Moving On…

Sometimes it takes a long time to really get to know yourself. Looking back over some of my blog posts, I’m noticing that I really don’t like change. This simple fact about me is making this week quite difficult. Moving out of my first home that I ever owned as a married woman, and where I brought home two babies, is proving to be a test that I am not sure I’m passing with flying colors. 

And, as it would turn out, my eldest son is handling it about as well as his mother. He can’t wait until his couch and the family TV are in the new house so that he can have his “spot” back. And he needs the table right next to his spot, just like it is now, so that he has a place for his water.

It’s funny how we want all the new things, but we also want so many things to stay just the same. Unfortunately, most times you can’t have it both ways. You want to go for an early run, but you also want to sleep in. You want to eat whatever you want, but you want to lose weight. You want to have a better yard, but you want to keep your same house. Sorry folks, it’s not going to work out that way! (I am really talking to myself right now, but I figure it will benefit everyone. Ha!)

So to help me feel better about moving, I have compiled a list of reasons why everyone should move to a new house at some point during their adult years. Here ya go…

  • You get to declutter and get rid of TONS of junk that you don’t need!
  • Everything gets organized and put away how it should be
  • There is a new place for everything and everything has a place!
  • You get to take a trip down memory lane as you look through old pictures and memorabilia from years ago
  • You get to exercise WHILE you are working instead of taking time out of your day to do it 

And now, for those of you feeling less inclined to ever move, here is a list of reasons why no one should ever move!

  • You HAVE to declutter and get rid of TONS of stuff
  • Everything has to get organized and put away how it should be
  • There is a NEW place for everything, and you have to find it
  • You will spend way too much time taking trips down memory lane as you look through old pictures and memorabilia from years ago
  • You HAVE to exercise while you work, and there will be no time for taking time out of your day to do it

In the end, I realize that I can’t have my cake and eat it too. So I will continue packing, sorting, moving, unpacking, and sorting some more. If you don’t change something, nothing will change.

change something 
 

Standing Still

I loved church today. It had been a while since we hadn’t been out of town on a Sunday, so it felt good to be back this morning. I admit that there are many Sundays when I leave church and don’t feel that the message really hit home for me, but today was not one of those days. And thank goodness for that because my day didn’t start off as planned.

I set my alarm for 6:30 because I wanted to get a 7 mile run in before the rest of the house woke up. We are somewhat stuck on mountain time and haven’t been rolling out of bed until 8:00 (eek!). That is NOT the norm for my kiddos. They like to “sleep in” until about 6:45 every day. Anyways, my alarm went off at 6:30. I hit snooze, and woke back up at 7:45. NOOOOOO!!!! That did not leave me enough time to run before church, so I cleaned up around the house instead and was pretty much moping and pouting the whole time, realizing that I had missed my chance for a run today. 

Before the sermon started, there was a guest speaker who gave a personal testimony. He was a man who suffered from epilepsy (now 62 years old) and had been somewhat shunned by his parents who never accepted his illness. I am currently reading a book called Women Who Run (thanks Rochelle!), and one of the chapters highlights a woman with epilepsy who runs ultra marathons, and running helps her to have less seizures. Now I’m sure that this was just a weird coincidence, but I immediately felt a connection to his message, having just read this woman’s story 2 days ago. Turns out they both had the same surgery in which part of the frontal lobe is removed, and the number of seizures decreases significantly. Pretty amazing stuff.

Next, during the message, the Pastor spoke about his recent trip to Colorado. He told us how he is a runner, so he was pretty confident in his ability to hike up mountains, but due to the elevation he felt completely out of shape and unprepared for running and hiking out there. Sound familiar?!?! Yup, that was me last week! 

Finally, the main part of the message was to remind us that if we are not moving, we are standing still. And if we are standing still, we will never get anywhere. Ultimately, he was referring to our relationship with God the Father, but he also spoke about our physical health. If we are not doing any work to improve our current fitness, or at least maintain it, we are going to end up in a losing battle with our bodies. We need strength to be prepared for whatever is put in front of us! Sometimes we are just unlucky and a disease takes over us that we couldn’t have controlled. However, often times people become sick because they do not work to remain healthy. Everyone wants to be healthy! We must be willing to put in the effort on a regular basis to make this happen.

Church was a breath of fresh air for me today. It reminded me of the things I need to be improving on in all aspects of my life, and I really felt that God was letting me know He’s got his eye on me. (And thank goodness for that because things are a bit hectic right now!)

