I.Will.Run.Again. is now I.Ran.

What began as a pretty mellow morning remained that way for a few hours longer.

John casually juiced a second round. This time a combination of kale, spinach, apple, pear, banana, and strawberries.

Nom nom nom….slurp!

(That’s what she said)

We drove to the Dirty Girl Mud Run based on my directions.

HW 81N to exit 180 or 181…and then I figured it would be obvious.

It wasn’t.

The cigarette lighters in the car are broken, so we haven’t been using the gps for much lately. I turned it on while we sat in a grocery store parking lot. While I plugged in info, John sliced up a few slices of the YUMMY gluten free bread I baked a few days ago. He put some chocolate hazelnut butter on them and BLAMMO!!!!!!

Instant mouth orgasm.

Nom nom nom!

We found Fern and Lisa relatively quickly.

While we waited in line, cracking jokes, taking pictures, people watching, and basking in the excitement of her first muddy event ever and my first muddy event since the parasite, I began to overhear a woman complaining loudly behind us.

“UGH. I will NEVER run another one of these. It’s so disorganized! Where are the safety pins?”

pause….

“UGH. They don’t even give the numbers and the pins out together. UGH!”

pause….

“They need to have clearer signs…What is that? (pointing to a very obvious situation where one side ran out of gear) Why do they have arrows pointing to the other side? What, are we supposed to go there, too?!?”

pause….

“UGH….I will NEVER run another of these events AGAIN!”

pause….

“UGH!!!! Do we have to wait in ANOTHER LINE!!??!!??!!”

I smiled a small smile for the poor woman who was simply taking herself, her health, andDSC_6999 well the moment for granted that very instant.

I sent her good energy, then quietly quipped to my lover, “I guess that’s what happens when you have an all female event. I’ve never heard so much complaining simply waiting in line before the race even begins!”

He chuckled.

(I have my funny moments!!!)

Honestly, though…my heart wants to weep for those that are so easily irritated by things that are so so very, very small.

Really, you are standing in line with your friends.

The weather’s sunny.

We’re about to jump in mud

What could possibly be wrong with a combination like that!?!?!

I thought back to these days:

I couldn’t come up with an answer.

(Though..there was a large group of women searching desperately through a mud pit at the end of the day. When I asked what they were looking for, they didn’t respond with contact. They responded with tooth. So, now I can answer with loosing a tooth in a mud pit could suck, but not in that moment.)

DSC_7016For me, I was where I’d wanted to be for the last seven months, since I nearly died a gnarly death by parasite.

You simply could not slap the smile off my face.

I wore it loud and proud.

By loud…I mean…

I screamed my head off just about the ENTIRE TIME!

You think I’m bad in Zumba!?!?!

I couldn’t help it!

It was like the pent up energy of the last seven months was giving me constant, yetDSC_7008 completely random good games that made me hop, skip, yip, and yell.

I started mud fights almost immediately! (immediately if you begin timing from when we hit the mud…)

I started running immediately as well, although it was at the same pace everyone was walking around me!

Once the crowd thinned out and we got to run a little more quickly, we hit our first sticky mud section. Stefanie got her foot caught in the mud, so (like the amazing friend I am) I stood a few inches out of her reach and just piled mud on her back (by throwing it) instead of assisting.

Same thing happened to Michelle…I, of course, acted on cue.

I got all four of the lovely ladies with my signature mud neck rub therapy (Picture casual slap on the back in greeting to hide the pressure of the sign newly affixed to your victim. Now replace slap with pat, back with neck, and sign with big, sloppy pile of cool, dripping mud.)

This, in turn, got me thrown into a mud pit, fed mud (yeah I said it!!!), and attacked regularly (with mud grenades!!!) throughout the race. 😀

Just how I like it.

The run went without a hitch. It turns out constantly feeling like I’m at mile 40 of 50 isn’t so bad when I’m only running a 5K.

Honestly the hardest part of the day for me was the cold water.

The first time we ran through water, it was just to our shins.

I screamed…

Out of shock and pain.

Seven gazillion tiny daggers pierced me wherever the water touched. I winced and cried out involuntarily through every step.

The thing is…sometimes when I’m in pain and I’m running through it, I just run faster.

Especially when I’m wincing and crying out every stride.

Don’t worry about making sense of it. My run team at DLI couldn’t figure it out either.

The absolute hardest obstacle for me was a single puddle. It went up to my waist.

I thought someone must have taken a chainsaw to my hips, but my legs were still moving. It didn’t make sense.

