It seems like everyone I know and everyone they know (at least everyone with kids) is making a Summer Fun List. It is a great idea, and we are making our own list for the first time this year (post on that coming soon). My friend Amy, who blogs over at Mommy Rodeo, wrote last week about creating a list for herself to make sure that she didn’t get lost in the shuffle of the summer. She referenced a post about creating the Summer Bucket List for Moms. Excellent idea. But she had 30 things on her list and that seemed a bit daunting to me so I came with some ideas than rounded up to a number that seemed reasonable.
The first time I started my list, it looked a little bit like this:
- Organize the sewing/craft/storage room
- Clean out the kids toys
- Reorganize the craft cabinet
- Clean out closet
- Clean out garage
Hmmm….not so much a “taking care of me” list as a “taking care of chores” list. So I started again from scratch. I had to borrow some ideas from Amy and from the Mommy Bucket List, but I like this list and I’m hopeful that I can cross everything off. Maybe some of them more than once!
My summer list for me now looks like this (in no particular order):
- Get a pedicure. Not from a place in a strip mall that takes walk-ins, but from a real spa.
- Get my hair cut and colored. The greys are taking over and it’s time to deal with it.
- Finish (OK…start AND finish) the skirt I have wanted to make for myself for the last two years.
- Exercise more often than not. Run at least two times a week, disregarding distance or pace.
- Blog. Twice a month. At least. It’s so good for my mental health.
- Try a yoga class again.
- Try Stand Up Paddle Boarding.
- Have a date with my husband at least twice a month.
- Host a grown up girls movie night.
- Take an on-line photography class.
- Get a massage.
- Take the fondant decorating class with my mom.
- Try a new restaurant. At least one.
- Go on a girls weekend.
- Take naps. Lots of guilt-free, recharging naps.
What’s on your list?
I’m not really sure where to start writing this post. I could go back to the beginning of my parenting or I could start with a few years ago when KPC entered the mix or I could just summarize my parenting style as best I can. Let’s go with that. It’s not pretty. I lose my temper. I yell. More than I want to. I expect my 8 year old to do everything the right way the first time. I have high expectations for myself and am very critical of myself and I have come to realize that I have translated those expectations, unknowingly and unconsciously, to my children.
And that has to change.
Last week I stumbled upon this blog post. While I’m not a particularly religious person, I do find myself to be quite spiritual and I really believe that a lot of times messages are delivered when you are ready to receive them. So while I had seen this article a few months ago, I didn’t really digest it. The post I found last week came at precisely the right time, with the right examples and the right choice of words and I could see myself in her *every word*. So many of her examples were my examples. And I decided it was time to make a change.
I’m not the type of person to proclaim I will not yell for 365 days like the Orange Rhino did (Huge kudos to her for doing that. Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to tackle that challenge. Right now I’m aiming for one day at a time). Lets face it, I have a known problem with sticking to a commitment to implement plans. Failure inevitably occurs and the plan shifts to the wayside and ends up long forgotten. After sharing the post on Facebook, hearing from some friends with whom it also resonated (some, by the way, that made me say “really? you look like you are ALWAYS in control!”), and doing some quiet thinking on my own, I have made the commitment to change the way I parent my children.
I am not going to say that I’m never going to yell again. It will happen. In fact, it has happened. But only once in the last week compared to once a day. And the conscious decision that I have made to change the way I interact with my children is already paying dividends.
AC is out of town for two weeks. Two long weeks. Normally when he’s out of town, the tension, fatigue and stress is palpable. But this week it’s not. Making conscious decisions to monitor my tone of voice, my volume level, my word choices and even my expectations about behavior from my children has made life so much more pleasant.
I’m not going to lie, there are days that I have been absolutely exhausted after monitoring myself all day. But the positive results that I’m seeing make me even more committed to continuing this process. If it can be exhaustive and energizing at the same time, that’s what this is.