I missed my run today. Oh well. My alarm is set again for tomorrow morning. And I will do better to get up and get it done! My kids need me to be healthy, and my sanity depends on that run (especially since I don’t have a church service to help me stop moping around tomorrow if I oversleep!).

 I don't care how you get there. Get there if you can. :-)

Some Random Thoughts…

Today I’m feeling a little bit scattered. It’s one of those days where you have SO much to do (mainly around the house), that when you walk into a room to put something away, you pick up something new in said room that needs to be taken care of, and then in the next room as well, and so on, until you can’t even remember which room you were originally cleaning up. Some might call this ADD, and some might just think that I must have a really messy house. Either way, I’m feeling distracted, so I thought I’d share some random thoughts that don’t add up to a story (well maybe they would if I was more focused!). But anyways, here ya go!

  • Finn told me the other day that he didn’t want to do yoga with me because he doesn’t sweat when he does yoga, like I do, and he wants to sweat like me. (Score 1 for mom!)
  • While beginning our 8 hour drive to the Denver Airport on Wednesday, we were discussing just how far the drive was going to be, and how long it was going to take. (Ya know, comparing it to watching 5 movies or 32 episodes of Sponge Bob…).  Liam then said, “You could just run there, Mom. And you’d have fun and you probably wouldn’t even get tired!” (Thank goodness he didn’t see me on my 7 mile run in the mountains a few days prior to that when I thought I might die from lack of oxygen!)
  • Tonight while walking down the driveway, Finn grabbed my hand and said, “Let’s run! It’s so much more fun to run!” and we ran together hand in hand. I pray that his enthusiasm never fades!
  • I get to test running shoes for Runner’s World magazine, which means I get a brand new free pair of shoes every 3 months. Sa-weet!! However, I really want to buy a new pair of shoes! HA! Okay, that’s more of a confession than a story, but I really want to go to the store and pick out the perfect pair instead of just getting the ones they give me to test. My husband doesn’t think that’s necessary. Neither does my closet…
  • And another confession…or two…I haven’t been back to yoga class yet because my vacation schedule has been so full. AND, I have forgotten what day it was about 15 times in the last 10 days. And I have no idea what today’s date is.
  • Which leads me to the next big problem, I haven’t looked at my training schedule in a week! Maybe that’s why I’m feeling so scattered! 

It looks like the moral of this story is that I am a little out of balance from having too much vacation. It’s hard to get back on track after being out of town and out of a schedule and routine. It’s time to get back on track.

deep breath 
And go for a run. When in doubt, always go for a run.

Freedom to Run

Did you know that women weren’t allowed to run in the Boston Marathon until 1972? And the marathon was not added to the Olympics as an event for women until 1984? The first woman, Roberta Gibb, who ran the Boston Marathon was not granted permission to run, and she hid in the bushes wearing a hooded sweatshirt and joined in just after the start line. That was in 1966. The following year, another woman, Katherine Switzer, ran it and officials tried to physically remove her from the race, but were unsuccessful because the man she was running with blocked them and she got away.

This 4th of July I celebrated my freedom to run by completing a 10k in Cody, Wyoming. It was fabulous! Every summer I get to travel to Wyoming, and every summer I am reminded of just how difficult it is to run at an elevation of 6,000 ft instead of 650 ft. Wyoming is a beautiful state and there are mountains in every direction. I can’t help but have the urge to run, hike, and explore while I am here. But then, I walk out my in-laws front door to do my out and back run, and remember that the whole “out” is up hill and into the wind, while the way back is downhill with the wind at your back. It is hard. Really hard. 

Thank goodness, I had a running buddy out here this year! My friend Becky was here and ran the 10k and two additional training runs with me this week. I can’t explain to you how much that helped. Even though I have been having a really good attitude about my running lately and remembering that it is a gift and something I GET to do, sometimes that feeling disappears when you are sucking for air while trying to run uphill against a 30 mile and hour headwind! Our 10 mile run that we had planned, turned into a 7 mile run because it was just that challenging. We were laughing at ourselves as we did the survival shuffle up the unending hill and were almost knocked over by the gusts of wind. Not to mention the continual spitting and coughing as we gasped for air that didn’t seem to be there. Those are the runs that make you wonder why you run. 

