Mini Melt Down

Last weekend I had a mini meltdown. It wasn’t pretty.

My husband was gone for the weekend on an ice fishing trip with his buddies and I was home with my boys. Three days home with the little ones, and no adult interaction, can be a bit much for me, so I scheduled a babysitter so that I could meet up with the girls for a long run on Sunday morning. I couldn’t wait. With the exceptionally cold weather and my family’s schedule, I hadn’t run outside in over a month. A MONTH!! I was missing the fresh air and sunshine on my face.

Well, things started to go wrong with my running plans on Saturday night. I got out of church and checked my phone to find a text from the babysitter stating that she was terribly ill and heading to the ER. Needless to say, she wasn’t going to be able to watch the boys Sunday morning. UGH!! Disappointing, but not the end of the world. So, I sent the girls a text letting them know that I wouldn’t be able to make it and to have fun without me. (Sigh.)

To my surprise, they offered up six ridiculous solutions for my dilemma, ranging from the boys riding their bikes along side us (it was supposed to be 20 degrees!) to pushing them in a stroller, to having people from our triathlon club “babysit” while we ran the 6 mile loop. Their unwillingness to let the situation go without a fight made me laugh and also realize just how badly I needed to go on that run. I decided to drop to an all time low and practically beg for a back-up babysitter. It worked, and I had successfully secured Plan B. The run was back on. Ahhh…that felt better.

Until…I woke up Sunday morning to a crying 8 year old boy who felt achy and had a fever and sore throat. That run just wasn’t meant to be. I sent another text letting the girls know that I was most definitely NOT going to be joining them, and made peace with the fact that being Mom is my number one job.

But, when the boys took a nap that afternoon, I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming amount of self-pity. It just wasn’t fair. Sitting on the couch, I started to cry. Yup. I was sitting alone, crying because the sun was shining, it was a beautiful day, and I was stuck in the house with a world full of responsibilities that I couldn’t escape. Not even for a couple of hours. (Tear…tear…) Being a Mom is hard. Period.

However, feeling that way is NOT something I enjoy. I am not generally a “crier”, and I typically find the good in things. So this situation left me kind of annoyed with myself. The only solution I could think of was to go for a run. I still had a little bit of time left while the boys slept, so I hopped on the treadmill and ran the fastest 3 miles that I’ve run in a long time. It felt amazing. And it was just the butt-kicking that I needed to shake me out of my little pity party.

In the end, the reality is that some days are like that (even in Australia). There will be times when things don’t go your way, but you just need to pick yourself up and move along. Have yourself a good cry, then let those tears bring out your best sparkle.

Sparkle. Pounce.

Try this

I have recently found myself acting maybe a little jealous when I see or hear about friends, acquaintances or even strangers with a new purchase big or small, or going on a great trip or even achieving a goal. My forehead wrinkles and I say to myself “How can they afford that?!” or “How do they get all the time off work?!” or “Where do they find the time to do that?!” And in that moment I am judging. And I tell ya what – it does not feel good! Not too long after the brat in me subsides,  I ask myself “Why do you care?” It’s not your bank account, you don’t know how many vacation days they get and you don’t know the sacrifices they might have made in order to buy that Ferrari/plan that exotic trip/achieve that goal.
This is something interesting I find about social media…obviously it is a sharing platform. And sometimes, an over-sharing platform. And it reflects somewhat of an instant gratification impression. We only see the peak moment of achievement or accomplishment. We don’t see all the days/weeks/years someone saved money in order to afford something the wanted. Or even if they didn’t and it just got added to their debt pile – not your problem. We don’t see the all the skipped social functions or sacrificed family time that person missed so they could study for that masters or prepare to become a yoga instructor.  
When people publicize details about their life, it certainly opens them up to judgment. But it also opens them up to support and celebration. The latter sounds a lot nicer to me. And I admit, I usually only post something on FB if I’m proud of it, it made me or someone else happy and obviously I want people to know. 
So if you’ve ever found yourself having the negative reactions I described earlier…try this:  Be happy for someone. Without judgment or criticism. Think to yourself or out loud…”Good for them.” Or simply admit “I’d sure like to be on the beach in Cabo.” Instead of harboring the negative feelings. And if what triggered these feelings is something you really truly want for yourself…then make a plan and work towards it and earn it yourself. And then share your joy and hopefully you’ll find others who are happy for you and continue the cycle.

