Friday, April 22, 2016

What can I say?

I decided to go ALL IN!  

We set our own limitations and I do not consider myself superwoman...I am a mom with four kiddos, a spouse that works his butt off, a friend that tries her best to help when you ask or don't, and a woman who wants to not lose sight of herself in the process.

When I started running 8 years ago I thought it would be something I would do for a bit to get me back into shape.  I then realized that it will in fact get and KEEP me in shape...and I found that I truly enjoy it.  I love how I feel when a run is complete...not just because it is done...but I feel whole.  I have seen a meme that says it's funny how the most exhausting thing I do all day is the most relaxing.  I totally get that!!  I don't think I set out to be a runner who is trying for big lofty goals.  I think that my relationship with fitness evolved much like my relationship with all husband, food, a new friend.  It was not love at first sight but over time I knew it was something that would complete me.

My fitness goals became bigger, stronger, more precise and with that my plans had to change.  I was not trying to be perfect or number one...I was just trying to be right for me.  I hold myself to high standards...ones that I set myself.  The only one that knows if I am meeting my goals is me...and well you if I happen to write about it ;)  I could have kept chugging along and being mildly active in my running and fitness dreams or I could go all in.  I could hope and dream bigger than I thought I would ever want to.

2015 NJ Marathon
So with that comes my third marathon in just 9 days.  Last April 26th I missed my goal of a sub 3:40 marathon...a time that would technically be a Boston Qualifying time.  I did not have this goal until about three weeks before that race.  I did not know that my heart and body were ready to tackle such a feat...and with out the proper goal was not met.  I still managed to set a new Personal Record by improving my time by 37 minutes...I missed that silly BQ time by 13 seconds...3:40:13.  13 seconds that continue to haunt me but it was a pure blink of a moment over the entire course of the day.  This year I would plan differently.

some runs didn't go as planned
I decided if I wanted something big I had to do something big.  I found a great Hal Higdon plan that incorporated a lot of speed work and runs that were to be at marathon pace.  Then I had to tell myself what my "marathon pace" was going to be for this race.  It had to be an honest conversation with me, just me...something that I was going to be truly ready to step up to and stick with for 18 long weeks.  Just quickly added up my miles with this totals just about 700 miles...with two weeks maxing out at 57 miles each.    I signed up for this...I wanted this...I want something bigger than myself.

So...will it work??  Who knows...but I will not go into next Sunday with any doubt that I did not train my butt off, make sacrifices, run when I wanted to quit, endure nature's elements and time crunches that were against me...I have worked so very hard for this race.  I did not set any limitations for myself, I choose me and my goal and had the support of those around me.  That is something I am very proud of...nothing that I am looking for accolades for...just letting you know that hard is not impossible.

"hoodie half" and my support crew
So for you it's not a crazy qualifying time or pr at a marathon...or maybe it is...but I have learned through all of this...if you truly want something stop the wishing and start the doing.  We are capable of such greater things than we are already doing.  We really need to start believing in ourselves more and lifting each other up.  Support and believing in me have been huge in this whole process.  

Embrace the suck...choose you...go ALL IN!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Not just another guy...but a guy with a goal

All my posts are often about my kiddos and my own struggles but I realize I don't talk to much about my husband.  Other than saying we met back when I was 18 years old and we have been together ever since.  I keep him my best kept secret.  

Our first triathlon

So yes...we dated all throughout college and we planned our future together and we gained a lot of weight together in the process.  Neither one of us said to the other that something needed to change but like many things that happen together in a couple...we started down the path and sure enough the other one followed suit.  I don't know who introduced running to whom but it happened.  I don't think that either of us would ever believe we would be sitting where we are today if you asked our 18 and 19 year old selves.  I know that wants and desires change over time and I am so thankful that ours changed together.

My hubby is a very quiet guy.  He works his butt off for our 
family and doesn't ask for much in return.  He started up with small triathlons and realized that this was something he enjoyed, coming from a swimming background the scariest part for me was his walk in the park.  When I was planning to run my first marathon in 2009 with a friend, he jumped in and took the bib when she couldn't make it.  He never said I want to run a marathon...but he did...and he stayed with me side by side the entire time, stride for stride.

OBX Marathon 2009

Every time there was me having a pity party for needing to lose weight after we had another baby, he joined right in again to help me track food, encourage exercise and create healthy meals.  He has continued to be an amazing example for me and our children of what commitment to oneself is and to a family.  Some may view his extreme dedication to the sport of triathlon as selfish, it is a lot of time away from his family and friends and parties that he may otherwise want to partake in.  We know there is a reason for his madness and we support him in his dreams.

