Friday, September 13, 2013

What you don't know...


Yes, I'm talking about physical pain. 

I haven't been posting around here lately, and I don't really have a good reason. Things are pretty awesome now that I'm in school and (sorta) loving it. (Don't get me wrong: there's nowhere I'd rather be, but it's kinda intense, day-to-day.) Plus, there's the boy. He's pretty cool, too. 

But back to something else. Because that's not so cool. 

September 9-15 is Invisible Illness Awareness Week. I'd bet a lot of real money that most, if not all, of you didn't know that. I didn't know that until this year, either, but I'm well aware now. Why? Because for at least the last year, I've been dealing with an Invisible Illness that, as of now, is undiagnosed. 

Well, that's actually not true. I do have one diagnosis: Raynaud's phenomenon. Basically, that means the blood vessels in my hands and feet and sometimes my nose overreact when I'm cold, so my extremities start turning funny colors, get cold, stiff, and numb, and then when the feeling comes back and blood returns, it's painful. It's also annoying, both on its own and because it can be a symptom of other diseases. The other diseases are what I have no answers about, though. 

I don't talk about this much because there's not really anything to talk about, and not many people understand. If you want to get a glimpse, though, I did find this: 

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know
1. The illness I live with is:  Raynaud's phenomenon (and?)...
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year:  2013.
3. But I had symptoms since:  2012, plus joint pain since at least 1998.
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is:  Dealing with the emotional aspects of medical mysteries.
5. Most people assume:  Since I run, I must be perfectly healthy.
6. The hardest part about mornings are:  Not knowing what the day will bring.
7. My favorite medical TV show is:  I actually have no idea. I used to love them but don't get those channels now.
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is:  My foam roller. 
9. The hardest part about nights are:  Falling asleep, either too early or not until much too late.
10. Each day I take _3_ pills & vitamins. Sometimes more. (No comments.) 
11. Regarding alternative treatments I:  Wish I knew what to try.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose:  Anything I could identify.
13. Regarding working and career:  I'm determined to make it to tenure, but using a computer mouse hurts some days. I hope I can write and publish like I want to. 
14. People would be surprised to know:  Working out both helps and hurts, and it's hard to know which days will be which.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been:  Acknowledging that I can't have all the answers.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was:  ...I'm not sure yet, but some days I'm surprised I run. Mostly, though, I'm surprised that this Type-A can deal with the unpredictability. 
17. The commercials about my illness:  Are non-existent. 
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is:  Holding hands. 
19. It was really hard to have to give up:  The idea that I'm healthier than I've ever been.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is:  Freelance editing.
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would:  Remain thankful for all I have and have learned.
22. My illness has taught me:  I can't control everything.
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is:  That the symptoms of A are X, Y, and Z. Symptoms vary, folks. 
24. But I love it when people:  Try to understand that there's a struggle inside of here.
25. My favorite motto/scripture/quote that gets me through tough times is:  "You're not crazy. I believe you."
26. When someone is diagnosed, I’d like to tell them:  Find someone who wants to listen and then don't give them up.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is:  Some days can be just fine and others can bring you to tears...and you may never be able to tell which will be which. 
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn't feeling well was:  To just let me cry.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because:  No one should have to feel alone. 
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel:  Heard...and therefore just a little better. 

Thanks for listening. It's going to be really hard to click "Publish" on this one, but I appreciate that even a couple people might be willing to read... :-\

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Race Review: Capitol Hill 10K

I've never done a race recap before, and this one isn't really going to be so much about the race itself as is typical, so... 


Also, be forewarned that this isn't really a happy post. Oh how I wish it were, but it's not. Much of it was composed in my head during the race, and for those who know how messy the inside of my head can get...well, you can guess how these words are going to tumble onto this page. 


So, Kyle and I signed up for the Capitol Hill Classic 10K probably two months back, pre-boot. We both thought this race would be no big deal. We'd add some distance to the usual #mallmornings routine and get in a good 6.2 before the heat really kicks in...

Au contraire. 

Da boot came into our lives one Monday morning. Luckily, it also went away, 6 weeks later (albeit not without significant annoyance, but that's her story to tell, not mine). 

