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Start!!

I feel amazing after a couple weeks of running.  I took a LOOOOOONG time off after my last race.  I made too many excuses for not working out.  They were good excuses, but still excuses.  I ate like crap and did not exercise.  I felt disgusting, fat and lazy.

My sister, Kelly, came out to visit for Christmas.  She was feeling the same way.   Thankfully she decided to go for a run.  Kelly inspired me and I ran the next day.  Two days after Kelly’s run we had signed up for the Seattle Rock N Roll Half Marathon.  We had started!!!

It has been about two weeks since I “started” and I feel great.  My pants are still tight and I have a long way to go, but I feel 100% better than I did 2 weeks ago.

I went to a tough spin class today and  I felt strong.  It is amazing how good you feel and what you can accomplish when you take care of yourself.  Kelly and I complained to each other for months about how bad we felt.  All we had to do was start.  I am certain a year from now we will be glad we did.

What will you start today?

Moderation

I am not good at moderation. I figure if a little is good, more must be better.  One cookie is good, 5 cookies are better.  One glass of wine is good…you get my point.  True, I sometimes end up with a hangover and a stomachache, but I enjoy cookies and wine.

It’s not just “bad” for you things that I over do.  I decided a few days ago that my family needs to eat better.  Instead of easing into it, we are cutting out all processed food.  Nothing that has more than 5 ingredients.  Except for yesterday when we had cookies and take out pizza. I even go over board when I fall off the wagon.  It’s all or nothing.

I’m the same way with races.  Why do a 5k when you can do a half marathon?   (I realize marathon would be better here, but I’ve never done one, so I stuck with the half.) If I’m going to train for something, may as well go all out. This brings me to my desire to do an Ironman.  It has been a secret goal for a long time.  Some people watch the finish and say “I can’t believe those people put themselves through that.  Why would they do that?”  I watch and think “They just gave everything they had.” I don’t think you can fake your way through an Ironman.  There is no moderation in training.  No moderation in the commitment.  No moderation in the physical and mental toughness to finish.  I love that.  That is why I am obsessed with it.

I never thought I would be able to compete in an Ironman.  Now, I think I can do it.  I wanted to sign up for IM Florida.  This was before I knew we were moving.  Brian didn’t share my excitement for going all in.  This lack of moderation is a huge commitment for the entire family. (This is the reason the above is a half marathon, not a marathon)   It is a lot for me to ask.  I have agreed to put this dream on hold for a year (or two).   Until then, I will do my best to work on moderation….in somethings.

Now, I’m going to figure out what I can make for dinner with brown rice and an apple.

Teach Your Children

“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”  – Robert Fulghum

I have a wonderful mom.   She is the reason I am the person I am.  But to be completely honest, I don’t remember once piece of advice she gave me growing up.  I’m certain she gave me some.  She might have even put a lot of time and effort into coming up with this advice.  I remember none of it.

I do remember what she did.  I remember her cutting the grass, refinishing furniture, building a fence, moving railroad ties, cooking, cleaning, planting flowers, running, and a ton of other things.  She did things for herself.  She did not wait for others to do it.   What I remember is her being tough and self assured.  I’m guessing most of the time she didn’t feel that way but that is how I remember her.

I try to remember that Pnut and Little Dude are watching what I do.  They are going to learn from what I do not what I say.  That is one reason I think it is so important to take time for myself and to take care of myself.  I want them to do the same when they grow up.

This weekend Brian and his dad took the kids out one morning.  I went for a wonderful 6 mile run.  I hope pnut and LD remember special time with dad, but I also hope they remember that mommy was out running.  I hope Pnut remembers that mommy was strong and did things for herself.  More than anything, I want her to grow into a strong woman. I want her to depend on herself and to be confident she can do anything she wants to do.

My children are watching.  I need to be the best me I can be.

Wishing Time Away

I feel like I’m always wishing time away.  We have 21 days until we will have the keys to our new house.  Most of the time I think I would just give up those days if I could wake up and be in the house.  But yesterday I gave Little Dude a piggyback ride around our apartment.   The apartment I cannot wait to get out of.  I can still hear him giggling and shrieking with delight.  The whole thing lasted a minute; but I would not give up that minute for anything.  It was the best.  It made me wonder how many things I overlook or give up because I am wishing time away.

I’m going to start living in the moment.  I’m going to let Little Dude pick up 500 rocks on our 2 hour, 1/8 mile walk in the woods.  He isn’t interested in what will happen 21 days from now.  All he cares about is what sound a rock makes when it hits the water.  Or what it feels like to dig in the dirt.

