The day celebrated because Christianity was brought to Ireland.
The trinity became famous for its beautiful knot work symbolizing the trinity of Christ. Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit are symbolized in a beautiful ever flowing loop. The trinity also stands for birth, life, and death and the ongoing flow. Birth brings life, and through life we find death. With all death comes life, and so the trinity continues.
Our family is a great deal Irish. We are also rooted in faith. Our roots may not have always been the sturdiest of roots in our family tree, but they have never completely uprooted. They always held strong onto faith, onto the trinity.
Today, I have the opportunity to complete the “trinity loop” thus creating that ongoing beautiful soul and spirit of perseverance.
The Hartford Marathon created the Trinity races as a fun way to earn three medals that would create a beautiful clover. I have had the pleasure of running two of these events thus far and completing my third today. Completing the trinity. Completing the loop of my family, the forever turns and twists that keep us together. From birth to death, and then birth again. We are all family.
My father has been in the hospital the last few days requiring several units of blood until they could control some internal bleeding. Two and a half years ago, I lay in a coma requiring countless bags of blood so that my life could be brought back, to continue living. In some ways, October 8, 2011 allowed me to be born a second time. My heart beat had stopped. The trinity loop had ended up at the top point, and then blood donations flooded into my being allowing my trinity to continue along its beautiful, rooted, path of life.
My fathers life has been spared again from the trinity of life. The vital blood that allows our heart beat to continue is alive and beating because of the family of donors we will never know.
These races are far more to me than another finish line. Every race I run is part of the trinity. Every race I run unites the trinity. Birth, life, and death happen every second of every day.
Tomorrow, I will wrap my arms around my parents. I will embrace the beautiful trinity of our family, the never ending Kelly blood.
Breathe in. Feel that? You are in the living part of the trinity.
Here we come O’Hartford.
Birth, Life, Death, then birth again.. and so, I run on.
Happy New Year!
It is 2014, a beautiful time to shed old limbs and grow new shoots.
In the process of my writing today, my soul has cracked open numerous times reflecting on the incredible power and strength of God. Through writing my two upcoming talks and working on some excerpts for my book I found myself once again questioning God. why did I live through such a traumatic ordeal when others die and lose so much more, and often much younger. As my fingers clicked into my keyboard my heart opened to the fact that my number just wasn’t up. None of us are immune. Only the creator of the universe knows our day and time. In a way, that awareness is a beautiful release. We can not live our lives constantly waiting for trauma to fall upon us, we must live like we are dying. As morbid as it sounds, learning how to die allows us to learn how to live. Does that make sense? From the moment you were born, you not only began growing, but you also began dying. The only thing that is constant, is nothing. With the knowledge that nothing is constant, the beautiful knowledge of change unfolds before us. We are changing every single beautiful second. We can not avoid the inevitable, we can live life as beautifully and with as much zest as possible while on this planet..and in doing so, we will learn how to die.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QOFMti6jfM
You know those mornings that seem like you woke up in a weird movie? That is when I think, if only I had a theme song.. I am not sure what it would sound like.. but I know this morning was one of those “Are you serious?” mornings.
So, Today was SUPPOSED to go the following way..
1. I was supposed to wake up, make coffee. Take the dogs out. Make awesome husband breakfast.
2. Kiss husband, pat his tush.. and see him in the evening..
3. Sit down with large glass of water and have awesome conversation with dynamic powerhouse woman Heidi Armstrong via FaceTime.. “She seems pretty damn cool, check out her website here.. http://www.austinfitmagazine.com/author/heidi/ “.
4. Go for my training run, then do my post run exercises.. walk the dogs..
5. Get a biopsy.. (wee!)
6. Come home, take a siesta with the puppies..
7. make dinner, welcome home husband.. go for family walk..
INSTEAD.. this is what happened.
We both woke up feeling under the weather, and struggled getting out of bed. The dogs seemed more needy than usual and appeared to want to make us trip over them with every step. I made husbands breakfast and lunch like a good wife (I really like doing this), we let our dogs, and he opted to drive the car to work in Guilford as its been making horrid sounds and needed to go to the shop, (I normally drive truck due to my newfound fear of driving my Toyota since the squish and peel trauma.. )
He left for work, came back five minutes later because he left his wallet at home.. I began getting ready to go for a run, when the phone rang and he explained the truck died at the gas station.. he checked the oil to find it bone dry (That’s my bad, Ive been driving it).