There will always be things that we want, but the truth is we probably already have most of the important things that we need. So let’s be happy with what we have and be happy for what others have too. Try it.
Leigh Ann

Quick and Easy….Pshhh

I was standing in line at Meijer last week, and all of the magazines caught my eye. Every single one of the women’s magazines was either about how to cook delicious food (that was no doubt extremely unhealthy), or it was a magazine that somewhere within was offering a “quick and easy” way to get fit and lose weight. Hmmm…

I pondered this as I thought about how I’ve been “nourishing” my body over the last few months. Let’s just say this…it hasn’t been pretty. Starting in December, it began with the mindset that “it’s the holidays, I can eat whatever I want!” Moving into January, I fell into the “I’m running 100 miles this month, I deserve to eat whatever I want!” way of thinking. And I realized that once I start eating whatever I want, whenever I want, it is a very hard habit to get out of. My body was CRAVING sugar. All.The.Time. And I was giving in to it. Eating 6 Oreo cookies a day, a half a bag of Goldfish crackers, candy bars…seriously. It was bad. And I felt bad. My energy was low and I just couldn’t stand the way my body NEEDED junk food.

So, I decided it was time to do a “cleanse.” As always before trying something new, I tried to get some of my Sparkle.Pounce. ladies to join me so that I would have someone to hold me accountable, and honestly, I just really wanted someone to go through the discomfort with me! To my surprise, these ladies had a long list of “reasons” (ahem! – EXCUSES) for why it wasn’t really a good time for them to do it right now. I was on my own.

I began looking online for a simple cleanse that would help curb my sugar cravings. Apparently, the words “simple” and “cleanse” don’t actually go together. I think they call that an “oxymoron”? Most of the cleanses that I was finding included drinking shakes, juicing, and/or a list of ingredients that appeared to be written in a foreign language. Not.My.Thing. I like to spend the least amount of time in the kitchen as possible, and I can’t stand being hungry, so drinking shakes and juice instead of eating real food just wasn’t going to cut it. 

Finally, after continuing my online search, I found a cleanse that I thought might work. It was only three days, and I could basically eat as much as I wanted as long as it was a vegetable! There was a meal plan to follow that seemed manageable and not too complicated (meaning, I could read all of the ingredients and actually owned most of them!). So, I headed to the grocery store after work on Monday, and on Tuesday morning I began my cleanse.

Tuesday:  I actually can’t even eat everything that is on my list! I’m not hungry enough! Maybe this will be “quick and easy”! (And I’m not even tempted to eat the two boxes of Girls Scout cookies that were brought to me today and are sitting under my desk at work!)

Wednesday:  Reality check. I like bread and bagels and crackers. I can’t eat any of those things! I don’t want to eat another bite of spinach salad or carrots or peppers. BLAH! I’m starving. I don’t want to do this. Why am I doing this again? I’m never going to give up eating all of those things. This is silly. I will just stick to the plan until dinner, and then I will add bread with my chicken. Yup. Day 2 and I’m a cheater already.

Thursday: Well, since I already cheated yesterday, I’m going to go ahead and have half of a bagel with my egg whites this morning. That’s more realistic. Then I’ll stick to the plan the rest of the day. But, I’m still craving sweets. Maybe this is a waste of time. Oh well, I’m going to stick with it for the last day…

Which leads us to today! Valentine’s Day! The perfect day to NOT be on a sugar detox cleanse! But, do you know what I ate for breakfast? Egg whites and half of a bagel. And do you know what I ate for a snack? An apple with natural peanut butter. And do you know what I ate for lunch? A sweet potato, peppers, and celery. And do you know what I haven’t even opened yet?!?! The two boxes of Girls Scout cookies that are sitting by my feet, under my desk!

