Friday, February 23, 2018

I just don't care

This year has proven to be a challenge for me both mentally and physically.  As I stand on rooftops shouting how I must be strong for everyone around me I had a blip in the sequence and for a little while I just didn't care.  It is so hard to keep everything on track and keep pushing forward so for a few weeks I said I just don't care.  Another injury crept in on me, my motivation starting to head south, and the holidays were all around so I just let myself enjoy the time, the friends, the food and drink.  I am well aware of all the choices I was making, well aware of their consequences and well aware that I could have made smarter choices and still had just as much fun...but I just didn't care.

It is so easy to let a day pass and just not care, to not worry about your health or maintenance or is so easy to be caught in the moment and let the excuses flow as to why it's okay.  My four kids are cared for every day...I make sure they are on target and have all the things they need.  I try my best after caring for them to make sure I care for my husband and be the partner that I said I would be 16 years ago.  Then there is the community and the schools and the sports and the friends and the house and the list is so long and so tiring and exhausting and daunting.  And as some people become energized by this list others just don't care and find it all too much.  There are times that it is too much for me.  Days that I spend in sweats and snuggled up on the couch and watch a lot of movies with my kiddos.  I kind of shut off my sense of caring and just turn off from all the needs of everyone.  I know that this is okay...and I can't be everything to everyone every day...but I truly believe that if we care for ourselves just a little bit each day...the rest comes a little bit easier.

The energy I sustain after a workout or sometimes even just being around others and talking about upcoming races gets me going.  It makes me want to do more, it makes me want to care about the little stuff.  I can go days not doing a project of any kind in the house and after a good workout I am cleaning stuff out of closets and drawers left and right.  I know that I can't be "up" all the time but I do know that a workout is definitely a way to help get me there.

When I am in the dreary days and I tell myself I just don't is truly a lie.  I do care, I do give a sh$t.  I do want to do better, I do want more, and the most frustrating part is that I am in charge of that change.  That is why on those days it is easier to just not care about what effects you most directly.  We need to stop taking the easy way out.  We care about feeling good, about being a better partner, mom, friend and part of the community.  Shutting ourselves out is not the answer.  Finding a  person or five that you can reach out to when you need that boost is what it is about.  A walk through the neighborhood to talk about the things you care about most, help prioritize how you can tackle the big obstacle you put in front of yourself, turn the careless behavior into drive and desire.  

So when I find myself saying I don't care...I am now quickly following it up with "yes you are just scared, or lazy, or nervous, or lacking the motivation.  You can do this"  We collectively need to start caring more.  There are LOTS of crazy things going on now and we need to care more than ever.  I think we all need to start with proper self care and knowing that the hard is possible.  We are worthy of many great things, and knowing  you are able to help yourself get those things is most important.  It is not about relying on someone else to care for have to want it, you have to care, you have to give a sh$t.  

So I challenge you today...I challenge you to care a little more, to pay serious attention to the choices you make knowing the outcome you will receive.  Care for you first.  We can't help others if we are not whole.  Be the true you, stop the excuses, care more then ever before.

Embrace the suck...choose yourself. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

the climb to the hill

I was driving out of my neighborhood the other day which requires a small climb up a hill to then turn and coast down hill a bit.  Once we turned the car sounded less angry and struggling and was just enjoying the easy section of the road.  Next up another small incline to get up the bigger hill to finally get out of the neighborhood.  As I have finally had my "over the hill" day arrive I have realized that the hill is still a bit of a climb.  

These past forty years have passed so very quickly.  I still feel like a teenager who apparently has a husband, four children, and my own home.  I go through each day making sure everyone's boxes are checked and things are prepped and ready for the next adventure.  I try my best to find time with my husband and children individually. I would think that each of these years that have passed are so memorable and I could pin point a moment at any given time...for some reason they all blend together.  I see the pop ups on social media of what happened a year ago or five and I can't believe I can't remember the details of that moment.  Every time my kids speak and say something that makes me smile or bring a tear to my eye and flutter to my heart, I feel like I will forever remember that. The truth is...I don't...time passes too quickly.
So I have made it over the hill but I feel like I still have a lot more mountain to climb before I get to the top.  I look at this world I have created and enjoy the little moments and savor them on this given day.  I am thankful for the thousands of  pictures I take and share of my family and friends because these reminders of the magical times are so worth it.  This climb to the top of the hill is not a solo trip.  It is filled with laughter and sadness, strength and weakness but with so many others that make it so very worth it.  The company one keeps makes the adventure so much more...and I thank you for that.

