from your Dad:

Happy 10th birthday, Sophia! I wish I could be home to celebrate with you. I’ll see you in 2 weeks but I wish I could be there on your special day. 10 is a major milestone. You’re far from being the baby whose diapers I changed. You’re not a toddler anymore. You’re not even a kid like Tedy or Ceci in single digits. You’re a tween! That’s somewhere between a school age kid and a teenager.
I’m very proud of all your accomplishments. You’re doing great in school. Keep studying hard and getting good grades. Your education will take you far in life. You’re doing great at AHG, especially camping without Mom or I around. It’s been a pleasure to watch you grow up.
Growing up isn’t easy. Especially since I’ve been gone over 3 years of your life. It’s not easy being a daddy’s girl when your daddy is often away working far from home. But, being an Army brat is something to be proud of too. You know more about sacrifice and service than most kids your age.
Never forget that I love you and I do what I do for you.

Love,
Dad

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Using my voice to speak up for military families and Dreamers…

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We are in the midst of yet another Government Shutdown. All across Facebook I see one side blaming the other. I type comments and then delete – type a status and delete. I’m sure I’ll lose some friends or followers over this post but that’s just part of life.

This morning I was encouraged to remember my voice. I freely speak to close friends about these sorts of matters but don’t often put my words on a public platform for fear of arguments. I don’t want to argue. That doesn’t get anyone anywhere. I’m not here to battle out a point in anger. I am here to speak up. To use my voice. To say: stop. Take a step out. Remove yourself from the situation. Reframe it. Find the empathy inside you that these are all REAL PEOPLE, REAL LIVES!

Dreamers never asked for this. Military families, government employee families, never asked for this. We are people. We are not pawns in a game. Our government needs to stop playing these games with REAL PEOPLE’S LIVES!

For every negative post about Dreamers I can almost guarantee that you know a Dreamer and would never say that crap to their face. When called out on it, saying things like, ‘oh well that’s different’ doesn’t magically justify your words. It’s a complex situation. A wall isn’t going to fix anything. They don’t get everything just handed to them. It’s more complex than that. It’s not about choosing “Illegals over Americans” Dreamers and military families aren’t sides of a coin to choose from. They’re all people. The government shutdown needs to end. The games of division and madness need to end.

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As a runner I have encountered all sorts of people in the community; from all walks of life. All ages, all races, all colors, shapes, sizes…running unites us. We may not agree on all topics, especially political, but we still respect each other. That’s where I take issue with all the hatred spewed across social media – the respect is limited. Very few people have respectful conversations but easily promote misinformation.

“Imagine with all your mind. Believe with all your heart. Achieve with all your might.” I put this quote on a shirt last year for a friend who ran the Chicago marathon. Another friend actually ordered the shirt as a gift for her. Our friend who ran the marathon ran it for The Dreamers. These friends also support me as a military spouse. There is no division here – we are united on the front that these are all REAL LIVES that we are dealing with. Again, REAL LIVES – NOT POLITICAL PAWN!

I know that CHIP is also involved in this shut down, don’t even get me going there; our healthcare system is a hot forking mess and we all know that, all sides know that. Just please in the midst of this Government shutdown [again] remember that these are all REAL PEOPLE being effected. Instead of posting hate step off Facebook and search in your community how you can HELP – be a part of the UNITED States of America.

TMI – Gotta Go Put A Cup In It – A LADIES ONLY POST

***DISCLAIMER***

STOP READING NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT TO READ ABOUT MENSTRUATION!

 

This is a TMI post that I have been formulating for a very long time now.  It is one that I have discussed with my Runmiga’s a few times but have never been brave enough to actually write about and put out for the whole world to view.  I really hope y’all hang in there with me though.  I promise there won’t be any TMI pictures or nastiness but just real talk.

I was a late bloomer in life.  I didn’t get my first period until I was about 16 years old.  I KNEW NOTHING!  It wasn’t really something that my mom and I ever talked about and honestly I learned what I needed to know from my BFF in HS.  Y’all I was so ignorant on the subject that I tried to get away with using just a panty liner that first day!  Luckily I was part of an amazing youth group in High School and in the ladies bathroom there was always a little basket of tampons and pads for free.  That’s where I grabbed my first tampon from and awkwardly figured out how to insert it.