But then the run is complete and there is such a great feeling of accomplishment that it makes it all worth it. Plus, it’s a good story to tell. It’s not every day that I get the chance to go for a beautiful run in the mountains. There are women in many parts of the world that aren’t allowed to run at all. It is not a privilege granted to everyone, and it is not a privilege that women in the USA have had for very long. I need to remember this on all of my challenging runs. There are many women who have that same urge to run that I often get, but they aren’t allowed to satisfy that desire. 

Take advantage of the gifts that you were given and the opportunities that you have. Go for a run. Feel the burn in your lungs and the exhaustion of your body. Then, be proud.


“There will come a day when you can no longer run; today is not that day.” -Unknown


Pep Talk

There are some days that we all need a little pep talk. A push in the right direction. Words of wisdom to get us off our bottom and doing something productive. Today is one of those days for me. And because no one else has given me these words of inspiration, I’m going to go ahead and practice some self talk. Here are some of the things that I try to remember when I’m having days (moments?) like this…

  • I am healthy and capable of the things that I ask my body to do
  • I have a healthy and wonderful family
  • My friends are amazing and supportive, and pretty hilarious as well
  • I have a job and can afford the things I need
  • There is a treadmill in my basement if I need to “run it out”
  • There is candy in my cupboard and wine on my counter 

What more could a girl ask for really?! But in all honesty, the quote that is most fitting for my mood right now is, “You’re only one run away from a good mood.” I don’t know who to give credit to for saying that, but whoever it was, they are brilliant. There is nothing that makes me feel better than going for a run. It can cure any case of the glums, give insight and clarity to problems that seemed unsolvable, and lift up your spirits faster than almost anything. (It will also lift other things on your body, but you need to give it a little more time for that!)

Decide To Be Happy

I’m deciding to go for a run. It’s the shortest distance between where I am right now and happiness!


A Big Chicken

This weekend, I spent some time remaniscing about my youth and all of the things that I used to be so scared of, that I now realize were quite harmless. I visited the family cottage in “Up North, Michigan” where I spent many summers as a child. My dad came up to spend some time with the boys and I and we talked about how I used to be terrified of the minnows that nibble your toes when you get in the water, and of the spiders that adorn the windows of the cottage, and the sound of the pump as it kicked on after the toilet was flushed, and many other silly things. We had a good laugh about all of it.

Then, this morning, I was back in the small, farm town where I grew up. I needed to do an 8 mile run (thank goodness I have that training plan to boss me around) and I had had no luck in finding a willing running mate. So I set my alarm for 6:00am to get most of the run done before anyone was awake (and because I knew that if I saved it for later in the day I might not have the discipline to do it). 

There was a BIG part of me that was dreading running 8 miles on country roads, especially when I have been spoiled lately with doing all of my runs on the beautiful trails where I live. So I decided I would run the 1 mile trail that is in the city park, and very close to my sister’s house, to get started. I ran over to the park and around the paved drive. When I got to the trail entrance, I completely chickened out. It was dark and mysterious, and it seemed too overgrown to be safe (especially without my pepper spray and my boxer, who normally runs with me when I’m not with a friend).

So, I was back to running on the country roads. I headed out of the park, and out of town for an out and back run. It was a beautiful morning and the sun was shining over the corn fields and dairy farms. This wasn’t going to be so bad after all. I was keeping a pretty good pace, and feeling strong, when all of a sudden, as I approached an old farm house, a man came running off the porch and down his driveway. I quickly moved to the other side of the road and picked up my speed. He stopped at the end of his drive and said, “I’m wearing Michigan State shorts…and I HATE Michigan State!” (Nervous chuckle from me.) Then he said, “Have a great day!” and waved good bye.

Ok. That was weird, but I’m smart enough to know that this man wasn’t the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, and most likely was just trying to be a friendly fella. I continued on with my run, albeit at an accelerated pace for a little while.

But remember, this was an out and back run, so I had to run by the house again. On my way back into town I was feeling a little more tired, and I couldn’t remember which house it was that the man had come from. As I neared a couple of houses that I thought might be the one, my heart rate and speed would go up (big chicken, remember?). Then, I heard a screen door spring closed, and I knew I was back at the house. Sure enough, he came running to the end of the driveway. 

“You’re still running?”

Again with a nervous giggle, “Yup!”

“How long have you been running?” he was yelling because I was sprinting at this point.

“About 45 minutes,” I hollered back.

“HOLY MAMA!!!  Have a great day!” 