I have been listening to music this morning and it is filled with songs of my past, Counting Crows-Round Here, The Cure-Pictures of You, DMB-Crash, Cyndi Lauper-Time after Time, Goo Goo Dolls-Iris, Pearl Jam-Breath, James Taylor-Fire and Rain, Coldplay-Fix You, Sinead OConner-Nothing Compares to You, Phil Collins-In the Air Tonight, Lynrd Skynyrd-Simple Man, Elton John-Rocket Man, George Michael-Faith, Tom Petty-WildFlowers, Blind Melon-No Rain, The Clash-Should I Stay or Should I Go, Modest Mouse-Float On, and my most recent obsession...Judah &the Lion-Suit and Jacket.

Music is probably one of my favorite things... I always have it on and pretty much will listen to anything, except country (sorry.)  Just like those time hops on facebook...that song takes me right back to that special moment and I can smell the beach air,  see the smiles on my college roommates faces as we danced in the hall, and remember smooching with my husband then boyfriend as we were out on a date.  I see my kids doing silly dance parties while kicking leftover birthday balloons.  I hear them sing songs blasting out Have You Ever Seen the Rain...and being on the shores of Kona hearing Sky Full of Stars.  

So as I coast a bit as I am atop of one of the many hills still in front of me...I will enjoy this weekend and all the people in it.  I will snuggle up to my kids as they still let me.  I will remember the birthday parties I had as a kiddo filled with english muffin pizzas, karaoke machines, teddy bears and craft centers making sunhats with flowers to hang up in my flower wall paper covered bedroom.  I wear my 21st birthday necklace my parents gave me every day...I now understand that fact that your children are your treasure.  I remember my aunts, uncles and cousins with me celebrating together and having chicken parm for dinner more than likely.  I wish there was more pictures of all of that...or maybe not...I did have a perm in fourth grade!

So yes I am 40 today and it pretty much feels like any other day other than the large amount of orange balloons and streamers and HUGE ORANGE 40 hanging in the front hall.  I do believe that the best is still yet to come.  The crazy baby years are slowing creeping out of sight and my growing children are turning into teenagers and little people are in full force.  I am still 18 right?? Time with my hubby will become more special and a long time coming...just us doing things for us...will feel kinda crazy.

Thank you all for your support and well wishes.  Thank you for letting me share my journey and for being a part of it on every level.  I hope I can continue to inspire and motivate on a few different levels...I hope that my oversharing sometimes brings a smile to your face or a tear to your cheek.  Today, I am going to just keep calm and forty on!

Embrace the suck...choose you...keep climbing the hill!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Where I was...where I am...where I want to be

The new year is upon us all and with that comes all these big goals we are setting for ourselves.  I feel like I am just brushing off the exhaustion that came with the holidays...starting back in October and trying my best to look at this new year with a clear lens.  I am trying to tell myself that now is the time, now is the time to flip the switch, I did this before I should easily be able to do this again.
1997...when we began

I tend to find myself looking to the past for what I was able to do.  As soon as I do that I immediately look to the future as to what can I do now to try and top what I did before?!?!  With all that head turning of where I came from to where I want to be...I tend to find myself not looking at the now.  The now is where I need to put my attention.  The day in day out doldrums need the attention and the love.  When we focus on the now those future goals come and we are just prepared.  It's not a scary thing, it is not overwhelming, it is what we have been working for a little bit each day for the last however long!
my first sprint tri

I think with endurance sports there is the constant need for wanting to out do yourself and your peers.  I have found myself in that circle of wanting more, pushing more, and needing to be the best I can be.  When I step back from that I realize that I am trying to be better than I was...when I am pretty great at that moment too.  In my time of training, competing against me, wanting to be faster and stronger...I think I might have lost my view into the big picture.  These two back to back injuries have made me stop and not look left or right but look at the right now.  I can't be like how I was or how I feel like I want to become if I am losing sight of what I am right now.  My running has come to a near standstill.  I have had to do very remedial exercises with tears rolling down my cheeks.  The tears are both pain and anger.  Pushing too much is not always a good thing.

