Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A year later...what can I say for that...

Two years ago I started this journey and one year ago I started talking about it openly.  That first year was a lot of me focused on improving, motivating and telling myself I could do it.  I knew what my goal was, I knew what I had to do EVERY SINGLE DAY to get there...and I knew I was silently creeping up on this goal.  When January 26th 2015 rolled around I was so proud of myself for sticking with all the logging of food, hours on the treadmill and telling myself no to some tempting things and yes to some very challenging things.

Today is the one year mark of my first blog entry.  I didn't really think anyone would want to listen to my ramblings but I know the struggle, I know that I am not the only woman out there dealing with all these issues of guilt, lack of belief in oneself, fear of change, fear of failure, and pure lack of motivation.  I thought maybe I could show that the impossible is possible...and it's hard and tiring but very worth it in the end.  And yes the end is truly ongoing because as I sit here today, I am not where I was one year ago.  The scale does not read the same number and that is okay, it is not all about the number.  That is one thing I have learned over this year...and here are few others

I know that every day is not going to be perfect.  This used to freak me out because during that first year I was really on top of things.  I weighed and measured every single item.  Today I still do weigh and measure but my eye has gotten accustomed to what an ounce of avocado looks like.  I also remember my WW leader back in the day saying we all didn't get here from having too many fruits and vegetables.  If my calories are done for the day I will still have a salad with dinner because nothing bad is going to come out of having a bowl of spinach and fresh crisp veggies.

I still love working out but I also know that I have to have a goal to work towards.  I am not they type of person that will just start doing sit ups for the fun of it or run 13 miles because it's a beautiful day.  Yes I love my run on a sun filled afternoon but truly love it because it brings me closer to my goal of an upcoming race.  My monthly challenges for abs or squats or arms are a constant build and thirty days later I can feel and see a difference in myself.

My family has been amazing through all of this.  I am playing catch up on my monthly challenge and I had 120 mountain climbers to do last night.  They were all in the kitchen and watching me do my thing.  Sure enough my eight year old came over and said she would do them with me.  I told her after that I had 60 tricep dips.  Her response, I am not sure what those are but you can show me and I'll do them too.  Having them cheer me on at my events over this year makes my heart so happy.  Sharing this adventure with my husband as he works towards his goals only brings us closer together.  We both know the sacrifice and determination we are putting towards these goals and have a high level of respect for each other.  Our kids are receiving an amazing lesson on life.

This year has also taught me to believe so much more in myself.  Not the believing of just standing taller and feeling stronger...but willing to take on bigger risks.  Risks like pushing myself in a marathon and willing to tackle it again but with a stronger, harder plan in 2016 without thinking twice.  I know that it will be killer and days will come when I don't want to run...but I will still do it and do it with everything I have.  Completing a half iron distance triathlon was never on my radar but waking up so very early to get my swims in before the day began and then hopping on my bike to get the brick workout complete...never did I think this would be something that would excite me or light a fire in my belly that I never knew existed.

Being a mom is also not what defines me.  I am more than than the laundry lady, the nurse, the short order cook, the finder of all lost things, and the maid.  I made a choice back in January of 2014 to put myself on the list.  With that my kids have become more independent, have built stronger relationships with each other, and are aware that their mom has a goal in mind as well.  They realize that my wants are just as important as theirs and with that they may have to wait for what that immediate need is to be satisfied.  

I have also changed my idea of what I wanted to become in this journey.  I thought it was about a certain number on the scale and a certain size of jeans.  While those two items are indicators of how things may be going for me at a given time they are not the items that define me.  I know now that strong is sexy and having the power to get things accomplished for me...to uncover new goals is just as appealing as that next size of jeans.  Pushing myself harder, faster and further than my initial self felt I could go.  Nothing changes if nothing changes and I love the growth I have uncovered in this process.

So here is my year to year comparison pics...While Ben's party did not happen this year due to Blizzard Jonas...I still had to get myself dressed up for the pic.  I didn't go on a diet, or start a fad workout plan...I decided that I needed to take better care of myself and that this was to be a lifestyle change...one that I plan on keeping  forever.  Hard is not impossible...it's just hard and you can do it...believe it you! 

