Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The build up and the let down...and beating the bus!!

So many things swirling around in my head today.  So many days of trying to keep the balance of calm and somewhat collected in our home for everyone...not just me.  So many doubts find their way of creeping in and so many concerns continue to arise.  You could apply this to any part of anyone's day but for me today...it is seeming to hit on all six parties at once.

Schedule and routine is a great thing but then it becomes a curse.  We fall victim to time lines and trying our best to divide ourselves into three different people so we can deliver everyone to their activity so they will find joy, excitement, and a stronger them.  Meanwhile we are secretly cursing ourselves for over committing, over extending, for forgetting how to say, I'm sorry no we can't.

So we build all of these activities up in our heads, in our kids heads and many times the event falls short.  We have missed the mark, there is not the connection we are hoping for.  Then the tough job starts, and we as parents have to try our best to light that fire within them, help them find the spark, the passion, this entire process is exhausting.  Day in day out...exhaustion.  As I move from one thing to the next with my kids there are many days that I am just depleted...last night my 12 year old told me at 9:30...just go to bed mom.

So yes...yesterday was a long hard day.  The weather was summer like, we played outside, went to swim lessons, and had dinner together at 5pm but that was the only time we would all be in the house at the same time.  They rested their sweet little fresh smelling heads on their pillows and were out in less than five minutes.  The sun rises...and we do this all again.

I find myself talking with friends and other parents that find themselves in this same circle...and how to keep themselves going.  It is so very hard to keep that smile going, having the soft kind loving words for a child after they didn't hear you the first five times, to be excited about making dinner again, to clean up dishes again, to then make lunches again.  This time in life for a parent of four littles is just hard.  So then someone will say how do you find the time to work out with all of that?!?  My support system is one like no other...that would be my first response-without that all of this would most certainly not happen.

I don't consider myself superwoman, I don't have a secret plan of attack every day.  I set my sights low for the day...don't want to feel like a mom failure starting at 6:30 in the morning.  I wake my girls, they give me morning breath hugs and kisses and for that sweet two minutes, our day is starting off perfect.  If I can have that each day...a moment when we are
all at peace...that is my baseline.  I needed five miles today per my training plan.  It is a rainy dreary day here and it was going to start up with the weather just after 8 am.  So today I played "beat the bus."  I have done this a handful of times, the girls' school is exactly two miles from our house.  The path I run is right along the road that the bus takes.  I have yet to beat the bus...today was a different day!

The principal was standing outside the school waiting to greet the students as they unloaded and sure enough I was standing there before my girls stepped foot off the bus.  Mrs. P. suggested that I may need a shirt that says..."Beat the bus!"  The kids unloaded and all of them were smiles and disbelief that I did in fact today beat the bus.  "Wow Mrs. G you really made it here first!"  "I saw you when we turned in and you were already here!" "Mommy you did it!"

So I don't have a perfect plan of making each day as fulfilling for EVERYONE as possible.  But I do try my best to incorporate what makes me whole into the lives of those around me.  I hope that they see my passion and determination and they can take a piece of that and put it into one of their activities, maybe give something another try without having a full on melt down first.  I know that things will not meet their mark, including people letting you down, but I know that we can all try a little harder despite how exhausted we may be.  Hard is just that...hard...not impossible!

Embrace the suck...Choose you...beat the bus!!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Let the shadows fall behind you

Five weeks till my marathon in Delaware.  This weekend will be my first long run with snow and ice in pockets of my town so I will have to get creative with my training.  Training has been going well, I have only missed two of my cross training days and making sure to hit all my mileage marks.  Marathon training is really crazy, you basically have to just give your self over to the race for the last five weeks and then you get to resurface on race day.

As I was doing my five miles this morning on my treadmill listening to the Justin Beiber station on my kindle...the song "Towards the Sun" from Home came on, Rihanna sings it.  Her voice is rather haunting  and the lyrics for whatever reason were really getting me today.

"Turn your face towards the sun
Let the shadows fall behind you
Don't look back, just carry on
And the shadows will never find you"

Many people feel like when you start running, you are doing this to run from something.  Running my second marathon over two years ago and not even thinking a Boston Qualifying (BQ) time was a possibility and then to come up 13 seconds short was mind blowing.  I never even thought that was something I would be interested in wanting, something that was so far off my radar as a mom of four kids that stayed home and felt like she just did laundry all day.  But I did it.  I didn't train for a BQ time but I got pretty darn close to it.  So I signed up again  for 2016 and told myself I would train harder and would be faster and able to make that magic happen...chase my unicorn that is the Boston Marathon.  Well 2 minutes and 40 seconds too much on a horribly cold and windy day with a pulled calf at mile 15 left me with yeah another time that was not BQ.

So I can sit here and be sad and keep myself down.  I could of stopped running all together because I gave what I thought was my all and didn't make the cut.  I could have let that new passion that was now burning deep within me fizzle out and try to find something else to fill that void.  I could have kept running and just gone through the motions and not tried for harder, faster, stronger.