NJ Marathon 2016
I have found myself scrolling my feed in the past and seeing pictures of me at races or after an amazing run, and I find myself bumming out.  I am wanting to be that girl again...I am wanting what I was three years ago.  To say that ship has sailed wouldn't be fair...I do think I am still capable of great things, but I think I need to re-evaluate my definition of great.  2018 will be my 40th year on this spinning ball...every day is a chance for me to make myself stronger.  I need to stop the self comparisons and focus on the now.  BQ and making the cut is still my dream...and it will happen but I think 2018 will be a year of strength and overall health.   I am not going to try and log 2000 plus miles in the year.  I am going to try and find the balance of strength and endurance and inner peace...I think that may be harder than running 2000 miles...but I am pretty sure hard is possible.

My Why

I will keep going with goals and having fitness and healthy choices be a part of my day in and day out life.  I will sign up again for some crazy race and run all the miles to get there safely.  I will get up at crazy hours to fit things into the schedule of my party of six.  I will keep smiling and try to share kindness with those around me.  And as my kids say...I will continue to talk to strangers about all sorts of things.  If you see me out and about and it's been awhile I will probably give you a's what I do.  I will try to stop spinning and focus on the now...and hope more of you are a part of it.

Embrace the suck...choose you...figure out where you are.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Drive...or the lack there of

When I am on I am ON!!!  When I am off I am so very off.  I wish I could figure out what makes me want to keep it stay that laser not even second guess a just operate on auto pilot.  I am not sure if it was my minor back injured that side lined me in October that kept me from running for three weeks...the first time ever that I was not doing anything.  It was weird...but at the same time it was great.  I felt like both my body and my mind needed a break.  I am back to running but it is harder than it has been in a while.  Food is still and will always be my main issue.  Running five miles on a given day is way easier than saying no to freshly made chocolate chip cookies.

So how do you find do you believe in yourself do you motivate you every day to get the train back on track.  I don't know.  There is no magic pill..there is no set amount of days of focus that suddenly you do it all in your sleep..yes I know the 21 day rule...but sometimes I wish it was 14 days.  Three years ago when I started all this I was a MACHINE.  I was so driven, so motivated, so laser focused.  That girl is still here but she is pretty far away from the girl that is here now.  I am okay with that...but maybe that is part of the problem for lack of a better word.  I know that hard work is the only way to become the person you want to be.  I know that it can't be talked about without execution...and wishing for it will get you no where.  I know how to work hard and I know what calling it in looks like...currently I am just calling it in.

My husband who I ON!  He is training for a 100 mile ultra in April.  He is changing up his diet so that he can burn fat while on his 100 mile adventure and not need to fuel with carbohydrates...not sure what fat he is burning but I understand the whole keto system and how it works.  I know that he will drink beer, eat bread and french fries again...just not now.  I know that coconut oil will not be consumed in large vats and his meals will not consist of protein with a side of protein forever.  I watch him just do his training plan without thinking twice.  I watch him not eat oatmeal or cereal..two of his favorite things...I watched him not have stuffing or potatoes on thanksgiving...I am watching him work hard for his goal.

So maybe that's it.  Maybe I need that big scary goal to get my butt into gear.  Maybe I need to not live in a place that today's current temperature is 9 degrees with the wind chill.  Maybe I need to remember how much I love to have my workout done with first thing in the morning and suck up late night tv watching for a solid night's sleep.  I try to not think of my weight and exercise as something that I have to "control" but more of something that I have come to terms with as it becomes second nature and daily habit it stays in check.  The truth of that situation is things have highs and lows.  Runs have great days and bad days.  Food is on point or everything but the kitchen sink.  One cannot be on 365 days a year...but one also must remember to get back on the bus...before it runs you over.