Embrace the Suck...Choose you!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Time is moving on...and I am okay with it

We are in the days leading up to an EPIC snowstorm that is going to crush the DC area...I am reorganizing and sorting and donating and tossing everything in sight...one would think I was 7 months pregnant but that is DEFINITELY not the case, still nesting just not sure for what reason.

My youngest just had his third birthday and we are in the throws of potty training and getting him to be a "big boy."  With that comes time to order new bedding for a new twin sized bed and taking down the crib.  Not just any crib but the crib that held my four babies for many many years.  I remember finding this crib on Target online...it was a Bassett Baby crib and it was only sold in Target Super Stores.  Leesburg did not have one at the time, it was being built, and a women I worked with in NC was willing to go to her store and buy it and ship it to me.  I was set on my white wainscoting crib and had to have it and she was willing enough to help a crazy pregnant woman.

I bought my classic pooh bedding before I was even pregnant...I remember setting it up on our bed in our one bedroom apartment and being so excited to show Ben.  I knew he was probably going to think I was crazy but it was one that I had loved for some time and knew we would have babies soon so I went and bought it.  He did think I was crazy but his equal admiration for classic Pooh diluted his view of my insane behavior.  I also bought pink and blue penguin pjs from baby gap before I was pregnant...wow...I was crazy!

So now as I go closet to closet in our house and make bins....and try to hid certain things that the kids don't fit in anymore and hope they don't see for a certain five year old is very attached to certain dresses.  I took the baby taco stand that I used in my cradle and crib for all of them and just looked at it....I should save this...this was crucial in my kids sleeping through the night.  No Julie....you do not need to save this...it is time to move on!

Maternity clothes also headed out for donation.  As I looked at the dresses I remember an old colleague who said she actually had a nightmare of me going into labor in the conference room in that dress.  I loved being pregnant and having my little babies.  I loved becoming a mom and having all those special quiet moments.  I loved the smell of their heads and the tiny corn niblet toes that were inside those little socks.

So we have come to the empty bottle of dreft that still has the handwritten note on it from my cousin that said "get ready for pink lint." and the final bottle of Johnson & Johnson Head to Toe that makes those babies smell so amazing.  In all of these final things...I am not sad.  I am excited that these moments will forever be in my mind and my heart and now I get to make new bigger moments with this little people.  There will not be any more babies in this house...for all the people who thought I was losing it for having four kiddos...I will now try the next attempt to raise them into amazing, smart, kind, independent, strong willed little people.

This is not a suck I need to embrace...it's life happening...and I am okay with it.

Embrace the suck....choose you...survive the snow ;)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

What lies ahead...patience is needed

I have mentioned  that I am doing a different training plan for this marathon I am training for which is in May.  I am incorporating speed work into my weekly workouts.  I have done many of these drills before but it has been a long time.  Today’s workout was 4x800s…which means I have had to run faster than my marathon pace for 4 half mile segments.  Some people may love the change up of the regular just head out there and run….I was dreading this today!

I came downstairs to my husband still in his running clothes stinky and sweaty and my 8 year old finishing up her breakfast.  They are normally ready to head to the bus when I see them before I head to the basement for the treadmill run.  Today they were moving in slow motion…much like I was as I made sure to chat with them, quiz her on her simple machines, look at the book she was reading…I did not want to head to the basement for this speed workout.  I asked hubby how his run was and he said it was good…nice and steady at a 7:06 pace…just crazy business! He is the man that never ran and then just became fast…some days I highly dislike him.

So I watched them in their routine and I said to my husband…”Okay I am going to head down and do what I really don’t want to do.”  And he looked at me with a big grin and said, “What….qualify for Boston….because that is what you are doing.”

In that single moment…I changed my sad woe is me attitude and said with a smile…”I guess you are right.”  I gave my kisses goodbye and then headed down to the treadmill…and wow did I have a whole different view on these 4x800s this morning.  Yes there were going to be hard and I was probably going to be very winded and the quarter mile jog between them will not feel long enough but I will get through them.  And not only will they be completed but they are a part of a much bigger picture.  I was focused on this yucky one task and not that this is a stepping stone towards a goal….a big lofty goal.  