And I couldn’t help but smile as I continued down the dirt road. Why am I such a chicken?! I really need to work on being less afraid of things. Almost every time that I am afraid of something, it turns out to be much less dramatic and awful than I had made it out to be in my head. The next time that I am visiting my hometown, I WILL run that trail at the park. (I will carry my pepper spray though, so watch out!)

<3 Don't be a chicken. Laugh at your fears. Do things that make you feel alive, that make you forget your age, that exhilarate and excite you, and truly bring you joy.

I finished my 8 mile run this morning in 70 minutes. That’s the fastest that I have run that distance in a long time. I give credit to the guy who creeped me out, then made me laugh at myself for being such a chicken.

Here’s to doing the things that scare you!!! They are the things that will make you more brave, and more confident!
 

Starting From Zero

 
Some days it feels like I am starting from zero. Today is one of those days. I have been having pain in my right foot since March. At the end of March I self-diagnosed it as a stress fracture (I’m not a big fan of paying to go to the doctor, only to be told to stop running!) and took 6 weeks off from running. Not an easy thing for me to do, but I knew it was in the best interest of my foot (not so much my mental health…). I started back to running at the beginning of May, and much to my dismay, my foot began to hurt again after about 4 runs. Being the responsible adult that I am, (ahem) I decided I didn’t really care if my foot hurt and I was just going to keep running. After all, it wasn’t unbearable. 

Then, last week I attended my monthly Triathlon Club meeting. We had a guest speaker from “Good Form Running” that spoke about the importance of running with good form in order to avoid injury. I was quickly reminded of last summer when I was training for my Ironman and my sister Rondi, a physical therapist, helped me get through some injuries by having me work on my number of “steps per minute” as I ran. Sure enough, the “Good Form Running” guy reaffirmed that the correct number of steps per minute in order to run with the best form (and the least likelihood of injury) is 180. Let me assure you that if this is not something you have tried, it is not an easy thing to do. 

On Friday, I went out for my first post-meeting run. One mile into the run my foot began to hurt, and that little light bulb came on reminding me to turn on my metronome app and start running with 180 steps per minute. Upon doing this, my foot did not hurt for the rest of the run. However, I was completely bushed and panting like a dog. 

On my Monday morning trail run, I was running with a friend, and decided not to kill the ambiance of our run with the dee, dee, dee, dee, dee of the metronome app. The run was fabulous, peaceful, and much easier (even though it was longer!) than Friday’s 180 steps per minute run. Can you guess the problem? Yup. Sore foot.

So, today while the boys slept, I decided that I am going to have to stay committed to this whole 180 steps per minute thing. I headed downstairs to the treadmill, started my metronome app, and I was off. Changing anything with your form feels like starting from zero. My body is not used to (or happy with) taking 180 steps per minute. It’s a BIG change. Today I only ran 3 miles, and 1.5 miles in I had to take an emergency break because the laundry had to be switched! You get what I mean. It’s not going to be a fun change, but the to be able to run injury free will be entirely worth the struggle.

“The reward for those who persevere far exceeds the pain that precedes the victory.” -Unknown
Today it feels like I’m starting from zero, and it hurts. But the glory that I’ll feel at the finish line of my 50K on September 29 makes it all worth it.
Start today. 
 

Friends


Do you know what is quite fabulous? Friends. Girlfriends to be exact. In the last few weeks I have been lucky enough to spend time with girlfriends from many points in my life: some high school friends, college friends, work friends, “mom” friends, and triathlon friends (AKA retired greyhounds). Let me just say that I am blessed to have so many amazing ladies in my life.

This past weekend, specifically, I stepped back into my college, pre-mom days, for a bachelorette party. And this party was the real deal, complete with a fancy suite at the Motor City Casino, pre-Tigers game drinks at Cheli’s (with a table hand-picked by Chris Chelios himself!), Tigers Den seats for the Tigers vs. Red Sox game, dancing at a club after the game, and then back to the hotel at 2:00am. Whoa. I’m tired all over again just listing it out! It was such a fun time. Admittedly, however, I was left feeling exhausted on Sunday and realizing that that type of event should probably be a once a year occurrence for me at this point in my life. (You know, the “what was I thinking!?” self talk that occurs right before a 3 hours nap!)