The holidays are here and I am not going to let the cookie bus or Buddy the Elf run me over.  I am going to make the time...not find the time for my daily exercise.  I am going to stock my fridge with healthy choices and not just saltine toffee and fudge.  I am going to plan ahead...not what the day has in store and make sure I am prepped and ready.  I am going to engage friends for accountability...I am going to go on walks at night even after I may have done a run earlier in the day to reconnect, see the twinkle lights, and move my body again.  I am going to keep myself a priority despite the seasonal pulls all around me.  I am not going to freak out over everything and the fact that hubby can say he is done eating bread and actually stick with it!  Who does that...oh a driven, focused, goal oriented person.  I know that person exists within me too...just not right now...and that is okay.

Embrace the suck...choose you...find your drive!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Showing are ready!

Many people have asked me as of late what is next...and I have nothing on my race calendar.  It is very strange to not commit to anything and just keep running and working on staying strong.  After being out of commission for almost three weeks I treasure my fitness more than ever.  A wise woman once told me that the hardest thing about getting back into shape is getting back into shape.  So this week I have watched my intake, focused on getting proper sleep, continue my PT exercises to strengthen my back and core and as the months seem to tick away I am reflecting on the year as a whole already.  Time can slow down at any point...and I am promising myself that I will not fall into the holiday craziness...taking back Christmas this year! ;) #badmoms

When looking at my races I didn't set any PRs this year but I still had a lot of fun and did a few classic to me races and other brand new ones.  I did races with friends, did a few alone, and always seem to have my community of runners and non runners to come back to.  Many people may be reading this on the eve of running a big race...there is a big one here tomorrow in Virginia and seeing all the posts of these people who are anxious, excited, crazed and scared make me so giddy with excitement!  YOU ARE READY!!

Running a race is a lot like planning a wedding or being pregnant.  The build up is huge and so is the preparation!  You can talk to so many people and there are a million different ways to do the same thing.  You have to figure out what works for you, what you are comfortable with, what you can sustain...and then trust in you.  You have to build your community that will help you with the tough decisions and emergencies and know that sometimes you have to look at things from a different perspective.  But with all things the hardest part is showing up.  You are have shown in that!
So all of you racers or future races...when it comes to race day eve...know you are ready, know you have sacrificed for something, know that this is the fun part, know that this is what you trained for, know that the nerves are just you ready to tackle the goal ahead of you.  Know that you are supposed to feel this way and you need to bottle all of the energy for tomorrow.  Remember that you can't control the weather or how your body will react to nutrition or cramping or chilly temps.  None of that can take away from all that you have put forth.  

I may be talking a little extreme...I tend to go a bit overboard when putting myself into a race...but either way...we all have goals, A, B and C goals.  We want to do good...we want all this work to be worth it...we want to do a little better than the last time we ran this distance.   When you toe the line tomorrow remember all the people that joined you on this journey, remember how important they are to you and this process.  Know that they are there with you virtually and cheering you on and that they know how much you have sacrificed to tackle this goal.  You have shown up...and they believe in you...know it is time to believe in yourself.

This next part is just as hard to write as it is to read.  Remember that this race is just a race...that you are there in a moment of time and as important as it are healthy, you are strong, and there will always be another one.  Know that plans change, and goals shift, and tears are sometimes shed in more than just happiness.  And in that moment of what feels like mass disappointment, you are stronger than you ever knew.  All that you have gone through is not for nothing and this race is not just another medal to hang or a notch on your belt.  It is just as much a part of you and sometimes may have felt like a full time job or the birth of a baby or wedding celebration...and being upset is understandable!  You still need to celebrate the tough losses...they are the building blocks to stronger finishes down the road.

So kick butt in all you proud of this commitment.  This is a big deal, this is not for everyone, and not everyone can understand all that is the crazy mind of a runner or other endurance athlete.  Trust in the process, you are ready, you have more than shown up.