I have come to the conclusion, based on the blog post I read and the changes I have seen in just one short week, that the very happy, soul-cleansing truth is that children have short memories and deep hearts. As long as I make changes now, I have not done irreparable damage to my children’s psyches. If I make changes now and parent with intention going forward, long gone will be the days of mommy as an angry person who yells. They will forget all most of the bad and (hopefully) remember all the good. And they will, as children do, love me deeply and with all their heart because that’s what children do, even when they storm up the stairs, stomping along the way because I won’t let them play MindCraft til their eyes fall out of their head. They still will love me and I will love them. Madly, deeply and with all my heart. I can only hope that my memories of me yelling at them fade as quickly as theirs.
Since SDC was around 2 years old, he has battled with on-again, off-again asthma attacks. They are seasonal and clearly related to both illness and allergies, meaning that when he gets sick he ends up wheezing and on albuterol nebulizer treatments. When the pine, palm, crepe myrtle and grass pollen is high (yes, we live in Florida and we are surrounded by all of those trees…he’s allergic to Florida), his congestion starts and ends up with wheezing and on nebulizer treatments.
After nearly 6 years of this, we sort of have it figured out. For a long while we had him on a daily medication. For a year or so he was on a daily inhaler but we weaned him off of that as well. We know to watch for the congestion, to pay attention to his eyes (they get glassy) and to listen to his cough.
After six years, my not-so-natural maternal instincts have begun to refine themselves and I know when he’s going down hill.
After 6 years, we know to just put him on the nebulizer. To add in some allergy medicine. To break out the humidifier. To bust out the nose spray. To hassle him to blow his nose. Sometimes we cut it off at the pass; other times it’s too big for us to tackle.
Back in 2009, it was WAY to big to tackle and my sweet four-year-old ended up in the ER and admitted to the hospital with a pneumomediastinem (air pockets around his heart from coughing so hard he busted the alveoli in his lungs).
Since then we’ve been ultra-cautious and pretty good about staying ahead of it.
The coughing and congestion started over the weekend. We leave for vacation this coming Monday so we played it conservative, went to the doctor and caught a double ear infection early. Put him on the nebulizer just in case.
Fast forward to today, two days later. The coughing is worse and not better. My maternal instinct kicked in, thankfully, and we went back to the doctor this afternoon. We spent 3 hours at the doctors office. Three nebulizer treatments back-to-back. Yes. THREE. With little to no change in his lung sounds.
Thankfully we have a pediatrician who has a lot of faith in our ability to take care of SDC at home. A doctor with a backgroun in pediatric emergency medicine who, despite not liking his breath sounds, knew the difference between the need to go to the ER and the ability to aggressively treat him at home. A doctor who knew we would be conservative and had the experience to know what to look for. Theoretically, anyway.
Until I asked her *exactly* what I should look for that would tell me he wasn’t getting better, wasn’t moving enough air, and needed more aggressive treatment (read: a late night trip to the ER). And she said, as she lifted his shirt, “watch for his stomach to retract when he breathes, like this…” [pause] “hmmmm…he’s not retracting like I would expect him too, so look at his neck…hmmm….” Yup. No retractions in his neck either. Normal asthmatic kids retract their bellies when they breathe (meaning the belly tightens). Not my kid.
So if I can’t watch for retractions, I should talk to him about how he’s feeling. He has to tell me if his cough starts hurting more or if his breathing starts to hurt. The problem? He doesn’t complain very much when he’s sick. Maybe it’s because breathing is always a challenge for him and he doesn’t know what “normal” breathing is so he wouldn’t know if he couldn’t catch his breath. SDC has horribly inflamed lungs, can’t take a full breath and he’s telling the doctor that he’s feeling fine. Great.
So my kid? He’s not normal. And usually I would be grateful to have a child who doesn’t complain when he’s sick and doesn’t exhibit typical symptoms but BREATHING. We’re talking about oxygen and lungs and BREATHING.
Not breathing normally is a problem. So I’ll monitor him closely, count his respirations, ask him repetitively how he’s feeling, give him all his meds on time and hope that if he takes a turn for the worse in the next 24 hours that my not-so-finely-tuned-but-getting-better maternal instinct will kick in and tell me to call the doctor.