A year and a half ago when I was "in process" of uncovering the new me a friend came to drop her daughter off for a play date...I had just gotten off the treadmill and she asked if I had just worked out and I remember saying so clearly..."Yes...I was running...working on something big".  I knew even on that day that it was all lots of little steps to one bigger goal.  You can't let the end goal derail you from making all those HARDER, SMALLER, CONTINUOUS, and sometimes TEDIOUS steps.  The big goal is so fun to think about and be excited to get there...but you can't lose sight of the day to day.

Every day we have choices to make and opinions and emotions associated with all of them.  We are here and alive and probably have too much going on in our world.  We view our diet and exercise as just another task on the to do list.  Many days it all just feels like a chore.  Today, and it may just last for this one small moment, I was excited about the speed work and seeing how I could push myself.  I had flashbacks of run on this course last April and can remember the parts that I hurt and things feel apart.  Kinda like staying the course on your food choices and then throwing a cake pop, a bottle of wine, and a quick trip through the drive through with the kids into the mix.

the road ahead
We have to prepare, do the hard work early on so we can then enjoy the reward.  Every day you are here and you GET TO make the choice on how you are going to improve you.  Resolutions were made in this new calendar year, a chance to really start fresh.  Hold yourself to these ideals, make them a reality, but choose wisely.  If we go to fast to start we won't make it to the end.  Every day those little choices will stack up and give you results, speed, strength, next size of jeans, an easy jog with your child around the block, whatever you are striving for.  Have patience...your success will come...it may not happen in one day...shocker I know...but it will come.  Keep making the smarter choices, hold yourself accountable and believe in YOU!

Embrace the suck...choose you!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Creepy Creeper...Stay Safe!!

With the schedule my husband and I both have generally my runs are taking place early morning.  There are many safety precautions you want to keep in mind....two kinds of safety 1-you being visible, 2-you feeling safe and prepared in your environment.

My dark early morning runs consist of me in brightly reflective clothing, a light up reflective vest, and a headlamp.  I want to be sure that I can see where I am going and that others can see me.  I do not always turn on my vest because I don't want to draw too much attention to myself but the headlamp definitely makes me look like a train coming your way!  I take caution at intersections and wait to make eye contact with the driver, and I always make sure to say thank you.  Don't want to give a bad name for runners.

As far as feeling safe in your environment, running with a buddy is always a good move but I don't have that luxury.  Making sure you are in neighborhoods where you feel safe are crucial and well lit if a morning or late night run is happening.  I run with a small can of mace to have just in case.  Some people don't suggest that as it can then be used against you.  I feel like I'd rather have something then nothing.

So why am I posting all this safety stuff that seems out of left field?!?!  This morning I went out for my run in my reflective vest with brightly colored clothing and left my house in a light fog literally and figuratively.  I was a mile out of my neighborhood and wanted to do a quick add on which was a turn that I run .5 mile up and back off my loop...about .4 of that mile is a quite road with no residential areas near by until that last .1.  So I was .5 up and doing my turn around and saw a car heading out of the residential area and would be passing me going now in the same direction.  I took note of the car and kept on running...I was now out of the residential area and noticed the car was now coming back up the street.  I chalked it up to the driver forgot something at home.  With that my other mind kicked in.  The car if it turns around will be behind me and I am running in other lane against traffic and in the non residential area....I should turn around and head back into residential area.  If this car is passing me three times in under a minute I don't feel comfortable with that.

In that moment that I turned the car was in fact heading back out of the residential area and had slowed down to a near stop and had it's window down.  I was already sprinting back towards the residential area and did not make any eye contact with the driver.  I could not give you a description of the driver as it was still dark and foggy but I knew it was the same car each time it passed me.  Was anything going to happen...I don't know...why did they roll down their window...no clue...and was not going to wait to figure that out!  As I passed them they quickly drove down the street away from me and towards the traffic light.  I had now turned back around and was heading the same way...wanting to get to a busier part of town!

I generally stay in my neighborhood for shorter runs but longer runs I always want to head out so I am not doing multiple loops.  But sometimes that doesn't always guarantee a non issue.  A few years back I was running in the neighborhood a car passed me and did a quick u turn back to where I was, I was just .5 miles from my house.  In that moment I pretended I was at my house and quickly walked towards a house pretending to grab my key and in a moment the car was gone.