So I begin looking for my wallet to drive him to work, and discover Its “missing”.. After frantic searching and tripping on large labs for 10 minutes, I give in and drive him to work “wallet-less”. Hoping I don’t get pulled over.. because with my luck, this would be the day I get pulled over.
He gets to work late, I begin driving home and the dogs throw up. When a ninety pound lab throws up, well.. you get it. This causes them to both want to get out of the throw up zone and into the front seat, WHILE Im driving..
I pull over, they fight over who gets to be upfront.. I begin cleaning up pile #1 of puke on the side of the road and escort the “loser” of the front seat challenge to the back to accompany the vomit.
We arrive at the tow truck place to hand over the trucks keys so the man can pick up the truck and take it to the mechanic, but I am lacking a wallet. Smiling with frustration, I head back home.. the dogs jump out of the car covered in chunky puke into the house and my stomach begins heaving.
We all get “cleaned up”, they want to regain playing.. and I still can not find my damn wallet. “Where the crap did you go, stupid wallet, did you run away again?”.
After almost two hours and shiny counter tops and dressers.. I found that little sneaky wallet. Where you ask? On my bed of course.
At this point, I decide to finally pour my coffee and head to the tow truck place to drop off the keys and the man looks at me and says “You look familiar”.. he begins eyeing me and says “You from Clinton?”. (sigh..). So, I say.. that indeed.. Im “That” girl. He then has a million questions for me, mostly the same one everyone asks “How in the hell are you smiling and standing?”.
I don’t want to go into it, so I answer with my blanket response of “Well, Im alive.. and I lived for a reason..” and then in my awkward fashion follow it up with a “fill in sentence”.. telling him I also found my wallet and cleaned up my dogs puke.. so the day was getting better.
Upon arriving home, both dogs were smiling.. smelling fresh, and it was 11:00. I missed my biopsy. Not to worry, it is rescheduled for December 31st so it will be covered under 2013 ded. with my insurance. So, now we sit and wait to find out of the truck is indeed “scrap” as the man called it. He’s an older chap. The truck has been with Sean about 9 years, and he bought it used. It went on many mountain biking trips with him out west when he lived in CO. It has seen Moab many times, and trekked across country carrying all of his belongings when he decided to move in with me in VT. It has treated us well here in CT, and I failed to treat it with the same care it has given me and was not diligent with his oil change.
So, here we are. Where we are supposed to be.
Life has a funny way of happening fast. Sometimes we are not where we want to be in life, and our days (even if they are just mornings) go completely opposite of how we expected.. HOWEVER, they end up just as they should.
So, Don’t call me Shirley. I am serious. My house is also clean, my wallet is beside me, and my running shoes are on.
Phew- Here goes.
Im cycling again. A lot. My bike has just been indoors on a computrainer, but it has been used.. and happy. My body is getting stronger. My rotations per minute are accelerating. My power is accelerating. My cardiovascular strength is improving. I am becoming the triathlete I hoped and prayed I could become..
With increased rotations, is an increased pressure on the saddle. That increased pressure causes dynamic pain due to the damage my female “parts” have endured. I will be actively looking for another seat, as well going through some incredibly uncomfortable and embarrassing procedures to break up scar masses and allow my body to be more comfortable seated.
It seems when things are looking strong, that a rock flies into my wheel and breaks a spoke.. which brings me to the following:
Asking for a little prayer for tomorrow. My immune system has held onto some “abnormal cells” for three tests now (over an 18 month span). Tomorrow I will be heading in for another biopsy (this will be #3 in one year) since my results are still coming back positive for abnormal cells. The doctor feels my body might not be able to clear the abnormal cells just because of the magnitude of surgeries Ive had over the last two years.. He is an Iron Man, and is very familiar with my training and health and said “KEEP DOING WHAT YOUR DOING”. Knowing that my diet, exercise, and sleep has been what has allowed me to heal as well as I have and not get any worse.. That being said, we’ve known the entire time that long term open wounds and numerous surgeries always provides heavy stress on the immune system (mine already is compromised with Lupus). The hope is that the cells will “clear themselves” and not lead towards cervical cancer. Im pretty sick of procedures, and have had much, much, much anger about this trauma.. and much thankfulness for my health and healing. Im also aware that I have a long way to go.
That being said, I already almost lost my kidney and needed massive surgery because of this trauma, and my poor “wahoo” (a.k.a va-gi-na).. there, I said it.. has gone through a horrid time.
She has been ripped off, stapled back on, and is very full of scar tissue and now the inability to heal.. follow that with my “tookus” (a.k.a A-Nus)… there, I said that too.. that has been ripped miserably apart and also rebuilt.. and my poor “under carriage” is not happy.