Last time I wrote I had finished up my fourth half-marathon and was looking forward to my first relay race across the state of FL followed shortly afterward by the Gate River Run 15K. I had all the best intentions of writing a recap of the relay last week because truly that experience is deserving of its very own blog post. But then life got in the way. And this is how I fell out of the blogosphere before. I got so far behind on all the things I wanted to write about that I just stopped writing altogether. I was overwhelmed at how to document and write about everything I wanted to and then all of the sudden my posts weren’t timely or relevant anymore and so I just stopped.
I’m going to try not to stop now.
But truly life has been ridiculous lately and I feel like I have a whirlwind of stuff to get out of my head.
Right after the half marathon my husband left for a business trip and on Thursday, February 21st we found out that our sweet 14 year old dog Maggie had terminal cancer. My husband flew home on the red-eye that night and we said goodbye to her on Friday, February 22. It was so much more difficult than I thought it was going to be. If you have to suffer the difficulty of this decision, I highly recommend Lap of Love. We said goodbye to her on our back patio and it was peaceful and perfect.
The next week was AC’s birthday. It was lost in a fog of grieving for Maggie and I didn’t do anything for him. Crown me worst wife ever. *sigh* Not only that I left for the relay the next morning at 4:30 am so I was a bundle of nerves the night of his birthday as well.
The relay race was March 1-2. Really, I’m going to write another post about that. It’s too much to sum up in a paragraph.
I came home on March 3 to life as a single parent because AC left for a business trip on March 2. Life as a single parent is fun enough. Add in the fatigue and general disorientation that follows a 24 hour race and it was just that much harder.
And then my son brought home lice on March 6th. Yes. Lice. I found it during a fluke head check. Believe me when I tell you that those suckers are hard to spot. I have never done so much laundry in my life. It seems we caught it early but only after spending virtually all day on Thursday with my new best friends at Fresh Heads. They were so good about checking and rechecking me (clean!), checking my daughter (clean!) and checking my son (one nit found = expensive treatment, because if that nit hadn’t been killed we would have started the cycle All. Over. Again). They shared all kinds of good information with me about the life cycle of lice and nits and what you have to do to get rid of them and how they spread, etc. Hmm…I should probably do a blog post about that too. You wouldn’t believe all the misinformation out there about lice.
And this doesn’t count the little details like soccer season starting for SDC, triathlon training starting for SDC, and every other activity and school requirement that goes in to having and 8 year old and a 3 1/2 year old.
And finally my husband came home from his business trip on Thursday night late. We were supposed to run the River Run together but he’s been fighting IT Band issues (infamous runner injury that is stubborn and painful) so he made the difficult decision not to run.
I ran the River Run on Saturday by myself. I ran my PR (1:22:46; 6 minutes better than my old one) and I finished in the top 10% of women (8,160 women, to be exact). It was an amazing race for me, especially considering it was the third race in four weeks. My runners high was only tempered by the disappointment that AC couldn’t run.
So it seems reasonable that yesterday, after my last big race was finished, I could hardly get out of bed in the morning and could barely manage to keep my eyes open yesterday afternoon. I was finally letting down after four weeks of non-stop high level energy. Don’t get me wrong, some of it was awesome, positive energy but a lot of it was very difficult, stressful and challenging.
Hopefully this week I can write about the S2S Relay before the memories fade. But at least I don’t have to make excuses for having too much to write about and therefore write nothing at all.
I’m officially caught up. For now. It should only take another week or two before I find myself behind again.
I have tried several times to write a pretty little recap of this race but it has yet to gel for me, so while I’m sitting here unable to sleep because I’m worried about my 13 year old dog who may be dying, I’m going to tackle it like this.
On Sunday, February 17, my husband and I ran the Breast Cancer Marathon, Half Marathon edition. It was my fourth half (third time running this particular race) and his first. This race was founded by a local (former) newscaster who is a three-time breast cancer survivor. This race has become very popular for the cause it supports (100% of the proceeds go to research and patient care) and also the well-orchestrated logistics (read: tons and tons of port-a-potties for the runners). This year, similar to last year, temperatures were in the 30s with wind chill in the 20s and wind around 10-15 MPH.
I ran my fourth half marathon. I finished with my worst time ever. That fact alone will drive me crazy for a very long time. That’s what happens when you have to stop several times during the first half to find your husband after his potty stop or for him to stretch his legs which locked up due to the cold weather and 30 minute delayed start.