The part of all of this that really gets me is this...he is six months away from his ultimate dream.  When a person is pregnant and they know they have six months left...they endure those uncomfortable months to have that beautiful little healthy baby arrive and hold them in their arms.  He has now volunteered himself on four occasions to train for something bigger than he had ever knew he wanted.  He is giving 36 weeks of very early mornings and sometimes missed dinners with the family to get the second part of his workout in.  He is not going to have a beautiful baby to hold, or a renovation on his house that will be finally complete after a long 9 months.  He is sacrificing for himself and us.  His reward will be priceless.

His first IRONMAN 2013
I am sure if we never started down this path we would be onto something just as  big and fulfilling but this is the path that together we have chosen.  He has no idea how much his actions inspire me and others on a daily basis.  Again...he is quiet...shy in fact...and just goes about his business.  He has boxes that need to be checked every day and he ensures they are done.

The rewards are usually sweet but sometimes they are bittersweet...looking back at the results you find yourself maybe second guessing your actions at a given moment.  This reward in October will be the sweetest...knowing the hours and hours of hard work he put forth in this effort...that our family has been there to cheer, support and sacrifice...we all can't wait!  

Sure I think my hubby is pretty freaking awesome and crazy...but at the end of the day...he is just a guy who had a goal and decided to see it through...and planned and prepared to see it not half way...but all the way!  

"Everything is fine when you head is resting next to mine....anywhere I go there you're the fire and the flood."

Thank you for taking me on this journey...thank you for inspiring me and our family to be stronger and goal oriented.  Thank you for showing us what hard work truly means.  Thank you for being more than I ever dreamed possible.  Thank you for having big lofty goals and making sure we do too!

Embrace the suck...choose you...have a goal!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Believe in what you cannot see!?!

So many times we tell our selves to just trust in the process that there is something bigger and better brewing within that will show it's face in one way or another.  Much like all advice that people deliver you generally take this with a grain of salt.  What you want is immediate and the waiting process is a long and frustrating one.  I think back to the first time I wanted to try to make a change...not necessarily believing anything would indeed happen but I was willing to try.  That was November 2001 and the leap of faith was Weight Watchers.  That showed me what I didn't believe was in fact truly within me.

I started to care about me and what I was and was not doing.  I was feverishly tracking my food and logging and doing two classes back to back at Lifetime fitness.  I was loving this new person that I had unleashed.  I loved getting sweaty, coming home to my newlywed husband and create something fun and exciting for dinner.  All of these things we were doing were in uncharted territories.  I got myself into a good place...and I found that there was a fun loving strong young women under the fifty plus pounds that I shed.  

Then I had to believe in something I couldn't see yet again...we decided it was time to start a family and we had to trust in the process and doctors and all things that were scary and unknown.  Over the next eight years we would be blessed with four amazing, strong, healthy, quirky, funny and exhausting children!  I trusted in the process that had worked with me before to find that fun loving strong girl each time between pregnancies.  It was scary and tiring and not always perfectly executed but I worked my best to try to get back to that new me.  

So then came the final time that I was going to uncover this girl...the happy on the inside and outside girl...and I knew that our family was complete and that this final push for a fit me was going to be the real deal...and there were not going to be any more up and down.   I had to believe that there was something even more than what I had uncovered in the past. 

If you told me at 23 and 200.8 lbs wearing my size 16 wedding dress that I would be sitting here today excited about my impending third marathon in a month, after running many other races and completing a half Ironman...I would tell you that you were in fact crazy.  I would tell you that with four kids there was no way I would have time or want to make time to make any of these situations a reality.

I have come very far in this journey...and it's a journey I didn't know I was on until recently.  I never thought that I would have these hopes and dreams and think that my boyfriend I met when I was 18 would be there step by step sharing in them with me, leading, coaching, pushing when needed, and encouraging.  All of these things I never thought I would see or want to be a part of are things I would never believe to be true.

high school...many moons ago
July 2008
July 2013
July 2015
march 2000-july 2015 

I guess my point here is that you have to just believe in you, the new you you have yet to uncover, the stronger you.  You are the person that makes the choices each and every day...the easy ones and the hard ones.  The bag of candy at the checkout line in the grocery store and lagging your way through that store so in fact you can't fit in a walk/jog through the neighborhood before the kids get home off the bus.  Every day it's you verses you.  I know that there are people out there that are faster than me, more fit, and more dedicated.  I think I have finally come to a place where that no longer affects me.  The person I look at in the mirror every day is the person that I have to encourage and believe in.  Seeing other succeed only helps me become more determined for me...makes me want to work harder for me so I can become stronger...not stronger than them...but stronger than I was before.

I believe in this person that I have created.  I believe that I am capable of hard things that I have yet to uncover.  I believe that I will always have to trust in the process and know that it will never be perfect but it will still work.  

Embrace the suck...choose you...believe it what you have yet to uncover...believe in the unseen!