So tomorrow, it is back in for more biopsies.. which is ridiculously pain filled and frustrating.
Why do I put this awkward, unhappy, gross piece on my blog? Because my blog is about authenticity.. and the hope that from sharing so much.. it will not only help me in my healing process, but (haha, BUTT) also help others to break down barriers of things that are otherwise “uncomfortable” to talk about.
I have a pretty face.. Thank God.. and Im also partially incontinent about 50% of the time with both bowel and bladder, and my body looks and feels like it got run over by a freight truck.
Not pleasant to talk about.. but real.
So, put your nose down.. we all poop. and fart.. I do both sometimes.. in public, and sometimes even when Im in front of hundreds of people talking.. It sucks, and yet. I can pee and poop.. so you know what? “better out than in, as my mother always says”..
More material for public talks.
Bow your head with me tonight, and help me seek grace and peace for another procedure tomorrow that will inevitably not only hurt physically but manifest all of the scars that the trauma has engrained into my being.. My prayer for myself is that I can accept my own anger and pain, ask for continued healing, and also direct it towards seeking healing for others.. because, sometimes when we are at our low points.. it is when we are forced to look up. #BythegraceofGodgoI
You know what it is like.. Maybe you want to go on vacation, a better job, to get thinner, bulk up, have a family, have long hair, create world peace, find the cure for cancer, run faster, ride longer, swim more efficiently.. (yes, you know where my brain is). Patience. Dear God, I thought I would be patient by now. How patient are you at your wants? Regardless of how big or small, at some point we start to realize the fact that EVERYTHING takes time.
Wanting takes a strong amount of energy. When we learn to convert the “wanting” energy into “action” energy to do something about it.. the “light at the end of the tunnel” can start looking a bit brighter and closer. Sometimes when we put action into play, the light of the tunnel may look even FURTHER away, because we realize just how much work we have to do.. Then we must ask, “Is it worth it, and why?”. Most of the time, the answer is “Yes”, and that’s when we cycle back towards learning patience.. and looking for gratitude in even the smallest step towards that light.
How much time something takes to happen completely depends on a multitude of variables, and sometimes we can not do it alone.
This is where we need patience, AND each other.
For me, I have been struggling with a lack of patience for quite some time. I wanted to run a marathon yesterday, have a baby last year, complete an Iron Man next year, kick my husbands butt on a bike (and the swim).. and have had a honeymoon. The reality is that those things have not happened. The other reality is that AMAZING things HAVE happened, and I need to focus on those.
Last week, I stepped out of my front door and decided to write my next motivational speaking engagement in my head while I jogged.. Mind you, I haven’t ran more than 15 miles in two years and certainly never completed it pain free. My mind thought, “Well, Ill just keep running until my mind can complete this outline”.. and so I did, and 17.4 miles later I hobbled back into my front door.
Today, I WANTED to get over my PTSD in the fall weather. I WANTED to just hop on my bike with my husband and ride 50 miles through beautiful back roads.. Earlier this week I WANTED to hop back in the pool after not swimming for 7 weeks due to my last surgery, and bang out a mile without taking a break..
Have I learned anything?
In order to move forward in ANYTHING in this life, I have to strengthen the components of what Im working with. If Im working on athletics, I have to do those “stupid” clams, wall slides, planks, and other delightful physical therapy exercises.. if I want to solve world peace, I must understand what is happening politically and socially.. develop the right channels and work with others on smaller tasks that can equate to part of a bigger framework towards change.
Today, we rode for less than ten miles. My body may have been able to sustain the 50 miles, but my mind and heart was not there. My panic set in, then came my disappointment, my embarresment, frustration, and anger. Once I settled into acceptance I reminded myself that it is “OK” to be angry, cry a bit, and then turn on the computer and look at the global news.. Which then roped me back towards perspective and that framework.
This weekend I will complete my 8th half marathon in 2 years. Pretty damn awesome. I WANTED to be able to run a solid 2:25 by now, I WANTED to be in full training for a marathon this year.. however, my body has other plans… This year, I am giving my body a break. No surgeries. Originally everything was going to be fully “repaired” by this spring, but my soul told me otherwise. My soul said “Learn Patience”. If anyone ever tries to tell you they are a patient being, I say “that is all in perspective” because patience is something we all will be trying to learn during our entire journey on this earth.
Just remember, when you feel like you just “WANT IT NOW”.. work hard and secure the components towards your “want”, so when you get it, it will last..