My husband finished his first half marathon. Words cannot express how proud I am of him. He learned a few valuable lessons and is already planning for ways his next one will be different and better.
I learned that running races, for me, is a very self-competitive thing. I’m always looking to improve my time, beat my expectations, hit or exceed my self imposed goal. When I opt to run with a friend or family member and sacrifice my own performance potential (as is the case for this race…my focus was on running with AC and not me and I found out that’s not a good plan. It’s selfish, I know, but I’m okay with that), the results aren’t pretty in my brain. I rethink and overanalyze and obsess over how my race would’ve, could’ve, should’ve been different. (see paragraph above) AC and I have decided that from now on we will kiss at the starting line and schedule a meet-up place for afterwards but we will run our own races. If one day that means we can run the full race together that would be awesome but until then we run our independent ways to be the best we can be on that day.
I absolutely love the race experience. I love waving at the crowds, saying thank you to the police and water stop volunteers, chatting with other runners in the starting corral, cheering on other runners as I pass them. This year I had an extra special experience as I connected with an obviously struggling high school student who was trying to finish his first half marathon (as part of a local program called Marathon High). He was walking alone on the course toward the bridge that you hit in the last mile. I called him out, told him he wasn’t walking and got him running it with me. It was nothing short of awesome to see his shoulders perk up and a smile on his face at the top of the hill when he took off down the other side. Best. Feeling. Ever.
Was it my best race? No.
Am I glad I did it? Absolutely.
Will I do it again next year? Absolutely. I can’t let the worst time ever be my last recorded time on this race. See: Self-competitive streak.
Remember a few posts ago when I was talking about how I am working on breaking out of my hard and fast rules about when, how and under what conditions I will run?
And have you also heard about how sometimes when people have aversions or fears that doctors prescribe full immersion into what scares you most (like if you are terrified of public speaking you sign up to give a speech)? I think that for me, the S2S Relay is like someone who is afraid of heights parachuting out of an airplane at 10,000 feet.
Well, turns out that apparently I’m gonna tackle the immersion principal of giving up control of my running in a few weeks.
I signed up for the Sunset 2 Sunrise Relay today. A local team was looking for an 11th (wo)man and they invited me to participate. After a few logistical hurdles (important things like childcare) I signed up. Probably Definitely against my more rational and obsessive-compulsive, control-freakish, introverted, fearful, anxiety brain self.
An overview: The race is an 180 mile race from the Gulf Coast of Florida to the Atlantic Coast. Approximately 180 miles long, 12 team members, 2 vans. Each team member will run 3 legs of the race that total anywhere from 14-18 miles. and the race runs through the night.
There is absolutely nothing that makes logical sense for my participation but I’m doing it anyway.
It’s a commonly held belief that to grow stronger, you have to push the limits. You have to do things that put you just on the edge of discomfort to prove you can so you push farther. I was just talking to a friend today who is new to running about this very principal as it applies to speed work, running faster and reaching new goals.
The many ways this will push me out of an airplane at 10,000 feet:
- 48 hours with 9 strangers in 2 vans (it would be 11, but my neighbors are on the team too and I know them.). For an introvert who has difficulty with small talk and meeting new people this is like WHOA! What???
- Working together as a team to accomplish a goal. I’ve always been an independent worker. Leading and working on a team was never my strong suit, both in school and work. I tend to take charge and do it myself. Working together on a sports field was never an option for me because my athletic abilities were nil so I didn’t play team sports in school. My athleticism developed relatively late in life (20s is late, right?) and when it developed, it developed with a fierce independent streak. I am my biggest competitor. Working together to accomplish an athletic goal is completely foreign to me. My biggest fear is letting my team down by running too slow on my legs.
- Running unknown courses, sometimes not on sidewalks, just on the road. I run sidewalks and only in known neighborhoods. Um…what if I get lost? And lets not forget that I just fell on a run. On a flat, normal-width sidewalk.
- Running on well-rested, stretched legs. The first leg might be like that, but the next two? Notsomuch. 5-7 hours between runs doesn’t really constitute the rest I’m used to and I’m not sure how much stretching you can do in a van busy moving to the next hand-off point.