During the boot saga, though, I've also been experiencing a saga of my that hasn't yet peaked nor gone by the wayside. It's not a new story, but the thinking about it is. The way I get in my head, this should come as no surprise, but there's stuff going on in there that's about as annoying as da boot. 

I should start by telling a little backstory, though:
  • I started running by completing a C25K, which will be three years ago this summer. 
  • For the first two years, I had ZERO desire to run more than 3 miles at a time. 
  • During the fall of 2011 and spring of 2012, I gradually increased my distance, mostly out of boredom and curiosity. I wanted to see whether I could.
  • On September 22, 2012, I ran my first half-marathon. 

The timing of all this was perfect for me. I felt incredible, and even though I haven't raced a lot since the half (just a handful of races this spring, mostly for financial reasons), I've been happy with my training. 

As it turns out, all was not right with my training. Some of the things I had chalked up as workout-induced aches and pains = not normal.


I'm not particularly enthused about re-hashing the details of this weekend's race. 

I was recovering from a cold, but more than that, I spent a lot of time thinking during this race, which is generally a bad, bad thing. I thought about when I started running and how good it made me feel. I thought about how once I finally cranked up the distance and found a new challenge, I was so very excited. And then I thought about today's race.

I just didn't want to be there. hurt, in more ways than one.

Despite the misty rain (which I generally love) and the water that came out my nose (super attractive, I know), I just found zero humor in the situation. It wasn't fun anymore. 

The rest of the race was mostly me battling myself not to quit. I thought of Heather's DNF post, though, and didn't. There were some awesome high-fivers ahead, and I gave myself the runner thumbs-up. I thought of Boston. And then I thought about the fact that three years ago, I couldn't have done this. 

But I still felt...
"Pretty much my body has been feeling like it's falling apart, and I've been upset and frustrated constantly about it." --Juli
Eventually, over an hour after I crossed the starting line, I crossed the finish. I didn't feel well, and I still don't feel good about this race, but it's done. I crossed both lines.

Hopefully soon, I'll cross more lines and climb some barriers, too. Because I want to keep doing this and make it something I love again. 

<3 KSM

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Right now.

It's no secret that I don't write as much when things are good.

I write to deal with the unfortunate parts of life, but I'm a little less vocal when all is well. Writing it all's a nice way to complain. Know what, though? Nobody likes somebody who complains all the time.

Right now, though, life is great.

Right now, I am OBSESSED with the game 'dots.'

Right now, work is just a little bit insane.

Right now, as I sit in bed after waking up from a Saturday afternoon nap, I'm feeling just...blessed.

Right now it's raining, and I kinda want to go for a run, but more than that, I want to be grateful that I can run. Because in an hour or on Monday or 10 years from now, I might not be able to run. But today... Today I can run.

Right now, I appreciate all the amazing people I've been blessed to spend the last few weeks with.

I appreciate you all for your love and encouragement, for celebrating with me, and for letting me cry on your shoulder.

These past few weeks have been a flurry of highs and lows. I dodged a bullet last week, and there will always be new things to contend with, but right now, very few of you know that in addition to the bad things going on, I have big, GIGANTIC news. GIGANTIC GOOD NEWS IS COMING.

That can wait, though.

Because right now, I hear the rain pounding on the highway outside, and I can't help but to linger in the moments.

The moment of proudly watching my friends switch their mortarboard tassels this morning.

The moment your breath catches in your throat at the subject line of an unexpected e-mail.

And a markedly similar moment of waking up to the sound of rain in the middle of the night and just being happy.

These are the moments. They're the ones that matter. They're right now.

<3 KSM

Friday, March 22, 2013

Fear and vulnerability.

I'll just be up-front about it: I know no greater fear than vulnerability. There's something about putting yourself out there that's inherently somewhat unnerving and, at least to me, scary. I don't think I'm alone in this.

As a writer, I put myself out there quite a bit, and this blog has helped make the prospect of writing for an audience less intimidating. Still, I hide behind the relative anonymity of the internet: that is, I don't know exactly who constitutes my audience, and I find that comforting.