I’m going to let Pnut smell flowers instead of getting in the car right away.  Because the grocery store will always be there. Pnut will  not be 5 forever. 

I am going to enjoy my training runs and rides.  Not just think about getting to the finish.  Enjoy being outside.  I will try not to always be concerned with my pace and distance.

I will no longer wish my life away.  I am going to enjoy every bit of it. Well…I’m sure I still won’t enjoy doing dishes or folding laundry.  But everything else.

Girlfriends

The older I get the more I realize how important it is to have girlfriends.  I don’t have a ton, but the ones I have are amazing.  Racing has made some of these friendships grow and it has given me the opportunity to make some new friends.

When I was pregnant with Pnut I registered for the IronGirl Sprint Triathlon.  I thought training would help me lose the baby weight.  I convinced my sister, Kelly, to do it with me.  This would be her first triathlon.  She reluctantly agreed.  I had no clue how exhausted I would be with a newborn.  I never made it to the gym.  One day I took her out, in the jogging stroller, and ran around the neighborhood.  It was ugly.  I knew I couldn’t do the race.  I felt horrible, but I called Kelly and told her I couldn’t do it.  I’m certain she cursed me after she hung up the phone, but she said she understood.  Kelly did the IG by herself.  Pnut and I cheered her on.  I was so proud of her.  This was Kelly’s start.

My start (or restart) came a couple years later.  I give credit (or blame) to Kim.  I’m laughing as I write this because every early morning race start or freezing cold training run/ride Kim would ask “Whose dumb idea was this?”  Looking back, it was Kim’s idea.

Three years ago Kim said something about running the Baltimore Half Marathon.  I said sure.  Didn’t really think we were going to do it.   A week or so later I went to her house and we ran.  I’m going to call it running.  Looking back, it was a painful jog/trot around the lake.  I think it was 2 miles.  Not that we ran the whole way.  A few months later Kim and I had each hit rough patches in our lives.  We turned to each other and running.  We actually signed up for the race and began training.

As luck would have it, Kelly decided to do the half too.  And her Spin instructor Marcie, and Kim’s friend Susan.  It was so much fun.  Kelly, Kim and I ran together for a while.  I only saw Marcie and Susan at the start and the finish. They are WAY faster than I am.   One day I hope to be able to keep up.  I eventually slowed down and Kim and Kelly kept going.  We all met at the finish line.  It was great.      (I have a picture of all of us at the finish line but I can’t get it to download.)

A couple years after that Kelly, Marcie and I did the Baltimore 10-miler.  One of my all-time favorite races.

10-miler finish

In 2010 Kim, Kelly and I decided to do the IG (the race Kelly had to do alone in 2007).  This was Kim’s first tri.  She was awesome!

Irongirl finish

A few months after IG, Kim, Tress and I did the Half Full as a relay.  This was my first tri relay.  I did the swim.  My friend Amy swam on a relay with Kim’s husband.   She crushed me.  We swam together in college and I was always faster back then.  I’m still a little bitter about it🙂

Before the Half Full

I met my friend Lori at a party.  We struck up a conversation because she asked about my Baltimore 10-miler shirt.  That’s right, I had on a race shirt at a party.  I’m not the most fashionable girl.  We started talking about the race and before you know it, we were running together.  Our first race was a Turkey Trot.  It was freezing and raining.  The best part of it was sitting in Lori’s car with our Starbucks.  From there, we registered for a half marathon and trained together every weekend.  Race day was chilly and wet. (seems to be a theme)  It was awesome.  I wish I had a picture.  My only Lori pictures are from Brian’s (my husband) birthday party.  It would be wrong for me to post a picture of her with a fake mustache and giant Elton John glasses.

Lori gave me a copy of Mile Markers  by Kristin Armstrong.   If you haven’t read it you should. What I loved most about it was Kristin’s bond with her girlfriends.  I would tell Lori how I wished I had a group like that to run with.  Looking back, I did.  We never all ran together and we weren’t able to met as often as I would have liked.  But I did have a group of girls that I could count on to push me, and swim/bike/run with me, and love me and cheer me on.  I gave my copy to Kim who I believe passed it on to Karen.  If not, she got Karen a copy.  Karen and I never got to race together but I still consider her one of my girls.  I hope the book continues to be passed around.

This is my shout out to my girlfriends.  You are an amazing group of women.  I am lucky to have been able to swim/bike/run with each of you.  You have inspired me in ways you probably don’t even realize.  I love and miss you all!