- Running in the dark. I don’t run in the dark. I just don’t. I don’t like it. It makes me uncomfortable. let’s not even discuss the fact that the majority of the night running will be on a path next to Lake Okeechobee. Can you say ALLIGATOR CENTRAL!?! I just hope that as the newbie on the team I don’t have to run that leg as part of my initiation to the GATOR BAIT team.
- Fuel/Food/Hydration. I obsessively control my food/fuel/hydration prior to my runs. I’ll be running three legs over the course of 24 hours spent in a van. I don’t think i’m going to have access to my normal balanced diet to prepare for my run. PowerBars and Gu and Endurox here I come!
- Training schedules. I follow my training schedule to a T. This race will be two weeks after my half marathon and one week before the River Run. There will be training/tapering for the half marathon, short recovery from that race and on to the S2S and then what? Recovery before the River Run? I guess not. Totally against my need for controlling my daily workouts to build to the best race I can run. The guy that invited me to join the team said the only training advice he had was to not get hurt during the Donna.
- Post-run ritual. Showering. Clean clothes. Not ’til Saturday night!
So pretty much *everything* that I control about my running will be thrown out the window.
My running comfort zone is my happy place. When all the stars align, I walk out the door and run. I do believe that things happen for a reason. I believe that it is fortuitous that as I was beginning to work on running “imperfectly” I was given this opportunity to really test myself on so many levels. I feel like the time is right. I feel like I’m ready. I HOPE I’m ready.
I don’t like guns.
We don’t own any. I wasn’t raised with them around. I don’t, quite honestly, understand why people feel the need to keep them in their home but I do understand the right to bear arms for personal protection.
I know myself well enough to realize that if we owned a gun, it would be more likely to be held against me in the case of an break-in or assault in my home because I kind of panic in emergency situations and don’t think clearly.
I don’t prevent my kids from having toy guns. I learned early on with SDC that it didn’t matter if I didn’t buy toy weapons, he would create them on his own. Such is the genetic makeup of having a boy. Literally just the other day he informed me that the leftover cake from his birthday was the shape of a gun.
With the tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut, the gun debate has heated up more than ever before and I have been wrestling with how to clarify my thoughts on gun control. It’s more challenging than it sounds because what I want for myself and my family isn’t necessarily what I believe should apply universally. In other words, just because I don’t want a gun in my house doesn’t mean that I think you should be restricted from having one too (for personal protection, nothing more).
There are all kind of stats out there that you can find to support whatever side you choose with regard to gun control. If you want more control, you find the stats that show reduction in violence. If you want less gun control, you find all the stats that prove why your side makes the most sense. It’s the way that stuff works and why I have to look past those things (and why I didn’t have to go find stats for this blog post. It’s my opinion, not a research article. Ha!)
Here is what I have finally boiled it down to…
Do I believe that we need to fix the loopholes that legally allow guns to end up in the hands of people who should not have them? Yes.
Do I believe that the evil and horrible people who commit horrendous crimes procure their guns through the legally prescribed system? Likely not in most cases, so I really don’t think more gun control is going to help prevent that from happening any more than it has already.
Do I believe we need to work harder to address access to mental healthcare for the under-served population? Yes.
Do I think we need to lessen the stigma of mental illness so that people with such things as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, MPD, etc. aren’t fearful of getting the help they need to control urges that may lead them to inflict violence upon themselves or others? Yes.
But really…when it comes down to it…we need to find a way to renew and strengthen the value of human life. Plain and simple. Every person’s life has value. Just because you don’t like someone, don’t know someone, or are generally just pissed off at the world, doesn’t give you the right to intentionally rob someone else of theirs. Not with a gun, a knife, a fist, or a car. In the last few weeks I have seen news article after news article about senseless killings and gun violence and I really believe that if we begin to change our culture to teach tolerance of others and methods to resolve differences without resorting to violence, things would begin to improve. We have to teach our children that other people matter, that the world doesn’t revolve around them and they can’t take their frustrations out on other people. It’s not going to happen overnight, but we have to start somewhere. The out-of-control violence that is spiraling in our country right now didn’t happen overnight either.*
You can start in your own ways. I, for one, will make a concerted effort to teach my children to value life of themselves, their family, their friends and everyone they meet. I will also work to teach them to find a way to work out their differences without violence (even the simple kid violence called slapping). Think about what you can do to renew the value of life.