This Orange Visor journey of mine started out about a girl that was unhappy and overweight and inactive.  Then that girl became a running machine with bigger dreams and became part of a community that had like minded people.  People with goals, no matter how big or small.  People that had a passion within them for whatever reason.  People that smiled and were excited when they talked about their races, their hopes for the next season of running, and wanted to share their store, their misfortune, their successes.  People that didn't think I was crazy for tearing up over their stories because I had been there, or am there, and understand that daily struggle.  This girl that started out as one thing has turned into another.  I hope every day that my sharing will give one person the courage to do something for themselves.  We all have something to share, something to be passionate about we just have to let ourselves figure that out....and with that comes failing a few times even before we succeed.

So we can keep our face towards the sun and let the shadows fall behind us.  Keep pushing ourselves to uncover the good in ourselves as well as the good in others. We can let the past stay in our past and use those lessons to encourage us to keep pushing forward.  Looking back at what was, or what could have been is pointless...we can only control what is right in front of us.  This new Orange Visor girl is about just that...choosing me, bringing a little more kindness into the world, letting others know they are not alone, showing others that hard is possible, being that example for my family, getting stronger every day, and forgetting about the shadows...and being okay with how race day unfolds in just five weeks...everything is a lesson in one way or another.

Embrace the suck...choose you...turn that face!!

Monday, March 6, 2017

how do you start when it seems so daunting

I think that people see me throughout the week and I am running literally through our town and when I'm not I'm probably in some level of transition from a run, or to a run, or running late to an activity while in my active wear ;)  Some may think this is always how I have been, that I love exercising so much and I am just so lucky that it comes naturally to me.  Others may believe that I must have it all together and have great time management skills.  I am here to debunk these thoughts.

Me...being me...loud, silly, and a little bit happy.

I am a mom of four kids aged from 12-4 years old. I am a nervous that my middle schooler is going to get introduced to drugs and get his heart broken, my 9 year old is going to be a bully or get bullied by girls that should be lifting her up instead of beating her down, my 6 year old will tell me of a symptom that I say is a growing pain and it turns out to be something so much more, and that my little 4 year old will run after a ball into the street and the car coming towards him will be texting and not see him.  I am a mom and a worrier and want them to just be happy and healthy and enjoy this life that my husband and I try so hard to make for them.

I am a wife of 15 years to my college sweetheart.  This is the man that I met when I was 18 and knew he was the one.  This is the guy that I stayed up all night long and talked to on the phone and we made plans...big beautiful plans.  I hope that our love for each other is stronger than the statistics that loom out there and we can conquer any mountain, figuratively or literally, strong together.  I hope that our passion for health and fitness will serve us well and keep us on our toes for the life of our children and for our later years when it is just us traveling and doing races in our RV wherever we feel like going.

I am a woman who gets so caught up in her family and training that sometimes forgets to be just a girl with her friends.  I need to remind myself to laugh and relax and not be so focused but at the same time not lose sight of these big lofty goals that I have set.  I need to not stress that I say no to things with friends because it is a conflict with a early morning run the next day and they will still love me.  I need to try to do so delicately and keep that balance and smile.

I am an athlete.  In high school I played field hockey, basketball and softball.  Field hockey was my favorite and where I found the most success and passion with a sport.  In my college years I was never active, I never ran, went to a gym, went on a hike, nothing.  I was not an athlete and I was inactive.  It breaks my heart to think I just stopped and not quite sure the reason why.

I am an athlete...I found a friend who had a passion for running and that is all it took.  It was one suggestion for a race of a distance I never thought I could tackle.  So I am back to being an athlete, a runner, a triathlete...and still a mom, wife and woman.  I have found a community of fellow moms, wives and women within my athlete community and they bring me so much happiness.   I am not a girl afraid to ask a guy to go for a run either. I am so inspired, motivated and driven not just because of my kiddos and husband but because of the people I choose to surround myself with.  I see challenges that they rise to both emotionally and physically and I am intrigued...I want to know how they did it...what tools did they use...who helped them...what can I learn.  I have changed my view of these situations.  I am no longer jealous, no longer angry at myself, no longer comparing what I am not in comparison to them.  

I am me.  At the end of every day that is the person I have to be happy with.  I try to be a better me than the day before and some days that is the case...other days I skip my cross training day and eat half of a muffin.  So I guess the answer to my question is pretty straight forward.  You just keep being you, you find a strong group of people that will encourage you, and you have to want it more than you want to give an excuse.  You have to be okay to not have it all together, you have to know that all days will not be perfect and it will take a long time to finally find that amazing goal attained.  You have to find the joy in the steps, the people, the experiences, the stepping stones.  

The hardest part in all of this is not the long run on a cold Saturday morning while training for your spring Marathon...it is making the decision to do it and taking that first step.  That is truly the hardest part.  Hopefully the crew that you have around you will lift you up and be there for you when you knock yourself down.  Take the first step, be the risk taker, believe in you.  Never in a million years would I believe I could pull out an near 7 minute mile on the final mile of a ten mile run.  Never in a million years would I think that would be something I would be excited about.  Find your passion and you will surprise yourself with what you will uncover...it will be amazing.

Embrace the suck...choose you...take that first step.