In life more generally, we all have to expose ourselves sometimes (though hopefully not literally!). Perhaps the hardest of these challenges lies in allowing ourselves to be vulnerable with one another. This is perhaps my greatest fear.

When we invest time and energy in others, sometimes we profit in the form of new friends and better relationships of all kinds. Other times, we get burned. If being burned once is painful, I'll attest to enduring countless-upon-countless pains in my 26 years. I hypothesize that it never gets easier but hope to never test the theory. Still, I know it'll happen.

So why risk it?

The payoff. The potential benefit weighs all the potential pain every single time. Like an inmate holding out hope for release, as much as the hope and potential disappointment both hurt, they might always be in conflict because the potential payoff is worth the painful price.

Leaving myself vulnerable in writing and relationships and career and...daily life (more on those last two later) will always be scary as hell but also always worth the risk. The potential for payoff is there: I feel it.

I'm still working on it all. Work with me.

<3 KSM

Friday, March 15, 2013


It's late, but I basically wanted to log in because I keep having the same thought over and over again, and maybe if I publish it, I'll be able to sleep. Well...probably not, actually, because it's been the same thought over and over all week...but I digress. I also feel like this post is weak without some intonation, but please insert inflection, sound effects, and sad puppy dog eyes as you see fit. I'm sure all you out there can manage.

Anyway, I think the jist is this:
I'm just 


I almost can't stand it
because I am unworthy.

Even so, my good fortune has made me feel like a million bucks recently, and it seems I've done nothing to either invite or keep hold of it. That effortless fortune, friends, is known as "luck."

Okay, that feels better.

<3 KSM

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Did you ever have one of those nights when
     there are so many good things
     and so many bad,
   and so little goes right
   but you know you're so damn lucky,
     and you take Excedrin with caffeine
     at 3am,
   then lie awake, sleepless
   with all the hope in the world,
     cause you've got so many reasons to smile
     but you're not sure anyone understands,
   then you remember you can write
   but that also means taking a risk,
     and you get going regardless
     forgetting anyone may read,
   then you just don't know what to say
   or whether to say anything at all?

Tonight's one of those nights.

The best part, though, is that if the first quarter - especially March - of 2013 is even an "okay" predictor of what's to come... You know that tomorrow's outlook is bright.

It's funny how some nights go.

<3 KSM

Monday, February 18, 2013

Busy, busy!

Alright, I know. I've been absent again.

I don't even have a good excuse other than things have been busy! With the commute, workdays are long, and the weekends have been just as busy! In lieu of telling you all this, though, I'm going to take a cue from Kyle and show you what the past couple weeks have been like...

An old friend inspired and motivated me to get back to the gym...where I evidently shed more clothes than I wear once inside...
[ Outside-to-Indoor Transition - 2/9/2013 ]

The next day, after having lifted weights, I ran a 5K with my new running buddy, Kyle...
[ Love the Run You're With 5K - 2/10/2013 ]

[ Love the Run You're With 5K - 2/10/2013 - Source: Kyle ]
Then...a busy week at work, intermixed with the Clarendon Mardi Gras parade!
[ Prepping Beads at Church - 2/10/2013 - Source: Stephen ]

[ 4700 beads in 1/2 a mile?! YES WE DID!!! - 2/12/2013 ]

This holiday weekend: more running...
[ Morning Mall Mileage with Kyle - 2/16/2013 ]
After which, I hit up the library, then walked from Ballston to Clarendon, where I stopped for...
[ NEW SHOES!!! - 2/16/2013 ]
The new shoe excitement was short-lived, though, because evidently the walk wasn't so healthy... Ended up bed-ridden on Sunday.
[ My Sunday: Tea, Vitamin C, and MMUN - 2/17/2013 ]
Feeling MUCH better today, though, and ready for the next adventure with Jenn...
[ Have a guess, and I'll fill you in more later! ]
More on THAT equipment later, once I'm completely addicted again! Also...MMUN this week!

Soooooo, that's where I've been. No excuses, just lots of stories to go along with fun times!

<3 KSM