This is boiled down into an almost superficial simplicity and I know that. And it’s probably not written as beautifully as others might write it, but it was weighing on my brain and I had to get it out.
Unless you can legislate kindness and caring for others, I don’t think legislated gun control is going to be the magic bullet (pun intended) to solve the issue of teaching people that killing is not okay. So can we quite fighting about legislation and get to the heart of the matter? That heart being kindness, caring and consideration for others.
*There are a host of other issues that also need to be addressed like media sensationalism, role models, parental figures, etc, but I think i’ll just start with “play nice, won’t you?”
In the blink of an eye.
Happy 8th birthday to my sweet boy. He loves everything LEGO, Star Wars, Minecraft, Wimpy Kid and soccer. He is thoughtful, polite, sweet and caring. I could not be any more proud to call him my son. I hope the next eight years are as enjoyable as the last 8 have been.
*Technically his birthday was yesterday, but after my nine mile training run, his 10 a.m. Minecraft/LEGO birthday party, birthday lunch at Sweet Tomatoes (his choice), opening presents, and 5:30 birthday dinner that had horrible service and turned into a 3 hour dinner, I just didn’t have the energy to post this last night.
Today I went to the funeral for the wife of one of my former colleagues. She was 64. It was unexpected. The last funeral I went to was 16 months ago for my friend Stephanie’s mother. She was in her 60s. Killed in a car wreck. Obviously unexpected.
Today was a lot harder than I thought it would be. When I found out about the death, I knew I would go to the funeral. It was unquestionable. I have learned much over the years and one of the things I have learned is that you go. You just do. I have a great amount of respect for my former colleague. I needed to go. And I am so glad that I went but holy mackerel that was hard. The funeral for Stephanie’s mother was hard. SO hard. but it was different. I knew driving up there and walking in that door it would be hard. This one was unexpectedly difficult.
It was hard on several levels.
First, I suck at funerals. Seriously suck. I could walk into a random funeral of someone I have never known in my life and end up crying like a baby. Maybe it’s the church music. Maybe its the concept. I don’t know. But often I am embarrassed. especially when I am crying more than the family members.
Today was hard because when I left the Chamber back in September 2008, I walked out the door and never looked back. Not once. I kept in touch with a very, very few people on staff and as time has passed that group has gotten smaller. Not once have I entered the building or attended a Chamber event. I shut that chapter of my life and moved on to the next one (which is, I must say, so much freakin’ better than I ever had it when I was at the Chamber). But today, it was like walking back in those doors again. And it brought back so many unexpected emotions. My kneecaps were literally shaking when I was standing in the line to sign the guest book. It was so weird. Many people recognized me but several did not. I look different. I act different. I am different. And in some ways I was relieved not to be noticed but in others it was kind of sad. I gave ten years of my life (ok, not that ten is much in the grand scheme of things but it’s nearly 1/3 of my current age. Well. Maybe closer to 1/4) to that organization. I lived and breathed it and made too many sacrifices for that place just to become an unknown. It was unsettling. But it also made me oddly glad I left. Because if I gave so much to that organization and I am hardly remembered then I’m far better off having gotten out when I did.
And this. This is the hardest part. Today I listened to two children read scriptures at their grandmother’s funeral. The children were around my sons age. Their grandmother was three years younger than my mom.
Today I listened to two men honor the life of their mother. Men who are around my age with kids around my age. And they were saying goodbye to their mother. They were so composed and eloquent. They honored her in a way that I know made her proud. I know their dad was proud. I wonder…will I be able to do the same when such a day should come?
I came home from the funeral and sat in the office and told AC that I just felt empty and wanted to curl up and cry. That I felt unsettled and so very sad. I had no idea it would hit me like this.
It’s inevitable. We are all going to die. The opening lines of the priest eulogy was, in fact “She died. It happens.” (Catholics really cut to the chase, don’t they?) But I am no where near ready to say goodbye to my mom or my dad. And I’m not ready to help AC through the loss of either of his parents.