It hurt so badly… I laughed through my wimpers.

Yep, THAT bad….

The same maniacal laughter (Bwahahahaaaa!) that squeezed from my lips years ago whenphoto 3 (1) my ER doctor sewed a stitch outside of the anesthetized portion of my leg.

Speaking of maniacal laughter, my favorite part of running this race (aside of seeing my lover supporting this momentous occasion from the sidelines) was easily how many heart rocks I could see.

One called out to me clearly about halfway through the race. I carried it with me to the finish.

The Universe sent its praise and love, as did my father, as did my lover.

I’m so lucky. So very lucky.

The bottom line is this:

I told you I would run again.

I did it.

I ran with some of the coolest women I know!

Take that, slug!

mud run group shot

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Morning in the Life of a Dirty Girl

If pre-race morning has been anything for me, it’s been anticlimactic.  I’m sitting in the sunroom with our starting veggies, sipping my coffee, DSC_6621listening to the song birds declare today glorious.

(I’ve declared that already).

I’ve done several sun salutations.

I’m feeling quite warm and quite centered.

Quite peaceful, quite blessed.

In my previous, pre-parasite life, I’d probably be close to if not already in the race town…feeling pressured by the upcoming race.

I would have been there last night, waking up this morning in a cool stranger’s house or in the back of the Rav4.

It’s a two hour drive.

The thing is…

Today’s technically not a race.

It’s an untimed but controlled muddy run with friends.

I’m sure I’ll be ontime.

Unless I’m not….DSC_6982

I’ve packed the double layer gluten free zucchini chocolate cake with an almond butter icing that I baked two nights ago (SLAMMIN’!!!!). I’ve also packed some of the yummy bread I made from the other morning’s juice pulp. (Bet you’re wishing YOU were going now!!!)

The ladies should be satisfied with that…

I’m satisfied with that.

If they aren’t…well… they will be.

Unless John an I eat it along the way….

Oh, the other thing I packed (rather set in a pile by the door) is a change of clothes.

rnrIt’s funny thinking back to how I used to pin my numbers on the clothes I’d ALREADY chosen to use the night before, pack my bags, pick my breakfast, pack that as well, then barely sleep for all the anxiety coursing through my veins.

Man, I used to be “serious.”

I like the me I am now.

It’s much more enjoyable.

I finally get that tomorrow’s not guaranteed.

Don’t worry about what you used to be able to do…simply be appreciative with what you CAN do!

Are you an AmeriCAN or an AmeriCAN’T!?!? (BWAHAHAHAHA)

Don’t waste a second of a minute of your life not loving your beautiful self!

 

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Hearts

BABY[1][1]Yesterday was my father’s birthday. He would have been 60 years old. I needed to celebrate his life in some way positive, sort of similar to the 12 hour celebration of life we held in early September.  John and I didn’t have a crazy party yesterday, but we did feed our souls with a love for each other and for life that we shared with my father in thought, in actions, and in spirit.

The sun was out for the first time in a few days, making the day very bearable weather-wise for me.

A blessing.

We’ve been working on a garden for a while, but the weather has set us back (not the fact that I’m working half of the time, resting half of the time). Yesterday, however, we decided it needed to be finished.

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Those of you who have spent any amount of time with me know that I find hearts.

DSC_5571

Yes, hearts.

I find them…

Everywhere.

In shadows, trees, clouds, blue sky between the clouds, rocks, drift wood, leaves, flowers, stains, puddles….

Everywhere.

They are signs to me that I’m doing the right things.

That remind me how amazing life can be.

That

there is love in the world.

Signs that he’s still there…

Somewhere.

Watching…Smiling.

Softly calling me his, “Little One,” always emphasizing the sound of the “t”.

018

We worked on our garden yesterday; our heart garden.

DSC_6923

Digging it out, mixing soils, breaking apart the clay that lies underneath, laying down newspaper and rocks, and finding worms and critters that will help the mission were all small therapies in their own right.

Just before we felt as if we finished and were ready for a dedication ceremony, John scraped the surface one more time with the hoe.

A random rock was brought to the surface.

A rock…

In the shape of a heart.

We looked at each other, and knew it was time.

John laid a juvenile eagle feather down by the heart and lit some sage. We sat in silence as he stoked the flame with a large eagle feather. Smoke wafted over the rock, the feather, the garden, and us.

DSC_6921

I felt my father’s energy surge through my veins; his smile lifting me, his bright eyes engaging me…recognizing me.