By Sunday night I was experiencing the need to get back in the swing of things and recharge my energy for the upcoming week of being a stay at home mom. (Make a plan and stick to it!) So I sent a group text out (with fingers crossed) to my triathlon friends to see if anyone was up for a “crack of dawn” run the next day (I really wasn’t sure that I could get myself out of bed on my own). Sure enough, I had a taker!  Setting the alarm for 5:12am didn’t bother me one bit knowing that I was getting up to hang out with a great friend. And 8 hours later we were running through the woods, sharing stories of weekend fun, summer plans, work stresses, and race plans. I can’t think of anything I would have rather been doing at 6:00am this morning.

My friends are my motivation. They get me moving when I would rather stay in bed. They sign up for races with me to force me to stick to a training plan. They even remind me that I am still young and fun!  And they always lift me up when I’m feeling down. These are the type of friends that we all need. 



This is the Day.

 
Yesterday morning I was doing a yoga workout (Jillian Michaels on YouTube…that chick means business!) in the living room. My 4 year old son, Finn, was on the mat next to me trying to follow along (so cute). We were about 15 minutes into the workout and I was holding a difficult pose. Finn looked at me and asked why my arms were shaking. I responded that the pose was very hard to hold and my muscles were tired. In a completely serious tone he said, “Don’t hold it anymore Mom. You don’t have to listen to her.” I laughed and told him that I was going to hold it for as long as I could so that I could become stronger. He simply said, “Okay,” and that was that.
I like to think that in that moment, I taught him something. Just because something is difficult does not mean that we have to quit doing it. It is the difficult things that make us stronger. Unfortunately, I know that my kids are watching me all day long, and I’m not always setting the example for them that I want to set. I need to work on being more patient with them. I need to work on looking at them when they’re talking to me and giving them my full attention. I often wonder what they really think about me. If something happened to me today, how would they remember me ten years from now? 
“Today I shall behave, as if this is the day I will be remembered.” -Dr.Suess
I want to make this my new motto. If I were thinking about this more throughout my day, I’m sure that my behaviors would change. I wouldn’t hit snooze and go back to bed when my 5:30 alarm goes off for a morning run. I wouldn’t forget to send birthday cards in the mail. I wouldn’t tell my kids I was too tired to go play outside. Instead, I’d throw on a cape, pretend to be super woman, and always do what I knew was best for everyone else, not just what was easiest for me. Because I know that it is not the easy things in life that make us great. It’s the things that are the most difficult, that we do not give up on, that show who we truly are. 
 
 

Just a Wish.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” -Antoine De Saint Exupery

Today was a beautiful summer day in Michigan. June doesn’t get much better than this. 73 degrees with zero humidity and blue skies. The perfect day for a run. Luckily I had time to squeeze in a workout after work (officially my last day!) before picking up the boys. So Blu (my 1 year old boxer) and I headed out the back door and ran into Stony Creek Park. 

The first mile was a little rough, but I chalked it up to the fact that I wasn’t warmed up yet. The second mile was no different than the first. I wanted to take a walk break, and I knew my pace was too fast, but it was only the second mile so I kept going. By the third mile, the negative voice in my head was starting to chime in and taunt me about the 50k ultra marathon that I am planning to run in September. You know that voice, the one that tries to make you think you’re not capable of doing the things that you thought you could do.

Here’s the thing with those negative thoughts that were going on in my head today; they were pretty dead on. Over the last 9 months I have basically done whatever I have felt like when it came to working out. There has been nothing written down on my calendar to guide me or motivate me to run, ride my bike, or do anything else. If I felt like working out, I did. If I didn’t feel like it, I didn’t make time for it. My run was hard today because I haven’t run in a week! That inner voice was putting me in my place. 

I have a goal to run a 50k in the mountains of Vermont this September with some pretty amazing ladies. We keep joking that if we don’t end up being able to do the run, it will still be an awesome girls weekend! But I think I’m done with that joke (sorry girls!). It’s time to make a plan and make this happen. I have been saying for the last month that I need to put a training plan in my calendar, but I haven’t done it. Today I realized that it is time. If I don’t make a plan now, this will end up being just a wish that never came true.

This is the same for all of our goals in life. Whether your goal is to run a 5k, to get a new job, to move to a new house, to be more active in your church, to have a better relationship with your spouse, to lose that baby weight, to complete a 100 mile run, whatever it is, if you do not have a plan of how you are going to reach that goal, then that goal is just a wish.  

Don’t be afraid to say your goals out loud. Talk about them. Become comfortable with them. Then write them down and make a list of what you need to do to make them happen. Because there is nothing that feels better than working hard and meeting the goals that you have set for yourself.