0.5%        Percentage of US Population that have run a marathon
570          Total number of US marathons held annually
581, 811   Total number of people that finish a marathon annually

Embrace the suck...choose inspiried by shalane flanagan.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Press On

Well if you have any friends in the running community that love to race you probably heard them talking at length about yesterday's Army Ten Miler.  What was the race that attracted me to the sport and made me fall in love with it got hit with some nasty weather conditions yesterday.  78 degrees when we finally arrived at the start and 100% humidity.  I am the runner that is excited about a 9 degree run well before I would ever be excited about 78 degrees and humid as all get out.

school trip selfie
The days leading into race weekend were busy and chaotic as most days are these days thus the limited number of blog entries as of late.  Thursday was a field trip to the national zoo with my little first grader, running club at school followed by a few hours at work.  Friday was a trip into DC to pick up my packet for Army with a night out with girlfriends and then taking in some live music while chatting for a long time with an amazing new friend, but ended up with a late night to bed.  Saturday was a quick run before we headed to Cambridge MD to cheer on some of hubby's athletes as they did what some will forever view as impossible...completing an Ironman.  This was another late night with an early alarm set to head into the Pentagon for my race day.  Five hours of sleep the  night before the race is sometimes normal with nerves but mine was just pure lack of time.  This is life of a parent...the days are long and the years are short.  We cram as much as we can into these days and just figure out a way to make it all work...not just for us but for everyone involved.  
Army Strong

I would be lying to you if I said I handle all of this with ease an a smile on my face.  I have felt pretty worn down emotionally and physically as of late.  Those four days of marathon adulting were really the icing on the cake.  An old friend passed away unexpectedly a few weeks ago, I didn't get into Boston, a very sad man did some very horrible things to innocent people in Las Vegas.  I was feeling very overwhelmed with all that was on my plate and I was not handling it how I wanted to.  I always want to be strong and be the example but for last week I had hit my limit.  

In that moment of realization that I am not in fact superwoman nor do I want to try to be her, I finally had that moment of acceptance and just cried, a big ugly cry but I got it out.  I
Kids being Kids at IMMD
talked with those around me that are the amazing sounding boards that I need them to be.  There was compassion, tough love, and understanding.  I know I do not have it all together and I hope that I don't come off that I do.  I am typically a hot mess just rolling with the punches and hoping I am not too late to the class party or to preschool pick up.  I am just trying to survive these long days showing them ways to be kind and think of others and smile and bring a smile to someone else along the way.  Some days I rock this...other days I fail tremendously...and both are okay.
my hot mess flat momma

So here was race day of the race that I love so much...and I pretty much knew before we even started running that there was not going to be a PR set that day.  I was just going to try my best to get through it with limited walking and complaining and f-bombs.  I started with my girlfriend but we got split up around mile 3.5.  The race that I loved so much was not "there for me" but I still had to go through with it all.  I had to get back to the finish and there was only one way this was going to happen.  I walked at the water stop around mile 6.5 knowing that the bridge was coming.  I was telling myself how I can run three miles on any day and just do it already.  I started up my tired legs and just kept on going.  

There was a man next to me on the bridge walking and on the back of his shirt were the words "PRESS ON."  As I came up next to him I said the words on his shirt aloud....and loud enough so he could hear them.  He heard me and turned his head and said..." on."  He then started running again.  The girl behind us said...guess you can't wear that shirt if you don't want to reminded of it.  He laughed and I think was happy to be moving again.  Every day we have that moment to press get past the crap and heavy stuff to be reminded of the good and warm and fuzzy stuff.  It is not to say that the crap and heavy stuff doesn't weigh us down and make the day really hard.  Some days despite so many efforts finding any sight of the good and warm and fuzzy is near impossible...but I will forever remind myself to press know that there is better out there.  I know that I can do better...I know that we as a collective society can do better...I know that we can do better for those of families who have lost loved ones and are hurting.  Everyone everyday is trying to press on but they may need some help getting there.  That is where my hot mess, big silly smiley self  likes to strike up a conversation with a stranger and try to make the connection.  That is where I want to see if I can make someone smile and learn and grown from something I learned from this new person.  

my visor always with me
Sunday's race was not amazing in the sense of my pace that I was able to was amazing in that so many people pressed on despite the crap conditions  of the day.  It was amazing to see so many come together to better themselves, to try something new, to scare themselves a bit and live outside of their comfort zone.  Amazing does not have to be a picture perfect scene...amazing is what every moves you...whatever makes you keep going...whatever has you press on.  