I live in a fairly safe neighborhood.  I do not always wonder who is going to jump out at me or run me off the road.  I don't run with any music, I tell my husband my route, I say hello to everyone I pass, I am a defensive runner, and I run with a buddy when I can, I try to be smart about my surroundings.  I always trust my gut.  The rest of my run I looked at every car that passed me and was nervous it was that same car from mile two.  I always was reflecting on how I saw my husband before my run this morning, not a typical thing, and I gave him a kiss goodbye today.  I played that in my head for the rest of the run.  Why today did I get to see him and say have a good day?!?!

Don't be a worry wart with every run you go out to complete but just remember to be safe and always always trust your gut!

Embrace the suck...choose you...stay away from the creepers!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Hit by a truck...but still need inspiration

Well we have worked our way through the crazy holiday season and my house is quiet for just a few moments before the bigs get home from school.  Everything is still as it was before, dishes in the sink, laundry to put away, tables to dust, projects to start, and projects to finally finish.  The fact that we make Christmas happen in the throws of all that is just mind blowing every year.

So 2016...what will it bring?!?!  I started training for my third marathon last Monday...so today marked the start of week two.  I am taking a different approach to this race, using a different training plan to try to increase my speed and reach that goal of a Boston Qualifying time in May 2016.  My hubby will be training for his fourth Ironman which will be the World Championship in Kona in October 2016.  We are two very crazy people and I look forward to getting back to the pool and bike in 2017.  

What is going to inspire me to keep my focus, drive and determination to increase my strength and hit my mileage goal of 2,016 for the year??  It is so freaking exhausting every day without the worry of what I am eating, prepping, exercising....all the chores and errands just continue to pile up....my minivan is a big to do list with bags to return and things to drop off at people's homes...my brain is so tired.  And I am generally late for everything!

So I think of my friend...we'll call her Sarah....she is a working mom to two awesome, early rising, high energy kiddos.  She is a loving wife to her hubby.  She gets up every morning and gets her workout started by 5am so she can be ready to head out the door to work by 7am while her husband gets the kids to the bus and school.  She puts on her makeup, cute outfit and drives a more than likely not ideal commute to a long stressful day at work.  She does this all while dealing with the constant battle that working mothers and stay at home mothers deal with...what am I missing out on...what am I not doing for my kids, my spouse, myself?? There is NO easy answer to that one.  She picks up the kiddos and heads home to make dinner and do the night routine with everyone...piano lessons, choir at church, swim lessons, soccer practices, laundry...the list is long and one you have written yourself many times.

Sarah sees me coming home from my morning runs during the week as she heads out to work and gives me a honk...she makes my day with that wave and smile...we both need each other in that moment...a sense of normal and routine removed from the chaos.  She has watched me log my miles over the year in a FaceBook group that I post to...I maxed out at 1600 miles for 2015...short of my goal but still a great accomplishment.  She asked me what a 5k loop was in our hood a few months back...she gives me updates when she has run the loop without stopping...she still hates the same hill I do...but we both still run it.  This year Sarah has joined the FaceBook challenge group to track her miles.  She has set a goal for something she is not in love with doing but is looking for a change for her.  No clue if this will change her the way it has changed many people...running can be a wonderful outlet for our crazy spinning minds.  If nothing changes, then nothing changes...so proud and excited for her to set a goal and look forward to her running towards it!

Did I mention that Sarah sat at my kitchen counter in April of 2014 and told me she had breast cancer.  Neither of us have any family nearby...we are each other's family...we are there when it's needed and even when it's not.  She battled that beast of cancer and kicked it's butt.  She is strong and healthy and has a new outlook on life.  She was an amazing woman before but stands even stronger now.  So Sarah battles our day to day crap that all parents do and manages to have done that while barely taking any time away from her job when she was receiving treatment....she was there to hug her kiddos and hubby good night when she could and has found a new strength.

So Sarah was hit by a truck(figuratively, don't want you to worry ;))...a big yucky horrible truck with the letter C written all over it...and she has risen from that and inspired me and many others to keep on going.  She is my inspiration in 2016...the person I will be thinking of as she continues to strive towards uncovering this new found person.  She is a person that is continuing to make changes in her world after it all was really crappy for a while.  The thoughts that have raced through her head scare me to death and they are not in my head...I cannot even imagine.  I am so proud of her for adding one more thing to her long list of things she has to tackle day in and day out.  

Embrace the suck...choose you...kick butt and always look for an inspiration...Sarah is mine.