I communed with him, smiling inwardly at the simple fact that he had been a part of my life and very much still is.

After John finished with the sage, I released a vial of my dear father’s ashes onto the rock.

Life. So fleeting. So short. So worth celebrating.

I loved that man.

I love that man.

He’s at peace in our hearts, and now, in our heart.

We piled the crumbled clay back over the rock, and continued filling in the garden with fertile and organic soil. Satisfied with our progress, there was one thing left to do with dad’s spirit present.

4:20.con papa

We smoked a birthday bowl for the man who gave me the strength to survive until this point.

Happy Birthday to the little man with the big open heart.

You are missed.

You are loved.

You are celebrated.

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Post Parasitic Hurricane Explosion

When I found out that I had Rat Lungworm Disease from the Angiostrogylus Cantonensis (That’s a big word for gnarly parasite), John began immediate research. I was nearly comatose…no researchfu came from me.

However, once I began to recover, I became interested in what exactly was giving me these lesions on my brain. I wanted to know why I couldn’t defecate nor urinate on my own…why I was unable to walk or sit up when just weeks ago I was running 20 miles without thinking, nor resting.

I wanted to know how to make the pain stop.

There was BARELY any info.

The CDC actually says it’s a mild issue….except serious cases.

Then you might die.

The only sentence dedicated to something as serious as my case?

“However, serious complications can rarely occur,  leading to neurologic dysfunction or death.”

Ummmm…really?

There’s NO  INFORMATION ON THE RECOVERY!!!!

So I’m documenting mine.

Mine was a serious case.

Today I’ve been out of the hospital about 4 1/2 months.

My colon and bladder was shut down. They say you can have difficulty urinating and defecating after the fact. Well, the truth is, your insides feel something like ground beef. Or…like I’m at the losing end of a bar fight…that included tire irons and crow bars.

Since I’ve been out of the hospital, it’s been a regular challenge. Bathroom breaks are a huge issue, quite painful, regardless of which number I’m doing.  My muscles don’t contract the way they used to.

Apparently, they call that Elsberg Syndrome. Urine doesn’t want to leave sometimes. (No. I don’t have herpes)

Today I didn’t have trouble defecating.

Today I had the “wonderful” experience of exploding before quite getting my pants down.

Huh.

30 years old…not wearing a diaper, but might need one.

Huh.

photo(65)

THANK (insert whomever you choose) the Universe that I met my soulmate BEFORE all of this happened to me!

So the Oxycodone they had me on for the last 6 months has the lovely side effect of constipation.  I rarely had diarrhea or loose stools for half a year…

Now that I’ve been cold turkey the last 12 days, I feel like I’m really experiencing what my intestines and bladder are genuinely struggling against.

It went like this:

We went to Root’s Market (We go most Tuesdays to visit an awesome organic distributer…His name is Randall…you must hang out with him). We walked around.

I used the restroom twice. The second time with slightly more urgency.

I said something like, “Lover, I must go to the restroom. It’s urgent enough to walk that direction now, but not urgent enough to run.”

Successful evacuation.

We finished shopping and got into the car.

We drove down the street.

My tummy began to rumble…an unsettling rumble. I told John I must use the restroom again.

He was slightly surprised and accurately concerned.

The quiet moaning that’s probably louder than I realize commenced as the pain intensified.

We saw a McDonald’s and almost pulled in, but there was a gas station on the other side of the intersection, so purely out of principal, we drove just a bit further to avoid the fast food joint.

Luckily nobody was in the restroom there and it was only one stall

It was a freakin’ disaster. As soon as I locked the door, I knew I was in trouble.

To spare you the details, about 1/8th of the time I spent in the room was dedicated to figuring out what to do. The other 3/4 was cleaning the place and myself.

You can guess what the last 1/8th was spent doing.

John has been juicing for us twice a day, most days…

Beets.

That’s all I’ll say. Beets are some scary shit (pun COMPLETELY intended)!

WEEEEEEEE!!!! I 'm in love!

I lost a cute pair of underware, and almost lost my favorite pair of gifted pants!

I had another pair of pants in the car. The soiled pair is in the wash at the moment.

Now I’m showered, smiling (not that I stopped), and feeling pretty good.  The plants and I are sitting in a sunny spot, ready to teach Zumba tonight.

So yeah…How many Zumba instructors come from pooping themselves, park in the handicap spot, hobble into the gym, then provide you with a killer workout?