I sat at my computer today about to begin my outline for my presentation at the Philadelphia marathon expo in two more weeks. As I looked at my screen, a dear friend popped up on Gmail chat to say hello. She is about to go through radiation after almost a year of chemotherapy and a mastectomy. This friend is only in her thirties. Our instant message exchanges were light hearted and full of love. As I sat there gazing down at the carpet at my running sneakers I thought about how many people are in my life that are struggling with some sort of ailment, wether is was something mentally plaguing them, physically, or both.
The month of October was a rough one for me. I worked through the pain of post op from my kidney surgery, the stint, and the memories of all things associated with the season that use to be a favorite of mine. Fall in New England is just simply gorgeous. There is no where in the world that can compare with the feeling of fall in the Northeast. We are blessed with colorful canopies of trees bursting with colors, smells of earth, rain, and decomposing leaves, pumpkins everywhere.. and apples being freshly harvested at every town’s local farm. Fall is a time where we get a little cozier, and await the first few snowflakes that will soon blanket the winter ground. Two plus years ago, my favorite season became that of a nightmare when I was run over while cycling. The leaves were perfect on that October 8th day. The pumpkins adorned every doorstep, and cool breezes swept through my hair, tickling my nose and making my face light up with a smile. Then, the unimaginable happened.. that large freight truck blew right through that stop sign and right over my 125 pound body. I was dragged for several feet, rolled over and over.. my bike shoes were ripped off my feet as my front tire wrapped under the chassy of the freight liner. When my body finally came to a stop, I was left ripped apart with broken bones, much of my skin shredded off my body, and clinging to life. Within minutes my heart would stop beating and I would lay in a coma while being brought in and out of surgeries. I would receive many units of blood and blood products, and I would be resuscitated multiple times. During my “sleep” I would miss the big October snow fall, the fact that Halloween was “cancelled” that year.. and that my job was being eliminated due to a mismanagement of the company I believed so strongly in. When I awoke the leaves were gone, and so was the month of October.
Two years later, my fear and anxiety has reached highs that I could have never begun to imagine. My first love, which is cycling went partially by the wayside, and I began running. With a screwed back together pelvis, mended broken ankle and tibia, 50% less muscle mass in my left leg, partial incontinence, brain trauma issues, a badly degloved glute, and severe wounds, all I wanted to do was run.. run because they managed to keep my leg, run because I was alive, run because my muscles longed to work, run because I could. Running became the hardest and most challenging endeavor that I ever attempted, and at the same time became something that forced me to “unplug”, to listen to my heart beat, to feel pain and know it meant I was here, and to give gratitude.
Running forces your body to go through a series of “head games”. First, there is the mere act of putting on your shoes. For me, I could not put my own shoes on for almost a year. Then it is about taking that first “leap” if you will, for me it provoked terror.. “Will I become unscrewed?” My surgeons came with me on this journey every literal step of the way. What if I poop myself? well, I have.. so what.. its warm, stinky, and it washes off… What it Im too slow and people make fun of me? That’s their issue.. I survived a freight truck.
When we run, multiple things happen.. our bodies begin circulating.. detoxing if you will. We begin cleansing our minds of thoughts, and suddenly have the ability to deal with things.. we NOTICE things.. the trees, the water, each other, the birds.. we SWEAT, and we are reminded about the beauty of water, and we drink. We become hungry, and we are reminded that we live in a country where we can eat. We see others run, and so we wave.. and we join the beautiful energy of people who are living.
So many people say, “I can’t run”. I say, “Are you alive?” because if you are, even if you do it in a non-traditional way.. you can.. on some level. I have watched people race through finish lines on wheel chairs, with prosthetics, stumbling and struggling to stay upright from a stroke, but “running” none-the-less.
When we run, we become empowered to face life. We become empowered to face ourselves. We become empowered to seek gratitude for each fatigued breath in and out that fuels our every heart beat.
How beautiful is gratitude? Today, I closed my laptop and realized the best way to prepare for this upcoming discussion was to “go there”. I needed to run, and not just anywhere.. I needed to run on Boston Post Road, and I needed to run longer than I had ever run. I needed to pray, seek direction, and find gratitude.
When asked how running has helped me handle stress and trauma, I would say it has forced me to “be real” and in doing so, it has opened the box to healing. Today I ran over 17 miles while Fall is still in swing, along Boston Post Road. I stopped often and cried. I stopped and caught my breath, I stopped and prayed. I also stopped to simply wipe away my tears and thank God for my life, this life.. and ask that I can be a light every step of my life.