So, what’s the point? It takes time, effort, pain, discomfort, and not giving in to temptation in order to start a new habit. But it’s possible! I’m definitely not saying I’m not going to dig into those cookies at some point, but after my three days of hard work I’m definitely not going to eat half the box in one sitting! (And yes, I’ve been known to do that with those darn cookies…)

No matter what it is that you want to improve about yourself, you can do it. Don’t let minor setbacks keep you from working towards the end goal.


Pick yourself up, even when life is pushing you down

 – Kendra

Game On.

Last week I finished off my triathlon club’s Polar Bear Century Club Challenge. It felt great to reach my goal, but as always for me, there was a sense of let down after the initial excitement was over. My fear of losing all motivation was creeping in, and I immediately started thinking about what I should do next in order to keep myself accountable. (There was even some crazy banter about signing up for another Ironman…EEEeeeek!)

And then I remembered…I’m signed up for a marathon on May 4! I already have another goal to start working towards! But I have to admit, I was feeling a little cocky. I mean, I had just run 103.1 miles in January and I figured I was way ahead of schedule for marathon training. Oh well, I’d just back off a little and go ahead and start the training plan. So, I sent my sister a text this morning and asked her how many miles I was supposed to run this weekend. (I haven’t even looked up the training plan yet…). When she responded saying that we were supposed to run 10 miles yesterday, I kind of freaked out. I started having flashbacks to the first marathon I ever ran almost 12 years ago.

In order for you to fully understand the panic that I was feeling, I need to share with you the story of my first marathon. It was in Alaska through a wooded trail, and very flat. I ran it with my sister, Rondi and my best friend, Sara. Sounds pretty incredible, right? Well, not so much. We were very inexperienced runners. None of us owned a Garmin or any kind of watch that measured distance. For all of our training runs we had to drive out the course first so that we knew how far to go. My parents would sometimes drive along and give us water because we didn’t have any hydration gadgets. Overall, we were clueless.

So, at the beginning of the race, we were very nervous, but really excited. We were in Alaska to run a marathon! And we had a pretty big cheering crew. It was my parents, my sister’s boyfriend, another good friend (who was supposed to be running with us but had gotten injured during training) and her parents. Which was good, because there were less than 300 runners in the race.

We had done no research about the race course or what the race would be like. We just knew that it was supposed to be pretty and flat. Well, it turns out that the course consisted of one very short out and back, totaling 7 miles, and then one very long out and back. Both of these trails were through the woods, which allowed for NO spectators to get to the course. It also meant that the course was NOT marked with the mileage. That means that we had no idea how far we had gone or how much we had left.

So, when people started running back towards us as we neared the second turn around, I believed them when they told me we were “almost to the turn around.” I got so excited! But then, a lot of time passed and A LOT of people kept telling us that we were “almost there!” It just wasn’t true and I started to lose it. I was getting angry at everyone who told us that. I started swearing and saying mean things. I couldn’t handle it! Why weren’t we at the turn around?! Where was our cheering section?! I didn’t care about the pretty woods, I wanted someone to cheer for me and I wanted to turn around!

Eventually, we did make it to the turn around point, and our cheering section was there waiting for us. They explained that there was no way for them to get to the course, so they wouldn’t see us again until the finish. My sister, Rondi, ended up leaving us at that point to take off on her own. I don’t think she could handle my attitude anymore! Sara and I stuck together for most of the way, but then her knee was hurting and I really wanted to reach my goal of finishing in under 5 hours, so I took off on my own.

I did end up meeting my goal, but it was SO.HARD. After that, I didn’t sign up for another full marathon for 8 years. 8 YEARS! The pain and misery of that race stayed with me for a very long time. So much so that when I decided to do another marathon, I cried the day before, multiple times, because I was so scared. I was scared of feeling that way again. My one goal for that next marathon was to stay positive the whole time and to never feel like I wanted to quit. It ended up being a great race and I grinned from ear to ear the whole time. It was another out and back course, and I did not tell a single person that they were almost at the turn around. HA!

So, this morning when my sister told me that the training plan called for 10 miles, for a moment, I lost all confidence that I had in my current fitness level and reverted back to that girl who is terrified of marathons. But then, I hopped on my treadmill, knocked out those 10 miles with ease, and remembered how far I have come in the last 12 years. I got this.

Game on.