Comfort Zone

When I was 8 (I think) I joined a swim team.  Swim Atlanta.  There were a lot of swimmers there who ended up in the Olympics.  Needless to say, there were  a lot of good swimmers.  I was average.  Occasionally above average.   But it was never due to my incredible work ethic.  It was just the talent I was born with.  One of my coaches talked about our “comfort zone” and the need to push yourself out of your comfort zone.  I listened and it all sounded good, but I never actually tried it.  I continued to swim off and on through college.  At each level I would do what was expected of me, nothing more.  I pushed myself as hard and as far as my coach thought I could.  I never looked inside to see how far I thought I could go.

I have only recently started to push through my comfort zone.  And I do so reluctantly.   It’s called a comfort zone for a reason!  It’s like a warm bed on a cold morning.  It’s were I like to be.  But nothing extraordinary happens in the comfort zone.   You can’t grow here.   You can’t do exceptional things here.  I want to do exceptional things!  I want to do everything I am capable of doing!

Today I ran hills on the treadmill.  1 min at an incline, 2 minutes flat.  There came a time when I found myself leaving my comfort zone.  There were several alarms that went off to let me know.  The obvious trouble breathing and elevated heart rate were there.  But there are other clues.  Self doubt sneaks in.  Excuses pop into my head.  I start to convince myself that I should stop.  Thankfully I didn’t listen to the doubt today.  I finished and felt great.

I know there will be times when the comfort zone is just too hard to leave.  There will be times when I quit, when deep down I know I can do more.  I can only hope a majority of the time I will have the strength to move past what is comfortable.

 

A Lesson from the Little Ones

 

My Superheros

 

Yesterday was Pnut’s first day at her new school.  We call her Pnut because she has always been little….in stature.  She is humongous in personality.   Anyway, it was her first day at a new school.  She is 5 and this is her 3rd first day at a new school.  It’s a long story that I’m sure she will discuss with her therapist in the years to come.  Back to yesterday.  She woke up very early and very excited.  As the morning went on she became more and more nervous.  She was almost silent on the car ride to school.  The only time she is not talking is when she’s sleeping, so I knew she was worried.  I asked her if she wanted me to take her into the classroom or just drop her off at the curb (this is what most of the parents do).  She thought about it and asked me to drop her off.  I pulled up to the curb and got out to help her with her stuff.  She put on her backpack, grabbed her lunch and rain boots, gave me a hug/kiss/nibble nose, and was off.  I knew she was scared but she was so brave.  She walked into her new classroom all by herself.  To see this little person with so much courage was amazing to me.   I was so very proud of her.

I dropped Pnut off at school this morning and took the little dude to run some errands.  I knew I should go to the gym but I really didn’t want to.  I hate going to a new gym for the first time.  I don’t know where anything is, I feel like people are staring at me, I have no routine, I just don’t like it.  While we were out errands I had mentioned something about going to the gym.  We finished our shopping and came home for a snack.  I’m eating and checking email when Little Dude (I’ve just decided that’s what I’ll call him in the blog. Maybe just LD) says “Go mommy” he’s 2 years old and not a big talker.  I asked where he wanted me to go.  His reply “Go gym mommy.”  I still didn’t want to go and was coming up with reasons not to.  I asked why he wanted to go.  He said “Gym fun.”  It seemed wrong to bribe him to stay home with an episode of Mickey Mouse Club House, so I went up to find some workout clothes.  I put on my cute running skirt, a tank top and my Tough Chik t-shirt (more on Tough Chik soon) and headed out.

LD and I played in the racquetball court while we waited for someone to show us around.  After 10 minutes of me trying to avoid getting hit with a racket, someone came to save me.  Our first stop was the Kid Zone.  LD walked in and got right to playing cars.  I told him I was going to go for a run and he said goodbye without even looking up.  I took my tour, ran for a little while and picked him up.  The lady at the Kid Zone told me LD was a very confidant little guy.  My heart swelled with pride.

On the drive home I started to think about my children and the people they are becoming.  They are both confident and self-assured.   How did they get that way?  I want to be like them.  I don’t want my fear to hold me back.  I don’t want my children to learn to be afraid by watching me.   I don’t want fear to limit who they can become.   I want to be a good role model.   So, tomorrow I’m going to walk into a spin class, where I know no one and have no idea how to adjust the bike, and know nothing about Sue, the instructor, and I’m going to get an awesome workout.  I am going to be the person I want my children to become.