Embrace the suck...choose you and press on.
Finish ATM 2017 1:29:08

Friday, September 15, 2017

not special...just determined

I posted some pics from my half iron this past weekend and was overall very happy with my results...5:48:39.  It was not a PR by any stretch but I trained, made sacrifices and showed up for race day.  For many that is in fact harder than the actual race...the day in day out of staying on the plan, holding course, and accepting the changes you have to make over the course of a training session.  I received comments such as I am amazing, what an inspiration, so impressive, and lots of WOWS.

#1 fan pre race
As we drove home from the race trying to catch our oldest's football game we had lots of time to talk.  I couldn't fall asleep as my mind was still racing.  Six hours of hard pushing and no nap in sight.  So we talked, talked and talked some more.  I was sharing the comments with Ben as we drove.  I wasn't as emotional at this race as I was at my first half iron.  I was proud I finished and proud I made it through the swim without an anxiety attack, or wiping out on the bike while trying to refill my water, or that for as many times that I walked on the run I managed to stick with a girl and finish strong together for my last two miles.

I guess I don't view what I did this past Sunday as awesome or impressive.  I don't know what that thing was inside of me a few years ago that made me switch and want to give running and the sport of triathlon a try.  I had watched my brother compete in a triathlon many many moons ago when I was probably in high school.  I played field hockey, softball and sat the bench on the basketball team.  I was an athlete at a young age and then I guess I forgot that.  Races give me the opportunity to focus for the months leading up to it and truly change myself and tackle the challenge ahead.  I am no more awesome or impressive or inspirational than anyone else that decides to try something hard...and that something does not need to be a physical thing.

Yes I have four kids, I have a part time job, I have a house that I am horrible at keeping clean, and a husband that is right beside me every step of the way.  I have a supportive community around me pushing and encouraging all along the way.  I have made many friends through this sport that have met me in less than ideal training conditions for a run, bike or swim.  Every one of those people are equally awesome and impressive.  Every one of them make the choice each day to push themselves, and stay the course.  We have days that are easy, days that are near impossible, but at the end of the day each task is still completed.

The whole idea of endurance sports is still scary to me.  I know that there is A LOT that goes into the training for these races.  The awesome and impressive thing is not the completion of the races but the courage and determination to sign up, to train, and to commit yourself day in and day out for each day leading up to the event.  Endurance sports are not something that you can just show up on race day and hope for the best.  They require all the effort in the weeks leading up to race day to ensure both your mind and body that you can in fact complete this task.

Heading out for the run...all 13.1 miles
These races still impress me but the emotional part for me is the choice that everyone gets to make.  The fellow athletes there no matter the pace, the gear, the support they receive from those around them are committed to themselves.  As a mom it is hard to make that choice, to put yourself on the list, to be okay that things fall to the wayside so that you can be a priority.  To accept that it is okay that you don't have it all together and perfect!  My kids were not there to cheer me on this weekend but seeing the support of other athletes and the smiles on their faces when reunited with their kids, hearing those small voices cheer you in on a long hard hot just amazing.  This training period I met a new friend and her three kiddos were there at the finish and they all wore tshirts that said "strong like mom."  She is training for a full ironman and did the half this past weekend...she is a rockstar!  The idea of a full iron is still so scary to me but I am pretty sure I will be checking that box shortly.

What is my point with all don't need a trainer, a nutritionist, a tricked out bike or the fancy new fastest shoes on the market.  Don't make a change for anyone but yourself but know that you have what it takes to change, you have the strength within you to be determined and focused and tackle any goal you put ahead of yourself.  We are all just people trying to get by with a smile on our faces and fuel to light a passion within ourselves to make a difference.  The first person you need to make a difference for is yourself.

embrace the suck...choose you...make a hard things