Finding track legs is a stretch

I stood at my kitchen counter with soup pot in hand. Slowly I tilted the pot, still heavy-laden with leftover cheesy potato goodness, toward a storage bowl I had placed on the counter. And then came the telltale splash along with warmth seeping into my tennis shoe.

I had misjudged where exactly to tilt the pot, and subsequently missed the target. Instead of running seamlessly into the storage bowl, the soup poured onto the counter, down the cabinet and onto the floor and my shoe.

As I felt, saw and heard this happen, I could not for the life of me make myself stop pouring. I kept trying to will my brain to connect with my arms, but somewhere along the line, there was a breakdown. Or a protest. I’m not sure which. But whatever the case, it sure made a mess.

Eventually I got the pot scooted back far enough that the rest of the contents made it into the bowl, and then I grabbed paper towels with a sigh. I definitely wasn’t up to the task of cleaning yet another kitchen mess. I was exhausted, and yet, it had to be done.

I’ve mentioned before my struggle with adrenal fatigue. But in case you’ve had the pleasure of not knowing its strength, I will give you a little background. Adrenal fatigue is caused by intense or prolonged stress. Its largest symptom is extreme—bone wearying, sometimes debilitating—fatigue that is not relieved by sleep.

Basically I’ve been susceptible to adrenal fatigue since I was a child, but looking back, it really started taking control while I was in high school. I just didn’t know it. As more prolonged stress piled on as an adult, my adrenal system ground to a halt.

Over the past year and a half, I have managed to get the symptoms under control. It took a lot of rest, scaling back my schedule, learning to listen to my body, and also taking a supplement designed for adrenal rebuilding. I’ve been pleased with the results.

Even so, I knew spring would be difficult. I can still feel my fatigue lurking in the shadows. And I will admit, I fear it. I know what it’s like to be in its grasp, and I really don’t want to go there again. I’ve grown to like making it through a day without needing a nap. Or a caffeine prop. Or both.

I just started my fifth season as an assistant track coach for Hillsboro middle school and high school. I enjoy it. I love getting to know the kids. I’ve coached long enough that I’ve watched my now juniors and seniors grow and gain momentum since they were seventh- and eighth-graders. The comradery the coaching staff shares is phenomenal. Even so, in my struggle with adrenal fatigue, it takes a long time for me to develop my track legs.

This year before track started, I began to up my supplement intake. I was aware the season was coming, so I tried to prepare as much as possible. But then came the unknown.

In a totally unexpected turn of events, our family is now gearing up to move. Even though it’s just across town, to a person with adrenal fatigue, it’s a big deal. First came the listing of a larger house with a shop. My husband is a great carpenter, so that extra building was a huge factor in our decision.

Once we decided to pull the trigger, next came the flurry of cleaning our current house to the level of Realtor-worthy photos and keeping it clean for potential showings.

I’ve also found myself going through a whole bag of emotions about selling a home that is very dear to me. I’m sad to leave this amazing street with fabulous neighbors. But I’m also really excited to dig into the next house.

I love home design and the creativity it allows, so I’m living in that anticipation. There’s also a level of stress in the wait for someone to fall in love with our home and decide to make a commitment. Not to mention the daunting reality of packing up and then unpacking everything.

I’m balancing the list of to-dos for selling as well as all the visionary plans I have for the new house. Right now there’s no outlet for the latter, so it all swims in my brain. And Pinterest. At least I have that filing ability.

Finally, since my office will be out of commission for awhile during the move, I’ve implemented a book proposal deadline on myself. I’m bound and determined to get the one-sheet, cover letter, proposal and two full chapters submission-worthy and sent off before we take possession of the new place.

And this is all happening while I’m trying to regain my track legs.

No wonder I spilled soup on my shoes.

Malinda Just has been writing her monthly column for the Free Press since 2008. She can be reached at

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