High School was super awkward for me – I truly did not like that time frame of my life.  Since I was a late bloomer I also had a horrible menstrual cycle that didn’t follow any sort of pattern.  I ended up going on the pill because it was so off and so frustrating.  I hated being on the pill.  I am horrible about remembering to take medication and would forget to take my pill and honestly it didn’t do much to regulate my cycle.  Yet again, these weren’t things that we talked about in my family so I just dealt with it.  Even though I have an older sister, she is so much older than I am that she was not around when I was going through all of this.

I was a tampon girl, I hated wearing pads, they always felt like diapers to me.  In College I switched to non-applicator tampons.  I was [am] an athlete and tampons were just what we did, it made life slightly easier, especially during swim season, you can’t swim with a pad and playing field hockey or lacrosse with a pad might mean it sliding down your leg at some point.  Yet I still HATED when my awkward cycle would decide to show up.  Some days would be really heavy and I would constantly change out my tampon.  Other days would be ridiculously light and I would be afraid I would get TSS or something from having such a dry tampon inside me.

Fast forward a bit and in Grad school, I stopped taking the pill.  It really wasn’t doing much for me anyways in terms of regulating my cycle and I was a medical hot mess at the time [I would later find out that I actually had an autoimmune disease that was causing all my crazy problems].  My cycle never regulated and then after our wedding had been planned, almost half way through our engagement, I became pregnant with Sophia.  For the next several years I would get my period maybe once or twice after having a baby before getting pregnant again.  I went back to my non-applicator tampons at those times and I still hated it and my cycle still never regulated.  Heck I never got a period for well over 2 years in between being pregnant with Ceci, having her, nursing her, and then having getting pregnant with Mikey and having him.  Once my period returned after I had Mikey I decided enough was enough and that I would try this cup stuff that I had seen talked about in the hippie/cloth-diapering world.  MY LIFE WAS CHANGED!  Then I got pregnant with baby Cinco.

After I had Audie and my period returned I happily went back to the cup but then I started having problems with it leaking and not going in properly.  So I did some research and found a great website: putacupinit.com I took their quiz and realized that I had been using a cup that wasn’t the best fit for my body anymore.  I purchased the new cup that the quiz recommended and haven’t had an issue since!

As an adult athlete, I want to share this revelation with you and encourage you to go to the website, take the quiz and try a cup for yourself.  I will admit there is a little bit of a learning curve at first (like figuring out what “fold” works best for you when it comes to inserting and learning how often to dump your cup) but there is a ton of information on that site and they have a very informative YouTube channel – they have you covered!  I no longer have to worry about carrying extra tampons around with me.  We all know that during a long run or race we may have to change out a tampon but since I’ve switched to the cup I don’t have to worry about that.  I often can go through an entire race without even having to dump my cup (depending on what day I’m on in my cycle).  Or if I feel like I *might* get my period that day, I can safely insert the cup without worrying about getting dry down there because cups are made of medical grade silicone.  Using them I have learned so much more about my body; it’s empowering!  I plan on sharing this information with my girls when the time comes for them.  Imagine being back in high school and not having to worry about discretely carrying extra tampons or pads with you?  I know it would have made a world of difference for me back in the day.  Heck, it makes a world of difference for me now!  I still don’t have a regular cycle, it has a crazy mind of its own but, I am still a breastfeeding mama so I’m sure that has something to do with it.

The cost of a cup is about $20 – you can find great deals on Amazon and on some product websites.  Many companies and #putacupinit will do giveaways on Instagram and Twitter.  So the initial investment may seem steep but when you add up how much you already spend on tampons or pads it quickly pays itself off.  As a bonus, cups are great for the environment, no more worrying about where to dispose of your sanitary products.

Again, I encourage you to visit: putacupinit.com  and learn more about menstrual cups.  Also, while we are on the TMI potty subject let me put in a plug (no pun intended) for the Skirt Sports Gotta Go Skirt – this is a revolutionary running skirt that started out as an April Fools joke – but women really wanted it to become a reality and it did through a kickstarter campaign.  This skirt is the real deal!  It comes in two styles, skirt and capri skirt.  It has an anatomical flap that makes relieving yourself and dumping out your cup so much easier when out on a run, especially a long run or trail run.

Thanks for hanging in there with me ladies; I truly appreciate you taking the time to read this post and letting me get over my fear of sharing my TMI on this platform.