I’m pretty sure I can say…just Hurricane Rita!!!!

Tomorrow’s not guaranteed.

Neither is having all of your faculties intact tomorrow.

Appreciate your body while it’s functional! 😀

 

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Call Me a Dirty Girl!

My first 5k since the parasite is this upcoming Saturday.

I’m a long way from running a 50 miler with 6 days notice.

I got an email today. It read:

Get the Dirt

Dear Aurita,

Get ready to share mud, sweat and cheers with couple thousand amazing women as the  time is almost here.

Saturday, May 4th is sure to go down as one of the dirtiest and most fun-filled days of your life.  Before this epic day arrives, let’s get you up to speed on everything.
Overview

Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain will be like you’ve never seen it before! Music will be thumping, energy will be pumping and Dirty Girl tents will be up and ready! In addition to running, walking, climbing and  crawling over obstacles like the Funky Monkey (you’ll see), your registration includes some awesome perks like a cool t-shirt, a special Dirty Girl necklace, friendship, laughter and one free adult beverage, for those of age, to help bring your after party up to a nice respectable level!

…..

So…let me back up and give you the description of the race:

Why Get Dirty?

Dirty Girl is a 5k women only run for women of all ages and athletic abilities. Don’t worry, it’s not a “race” in the traditional sense. It is an untimed obstacle course designed to push you slightly out of your comfort zone, but only as far as you are comfortable going. Forming teams is encouraged, and so is helping your fellow Dirty Girls get through to the finish. At a Dirty Girl Mud Run you’ll find excitement, laughter, and camaraderie—as well as lots of music and even some adult beverages. It’s a day you’ll never forget.

…….

Um. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO EXCITED!

You would think I was training for an ultra with how much I’ve been thinking of this lately!

(Funny story, while looking up the info for the race, I ended up on dirtygirl.com…..um…..not the same thing….)

I told you!

I.Will.Run.Again.

Huge thank you for the peer pressure from Fern, Stephanie, and Michelle!

Live life, don’t just survive it!

230410_10150172550033152_3108029_n

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I went to see the neurologist at the VA Hospital in Lebanon a week and some change ago.

It was quite the experience.

First of all, she was the FIRST person in my history at the VA that actually thoroughly read my file and knew EXACTLY what she was talking about from the beginning.  She knew more than I did, as a matter of fact, since the time I spent in the hospital was so touch and go for the first two weeks.

Her first words to me?

“You.Are.A.Miracle…I mean…I read your file! I can’t believe….I mean… you’re standing in front of me! I can’t…you’re a miracle. I mean…really. A miracle. You are here for some divine reason…”

It went beyond that. Way beyond that.

She explained to me that when they took my first Lumbar Puncture (I mentioned it here), not only was there gnarly puss in my csf but the parasites had eaten so much of my glucose that my levels were dangerously low.

Well. Below dangerously low.

I shouldn’t have been alive, and definitely not without major lasting handicaps.

Not walking.

Not dancing.

Definitely not jumping.

She was astounded.

She explained to me the way the brain functions on glucose, but can have the ability to switch to Ketones if the levels are too low.  This generally takes time and most everyone in my position at my age would have already been comatose by the time I was finally admitted to the hospital.

(If you’re completely lost, catch up HERE)

She also explained to me why I wasn’t.

Apparently, when you push your body to its limits, deplete it of everything, you can train your brain inadvertently to switch faster to Ketone consumption.

…Hmmmmm… over 10 marathons, two 50 mile races, umpteen shorter races (1/2 marathons, 10 milers, 10ks, 5ks), not to mention the training for those races, a month long survival school consuming less than 700 calories daily while covering double digit miles everyday, 4 days no food covering 18-30 miles daily, many, many multiple day treks with minimal food… 5-10 day missions climbing mountains in Afghanistan…Hmmmmm…

It helped that fun has always equalled movement in my life.

I was drawn to cross-country, distance events, and pole vault as a kid because of their difficulty. My body wanted to quit, but I wasn’t ready for it to…so I worked harder and harder until it didn’t beg to quit anymore.

I was always drawn to the hardest option, the one that would tax my body the most. There’s a certain elation I’ve always felt; a euphoria that comes hand in hand with making my body work.

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It turns out, that innate instinct I followed without question (though others questioned my sanity often), was simply training.

It was all training for defeating these parasites and allowing me to reach 30.

Simply stated….

It was all survival training.

Do what you love, unabashedly, and for you. Who knows, it might just save your life someday!

 

 

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