I’m not ready to have to explain to my children that their Iddy, their Boogie, their Mama Goody, their Pockets is gone. I’m not very religious so I don’t know what I believe about heaven and the afterlife. I don’t know that I can confidently reassure my children that their grandparents are in heaven and that one day they will see them again. (This big issue is one reason I feel a more and more compelling need to figure out my personal religious beliefs, but I digress and that’s a topic for a different day.)
I’m not ready to not have my mom to call when I have a question about a recipe. To go on shopping adventures to JoAnn Fabrics. To stop by her shop under the guise of buying bird seed but really just to chat. To have her over for dinner. To invite her to the kids school celebrations. To know that if I need her she’s only 3 miles away. To have her here.
I’m not ready.
Today was so much more difficult that expected because it made me realize that one day, maybe soon, hopefully not, I will have to be ready. There is no way to prepare for the inevitable but I will have no choice but to be ready.
Back in the late 90s and early 2000s (holy crap I feel old now) I ran and even did a sprint triathlon and a duathlon before I started having knee troubles and quit altogether. After KPC was born in 2009, I was strongly urged by my friend to start running again, so I did. Somewhere between my first jaunt with running and now, I grew a little bit control freakish about my running.
- I set a training schedule (usually based on Hal Higdon) and stick to it. Religiously. If I have to switch days around I pore over my schedule to make sure I still get all the activity in. If I have to bail on a workout altogether, it drives me crazy. As in, when I recently missed two weeks due to the flu/bronchitis/sinus infection, I strongly contemplated bailing on my upcoming half marathon instead of trying to regroup and get back on track.
- The evening before my long runs I like to eat the same meal. Pasta with Bertolli Vineyard marinara, to which I add Greenwise mild Italian chicken sausage, carrots, onions and mushrooms and a side salad.
- I have to eat frozen yogurt the night before a run. Any run, short or long. The flavor might change, but I’m superstitious about my ice cream.
- I don’t drink the night before a run, short or long. I realized that drinking the night before a run, especially red wine, my muscles feel like lead. Not worth it.
- I carry my own water, no matter the distance and even in a race. On longer runs I take a Clif Organic Raspberry gel.
- I wear an iPod and use my Garmin. I rarely, if ever, run “naked” (yes, I always wear clothes. Naked running means no watches, timers, heart rate monitors or music). If I do, it’s generally not by choice but because of some technology failure. I hate the sound of my breathing and feet pounding and I like to know my pace and heart rate.
- I always walk for a few minutes before I start running, then stop and do calf stretches, hamstring stretches and glute stretches before I start my run.
There are probably more routines that I have that I don’t even realize I do but I think that’s plenty to obsess over, don’t you?
I had pretty significant shoulder surgery in March of 2012. It forced me to take four months off from running. When I started running again, it was slow going and I had difficulty getting back into it in the middle of the summer in Florida. As the temperatures got cooler and Florida running season started, it got a little better. And when I signed up to run the 26.2 w/Donna Half Marathon for the 3rd time I made a conscious decision to attempt to relax a little bit about my running routines. With a husband who travels about 50% of the time and two busy kids it is a near necessity. When I had to take the time off, I realized how much I missed it and when I started to come back, I realized I wanted to enjoy to experience of running more than controlling the input to control the output, if that makes any sense.
Learning to readjust my schedule to, at a minimum, get my runs in and sacrifice the cross training if I have to.
Having a beer or some wine the night before a run? If it happens, so be it. If my run sucks because my legs are lead? Oh well. i’ll survive and probably won’t do that again for a while.
Playing around with fuel, hydration, clothing, music. Some things work, others don’t. Nothing is an irreparable decision.
Realizing that just because I strongly prefer to run in the morning doesn’t mean that I CAN’T run in the afternoon. I did it a few weeks ago and didn’t regret it one bit. I would have regretting NOT going for that run much more.
Testing myself and my control freakish nature to let go a little.
Realizing that it’s not all about controlling all the factors to ensure a perfect run, its about getting my butt out the door to have some alone time. To sweat. To challenge my muscles. To get lost in my music and my thoughts. To clear my head.
To just run.
Because I can.