I almost hesitate to think about 2015. It has been kind of a blur of pain, frustration and uncertainty. It’s pretty easy for me to focus on that.
I man this has been ME all year. I have been through this cycle so many times. It sort of forgets the moments when you get excited and get your hopes up that this is finally behind you, only to discover it really isn’t.
That said, some really good things did happen this year.
I did get and continue to have my new job. It’s a bit of a crap shoot on if I like it better or not, but in general I think I do. I continue to do the work and try to grow in my job, though I admit, I’d probably be just as happy stocking shelves, or being a greeter at a store… somewhere along the way I’ve lost a wee bit of joy in what I do, it’s frustrating and has few accolades, but it allows me to afford my lifestyle and that is important.
I actually bought a home.
I took the time to do this when I first got injured. I am really glad that I did do this because I have REALLY enjoyed the peace of living in my new place. No more climbing up the steps to my apartment… No more people using a treadmill or playing the piano overhead. No more strangely nosy apartment management people. Whew! I do have neighbors on one side and they are super salt of the earth. Such pleasant people, not nosy, but friendly. I lucked out. The only thing I don’t love about the place is that every house looks alike, and it’s rather permanent. I really can’t just move. Still, I have not moved in the lat 7-8 years so… the idea bothers me, but the fact is I’m saving money this way and my entire residency situation is improved.
I Actually SWAM to Alligator Lighthouse and Back. This is actually a BFD. It was the hardest thing i’ve ever done, and I’m a little impressed that at least one Ironman finisher had to be fished from the water behind me because he couldn’t make it. I have nothing against Ironman, but I think that speaks to how difficult the Alligator swim is.
Can I admit, I don’t really love this video above, it’s just a lot of photos strung together, I still watched and enjoy did because it was maybe the best day of 2015.
This is the video I like better. I’m in both of them, but not identifiable.
This event changed my entire YEAR, and probably honestly, my LIFE.
Last year, I attempted this as part of a relay and failed miserably. I don’t like to fail, so we had kind of pencilled this one in as a challenge for 2015. Then I herniated my disc and things went all to heck with the plans for stuff. But, by April, I was able to swim, and my lifeguard/kayaker Eric had agreed that he really wanted to help me with this, so I embarked on training like a maniac for this crazy race. By September, I was having quite a bit of difficulty with my pars defect, and already walking with a slight limp. I was very tired from the training, the pain in my back, the constant struggle to find a neurosurgeon who I could believe in… that I went into this weekend just really looking forward to being at the Keys.
Because of the current, something I had not really taken into much account, the race was REALLY tough. Add Current, some wind on water, some but not as many as last year, Jelly fish stings, and you’ve got one not so happy swimmer. Eric kept me somewhat sane and without him I would not have finished. While I was out there, I would have given anything to stop, but he would not let me. I’m so glad for him because although I would have forgiven myself, and everyone else would have forgiven me also…. there was nothing like walking under the finish arch. Nothing…
At the awards dinner I found I had placed 3rd in my age group (probably there were only 3 as I was slow) and I was a little disappointed that only the top finisher got an award, but I never have been one for the medals and plaques, and I did already have a pretty awesome medal for finishing, plus I had met so many great people, so I kind of forgot about all that and was trying to enjoy a beer…. I was incredibly surprised when I was called up for a new award, the Wendell Karcher award which memorialized a special member of the Islamorada crew who had unexpectedly passed in 2015. terrible photo, but that is me getting the award from his wife. I was totally shocked. I NEVER win stuff, and in a lot of ways this really validated my year long struggle with my back. It has not been lost on me that while I feel very honored, someone died to create that award, and so I actually have a desire to honor this man in the future.
I made some great friends because of the huge amounts of time spent at the lake and pool this year, and I can not describe the feeling of accomplishment I get from finishing. When I returned to the pool the lifeguards all cheered me, the kids from the swim team cheered me, and anyone who had helped with the swim prep was thrilled. It’s great when people succeed! It was hard fought for, but I am so excited that I finished and that I was able to be there with no regrets, and return with no excuses!
Actually swimming was probably the highlight of the year.
I did spend some time back in church which I also really enjoyed… it’s been a bit hard since sitting is the main activity in our church (hard to explain, but really when people go to any church, they pretty much SIT) and we do it in silence, it’s been hard to go because I would have squirmed and disturbed the peace. I do like the local Friends meeting and I think in a few weeks if my leg calms some more I’ll try to start an every other week trek.
The rest of 2015 is a blur. 2016 is really not slated to be anything incredible in my mind. I hope to return in the next 8 weeks to some swimming… and training for Alligator Lighthouse… again! but no running allowed for a long time, and the main goal in 2016 is to try to heal my back as much as possible and when the healing is “over” try to take stock and see what will be possible for me physically.
I’m really not ready to set any goals for 2016, because everything feels like it hinges on the spine…. so… hanging out in a bit of limbo….